Beach & Sun

One and Done

[trip style = luxury]

Most travel publications, including this one, encourage you to see the world, highlighting must-dos and must-stays around the globe. But, sometimes you need a break, even from the musts.

Last month when I was on The Island of Hawaii with the rest of the Trip Styler crew, we purposefully ended our trip on a relaxed note. I call it the "one and done" holiday, which is code for: We never left the hotel. 

For this one-and-done stay we chose a resort we know well: The Fairmont Orchid, which has a special place in my heart given it's where our son learned to walk, in addition to a perfect set of beach-luxe amenities. Cue an orchid- and succulent-adorned lobby; space to roam; gradual-approach beach; protected swimming lagoon; curvy pool; tropical gardens, expansive grass fields; gorgeous spa with outdoor huts; an excellent Gold Floor lounge serving breakfast, tea and hors d'oeuvres, and staff who remembered us from past visits; "kids eat free" inclusion; and value for dollar when compared to other high-end beachfront accoms {I booked two adjoining rooms}.

Truth be told, staying put felt really, really good given our normal go-go-go pace. In our break from the "musts" we let the sunand only the sundictate our "schedule."

fairmont orchid
fairmont orchid sunset
fairmont orchid tiki torch light

Post-Trip Talk: So Much to Say

IslandofHawaii Trip Styler

[trip style = sun + luxury] 

These days, when I return home from a trip, I have so much to say I don't even know where to start. There's the luxury angle, the food angle, the family angle, or a trip styled guide of all the cool finds; however, all of this takes a lot of timetime that is in short supply when there's two little ones running around my HQ {and my mind}, and I'm continuing to contribute stories to numerous travel publications. So, instead of writing about everything here on TS, lately, I say nothing at all, which is a highly unusual statement for a blogger...

Trip Styler V. 2017
Enter Trip Styler, version 2017. I'm going to write more, write often, and write in the moment to avoid a backlog of prose and pictures. I'm going fling open the window into life as a Trip Styler, because not every day is spent at the beach with a bottle of bubbles! I wish.

In this spirit, let me start to tell you about our trip November 2016 to the Island of Hawaii: part reporting, part vacation, all fabulous.

On the Suite Life
Unsure of how to handle an infant and a toddler in a standard hotel roomwe'll get there, eventuallywe stayed in a two-bedroom suite at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows, a two-bed cottage at Puakea Ranch, and in two adjoining hotel rooms at The Fairmont Orchid. This was our {successful!} attempt at avoiding a chorus of night and nap wake-ups with little ones. 

Like a Supermodel
By design, we spent part of our time on the coast and part our time in the upcountry. The Island of Hawaii is best explored at all altitudes due to its unique blend of climate zones, as in, if you were keen, you could: play in the snow, play at the beach, go for a swim, hike to a waterfall, marvel at a botanical garden, ride a horse, pick a papaya, and walk beside molten lava all in one day. In short, the place is like a supermodel; blessed at every angle:  


Over the coming weeks I'll "unpack" the trip to guide you toward our TS Island of Hawaii faves. In the meantime, check out my photos on Instagram --> @TripStyler.

Alaska Airlines Adds More Aloha

[photos by @tripstyler]

Alaska Airlines Adds MORE Aloha {BLI to KOA}

alaska airlines + hawaii island

[trip style = sun + beach]

Earlier this year I was asked if I would be interested in covering the inaugural {and nonstop!} Alaska Airlines flight from Bellingham, Washington to Kona, Hawaii. Obviously... Hawaii is ALWAYS a good idea, and I *really* love the island's ultra-tropical cocktail blending sand-sational coastal life with otherworldly landscapes in the upcountry. I'm also a superfan of Alaska Airlinesin my opinion they have THE best customer service AND mileage program in North Americaso the answer was an immediate, YES. {As always, I'm not being paid to say this; Alaska is my go-to airline for US travel.}

Instead of going solo on a quick reporting trip, I decided to bring all the Stylers using my Alaska Airlines Mastercard companion pass for Mr. Trip Styler and Blue Styler {Pink Styler flies for free because she is under 2}. 

I'm writing about this Vancouver-vicinity to Hawaii flight because it's a big deal. Currently, WestJet is the only carrier to do a direct from Vancouver to Kona {Air Canada starts seasonal service mid-December}, and it's not my favorite as the WJ flight times run in red-eye territory making it tough to adjust between time zones. Enter the new Alaska flight, which leaves in the morn from Bellingham and comes back to the mainland at 1pm, and the Bellingham Airport is just 20-minute jaunt from the border {or one hour from downtown Vancouver}. 

