If you have that “wanderlust” bug like most of us here at SI Swimsuit, you spend your days sitting around dreaming about the next trip you are going to take. While that is not a reality at the moment, I like to daydream about trips I will take in the future, while sitting in my makeshift office, on my couch, in my tiny NYC one bedroom apartment, with an alleyway as my "view".
Working at SI Swimsuit gives you a crash course in the world of travel. I have become a pro (self-proclaimed) at this travel thing and want to share the websites I swear by to plan trips, both for work and myself.
Conde Nast Traveler - The popular girl of the travel world. This is the first site I visit when researching locations for the SI Swimsuit issue. Conde Nast Traveler is just cool and they know what’s cool. I love their lay-out, their guides, their "best of" lists, I spend hours on their website looking through their reviews and recommendations and you should too. Their Instagram is also enviable and will have even those not keen on travel booking the next flight to any place they recommend.
Small Luxury Hotels (SLH) - We partner with Small Luxury Hotels on a regular basis. They are always incredible to work with, have some of the most drool-worthy properties around the world and know how we function/what our needs are after working with so many of their properties. When first interested in a location I scour their website for hotels that can fit our crew of 25. From there, I send a wish list to the woman who handles their PR - my list for the 2021 issue is about 34 different properties (a gal can dream). From there we tweak and narrow down the list and usually end up working with one or two of their properties a year. This year we stayed at Sublime Samana, their property in the Dominican Republic.
Scott's Cheap Flights - Now, I do not use this site to plan shoots...however, I swear by it for personal use. Their emails about the flight deals of the day make me both excited and sad at the same time because - 1. who doesn't love a cheap flight and 2. there are only so many vacation days one can take without getting fired and losing the paycheck that pays for said flights . So, sign up for their newsletter and book that bucket-list trip.
Eater - While not a typical "travel" site, it is one I always visit before any personal trip to scope out the best restaurants, cocktail bars, etc. Just ask Jo Giunta. Before any trip we go on I have made about a dozen reservations, have planned out the restaurants and bars we will visit and make an accompanying itinerary. I am that person. This website tells you where the "locals" eat and hang, so you won't be that person at the Olive Garden in Times Square, chowing down on a $28 bowl of so-so pasta when there's an amazing $14 bowl at a local spot that's a cab ride away (cough Otto cough).
Google Maps - My maps are legendary. Most people do not know that you can make your OWN Google Maps with bookmarks to the best sites, restaurants, activities, etc. for any place you are visiting. When the SI crew had an overnight layover in Hong Kong after our shoot in Bali, I had activities planned and bookmarked for our 24 hours there. I make a map for every country I am going to visit and the best part is, you can make them collaborative and share them with friends so they can add their recommendations as well!