the savvy traveler

The Savvy Traveler :: Leighann

[trip style = urban]

This post is written by Trip Styler fashion and lifestyle blogger Heather.

When I buy clothes I lean towards shopping at boutiques, because how often do you become friends with the salesperson at a large retailer? Leighann Boquist is the owner of Vancouver women's clothing shop Oliver & Lilly's, where she counts her customers as her friends. At her shop, you'll find gorgeous clothing, accessories and lifestyle goods sourced from Tofino to Montreal and Los Angeles to London. Leighann and her husband travel to NY and LA twice a year to buy for the store, but as a lover of trip style = urban, she always makes sure to tack on a few extra days to explore and enjoy the cities she's come to know so well after running her shop for five years. I asked Leighann to let us in on her favorite spots and share how she travels, embodying the effortlessly chic ethos of Oliver & Lilly's.

1/ Bi-coastal accommodations
We always try to stay for a little over a week during our LA trips and prefer booking a vacation rental over a hotel to experience the city like a local. We either stay in Santa Monica, Venice or Silver Lake. Finding your own little gem through Airbnb or VRBO isn’t too tough and these neighborhoods are a great starting point. We always try to ensure we're walking distance to good shopping, coffee and a grocer.

In New York we stay at a boutique hotel in Murray Hill called Park South. It's central enough to everything -- buying appointments, subway stations, restaurants, etc. There’s just something so perfectly Manhattan about a historic boutique hotel with a top-hatted doorman and a lobby lounge filled with jazz music.

2/ Go-to spots for food & fun
Cora’s in Santa Monica is our brunch spot. Great pancakes and a short walk to Venice Beach. Our favorite way to lunch is at local food trucks like Kogi BBQ. There are usually a few trucks parked along Abbot Kinney in Venice. During our last trip, a good friend introduced us to a cool restaurant in the Arts District called Church & State as well as this awesome little coffee joint a few doors down called The Daily Dose. For dinner, Little Dom’s (Los Feliz) or Cliff’s Edge (Silver Lake) -- they have the best fries and the space is breathtaking. We try to hit up some concerts when we’re in town. Before we leave, we check to see if our favorite bands are playing or we scout out the marquees at venues in Silver Lake. Our cottage in Santa Monica is close to the Aero Theatre, so we always take in a film or two while there. You can often catch special screenings with director’s Q&A. And wherever we go, we search for bookstores; our latest find is The Last Bookstore in Downtown LA.

In the mornings, we get a coffee and oatmeal or a bagel on the street from a local deli. For lunch, Le Moulin à Café on the Upper East Side is lovely and for dinner we totally crave Café Habana in Nolita -- the Cuban corn on the cob is drop dead delicious. My favorite thing to do in NY is visit the art galleries -- large and small. Grab a coffee and browse around the neighborhoods, shop at local haunts, stroll through Barneys and walk up Fifth Avenue to check out the department store windows. Two must-stops are ABC Carpet & Home and The Strand Bookstore.

Trip Styler Tip: Leighann's husband lines up with the locals at a little neighborhood grocery store called 21 Crosby Deli (corner of Crosby & Grand). They serve a mean -- and budget-friendly -- Reuben and he usually gets a "bonus" BLT to go. When in SoHo...

3/ Perfect travel wear
Well, I pretty much have a uniform and am function over form -- not much changes when I travel. On the plane I’m usually in skinny jeans, a cashmere sweater and flats or sneakers. In my suitcase you’ll find the same pieces with a few additions: coat, scarf, blazer, leather pants, boots and yoga gear. I use my Clare Vivier La Tropezienne bag as a carry on with a Heidi Merrick clutch inside that stores all my grab-and-go items: wallet, chapstick, iPod, hand towelettes and notepad.

Trip Styler Tip: Leighann always travels with Herban Essentials Towelettes. These individually wrapped, made in California, essential oil towelettes come in great scents like lemon, lavender and peppermint. Find them in her store or check here for a retailer near you. {$20 for 22 towelettes}

5/ Destination on your radar
We’re pipe-dreaming Paris right now for Fall '14, so stay tuned.

More Savvy Travelers
Carolyn, Pro Wanderer
Jesse, I'm With The Band
Jackie, Paris Is Always A Good Idea
Lori, A License To Move

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

[photos by @heatherlovesit]

The Savvy Traveler :: Carolyn

[trip style = urban]

Carolyn's wayfaring gives frequent fliers a run for their mileage. As a high-flying small biz coach and wife of a pro tennis player, she travels for a trio of reasons: first, to hang with her husband as his 'doubles partner'; second, to see clients and facilitate retreats; and third, for the thrill. A lover of traveling like a local and spontaneous iPad-driven dance parties, I'm itching to officially introduce this month's Savvy Traveler!

