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: Judy Wells
Occupation: Travel writer/editor/blogger/photographer
Hometown: Jacksonville, FL
Residence: Jacksonville, FL
Facebook: I’m doing all of these as soon as I replace my dinosaur of an I phone.
Short Bio: Judy Wells spent 20 years as humor and society columnist; travel writer/photographer; food, film, visual and theater arts critic and senior feature writer for The Florida Times-Union. Her romance novels were published by New American Library.
A member of the Society of American Travel Writers, she now concentrates on travel, writing for regional and national publications and blogging, beginning with www.travelonthelevel.com and www.travelonthelevel.blogspot.com for those who prefer traveling with less strenuous walking and fewer stairs (the result of traveling on deteriorating knees and hip, since replaced).
Other blogs are Food Afar – Recipes from a Travel Writer, www.foodafar.blogspot.com, and www.WellsWorld.net, a site of tips and deals originally designed for fans of her monthly travel segment on WJCT-FM, an NPR station.
She keeps her cat, clothes, passport and suitcases in her hometown of Jacksonville, Florida.
How often do you fly: At least 8 to 12 times a year
How many countries have you been to: 43 and counting; I was a late bloomer.
How many continents have you been to: Depends on how you count them. North and South America 1 or 2? Do Fiji and New Zealand count as part of the Australian continent? I’ve been to both Americas and the two island groups along with Europe and Asia but haven’t set foot on Antarctica – yet.
Favorite American city: Seattle but really, whichever one I’m in
Favorite international city: Istanbul, Venice, Berlin
Least favorite country: What, and miss out on that press trip?
Favorite World Heritage Site: Petra
Favorite airline: Whichever one bumps me up to business or first class
Favorite aircraft type: The one with the most generous pitch between seats.
Aisle or window: Aisle
Favorite airport lounge: The one nearest my gate.
Favorite U.S. airport: Jacksonville, JAX; it’s not overwhelming, has hard-surface floors so my spinners zip along and is filled with art.
Favorite international airport: Used to be Schiphol but I’m leaning toward Auckland.
Favorite hotel: Any one situated in the middle of the action with good linens, free in-room wi-fi, a spacious shower, plush toiletries, a good bedside reading light and lots of hangers. Except for location, The Saxon in Johannesburg comes pretty close.
Favorite cruise line: Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 for crossings
Favorite island: North Island, New Zealand
Favorite fancy restaurant: Michael’s on East, Sarasota, FL in the U. S., Terroir in Hawke’s Bay, NZ abroad.
Favorite hole in the wall: Da Conch Shack on Grand Turk, Calmos Café, Grand Case, St. Martin
Favorite fruit: Figs, dates (though not technically a fruit), watermelon and mango
Favorite food: Dungeness crab or steamed Maine lobster
Least favorite food: cottage cheese and any organ meats
Drink of choice (In the air and on the ground) Champagne, gin martini (shaken), a dry, full-bodied red wine
Favorite travel movie(s): Lawrence of Arabia
Favorite travel show(s): Rick Steves and mine
Favorite travel book(s): anything by Freya Stark, Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody series, Paul Theroux
Right now I am reading: Orhan Pamuk’s “Museum of Innocence”
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines: Afar, Travel + Leisure, NG Traveler
Favorite travel website(s) – besides JohnnyJet.com, of course!: And aside from mine, have to admit if I went to any of them I’d never get any work done.
Five things you bring on a plane: Must-have meds including muscle relaxers and Aleve , a book, contact lens stuff, an inflatable horseshoe. a jacket
What do you always seem to forget: A vital cord to something.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport duty free store? Something silky, shiny or outrageously good to eat/drink.
Favorite travel iPhone app(s): Flashlight
Most embarrassing/worst travel moment: The night I spent in a Japanese bath/motel in Taipei. It was isolated, no one spoke anyone’s language, the room was dark and claustrophobic and after soaking in the tub there was nothing to do. Not quite the multicultural experience I had envisioned.
What’s your dream destination: Riding camel- or horseback with the Desert Patrol through Wadi Rum.
Favorite travel charity: Heifer Project
Best travel tip: Wherever you’re going, leave time to sit at a café and watch the people go by, to wander and get lost.