As travel becomes not just a glimmer of a possibility but a real and actual thing that we can all do — and soon! — we started thinking that the whole process was primed for a reset. Who among us has not started planning a trip only to end up with 72 open tabs — an assortment of Airbnb listings, TripAdvisor reviews, slideshows from well-established travel magazines, random blogs, geo-tagged screenshots deep in your phone that you grabbed from Instagram stories, even Google Docs from friends of friends (“L.A. restos,” “Sarah’s honeymoon - Sicily”) — and then just been completely paralyzed with indecision? With so much insider information and intel available, it’s hard to know who to trust, what’s staged and what’s real, what has been paid for by a tourism board, and, perhaps most crucially, how to use what you’ve dug up amid those 72 tabs to actually plan, say, a long weekend on Martha’s Vineyard or a weeklong trip to Paris.
In all of this, we at the Strategist saw an opportunity. We could take the same obsessive approach to service journalism that we’ve honed over the years to help you navigate the ever-muddled online-shopping sphere and apply it to the equally tangled world of trip-planning. It’s a natural evolution, in large part because it’s not our first rodeo. The print Strategist section, from which this site was born in 2016, has a long history of covering travel, most notably through our Urbanist’s travel guides, all based around expert travel recommendations (more on that later).
Here, we’re kicking things off with a new series called Steal My Vacation. The concept is simple: We found people with impeccable taste who are also obsessive travelers and asked them to share their most stood-behind day-by-day (and, in some cases, hour-by-hour) itineraries that a reader could very easily … just steal. Over the next month, we’ll be publishing over a dozen of these hyper-specific guides — including Roanne Adams’s 40th birthday party for 25 people in Palm Springs; Emily Bode’s long weekend in Cape Cod, the place that inspired one of her earliest collections; Kate Branch’s honeymoon in Montenegro; and Yudai Kanayama’s weekend trip to Lancaster County, where he bought a leather fly-swatter at an Amish Mud Sale.
We’re still going to be writing about the best carry-ons and comfy shoes to bring on your next trip (and we’ve actually asked all of the people whose vacations we’re stealing to share a few items from their personal packing lists, too). We’ll be asking stylish people with exacting taste to tell us where they always stay when they travel to, say, Miami; surfacing Airbnbs that people we trust have actually stayed at; finding hotels and resorts that have taken thoughtful COVID precautions, according to those who stayed there during the pandemic; and further down the line, revamping the Urbanist to create even more exhaustively reported, thoroughly vetted, actually useful city guides. And throughout all of this, we will remain mindful of the fact that COVID travel restrictions are ever-changing, and provide guidance on how to travel safely wherever we can.
The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.