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: Food and Travel Journalist
Hometown: Hastings-on-Hudson, New York
Residence: Los Angeles, California
Facebook: Janice Wald Henderson
Short Bio: Culinary editor for CruiseMates; freelance food-and-travel contributor to Epicurious, Gourmet Live and Brides. Regular contributor to nationally syndicated XM Radio program, the “Blue Lifestyle.” Author of 2 cookbooks, been published more than 1,000 times, including CNN and “Today” show websites.
How often do you fly: At least once a month.
How many countries have you been to: 74, several many times over.
How many continents have you been to: Five – two to go!
Favorite American city: My hometown New York – I love the variety of ethnic dining choices.
Favorite international city: Paris, where I was introduced to cooking and fine dining at the age of 16.
Least favorite country: I have none; I can find the good in any culture and almost always, in any cuisine. (Although crocodile stew in South Africa was pushing it.)
Favorite World Heritage Site: A tie between Petra, Jordan and the Historic Centre of Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. The first, so dramatically evoking the past, allows your imagination to run wild. The latter is strongly, proudly, rooted in the past and yet so vibrant in its present. Salvador pulsates with energy and Bahian cuisine has gorgeous flavors.
Favorite airline: 3-way tie between Turkish Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific Airways.
Favorite aircraft type: Boeing 747 – upstairs. It feels like a private jet.
Aisle or window: Aisle girl – I can’t sit still and want the freedom to get up without disturbing others.
Favorite airport lounge: Turkish Airlines International CIA Lounge, Istanbul. It’s like a six-star hotel – so spacious, with a stunning design – and a library, billiards, music room and best of all, multiple toque-topped chefs at work. I would move in if they let me.
Favorite U.S. airport: At JFK, I’m a kid in a candy store, imagining myself
going to every exotic destination listed on the departure monitors.
Favorite international airport: London Heathrow, for food shopping. A slice of Balik salmon at Caviar House & Prunier Seafood Bar is a luxurious treat. And I always stop at Harrods for “extra jam blueberry preserve” to carry home. It’s all about blueberries; very little sugar.
Favorite hotel: The Peninsula Bangkok for the breakfast spread with a rocking Chao Praya river view; Park Hyatt Dubai for the Middle Eastern mezze bar at Café Arabesque; Luna Hotel Baglioni, Venice for lunch and it St. Marks locale – I need room for 8!
Favorite cruise line: Impossible question; each has different strengths. I particularly like Silversea for butlers and itineraries, Crystal for cuisine and service, Seabourn for those private whirlpools and pretty suites.
Favorite island: Bora Bora, where I got engaged in a hammock on the beach.
Favorite fancy restaurant: A tie: Spago Beverly Hills (closed for summer remodel) at home base; L’Europe at the Grand Hotel Europe in St. Petersburg, Russia. Its Russian cuisine, Old World service, palatial décor paired with live classical music whisk you back in time. Plus it’s romantic!
Favorite hole in the wall: Da Michele in Naples, Italy, pizza masters since 1870. The menu has but two choices; margherita or marinara. Both are swoon-worthy.
Favorite fruit: Banana, the ultimate mess-free travel pick-me-up. Counteracts the next category.
Favorite food: Bittersweet chocolate. Preferably 75%-and-up cacao. I’m convinced it’s health food.
Least favorite food: Eel. Need I explain why?
Drink of choice (In the air and on the ground): In the air, it’s room-temperature water to stay hydrated. On the ground, it’s champagne; Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé is my favorite bubbly.
Favorite travel movie(s): “The Accidental Tourist” and “Midnight in Paris.”
Favorite travel show(s): Repeats of Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations.”
Favorite travel book(s): Bill Bryson’s “A Walk in the Woods.” I laughed until I cried. Then I laughed some more.
Right now I am reading: “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn.
Five things you bring on a plane: Dark chocolate, witty chick lit, iPad, pashmina and sleep mask.
What do you always seem to forget: Nothing. I’m too Type A, addicted to lists and delighting in crossing items off.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport duty free store?: Peanut M&Ms, if the bags are printed in a foreign language.
Favorite travel iPhone app(s): Oanda Currency Converter. I stink at
math, plus it’s free.
Most embarrassing/worst travel moment: When I needed a restroom in the Egyptian desert. I couldn’t even find a tree, let alone a blade of grass, for modesty.
What’s your dream destination: Serengeti, during the wildebeest migration.
Favorite travel charity: Kiva.org. It empowers people around the world through loans. When repaid, you choose another borrower. It’s the gift that truly keeps on giving.
Favorite travel website(s) – besides JohnnyJet.com, of course!: My own. That’s a joke! Maybe if I stop traveling long enough to update it. One day…
Best travel tip: Be prepared to relinquish control the moment you exit your front door. So much of the adventure comes from what you did NOT plan, rather than what you did. Once you accept that the unexpected may occur and embrace it, you’re destined for a fantastic vacation. (Along those lines, scan your passport into your smartphone or laptop that you bring along.)