Welcome to our new series of Travel Style Interviews simply called “Arrive Chic with…” We asked Christine Kirk, Founder and CEO of Social Muse Communications, if she’d join us in being the first featured. She kindly obliged and we are thrilled! After all, she’s a well known Luxury Travel Social Media Guru (@LuxuryPRGal), founder of twitter chat #luxchat, and she’s a LA Correspondent for Forbes Travel Guide…and did we mention fabulous?

Arrive Chic with Christine Kirk: Travel Style Interview

Your top 3 travel accessories picks at arrivechic.com are… The Black Velour Eye Mask with Ear Plugs, the Real House Weaves Weekender Tote, and the Evian Facial Spray Trio

How would you describe your typical vacation style? For example, “adventurous”, “culture packed”, “food fest”, “shopping spree”, “tour guide scheduled”, “ohhhm”, or “poolside/toes in the sand.” It totally depends. I never take one type of trip over and over. Some are relaxing by the pool/on the beach vacations where I never leave the resort, others are more adventurous/seeing the sights trips where I’m barely at the hotel and am out exploring the destination. I love both types of trips equally.

How many countries have you been to? 20…that I can count! Some of my all-time faves? England, Vietnam, Italy, France, Thailand, and China.

What’s always in your quart size bag? 3 oz. size bottles of Kiehl’s amino acid shampoo and conditioner, luxury body lotions I’ve accumulated like Acqua di Parma, Asprey, and BVLGARI from luxury hotels I’ve stayed at in the past, and 3-4 different kinds of lip balm. I’m always losing them and you can never have too much lip balm. And my weakness – my massive supply of Chanel and Laura Mercier beauty products. I always pack too many beauty products.

You have an endless budget. Where are you headed and what hotel is lucky enough to have you? If my budget was endless, I wouldn’t just travel to one destination. I’d plan a trip around the world and stay at only the world’s finest luxury hotels – my go-tos are any Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, or Dorchester Collection hotels.

Name the top 3 destinations on your travel bucket list? Ireland/Scotland (I’m counting those as one), the Maldives, Greece.

Christine in Nevis, Paris, London, & Maui

Christine in Nevis, Paris, London, & Maui

What specific accessories or beauty products/tools do you never leave home without? My DryBar hairdryer. I have stayed in some of the most luxurious hotels in the world, but no hotel hairdryer can hold a candle to my personal hairdryer. It’s a must-take on every trip.

Describe your favorite travel shoes. Wedge sandals for tropical destinations and knee-high boots (either flat or stiletto) for colder climates.

What restaurant would you fly to just for dinner? Mango Restaurant at the Four Seasons Nevis in the West Indies of the Caribbean. Jutting out over the turquoise water with a table for two at sunset, I’ve never seen a more romantic restaurant setting in my life. My husband and I left a piece of our hearts there.

Something you’ll never be caught doing when traveling is… Disregarding or disrespecting the local customs or people. I see so many tourists bulldoze their way around cities, not paying attention to the small nuances of the local customs. They come off as rude and totally oblivious. I try and research in advance what time the locals have dinner, how they dress for certain circumstances, and plan my activities and clothing options accordingly. One of my favorite things about travel is to learn something about someone else – about how other people and cultures do things.

Christine in Vietnam

Christine in Vietnam

What is the best travel gadget you own? My iPad and iPhone. I couldn’t (and don’t) leave home without them. They are my GPS, my email, my connection to home and my business, my on-the-go resource for information about my flight, hotel, and destination.

Biggest travel pet peeve? People who dress in their pajamas when traveling. Just because we’re getting on a long haul flight does not mean I need to see you in your jammies. Please leave that for the privacy of your own home. There are ways to be comfortable AND stylish when traveling. There was a time when ladies and gentlemen would dress up for the occasion – travel was a privilege and people paid their respects. It’s sad that we live in a time where travel has become so un-special to some people that they can’t even be bothered to get dressed for the occasion.

Your best travel tip? Use social media to connect with a hotel in advance of your stay. So many hotels are active on social media and are more than happy to help you make your Spa appointments, dinner reservations, or even arrangements for an in room amenity, all in advance of your actual arrival.

Since you know luxury, who are your favorite designers? DVF, Chanel, Christian Louboutin, Gucci. I love shopping at Saks, Berdorfs, or Barneys – where I can find every designer I love all in one place!

Most memorable thing you’ve done on vacation? Staying at the Four Seasons Tented Camp in the Golden Triangle. This is where Thailand, Laos, and Burma meet all weaved together by the Mekong River. We rode elephants, bathed and fed baby elephants, stayed in climate controlled luxury “tents” with outdoor showers overlooking the Mekong, had a couples massage at the Spa’s open-air treatment rooms of jungle, and dined on local cuisine. Interacting with and actually riding the elephants on a daily basis was a dream come true and something I’ll never forget. If luxury is about an experience, then this was the ultimate luxury experience.

Christine in The Golden Triangle

Christine in The Golden Triangle

Where will the first stamp be from in #babyboykirk’s passport? I love this question! While I don’t know yet, I’m guessing it will be somewhere in Europe or Asia. One of the reasons I’m most excited to become a mother is to share the world with my son and expose him to different cultures, people, and cuisine. My parents instilled a passion for travel in me, and I intend to do the same with my son. The world is such a vast and diverse place and I can’t wait to be his tour guide!

Favorite person/company (clients excluded) to follow on Social media channels? @ForbesWoman @RichardBranson @RandiZuckerberg any @FourSeasons hotel @TechCrunch @FastCompany @Bergdorfs @LuxuryDaily @ForbesTravelGuide @Fodors

What’s the most exciting thing happening for the travel industry on social media now? Luxury hotels pride themselves on their 5-Star service while a guest is on property, but those that are using social media right understand that that 5-Star service now begins before a guest sets foot on the property and even well after a guest has left. The level of personalized connection that many hotels are making to their guests using social media is truly exciting – and is changing the definition of luxury.

Being the Social Media guru that you are, do you ever unplug on vacation? Not really. I can’t remember the last time I went on a trip – including a “vacation,” where work wasn’t part of it for at least a portion of the trip. Plus, I love sharing my travel experiences with my audience on social media, so unplugging is (happily) impossible. And I truly wouldn’t have it any other way.

We loved getting the skinny on Christine’s travel style. Plus, we now have a few new places on our itinerary thanks to her! Stay tuned for our next Arrive Chic travel style interview soon. Interested in being featured for our new Travel Style Interview Series? Email us directly at info(at)arrivechic(dot)com!

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