THE SET | Kayla Douglas
Meet Kayla Douglas, the marketing superstar behind [my travel agency partner] SmartFlyer’s social media and blog. Her personal Instagram (@curatedbykayla) is just as inspiring — even when she’s not jetting around the world, following her makes me wish I was young in New York City! She also has a fun weekly newsletter, Sunday Series, you can subscribe to here. When she’s not working, you can find her training for marathons in the Serengeti, NBD. Kayla has an irresistable combination of adorable [authentic] bubbliness and kickass worth ethic à la Reese Witherspoon (who happens to be her dream travel companion). She’s darling and I think you’ll agree! Read on to learn more about her travel style…
THE SET (as in, jetset) is a blog series that gives a peek into the travel styles of the jetsetters we adore and admire… Because we’re all a little voyeuristic sometimes – and who isn’t looking for a little distraction right now?
NAME: Kayla M. Douglas / @curatedbykayla
OCCUPATION: Marketing + Social Media Manager, SmartFlyer
HOME AIRPORT: LGA (though I often am flying the friendly skies into/out of EWR + long haul is JFK)
WHAT’S YOUR SIGN: Virgo!!!!
AISLE OR WINDOW: Window, always.
CARRY-ON OR CHECK: Carry-on, even for a 2-week trip, I don’t even own a bag big enough to need to check…
LUGGAGE: Tumi leather backpack with strap that slides over my millennial pink Away (bigger) carry-on handle. Dagne Dover duffle in olive green for safari. Packing cubes essential for both!! Currently coveting a stainless steel Rimowa… Santa are you listening?
CARRY-ON ESSENTIAL: At least 3 magazines in addition to laptop
TRAVELING SHOES: Not cute but usually I end up rocking my running sneakers (Brooks) because they are too clunky to pack and I can’t go anywhere without them, unfortunately.
CAFFEINE FIX: Cortado, breve
MOVIE OR BOOK: Sucker for airplane movies… books are for the beach
AIRLINE: This is hard… domestic I think Delta slays. International I would like to marry Qatar’s Qsuite and only ever travel that way for every trip moving forward LOL
AIRPLANE DRINK: Champagne, naturally.
REAL WORLD DRINK: Negroni with Hendrick’s
UNPACK OR LIVE OUT OF SUITCASE: Unpack if staying longer than 1 night!
ALWAYS PACK: Wish I could be that cute low-maintenance girl but in all honesty, that’s so not me when it comes to my skincare routine… I need EVERYTHING, even if it’s a quick weekend trip. Some non-negotiables: iS Clinical cleansing complex travel size, EltaMD tinted sunscreen and ENVIRON Skin EssentiA AVST Moisturizer (note these are derm-recommended products and a bit tricky to find, I buy all three from Glowbar… they are so easy to do biz with via email!). Oh, and my Laneige lip sleeping mask and Le Labo fragrance, Tubereuse 40 (you can buy tester sizes from them so I always keep one in my bag… this one is NY-only but each major city has their own exclusive scent, fun to play with and try to find your own!!)
ALWAYS FORGET: Adapters when going abroad, I live for hotels that have universal outlets and USBs by the bed, ha!
SOUVENIR: I always come home with tea or spices
ROOM SERVICE ORDER: Oooof, this is tough! Room service brekkie is the ultimate indulgence… There will most certainly be a pancakes-for-sharing situation happening.
PRO TIP: Take all the pictures/video, but if you can avoid it, don’t post in the moment on your trip. Being able to savor it just for yourself is the ultimate gift… The content will be just as relevant when you’ve returned. Plus, posting after you’re back gives you an excuse to relive all the memories you made while offline!
BOUTIQUE HOTEL OR SLAVE TO POINTS: Over the past year or so, I’ve come to realize I’m happiest in boutique hotels. While I’ll never ever shy away from a Four Seasons stay (those BEDS!), I’ve come to love smaller properties with 50 keys or less. Some of my most special stays have been at hotels that feel more like you’re coming home than to a hotel… Some faves include Kasbah Tamadot in the Atlas Mountains and most recently, Singita Sabora Tented Camp.
CITY OR COUNTRY: I live in the concrete jungle so I’d have to say an escape to nature.
MOUNTAINS OR SEA: Seaside
OCEAN OR POOL: I’m more of a lounger on the beach gal but the water has to be crystal clear to get me in because I’m low-key terrified of stepping on a sea urchin or something….ha! This past [fall], I swam in the Indian Ocean (off of Pemba) for a solid hour and it may have been the most out-of-character thing to happen to me in all of 2020.
WINTER DESTINATION: Forever obsessed with Europe’s Christmas markets – I’ve done Vienna, Budapest and Prague in recent years so my sights are on Germany next.
SUMMER SPOT: In my dream world, I’m summering in Provence.
FAVORITE AMERICAN CITY: Home, NYC… I love a staycation in the city.
FAVORITE INTERNATIONAL CITY: I want to pick Paris because CDG will always own the most stamps in my passport, but I’m going to say Hanoi because I loved it and want to go back for more!!
DREAM TRAVEL COMPANION: Reese Witherspoon, of course. We’d shop a bit, walk everywhere, eat delectable food, have too many drinks, stay at the best hotels and definitely not take ourselves too seriously!
(WILL) HONEYMOON IN: My poor future husband! so many things are ‘off the table’ because I want something completely different to anything I’ve experienced thus far for my honeymoon. Hopefully something epic like a Galapagos x Peru combo.
HOTEL I WISH I LIVED IN: La Réserve Paris, hands down.
HOTEL LOBBY: Rosewood Hong Kong for a sense of arrival, Baccarat New York for straight sex appeal, InterContinental Danang for open-air bliss designed by Bill Bensley.
HOTEL BAR: I would like the last drink of my life to be at Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle, but in the meantime, find me at Bar Marilou in New Orleans – guests of Maison de la Luz get exclusive access to a private room that connects the hotel and bar… so chic and the jazz is just unreal.
HOTEL POOL: Singita Faru Faru is absolutely paradise…in between game drives you can be in the pool watching ellies and giraffe just off the infinity edge
DINING EXPERIENCE: Chez Nous in Charleston… I swoon over a handwritten menu that changes daily and the setting is beyond romantic, outdoors and candlelit.
ON MY RADAR: Cap Rocat x La Residencia… A Mallorca trip will most definitely happen in 2021.
BUCKET LIST: May as well go big, huh? A&K private jet around the world with Geoffrey Kent which hits Japan, Myanmar, Maldives, Brazil + more!!
TOP TRIP: Impossible. 10 nights in Morocco was pretty epic, from hot air ballooning at sunrise to surfing the sand dunes of the Sahara… But my heart is in East Africa. I want to continue going back to this part of the world for as long as I’m able, not just because it touches your heart in a way few other places do, but because every visit helps support critical conservation projects happening to keep endangered not just alive but thriving. Also, the people are absolutely THE BEST.
LAST CHECKED INTO: The Carlyle. [It] had been a bucket list stay for me ever since watching ‘Always at the Carlyle’ + falling in love with Bemelmans Bar—a true UES institution—shortly after moving to NY. It’s not hard to understand how this place built a cult following. beyond the beautiful décor, the team here couldn’t have been more hospitable with every safety measure in place without losing the integral human touch!
UP NEXT: South Africa!
Inspired to take a trip of your own? Get in touch and go!