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: Susan Spano
Occupation: Travel Writer/Peace Corps Volunteer/Student
Hometown: St. Louis
Residence: I’m currently in Monterey, CA, working on an MA in teaching English, but am moving to Armenia with the Peace Corps in August
College: Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts
College major: Theatre/Art History
Facebook: Susan Spano
Short bio: Author, columnist, traveler Susan Spano has journeyed the world reporting on culture, nature and the curious human race. She launched the still-running “Frugal Traveler“column for The New York Times, then joined the staff of The Los Angeles Times which sent her to the City of Light from 2003 to 2006 to start the popular travel section blog “Postcards from Paris.”
After that she spent six months in Beijing studying Mandarin and researching stories in the run-up to the 2008 Olympics and then moved to Rome–her favorite foreign posting–where she wrote on everything Italian, from Caravaggio to mozzarella.
Her articles have been anthologized in collections like “Making Connections: Mother-Daughter Travel Adventures” and “A Woman Alone: Travel Tales from Around the Globe” and have also appeared in the Financial Times, Chicago Tribune, Smithsonian, National Geographic Traveler, and Redbook. She is the co-author of two books: “Women on Divorce: A Bedside Companion” and “Men on Divorce: The Other Side of the Story.” Susan’s new travel collection, “French Ghosts, Russian Nights & American Outlaws: Souvenirs of a Professional Vagabond,” came out in early May from Roaring Forties Press. It’s a collection of some of Susan’s best articles, described by Library Journal as “an inspiring, vibrant look at the myriad ways travel can impact and enrich our lives. This book is recommended for those with the travel bug, even if it’s the armchair variety.”
How often do you fly? Not that often anymore.
How many countries have you been to? Don’t know, never counted. Not competing.
How many continents have you been to? Ditto.
Earliest travel memory: Crossing Kansas in a loaded Chevy station wagon, headed for Colorado with my family. Stuck in the way back, my Barbie doll’s clothes case flew out the window. Catastrophe. We had to turn around and pick up Barbie shoes, hats and ball gowns all along the road.
Favorite American city: New York.
Favorite international city: New York.
Least favorite country: There’s something interesting to discover absolutely everywhere.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: I don’t find immigration officers all that mean.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Oh, god. How could I say. Start with Angkor and Borobudur.
Favorite airline: LIAT in the Caribbean.
Aisle or window: Aisle.
Favorite airport lounge: Don’t belong.
Favorite U.S. airport: Monterey, CA.
Favorite international airport: Osaka.
Favorite hotel: Phantom Ranch, Arizona; Deetjen’s in Big Sur; Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, MA; Hotel Las Golondrinas, Oaxaca, Mexico.
Favorite cruise line: Not a cruiser.
Favorite travel credit card: All the same to me.
Favorite island: England.
Favorite beach: Seychelles.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Blue Hill, NYC.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Ocean Sushi Deli, Monterey, CA.
Favorite bar: Round Robin, Willard Hotel, Washington, D.C.; The Ivy, London’s West End; Hotel Forum Rooftop, Rome; The Sandbar, Monterey, CA.
Favorite fruit: Melon.
Favorite food: Veal chops, oysters, white cake.
Least favorite food: Entrails.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Dry martini.
Favorite travel movie(s): Two for the Road.
Favorite travel show(s): None.
Favorite travel book(s): “Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes” by Robert Louis Stevenson .
Right now I am reading: “Armenia Golgotha.”
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: Smithsonian.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! nytimes.com; latimes.com
5 things you bring on a plane: Ear plugs, Ambien, reading material.
What do you always seem to forget? Earplugs.
What do you like least about travel? Nothing.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? Nothing.
Favorite travel app(s): None.
Most embarrassing travel moment: I’m rarely embarrassed when traveling. It’s better not to be.
Worst travel moment: Sick to my stomach at the airport in Istanbul, headed to Bulgaria.
What’s your dream destination? Currently want to do the Silk Road.
Favorite travel charity: Doctors Without Borders.
Best travel tip: Spend money freely when a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity presents itself; otherwise economize and travel far.
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.