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Trip Doctor: Spring Packing for Paris and Barcelona

Paris street fashion

Q. I will be traveling to Europe this coming May and will only be able to bring one 22” carry-on and one overnight bag (that will fit under the seat). I'll be in Paris from May 5 – 11, and then in Barcelona from May 12 – 16.

The weather should be okay, but most likely there will be rain. I'm stumped as to how to best pack so I'm prepared for anything while packing as light as possible.

What shoes would you recommend for daytime walking (a lot of walking!)? Jacket or sweater? How many pairs of jeans? How many tops?

This is my first big trip to Europe so I'm trying to be proactive and figure out now what is needed. Since I will be responsible for lugging my own bags from Paris to Spain, I am truly limited for packing purposes. —Marianne VanAuken, Chandler, AZ

A. Since this is your first trip across the pond you should know Europeans' idea of casual is a bit more pulled together than Americans'. Parisian culture is steeped in fashion history and they take it seriously, so if you don't want to stick out like a sore thumb, bring your best casual looks and buy some new things too. I always think of myself as a representative of our country when abroad and step up the style quotient.

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Q+A: The Globetrotter Diaries' Michael Clinton

Globetrotter Diaries

Most 12-year-olds save their money to buy video games or remote-control helicopters. But Michael Clinton wasn't most 12-year-olds. His piggy bank funded a month-long visit to see family in Ireland—and so began his love affair with travel. Today, the president, marketing, and publishing director of Hearst Magazines has visited more than 120 countries. He's climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, camped in the mountains of Bhutan, and has plans to run a marathon on every continent (he has Africa, Asia, and Antarctica to go).

Clinton shares these experiences—and many others—in his new collection of essays, The Globetrotter Diaries (Gliteratti Inc.; $30). We asked the fanatical adventurer about what drives his desire to travel, where he's going next, and more.

Q: Travel + Leisure's editor Nancy Novogrod considers you one of the world's greatest travelers. What makes you so passionate about crisscrossing the globe?

A: Why is someone passionate about food? Or about art? Or about collecting art? When we are lucky enough to find something that fulfills us, brings us joy, or keeps us wanting more, then we need to pursue it. It is core to our individuality. Travel does that for me. What better way to discover more of yourself, by experiencing the world, its wonders and its people?

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Smile! There's a New Trend in Medical Tourism

smile

New evidence suggests dental tourism is skyrocketing, with a now estimated one million people traveling outside their home country for affordable dental treatments and enhancements. According to medical travel resource Patients Without Borders, most tooth tourists are from the U.S., with Europe a close second—with the majority seeking implants, crowns, root canals, and smile makeovers.

And while Hungary, Poland, Thailand, India, and Singapore are fast emerging as top spots for dental work, some are traveling to the U.S. for treatments. Call it Reverse Dental Tourism. And it makes sense, given Americans' worldwide reputation for flaunting mouthfuls of pearly whites. But these aren't your average bargain-hunting snaggle-toothed tourists.

Dr. Michael Apa, a partner in New York-based Rosenthal-Apa Group and pioneer in Facial Aesthetic Design, is one of the world's top cosmetic dentists. Beyond catering to celebrities such as Matt Dillon, Chloë Sevigny, and the Trumps, he also services many of the Middle East's royal families, who pay upwards of $30,000 for his mouth makeovers—and who decamp to New York City for weeks at a time. As a result, Dr. Apa not only helps people looks years younger with porcelain veneers and facial asymmetry adjustments, but his practice also acts as de facto concierge and travel advisor. He was recently honored with a Five-Star Diamond Award from the American Academy of Hospitality Science for being "One of the Finest Dentists Worldwide." Travel + Leisure recently caught up with the doctor in NYC:

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Hotel Impossible's Anthony Melchiorri

Anthony Melchiorri has come a long way since working as the director of front office operations for New York's iconic Plaza Hotel. Now, more than 20 years and a fair share of hotel management jobs later, the Brooklyn-born hospitality expert has taken on the role of "hotel fixer" for the Travel Channel's Hotel Impossible. And After Anthony, a one-hour special looking back on Season One, airs February 4 at 10 p.m.Here, Melchiorri reflects on the properties he visited, describes his perfect hotel room, and more.

