Archives for category: Travel Tips
Photo: Alina Mendoza

I hear jetlag is brutal traveling west to east. And for my first trip to Asia, like an archaeological dig, I’m excavating all possible remedies to ensure I can hit the ground running once I land in Japan. Before that happens though, I’m packing my carry-on with my favorite moisture-locking skincare products of the moment. I’ve been using the products below months now, and have already repurchased some of them, or plan to:

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Facial Moisturizer UV ($20)

After leaning on La Roche-Posay’s sunscreen all summer in Portugal during 2017, I recently picked up its facial moisturizer with UV protection at Ulta on a whim. The lotion is spreads like cream cheese, smooth and substantial, yet absorbs quickly into skin (without making tan skin look ashy, according to this Allure magazine review. But I can attest to that too, as a person with brown skin). And, after editing a number of beauty articles for MyDomaine recently, I’ve learned a lot about the moisturizing and soothing benefits of ceramides and niacinamides; key ingredients in La Roche’s double repair moisturizer. Another thing it’s got going for it is its wide and slim packaging, which slips easily into my makeup bag while also saving on space.

…spreads like cream cheese, smooth and substantial, yet absorbs quickly into skin…

La-Roche Posay Double Repair Moisturizer UV

Laneige Water Sleeping Mask ($20)

Over La Roche-Posay’s double repair moisturizer, I’ll slather this light yet ultra-hydrating (and pleasantly scented) gel from Laneige, a popular Korean skincare brand. My sister gifted me this product for Christmas in 2018, and a little goes a long way. Although I began using Water Sleeping Mask in spring 2019, it is October and I still have product left nearly six months later. The only downside? The product’s round jar isn’t travel-friendly, so I’ll scoop the gel into something more sleek. Sometimes, if I haven’t gotten around to meditating during the day, I’ll close my eyes after applying Water Sleeping mask to my face, and inhale the gel’s scent for a few breaths—a brief moment of aromatherapy.

Laneige Water Sleeping Mask

Peach & Lily Glass Skin Refining Serum ($40)

However, before I pat on the moisturizer and gel mask, my face is getting one squirt of this Peach & Lily serum first. Another K-beauty favorite that, New York magazine writes is “hoarded by [beauty] editors and redditors alike,” is brimming with hydrating and inflammation-fighting niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and peptides. Like many internet reviews, my skin feels protected from dryness, as if it were vacuum-sealed, and looks dewy, not shiny.

Peach & Lily Glass Skin Refining Serum

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Ligaya Malones floating in pool at The Saguaro Hotel in Palm Springs, California
Staycation vibes in Palm Springs, California (photo: Alina Mendoza)

When it comes to vacation planning, there is nothing like the attractive power of a best places to visit list. You know the ones: lists like New York Times’ annual 52 Places to Go, Travel+Leisure’s 50 Best Places to Travel, Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel List and the like. For readers, these lists offers a curated snapshot into the trendiest destinations and a learning opportunity to discover the towns, cities and countries worth traveling for. They can be valuable travel planning tools, even for a travel writer like me, who finds herself in a new destination every month (see: Nashville in January, the Central Coast in April, North Carolina in May.) I enjoy skimming through best-of travel lists; I’ve always discovered several new-to-me destinations every year one of these lists publishes. I’ve also been curious about the process of putting together one of these lists, and more broadly, how does a lesser-known destination jump from obscurity to destination darling? Let’s take a look.

How Does a Destination Make a Best of Travel List?

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A classic car in Havana, Cuba

Update: June 5, 2019—Yesterday, the Administration reversed a number of exceptions that have encouraged increased travel to Cuba by Americans in recent years. NPR reports that cruise ships and other recreational vessels will not be granted travel licenses, as are most people traveling under the “people to people exchange” allowance. However, those traveling for educational purposes are exempt. Since the news is still fresh, most reports quote sources who say that they will continue to monitor the ruling to better understand how these tighter travel restrictions will play out. Currently, national media outlets like Time are reporting that travel under the “support for the Cuban people” visa category is possible, provided your itinerary includes “meetings with the local Cubans, attending cultural events and staying at a Cuban family’s home, a “casa particular,” instead of a hotel.”

Cuba is a complicated country. Before traveling to Havana in 2018, I consumed anything that would provide even a fraction of context to help me understand a place worlds and decades away from my life in southern California. Inspired by the format of a recent travel guide I wrote for New York magazine, and the steady stream of questions from friends, family and acquaintances about my experience to the communist island nation, I’ve compiled a list of articles, a Netflix documentary and a podcast episode worth listening to as a (mostly food-focused) primer to Cuba.

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