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: Annie Fitzsimmons
Occupation: Writer—National Geographic’s Urban Insider & Contributing Editor, National Geographic Traveler
Hometown: Scottsdale, AZ
Residence: New York City
College: Texas A&M University
College major: Journalism
Facebook: National Geographic’s Urban Insider
Pinterest: Annie Fitzsimmons
Google+: Annie Fitzimmons
Short bio: My Twitter bio says a lot: Urban Insider/Contributing Editor: @NatGeoTravel. Human Wrecking Ball. Obsessed with Good People, afternoon tea, serendipity, rescue dogs.
How often do you fly? Around 3-4 times per month.
How many countries have you been to? Not as many as Lee Abbamonte—youngest American to travel to every country around the world and one of my favorite guys in the travel biz!
How many continents have you been to? Five.
Earliest travel memory: I lived in Portsmouth, RI before moving to Scottsdale so trips to the Boston Children’s Museum
Favorite American city: NYC & L.A.
Favorite international city: London & Berlin.
Least favorite country: I don’t have one!
Country with the meanest immigration officers: Honestly, I’ve had the worst luck in America.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Luang Prabang, Laos.
Favorite airline(s): Cathay Pacific.
Favorite aircraft type: I do love the A380’s.
Aisle or window: AISLE.
Best flight attendant you’ve ever had: The Cathay Pacific flight attendants that helped me when I was ridiculously sick on a flight from Hong Kong to JFK.
Favorite airport lounge: All the Cathay Lounges in Hong Kong.
Favorite U.S. airport: San Francisco Terminal 2.
Favorite international airport: I just love how easy Zurich is. Actually, all transportation is easy and wonderful in Switzerland.
Favorite hotel: For someone as hotel obsessed as I am, I can’t pick just one. These have such incredible senses of place—Hotel Cipriani, Venice; Hotel Caruso, Ravello; Palacio Nazarenas, Cusco, Peru; Ashford Castle, Ireland; Park Hyatt, Buenos Aires; Belmond La Residence d’Angkor, Siem Riep, Cambodia; Petra House B&B, Galway (the owner, Frank, is the most wonderful Irish host!!); Chewton Glen; New Forest, England; Star Castle Hotel; Isles of Scilly, England.
Favorite cruise line: I’ve never done a “big” cruise—but I love river cruising. I’m doing Viking “Portugal’s River of Gold” this November. I loved A&K Sanctuary Retreats cruising on the Yangtze River in China.
Favorite travel credit card: I don’t use one—I like my USAA credit card points!
Favorite island: Kiawah Island, South Carolina.
Favorite beach: Main Beach, East Hampton.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Il Ristorante di Giorgio Baldi, Pacific Palisades, CA; Gramercy Tavern, New York City; Chez Panisse, Berkeley.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Duryea’s Lobster Deck, Montauk; Le Cherche Midi, Paris.
Favorite bar: The Long Bar at the Waldorf-Astoria, Shanghai.
Favorite fruit: Watermelon.
Favorite food: Lobster rolls, room service pasta pomodoro from Hotel Cipriani in Venice.
Least favorite food: Green peppers, hazelnuts.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Water with as much ice as possible. As you can imagine, this is difficult to procure in places outside the U.S. I also love a good bellini.
Favorite travel movie(s): Only You; Roman Holiday.
Favorite travel show(s): All of Samantha Brown’s shows! You’re the best Sam. Also loving Paula Froelich’s new show for Yahoo! Travel, A Broad Abroad. You’re the best too Paula.
Favorite travel book(s): “My Life in France,” Julia Child; “The Sweet Life in Paris,” David Lebovitz; “Shantaram,” Gregory David Roberts; “Where’d You Go Bernadette,” Maria Semple (not a “travel” book but it’s hilarious and the descriptions of Antarctica are perfection).
Right now I am reading: I always have 5-6 books going. Currently on a JoJo Moyes kick (“Me Before You”) and finished her latest, “One Plus One,” in two days. I just finally started “The Goldfinch” and am obsessed 50 pages in.
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: Lee Abbamonte (leeabbamonte.com); Virtuoso Life magazine; National Geographic Traveler :)
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! FeatherandFlip.com; Virtuoso.com.
5 things you bring on a plane: Quest bars (chocolate chip cookie dough), my own food for a “last meal” from home, a loaded iPad with TV shows and movies, trashy magazines bought at the airport, Haribo Gold gummi bears.
What do you always seem to forget? I figure if I have my credit cards, passport and keys, I can find almost anything else I need on the road. After forgetting my toothbrush about 25 times, I now just keep a new one in my travel bag ready to go.
What do you like least about travel? The glaring lights from a gas station on a late-night road trip. How heavy and groggy my eyes feel after landing from an overnight flight. Loneliness when I’ve been away from home too long.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? Peanut M&M’s and perfume. I love the overwhelming, slightly sickening smell of perfume coming from a Duty Free store—it makes me think of international travel, airports and adventure.
Favorite travel app(s): I love niche travel apps. Currently, I am loving David Lebovitz’s new Paris Pastry app.
Most embarrassing travel moment: Fainting in Paris and needing stitches on my chin.
Worst travel moment: I could tell tales of bad flights or getting sick on the road but I’m such a dog lover that anytime I’m confronted with skeletal, sick stray dogs, I can’t even stand it.
What’s your dream destination? I have been dreaming of Africa and Japan for years. And Scotland! I’ve been to England and Ireland so many times and never to Scotland.
Favorite travel charity: I support small shelters with incredible people at the helm in places like Vietnam (Vietnam Animal Rescue) and Brazil (Dogs in Brazil).
Best travel tip: Always seek out the dog parks for personal connection with generally friendly people, grocery stores for browsing food items you may have never seen before and the highest viewing point in town for getting the best overview from above.