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: Catharine Hamm
Occupation: Travel editor
Hometown: Pick one: Syracuse, N.Y., McLean, Va., or Los Angeles
Residence: Greater Los Angeles
Website: L.A. Times
YouTube: If you want to see a most awesome video on how to fix a stiff next, go to “How to Fix a Stiff Neck” by Cat Hamm. OK, the video’s up there, about 4,000 people have seen it and it’s totally embarassing but it works.
Short Bio: Born into a family of storytellers who liked to travel. Have worked in news media all my professional life. These two things work well together if you’re a travel editor, which I have been for the last decade or so. I’ve also spent a lot of time in hard news and managing newsrooms until I decided that all the intrigue was not quite as fascinating as I once thought it was.
How often do you fly: About once a month in a good year. This has been one.
How many countries have you been to: 40 maybe?
How many continents have you been to: Five
Favorite American city: Los Angeles. No, really. I love it here. Even though it drives me crazy, it’s a short drive.
Favorite international city: Maybe Melbourne, Australia. Maybe London. Not Paris. Maybe Cuzco, Peru. Don’t make me choose.
Least favorite country: Ones that have ridiculous visa requirements and you know who you are.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello home. A flawed genius.
Favorite airline: That’s like asking “what is your favorite way to get poked in the eye—with glass or a needle?”
Favorite aircraft type: I liked the old DC9 because I could reach the overhead. Otherwise, count me in as a fan of the A330.
Aisle or window: Both.
Favorite airport lounge: Sala VIP, Quito, Ecuador
Favorite U.S. airport: Dulles
Favorite international airport: Heathrow because it’s so awful that what comes next can only be better and it always is.
Favorite hotel: Ritz-Carlon, Los Angeles
Favorite cruise line: Celebrity
Favorite island: Oahu
Favorite fancy restaurant: Murray Circle, Cavallo Point, Marin
Favorite hole in the wall: Socorro’s in Van Nuys, California
Favorite fruit: Grapes, solid or liquid
Favorite food: Cookies
Least favorite food: Durian
Drink of choice (In the air and on the ground): Milk
Favorite travel movie(s): I try not to watch them. It’s like an extension of the work day.
Favorite travel show(s): Ditto.
Favorite travel book(s): Ditto.
Right now I am reading: “Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath.” Also “Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen.” And Andrew McCarthy’s “The Longest Way Home.”
Five things you bring on a plane: Melatonin, hand lotion (in a 3 ounce bottle), ibuprofen, my Kindle and my laptop.
What do you always seem to forget: Emery boards
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport duty free store? Pearl Anythings.
Favorite travel iPhone app(s): SoCal Close-ups, of course!
Most embarrassing/worst travel moment: In Quito, when I needed to buy some new socks, and explained to the clerk that I needed socks. When she looked puzzled I said, en espanol, claro, “Like you wear on your feet.” Except I had asked for squid. You know, like you wear on your feet. My worst travel moment was learning that the LA Times was for sale when I was at the top of Machu Picchu and becoming violently ill two hours later. I do not know if these were related.
What’s your dream destination: Bora-Bora
Favorite travel website(s) – besides JohnnyJet.com, of course!: L.A. Times Travel
Best travel tip: You regret only the things you don’t buy, although I have always regretted the chiminea I bought in Tijuana because it got stuck in the back seat of my car and we had to go to the fire department to get it lifted out.
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