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: Cynthia Barker
Occupation: Events Manager, Public Relations Manager & Photographer. I also plan to dabble in some writing soon.
Hometown: Campbell River, BC, Canada
Residence: Whistler, BC, Canada
College: University of Victoria & British Columbia Institute of Technology
College major: B.A in Cultural Anthropology & a Diploma in Marketing with a Public Relations focus
Facebook: Cynthia Barker
Short bio: Growing up on Vancouver Island, Cynthia Barker was encouraged to be active and curious about the world from a young age. Ever since she can remember, she has been involved in mountain sports from skiing on Mount Washington to biking around her neighborhood to chasing waterfalls. Cynthia completed a B.A. in cultural anthropology and also received a diploma in marketing with a PR focus, which has led to her to a variety of jobs including working as an events manager, a flight attendant and a photographer. Cynthia is always looking for her next big adventure and most recently lived in Brazil to volunteer with the 2016 Rio Olympics where she spent her days indulging in caipirinhas and acai, while also taking up kiteboarding and beach tennis. She does her best to make meaningful connections with those she meets through her blunt honesty, vulnerability and charisma. Currently living in Whistler, when Cynthia’s not busy entertaining clients as a VIP Mountain Host at Gibbons, she enjoys taking photographs, writing and producing events. Most recently, you can catch her on this season of Bravo’s Timber Creek Lodge airing Mondays at 10 pm ET/PT.
How often do you fly? Flying has always been a central part of my life. I fly to 6-10 destinations a year.
How many countries have you been to? Approximately 25.
How many continents have you been to? I have been to six out of the seven continents.
Earliest travel memory: My earliest travel memory is flying around North American in my parents’ Cessna 182, turbo retractable 4-seater plane. My parents were both private pilots. One of my brothers is now a commercial pilot, I have started my private pilots license & I used to be a flight attendant.
Favorite American city: New York. It is so multicultural & you would never run out of Broadway shows to watch or hidden bars to explore!
Favorite international city: Rio de Janeiro.
Least favorite country: I have never been to a country where I didn’t like aspects of it!
I have no desire to go to: A country that would be very dangerous for me to travel to as a female.
Friendliest people in the world: Colombians. When I was visiting they showed me an incredible amount of hospitality. I received a ride from the airport into the city by someone I met on the plane, and taken out to lunch as well. Before anyone comments about this, I was traveling with my boyfriend at the time, so this Colombian was just being friendly!
Country with the meanest immigration officers: I have not had any issues getting in or out of a country—yet!
Favorite World Heritage Site: St Petersburg , Russia, Machu Picchu & Old Havana, Cuba.
Favorite airline: When I was a kid, it was Lufthansa. They gave out the best kids toys onboard!
Favorite aircraft type: 747—who doesn’t like riding anything double decker?
Aisle or window: Aisle! I need to stretch frequently & take bathroom breaks.
Favorite airport lounge: I rarely frequent airport lounges. When I was flying out of London my friend’s dad upgraded me to first class (the only time I have ever flown first class!), and then I had use of that lounge.
Favorite hotel: DoubleTree by Hilton. When you check in they give you warm cookies, and the rooms have embroidered pillows that say “DREAM” on them.
Favorite cruise line: A Celebrity Cruises trip through the Mediterranean is the only cruise I have ever been on, and it was a great experience! I remember participating in competitions in the pool & there being excellent food available at any time of the day! I think I gained 10 lbs on that 10-day trip!
Favorite travel credit card: TD First Class Visa because I get cash back. However, I am currently unhappy with TD VISA due to the fact that they tried to send me six VISA and bank cards to me in Brazil last summer, and not a single one was able to clear customs.
Favorite beach: Ipanema Beach in Rio, and every beach that is in Buzios, a city just outside of Rio. I have a pretty funny story involving a nude beach in Buzios, and how it got a little creepy, and how I had to leave.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Chambar in Vancouver, BC.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: There is a sushi restaurant in Vancouver, BC called Yamato Sushi. There are about five tables and bar seating and it doesn’t even serve alcohol, however the sushi is unbelievable and cheap!
Favorite bar: Delirium Tremens Cafe. It is a cafe/bar that serves beer from all over the world, despite the fact that it is named after the Belgium beer: Delirium Tremons.
Favorite fruit: Mango, or any fresh tropical fruit that I have never heard of before in a tropical country!
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Caipirinhas! They are very strong! As Anthony Bourdain says your reaction is when you have a 3rd one “Where’s my pants?”
Favorite travel show(s): Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown & VICE Travel.
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: VICE, National Geographic & Outside.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! Lonely Planet & the travel network.
5 things you bring on a plane: Earplugs, an extra sweater, change of underwear (you never know if they are going to lose your bag!), earphones, a magazine.
What do you always seem to forget? Enough snacks!
What do you like least about travel? Getting sick.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty-Free store? Bailey’s!
Most embarrassing travel moment: I don’t easily get embarrassed. Anything that is super embarrassing I am not going to admit to!
Worst travel moment: When I got mugged at knife point doing a small hike in Rio, Brazil. All of my credit cards & ID got stolen, along with my SLR camera, phone, Victoria’s Secret bikini, makeup, and new biking backpack. The story ended well, because although I got nothing back, I spent the day at the police station and made friends with some of the policemen, who I have remained friends with, including some of them coming skiing in Whistler, and taking me out in Rio the next trip I took down there!
What’s your dream destination? The Galapagos Islands and the Mendoza wine region.
Best travel tip: Expect travel plans & plans in a foreign city won’t go as planned. Embrace the differences in a foreign cultures, so that you do not get frustrated when things don’t go according to YOUR plan.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
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- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
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- Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.