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: Edwina Elizabeth O’Connor
Occupation: Travel & Lifestyle Blogger and Freelance Writer
Hometown: Athy, Co. Kildare, Ireland
Residence: After 20 years away, I’m back in Athy!
College: My Bachelor of Science is in Fashion Management and Design and I was awarded it from The Manchester Metropolitan University through a four year degree at The Belfast Metropolitan College. I returned to college in Dublin many moons later to achieve a Certificate in Business Studies and also gain an ECDL. I’ve also got a Diploma in Online, Internet and Digital Marketing and a Certificate in Project Management. I’ve also got a Doctorate in a lesson called life…har har!
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Short bio: I’m an award-winning blogger and a freelance writer. My blog The Life of Stuff celebrates Irish pop culture, travel and lifestyle. I’ve travelled to 33 countries so far, and write about international destinations but the biggest focus on The Life of Stuff is travel and places within Ireland.
How often do you fly? I’m a “new-ish” mom to two beautiful boys, Smith was born in March 2015 and Cassidy was born in April 2017. So I have to say my flying hasn’t been as frequent in recent years. That said, excluding the Island of Ireland, since Smith was born I have flown to four countries in Europe staying in seven different towns and cities and exploring even more.
How many countries have you been to? 33 countries so far.
How many continents have you been to? Five.
Earliest travel memory: My family didn’t travel abroad when I was a child but we did travel the length and breath of Ireland visiting and staying with family throughout my summer holidays from school. However it was my mother’s travel photo’s of South Africa and the Dominican Republic that really opened my mind to wonder of travel and the world.
Favorite American city: New York City…so far, but I do want to explore more.
Favorite international city: I’ll be biased and say Dublin because I find it hard to choose. I’ve fallen for Paris, Madrid and Berlin in Europe, the bright lights of Tokyo, the colours of Varanasi, the futuristic-ness of Singapore, the bicycles of Beijing…the list goes on.
Least favorite country: I can’t say I have one.
I have no desire to go to: Anywhere that it’s advised unsafe to travel to.
Friendliest people in the world: Apart from the Irish, I’ve had a great experience with the people of India.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: Probably the Australian from my experience but they just do their job.
Favorite World Heritage Site: “Natural” is Ha Long Bay. “Cultural” is Angkor.
Favorite airline: Disappointed to say that I don’t have a preferred preference—it depends where I’m flying to.
Favorite aircraft type: The one with the most leg room.
Aisle or window: Window.
Favorite hotel: For my overall experience – Auberge de Noves, Noves, France.
Favorite cruise line: Haven’t been on one!
Favorite island: I’d love to return to Jeju Island, South Korea during the summer months.
Favorite beach: I have very happy memories of staying in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, where I had at least seven or eight beaches to choose from, each offering a different quality but each a stones throw away by scooter. This was back in 2004 and even then you could see “developments” taking place. I’d like to believe that apart from the odd hotel the beauty of the place remains, and the friendliness of its people.
Favorite National Park: Milford Sound in New Zealand was stunning.
Favorite fancy restaurant: We are spoilt for choice here in Ireland, however a restaurant that stands out in my mind right now because of my experience is The River Cafe in Brooklyn, New York.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: The bar, that was literally a hole in the wall that had around eight stools that opened right out onto the streets of Tokyo and served Guinness.
Favorite fruit: A fresh crunchy RED delicious apple.
Favorite food: Korean.
Least favorite food: I didn’t gel with Vietnamese food.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): I rarely drink in the air, but if I do it’d probably be a G&T. On the ground, it all depends on the grape or grain available.
Favorite travel movie(s): Some favourites based on travel are: Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Into the Wild, Easy Rider, Little Miss Sunshine.
Favorite travel show(s): Anything with Michael Palin.
Favorite travel book(s): Probably “On the Road” and “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”
Right now I am reading: The next question :)
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: I hop skip and jump between all three, and I’ve been getting my inspiration fix from Instagram of late.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! Google Maps.
5 things you bring on a plane: Besides passport and ticket—sunglasses, scarf, phone, battery pack for phone, moisturiser of some sort (lip balm or hand cream).
What do you always seem to forget? I’ve forgotten.
What do you like least about travel? Waiting around to board a flight.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? The usual—perfume or booze, or both, and a novelty magnet.
Favorite travel app(s): It depends what I’m planning or where I’m going. I’ll often download an app specific to my plans.
I’m embarrassed I haven’t been to: London for leisure. I’ve been for work only.
Worst travel moment: I have two. First is my Luang Prabang to Chiang Mai flight experience. At the airport in Laos with Patrick (then my boyfriend, now my husband), we witnessed a man being escorted by security with a “scarface” persona shouting and screaming across the airport. A little while later while waiting to board our flight we get chatting to a Canadian adventure traveller who advises us that the airline we are flying with has the worst flight history in the world. When on the flight, we are joined my Mr. Scarface who is still, thankfully, being escorted by security, but sitting directly behind us. An experience to say the least. We were glad when the plane touched the ground in Thailand. The second worst travel moment: Death Road, Bolivia. The name speaks for itself—a terrifying experience with the last leg of the trip in the dark!
What’s your dream destination? I haven’t been to Central America or South Africa.
Best travel tip: Insurance. Other than that—preparation. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
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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.