The Savvy Traveler :: Christina

[trip style = sun + beach + weekend getaway + urban]

Christina has more frequent flyer miles than anyone I know. To put this in perspective, she could give George Clooney's character in the movie Up In The Air a run for his money. In a job that requires a lot of travel, she uses her book and street smarts to make the most of her conferences and office time abroad---professionally and personally---flying with ONE airline alliance and staying with ONE hotel group. When she's not in an upgraded hotel suite, airline lounge or business class at 37,000ft she can be found playing tennis, hosting parties and making the best seven-layer dip known to humankind. Introducing my very dear friend and December's Savvy Traveler, Christina!

1/ Pick your top three trip styles and why?
[trip style = sun + beach] There is nothing more relaxing to me than laying poolside/beachfront with a good book, a cold beverage, the warm sun and a light breeze.

[trip style = weekend getaway] Living in Vancouver means I have an endless supply of weekend destinations within a one to five-hour drive which I take advantage of most weekends in the summer.

[trip style = urban] I love exploring new cities and checking out the restaurants, shopping and nightlife---fave urban spots are NYC, Boston and San Francisco.

2/ What items are always on your packing list?

  • lug Nap Sac Travel Blanket + Pillow set – keeps me warm on the plane and provides head or low back support depending on how the pillow is used.
  • Skoah travel-sized skin care products – small enough for carry-on luggage and ensures my skin stays healthy and balanced even when the rest of my body isn’t.
  • A good book is essential for both business and pleasure travel – there is always time to read when on the road.
  • Earbud-style headphones – these can be worn during takeoff and landing {more time to watch movies} and also save you from purchasing airline headphones or wearing free headphones [avec germs].

3/ Last trip, next trip and destination{s} on your radar?
I just got back from Washington, DC for a business trip. The city was absolutely gorgeous in early November when all the leaves were in full color-changing mode and surprisingly still on the trees. I found myself spending long periods of time watching the rowing club practicing in the Potomac River with Georgetown University glistening in the background. Next up is Portland, OR---this time for pleasure! I'm taking the Amtrak Cascades from Bellingham, WA down to Portland, OR to spend five days and four nights enjoying the city, culture and tax-free shopping! I’m looking forward to checking out some of the hotspots featured in previous TS posts! Finally, my top 2 wish list destinations are: Ireland, to investigate my heritage and my incredible obsession with potatoes; and New Zealand, which I’ve been wanting to visit ever since their 100% Pure New Zealand ad campaign launched several years ago---now that’s what I call good advertising!

4/ You travel for business a lot, what are some of the strategies you use to make travel more comfortable and beneficial?
For me, travel comfort is key and the way to get there is status! Whenever possible I fly within the Star Alliance family of airlines to collect Aeroplan points. My Elite status gives me free upgrades, access to all Star Alliance lounges in airports worldwide, and points that can be redeemed for free flights and merchandise. I selected Marriott as my hotel partner because of the numerous perks. My platinum status gives me a check-in gift {typically a bottle of wine and snacks}, automatic room upgrade, access to the hotel concierge lounge complete with food and beverage, as well as points that can be redeemed for free nights {so far, I have stayed for free on vacations in New York, Maui, San Francisco and Portland next!}. I also swear by my Nexus card---skipping the customs line and getting priority security screening saves minutes to hours each trip. All of a sudden business travel doesn’t seem so bad!

5/ You spent time in Africa as a child. Looking back, did this shape any of your views on travel?
Living in Zimbabwe as a young girl gave me exposure to a wide range of cultures, lifestyles and environments. I’m sure this impacted my desire to continue traveling and exploring the world. Knowing that there is so much out there to learn gives you the motivation to get out there and see it.

6/ Do you have a ritual you follow after checking into a hotel?
The first thing I do is unpack my bag: clothes get hung in the closet, toiletries are displayed on the vanity, etc... This helps me feel at home when on the road, and also takes the wrinkles out of clothes that have been held hostage in my suitcase for hours on end.

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

More Savvy Travelers
Charles, The Global Travel Influencer
Rachel, The Suitcase Siren
Tiffany, The Luxury Travel Inspector

[photo via Christina]