Travel Tales: Sarah Blinco
Occupation: Journalist and PR consultant (www.sugoipr.com)
Favourite travel destination?: Vancouver – I love so many places but there is something about this city that sits close to my heart. Even when it is rainy and foggy I still think it’s beautiful. From the snow-capped mountains, the amazing shopping, dogs being welcome in stores… to the ocean, delicious food and friendly people. It’s great for spotting the odd bit of exciting filming for television and film too! I’ll go back whenever I can.
Worst travel experience? What happened?: I’ve been pretty lucky so far, but the snow can be pretty disruptive in the UK. Transport seems to grind to a halt, and we have been stuck at the airport after a ten hour flight waiting to see if our connecting flight would ever leave. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so shattered – beyond tired – with nowhere to sleep.
Best tips for beating jetlag?: Drink lots of water, travel with Berocca, steer clear of alcohol and aim for healthy meals and snacks. Try if possible to stay awake during the daytime, and take a walk to keep the blood flowing.
What is the one thing you don’t leave home without?: Face cleansing wipes – they can double as hand wipes, and keep skin refreshed and clean – helps to avoid breakouts. I also can’t leave home without my own pillow. When I arrive at a destination I just want to sleep, but nine times out of ten the pillows are SO uncomfortable that I then can’t sleep!
Do you stay in touch with people while you’re travelling? If so, what is the best way to do this? I’m a bit of an advocate for carrying a laptop, so I email and Facebook friends (usually utilising free WiFi at hotels or cafes), and use Skype to stay in touch with family (they like to hear your voice because parents tend to worry).
Best meal you’ve ever had while travelling?: Anything in Japan! The convenience stores in that country offer so much amazing (and quality) variety for a meal at any time of the day, and they are cheap! Look out for Lawson in particular – this chain offers my favourite range of sandwiches, pastas, sushi and snacks. My fiancé and I are also big fans of an Izakaya (‘lots of small dishes of food’) chain in Japan called Watami, and a curry chain there called Sukiya – delicious and inexpensive. Don’t worry about the menus – there are pictures of everything so just choose what you think looks good.
Best kiss?: New Years Eve, London, 2010 with my fiancé. We had been at the most amazing concert and met new friends. Everything was perfect.
Best/scariest/funniest drive?: I can tell you the most disappointing – I had waited for years to drive along the famous and scenic Sea to Sky Highway in British Columbia (from Vancouver to Whistler) but the weather was so incredibly bad that I couldn’t see anything at all! On the plus side, the destination, Whistler, was incredibly beautiful.
The moment – what has been the big WOW moment of your travelling life? Surprisingly, it was when we visited the Capilano Suspension Bridge (Vancouver) last Christmas. During the festive period the entire Canyon and forest is decked out with fairy lights, decoration and light shows. It was so beautiful at night – you have to experience it to believe it, but it was pure sparkling magic.
What is your number one travel tip?: Anti-bacterial gel! This, and do your research before booking accommodation and trips. Take time to read independent reviews on expedia.com and other travel sites. Compare hotel prices on various sites to see where you can get the best deal before you book. So many reviews can be misleading, but as long as you book somewhere/something that is generally receiving positive feedback (on various sites) then you’re less likely to encounter any nasty surprises. Also, utilise free WiFi in places like Starbucks or pubs – you’ll often meet other travellers doing the same thing!