Travel influencer Tiffany Dowd’s 12 rules for a gilded journey
Being on the road doesn’t have to mean roughing it. Veteran hospitality professional and global luxury hotel expert Tiffany Dowd shares the world’s best travel and lifestyle destinations on Instagram as @LuxeTiffany. “My job as an influencer is not about boasting about the incredible places I’ve been, but to show you something in such a way that you are inspired to visit yourself,” she says.
Boston-based Dowd says “influencer” is an overused term in the industry right now. She prefers to explain her role built over the last decade as that of a trusted resource for sharing the most interesting places in the world. She got her start in the hospitality industry as director of marketing for a family-run hotel in the Caribbean. She earned her bachelor’s in broadcast journalism from University of Southern California and her master’s in business and economics journalism from Boston University and went on to be a hotel property inspector for Conde Nast. This year, she was named one of the Top 25 Most Influential People in Luxury Digital by Verb Brands.
Smart Meetings asked the founder and president of Luxe Social Media, an online communications and social media marketing agency for luxury hotels and destinations, for tips to smooth out travel wrinkles and add a little sparkle to the journey.
1. Ask for Help: Time is precious, and I find that using a travel adviser saves me both money and time. While it may seem easy to book hotels and airline tickets online, I strongly recommend using a good travel adviser. I’ve found that travel advisers have access to the best rates, with added value and perks that you cannot always find directly. Top travel agencies have good relationships with hotels, so you get the VIP treatment. They are also your best advocate if something goes wrong should your travel be disrupted for any reason. With one phone call, you have your travel adviser working to fix the situation.
2. Health First: I always bring Vitamin C with me, such as Emergen-C or Airborne. I don’t drink alcohol, as it’s extremely dehydrating, and I drink lots of water. When flying long distances, I wear compression stockings to ease any leg discomfort and swelling and to prevent deep vein thrombosis.
3. Energize Regularly: I pack protein granola bars and snack-size bags of raw almonds. They make for a quick and easy snack when you need something to keep going.
4. Present a Fresh Face: I wear minimal makeup when traveling, but there are a few items I love to use to keep me refreshed. I always pack Neutrogena face-cleansing towelettes, which are easy to pack and convenient. I use a light eye cream when flying such as La Prairie Caviar Luxe Eye Lift Cream, which soothes your eyes. I wear Nars Illuminator for a nice glow, Bobbi Brown bronzer and tinted moisturizer, and Definicils mascara by Lancome for a refreshed look when I arrive.
5. Put the World in Your Palm: I love my iPhoneX for so many of its features. It has such a good camera that I no longer travel with a camera. I love it for music, the Google translation app and to track my flights. It’s a great way to stay in touch with family when traveling using WhatsApp or FaceTime.
6. Pay Attention to the Details: A hotel can be simply spectacular in design (such as any hotel designed by Piero Lissoni and Tony Chi) but if the service isn’t up to par, it becomes just an average experience. It’s important for hotels to anticipate guest needs without being intrusive. It’s the little touches and personalization that make for the most memorable moments.
7. Engage with the Property: Many hotels are actively engaging with people on social media. Go to Instagram to check geo-locations and photos to see what a property is really like.
8. Disconnect When Possible: I love sharing photos on Instagram, but I don’t spend all day trying to capture the perfect shot. Be in the moment and enjoy the experience instead of trying to take selfies on safaris.
9. Pack Wisely: I’m a big loyalist of Tumi luggage, but I’ve just bought a beautiful Bellagio suitcase by Brics, which is made in Italy and super-stylish. Tumi still remains my go-to luggage for quality and style. I prefer a hard suitcase over soft these days, as they are light and durable. Make sure carry-ons are international regulation size so you don’t encounter any issues on airlines when traveling abroad. For my personal item on a plane, my bag always has a top zipper. I never travel with an open tote, as I don’t want to lose anything or have anything stolen.
10. Simplify: My travel style is simple and chic. I wear ballet flats, usually by Chanel or the Spanish brand Paul Mayer, dark pants and a comfortable top. I never travel without my Hermes pashmina which is both colorful and stylish, and keeps you warm on the plane. I bring a three-quarter-length light coat to wear over my outfit.
11. Be Safe: I’m often traveling solo, so safety is really important to me. I don’t tell seatmates where I am staying. I will often say I’m meeting someone or that my husband is joining me. I don’t wear anything flashy. I always let my family know where I’m going to be at all times. I prefer using Uber or Lyft over taxis so that my whereabouts are tracked. It’s also convenient, because the driver always knows where you are going and you don’t have to exchange cash or pull out your credit card. I keep an extra photocopy of my passport in my suitcase as well as a photo of it on my phone. I keep a copy of the address of my hotel in my wallet in case I do have to take a taxi in a foreign country and cannot speak the language.
12. Stay Covered: I always carry travel insurance. Because I travel so much, I purchase an annual plan, but it’s important to make sure you have some sort of additional coverage in case of an emergency such as health problems or travel disruptions.