Our 2nd Travel Style Interview of our new series is with Shayne Benowitz, a talented travel and lifestyle writer who contributes to many regional and national magazines and blogs online including VISIT FLORIDA, Modern Luxury Brides South Florida & The Caribbean, SocietePerrier.com, Travel + Escape, and AOL Travel. She’s also the Miami.com Hotels Editor, currently lives in our hometown of Miami, and is one of the nicest people we’ve ever met in South Florida. So, we’re pretty psyched she’s unpacked here for a while. Let’s just hope she stays. Catch this Wanderlust Chameleon here while you can…

Arrive Chic with Shayne Benowitz

Your top 3 travel accessories picks at arrivechic.com are… the Jonathan Adler Travel Journal in Fish ScalesThe Euro Traveler, and Bucky 40 Blinks Paper Flower Sleep Mask.

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. My vacation style definitely varies. A lot of times it depends on where I’m living at the time and what my day to day lifestlye is like. When I lived in Key West, for instance, I longed for a cultured city experience. I loved booking trips to New York City and I’d fill my days with visiting museums—I love the MoMA and I’m excited for the Whitney’s new location in the Meatpacking District. I have to catch a show on Broadway, and I enjoy shopping, trying new restaurants, bars and clubs, and going to my old favorites. That’s also why I’d take off in the winter to Paris when I lived in Key West. I’d lead a completely different cosmopolitan lifestyle there.

Now that I’ve been in Miami for a few years, even though we have beautiful, tropical weather and the beach, it’s still very much a city lifestyle with lots going on. I long to get off the beaten path and convene with nature. I crave trips to unspoiled and not so densely populated places like Costa Rica or the Bahamas Out Islands. I’ve also had Hawaii on the brain lately. I love any destination that involves the water, and I especially love being active on it, swimming, surfing, snorkeling, boating—if that’s on the agenda, I’m in heaven. I also like to test my nerves with new adventurous activities. I tried zip lining and ATVing for the first time last year, and I absolutely loved both experiences.

So basically, my two favorite types of travel experiences involve either adventure and nature or a big city where I can explore everything from dining and nightlife to fashion and culture. Those are the things that get me excited.

How many countries have you been to? Hmm, let me think. I need to look at a map. Mexico, Israel, England, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, Costa Rica, The Bahamas, Curacao, Saint Lucia… I think that’s it, so that’s what, 11?

What’s always in your quart size bag? I hate the quart size bag! Nothing fits in it. I always make sure I pack conditioner, though, because some hotels still don’t have it in the room. And now I’ve got all of my tiny little skincare products that have to come with me, too.

Shayne in Paris

Shayne in Paris

You have an endless budget. Where are you headed and what hotel is lucky enough to have you? Paris is my favorite city in the world, so if I had an endless budget, I’d probably head there and stay for at least a month. I’d like to check-in to the Ritz Paris on the Place Vêndome. It’s been closed for renovations and is set to reopen this year, so I’d love to be one of the first guests back. It’s the epitome of elegance and it has such an amazing history. I had a memorable and funny evening at the Bar Hemingway there years ago and I’d love to return as a guest of the hotel. I’d wait to do my shopping until I arrived in Paris and would head to rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, the Bon Marché and, of course, Chanel’s original boutique at 31 rue Cambon. There’s also plenty of jewels to choose from on the Place Vêndome! I think Parisian women have the best style.

Name the top 3 destinations on your travel bucket list? Australia: I’d love to explore everything from the cities of Sydney and Melbourne to the beaches, the Outback and the Great Barrier Reef. Greece: Sailing through the Greek Islands has been a long held travel wish of mine. Galapagos Islands: This is a new one on my list. I just think it would be cool to go to such an unspoiled place with so many endemic species.

What specific accessories or Beauty products/tools do you never leave home without? I’m pretty low key, but I never leave the house without lip balm. I like Fresh’s Sugar in Rosé, and I always have a nice lipstick or gloss with me, too.

