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.
Name: Tiffany Hawk
Occupation: Travel Writer, author of Love Me Anyway, a darkly funny novel about coming-of-age at 35,000 feet.
Hometown: San Diego
Residence: Washington, DC
Short Bio: Tiffany Hawk is a former flight attendant, travel writer, and the author of Love Me Anyway. Her essays and stories have appeared in such places as The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, CNN, National Geographic Traveler, and NPR’s “All Things Considered.”
How often do you fly: As a flight attendant it was near daily, and as a travel writer it was several times a month. But holy moly, my mileage has dropped off since having a baby last year. I’d guess I’ve only flown only about 10 times since he was born. I need to get back up there before I start getting the shakes! Hello, book tour.
How many countries have you been to: 22
How many continents have you been to: Four
Favorite American city: San Francisco
Favorite international city: Barcelona
Least favorite country: In all honesty I don’t have a least favorite place I’ve traveled, but Iraq and Afghanistan aren’t at the top of my must-visit list. Every time we speak of them in my house, it means my Air Force pilot husband is deploying again.
Favorite World Heritage Site: The Taj Mahal
Favorite airline: United. It’s an abusive relationship, for sure, but I think I’ll love good old UAL for a long, long time.
Favorite aircraft type: Commercially, the romance of the 747 endures, but nothing is more intense than flying 350 miles per hour while only 35 feet from another wide-body airplane for aerial refueling in a KC-10. Thank you Air Force Space-A travel.
Aisle or window: Aisle
Favorite airport lounge: This is turning into a Stand-By-Your-Man kind of interview, but seriously, I can’t say enough about the warmth and authentic hospitality of airport USOs.
Favorite U.S. airport: SFO. I was based there, and it still feels like home.
Favorite international airport: Heathrow. Ditto.
Favorite hotel: Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong
Do you unpack into the dresser/closet? Or live out of your suitcase? Suitcase. Old habits die hard.
Favorite cruise line: Crystal. I’m a nerd and love their educational bent.
Favorite island: Kauai
Favorite fancy restaurant: The most unforgettable “fancy” meal I’ve ever had was a chocolate-inspired tasting menu at Las Ventanas al Paraiso in Los Cabos.
Favorite hole in the wall: Rajdoot, a phenomenal little Indian joint in London’s South Bank.
Favorite food: Shrimp
Least favorite food: Pickles. I think I’d rather eat a freakish foreign delicacy or something from “Fear Factor.”
Favorite travel movie(s): “Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset,” together. Not that I have anything in common with a character who wrote a book about an old flame or anything.
Favorite travel show(s): “Globe Trekker”
Favorite travel book(s): An Italian Affair by Laura Fraser
Right now I am reading: Slow Motion by Dani Shapiro
Favorite travel website(s) – besides JohnnyJet.com, of course!: GloboMaestro, Wandermelon, Almost Fearless
Five things you bring on a plane: A book, sleeping mask, EarPlanes, White Noise App (for the hotel), and a bottle of water
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport duty free store? Local booze, of course. If you’re headed to Mexico, I’ll take one of those dazzling ceramic bottles of Clase Azul tequila please.
Favorite travel iPhone app(s): White Noise by TMSoft
Most embarrassing travel moment: When a button came off my flight attendant uniform, exposing my chest to the entire first class cabin. I don’t know who was more embarrassed, me or the 13-year-old boy sitting in front of me. I’m sure we both still remember it!
Favorite travel charity: Kids of Kilimanjaro
Best travel tip: Try the extreme off-season. Sometimes as a flight attendant, you end up in the right place at the absolute wrong time, like Beijing in the dead of winter when it’s so bitter cold that your eyelashes freeze and the soles of your shoes crack. That sounds dreadful – until you end up alone on the Great Wall of China, a place that’s normally shoulder-to-shoulder with shutter-clicking tourists. Imagine being there with one other person, miles and miles of ancient fortification winding its way across an otherwise barren landscape. The only thing you hear is the Siberian wind coming over the hills and your boots hitting the stone steps. You’ll be humbled by the magnitude of the fortress and the isolation of the guards who were posted along it. And believe me, you won’t wish it were summer.