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: Caroline MacDonald
Occupation: Chief Marketing Officer, Auberge Resorts
Hometown: Born in St. Louis and then moved to San Diego in grade school
Residence: Beverly Hills, CA
College: Pepperdine University, Graziadio School of Business, Malibu, CA
College major: MBA
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Short bio: As Chief Marketing Officer at Auberge Resorts, Caroline MacDonald is responsible for all domestic and international sales, marketing, branding and public relations efforts for Auberge Resorts’ collection of luxury properties: Napa Valley’s Auberge du Soleil and Calistoga Ranch; Esperanza in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; Hotel Jerome in Aspen, Colo.; and Malliouhana in Anguilla, with several others under development.
Prior to joining Auberge Resorts, she held the position of Vice President of Sales & Marketing for the Pinehurst Company responsible for The Palmilla Resort in Los Cabos, Mexico. She spent seven years with Carefree Resorts as Director of Sales & Marketing at the Carmel Valley Ranch. MacDonald began in sales at the DoubleTree/Canadian Pacific Hotels in Monterey, California. Prior to her hospitality career, Caroline was a Staff Sergeant in the United States Air Force, working in Systems Management while stationed in Europe. During peacetime, she wrote computer programs and managed personnel data. During wartime, her position was NBC (Nuclear, Biological and Chemical) Cell Plotter. She is a graduate of Pepperdine University Graziadio School of Business and holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration. MacDonald volunteers for Chrysalis, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a pathway to self-sufficiency for homeless and low-income individuals.
How often do you fly? 4+ times a month.
How many countries have you been to? 26
How many continents have you been to? Four.
Earliest travel memory: Heading to Florida from Missouri in my family’s station wagon and staying at a Howard Johnson. They had a swimming pool and diving board and I remember thinking how luxurious it felt. My younger brother and I loved riding in the elevator up to our room.
Favorite American city: The energy of New York is exhilarating, but I love Los Angeles.
Favorite international city: Buenos Aires, it has a Parisian feel complemented by the warmth and graciousness of the Latin culture.
Least favorite country: Still searching…
Friendliest people in the world: Thai hands down.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: China.
Favorite airline: Southwest/Virgin I’m not a complicated Traveler.
Aisle or window: Aisle for short flights, window for long hauls.
Favorite airport lounge: Virgin at London Heathrow.
Favorite U.S. airport: San Francisco.
Favorite international airport: London Heathrow.
Favorite hotel: I’m in the hotel business so that’s a difficult one…I’m definitely biased. The Villa d’Este is a favorite. I like the Lowell in NY, the Berkley in London, the Bristol in Paris and The Peninsula in Los Angeles.
Favorite cruise line: I’m afraid to say I haven’t gone on one… I’m fearful about feeling trapped in one place for too long, like to mix things up. (Unfortunately I am not too seaworthy.)
Favorite travel credit card: AmEx Platinum of course—the perks are amazing.
Favorite island: Capri, the culture and style really resonate with me. I love the way Italians enjoy life.
Favorite beach: Turtle beach on the island of Anguilla it’s a beautiful private beach at the iconic Malliouhana Resort.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Auberge du Soleil in Napa Valley.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Puntos Cabras Tacos in Santa Monica, the cauliflower tostadas are incredible.
Favorite bar: J-Bar at Hotel Jerome in Aspen, Colorado.
Favorite fruit: Apples, I eat one every day.
Favorite food: I prefer to eat a plant-based diet…
Least favorite food: Anything with meat.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): In the air it’s water and green tea….green tea is my staple however I can be coerced if they’re serving a nice Bordeaux or Napa Valley Cabernet.
Right now I am reading: “Uprising” by Erwin McManus and “Leading Change” by John P. Kotter.
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: Departures, Andrew Harpers Hideaway and AFAR are all great resources and make you dream about your next vacation spot.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! I mix it up…Andrew Harpers, Relais Chateaux and Trip Advisor.
5 things you bring on a plane: Lots of snacks, T-Leaves jasmine green tea bags, headphones by Beats, MacBook Air and Aquafor.
What do you always seem to forget? Nothing I’m super organized.
What do you like least about travel? Standing in line.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? I load up on magazines, not sure why but tabloids always seems acceptable when you are heading out on a long flight.
Most embarrassing travel moment: Hopefully my luck will not change but so far, so good…I feel like I have great travel karma.
Worst travel moment: Heading to Brazil only to find out I needed a visa leaving me stranded in Atlanta Airport terminal without my luggage overnight. Finally found my luggage at 10 am and decided to skip Brazil and headed to Buenos Aires two days ahead of schedule so it wasn’t so bad.
What’s your dream destination? Mwiba in Tanzania is on the top of my list.
Favorite travel charity: Whole World Water.
Best travel tip: Never check your bag…and get to the airport early.
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