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: Elyse Pasquale
Occupation: Culinary Adventurer (food and travel writer, web TV host)
Hometown: Valley Forge, PA
Residence: New York, NY and Castelmuzio, Italy
Bio: Elyse Pasquale, a.k.a. “Foodie International,” is a food and travel writer exploring the world through her tastebuds. She believes that food is living history and local cuisine is the key to understanding and experiencing new cultures. She’s traveled more than half a million miles to 65 countries on six continents. Elyse has contributed to Bon Appétit, The Huffington Post and amNewYork, appeared on National Geographic Radio, CNN International, The New York Daily News and on television programs worldwide. Elyse resides in New York City and Tuscany, Italy and is currently working on her upcoming book, “Off The Beaten Plate.
How often do you fly? It depends. I fly 100,000 miles/year on average. This summer I took some major ground time to work on my book. Normally, I’d say 4 flights/month.
How many countries have you been to? 65
How many continents have you been to? 6
Favorite American city: New York, of course!
Favorite international city: Tokyo, Japan.
Least favorite country: I can’t answer this! My least exciting trip was probably to Nicaragua, but I have nothing against the country!
Country with the meanest immigration officers: Canada.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Val d’Orcia, a beautiful Tuscan valley with iconic rolling hills, Cyprus trees and medieval hill towns.
Favorite airline: Continental (Yes, I know.)
Favorite aircraft type: Boeing 777.
Aisle or window: Window on short daytime hops (sightseeing) or red-eyes (extra “bed” room). Otherwise, aisle. Does anyone ever say, “middle?”
Favorite airport lounge: Emirates First Class Lounge at DXB and Turkish Airways lounge at IST (have you seen the “pide” flatbread station?)
Favorite U.S. airport: EWR. Really! I’m serious! I know the airport backwards and forwards, it’s only 22 minutes from New York by train, high ceilings, lots of light and every time I walk through the door I feel like I’m coming home.
Favorite international airport: NRT (Tokyo)—I love the conveyer belt sushi (kaiten zushi) near the observation deck of Terminal 1. I’m also a fan of Heathrow, mostly for the window-shopping.
Favorite hotel: I had a great time going solo at The London West Hollywood. Also I have a lot of love for Banks Mansion in Amsterdam because they offer a free minibar, free breakfast and host a wine and cheese social in the lobby every afternoon.
Do you unpack into the dresser/closet? Or live out of your suitcase? I normally unpack, because I use the “plastic bag” method to fit up to 2 weeks clothes & shoes into a 20” roll-aboard.
Favorite cruise line: I absolutely love Lindblad/National Geographic. I’ve taken several trips on the National Geographic Explorer and had the opportunity to eat in some off the beaten path places like Zanzibar, Senegal, Cape Verde and the Seychelles.
Favorite island: Manhattan!
Favorite beach: Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Arzac in San Sebastian, Spain.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Osteria Mamà in Montisi, Italy.
Favorite fruit: Mangosteen.
Favorite food: Cheese. I’ve been known to cry (with joy) over really good cheese. Then comes sea urchin, ikura, soft-cooked eggs, anchovies, pancetta…
Least favorite food: Cake. Ugh. That goes for cupcakes too. I’m not much of a dessert person in general, but cake is always a disappointment. Give me cheese instead, please!
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Air: Bloody Mary. Ground: coffee or sparkling water.
Favorite travel movie(s): The Terminal.
Favorite travel show(s): Bizarre Foods, The Amazing Race.
Favorite travel book(s): There’s a great food/travel compilation called “A Moveable Feast” from Lonely Planet. Andrew Zimmern’s book, “The Bizarre Truth” is pretty awesome too. Does “The Phantom Tollbooth” count?
Right now I am reading: “From Scratch: Inside the Food Network.”
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: Condé Nast Traveler, Afar, Travel + Leisure.
5 things you bring on a plane: Samsung Galaxy S4, Kindle Paperwhite, phone charger, pens (black Bic Atlantis, non gel) & Molskine hardcover notebook.
What do you always seem to forget? Makeup. It’s happened three times this year. It’s not something I really think about until I’m digging around for mascara and it’s not there.
What do you like least about travel? Saying goodbye.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport duty-free store? Thiery Mugler Angel body cream.
Favorite travel app(s): TripIt, Twitter (I get so much local info from Twitter, can’t imagine life without it), Google Maps.
Most embarrassing travel moment: If I told you, I’d have to kill you.
Worst travel moment: I wasn’t really “traveling” but last month my home in Italy was broken into while I was out pressing my olive oil. Nothing major was taken but the whole place was turned upside down and I had to call a carpenter to rebuild the (smashed-in) door. We were one of several area homes hit that week. People drive by and see you picking olives, then they wait until you take them for pressing to rob you. It’s a little unnerving.
What’s your dream destination? Everywhere I’ve never been! On the top of my list: Finland, Sweden, Hong Kong, Botswana, Zambia, Colombia, Chile.
Favorite travel charity: I support Friends of Fresh and Green Academy, a school for 150 impoverished children in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The not-for-profit organization is run by flight attendants who use their flight privileges to visit and bring supplies. I’ve visited the school in Ethiopia twice, and have gotten know the kids. They are in serious need of financial help because the land the school sits on is being sold. We’re trying to raise funds to purchase the land so the school can continue to feed and educate these amazing kids.
Best travel tip: I maintain that a combo of yogurt, hot sauce and local rotgut will keep your stomach straight in foreign lands. Don’t be afraid to eat street food—just use common sense judgment: if you can see it being made and lots of locals are eating it, chances are it’s safe.