By Jae-Ha Kim, Tribune Media Services
Celebrity Travel by Jae-Ha Kim
9:30 AM EDT, September 30, 2013
When television audiences met Kendra Wilkinson-Baskett, she was presented as one of Hugh Hefner's girlfriends on "Girls Next Door." Now married to wide receiver Hank Baskett, the 27-year-old California native is a mom, author ("Sliding into Home," "Being Kendra") and star of her own reality series, WE tv's "Kendra On Top." An avid traveler who enjoys active vacations, the TV personality says one city stands out: Seattle. "Hank proposed to me there," she says."Seattle will always be special to me." Fans may follow Wilkinson-Baskett on Twitter (at)KendraWilkinson.
Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
A. Hawaii, because the people are so nice, the food is great and we get to have a relaxing vacation while still doing a lot of fun water sports. I like places that have the best of both worlds -- places where you can kick back and relax, and where you can also get out and see the sights.
Q. To someone who was going there for the first time, what would you recommend that they do during their visit?
A. Hang ten! Anything outdoors really, like whale watching, hiking, going to the beach. There is so much beauty in Hawaii that you should just get outside and see it all.
Q. What untapped destination should people know about?
A. Whistler, Canada. I'm not sure if it really counts as untapped, but it was somewhere I had never been and it was absolutely breathtaking. It was also so romantic! My husband and I will definitely be going back there.
Q. What was the first trip you took as a child?
A. We went to Yosemite, Calif. I had a great time, because it is everything I like: the outdoors, nature, hiking; it was a lot of fun.
Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
A. Rancho Palos Verdes outside of Los Angeles is one of my favorites. It is so close to where we live, but when you're there you feel like you're a world away. San Diego is another one that is great for us for a weekend. Again, it is somewhat close to where we live but it's a totally different place. Las Vegas is, of course, an all-time favorite. It's a 45-minute flight for me and my friends. It's a quick and easy getaway where we always have a blast.
Q. How do your travels differ depending on whether you're working or taking a vacation?
A. When I'm traveling, I like to really do all the local things and experience where I am. I was just in Nashville for work, but when I had time off I made it fun and toured the city. I went to famous local restaurants and even line danced. When I'm on vacation I just want to relax. I will totally get out and try to experience the culture as well. But my main focus is just to get away and relax. Who I'm traveling with also changes everything.
Q. What are your favorite hotels?
A. Loews Coronado Bay (http://www.loewshotels.com/Coronado-Bay-Resort) in Coronado, Calif., is gorgeous. We stay there all the time. Le Blanc Spa Resort (http://www.leblancsparesort.com/) in Cancun is another favorite of ours. The Edgewater Hotel (http://www.edgewaterhotel.com/) in Seattle is where Hank and I went back to celebrate our anniversary. Montage Beverly Hills (http://www.montagebeverlyhills.com/) is my favorite local spot.
Q. What are your five favorite cities?
A. San Diego definitely, because it's where I'm from and it will always be home. Los Angeles, because that is where I call home now and where my family and I live. I was just in Nashville recently and it quickly became one of my favorite cities. The people there were awesome and I loved the country vibe. Indianapolis will always have a special place in my heart, because it is where I was pregnant and where I had my son. I met so many amazing people there and even though it had some cold winters, it was absolutely beautiful. Miami is another one of my favorites because it is the perfect place for a getaway with your friends. If you want to just go to the beach and relax, it is perfect. But it's also perfect to party and let loose. There really is no place like Miami.
Q. Where have you traveled to that most reminded you of home?
A. Hawaii actually reminded me a lot of home. The people were laidback and outdoorsy -- a bunch of surfers! It's a total breath of fresh air that reminded me of San Diego a lot.
Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?
A. Tahiti! It looks gorgeous! The water looks so clear, the scenery looks amazing and it seems so relaxing! I'm such a beachy, tropical girl so I think it would be the perfect place!
Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A. Sunscreen, bikini, beach bag, an umbrella, sunglasses. ... Also, all my own bath stuff like shampoo, conditioner and bath soap. I can't use hotel items for some reason!
Q. What would be your dream trip?
A. A long and somewhat relaxing tour of Europe. I've done a tour of Europe before, but it wasn't too relaxing. I would want to really spend time in each city to get to experience it. I don't like having to leave a city after a day or two. I want to see everything, if I'm there.
Q. What are your favorite restaurants?
A. Mastro's (http://www.mastrosrestaurants.com/) steakhouse is one of my all-time favorites. My husband and I go there all the time. We're totally regulars there. It has amazing food and the best side dishes ever! Chickie's and Pete's (http://www.chickiesandpetes.com/) in Philly is another one of my favorites. They are famous for the crab fries and I love their cheese steaks. You can't find one like it anywhere! When we were living in Philly, it was a staple for us. STK (http://www.stkhouse.com/) is another steakhouse I love. I love a good steak and Los Angeles has some amazing steak houses.
Q. What is your guilty pleasure when you're on the road?
A. Airplane snacks and snacks from the mini-bar in hotel rooms. I'm a snacker, so I am all over anything in the mini-bar that is snacks! The best part of staying at hotels for me is seeing what's in the mini-bar.
Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?
A. I like to see what is in the surrounding areas and not just the main city we are going to. Sometimes the coolest places are outside of the bigger city. I also research to make sure it has stuff that is kid-friendly for my son.
(Jae-Ha Kim is a New York Times bestselling author and travel writer. You can respond to this column by visiting her website at http://www.jaehakim.com. You may also follow "Go Away With..." on Twitter at @GoAwayWithJae where Jae-Ha Kim welcomes your questions and comments.)
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