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Q+A: Gloria Guevara, Secretary of Tourism, Mexico

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T+L spoke with Gloria Guevara, Mexico's Secretary of Tourism, in the closing days of the administration of Felipe Calderón, in whose cabinet she served, and days before the end of the cycle of the Mayan calendar and the beginning of a new era.

Q: Mexico is the number one international destination for U.S. travelers.  In fact, it has grown by record numbers in 2011 and is on track to exceed these figures in 2012.  To what do you attribute the growth?

A: Yes, in 2011, we had a record number of international visitors, 23.4 million.  Of these, 10.1 flew into Mexico, and of those 5.7 were from the United States.  First, I would have to say that the increase is due to an increased interest and appreciation in Mexico, that is, in the richness of the destination: the natural landscape, from Baja California to the Yucatán, our beaches and colonial cities, history, arts and culture, cuisine, and, of course, the hospitality of our people.  But the growth in tourism also is a result of the creation, and for the first time, of an overall tourism business plan.

Q: Tell us about the plan.

A: President Calderón dedicated one full year, 2011, to tourism, to building the foundation of an integrated tourism plan and strategy, involving federal, state, and local governments, as well as the private sector and enterprise. This overall plan was unprecedented, involved major investment, increased budgets for infrastructure–several billion dollars alone spent on airports, railroads, and highways in the past five years–to marketing. We diversified our product, developing various segments, including multi-faceted cultural and adventure and eco-tourism programs, in addition to the ever popular sun and beach segment.  And a part of our strategy also involved diversifying our outreach to foreign nationalities.

Q: From which countries come the largest number of your visitors?

A: First, the United States, then Canada, which has grown significantly, the UK, Spain, and Argentina.  However, in a close sixth place is Brazil.  And some months, Brazil moves into fifth place.  Overall, we have visitors from more than 130 countries. And notably an increase by more than 87 percent so far this year compared to last from Russia.  There is a direct flight from Moscow to Cancún but Russian tourists travel everywhere from the Copper Canyon in the state of Chihuahua in the north of the country, where I encountered a group, to Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific coast, and Mexico City, of course.  Also, the Russians spend on average $1,000 per person per day, which is very high.

Q: Are there new destinations on the horizon?

A:  Yes.  As you know, Cancún, was the initiative of Fonatur, one of the arms of the ministry of tourism.  Prior to its development, nothing existed there.  We have developed others, notably Los Cabos and Huatulco.  All are known as fully-integrated centers.  The new development is Playa Espiritú on Mexico's Pacific coast, approximately 80 kilometers south of Mazatlán.  The plan would be for it ultimately to be twice the size of Cancún in terms of hotel rooms, with approximately 44,000.  It would include a marina and golf.  We are in the process of building the infrastructure and we are including all the experience we have gained from the other developments so that Espiritú is 100% sustainable.

Q: Traditional Mexico cuisine was recently designated by UNESCO to its list of intangible cultural heritage or cultural treasure.  Along with the traditional French gastronomic meal, this citation represented the first time UNESCO considered food.  What does this signify?  

A: As part of the declaration, we completed a data base and were able to determine that there exist at least 1,500 traditional dishes, which speaks to the diversity of the foods as well as the forms of cooking. Partly as a consequence, we have developed 18 gastronomical routes, which can take the traveler throughout the country, allowing them to try various specialties, learn to cook some of them, and visit cultural sites along the way.  Particularly interesting are the cocinas tradicionales of the indigenous people in Michoacán, tied to the Day of the Dead celebrations.  The UNESCO designation offers a great opportunity for us to share what we have.  There are seven different levels of Mexican cuisine, the most sophisticated and difficult to prepare involves ingredients that are not found outside of the country.  Like the notion of terroir and French wine, the ingredients depend on the type of soil—and certain foods and ingredients grow only in Mexico.

mmpng Mario R. Mercado is arts editor at Travel + Leisure.

