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: Anne Banas
Occupation: Travel Editor/Pastry Chef
Hometown: Boston, MA
Residence: Boston, MA
Website: Executive Director of SmarterTravel.com
Pinterest: Anne Banas
Short Bio: I’ve been a travel editor since May 2000, editing and planning consumer-related travel advice, launching guides, and building online communities. Through my column, Escapes Under $500, and countless “how-to” articles and destination guides, I always keep the budget conscious consumer in mind. As a travel expert and spokesperson, I offer tips and commentary to local and national broadcast programs like ABC Nightline, The Early Show, and CNN, as well as to print and online publications.
When it comes to travel and lifestyle, I am most passionate about local cuisine and culture, as well as sustainability, and I especially enjoy traveling to Europe, visiting remote islands, and even exploring my own backyard. When I’m not at the office, I’m usually visiting local farms, cooking, canning, or gardening. I received a Professional Pastry Diploma at The Cambridge School of Culinary Arts in Cambridge, MA, in June of 2012.
How often do you fly: About once per month
How many countries have you been to: 20? 30? I’m not entirely sure, but I hope to see many more in my future.
How many continents have you been to: Four
Favorite American city: Sante Fe
Favorite international city: Paris
Least favorite country: I always see traveling as an opportunity and can appreciate the positive side to bad experiences. For those reasons, I’ve never been to a country that I didn’t like.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Favorite airline: Virgin America
Favorite aircraft type: I have a soft spot for the Boeing 747, which is the first international plane I’d ever flown in (I still think the upper deck is cool and always image that there are fabulous cocktail parties going on up there). However, I have high hopes for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which is supposed to be a little easier on the planet.
Aisle or window: Window
Favorite airport lounge: Since my readers are primarily value travelers, I don’t usually get to enjoy too many lounges; however, I really like the Lufthansa lounge at Frankfurt Airport, mainly because of the unlimited food buffet and beer on tap (and I really don’t drink beer).
Favorite U.S. airport: San Francisco (SFO) Terminal 2, because of the organic food options and shops like Mango. Though there’s something comforting about JFK’s JetBlue terminal since I fly in and out of it so often.
Favorite international airport: Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
Favorite hotel: I prefer to travel off the beaten path and often stay in apartments, small inns, or boutique hotels. In a pinch though, I will book a stay at a Kimpton Hotels property. However, most recently, the Farm at Cape Kidnappers in Hawkes Bay New Zealand blew me away (as I normally don’t get to experience that much luxury).
Favorite cruise line: I’ve never been on a cruise ship that’s actually set sailed. Weird, I know.
Favorite island: Martha’s Vineyard (I go every year)
Favorite fancy restaurant: Le Moulin De L’Abbaye, in Brantome, France. It’s set in an old watermill covered in vines and flowers that looks out to a 16th-century bridge. However, I really want to go to Anne-Sophie Pic’s restaurant, Maison Pic, in Valance. I admire amazing women chefs and she’s one of the best.
Favorite hole in the wall: Clover Food Lab in Boston (it’s more of a food truck). All vegetarian, though you’d hardly even notice (if you’re not a vegetarian) since the food is that good.
Favorite fruit: passion fruit, raspberries, and coconut (best served together inside a tart)
Favorite food: Because I’m also a pastry chef I have to say classic French pastries (mostly cakes, tarts, and cream puffs), but I also love cheeses like Pouligny-saint–pierre.
Least favorite food: Anything involving the bacon-in-everything craze, and red velvet cupcakes, where the secret ingredient is red food color. Really?
Drink of choice (In the air and on the ground): Champagne (with elderflower liqueur or cassis), though I often just drink tomato juice in the air since it’s less dehydrating and somehow feels like more of a snack (you don’t get many of those these days).
Favorite travel movie(s): A Room With A View
Favorite travel show(s): House Hunters International
Favorite travel book(s): I honestly don’t have one.
Right now I am reading: David Lebovitz’ “The Sweet Life in Paris”
Five things you bring on a plane: Bose noise canceling headphones, Dramamine, Kindle, travel blanket, eye mask.
What do you always seem to forget: Water bottle. Being eco-friendly while traveling is important to me yet I always fail to pack it, and then feel guilty buying bottled water.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport duty free store? Something consumable. I hate getting stuck with random gifts that clutter up my house.
Favorite travel iPhone app(s): OpenTable and HotelTonight
Most embarrassing/worst travel moment: Boarding the wrong plane in the Azores, and shamefully getting pulled off after getting yelled at in Portuguese over the intercom.
What’s your dream destination: Kerala, India. I was supposed to go for a dear friend’s wedding and then spend a week on a spice farm, but my visa arrived a day late. I’m still heartbroken about it.
Favorite travel website(s) – besides JohnnyJet.com, of course!: SmarterTravel.com? For planning, I almost always go to VRBO.com or HomeAway. I like the quest to find the perfect vacation home I can pretend I actually live in.
Best travel tip: Don’t let your ego take over. So many people go places and do things for bragging rights, but I think it’s important to stay true to yourself and do what you love no matter how plain, obscure, or seemingly insignificant. They are your memories. Plus, I often find that true discovery is in the small stuff.
Fantastic tips, Anne! I’ve been to Clover as well, and it really is fantastic!