Want to know how to travel in style, just like the pros? We check in with frequent fliers on useful resources, favorite destinations and what they never leave home without.
Name: Hitha Palepu
Hometown: Richboro, PA
Residence: New York, NY
Short Bio: Hitha Palepu is a multi-passionate entrepreneur and writer. While traveling often in her role as VP of business development at SciDose, she launched the lifestyle blog Hitha On The Go and packing services firm Portavi Company. A seasoned traveler, Hitha received her first passport stamp at 6 months old and hasn’t stopped since. She previously worked as an account manager with Cisco Systems, and graduated from the University of Washington with degrees in chemistry and history. Hitha lives in New York City with her husband.
How often do you fly: I’m in an airport at least once a month
How many countries have you been to: 36
How many continents have you been to: 5 – Australia and Antarctica left to visit!
Favorite American city: I absolutely love living in New York, but New Orleans, Philadelphia, and San Francisco are my favorite cities to visit.
Favorite international city: Rome, Saint Petersburg, and Bangkok all have special places in my heart. Hyderabad is my second home and I’m lucky to travel there multiple times a year.
Least favorite country: I’ve found something to love in every country I’ve ever visited, but I wasn’t a huge fan of Frankfurt
Favorite World Heritage Site: The pyramids in Egypt and Ajanta & Ellora caves in India are two that particularly stand out to me.
Favorite airline: I predominantly fly United and don’t have too many issues with it, but I’m very much impressed with the service and amenities on Finn Air and Thai Airways.
Favorite aircraft type: A 777
Aisle or window: Window on short haul (7 hours or less), aisle on long haul
Favorite airport lounge: The United lounge in Tokyo-Narita. Sushi bar for the win!
Favorite U.S. airport: SFO
Favorite international airport: Both the Hyderabad and Helsinki airports are small by international standards, but perfectly organized and easy to navigate.
Favorite hotel: Alila Hada’ha in the Maldives – where my husband and I honeymooned. The Le Meridien in Koh Samui also stands out for its beautiful rooms and warm staff.
Favorite cruise line: Not much of a cruiser.
Favorite island: Manhattan, of course!
Favorite fancy restaurant: Jean Georges
Favorite hole in the wall: Capizzi – it’s a hidden gem tucked behind Port Authority. With a roaring brick oven and warm staff (and EPIC pizza), it’s one of my must-visits in NYC
Favorite fruit: Mango
Favorite food: I love most food, but Indian, Thai, Mexican, and Italian are standouts for me.
Least favorite food: German
Drink of choice (In the air and on the ground): Sparkling water and champagne. I love bubbles!
Favorite travel movie(s): Is Up In The Air too obvious of a choice?
Favorite travel show(s): Not a travel show per se, but I love Top Chef and look forward to the new location each season.
Favorite travel book(s): I’m on a massive Hemingway kick as of late and loved The Paris Wife and A Moveable Feast
Right now I am reading: Sugar Salt Fat, A Farewell To Arms, and Einstein’s Mistakes
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines: Gilt’s Jetsetter, Travel & Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler
Favorite travel website(s) – besides JohnnyJet.com, of course!: I’m partial to my own, of course, but also enjoy High Heeled Traveler, Jetsetter (there’s just something about the copy and photography of the website – I’m hooked), and Pinterest for scouring new vacation spots.
Five things you bring on a plane: Jack Black lipbalm, a warm scarf, fully charged iPad loaded with movies and books, noise canceling headphones, and moisturizer.
What do you always seem to forget: Plug adapters. I have 5 now, as I keep buying them from the airport.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport duty free store? If my husband were to restock my Estee Lauder favorites, I’d be a happy girl.
Favorite travel iPhone app(s): United’s app makes checking in and managing my account a breeze.
Most embarrassing travel moment: Speaking Telugu to a Spanish waitress while attending a trade show in Madrid – without realizing that I was speaking in it. Whoops.
Worst travel moment: Having to pay overage fees for our luggage during our honeymoon trip. In hindsight, it gave me the idea for Portavi, so I can’t complain about it too much!
What’s your dream destination: I’m dying to spend a month traveling through Australia and New Zealand.
Favorite travel charity: I’m continually impressed with the work that Doctors Without Borders does. If I had the stamina and intelligence to make it through medical school, I’d have liked to participate in their excellent program.
Best travel tip: Always carry small bills of local currency, a paper map, and a smile.