In this Celebrity Travel Addicts Q&A we chat with Travel and Style’s founder Jennifer Weatherhead Harrington. Learn how she took her fashion and beauty background and turned it into a travel business. See what are her favorite places and where she is heading to next!
How did your passion for travel get started?
I remember being young, growing up in a small community in Nova Scotia, and knowing I wanted to see other places. My grandmother always emphasized how important it was to meet new people and see new things. That kind of stuck with me. Then eventually my career took me to many places. I worked at a fashion and beauty magazine for years where travel was part of the job. It really ignited that travel bug and lead me going freelance and to start my own travel site travelandstyle.ca.
How many days/weeks are you traveling in any given year?
What are the types of places do you like to visit? I’m usually traveling at least a couple times a month. The destinations and times vary, it could be a lot of little weekend trips around Canada or the US. Or longer trips overseas. I’m a hot destination person. It doesn’t have to be a beach per say, as long as the weather is hot, humid and sunny I’ll love it. I live in a big city (Toronto) and I visit other cities like New York, Chicago, L.A. and London a lot, so I tend to want to be near nature more now than anything. Any place where I can hike, be outside, be near water, a mountain… some place I can be adventurous.
What is it that you want audiences to gain/ learn from your work on Travel and Style?
I hope they are inspired to see more, and to know that they can see the beautiful side of travel without always spending a fortune. Luxury doesn’t always mean the Ritz in Paris (although that’s definitely amazing). It can mean a privately owned boutique hotel, a local designer instead of a luxe name brand, etc. It’s more about luxury in the experience and having a story or memory that you’ll remember and want to share. I couldn’t find a resource that combined travel with style in a fashionable way without being over the top, so that’s why I created Travel & Style Magazine.
Name your top three destinations you’ve traveled?
I love Latin countries, so Central and South America will also be tops for me, no matter how many times I’ve been there (plus it gives me an excuse to keep trying out my butchered Spanish). I love the weather, the history, the food and culture, the mix of mountains, volcanoes, jungle and beach. It’s ideal for me. Kenya will always hold a special place in my heart, it’s amazing for safaris, connecting with animals, it has lovely people. I had many eye-opening/life-changing moments there and it lead me to a passion for conserving wildlife. I also love Germany. I’ve been so many times but it’s a beautiful, huge country, with so much history and so many castles!
Give us your ‘Top 5’ list for one of these destinations, like a mini-guide or to-do list of sorts
I’ll give my rundown for El Salvador, a spot I visited a few months ago and ended up loving more than I thought I would. Stay: B Boutique Hotel in El Tunco… perched on a rocky cliff over the pacific ocean, it only has 4 rooms, with floor-to-ceiling windows and the best sunset views. Plus if you’re a surfer, El Tunco beach is right next to the hotel, with some of the best surfing you’ll find in Central America (and an amazing black, volcanic sand beach). Visit: Coffee plantations in Ataco… the coffee in El Salvador is seriously good. And in the town of Ataco you can see how your coffee is made from start to finish, sip on the local brew in tiny cafes and take in the incredible mural art on the walls of nearly every building.
Must-stop town: Suchitoto is close to volcanoes, ruins and has quaint boutique hotels, charming streets and town squares. Plus the views of the Lake Suchitlan are breathtaking. Don’t forget to eat all the pupusas (street food of beans, meat and cheese inside flattened disks of dough) you can! Hike: The San Salvador Volcano just outside the main city center gives a taste of the amazing volcanic terrain the country has to offer. Even if you’re just passing through for a day en route to Costa Rica or Honduras, this giant wonder is worth a visit.
Eat at: La Pampa Lago Coatepeque is probably one of the most picturesque spots you could think of for lunch. Coatepeque Lake is the part of El Salvador where the rich and famous vacation, spend weekends and tie the knot. And La Pampa’s outdoor dining area has the best views of the volcanic lake that you could ask for while eating fresh seafood.
How many countries have you visited so far?
Your top three favorite cuisines?
I’ve been vegetarian for the past two years (I eat fish sometimes), so my fave foods have changed a bit since then. I love anything spicy (like super, super spicy), so I love Thai, Mexican and Peruvian.
Favorite restaurant in the world?
Tricky! It’s probably John’s Lunch in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia (a complete hole in the wall fish ‘n chip spot that I need to go to every time I am home in Nova Scotia).
Your favorite travel movie?
Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Be honest… we’ve all had a Steve Martin at the car rental counter moment at least once in our travels!
Favorite international airport?
Istanbul. The Turkish Airlines lounge is amazing.
City with the friendliest people?
Helsinki (can I also say the most beautiful?! Haha.)
Your favorite traveling companion?
Can I say my iPhone? Kidding. My husband Justin, obviously. He’s also a photographer so he comes in handy apart from just being a great travel companion and knowing when I’m about to get hangry.
Best way you kill time while traveling?
I like to people watch, but I also read a lot when I’m waiting around in airports.
What is the most exotic place your career has taken you?
Your best bit of travel advice for someone who is about to embark on a life of travel?
Be open to anything. Try something that will make you feel uncomfortable.
What are 4 things you could never travel without?
My iPhone, music, a notebook and a scarf.
What is your ultimate dream destination?
I have yet to be to New Zealand and it seems like it would have everything I’d look for in a destination… water, mountains, adventure.
Your favorite travel quote?
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine
Where to next?
Guadalajara, Mexico and then Victoria, B.C.
Jennifer Weatherhead Harrington has been jetting around the world for the past 10 years. With a background in journalism and in the fashion and beauty industry, she took her other passions for digital and travel and started her own travel site merging Travel & Style. Now a travel expert on TV for CTV’s Your Morning, CP24 and more you can find her name in Metro News, Style at Home, jetsetter.com, Canadian Living, LuxuryRetreats.com and SheKnows.com. Her love of travel has taken her to 62 countries (through Europe, Asia, South America, Africa, North America and the Caribbean). The most memorable? Kenya, Bali, Iceland and Peru.