Indagare founder Melissa Biggs Bradley is one of the most seasoned globetrotters we know. Having traveled to over 100 different countries, this former editor of Town and Country Travel magazine is always ahead of the curve when it comes to unearthing genuine and unique adventures around the globe. Luckily for us, Melissa has agreed to share some of the tips she usually reserves for Indagare?s members -- including the fact that she only travels with a carry-on bag! Read more and shop the treasures Melissa has sourced on her far flung adventures.
You are one of the most well-traveled globetrotters we have ever profiled. Will you share three of your favorite travel spots and tell us why you chose them?
I love Africa, particularly east and southern Africa. I was lucky enough to go on safari for a month for the first time when I was twelve, and as they say, ?Africa gets in your blood.? When there, one cannot help but feel intensely alive and connected to nature and beauty. This year, I went back to South Africa and Botswana. Cape Town has a wonderful energy at the moment, and there are a lot of artisans who are making beautiful things that are simultaneously modern and traditional. In Botswana, you can get up close and personal with elephants. But the open plains of the Serengeti will be the place that I will always dream of returning to.
Paris is also one of my favorite places. I spent two years living in France when I was in high school and college. In some ways, Paris will always feel like home. Again, there is so much beauty everywhere you look, whether it?s a patisserie window, the manicured small parks, or the Haussmann buildings.
Finally, I love discovering places for the very first time. Last year, I went to the desert in Morocco near Ouarzazate, which was haunting and isolated in an extreme way. I was also blown away by Inhotim, the open-air museum in Brazil. This year, I hope to go to Ethiopia and Marfa, Texas, which would be firsts.
Can you share a few of your best packing tips with our readers?
I am a committed carry-on packer. I know how often bags get lost or delayed and don?t want my trips ruined, so I only go carry-on even if that means shipping ski clothes ahead. The key to carry-on is choosing a color palette for your basics and building around that. During fall, for instance, I may choose navy or grey -- I'll bring a pair of wool pants, a coat, and a dress in that color so that your shoes coordinate (you don?t want to pack more than two pairs because they take up space). Blouses, sweaters, jackets, and scarves (which don?t take up much room) add variety. In summer or spring, I would do the same with a lighter color palette, like camel or white. Fabrics that don?t wrinkle are key, and rolling them saves space. I also love LaFresh towelettes for make-up removal on the plane.
What do you never leave home without?
I always bring an extra foldable bag so I can buy things on a trip and have room to take them home. Of course, I also always have my iPhone for notes, photos, and email. I also love my foldable hat from Cambodia to avoid sun.
What are some of the favorite items you have purchased or been given while on a trip?
I have a great Persian carpet that I bought in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. I found it in a stall near the 13th century market square, and managed to roll it up and squeeze it into a duffel bag. It may have been the dustiest carpet my cleaner has ever seen, but it is beautiful! I love buying clothes like the silk scarves from Eric Raisina in Cambodia, and jewelry that reminds me of the place I from where I bought it. I have a wonderful ring from Istanbul that is shaped like a pasha?s turban. I discovered the necklaces of Parme Marin when I was in Morocco, and coincidentally, a friend gave me one and then introduced me to the designer in Paris.
What are some of your favorite shopping destinations around the globe?
My favorite places to shop are markets or boutiques that are unique to a destination. I love the hippy markets in Rio and in Ibiza and the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. I also love the souk in Fez and Marrakech. In Paris, I love Deyrolle and Merci. In London, I never miss going to Portobello Market or Connolly, Bamford, and Couture Lab. Madrid, Berlin, and Buenos Aires are cities with lots of great independent boutiques.
What lies ahead for Indagare - where are you headed next?
Indagare keeps growing. We were just named one of the fastest growing companies in the US by Inc. Magazine. Nevertheless, our mission remains the same: to help travelers make the most of their time away. We continue to add destinations and functionality on our website?we now have a bookings engine for hotels and flights with great mapping features. However, our team is still on the road vetting places every day because we want to give our personal recommendations. In the fall, I am headed to Bhutan and to Morocco with some of our members on Indagare Insider Trips. Both should be amazing adventures.