Want to know how to travel in style, just like the pros? We check in with frequent fliers to find out how often they fly, their favorite destinations and what they never leave home without.
Occupation: Travel Journalist
Residence: Suburban Chicago
Short Bio: During more than 30 years as a travel writer and editor, I have visited, researched and photographed destinations in more than 75 countries and more than 40 U.S. states and I’ve taken cruises across the globe. My travel experiences span all seven continents, including close encounters with penguins and leopard seals in Antarctica, lions in Tanzania and tortoises in the Galapagos Islands. I’m a member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and Midwest Travel Writers Association (MTWA) and have won numerous awards, including SATW’s highest award named for author and intrepid traveler Lowell Thomas. When I travel, I do more than look at the sights. I learn about the history and culture of the destination and get to know the people. My favorite way to explore a city is on foot, poking about in shops, walking through the parks and along the streets, taking in the architecture and historic sites and stopping for a coffee or glass of wine at a neighborhood cafe. When I’m in the countryside or at the beach, I like to be active snorkeling, boating, hiking and biking. There are more countries to see and cruises to take. I’m always ready to pack up my camera, my notebook and my laptop and share my experiences.
How often do you fly: About 6 times a year, but I’m also big on road trips in the U.S.
How many countries have you been to: More than 75
How many continents have you been to: 7
Favorite American cities: Chicago, San Antonio, San Diego
Favorite international cities: Paris, Florence
Least favorite country: Bahamas
Favorite World Heritage Site: Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet
Favorite airline: Singapore Airlines
Aisle or window: Window; I like to get “the lay of the land” in a destination before I land. Been looking out the window since my first car trip as a kid and my curiosity is never quenched.
Favorite airport lounge: Iberia lounge, Madrid
Favorite international airport: Shannon, Ireland. Love those duty-free shops and Irish coffee.
Favorite island: Bora Bora
Favorite fancy restaurant: Dining room at Les Crayeres, Reims, France. Culinary high art in the heart of Champagne country.
Favorite hole in the wall: Arthur Bryant’s, Kansas City, Mo. Love that BBQ!
Favorite fruit: Mango
Favorite food: Fresh salmon in Norway; almost any cheese in France.
Least favorite food: I’ll try anything—once.
Drink of choice (In the air and on the ground): Martini, a bold red wine, Champagne
Favorite travel show(s): The Amazing Race
Favorite travel book(s): Almost anything by Bill Bryson, but especially “In a Sunburned Country” and “A Walk in the Woods.”
Favorite travel website(s) – besides JohnnyJet.com, of course!: Buckettripper.com
Five things you bring on a plane: Reading material (Kindle/The Week magazine), noise-canceling headphones, notebook, laptop, and a camera.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport duty free store? Who could say no to an hermes scarf?
Most embarrassing/worst travel moment: Being smacked in the face by my own wet underwear. An explanation: Luggage delayed, washed underwear in sink but it was not dry the next morning so I hung it on a ceiling fan in my room in St. Vincent and turned the fan on. Not pretty.
What’s your dream destination: Bhutan
Favorite travel charities: 1. The SATW Foundation, which promotes travel journalism through an annual writing competition. 2. Kiva, while not really a travel charity, supports people living in destinations travelers visit by providing microloans that help them succeed in business.
Best travel tip: Find opportunities to interact with locals. Take public transportation or walk; frequent cafes and bars where locals, not just tourists, hang out. Get into the culture by sampling local foods, music, art.