Pamela Rossi is a social media luxury travel writer and influencer with over 25 years of extensive luxury travel experience. As the owner of Always5Star, she will champion your company by utilizing all of her social media platforms and technologies. In addition to her focus as a luxury travel expert, she also promotes a luxury lifestyle. This includes, but is not limited to, luxury hotels and resorts, first-class flights, champagne, wine, culinary experiences, adventure travel, and cultural activities.
Pamela was kind enough to answer a few of our travel questions below.
How many years have you been traveling and what got you hooked?
Pamela: For as long as I can remember, I have had a passion for traveling. My travels were minimal growing up. My parents had limited vacation time and our one to two weeks a year were visiting with family members. Even then, there was something calling me to the adventures of being away from home and trying new things.
My dream while growing up was to travel as much as I was able to. When I reached adulthood, I would do whatever I could to travel within my meager budget. I would work hard to save and economize so that I could go to a new destination. It began with just exploring my own state of California which offered so many things that I hadn't seen. After I was married, and we had our six children, it became a passion for me to open my children's eyes to travel and adventure.
I worked hard at being innovative and creative with our family budget, so I would have the money to expose my family to the wonders and joy of travel. I spent countless hours researching online to learn how best to travel on a budget. I reached out to more experienced travelers for their thoughts and tips. I joined forums with TripAdvisor and formed relationships with people who shared my same passions. I began growing and learning that I could enhance my travel experiences by taking advantage of various programs, discounts, and implementing cost-saving ideas.
My research led me to understand loyalty programs, and credit card points. I regularly researched sites such as TravelZoo, Expedia, Travelocity, and others for discounts. I was obsessed! I hungrily looked forward to finding the "luxury" and VIP experiences for a fraction of the costs. Every time I was successful in creating bucket list vacations for myself and my family, it just fueled me to do more.
I have been able to enjoy luxury travel for over 25 years. I am so grateful to have so many memories and experiences -- more than I ever dreamed I could accomplish. Because of this, I was known among my friends as a travel expert, and I was often asked for advice. From there, I began writing about it and contributing information to other blogger's sites. I eventually evolved into creating my own site Always5Star. This started me on a new journey to realizing how much joy I have when I help others to have their own luxury experiences on a budget. It continues today, and I am so grateful to have a lifetime of phenomenal travel. My goal is to keep creating and generating information that others will benefit from so they too can have Always5Star travel memories!! Cheers!!
TA: What is the best vacation you've ever taken?
Pamela: South Africa -- this was life-altering with the level of luxury as well as nature.
TA: What's one place you've always wanted to visit?
Pamela: Any place that I haven't been to before.
TA: What's one thing you ALWAYS pack when you travel?
Pamela: Cell phone and back up batteries.
TA: If you could only give a traveler one piece of advice, what would it be?
Pamela: Allow for the unexpected! Be open to finding the best when things don't go quite as you planned.
TA: What are some of your favorite travel blogs and communities?
Pamela: There are too many that it is hard to list. However, I enjoy companies such as TripAdvisor, TravelZoo, Expedia, Ritz Carlton, Hyatt, American Airlines for booking trips.
TA: What would be your #1 recommendation for a place to travel in 2019?
I love California! I would highly recommend a coastal tour of the state. From San Diego to San Francisco, and then to the Oregon border. Another must is a tour of wineries from San Diego and Temecula, to Napa, Sonoma and other Northern California locations. California has so much to offer. I might be biased because it is my home state, but I can say that I have traveled the world and each time I come home, I have more appreciation for California. My number #1 destination recommendation for a destination that you cannot miss is Big Sur.
5StarTip: Splurge and have lunch at the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur -- the views and the culinary experience will be one that you will not forget!
TA: Do you have any good airport or flight hacks for people traveling by plane?
Pamela: I have 5StarTips for the top five hacks for traveling by plane:
Obtaining Global Entry Status from TSA
This allows pre-approved, low-risk travelers to receive expedited lanes at the TSA Security Checkpoints. You will feel like a VIP even when you are flying coach class.
Invest in an Airline Loyalty Program
Earn valuable miles for upgrades and free flights, VIP lounge access when you fly.
Travel Credit Card
Own a travel credit card that allows the following benefits: Earn airline points, pay for your Global Entry card, VIP lounge access, airline credits toward baggage fees, and upgrades.
Travel Cell-Phone Applications:
Download applications such as:
• TripIt (to be notified about flight status and delays, and automatically create travel itineraries)
• Lounge Buddy (for VIP lounge ratings and locations within airports),
• SeatGuru (to find the best seat on your plane for the class of service you are purchasing)
• Your airline loyalty programs app (such as American Airlines, etc.)
Carry On -Luggage Only!
Try to pack everything you will need in a bag that fits in the overhead bins and one that fits nicely under a seat.
• Overhead - 22 x 14 x 9 --
• Under the Seat - 17 x 10 (including handles and wheels).
First, this will help avoid lost luggage. Second, you can make changes quickly and easily if there are any problems with delayed or canceled flights. With all my extensive traveling, it has been a considerable advantage to always have my bags with me for those unexpected problems. I have had flights canceled and was put up in a hotel. Having all my bags with me, I was much more comfortable than I would have otherwise been.
For more travel airline hacks check this out:
TA: What's one way people can get the most out of their cruise experience?
Pamela: I have 5StarTips for the best five suggestions so that you can enjoy your cruise experience:
Arrive a day early
Arrive a day and find a hotel close to the cruise terminal, if possible. This way you will be ready to enjoy the cruise and not be rushed or overly tired before the cruise even begins.
Pack with the destination and weather in mind
Research what the range of weather will be and pack accordingly. Depending on your cruise's ports, each destination could require different clothing. Also, plan attire for dinners and excursions.
Research alcoholic beverage packages to decide what works best for you. If you enjoy wine and alcoholic drinks, it is sometimes less expensive to purchase a package that includes your beverages.
Shore excursions -- Research before cruising!
Research what shore excursions that you are most interested in and purchase them ahead of time, if possible. The best ones sell out quickly, and VIP members get the first pick.
Backpack or duffel-like bag
Have a carry-on bag with all your medications, documentation, swimsuit, light jacket, change of clothing, camera, phone, chargers. This will hold you over until you receive your luggage in your stateroom. Often it takes some time before you get your luggage and you want to be able to jump right in and enjoy your cruise from the start.