The Details
Alaska Airlines nonstop service from Bellingham to Kona just started on November 12th, 2016 and runs until April 1, 2017. The fuel-efficient next-gen Boeing 737 aircraft offers a three-and-three seating configuration and departs once weekly every Saturday. As for entertainment, you can connect to Alaska's inflight entertainment through your own device, or on a pre-loaded tablet they rent at the beginning of the journey.  

Not that you need any convincing to hightail it to the Island of Hawaii, buuuuuuuuuut:

Walking on the beach at  Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows , a gorgeous stay edging the sunny Kohala Coast

Walking on the beach at Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows, a gorgeous stay edging the sunny Kohala Coast

Turtles in Anaeho'omalu Bay, otherwise known as "A Bay"

Turtles in Anaeho'omalu Bay, otherwise known as "A Bay"

Pololu Valley Lookout , a must-do viewpoint and hike overlooking the island's northeastern coastline

Pololu Valley Lookout, a must-do viewpoint and hike overlooking the island's northeastern coastline

Upcountry yee-haw: Horseback riding on an 11,000-acre working ranch stretching from the rainforest to the sea with  Paniolo Adventures .

Upcountry yee-haw: Horseback riding on an 11,000-acre working ranch stretching from the rainforest to the sea with Paniolo Adventures.

Savoring the sunset and farm- and fish-to-fork cuisine at  The CanoeHouse , a Hawaii must-eat since 1989.

Savoring the sunset and farm- and fish-to-fork cuisine at The CanoeHouse, a Hawaii must-eat since 1989.

Sunset views c/o the Island of Hawaii

Sunset views c/o the Island of Hawaii

[Photos taken by @tripstyler, except the lead snap, courtesy of Alaska Airlines]

Trip Styling on a T+L "World's Best" Isle

Ischia Italy Trip Styler

[trip style = sun + beach + food + wine + spa + luxury + steal]

Once in a blue moon your travels feel almost anointed and you encounter a destination that moves you.

For me, this place is Ischia, Italy, a small island an hour by boat from Naples or Capri.  

I'm writing about my "spirit isle" again for two reasons:

1/ I was there at this exact time last yearsipping Rose, noshing on vine-ripened tomato bruschetta, lounging in a spring-fed spa, hanging at beach clubsand I desperately want to return. At the time, I declared to Mr. Trip Styler, "we should come back here every summer," to which he agreed since it's magical, gorgeous, dripping in dolce vita and well-priced. But, alas, it's now "this summer" and we are not in Italy! Well, sometimes life has other plans for you. More on that next week. Eeeeek!  

2/ I just read an article in Travel+Leisure about The Best Islands in Europe in light of their World's Best Awards survey, and Ischia came #1 on the list beating Sicily, Hvar and Santorini! AH, the secret is OUT. Don't go. Ok, go! This accolade is also an exciting confirmation in Trip Styler trend-casting given that I submitted Ischia to Expedia six months ago as a destination to watch in 2016!

[photos by @tripstyler]

On Camera: Expedia x Disney Cruise Line

Sea days expedia disney cruise line

[trip style = sun + luxury + cruising]

A few months ago I sailed aboard a Disney Cruise with Mr. and Baby Styler. It was a complete vacation for our little family because it combined Mickey-caliber family time with yacht-fabulous adult time.

--> How we {successfully} paired trip styled child x adult travel in one trip: photos / article / video. <--

Having worked on a cruise ship and sailed on many others, I'm really behind what Walt does at sea. So, when Expedia asked meas part of my ongoing relationship with themto host a video they were doing in partnership with Disney Cruise Line, I dashed from Vancouver to Orlando faster than you can say "Ahoy, Matey." 

Hosting one of six videos in a series about big questions people ask about cruising, such as "how to maximize the first day" or "how to stay healthy onboard," I presented the reel about "making the most of days at sea." My topic was the perfect Trip Styler fit since I LOVE sailing the ocean blue and taking advantage of all the onboard facilities {aka - the myriad of trip styles wrapped up in one ship}, in addition to the on-demand soft-serve ice cream. 

Video: How to Make the Most of Sea Days on a Disney Cruise {View this video}

Behind the Scenes Snaps

[photos via the Expedia x Disney Cruise team above: @NVRguys  @LeBrunsOnTheRun @MidlifeRoadTrip]