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: Nicole McLaren—I go by Nicki, and I haven’t had a chance to change my last name to Sunderland from my recent marriage.
Occupation: Business Operations
Hometown: Detroit, Michigan
Residence: Alexandria, Virginia
College: George Mason Univeristy and University of Maryland
College major: Criminology, Law and MBA
Short bio: Nicki is a 32-year-old travel fanatic with an obsession for all things pizza, comedy and making people smile. She’s been fiercely passionate about travel since a young age and has no plans to retire traveling. Currently she works full-time as a Business Operations Manager, goes to school part-time finishing her MBA and travels about three-fourths of her time. In her free time, in addition to traveling, she likes to write, read, practice photography, and watch Netflix. You could say she is always busy.
How often do you fly? On average, 2-5 times a month
How many countries have you been to? 20
How many continents have you been to? 3
Earliest travel memory: Going to Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio with my family as a child.
Favorite American city: Omaha, Nebraska just lost its place after 12 years and it is now Key West, Florida.
Favorite international city: Istanbul, Turkey.
Least favorite country: Trick question?
I have no desire to go to: There isn’t a place I wouldn’t go to.
Friendliest people in the world: So far, Turkish.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: I haven’t had any issues…let us not jinx it.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Cappadocia, Turkey.
Favorite airline: Domestic: JetBlue. International: Turkish Airlines.
Favorite aircraft type: No preference—just happy to be on a plane!
Aisle or window: Window! I am obsessed with in flight photography.
Favorite airport lounge: Turkish Airlines.
Favorite U.S. airport: DCA—right outside of DC. Not only is it my home airport, but it is not very big. You can get in and out very easily.
Favorite international airport: KEF—Reykjavik, Iceland. Small airport surrounded by an amazing landscape with delicious food and friendly people.
Favorite hotel: Grand Wailea in Maui.
Favorite cruise line: Norwegian.
Favorite travel credit card: American Express.
Favorite Island: Turks and Caicos—where I was married.
Favorite beach: Horseshoe Bay in Bermuda.
Favorite fancy restaurant: A tie between Cut and The Polo Club in Beverly Hills.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: White Castle. This is my kryptonite.
Favorite bar: Its always the one outside my gate when I fly—where I have the best conversations and meet amazing people.
Favorite fruit: Watermelon.
Favorite food: Pizza!
Least favorite food: Beets.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Manhattan.
Favorite travel movie(s): The Darjeeling Limited.
Favorite travel show(s): The Amazing Race.
Favorite travel book(s): I’m a sucker for travel guides. I will read them cover to cover.
Right now I am reading: Harry Potter.
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: The Blonde Abroad and Courtney Scott.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! Expedia, Travelocity and Four Seasons.
5 things you bring on a plane: Moisturizer, chapstick, neck pillow, chargers for my electronics, and something to read.
What do you always seem to forget? A paper copy of my passport in case I lose my passport somewhere.
What do you like least about travel? When my feet swell up on long-haul flights.
Favorite travel app(s): Instagram! Obsessed with sharing travel photos. Also love Expedia and Travelocity for bookings.
Most embarrassing travel moment: When I fell out of the hot-air balloon trying to get out in Turkey.
I’m embarrassed I haven’t been to: The Grand Canyon.
Worst travel moment: Being robbed on the North Shore of Oahu in broad daylight.
What’s your dream destination? Mauritius and Madagascar.
Best travel tip: Research local customs and laws before traveling abroad and have respect for the people of that country.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 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, 60,000 points are worth $750 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.