reality star marisa zafran talks about travel

The Savvy Traveler :: Marisa

[trip style = beach + urban/sightseeing + weekend getaway]

Marisa is a New Yorker who has lived in and traveled to some of the world's most enviable cities. Like learning to walk, globetrotting came naturally to Marisa growing up in a family that routinely traveled. It's not surprising that any chance she gets to explore, she's on the first flight out of JFK. Next stop: Brazil. Luckily, her job involves jetsetting too, accumulating airline miles between NYC, Palm Springs and LA as the head of Marketing and PR for the Jack Parker Corporation, a private real estate and hotel company that owns Le Parker Meridien New York, the Parker Palm Springs and more. Before getting into PR, she added some extra zest to her foodie soul studying Italian cooking and wine in Tuscany, so don't miss her NYC restaurant picks below! Follow her adventures in the Big Apple and beyond on Twitter: @marisaznyc.

Trip Styler Tip :: Accumulate and redeem Starwood points at both above-mentioned Parker hotels.

1/ Pick your top 3 trip styles and why?
[trip style = beach + urban/sightseeing] After moving back to NYC from LA, the only way I could make it through the winter was escaping to the Caribbean, Mexico, or far flung beach destinations in Asia, Europe and South America. For me, it's the combination of trip style = urban + beach that creates the ultimate trip: visiting historical sights and museums, taking a few days to relax in the sun and enjoying great meals. For example, a trip to Italy would consist of a stop in Florence and Rome, followed by some time in Positano and Capri. Last year I went to Turkey and combined Istanbul with Bodrum.

[trip style = weekend getaway] A big part of living in NYC is being able to escape! It’s an amazing city, but definitely a tiring one. In the summer, I usually head to the Hamptons for some R&R and in the winter I crave sun. My go-to destination is Florida since my parents live down there and it’s a quick flight.

2/ What items are always on your packing list?
- American Apparel shiny black leggings---great for dressing up or down
- A large scarf or pashmina for the plane to keep warm
- iPad---makes flights go by faster when I load it with movies, books, etc...
- Nikon camera

3/ You currently live in NYC; what are some of your fave restaurants?
I am a huge foodie {I even starred on the NBC show America’s Next Great Restaurant}, so I'm always trying new restaurants, and New York City is the best place for that! I like to mix it up between cheap eats, divey places and top-rated.

A few of my favorites are:
- the burger joint and Norma’s at Le Parker Meridien $
- Meatball Shop $
- Café Habana $-$$
- La Esquina $-$$
- Eataly {I can get lost in the market there…} $-$$$
- Balaboosta $$
- ABC Kitchen $$
- Casa Mono $$
- The Dutch $$$
- Marea $$$
- Spotted Pig $$$

4/ Carry-on or checked bag?
If I'm traveling for five days or less I do carry-on. For longer trips I usually check.

5/ Last trip, next trip and what destination{s} are on your radar?
I was gone a lot of December and January in Southern Florida {Delray Beach and Miami}, Palm Springs and Los Angeles. I'm visiting Brazil for the first time in a little over a week and I can’t wait. I'll be there for Carnival! Not surprisingly, the trip will be split between trip style = urban + beach in Rio de Janiero and the luxe, oceanfront town of Buzios. In Rio I'll be staying on an old coffee plantation at the Relais and Chateaux Hotel Santa Teresa, and in Buzios at the chic boutique resort, Casas Brancas. In the spring I'm off to Cabo, and hoping to take another international trip this summer! I'm dying to check out Morocco or Portugal and return to Spain.

6/ Do you have any travel rituals you follow each time you jetset?
I always try and research to make some dinner or ticket reservations before I travel. I will hit up friends who've been to the destination as well as read articles/reviews online. Then I like to map out my days, so I have a loose itinerary {not too rigid} of the places to see and things to do. If I'm traveling internationally, I will send an email to the concierge to help with any reservations, but if it's domestic, I handle it myself. It’s key to do this, because in some countries, sites/museums are closed on random days, so you don’t want to miss something important if you're only in a place for a short amount of time.

More Savvy Travelers
Christina, Taking Care Of Biz
Charles, The Global Travel Influencer
Bryce, The Pilot

{If you know anyone who should be featured in our once-monthly The Savvy Traveler series, drop us a line!}

[photo c/o Marisa]