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: Monica Suma
Occupation: Travel Blogger & Gogobot Ambassador
Hometown: Bucharest, Romania
Residence: New York, NY
College major: Film & Media Studies
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Short bio: Romanian by birth, but a New Yorker at heart, there is nothing Monica enjoys more than traveling and exploring other cultures. What initially started as a journalism career at some of the media greats—MTV and CBS News—transcended into a freelance travel writing adventure. She is now a travel blogger and Gogobot Ambassador. She’s the author of Whimsical Tales of Travel, a blog she started as a way to document her love for arts & culture around the world, boutique hotels and NYC gems. When she’s not traveling, she’s at home in NYC writing or spending entirely too many hours on social media for some of her favorite travel companies.
How often do you fly? Every other month.
How many countries have you been to? 25
How many continents have you been to? 4
Favorite American city: New York City, San Francisco.
Favorite international city: Shanghai, Istanbul, Madrid.
Least favorite country: Don’t have one yet.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: I was negatively surprised by the ones in Turks & Caicos.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Sighisoara in Romania, Swiss Alps, Alhambra in Granada, Forbidden City and West Lake in China.
Favorite airline: So far Swiss Air and Lufthansa. Looking forward to fly with Singapore, Qantas, Etihad and Emirates. Pretty sure I’ll like these way more.
Favorite aircraft type: Don’t have one.
Aisle or window: Window.
Favorite airport lounge: Haven’t seen too many, but so far United Club. Porter Airlines was also a very positive surprise.
Favorite U.S. airport: Chicago O’Hare.
Favorite international airport: Schipol (Amsterdam), Beijing. I have a feeling I will really like Changi Airport in Singapore.
Favorite hotel: The Fairmont in San Francisco and Hotel Urban in Madrid.
Favorite cruise line: Only went on one cruise with MSC and can’t say I enjoyed it.
Favorite travel credit card: United Mileage Plus Explorer.
Favorite island: Sri Lanka.
Favorite beach: Grace Bay Beach in Turks & Caicos. Pure heaven!
Favorite fancy restaurant: Not a big fan of fancy restaurants, more like chic, cozy restaurants with amazing design. Aria Wine Bar in NYC is a recent favorite.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: So many I can think of around Asia, but not sure some of them even had names. I was recently wowed however by Crepes Canaveral from Brittany on St Mark’s Place in New York; literally a French guy popping out from this hole-in-the-wall, making the greatest crepes I’ve ever had.
Favorite fruit: Apple. But generally, any from Romania. Fruits are so tasty there!
Favorite food: Soup of any kind. My mother’s Romanian cooking. Pickles. Salty flavors. Also love Asian, Peruvian and Italian.
Least favorite food: Ginger, meatballs, fried foods, not a big fan of sweets either (I know, I must be an alien).
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Red wine, prosecco, frozen daiquiri.
Favorite travel movie(s): Into the Wild, Under the Tuscan Sun, Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Also a big fan of foreign, independent movies: Asian, Spanish, French and Romanian.
Favorite travel show(s): House Hunters International, Globe Trekker and food shows that film internationally.
Favorite travel book(s): So hard to pick one but was really touched by photographer Alison Wright’s incredible survival story while traveling: Learning to Breathe.
Right now I am reading: Matt Gross’ The Turks that Loved Apples.
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: AFAR, Matador Network, The Culture-ist.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! Legal Nomads (the soup! Need I say more?!), Travel with Castle (for the inspirational writing style), Ott’s World (for the photography), C’est Christine (for the writing style and Instagram snapshots).
5 things you bring on a plane: Magazines, laptop, iPhone, headphones, camera & all my chargers. Wouldn’t want to lose or misplace any of these.
What do you always seem to forget? The practical stuff, like a headrest pillow or a sleeping pill.
What do you like least about travel? Jet lag and missing people I love.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport duty free store? A traditional item to remind me of that specific place, be it a ceramic plate, jewelry, something to eat etc.
Favorite travel app(s): Skype, Gogobot, Instagram, Foursquare, Vine, Kayak, Yelp.
Most embarrassing travel moment: When I got lost from my group (twice) in Italy, many years ago, once in Assisi and the other time in Rome, because I was too wrapped up taking pictures. Happened to me again this year, same country, just this time in some dark, spooky prison hallways in Venice. Also, missing flights a few times is never fun either!
Worst travel moment: When I realized my wallet and passport had gotten stolen.
What’s your dream destination: Brazil, Southeast Asia, and Morocco. Hoping to get there soon!
Favorite travel charity: Cross Cultural Solutions. It’s not quite a charity organization, more like volunteering.
Best travel tip: Best way to experience a new culture? Ask the locals. Don’t be afraid to reach out, the best travel adventures happen when nothing is planned. I can attest to that.