Beth Ruggiero York
Beth Ruggiero York

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: Beth Ruggiero York

Occupation: Writer, translator, photographer 

Hometown: I grew up in Bronxville, New York

Residence: My husband and I split our time—summers on Cape Cod and the rest of the year in Fountain Hills, Arizona

College: Middlebury College, Vermont

College major: East Asian Studies and Chinese language


Twitter: @BethYorkAuthor

Facebook: Beth Ruggiero York, Author

Instagram: bethruggieroyork

Short bio: Beth Ruggiero York is a former airline pilot for Trans World Airlines. She wrote her newest book, “Flying Alone: A Memoir” (available on October 14), in the early 1990s after her career as a pilot ended and the memories were fresh. Since her flying career ended, Beth has had several simultaneous careers as an author, freelance Chinese translator and professional photographer and photography instructor. She is married to Ron York, also a professional photographer.

How often do you fly? 6-8 times a year, mostly for photography workshops I am teaching.

How many countries have you been to? 28

How many continents have you been to? 4

Earliest travel memory: Traveling on a DC-8 when I was five years old for a family vacation to Miami, Florida.

Favorite American city: Boston.

Favorite international city: Shanghai.

Least favorite country: I love them all, but if I have to name one, it would be Mexico.

I have no desire to go to: Indonesia.

Friendliest people in the world: The Chinese! They are so kind and welcoming.

Country with the meanest immigration officers: Russia.

Favorite World Heritage Site: Mount Huangshan, China.

Favorite airline: Singapore Airlines.

Favorite aircraft type: 787 Dreamliner.

Aisle or window: Window (depending on how long the flight is).

Favorite airport lounge: American Express Centurion Lounge, Seattle Tacoma Airport.

Favorite U.S. airport: Phoenix Sky Harbor.

Favorite international airport: Hong Kong International Airport.

Favorite hotel: The Peninsula Hotel, Hong Kong.

Favorite cruise line: Seabourn Cruise Line.

Favorite travel credit card: American Express Platinum.

Favorite island: Hawaii, the Big Island.

Favorite beach: Marconi Beach, Cape Cod National Seashore.

Favorite National Park: Joshua Tree National Park.

Favorite fancy restaurant: L’Alouette by Christian, Harwich Port, MA (Cape Cod).

Favorite hole-in-the-wall: There’s a true hole-in-the-wall in the Muslim section near the Great Mosque in Xi’an, China. They have the best lamb soup!

Favorite bar: Felix at the Peninsula Hotel, Hong Kong.

Favorite fruit: Cherries.

Favorite food: Italian food, all of it!

Least favorite food: Fried food.

Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Red wine or a Bloody Mary.

Favorite travel show(s): Argo.

Favorite travel book(s): “West with the Night,” by Beryl Markham; “Wild Swans,” by Jung Chang; “The Good Earth,” by Pearl Buck.

Right now I am reading: “China Witness,” by Xinran; “A WASP Among Eagles,” by Ann B. Carl.

Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: National Geographic, Atlas Obscura, Smithsonian.

Favorite travel website(s)—besides, of course! TripAdvisor, Trivago.

5 things you bring on a plane: Noise-cancelling headphones, iPad, pillow, a good book, notebook.

What do you always seem to forget? Eye drops.

What do you like least about travel? Airports and security.

What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? Cosmetics, chocolate.

Favorite travel app(s): TripIt, American Airlines, Alaska Airlines.

Most embarrassing travel moment: Getting to the airport for an early morning flight to Fairbanks, Alaska, I accidentally left my cell phone in the shuttle van. The van was long gone before I realized it and had to call the van company to tell the driver to come back.

I’m embarrassed I haven’t been to: Africa.

Worst travel moment: In 1985 in China, I was leading a tour group, and we were scheduled to fly from Beijing to Xi’an. Airplanes were in short supply in China back then, and for this flight, we spent three days at the airport before we were able to go.

What’s your dream destination? Anywhere in Italy.

Favorite travel charity: Operation Smile.

Best travel tip: Always bring a clean set of clothes in your carry on bag! You never know when your luggage may get lost, and if it is, you never know when you’ll see it again.


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