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: Alison Croyle
Occupation: Airline communications
Hometown: Plano, Texas
Residence: Kailua, Hawaii
College: University of Texas at Austin
College major: Public Relations
Website: HITravelista.com, a work-in-progress
Pinterest: Alison Croyle
Short bio: Alison has spent more than a decade in public relations for the aviation and travel industries and is currently the director of corporate communications for Hawaiian Airlines. When she’s not at work, she can be found taking photography, hiking in nature or discovering new live music.
Languages spoken: I’m a generalist. I’m only fluent in one, but I think learning a new language is one of the most enjoyable parts of traveling and experiencing new cultures. Rather than expect everyone will speak English, I try to learn native phrases to get by. As awkward as it feels to stumble over foreign words or resort to sign language, there’s something primal about standing in front of another human being to find common ground through communication.
How often do you fly? Two to three times a month.
How many countries have you been to? 40
How many continents have you been to? Six. Antarctica here I come!
Favorite American city: San Francisco.
Favorite international city: Dublin.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: Israel was the most intimidating country to enter. I wouldn’t necessarily say they’re mean, but they. Mean. Business.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Machu Picchu.
Favorite airline: Ahem…Hawaiian Airlines, of course!
Aisle or window: Aisle.
Favorite U.S. airport: PDX (Portland, Oregon).
Favorite international airport: SYD (Sydney).
Favorite hotel: Jade Mountain Resort in St. Lucia was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It’s the perfect mishmash of nature and luxury, like stepping into a Frank Lloyd Wright design. The hotel rooms are open-air, with no fourth wall and private in-room infinity pools overlooking the Piton Mountains. It’s also techno-free so you can enjoy being electronically untethered and get down to earth.
Favorite cruise line: I worked as a social hostess (bingo, anyone?) aboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s M/S Wind. They have a genuine interest in providing a great onboard experience. But, I also really like the amenities and activities on Royal Caribbean. In the end though, it’s all about the ports of call for me!
Favorite island: Barbados.
Favorite beach: Playa Manuel Antonio, Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: A visit to Austin is never complete without a stop at Tacodeli for a breakfast burrito with papas (puréed mashed potatoes) and Doña sauce.There’s barely standing room inside, but it’s right on the Greenbelt so you can also take a quick hike to Campbell’s Hole and enjoy a picnic by the water (if they’ve had some rain).
Favorite fruit: Cherimoya. It tastes like a creamy piña colada and I don’t know how I’ve lived so long without it. Yea, it’s that good.
Favorite food: Any food that packs a punch with sweetness. Thai curry with extra spice is a solid favorite.
Least favorite food: Shellfish. Blech.
Craziest thing you’ve eaten: Sweetbread. Don’t let the name fool you!
Favorite travel movie(s): French Kiss with Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline.
Favorite travel show(s): The Amazing Race.
Favorite travel book(s): “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert.
Right now I am reading: “The Bowl of Light” by Hank Wesselman.
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: National Geographic, AFAR, anything that incorporates beautiful travel photography.
5 things you bring on a plane: Chapstick; iPad; toothbrush; a good book; and a long-sleeved cover-up.
What do you always seem to forget? An international plug adapter. Like clockwork.
What do you like least about travel? Packing.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store?
Favorite travel app(s): Skype,TripAdvisor Offline City Guides, TripIt.
Most embarrassing travel moment: I was groggy-eyed and scrambling to find parking at JFK, just minutes from missing my flight. As I whipped my Jeep around the corner I found, to my relief, a full line of empty spaces right at the building’s entry near my gate. I thought: What luck to find all of these empty spots, all for me! Hmmmm. And they chose such an odd way to paint the lines. They’re so long. But without further thought, off I went. When I returned from my trip and headed towards the parking lot, my car was nowhere to be found. In its place was limo after limo, waiting to pick up their VIP guests. Apparently, there was a reason behind painting the parking lines so long. I was mortified to explain to the tow company that I was the one who had parked my little Jeep in the VIP limo lot.
What’s your dream destination: Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, South Africa, Greece, and, and, and….
Best travel tip: Leave room for spontaneity and be bold enough to travel without a packed itinerary; let the locals be your guide. And at least once in your life, experience what it’s like to travel solo without anyone’s agenda but your own. It’s great for introspection and self-discovery!