Want to know how to travel in style, just like the pros? We check in with frequent fliers on useful resources, favorite destinations and what they never leave home without.

Lauren McPhillips

Name: Lauren McPhillips

Occupation: PR & Digital Media Specialist, Contiki Holidays; Owner, Bespoke PR

Hometown: Oshawa, ON

Residence: Toronto

Website: www.theweelass.combspkpr.ca

Twitter: @twitter.com/lmcphillips

Facebook: bspkpr

Instagram: instagram.com/ellebreigh

Short Bio: Lauren McPhillips is a PR & Digital Media Specialist for Contiki Canada and blogger for The Wee Lass, based out of Toronto. She began her career as an editor at Style at Home magazine, which is where the travel bug started.

This summer, Lauren also launched Bespoke PR, providing professional public relations and social media services for independent lifestyle and beauty brands in the Toronto area.

How often do you fly: On average, I’d say every 1-2 months.

How many countries have you been to: 18

How many continents have you been to: 4

Favorite American city: It’s a tie between Boston and San Francisco

Favorite international city: I’d have to say Amsterdam. It’s got the charm of Paris, with just a bit more edge.

Least favorite country: Vietnam – but I’ve only visited Ho Chi Minh City, which I heard is not the best representation, as the rest of the country is said to be lovely.

Favorite World Heritage Site: Cinque Terre

Favorite airline: KLM {though Torontonians can’t beat the service and convenience of Porter!}

Favorite aircraft type: Any one that lets me stretch out these spider legs of mine

Aisle or window: Aisle, always {refer to the above spider legs dilemma}

Favorite airport lounge: Porter Lounge at Toronto City Centre Airport. Free gourmet cookies, beverages and shared iMacs. Plus it’s a 10-minute walk from my condo!

Favorite U.S. airport: Surprisingly, Las Vegas. It has free and fast WiFi, is close to the city, and offers an amazing view of the strip and surrounding desert from the gate lounge.

Favorite international airport: Bangkok. I was there with Contiki this summer and it was incredibly clean with a wealth of great duty free shops and restaurant options.

Favorite hotel: Fairmont Pacific Rim in Vancouver

Favorite cruise line: Uniworld River Cruises

Favorite island: Curacao

Favorite fancy restaurant: The Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco. Not fancy, but a pricier evening out. They sold me on the modern tavern decor, not to mention the Victorian-era cocktail menu (Pimm’s Cup, anyone?) and the tasty popovers they serve instead of bread.

Favorite hole in the wall: Arrow Bar in NYC. Happy hour has never been the same.

Favorite fruit: Pomegranates

Favorite food: I’m probably the only person to answer with this, but nothing beats a haggis dinner with mashed potatoes, turnips and Yorkshire pudding.

Least favorite food: Smoked salmon

Drink of choice (In the air and on the ground) Pinot Grigio. I’m practically gasping for it after a long flight.

Favorite travel movie(s): Though not a traditional travel movie, I recently saw Samsara in the theatre, and it was a visual feast of traditions, cultures and landscapes from around the world. Definitely gave me the travel bug.

Favorite travel show(s): An Idiot Abroad

Favorite travel book(s): Rick Steves’ Paris guidebook not only helped me skip the two-hour lineup to get into the Palace of Versailles, but also had me finding myself biking alone in the beautiful gardens, without another tourist in sight.

Right now I am reading: Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts {recommended by the lovely Natalie Jet!}

Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines: Travel + Leisure, re:Porter, Journeywoman newsletter

Favorite travel website(s) – besides JohnnyJet.com, of course!: There’s a blog called ‘One Trip Pass’ that I fell in love with awhile back. It’s a mixture of vintage menswear finds in small towns across America, as well as photos and narratives about travelling the back roads of the country from California to Maine in an old car. It’s not updated as often anymore, but I’ll go back to specific posts like this one, with beautiful words, harrowing images, and the perfect soundtrack.

Five things you bring on a plane: Sleep mask, iPod, iPad, big bottle of water, cashmere knee socks {for the cold tootsies!}

What do you always seem to forget: Camera battery charger

What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport duty free store? Who wouldn’t love a little Hermes?? Kidding! Foreign chocolate will suit me just fine J

Favorite travel iPhone app(s): I’m awful at math, so the XE currency converter is a lifesaver.

Most embarrassing/worst travel moment: Pretty sure it’s every time I pop a sleeping pill on the plane and my mouth flies wide open, head tilted back for all to see. I’m sure I snore as well. I’ll be the first to proclaim that I am a hideous sleeper.

What’s your dream destination: I’m dying to go to Morocco for the spicy foods, the beautiful fabrics and ornate architecture.

Favorite travel charity: TreadRight Foundation, run by Contiki’s parent company, The Travel Corporation. Under this umbrella, Contiki works with Celine Cousteau to preserve the world’s oceans.

Best travel tip: A picture is worth a thousand words, but it can never compare to the memories of immersing yourself in a new culture. Don’t spend your whole trip viewing your destination from behind the lens – live it!


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