Packing for a QUICK Airport to Resort Transition

what to wear for a tropical vacation in transit

[trip style = sun + steal + luxe]

Wouldn’t it be nice if we all could travel in roomy jets, sip Champagne on Cloud 9, and strut STRAIGHT from the plane to the pool at touchdown? 

If there's one thing I've learned from quick trips to tropical locals is not to waste time between the airport and resort. You're there for sun and relaxation, right? So, start ASAP. Read: Forget unpacking {you can do that later} and browsing the hotel, and get an umbrella drink in your hand on the double!   

After years of editing and re-editing my travel routine down to an art, I’ve settled on the following packing techniques for an easy-breezy airport-to-resort transition. Because, let’s be honest, if you’re traveling somewhere hot, you’ve got one thing on your mind: Sitting at the water’s edge. Stat.

plane-to-pool tote

1. Bring a plane-to-pool travel tote

The key to your jet-set success is selecting a tote {read: “personal item” in plane-speak} that’s chic and sturdy enough for the plane and casual enough for the pool. I have a few bags that I take based on where I’m going. If I’m headed to an upscale resort I pack my large leather purse, which I embellish with tassels for a tropical feel. If my destination is a sand-in-your-toes stay, I bring a hand-woven bucket purse with leather straps. In either case: Save time and packing space combining your travel and pool tote into one, meaning there’s no need to pack an extra bag for the beach.

2.  Wear part of your pool garb in transit

Don't worry, this does NOT involve wearing your bathing suit under your clothes, but the next step in arriving poolside arriba is wearing your pool cover-up on the airplane.
Ladies: Select a large scarf, an upscale poncho, an oversized button-down shirt, or a kimono that can go from home > hotel > plane > pool. This way, you don’t need to open your suitcase and select a pool outfit—you’re already wearing it!
Guys: This one is easy for you, a white t-shirt looks chic in the sky and over your trunks at the swimming pool.

plane to pool packing tips

3. The essentials

The reason you need a personal item the size of a laptop bag {ladies: Think oversized purse} is to set you up for the pool, p-r-o-n-t-o! Basics I always pack include a high-SPF face and body sunscreen {three ounces or fewer, duh}, a hat, a book, flat sandals (if I haven’t worn them on the plane), and my bathing suit. This way, all my essentials are ready and I can change into my bathing suit anywhere. 

4. Get there, FASTER 

Waiting at the carousel for checked luggage, waiting in line for a taxi with everyone else from your flight, and waiting {again!} to check-in at your hotel can take at least two hours of relaxation time away from your getaway. So, avoid it! You’re there for the palm trees and the pool, right? In addition to packing a carry-on with your plane-to-pool tote, prearrange a ride so you don’t have to wait for one, and instead of bee-lining for the front desk upon arrival, drop your bags at the bell desk and check-in at sundown once you’re glowing with sun-kissed serenity.  

For the full article + more tips, see my latest in the Expedia Viewfinder Travel Blog: How to get from plane to pool, pronto.

[Photos sourced from a video I did with Air Transat, see it here.]

Hanging in Hawaii


[trip style = steal + luxury + beach]

Aloha from Hawaii. 

After three years away, I'm back on the Big Island for a wedding, as well as some "mandatory" trip styling at a steal-of-a-deal condo in Kona and the luxe and sprawling Fairmont Orchid on the Kohala Coast. 

I'm tagging cool spots as I go, so check out #TSBigIsland or @TripStyler // @TStrish on Instagram for snaps of shave ice, sand and sunsets. 

PS - check out our Big Island Spotlight.

[photo by @tripstyler]

Victoria :: A TS Guide


[trip style = weekend + urban + food + steals + luxury]

Tucked into the southern end of Vancouver Island in a protected harbor, Victoria, Canada, is a small city of fairy tale proportions. Setting the scene with ships bobbing in the bay, street performers strumming a tune, and grand, ivy-covered buildings watching over the waterfront, every angle feels as though it has been imagined by Broadway set designers.  

If this description seems a tad too ideal; it’s real, and is the reason we're smitten with Canada’s mildest city. Case in point: Any time we meet travelers on the road and mention we're Canadian, they tell us with their lips and their body language how much they adore Victoria {read: their heads tilt to the side, their lips lock into a smile, and they breathe a little more deeply}.

Here's a TS Guide to the petite city with grandiose charms; enjoy.

