Cover Star: Melissa Jones

Shopaholic Melissa Jones, of Althams Travel in Bury, had her eyes opened to a ‘great destination’ on the trip to Texas

Q: It’s been nearly a year since your trip to Texas with Cover Stars, how does it feel looking back on it now?
A: It feels like so long ago now. The trip was amazing, the perfect experience for me, I loved it. We packed so many cool things in while we were there. I would have never thought to go to Texas otherwise and it’s opened my eyes to a great destination.

Q: Have you sold much Texas since the trip?
A: Texas is a growing destination, so we don’t get a lot of people coming in and asking for it but if they are thinking about America I’ll definitely suggest it now. It’s a great state that has everything, which I didn’t realise before.

Q: You were lucky enough to be upgraded to business class. What was that like?
A: I’d never flown business class before so it was a great experience. The lie-flat seats mean you can sleep on a flight, something I’ve always struggled with. It makes the world of difference on a long-haul trip. The customer service on American Airlines was incredible. The Americans are the best at customer service, they were always there to serve drinks. The food was really nice as well. We flew back with British Airways and I remember there being a great selection of films on board and having the lie-flat bed meant I got a great night’s sleep.

Q: You’ll have needed a decent kip to prepare you for the jam-packed itinerary. What was Fort Worth like?
A: We had a brilliant first night at a great Mexican restaurant – Joe T Garcia’s. There was a great family atmosphere and I realised what a huge Mexican influence there is in Texas. Then we went to the rodeo which, although it wasn’t really my thing, is a must if you go to Texas.

Q: Tell us about where you stayed
A: We stayed at the Sheraton for two nights, which was my favourite hotel of the trip. We also stayed at the Gaylord Texan Resort in Grapevine, which I would definitely recommend to people travelling to Texas. It’s especially amazing at Christmas, which we saw when we went at the end of last year. I had a room with a balcony and when I looked out I could see the ice skating going on below.

Q: What did you like about Austin?
A: Austin is totally different from Fort Worth and really opened my eyes to all the things Texas has to offer. If someone in their 20s came into the shop and asked about a holiday to Texas I’d definitely suggest Austin. It’s a really modern city.

Q: Did you enjoy the shopping?
A: I’m a big shopper, so this was my perfect trip. I’m really into make-up and the Simon malls were really good for that, I found some Lancôme stuff that I’d wanted. I also bought a Michael Kors bag, which I was really happy with.

Q: What did you get for the shoot?
A: I found some lovely black French Connection heels, a black skirt and a dark maroon gilet, so I was really happy with the outfit.

Q: Where was the cover shot taken?
A: There was a lovely area of greenery at the mall where the shot was taken. I was nervous, but really happy with how the pictures came out. I would never have had photos like that taken had it not been for Cover Stars. It helped having the photographer with us throughout the trip, it made me feel more comfortable.

Melissa’s outfit

Dark and mysterious, Melissa looks runway ready with this sleek long-sleeved top and black knee-length pencil skirt from BCBG Maxazria. Statement hair and make-up, courtesy of Simon Shopping Destinations, complete her look.

Melissa’s look was created and shot at Simon property, Grand Prairie Premium Outlets, which has exceptional offers of 25%-65% off every day for the Greater Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Melissa’s sales tips

• Push business class: It’s hard to sell because of the cost but it makes all the difference on long-haul flights – you can sleep!
• Offer Austin: It’s different to your typical Texas, it’s really alternative.
• Go for Christmas at the Gaylord: Recommend an American Christmas trip, it’s great for families.

Melissa on…shopping

I love shopping, so this was a dream trip for me. Being from Manchester and working at a travel agency in Bury, I’m pretty close to the [intu] Trafford Centre. I love it there and go often but shopping malls in America are totally different. The Simon malls we went to were bigger – and the Trafford Centre is not small.

You also find different things there than you would in the UK, and there are often a lot of offers on so you can get some bargains. It’s generally cheaper over there than it is here as well, especially on the big American brands.

Want to be a Travel Weekly Cover Star? There’s still time to!

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