Q+A: Writer Kati Marton on Paris

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In Kati Marton’s candid memoir, Paris: A Love Story (Simon & Schuster), the journalist and widow of American diplomat Richard Holbrooke looks to the city for inspiration.

Q: Why did you base the book in Paris?
A:
I discovered a box of letters I had written to my father when I was a young woman living there. I wanted to find that girl again, so avid for beauty and life. Richard and I spent a lot of time in Paris; it was neutral, away from Washington, D.C., and New York.

Q: You return for Christmas every year to visit your sister. Where do you stay?
A:
I still have a little apartment that I love on the Rue des Écoles in the Fifth. The area hasn’t changed; it has the same bookstores and bistros.

Q: What are a few of your favorite haunts?
A:
I love the Hammam de la Mosquée (39 Rue Geoffroy St.-Hilaire, Fifth Arr.), a real Turkish spa and bath. There are a few cafés I visit regularly, like Café Rostand (6 Place Edmond Rostand, Sixth Arr.; 33-1/43-54-61-58) and La Palette (43 Rue de Seine, Sixth Arr.). And, with the way the French arrange shop windows and food displays, Rue Bonaparte is still a feast for the eyes.

Photo courtesy of Kati Marton

Q+A with Screenwriter Dan Fogelman

The Guilt Trip

For most, a cross-country road trip with Mother would end in tears or bloodshed (or both). But for screenwriter Dan Fogelman (Crazy, Stupid, Love; Cars), one he took inspired this month’s The Guilt Trip, starring Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand. Here, Fogelman reveals a few parent-approved pit stops.

Q: What were some highlights from the road?
A: We drove to Memphis to see Graceland—you have to do that. I tried to stay on Route 66 to go through small towns; it’s like stepping into the 1950’s.

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PhoCusWright "Young Leaders" Q+A Series: Ruzwana Bashir of Peek.com

Ruzwana Bashir

At last month’s PhoCusWright Conference, the travel tech industry’s much-anticipated annual event, some of the most exciting, buzz-worthy attendees were the wunderkinds behind travel start-ups and high-profile online products. Travel + Leisure sat down with select Millennial entrepreneurs—or maybe a better moniker is disruptors?—shaping the next generation of Travel:

Ruzwana Bashir, the British-born 29-year-old co-founder of Peek.com, is part of the exclusive club of PhoCusWright “Young Leaders.” In October of this year, she launched a new website that provides an attractive, centralized place to book vacation activities. It also highlights “Perfect Day” itineraries supplied by travel insiders, luminaries, and in-the-know locals.

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Q&A: Director Fernando Meirelles

Fernando Meirelles

The Brazilian director is best known for his visually arresting films, such as 2002’s City of God, set in a Rio de Janeiro favela. His newest, 360, with Jude Law and Rachel Weisz, goes global. Shot in five different countries, it touches on the Arab Spring, euro crisis, and prostitution.

Q: You were filming on the road for almost 20 weeks. Any favorite hotels?
A:
We were in London for three months, so I rented an apartment. But I like Hazlitt’s Hotel ($$$). You get a key to the front door, and it’s like your own home. In Vienna, we stayed at the 25hours Hotel Wien (1-3 Lerchenfelder Str.; $). There are bicycles for guests, and the staff doesn’t wear uniforms. After a week or two, we were hanging out with the hotel crew.

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Q+A: Grizzly Bear's Ed Droste Talks Travel

Grizzly Bear band

Members of the band, from left: Ed Droste, Chris Bear, Chris Taylor and Daniel Rossen

Ed Droste—front man of the Brooklyn-based indie-rock band Grizzly Bear, whose long-awaited fourth album Shields comes out on September 18—reflects on some of his favorite destinations and findings from around the world.

Q: It’s been three years since the band’s last album, what can we expect from Shields?
A:
It’s charged, and sort of raw, energetic and exposed. I started out work shopping ideas in Todos Santos, Mexico with our drummer Chris Bear. We often go on little writing retreats together. We went there for a month and wrote ten songs, then the whole band reconvened in Marfa, Texas for a month to start recording.

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