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: Wendy VanHatten
Occupation: Travel Writer, Magazine Editor-in-Chief, Author
Hometown: Cylinder, IA
Residence: Vacaville, CA
College: South Dakota State University, B.S.; University of South Dakota, M.S.
College major: BS in Geography, Math; MS in Healthcare Administration, Human Resources
Pinterest: Wendy VanHatten
Short bio: Wendy VanHatten is a published author, travel writer, food, wine, and travel blogger (travelsandescapesblog.com), Editor-in-Chief for Prime Time Living Magazine (primetimeliving.org), wine, food, and travel writer for WE Magazine (wemagazineforwomen.com), and board member of the Bay Area Travel Writer Organization (batw.org), a professional travel writer and photographer organization. Find out more about VanHatten’s mystery novels on her website, wendyvanhatten.com.
How often do you fly? On average, once a month.
How many countries have you been to? 13
How many continents have you been to? 2
Earliest travel memory: Five-years old, going to Disneyland.
Favorite American city: San Diego, CA.
Favorite international city: Florence, Italy.
Least favorite country: One with oppression, bloodshed and conflict.
I have no desire to go to: Outer space.
Friendliest people in the world: I have found friendly people all over so it’s hard to pick one.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: I’ve never had any mean ones, just ones who look like they’ve taken a course in how not to smile…ever.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Oh, so many…Canal du Midi, Historic Center of Florence, Historic Center of San Gimignano, Historic Center of Sienna…but my favorite is Yosemite National Park.
Favorite airline: Domestic…Southwest; International…Air France.
Favorite aircraft type: Safe ones.
Aisle or window: Window, always.
Favorite U.S. airport: Santa Barbara.
Favorite international airport: Venice, Italy.
Favorite hotel: One with good beds; I do like the Hyatt brands.
Favorite cruise line: I’m not big on cruises.
Favorite travel credit card: BA Travel Rewards card.
Favorite island: New Zealand.
Favorite beach: For white sand, Cancun; for watching waves, Bodega Bay; for walking, Silver Strand.
Favorite National Park: Yosemite.
Favorite fancy restaurant: John Ash & Co in Sonoma, CA.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Kono’s in Pacific Beach, CA.
Favorite bar: Cantina du Mori, Venice, Italy.
Favorite fruit: Fresh peaches.
Favorite food: My grandmother’s homemade bread; I wish I could make it like she did.
Least favorite food: Clams, mussels.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Champagne.
Favorite travel movie(s): Movies about travel…any Nat Geo documentaries; movies I watch when traveling…something funny, because I want to sleep after I watch it.
Favorite travel show(s): Shows about travel…any Nat Geo; shows I watch when traveling…Big Bang Theory.
Favorite travel book(s): Books about travel…Rick Steves, Fodor’s, Frommer’s; Books to take when I travel…a good mystery.
Right now I am reading: Rick Steves’ Guide to the Loire Valley.
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: TravMedia, Fodor’s Travel Daily, Sunset Magazine travel.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! Rick Steves, Forbes, Frommer’s.
5 things you bring on a plane: Smart phone, pashmina, passport, almonds, water (my husband should probably be on the list, too!).
What do you always seem to forget? I’m a list maker, so I usually don’t forget anything.
What do you like least about travel? Delayed flights.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? Nothing…it’s easier to buy it at home.
Favorite travel app(s): Google Translate.
Most embarrassing travel moment: Wearing too short of a dress for a cathedral in Italy…it came to just below my knees, but the guard wanted it below my knee caps by several inches. In hindsight, I should have pulled it down and made it work, but I was too embarrassed.
I’m embarrassed I haven’t been to: Australia.
Worst travel moment: sitting next to an obnoxious, dunk American on a four-hour flight.
What’s your dream destination? Oslo.
Favorite travel charity: USO Wishbook, our son was in the Army so I know how important this is.
Best travel tip: Don’t try to see everything. Take your time and enjoy the destination as well as the journey.
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.