Who are you Megan?
I am a 26 year old travel addict, an outdoor adventure enthusiast and adrenalin junkie with an incurable disease called “the travel bug”.
From Australia, I have a degree in both journalism and law, though my passion for traveling and writing overtook my desire to sit in a corner office, and instead I am now a professional travel blogger, my office ranging from villa’s in the Galapagos Islands, to beaches on the Great Barrier Reef, bungalows overlooking volcanoes in Costa Rica, and everywhere in between!
Can you talk about your blog “Mapping Megan”?
Mapping Megan is a travel resource which brings you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe. We’re on a mission to inspire people from all around the world to get out there and travel, and we do this through inspiring stories, video, photography, travel tips and advice, all listed on our blog.
Aiming for something different, above the regular travel blog experience, the homepage of our blog is an interactive google map where you can click on the country you want to learn more about and pull up blog posts based on location. You could spend hours on that thing zooming in and out and getting lost in some of the greatest destinations from around the world!
What are your favorite destinations while traveling?
Iceland by far is one of our favorite places in the world. It is one of the last untouched destinations left on earth. It’s exotic, naturally beautiful, and largely untouched by tourism which we absolutely love.
We’re advocates for traveling off the beaten path, and huge fans of heading out into the wild without being followed by hordes of travelers and tourist buses. Iceland is the perfect destination for this, and the landscape is so spectacularly beautiful – waterfalls, glaciers, dramatic fjords – it’s truly out of this world!
For the same reasons, we can’t wait to get to Antarctica – that’s on the absolute top of our bucket list! Though Italy also ranks highly as a favorite travel destination – because how could you not love a place which encourages you to eat pizza and gelato all day!
What are your criteria to select a hotel in a target destination?
It depends on the travel experience – we are open to all forms of accommodation, and will camp if the experience calls for it, i.e camping was a much more memorable experience in the Serengeti in Africa, or splurge on luxury accommodation if there’s a truly unique hotel, as we did with the Biltmore in North Carolina.
We usually aim for mid-range hotels and will base our decision off location, price, and services, though the situation is largely what it comes down to. Location will always get priority over price, as we’ve often chosen to stay somewhere based on a super cheap price, and then realized we paid more in transport than we would have shelled out to stay closer to the city.
What are the main criteria for you while selecting a room category in a hotel?
Features – Mike is gluten intolerant, and so therefore we usually require a hotel with basic kitchen features as we do our own cooking while abroad.
Being a gluten free traveler is difficult at times, though with the correct planning travel can be a breeze. Choosing a hotel which has features suited to our needs is essential for a smooth trip.
What is the best hotel experience you ever had?
We recently stayed at the Monte Carlo Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, and as our room was not ready upon arrival, we were upgraded to a ridiculously amazing Penthouse Suite in the private Hotel 32 on the top floor of the hotel.
Never before had we stayed in something so luxurious – there were LED lights which changed color with your mood in the private jacuzzi, 3 huge plasma TVs, a television in the mirror in the bathroom, and remotes which controlled almost everything including the windows and blinds – it was a pretty exceptional experience!
What is the hotel where you would dream to spend a night?
I would love to stay in the Ice Hotel in Sweden – this is a hotel which is build each year with snow and ice from the local village, and is the world’s first hotel made completely from ice. I imagine it would be a phenomenal experience.
I would also love to get back to Bolivia to spend some time at the Palacio de Sal – a hotel built completely of salt in Uyuni on the world’s largest salt flats.
What are your preferred hotels?
We have a few different preferred hotel brands when traveling which included Doubletree by Hilton and anything by Marriott, though we love staying in Residence Inn by Marriott, as these are almost always at reasonable prices and the large apartment always comes with a full kitchen, free parking and great social evenings for guests.
The facilities at Residence Inn’s are amazing, fully self-catered, and Marriott has a great system of rewards which we utilize for free stays after having accumulated enough points.
And the hotels restaurants, which ones did you like?
As I mentioned above, because of Mike’s gluten intolerance, we rarely dine in hotel restaurants. We prefer to cook our own meals which generally saves a lot of money allowing us to travel for longer.
What is the hotel where you had the best sleep and you thought after that “I want to have this bed at home”?
Doubletree by Hilton Naples, Florida. The bedding was ultra-plush and it was the best night’s sleep we’ve had in a very long time! We didn’t end up enjoying the amazing pool on property because we were too comfortable in bed with a movie and a bottle of wine!
Hilton’s famous “Sweet Dreams” pillows are the best, however sadly I thought they would most likely notice if we attempted to steal the pillows for our trip home!
What are the services or specific consideration that you have especially enjoyed?
Kimpton hotels throughout the US are incredibly in touch with their guests needs, and provide the widest range of complimentary amenities I have ever seen a hotel brand include.
There is a playfulness in their approach to amenities – yoga mats included in every room, and plush leopard print bathrobes urging you to embrace your “wild side”. The inclusion of Nintendo’s in every suite. Kimpton have set a new standard for customer satisfaction!
In providing every comfort of home, their hotels are generally pet friendly, and those who choose to travel without their fury canine and feline friends can even opt in for a companion goldfish – part of the brand’s temporary pet program! Other unique offerings which we encountered specifically at the Hotel Monaco in Washington DC were guestrooms which have been specifically customized for tall people, featuring extra-long beds and high ceilings with heightened showerheads!
What is your preferred loyalty program for hotel brands and why?
Marriott – their points tend to go a lot further towards booking rooms than any other hotel brand, and we have recently signed up for the Marriott Rewards Credit Card which is a fantastic credit card offering great benefits and rewards including 2 free nights per year on top of the points you earn from your everyday purchases.