Jam Café - Victoria is a breakfast town, where Saturday mornings spent lining up in the cold for pulled pork pancakes is a right of passage. My shared dishes this weekend included pan-fried oatmeal with blueberries and lemon curd and a blackstone avocado benny. Jam's morning cocktails, which include gin cucumber lemonade and bourbon caesar, take the edge off after a wait outside.
Red Fish Blue Fish - Set in a converted storage container, there's something to the Ocean Wise fish and chips served on the boardwalk hugging Victoria's waterfront. With line-ups often 50+ people long, it's become both an institution and a spectacle, featured on the Food Network's Eat Street.
Fishhook - If you don't want to wait in line at Red Fish Blue Fish, walk up to the chef’s newest venture, where a more intricate menu of tartines and salads means your dockside fish fry just got elevated.
Sutra - Located in the Victoria Public Market, Sutra is a new addition to Vij’s family restaurants, take-home food and cookbooks, offering ready-to-eat Indian dishes served at large communal tables.  
MEAT & BREAD - Started in Vancouver, this lunchtime institution survives {and thrives} on four type of sandwiches, the most popular of which is porchetta: Slow-roasted overnight for juicy perfection.
fol epi - A local bakery by the sea that grinds gains on-site for its loaves of artesian bread.
OLO - Focusing on BC-fresh ingredients served in a wood- and brick-built setting, OLO pays homage to the region’s trade roots as a cultural melting pot.
Tacofino - From Tofino taco truck to West Coast taco empire, Tacofino's newest Commissary location is shaking up the downtown dining scene. You can never go wrong with the fish taco and chocolate diablo cookie.
Kid Sister - Victoria's newest ice cream shop on the block, actually opened three years ago as a fruit pop shop serving paletas, until the family-run business expanded into new territory with flavors like roasted rhubarb and vanilla creamsicles. 

Browse Chinatown - Once the main entry point for Chinese miners and railway workers, Canada's oldest Chinatown is at once steeped in tradition and today, juxtaposing tea emporiums and herbalists with organic juice shops and bamboo markets. Covering only two city blocks, it's easy to spot the signature red and yellow lanterns suspended over the street, vintage neon signs signalling Szechuan and dim sum, and the world-famous Fan Tan Alley, the narrowest street in Canada {so small you need to step aside for other passersby}.
Bike the Galloping Goose Trail - As the cycling capital of Canada, Victoria takes two wheels to the next level with its network of bike lanes and the conversion of the "Galloping Goose" railway into a 60-kilometer cycling and walking trail. Easily accessible from downtown, the bike routes can be conquered for one hour or an entire day with a bike rental from Cycle BC (just behind The Fairmont Empress). Everyone from Lance Armstrong wannabes to young families can "gallop" on two wheels under a canopy of trees, over wooden bridges, and through paved residential trails.
Watch the Water Ballet - A tradition spanning a quarter century performed by a quintet of Victoria Harbour Ferry skippers who maneuver their boats like ballerinas every weekend {Saturdays at 10:45 a.m., July-August; Sundays at 10:45 a.m., May-September}.
Afternoon Tea - One of Canada's most iconic hotels has been welcoming guests and serving tea on its very own Royal-appointed china since 1908. Feast on a tiered tray of cucumber finger sandwiches—crust off, of course!—raisin scones perfected over the past century, and treats such as rose crisps.
Beacon Hill Park - Stroll Beacon Hill Park's gently rolling hills and bridged streams. Don't miss a morning or evening walk along Victoria's multi-kilometre waterfront.

Hey Happy - The city's newest caffeine hot spot brews single-cup coffee in gorgeous ceramics by Mazama Wares with beans from Phil & Sebastian (Calgary), Ritual Roasters (San Francisco) and Heart (Portland). The hipster factor is high, with baristas in toques, a Gremlins thermos for cream and A Clockwork Orange screenplay for perusing.
Habit Coffee and Culture - Sip where the coffee is smooth, the decor minimalist and the staff is cool.
Bodega - From the owners of the always-hopping Tapa Bar comes bar-next-door Bodega. Open from lunch till late, this tapas, wine and sherry bar boasts friendly service, delicious cocktails and gorgeous charcuterie boards.
Bengal Lounge - Drink cocktails and eat curry on tufted leather chairs under the glare of a Indian tiger, cooled by the breeze of vintage brass and tasseled fans.

