This week’s NileGuide 5 is with Michelle Strashoon, Editor-in-Chief of HipCompass Escapes Magazine, a digital magazine that showcases many different points of view on travel, from luxury to budget, from relaxation to adventure. She is on the road about 3 weeks out of every month discovering the next up-and-coming destinations. Learn more at www.HipCompass.com or follow @HipCompass and catch up with Michelle on twitter at @HCEscapes.
1. What’s the most underrated destination you’ve been to?
For the cover story of HipCompass Escapes’ summer issue I went to Samoa. When I arrived I was shocked to find out that they only get 3,000 American tourists per year. Samoa has the same natural beauty of French Polynesia, but none of the mass-tourism and very little western culture. Locals still wear traditional attire and Samoan food is easier to find than western food…which is no longer the case in Tahiti. It is also a budget lover’s paradise. The photo to the left is of Tanu Beach Fale, where for $25 per night you get a hut right on the beach, an amazing dinner and breakfast.
2. How do you kill time when you’re stuck on a bus or plane?
I buy past seasons of shows on iTunes and catch up. I don’t let myself watch them when I am at home so that it gives me something to look forward to on the plane. The older the show, the more seasons, the more time on the plane that is killed. I have recently caught up with all seven seasons of Entourage.
3. What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen or experienced traveling?
I would have to say it was the 20-foot high Jurassic Park-like electric fencing around most large homes in Mexico City. As an added precaution most of these walls are topped with jagged broken glass, just in case the thief lives through his electrocution. And we complain about having to lock our doors at night?!
4. What’s the first thing you do when you arrive at a new destination?
Walk around and get the lay of the land. I get very fidgety when I arrive somewhere new and have to immediately go explore.
5. If you could give one tip or piece of advice to travelers, what would it be?
Research before you go. By planning in advance you can cover more ground, see more things, and get more for less.
[Photos: Michelle Strashoon]