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: Colleen Kinsey
Occupation: Digital nomad, CEO, travel blogger
Hometown: Des Moines, Iowa
Residence: I don’t have a home, just a backpack and a laptop. I’m currently in Berlin, heading to Nepal next week.
College: Iowa State University
College major: Finance, Management, International Business (preparing to be a boss across international borders)
Website: TravelMeetsHappy.com & Kinseyco.co
Facebook: Travel Meets Happy
Short bio: Colleen is the CEO of Kinseyco and creator of Travel Meets Happy. She continues to build her business while empowering other women to pursue travels around the world. She’s not what one would call a “responsible, one glass of wine with dinner” kind of adult.
How often do you fly? Whenever I’m bored or find a cheap flight.
How many countries have you been to? 36
How many continents have you been to? 4
Earliest travel memory: Spending 12 hours in a minivan with mother, father, and sister, plus the dog on our way to Colorado. My parents quickly learned that children are not fun to travel with.
Favorite American city: Hands down—Denver.
Favorite international city: At this moment, Berlin. Ask me next week and it may be something different.
Least favorite country: Egypt opened my eyes to life in a third-world country. As a woman, I didn’t feel safe and I received the beautiful gift of food poisoning.
I have no desire to go to: Orlando, Florida. I’ve been and I’ll never go again.
Friendliest people in the world: My hometown—Des Moines.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: The UK. I get the nervous sweats just thinking about it.
Favorite World Heritage Site: I can only pick one? The banks of the Danube in Budapest.
Favorite airline: Emirates. Fly like a Sheikh.
Favorite aircraft type: The one where they serve you unlimited wine.
Aisle or window: Window. I like to curl up and ignore the rest of the world until they serve me wine, food, or hot towels.
Favorite airport lounge: I’m not fancy enough to go into a lounge. A quiet corner with an outlet is sufficient.
Favorite U.S. airport: Austin. They usually have live music and good food.
Favorite international airport: Dubai. I will find a roundabout way to fly through Dubai International.
Favorite hotel: JW Marriott in Dubai. Ok, I know I mention Dubai a lot, but these people know how to travel with class.
Favorite cruise line: I’ve only done the cheap cruises from Miami to Aruba with Royal Caribbean and Carnival.
Favorite travel credit card: Capital One Venture—queue Jennifer Gardner.
Favorite island: Does Venice count?
Favorite beach: Santa Marinella outside of Rome.
Favorite National Park: Olympic National Park. I went on a Pacific Northwest trip over the summer and fell in love.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Pikayo at the Condado Hilton in San Juan Puerto Rico.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Al Maskoof—Iraqi food in Abu Dhabi.
Favorite airport restaurant: Taylor Street Market in Midway Chicago airport. I love their turkey apple paninis.
Favorite bar: Pensão Amor in Lisbon, Portugal. It used to be a whore house back in the day. The walls are covered with nude photographs, an alcove filled with erotic novels, and a hidden room where you can get your fortune told. There is even a burlesque show in the evenings.
Favorite fruit: Apples, because they don’t get squished in my backpack when I’m traveling.
Favorite food: Mexican food. Period.
Least favorite food: Anything that’s looking at my when I try to eat it.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Bourbon and ginger ale.
Favorite travel movie(s): The Motorcycle Diaries.
Favorite travel show(s): Anything Anthony Bourdain.
Favorite travel book(s): “Wild” & “Vagabonding.”
Right now I am reading: “King, Kaiser, Tsar: Three Royal Cousins Who Led the World to War.”
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: MessyNessyChic, Nomadic Matt, Vagabond magazine.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! SkyScanner.com, GoEuro.com, Trusted Housesitters.
5 things you bring on a plane: Headphones, a book, sleeping pills, inflatable neck pillow, a few things to work on offline.
What do you always seem to forget? A toothbrush (I’m not sure how since I only have a 40L backpack).
What do you like least about travel? Making cultural faux pas.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? My sister and my favorite candy is Buenos, which I can never find in the States, so I always stock up.
Favorite travel app(s): Google Translate.
Most embarrassing travel moment: Missing multiple buses to get out of Poland (story here).
I’m embarrassed I haven’t been to: Disney World or Disneyland.
Worst travel moment: Getting the call that my grandmother passed away while I was in India.
What’s your dream destination? Somewhere that is cheap, has nature, but a city life, has many cultural activities and plenty of cool people. Suggestions?
Best travel tip: Pack light, you can buy it there.