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: Rita Anya Nara
Occupation: Freelance writer
Hometown: Sacramento, California
Residence: Citrus Heights, California
Facebook: Rita Anya Nara
Google+: Rita Anya Nara
Bio: I’ve traveled all over the world despite suffering from chronic anxiety and panic disorder. My popular travel guidebook, “The Anxious Traveler” (Amazon.com), empowers other nervous travelers—with a disorder or not—to make the journey “from armchair to plane seat.”
How often do you fly? 25-30 flights/year
How many countries have you been to? 41
How many continents have you been to? All seven!
Favorite American city: Seattle.
Favorite international city: Helsinki.
Least favorite country: I don’t believe in naming a least favorite country, but I had the most negative experiences with locals in…Latvia.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: Turkey…especially the short bald guy with the necklace in the cubicle closest to Duty Free.
Favorite World Heritage Site: The Acropolis in Athens.
Favorite airline: Air Canada.
Favorite aircraft type: Boeing 747-400.
Aisle or window: Window, on the right side.
Favorite airport lounge: I don’t do airport lounges, but I’d happily spend a day (and a night) at Copenhagen International (oh wait, I have).
Favorite U.S. airport: Chicago O’Hare.
Favorite international airport: Copenhagen, with Sheremetyevo (Moscow) a close second.
Favorite hotel: Hotel Moroccan House, Casablanca—looks and feels like the set of 1,001 Arabian Nights.
Favorite cruise line: Celebrity.
Favorite travel credit card: None, those things are dangerous!
Favorite island: Australia.
Favorite beach: Rambla, Montevideo, Uruguay.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Belvedere in Warsaw.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: The petrol station mini-mart across from the ferry landing in Tallinn, Estonia.
Favorite fruit: That syrupy fruit cocktail served at buffet breakfasts at 2½-star hotels across Europe because they’re too cheap to serve fresh fruit.
Favorite food: Cereal in a bag, the perfect travel munchie.
Least favorite food: Lamb, for ethical reasons.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Gatorade.
Favorite travel movie(s): Flight with Denzel Washington—not really a travel movie I guess, but always gets me psyched up to board a plane.
Favorite travel show(s): Rick Steves’ Europe.
Favorite travel book(s): DK “Top 10” City Guides.
Right now I am reading: 1. “The Silk Road” by the Discovery Channel authors, so I know where the heck to start in Kazakhstan next summer. 2. Micky Mouse comics in German.
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: National Geographic Traveler magazine; VacationstoGo magazine; Toemail (blog).
5 things you bring on a plane: Laptop, blanket, protein bars, Mack’s pillow-soft earplugs, and ten-language phrasebook.
What do you always seem to forget? All the addresses of the people I promised to mail postcards to.
What do you like least about travel? The lines.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport duty-free store? The most expensive, gorgeous chocolate-filled tin that I never have room for in my carry-on.
Favorite travel app(s): My fold-out paper map.
Most embarrassing travel moment: The bottom of my large roller bag literally busting open on the streets of Vilnius, Lithuania
Worst travel moment: Having to reschedule my whole trip to Japan right after the earthquake and tsunami hit, March 2011.
What’s your dream destination? Safari in central and southern Africa (still waiting for the right travel partner).
Favorite travel charity: I didn’t actually know there was such a thing as a travel charity! The SPCA gets most of my charitable donations.
Best travel tip: Travel NOW; don’t wait. We take for granted that we can move around freely, affordably, and enjoyably, without the threat of a major war, epidemic, or security problem. We never know what will happen in the future and how it could affect everything we love about journeying and discovering our world. Live for the present, and hope bravely for the future.