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: Rebecca Hallett
Occupation: Travel editor and podcast co-host at Rough Guides
Residence: London, UK
College major: Japanese
Short bio: After a degree spent mostly online or on ill-advised budget weekend trips (all an attempt to delay learning Japanese verb conjugations), Rebecca landed her dream job at Rough Guides. Already in love with the witty, opinionated tone of the books, she soon fell for roughguides.com, too, and started writing articles as soon as she could. A few years later, she started co-hosting the podcast, “The Rough Guide to Everywhere,” alongside continued work for the books and website. Other than travel, writing and podcasts she’s interested in gender and sexuality studies, vintage fashion, cooking, and (of course) eating.
How often do you fly? More than I’d like to! Much prefer trains, but it’s hard to use them for a transatlantic trip…
How many countries have you been to? I don’t really keep track, honestly!
How many continents have you been to? Depending on which model you’re using, either three or four.
Earliest travel memory: Making mudcastles (i.e. very drippy sandcastles) on the beach in France, with my dad. I don’t know where it was, but I remember the beach being huge and the buildings colourful.
Favorite American city: I haven’t been to many, but I visited San Francisco recently and was pretty impressed…
Favorite international city: Well, America is international for me! But Kyoto, for sure.
Friendliest people in the world: Old women in Japan—never have I been treated with more matronly affection.
Favorite airline: I loved flying with Finnair—the food was great, staff friendly and seats comfy. Though British Airways’s in-flight safety video deserves a hearty round of applause.
Aisle or window: Window, every time. Views for (literally) miles.
Favorite hotel: I have a sentimental attachment to The Strings in Tokyo, and would happily stay there for a night or two every time I visit Japan.
Favorite travel credit card: Monzo—it’s easy to use, has a great app, and is such a violent orange colour that I can always spot it in my messy handbag.
Favorite island: I know it’s a boring answer, but… the one I live on! Britain is a pretty incredible place, and even if I spent the rest of my life only travelling here, I’m sure I wouldn’t have time to experience even half of its oddities.
Favorite beach: Maybe Exmouth, in Devon, as it’s where I grew up. It’s a lovely long sandy beach (with an excellent ice cream stand), which gets progressively emptier as you head away from the town end.
Favorite National Park: Dartmoor – I routinely crave a trip to clamber up Haytor, followed by a huge scone with clotted cream and jam (in that order, please) at Badgers Holt in Dartmeet.
Favorite fancy restaurant: The Gurnard’s Head in Cornwall. Spectacular natural setting, delicious food and the friendliest staff this side of Land’s End.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: My local kebab place—it does a mean halloumi wrap. For drinking, any izakaya in Shimbashi, preferably under railway tracks and/or full of very drunk salarymen.
Favorite airport restaurant: The Gorgeous Kitchen, Heathrow terminal 2. Silly name, but bloody good wine list—lots of English wines!
Favorite bar: It depends on my mood—I love a cosy pub, but not if I’m after a well-mixed cocktail. Right this second, I’d like nothing more than to be in The Living Room in Johannesburg, watching the sun set over the city.
Favorite fruit: A tie between strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. But a good helping of lingonberry jam in Denmark is pretty excellent, too.
Favorite food: My Nonna’s pasta. Or takoyaki. Or Colin the Caterpillar fruit sours from M&S. Those three things probably explain a lot about me as a person…
Least favorite food: I have an enduring and inexplicable hatred of peppers. Red, green, yellow, raw, cooked, diced, puréed…can’t stand them, though I live in hope that one day my taste buds will change their collective mind.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): I recently discovered the delicious, incredibly named Rabarbara liqueur from Reykjavík Distillery, and am trying to find every possible way to serve it. But my default order is a proper West Country cider.
Favorite travel movie(s): I have a real soft spot for Lost in Translation—I get a craving for it every few months and have to rewatch it.
Favorite travel show(s): Without a doubt, Travel Man; Richard Ayoade is possibly my ideal travel companion.
Favorite travel podcast(s): Honestly, “The Rough Guide to Everywhere“! I didn’t host the first two seasons, so I promise I’m not just being egocentric. Telling great travel stories is important to us, and they don’t always fit in a guidebook or an article.
Favorite travel book(s): “Looking for the Lost,” by Alan Booth. Absolutely exquisite writing, and genuine love for and insight into Japan.
Right now I am reading: A few things, but my current travel book is “The Art of Flight” by Fredrik Sjöberg.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! Obviously roughguides.com! Though honourable mention would be japan-guide.com, which has helped me work out specifics of travelling in Japan many a time.
5 things you bring on a plane: Ear plugs, sleep mask, reusable water bottle, moisturizer, snacks.
What do you always seem to forget? What time I need to leave in order not to miss my flight, oops…
What do you like least about travel? Boring practicalities which can distract from the joy of being somewhere new. Will the bed be comfortable? Have I packed the right stuff for the weather? Will the person in front of me recline their seat for the whole flight, even when food’s being served?
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? An impractically large Toblerone, obviously.
Favorite travel app(s): Citymapper, a thousand times, Citymapper.
Most embarrassing travel moment: At this stage, I don’t embarrass too easily, which is a blessing!
I’m embarrassed I haven’t been to: Naples, where my Nonna was born. I keep telling myself I only want to go when I’ve got a whole month to spare, and when I speak enough Italian, but I think I just need to go really.
Worst travel moment: Actually missing a flight, just before New Year. It sucked, and I cried in Heathrow. Luckily it was only to Berlin, so I was able to book onto the next one for not too exorbitant a cost.
What’s your dream destination? I have so many…at the moment, I’d love to visit the Caribbean—I’ve never been before, and keep daydreaming about wooded, volcanic islands surrounded by turquoise water. Maybe Dominica?
Favorite travel charity: Born Free—they do a great job of educating people about animal welfare in travel, as well as other contexts. If you’re on the road and see a captive animal in distress, you can report it to them quickly and easily, which is a great tool.
Best travel tip: Talk to people! When you’re travelling with a partner or friends it can be easy to only communicate with each other, but then you miss the chance to discover what the locals enjoy, and connect with someone new. And aren’t discovery and connection the main reasons we travel?
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