Reunion - Formerly known as Rebel Rebel, this shop is stocked with some of our favorite brands like Cheap Monday, Pendleton, Levi's and Malin + Goetz. 
Still Life - With a ladies boutique on one side of Johnson Street and a men's boutique on the other, try on the curated and casual clothes in a teepee dressing room. Sorry men, you'll have to settle for a traditional changing room.
Sitka - This local success story/surf shop/café is a must-visit for anyone looking for super-soft sweatshirts, waxed-cotton outerwear and locally roasted coffee.
Victory Barber & Brand - OK, OK, this is a barber shop, but they've got an incredible selection of grooming products in store and they're the nicest guys in town {OK, OK, they're Sis Styler's friends}. 
Rogers' Chocolates - You can't visit Victoria without being lured into Rogers' Chocolates for at least one coveted treat. It's no wonder the chocolate is so good, they've been working at it since 1885. 
Paboom - A playful home goods and accessories store that's impossible to browse without buying something. 

The Fairmont Empress {Gold Floor} - Nicknamed “Castle on the Coast” for its prime piece of real estate fronting the Inner Harbor, staying at the Empress makes you feel like you're suspended in another era, hanging on the cusp of history.
Inn at Laurel Point {Erickson Wing} - Also blessed with a prime location hugging the Inner Harbor, the Inn at Laurel Point skews zen and contemporary featuring a seaside Japanese garden, a gallery-level art collection, and sea views from every room.

Trip Styler Tip: Want more of Victoria? Read my latest piece in the Expedia Viewfinder: 48 hours in Victoria

Wintery Weekend in Victoria

Slideshow :: Best of 2014


[trip style = all] 

I know, I know; today we *should* be focusing on post-travel detox juices or healthy getaways to jump-start TS 2015, but in the name of zigging where others zag, and *hopefully* inspiring your 2015 travel plans, we're taking a step back before we move ahead.

Reminiscing about 2014 over the Christmas holidays, I was struck by how I'm keen to re-visit a bevy of the hotels and destinations that colored my year-in-travel. Waking up in Mexico on January 1st, and clocking my last set of air miles when visiting California in early December, 2014 saw me take about 40 trips.

Some were big, some were weekenders. Some were luxe, some were rustic. Some were zen, some were busy {with the addition of Baby Styler to the TS crew}. True to the Trip Styler mission, we covered every category of trip styling: active+adventure, beach+sun, food+wine, weekender, glamping, urban, luxe, steals, spa. 

Here's the best of the best. Stay + play details in each photo. 

PS - I case you missed it, Trip Styler Sis went all Scandi on me, and wrote travel guides to Denmark, Finland and Sweden

[photos by @tripstyler]

Preggy Styler


[trip style = any]

Editor's Note: Have you checked out the online Trip Styler Store? Stop by for handpicked finds from around the globe. 

In case you missed last week's surprise there's-a-new-Styler-in-town-post, I've added a new member to the TS flight crew: Baby Styler.

To say that Baby Styler is well traveled is an understatement. Logging almost as many miles as an airline captain, he jet-set and road-tripped to more destinations in my womb than I visited in my first 20 years on planet Earth {too bad he couldn't start collecting frequent flyer miles nine months ago...}.

While I was a little {read: a lot} nervous to travel with him in my belly when it came to common considerations such as turbulence, adverse reactions to foreign foods or constant mountain-to-tropic climate changes, I got the go-ahead from my doctor for every trip, so I went. Since I travel frequently and am acclimatized to the lifestyle, I was fortunate enough {and very careful} to avoid any major issues on the road {unless you count the time I came within one meter of a boa constrictor in West Bali} though I always made sure I had access to medical care in case I suddenly needed it.

Doing every trip styleactive/adventure, beach/sun, weekend away, food-focused, glamping, urban, steals, luxe, spaover the course of my journey into babydom, I learned that traveling while pregnant is not about what you can't do {i.e. food restrictions, drink restrictions, spa restrictions, exercise restrictions, etc.} but tweaking the trip styles you love to fit your preg 'n' traveling comfort level. 

Here's how I made each trip style work during my womberlust:

  • In Tokyo at one of the best sushi restaurants in the world, I chose the vegetarian omakase menu over the raw fish menu. 
  • In Northern Thailand, I had a facial instead of a massage at the spa. 
  • In Bali, I lounged under a palm tree versus in the direct sun. 
  • Also in Bali, I consumed fresh-pressed fruit juices over poolside cocktails.
  • In Mexico, I stayed in a shorefront glamping hut with air conditioning instead of one naturally cooled by the beach breeze {because midday temps reached 41 degrees C}.
  • In Kuala Lumpur, where temperatures hovered in the 43-degree-C range, I stopped into malls and restaurants every 30 minutes to cool down, rest, re-hydrate and nibble while exploring the city on foot.
  • On a road-trip from Vancouver to San Francisco, I became well acquainted with Washington, Oregon and California's highway-side rest stops.

Preggy Styler Photo Gallery

[photos by @tripstyler]