Kinga Philipps' Best Travel Tips for the New Year
Plus, get her must-have beauty essentials while prepping for an adventure.
Not all New Year's resolutions need to involve the gym or answering every email 30 seconds after its received. If your goals for 2015 involve getting a few more stamps in that passport, meet Kinga Philipps, a host, producer, Travel Channel star and adrenaline junkie. Take a browse through Philipps' impressive Instagram and you'll see the world-traveler is always up for a new adventure.
Last holiday season, Philipps teamed up with Hilton Garden Inn for its Declare Your Own Holiday campaign, which encouraged patrons to discover new places, connect with themselves and take a moment to breathe easy. Philipps shared with us her travel tips for any woman looking to see the world, be safe, have fun and look good doing so.
In all your travels, what's been the best way you've learned to really experience and get to know another culture?
"Getting lost in a city. Just start walking and seeing where it takes you. It's the side streets, the local grocery stores, the neighborhood cafes and the tucked away wine bars that will put you in touch with the soul of a place. I love to eat and always partake in local cuisine. I try to find local music. The quintessence of a region is in its people, so talk to them."
When you visit a new place for the first time, what's the first thing you make sure to do?
"I like to get a lot of recommendations beforehand, so I don't miss anything and can maximize my time. I also love to leave room for unexpected adventures, so the first thing I do is talk to the locals, sometimes the folks at the front desk of the hotel, or I head to a cafe or market and chat with people. The locals will always be your best guides. Last time I went to Spain, our itinerary changed completely through a simple conversation at a restaurant—and it was an amazing trip!"
Taking pictures is a given for any adventure and vacation. What are the photos you always make sure to capture?
"I'm a sucker for sunsets. They never get old. I also love photographing local people and culture. I have a great picture from Brazil of a dad riding a bike down the street of a colorful local town with his three children climbing on him like monkeys, all laughing."
If someone is traveling and wants to bring back a souvenir for themselves or a friend, in your experience, what makes for the best way to remember your trip?
"I love local arts and crafts purchased from the people making them. I then generally take a picture with the artist and include it with the gift. Most of the jewelry I wear comes from some far-flung destination. It then has a story and a memory."
What are some great beauty finds from your various travels overseas that you always make sure to get your hands on or experience when you visit those places?
"I love natural products and treatments specific to a region: kukui nut oil from Hawaii, chamomile cream from Poland, a good massage in Thailand, lavender creams in France. I visit local farmers markets and buy unique products made locally. It's also nice to bring home a fragrance from your favorite spot. Since the olfactory sense is the strongest for inducing memory, it will transport you back whenever you smell it."
A lot of women are making resolutions to travel more in 2015. What's your advice for a woman looking to put her passport to good use and see the world but stay safe doing so?
"Go! It's honestly that simple. Book the ticket. We only have a certain amount of time on this earth, and there's a lot to see and experience. I've gotten to the point that I translate all costs into travel like my Polish aunt does food. 'If I buy that nice bag, that’s a ticket to Hawaii.' I always buy the ticket over the bag. I travel solo quite a bit. I also often travel with one of my best girlfriends. We actually leave for Belize in a few weeks and are currently contemplating the safety of heading into Colombia as well. Staying safe is research and common sense. Be aware of customs and do your due diligence on areas to stay. I check everything from government sites to blogs, and then toss that all together with my own awareness of the situation."
Sometimes the best part of a trip is coming home. When you get home from a long trip, what do you think is the best way to relax and regroup?
"For me, there is always a re-entry period when I return from a trip—that nostalgic, rebellious feeling that makes me wish I could just be a gypsy and travel forever. I embrace that because it usually leads to another trip. There is also a personal beauty regimen that my best friend and I call 'going in the tank.' It involves face masks, plucked eyebrows, maybe a day at the Korean spa and a lot of sleep."
If you could give one piece of advice to a fellow traveler and adventure seeker, what would it be?
"Be flexible. Don't preplan everything. Leave room for the unexpected—because it will happen, and its often the best part of a trip."