1/ Pick your top trip style
[trip style = urban] Wandering in the shadows of skyscrapers is my travel norm because my husband and I are constantly working remotely from major urban centers dotting the world map.

2/ Favorite hotel{s}
For me, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts win a grand slam for luxe lodging around the world. The Four Seasons in Costa Rica's Papagayo Peninsula is my muse offering hiking, beach, whales, snorkeling {all in one day!}. On the opposite side of the court, to experience a place in its prime, I prefer staying in rental apartments so I can live like a local---shopping at markets, eating at the neighborhood bistros and savoring a new hood!

3/ I can't travel without...
- My husband, he's the SAVVIEST traveler I know and the go-to guy for other tennis professionals on the tours---he knows more than most travel agents.
- Unlocked cell phone, so I can swap local sim cards in and out depending on my coordinates du jour.
- iPad; I use it to catch up on the news at home, create photo albums of our trips, and access my music to create spontaneous dance parties wherever we go.
- Sunglasses, they create insta-shade, hide tired eyes and act as a virtual Do Not Disturb sign if I need to nod off inflight.
- A pashmina is a MUST. I use it as a blanket, pillow and head cover to block out the light when annoying people leave the blinds open on overnight flights!

4/ Carry-on or checked bag
Carry-on for my business travel and checked bag when roaming with my husband. I act as his gear “mule” and often bring an empty bag just to carry his extra stuff like clothes, shoes and racquets.

5/ Aisle or window
Aisle. Always. I need the freedom to get up and move around without asking permission.

6/ Favorite quote
“To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” -Anatole France

More Savvy Travelers
Jesse, I'm With The Band
Jackie, Paris Is Always A Good Idea
Lori, A License To Move

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

[photo via Carolyn]

The Savvy Traveler :: Marc

[trip style = active & adventure + beach + wine tasting]

Panama hat, check. Linen suit, check. Hairy and extraordinary travel tales, check. Marc, aka Marc Passion, calls himself an ordinary guy seeking extraordinary travel experiences, but I think you have to be more than ordinary to get into some of the off-beat and outta sight situations he's captured. With a filming partner, Marc---always wearing the Panama hat and linen suit---records his travel adventures on video and uploads them to his website, Marc Passion Travel. I met the Aussie adventurer in Vancouver last year and was wowed by his work-play balancing act and h-i-l-a-r-i-o-u-s travel stories from parts of the world other travelers wouldn't dare go. With this, meet May's Savvy Traveler!

1/ Your top three trip styles and why?
This is a hard one because my lifestyle allows me to pick any trip style at any time. I work in a gold mine in Tanzania and my roster is six weeks on, four weeks off, so I can pick short bursts here and there, or focus on longer and genuine experiences. As I get older, I prefer the luxurious approach.

[trip style = active & adventure] Lately I've been into adventure/sporting trips, snowboarding in Beaver Creek, Colorado. I'm also going to hit-up the indoor ski facility, Ski Dubai, for a day on my way back to Tanzania.

[trip style = beach] A beach holiday is always good. I'm actually writing this on my brand new iPad, overlooking the sun-drenched coastline with a nice cold Asahi beer from the pool bar at the Marriott Surfers Paradise Resort and Spa on the Gold Coast.

[trip style = wine tasting] Last week I visited the Hunter Valley wine region. It produces 2% of Australia's wine. It's luxury to the max at Spicers Vineyard Estate, a beautiful accommodation that's tucked into the vineyard's rolling hills.

2/ What's the stickiest situation you've been in while filming a travel video?
I've been in a few funny situations in the past whilst filming. But then again, I'd say funny simply because I couldn't believe what was happening in front of my eyes. I was with a friend in Vancouver during the Stanley Cup finals when the Canucks lost! Some people rioted in the streets, and on our way home we got caught in the tear gas.... not enjoyable.... but certainly a situation to look back on and laugh. Another was in Vietnam trying snake blood: my reactions in this video say it all. The stickiest situation was in Cambodia with the army. We found a place to buy some large guns to shoot in the middle of the bush, an hour from Phnom Penh. It was only after the day finished, we realized how easily we could have been robbed or kidnapped.

3/ The destination that has/will make you a return visitor?
Vietnam! Absolutely. I spent a month there traveling from top to bottom, and stayed away from most tourists. The people, scenery, food and culture are simply amazing and I'm planning another trip soon---hopefully before tourists have completely taken over.

4/ Last trip, next trip and what destination{s} are on your radar?
I'm currently home for the first time in seven months, but I'm not going to count this as a trip. My last trip was to Denver and Boulder for just over three weeks. I visited Strawberry Springs in Steamboat for a thermo pool session, Colorado Springs for an mouth-watering breakfast burrito and hiked up the Flatirons in Boulder. Colorado is definitely the place to be for fresh air and a cold beer from microbreweries aplenty. It has a ton to offer and I plan to keep on exploring the destination in June when I return to North America, and likely add on a trip to the sand dunes in southern Colorado as well as venture into Yellowstone in Wyoming or Moab, Utah.

