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: Christina Vidal
Occupation: Travel Blogger/Marketer/Snorkeler
Hometown: Orinda, CA
Residence: San Francisco, CA
College: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Go Tar Heels!
College major: Journalism
Pinterest: Christina Vidal
Short bio: I’m a 20-something travel addict living in SF and constantly planning my next adventure. I was born with wanderlust, but really caught the travel bug aboard the University of Virginia’s Semester at Sea program, an incredible study abroad opportunity in college where we sailed around the world to 12 countries while onboard a ship of 500+ college students & an incredible faculty of professors. I could talk anyone’s ear off about this life-changing experience, as I just think there is nothing like it.
How often do you fly? As much as I can. Usually a few times a month.
How many countries have you been to? 50 and counting!
How many continents have you been to? Five out of seven. Need to hit Australia & Antarctica!
Earliest travel memory: Playing on the beach as a little girl at the Sheraton Maui in Hawaii…still one of my favorite places in the world.
Favorite American city: Charleston, South Carolina (and my hometown of San Francisco of course).
Favorite international city: Cape Town, South Africa.
Friendliest people in the world: I love the Brazilians!!!
Favorite airline: I’m a United/American frequent flier. But the best flight I’ve ever experienced was first class on Air France.
Aisle or window: Aisle. I’m tall and these long legs need as much room as possible!
Favorite U.S. airport: SFO. (I’m biased!) Second, I would have to say Kahului, Maui, because if you’re in the Maui airport I think you’re having a pretty good day.
Favorite international airport: Airports are great and all, but my favorite way to travel is by sea…so, my favorite, most beautiful ports that I’ve been to are, in this order:
- Cape Town, South Africa
- Portofino, Italy
- Dubrovnik, Croatia
- San Francisco, CA
- Corsica, France
Favorite hotel: JUST ONE?! My top are:
- St. Regis Princeville, Kauai
- Hotel Eden Roc in Positano, Italy
- Hotel Del Coronado in Southern California
- The Atlantis, Nassau, Bahamas
- And any Oceania cruise ship (less hotel, more float-el :) )
Favorite cruise line: Oceania Cruises. Their ships, their itineraries, their service, their food!!! Everything about this line is top notch.
Favorite travel credit card: Starwood American Express. #SPGlife.
Favorite island: Capri, Italy & Mauritius, Africa.
Favorite beach: White Bay, Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands, followed closely by Baby Beach, Aruba.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Mama’s Fish House, Maui, Hawaii. Oh mama, this place is the best. The fish is incredible. Without a doubt the best, freshest fish I have ever tasted. The menu is contemporary Polynesian, putting a modern twist on Hawaii’s culinary history, and it is delicious. Take a sip of Mama’s famous Mai Tai, watch the sunset over their incredible setting on the Pacific, let the fresh caught mahi-mahi melt in your mouth, and boom. You’re in paradise.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: There is a hole-in-the-wall pizza place in the Piazza Duomo in Florence that I constantly dream of. No idea what it’s called but if you’re in the square and the Duomo is in front of you, it is behind you. Order a slice of heaven and your tastebuds will be dancing for years. (I also love Gusta Pizza in Florence…less hole-in-the-wall but equally as incredible).
Favorite bar: Soggy Dollar Bar in the British Virgin Islands. Named the “Soggy Dollar” because the only way to get to the bar is by boat… and you might just get your dollars soggy since there is no dock and you swim into the picturesque White Bay shore. This bar is everything.
Favorite fruit: Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries & any fresh island fruit.
Favorite food: ^^ See above. And also homemade chocolate chip cookies.
Least favorite food: Not a fan of olives. Unless they’re extra virgin and pressed.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Margaritas, anytime & all the time.
Favorite travel movie(s): Mama Mia, filmed in the Greek Isles!!!!! Eat, Pray, Love. Is that so cliché? The Descendants in Kauai is an incredible movie.
Right now I am reading: “The Theory of Opposites”—Allison Winn Scotch.
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: Travel & Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler, Afar.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! The Blonde Abroad, Camels & Chocolate, Gal Meets Glam.
5 things you bring on a plane: iPad (with all recent episodes of Scandal & Mindy Project downloaded), water bottle, lots of snacks, a book, and headphones.
What do you always seem to forget? Headphones. What do you mean the whole plane doesn’t want to watch Scandal with me?
What do you like least about travel? Unpacking after a trip. Am I the only one that avoids this like the plague? Is it not the WORST?!
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? Depends on the airport. If we’re coming back from Mexico, I am a sucker for the fanciest tequilas. (My all-time fave is Clase Azul Reposado).
Worst travel moment: Being freezing cold in Kyoto, Japan. While trying desperately to enjoy the beautiful sights, this California girl was ill-prepared for the icy rain that came crashing down on us all day. Not to mention trying to navigate the Japanese bus transportation, making for quite an exhausting, and nearly-frost-bitten day.
What’s your dream destination? The Maldives. I dream about them on a daily basis. I am a beach girl (see story above), and I think that these islands must be heaven on earth.
Best travel tips:
- Never let your age get bigger than the number of countries you’ve been to!
- Spend your money! When you’re on vacation, buy everything you want to, eat everything you want to, drink (almost) everything you want to! This may be your only chance to get everything you possibly can from this new place, so make the most of it.
- Always learn phrases of the language if you’re going to a different country. Even if you’re bad at it, it’s always a conversation starter!
- Do things even when you’re tired—you won’t get another chance.
- Keep your feet on the ground. I personally love running in new cities, so get out and run or walk the city, or go out of your way to see things off the beaten track. You’ll see so much more than you would in a car or a taxi.
- Smile. Always. It’s universal. Plus, when you’re traveling, what is there not to smile about?