Describe your favorite travel shoes. The best shoes I’ve ever bought are my gold Prada ballet flats at the Bon Marché in Paris. They’ve stood the test of time, they’re sporty and stylish and super comfy for trekking around a city all day.

Shayne in Chicago

Shayne in Chicago in her gold Prada ballet flats.

What restaurant would you fly to just for dinner? That’s tough. We have so many great restaurant options right here in Miami. Maybe I’d fly to New York to meet friends at Lupa in the West Village or go back in time and have one more meal at Pastis. I’m sure there are newer, cooler restaurants, but I’ve had great memories and great meals at both places.

What’s the last fabulous thing you discovered when traveling? I guess I discovered just how much I loved Costa Rica last year. There are some destinations that just resonate with you on a deeper level that you can’t even really explain with words. It’s like chemistry. And I felt that there. I have plans to return in June for a weeklong surf camp and I’m totally stoked!

Something you’ll never be caught doing when traveling is… Being rude to people. I think traveling is such a joy, and it’s a joy to discover new cultures and also to see people on vacation out of their element. Traveling is a privilege and I love seeing people in their unguarded moments of bliss on vacation. Family vacations growing up had a lasting impression on me and were a big part of my family’s bond. I think that’s why I’ve gravitated towards tourism and travel because I know how great that feeling is.

What is the best travel gadget you own? I guess my iPhone. It’s nice to have a handy map in your pocket and the New York City subway app is cool. I’m not too gadgety. I’d like to invest in a nice camera, though.

Biggest travel pet peeve? I hate packing and I hate the stress at the airport. I can’t relax until I’m waiting at my gate on time for my flight’s departure.

Your best travel tip? Follow your heart and your wildest dreams. Pick one at a time to make a reality.

Most memorable thing you’ve done on vacation? Fallen in love.

Where in the world would you like to live next? Oh my gosh, that’s a great question. My life has been ruled by that question every few years. I’m happy to say that I’m super content in Miami right now and there’s no destination lingering on the horizon. I always think I could live in New York again or maybe head back to Cali where I’m originally from. I also like the idea of Hawaii.

Shayne loving Miami

Shayne in Miami with no sight of a destination in the horizon.

Your friends are headed to Miami. What hotel are you recommending? That’s a tough one. We have so many amazing hotels in Miami, but they’re crazy expensive. The nice thing is, you can take advantage of their gorgeous décor, great restaurants and nightlife without actually staying in them. If it was my besties, I’d just say come bunk with me. Otherwise, I love The Raleigh. The Fontainebleau is always fun, too. The W is close to where I live and absolutely beautiful. My dad came into town a few weekends ago and we got him a room at the Loews which was fantastic. Boutique hotels are great, but I’ve also got a special place in my heart for big resorts. The best time to stay in one of Miami’s fancy hotels is during the off season when prices are low.

Who are your favorite travel writers or travel bloggers? There are so many and my eyes are constantly peeled for new ones. I like Ryan Gargiulo of Pause the Moment, Doug Mack is a friend of mine, The Everywhereist has a cool voice, Courtney Scott with Travelocity is killing it, and he’s not a travel blogger or writer, but an amazing fine arts photographer, Corey Arnold takes amazing photos of commercial fishing in Alaska. He’s my favorite thing on Instagram.

Shayne sailing off the coast of Florida

Shayne sailing off the coast of Florida

What shouldn’t be missed when visiting South Florida? I would say make your way down to Key West and get offshore on a boat. Go snorkeling with my crew at Fury Water Adventures. We have the third largest reef in the world. It’s an amazing place unlike anywhere else and you can totally unwind and be yourself.

We loved that snapshot of Shayne’s travel style. Now if only we could get her to elaborate on that “most memorable thing” she’s done on vacation. Stay tuned for our next Arrive Chic travel style interview soon. Interested in being featured for our new Travel Style Interview Series? Please email us directly at info(at)arrivechic(dot)com.

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