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Happy New Year! And welcome to the first issue of the JetSetLetter – something I’ve been thinking about doing for more than a year! I love staying in touch on social media but I figured it was finally time to connect on my own terms, minus the
fickle algorithms of Insta, LinkedIn  and Facebook. I hope you’ll enjoy this roundup of articles I’m reading; things I’m buying; people I’m meeting; and – of course – stuff I’m writing. I’d love to hear about what you’re into right now, too. So feel free to email me at jetsetsarahgg@gmail.com.

As you can imagine, 2020 was a tough year to be a travel writer. I returned from my last pre-pandemic trip on March 10 and spent the next eight months anxiously cooling my heels at home. But as we waited for the world to reopen, I continued to share Caribbean content so we’d all be reminded of what was waiting for us on the other side. And once the region’s tourism restarted, I was busy discussing the islands’ diverse, ever-changing (and very necessary!) entry protocols on various podcasts and radio shows

I was thrilled to make my Jamaican TV debut on the morning show “Smile Jamaica,” where I shared my thoughts on the future of Caribbean travel. And in November I took my first tentative steps back to work in Grenada, where, thankfully, they’ve had no COVID deaths to date. I wrote about the island’s new travel requirements for Islands and shared my five-day resort quarantine experience with the readers of Condé Nast Traveler. My final trip of the year was to the Bahamas, on assignment for The Points Guy and Travel + Leisure. I spent four days on Andros (the archipelago’s largest yet least-populated island), checking out Caerula Mar. It’s a small boutique hotel on a largely deserted beach that just might be the perfect place for you if you’re looking for some sand, sea and social distancing under the sun. And In between all this, I was quoted in outlets including National Geographic, Forbes and The Guardian

As for 2021... well, like you, I’m rolling with the punches. For Conde Nast Traveler, I was honored to write a remembrance of my former boss Butch Stewart, the tourism titan who founded Sandals Resorts and died this month. On the upside, I made my debut in Afar, sharing my mixed emotions about traveling during a pandemic. As always, it was a pleasure to share my favorite region with the world. And to remind everyone why now, more than ever, life needs the Caribbean. 

If you’re Caribbean-bound this year (and I really hope you are!) you’ll definitely want to pack my newest carry-on essential. The fibers of each Shoo For Good wrap are tightly bound with an insect repellant (which lasts through 70 washes) to shield you from mosquitoes, sandflies and noseeums. Just toss it over your shoulders or sling it around your hips and you’ll be blissfully bug-free – even if you make the rookie mistake of being out and about unprotected at dawn and dusk. I road-tested the wrap on a recent trip to Andros in the Bahamas, where the sandflies were doing the MOST! And I’m happy to report that the scarf really worked. Starting at $140, it’s money well spent. (Want to see more of my style and shopping finds? Follow me on Insta at JetSetShops.)

With the vaccine here (hooray!) we’re finally daring to dream of where we might go when the world opens up. In this piece from Afar, I’m inspired by my fellow writers and friends to visit places as disparate as Mexico City, New Orleans and Tibet. And Heather Greenwood Davis’ audio remembrance of her trip to Ghana makes me want to book a flight to Accra, stat! 

Of course, the Caribbean is also on my list – and I’m not alone. I polled fellow travel industry peeps to get the scoop on the Caribbean destinations they’ll visit post-pandemic. Their choices are guaranteed to inspire an island idyll of your own. 

Of necessity, travel will look different in 2021. We’ll still be wearing masks and social distancing, and, according to this article, the resort experience will change, too. However, we WILL travel again, I believe with clearer intention; with more consideration for the people in the places we visit; and for longer periods of time. We’ll book those bucket-list trips and we’ll see new places with old friends. Because if there’s anything 2020 has taught us, it’s that when we have the opportunity to travel safely, we should seize it!

I call her the Mayor of Anguilla because my friend Trudy Nixon seems to know everyone on the island. You can call her the editor and publisher of island guide True Anguilla and writer of the brand-new beach read Endless Turquoise

It’s a story about two women who visit the Caribbean island of Zephyr (which bears more than a passing resemblance to Anguilla) and get so much more than they bargained for. And, because you’re a JetSetLetter subscriber, for the next 24 hours (until 9 a.m. ET on January 16) you can buy the paperback for $9.99 (MSRP $14.99) or the Kindle edition for just 99 cents (MSRP $2.99). 

I caught up with Trudy to get her Top Three island picks, so you can enjoy one of my favorite islands like a local. 

Trudy’s Top Three

Beaches

  1. At Mead’s Bay, I swim from Malliouhana’s cove to Tranquillity Beach Resort and watch the beach action unfold.
  2. I walk from one end of Rendezvous Bay to the other on its gently shelving shores, then cool off with a swim and a rum punch at Coconuts Beach Bar or Garvey’s Sunshine Shack.
  3. For tanning and liming till sunset, I go to Shoal Bay East, where the sea is the most incredible turquoise and the sand is like icing sugar.

Resorts

  1. The Four Seasons has a gorgeous Sunset Lounge which gives me the excuse to get dressed up and enjoy cocktails and live local entertainment.
  2. Shoal Bay Villas is a comfortable, relaxed, ‘never want to leave’ family-run property directly on Shoal Bay East.
  3. Altamer Resort is the ultimate luxury, offering all the services and amenities of a boutique hotel for your personal pleasure.

Restaurants

  1. Straw Hat has the yummiest breakfast menu with the best ocean view.
  2. Jacala is my lunch pick, with French food, immaculate service and loungers to snooze off your indulgence.
  3. Artisan is a great dinner spot for authentic Neapolitan pizza, delicious local seafood specials and home-made gelato.
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JetSetSarah · PO Box 370563 · Miami, Fl 33137 · USA

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