Two Ways To Get Treated Like a Regular When You’re on the Road
(Bloomberg) -- At Bloomberg Pursuits, we love to travel. And we always want to make sure we’re doing it right. So we’re talking to globe-trotters in all of our luxury fields—food, wine, fashion, cars, real estate—to learn about their high-end hacks, tips, and off-the-wall experiences. These are the Distinguished Travel Hackers.
Ashley Glasson is brand director of LNA clothing, which was founded by her twin sister, Lauren Alexander, and friend April Leight. The California cool clothing brand, known for its rocker-chic basics, expanded into swimwear this year; the second LNA swim collection arrives next month.
Glasson prefers Delta Air Lines for international trips, but has a newfound love for Alaska Airlines domestically. She says it’s efficient, with a strong frequent-flyer program. “I get upgraded 95% of the time, and when they say ‘priority boarding,’ half the plane doesn’t get on.” Her annual mileage tally is from 100,000 miles to 125,000 miles. She lives in Beverly Hills with her dog.
Don’t take that sleeping pill on a plane until this exact moment
A friend of mine likes to take certain sleep aids when she travels. One time, though, she called me from a terminal while wandering around—her flight had been delayed and she’d had to get off. I wasn’t sure if she was going to make it back onto her plane. So when traveling with a sleep or relaxation aid for those longer-haul flights, you should always wait for the captain to announce “in-flight team, seats for takeoff.” Never find your seat, get settled, and take the pill, only to find yourself sleepwalking off the plane from unforeseen maintenance issues that have you deplaning and delayed.
When considering making a hotel your regular haunt, ask this unlikely question
I stay at the Ludlow in New York because it feels like home now—I’m there once a month. The best perk about being a regular is that most hotels keep a folio on you, noting what you like. This person likes to stay in corner rooms on high floors, for example, or they prefer red to white wine. But what really makes a difference is if the hotel staff doesn’t change over too often. Most of the staff at the Ludlow have been there for as long as I’ve been staying there. It’s a good test of a hotel: Ask the staff how long they’ve worked there. If they’ve been there for a year-plus, that’s a good sign to me.
Treat the airport lounge like a jet-set version of Cheers
And when you’re a regular flyer on a certain route, get to know the people at the airline lounge and put in requests for what you like. Some people don’t go to the airport to go to a lounge, but I like it. When I started going to the Alaska Airlines lounge at JFK—which is a very, very good lounge—they didn’t have Aperol and didn’t know what an Aperol spritz was. So I asked them about it. Now it’s on the menu.
Staffers at airports can provide more info than the airlines themselves
I follow airside operations on Instagram and check them on the way to the airport, especially during extreme weather, to see what the situation is like that day. It started when I began following an account that’s now been taken down: LAX Air Flight Ops. It was a bunch of guys who worked at the airport updating people with photos of planes taking off, what flights were delayed, stories of what their day was like. At any airport, search the hashtag #airsideops or #ATC to find accounts to follow.
Save space in your toiletry bag by swapping a few lotions for this product
I carry a jade face roller, which is an in-flight routine habit that I’ve picked up from my sister who is very, very into beauty. A lot of women like to travel with facial products, but they’re the hardest things to pack—there are so many of them. A jade roller from Herbivore is an easy way to depuff your face while you’re still in the air so you can arrive looking refreshed. It gets the circulation going in your face. On a long-haul flight, I use it both in the middle of the flight and upon landing.
Sidestep the tourists on the Amalfi Coast
There’s no place like the Amalfi Coast. Praiano is my favorite—it’s a little town between Amalfi and Positano and is very low-key. If you’re in Praiano, you’re shielded from the high traffic of tourism. I love the Hotel Grand Tritone, which has been there for 50 years. It’s reasonably priced, too; my room was $350, I think. A lot of those hotels [on the Amalfi Coast] don’t have beach clubs attached to them, but this is one of the few properties that has a private beach and a whole lounge area on the rocks attached to it. I went to Ischia [for the first time] this past August—it’s where they filmed The Talented Mr. Ripley, and I’ve heard it called the “new Capri.” It feels very classic, relaxed, and Italian. It’s a volcanic island, so our hotel had a collection of thermal baths. We swam in the Med, drank local wine, and ate rabbit, which Ischia is known for.
Bring two pairs of headphones on every trip…
I always bring a pair of old-school, wired headphones on every trip—the ones that actually plug into your iPhone. I have nightmares about losing one of my AirPods on a trip or a long-haul flight, and then what do you do? You just have one AirPod.
… and always pack this in any carry-on
If I’ve had to check a bag, I always put an extra outfit in my carry-on. I learned that on my last Virgin Atlantic flight to London. We hadn’t even taken off and an aggressive amount of tequila had been dropped into my lap. I didn’t enjoy spending 10 hours smelling like a bottle of silver Patrón. The flight attendants felt bad for me, because even though I was in Premium Economy, they let me sit at the real bar on board and drink martinis, James Bond-style.
You can still visit Tulum without splurging
The first place I went without parents was Tulum, Mexico, which now is obviously a very tourist-y, fashionable destination. When we went then, it wasn’t expensive; maybe the nicest hotel on the beach was $80. That same location? It’s now $900 or so. It’s wild what happened to Tulum, but I still go back, because I love Tulum very much. If you want to go, stay at Casa Pueblo. It’s a very mellow, underground kind of a hotel where lots of locals hang out. Or there’s a hotel called Amansala, which is on the first stretch of the beach and where the rooms are still reasonably priced. I love them. And go at Christmas, when Tulum is kinda empty. It will be crazy over New Year’s.
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