5/ You're from Oz, what are your top three suggestions for travelers seeking a local experience in Australia?
I was born and bred in Sydney, so anything to do with the water makes me feel right at home, and that does NOT mean hitting up Bondi Beach! Instead, try: Maroubra Beach, quieter and just as nice, or head up the coast to Lennox Head for locals surfing spots. Hanging out on Sydney Harbour is another favorite pastime. I've been lucky enough to have a cousin who operates Morpheus Cruises, and I can't remember how many times I've floated past the Opera House or the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Lastly, let's talk beer and meat! A true Aussie experience wouldn't be complete without a massive steak on the barbecue and an ice-cold beer in hand. I've only been back a week and I've already cooked up three barbecue dinners with more to come... Cheers!

More Savvy Travelers
Marissa, 30 By 30
Jason, Living To Travel
Marissa, Vacation Time Escapist

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

[photo c/o marc]

The Savvy Traveler :: Jason

[trip style = beach + sightseeing + weekend getaway]

Jason's got it down. Each year he travels to a trio of far-flung locales on a big trip and a bevy of beach destinations on smaller trips. Along with weekends away, this has him escaping Vancouver at least once a month, all while holding a major role at one of Canada's most respected and longstanding retailers. The only way to couple his long work hours with his love of travel is to plan ahead and then go for it---even when it seems inconvenient. Extended weekend in Chicago, why not? Three-week, multi-country itinerary? No problem. Spot this stylish jetsetter---with a penchant for layering grey tones---traveling alongside his globetrotting partner, Hjalmar.

1/ What are your top 3 trip styles & why?
We typically break down our yearly vacations into major trips, minor tips and weekend getaways:

[trip style = weekend getaway] Managing the hectic work schedules of two people who live to travel is tough. Weekend getaways are a must! Our two-day escapes range from trip style = wine tasting in Kelowna to trip style = skiing in Whistler. Extended weekends involve trip style = beach'ing it in Hawaii or checking out the trip style = urban restaurant scene in Chicago.

[trip style = sightseeing] Every year we plan a longer vacation {anywhere from 2-3 weeks} focusing on destinations we haven’t yet explored. We love to experience new cultures, architecture, cuisine, etc. During this type of holiday, we typically pack in as much as possible, jetting to 3-4 different cities/countries. A few years ago we did London, Egypt and Dubai and last year we did Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

[trip style = beach] Since our major trips aren’t always the most relaxing and weekend getaways are too short to unwind, we definitely look forward to a week to 10 days on the beach, and nothing more. It’s usually a week in Mexico. It's the kind of trip where I don't feel guilty for doing absolutely nothing!

2/ What items are always on your packing list?
- Kiehl's Facial Fuel {moisturizer and SPF in one}
- Anything in grey {this color goes with everything and it's seasonally neutral}
- Flip flops
- Summer scarf
- Christian Dior duffle bag {the perfect carry-all...and it's grey of course}
- iPhone {I don't leave home without it -- staying connected is a necessity for me}

3/ Carry-on or checked bag?
If it’s a week or less, carry-on! I avoid checking luggage whenever possible. It slows everything down from the check-in to the baggage claim! When I'm only doing carry-on, I can get through check-in, security and customs in less than 10 minutes, and for weekend getaways, this is a must! However, for those longer trips where I do check a bag, I still tend to pack light. It’s less about what I’m bringing, and more about what I’m bringing back!

4/ Last trip, next trip & what destination{s} are on your radar?
Last Trip: Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong

Next Trip: Yearly pilgrimage to Coachella in Palm Desert

On My Radar: Later this year we’re headed to London, Holland and Turkey. We’ve also planned a weekend trip to NYC. Our next two major trips in the coming years include Australia and climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro.

5/ Do you have any travel rituals you follow each time you jetset?
Naps! We tend to always take a nap or rest between 4-6pm. This way we recover from a long day of sightseeing and are ready for a night on the town. Splurge! We seek out and splurge on the best restaurant in town, usually relying on the recommendations of locals or friends. Research! We always figure out the must-sees and the must-dos everywhere we go. The internet is good, but pair it with the advice of people you trust!

6/ What's the one destination you could return to year after year?
Puerto Vallarta. For the past couple years we've spent our New Year's Eve holiday in PV. There’s a large group of our friends who go every year. It’s a great way to relax after a long year and a crazy holiday season, and re-group for the coming year. It’s a quick, fairly cheap way to holiday in sun and sand.

More Savvy Travelers
Marisa, Vacation Time Escapist
Shaun, Packing Like A Rock Star
Christina, Taking Care Of Biz

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

[photo c/o jason]

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]