I used to spend hours and hours researching food and restaurant options before a trip. I’d check Yelp, Zagat, local blogs, social media and even old-school guidebooks. After all, if I’m going all the way to Tokyo, I don’t want to eat subpar sushi, or if I’m in Rome, the tourist trap pasta. No, thank you!
Then, I found Chowhound. It’s a food site and discussion board forum where you can ask questions and have a helpful (and extremely opinionated) group of foodies weigh in.
So where is the best gelato in Italy, anyway?
Let’s say you’re on the hunt for the best macarons in Paris, or a romantic restaurant to celebrate an anniversary in New York City. Just check the Chowhound forums, and likely someone has already started a heated debate on the subject. You can also ask for recommendations by location, in case you want a lunch spot close to the Tate Modern in London or a place to picnic after a busy sightseeing day in Madrid.
I’ve inquired with Chowhound for everything from finding amazing croissants in Montreal, to vegetarian ramen broth in Japan, to a 20-person party room for my mom’s birthday in New Orleans.
I’ve never been steered wrong, and find it’s like talking to a friendly group of locals who know the lay of the land.
How do you find restaurants to try when you’re traveling?
Wherever you’re jetting off to this fall, make sure to pack plenty of hydrating products. They’ll help your skin adjust to the dryer air and cooling temps. Here are a few of my favorites for this time of the year. They are all 3.5 ounces and under so you can pack them for the flight and use them throughout your trip.
I usually stock up on makeup remover wipes before I travel. They are so convenient to use at the airport before an overnight flight or at the hotel after an exhausting night out. But lately, I’ve been reading about how horrible they are for your skin. That’s why I’m so excited to try this hydrating oil. You can easily pump it into your hand and massage directly on your face before rinsing with warm water. It will get rid of stubborn makeup and leave your skin feeling hydrated and soft. (Buy it here, $12)
I already own the Rosewater version of this spray, which is incredibly refreshing to spray on your tired, lizard-like skin after flying. For some reason, the smallest size rosewater comes in is still 4 ounces, so I’m always nervous to try to sneak it in my makeup bag. Thankfully there’s a tiny 2-ounce, travel-safe size of the aloe, cucumber, green tea version. It smells garden fresh and will wake you right up, even if you’ve gotten zero shuteye. (Buy it here, $5)
Personally, I find it inconvenient to pack a bunch of different lotions when I travel. But I don’t like to go an entire week or two without under eye cream (wrinkles wait for no one, friends.) Enter this tiny, 0.5-ounce bottle which barely takes up space in your carry-on, but is going to feel amazing to dab under your eyes after a long haul trip. (Buy it here , $37)
If you want to try to look as awake as possible immediately upon landing, this compact mascara will give you the mega volume you’re after. It’s also the perfect size to throw in your day bag or evening clutch and re-apply as needed. (Buy it here, $14)
Travel is never easy on your skin, especially during this unpredictable time of year. If you need to cover up any redness (and I always do after a flight) you can’t go wrong with this travel-friendly BB cream. It contains moisturizing and smoothing ginseng and promises to deliver a “baby skin” effect. It also contains SPF 20, so you’ll stay protected from whatever the weather brings. (Buy it here, $39)
Which beauty products do you refuse to leave home without?
I recently found out that I’ve been doing travel layovers all wrong. You know the people that end up at their destination looking fab and rested, while you show up with tiger-eyes, smelling like spilled wine and airplane stank? Those pod people might be flying first class, or…they probably just chill out at an airport lounge between flights.
Seriously guys, let’s think about this: You get off a 10-15 hour flight; you’re jetlagged AF, and instead of passing out in a weird position in an uncomfortable chair at your gate, you head straight for a warm shower, followed by champagne or a hot cuppa tea, and a chef to prepare you a delicious meal. Plus you’ll find WiFi you aren’t sharing without the entire airport, so you can actually relax or get some work done. (Read: Binge on shows.)
So that’s the magic of an airport lounge. The best news? You don’t even need to have gold unicorn status on any airline or a fancy credit card to access this nirvana. That’s right, you can buy your way in with a day pass on an app called LoungeBuddy. Let’s get lounging.
Tokyo Narita International Airport IASS Executive Lounge (Terminal 2, outside security)
Tokyo is like the gateway drug if you’re en route from the U.S. to Asia. You’re probably going to have a layover here if you’re traveling for business or you know, are about to spend the week drowning Singhas in Thailand. If you’re looking for a quiet space to work, head straight to the IASS lounge outside security. There aren’t any showers, but you’ll find beer and whiskey, tea, WiFi, comfy seats and outlets galore. (Lounge Buddy Pass, $27)
London Heathrow No1 Lounges, (Terminal 3)
Hopping across the pond? Navigating through Heathrow can get cray, but it will be well worth it to pull up to the posh environment of this extremely well appointed lounge. Expect to find showers, a cinema area, beer on tap (YAS), and treats like made-to-order Ploughman’s lunches and fresh crepes. But what makes this lounge above and beyond? They even have a spa. Yep, you can pay to get a mani/pedi, massage, or facial while you wait for your flight. Holy relaxing. (Lounge Buddy Pass, $53)
New York’s JFK Airport Wingtips Lounge (Terminal 4)
After a stressful cab ride to JFK, you deserve to roll right up to the self-serve bar (genius move) in this comfy space. Pour yourself some spirits and move on to the buffet for some veggies + hummus, sandwiches, salads and more. In case you go too heavy on the libations, you can check the flight monitors in the lounge to keep track of when you takeoff. (Lounge Buddy Pass, $50)
LAX Alaska Airlines Lounge (Terminal 6)
If you’re flying out of LAX, I’m so sorry. This beautiful lounge is one bright spot though, so cheer up. It’s got a ski lodge feel, which is uber cool, and super comfy chairs. Did I mention they have pancakes and a Starbucks coffee machine? Plus you’ll get access to a full bar, which always helps. (Lounge Buddy Pass, $45)
Sydney Airport Skyteam Lounge (Terminal 1)
If you’re flying all the way to or from the land down under, you’re in it for the long haul. Before you head out, stop in the oasis of the Skyteam lounge. Park it next to the living plant wall to feel some Zen, and stop at the wine bar for some pours from around the world. Where else are you going to find that? (Lounge Buddy Pass, $53)