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: Larissa Olenicoff
Occupation: Modern-day Explorer/Travel Blogger
Hometown: Born in Los Angeles, raised in Orange County
Residence: In between California, Sweden, and wherever else I feel like calling “home.”
Website: The Blonde Gypsy
Twitter: The Blonde Gypsy
Facebook: The Blonde Gypsy
Pinterest: The Blonde Gypsy
Instagram: The Blonde Gypsy
Short Bio: Larissa Olenicoff is a travel addict and iPhone photographer with a passion for Europe in particular. Her travel blog is a colorful whirlwind of eye-candy, travel tips, and unexpected adventures that seeks to inspire world travel while simultaneously providing insight into the culture and landscape of destinations.
How often do you fly: It can be 5 times a month or it can be none. Last year I was on something like 25 flights, mostly around Europe.
How many countries have you been to: Around 50
How many continents have you been to: All of them except Antarctica and Australia
Favorite American city: Key West is pretty wild, but I left my heart in San Francisco.
Favorite international city: To pass through, London. To get lost, Lisbon or Istanbul. To party, Kiev or Odessa. To live, Malmö.
Least favorite country: America, but that’s just because I’m from here so traveling around it isn’t as exciting.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Red Square in Moscow
Favorite airline: Ryan Air, purely for its entertainment value. Charging to use the toilets, £40 to print a boarding pass at the airport, 15kgs max per checked bag, and standing room only flights? LOL.
Favorite aircraft type: All of them as long as they get me to where I want to go in one piece.
Aisle or window: Window
Favorite airport lounge: Who needs a lounge when some of the world’s best people watching is happening on the outside?
Favorite U.S. airport: Los Angeles International Airport – can never beat the feeling of coming back home.
Favorite international airport: London Heathrow – it’s usually my gateway back to Europe regardless of my final destination.
Favorite hotel: Melias have always impressed me (have stayed at the one in Braga and Düsseldorf).
Favorite cruise line: Don’t have one though I have been known to get down with a booze cruise every now and again.
Favorite island: Madeira (Portugal)
Favorite fancy restaurant: Rocambolesc Gelateria in Girona, Spain. It’s a gelato restaurant, but fancy nevertheless.
Favorite fruit: Grapes – they make wine.
Favorite food: Mexican food isn’t my favorite but the only food I’ve ever found myself craving, especially after long periods away from California. Peanut butter is my favorite and thankfully very portable.
Least favorite food: Chinese fast food, animal organs and insects.
Drink of choice (In the air and on the ground): I’m half Russian so what do you think? In the air or on the ground, I like my vodka unsweetened and am also a sucker for rosé wine.
Favorite travel show(s): Considering I taped almost every episode of “Globe Trekker” that existed when I was in junior high and high school, I’ll go with that. I’m also a big fan of “No Reservations” and anything that doesn’t include 15 minute luxury hotel plugs or instructions on how to use an ATM in Europe.
Favorite travel book(s):The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton
Right now I am reading: The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera (again)
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines: Matador Network, AFAR, and Wizz Air’s In-flight magazine (there’s surprisingly good stuff in there!).
Favorite travel website(s) – besides JohnnyJet.com, of course!: Stop Having a Boring Life, as it’s the travel website site that inspired me to get serious about having one of my own, Yomadic, for its fierce mix of narrative and photography, and The Blonde Gypsy, of course. It’s my baby!
Five things you bring on a plane: My iPhone and headphones are all I really need to get by but extra water, sleeping pills and patience can also be quite useful.
What do you always seem to forget: Adaptors
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport duty free store? A national alcoholic beverage of their choice for us to enjoy together over travel stories
Favorite travel iPhone app(s): Convert (for currency conversion) and Google Maps, but the apps I tend to use most while traveling are my 70+ photo ones.
Most embarrassing travel moment: Anytime I can’t instantly recall where I have just come from when going through immigration. This tends to happen in Europe from time to time – the only place where I have literally been able to have breakfast, lunch and dinner in three different countries within the same day.
Worst travel moment: When I was almost deported from Ukraine for overstaying the allowed 90 days. It was my fault, a miscalculation, but nothing that $40 and a solid handshake wasn’t able to fix. Getting robbed in Barcelona was also a nightmare even though some might call it a rite of passage for every Euro traveler.
What’s your dream destination: More than a destination, I’m dying to do the Trans-Siberian Railway journey from Moscow to Pyongyang or along the Silk Road from China to Southern Europe via the Stans. Also, Iran.
Favorite travel charity: The Extra Mile. They collect extra frequent flyer miles from people who don’t need them and give them to those who do to visit terminally ill loved ones with cancer. Hero Miles is another one that does the same but for wounded, injured, and ill service members and their families.
Best travel tip: Be flexible, leave all expectations at home, and talk to strangers (preferably local ones)
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®.
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- 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.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- 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.