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: Erin Bender
Occupation: Travel Writer & Social Media Consultant
Hometown: Perth, Australia
Residence: No current residence, nomadic
College: In Australia we call it “University” :) I went to Edith Cowan University in Perth
College major: Marketing
Facebook: Travel With Bender
Pinterest: Travel With Bender
Google+: Erin Bender
YouTube: Travel With Bender
Short bio: Erin’s an experienced travel blogger and gifted communicator. She travels the world looking for adventure and shares those exciting stories and helpful tips on her blog, reaching tens of thousands of avid readers each month. With her husband and 2 young children, she’s been on a nomadic journey since 2012 across over 40+ countries so far.
How often do you fly? In 2012 it was 19 flights, 2013 was 17 flights. So I guess you could say easily more then once a month.
How many countries have you been to? 44. My 3 & 4 year old have done 37 countries.
How many continents have you been to? 4—North America, Europe, Australiasia, Asia.
Earliest travel memory: I remember crossing the Australian Nullabour, east to west, several times as a young one. My first international trip was to Bali, Indonesia when I was 18. That first step into a third-world culture was shocking.
Favorite American city: Recently did New Orleans, a new favourite.
Favorite international city: New Orleans is an international city to us :) But since we’ve already named an American city let’s say Istanbul, Turkey.
Least favorite country: France—I’ve been several times and still do not like it. Sorry. Must be my British heritage.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: It’s a tie between Hong Kong, who were just overwhelmingly rude, and Israel, who are just overly cautious.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Oh that is easy the Open Air Museum, Gerome Turkey. The mysterious history of those strange caves is fascinating.
Favorite airline: I’ll never forget our Emirates flight. The 11 hours and 20 mins flew by and I actually enjoyed it.
Favorite aircraft type: I have no idea about aircrafts, but I love the 3-and-3 seats layout because the 4 of us generally end up with 6 seats.
Aisle or window: Depends on how long the flight is.But with 2 kids I am usually defender of the aisle so the kids can’t escape. However a window always inspires creative thoughts for me.
Favorite airport lounge: Thai Airways in Thailand had a great one with a playground for the kids, Wi-Fi for the adults and free food and drink.
Favorite U.S. airport: Can’t say I have one, sorry. Definitely not Las Vegas after the security staff “stole” my jar of Vegemite!
Favorite international airport: I love Singapore airport and Bangkok too. Both have plenty to do.
Favorite hotel: Again another hard one. We have stayed in so many it would be so close depending on what you want. Xanadu Beach Resort in Ambergris Caye, Belize was stunning—literally on the beach. Villa San Michele in Florence, Italy was opulent and fabulous, a real luxury.
Favorite cruise line: We’ve done 4 cruises. Two with Carnival and 2 with Royal Caribbean. Carnival is a great party boat and perfect for real little kids since the Kids Club takes them from 2-years-old. However Royal Caribbean offered a higher standard in cuisine and service. I would love to try a Disney cruise.
Favorite travel credit card: Australian credit cards suck. Can someone give me a US one? Citibank was pretty good if you return to Australia within 60 days as the Platinum card provided free travel insurance, as well as car rental excess coverage. But if you are travelling for more then 60 days you might want to try the BankWest Zero MasterCard with zero overseas currency conversion fees.
Favorite island: Boracay, Philippines was a big favourite for us. This year we are hoping to conquer Maldives and betting I might be persuaded to name that. I’m also quite partial to Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Favorite beach: Do people really answer this? How could I choose one? Australia has some of the best beaches in the world. Then there was Boracay, Phillippines or Friar’s Beach, St Kitts or Akumul, Mexico and the list goes on. As long as there is white sand and crystal clear water I’m in love. Without sharks is a bonus.
Favorite fancy restaurant: We had dinner at the most amazing place high above Florence, overlooking that beautiful Italian city. La Loggia is a 16th century setting with exceptional cuisine and friendly staff.
Favorite bar: As in a drinking hole? I’ll get back to you on that one in another 15 years when the little ones are grown.
Favorite fruit: Not a big fruit lover, but I guess I could eat pineapple most times.
Favorite food: Italian use to be my favourite cuisine, but after a month in Mexico I am in love with Mexican. Bring on the tacos! Greek is coming up fast second, after half a month on the Cycladic Islands.
Least favorite food: I don’t eat bugs. So no deep-fried grasshoppers for me, sorry.
Favorite travel movie(s): I’ve watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty twice now and still love it. Can’t wait to tackle Iceland.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! I’m a terrible sucker for TripAdvisor.
5 things you bring on a plane: My laptop for writing and movies, my Kindle for reading, my iPhone for music. Two more? Lots of snacks and an iPad to keep the kids quiet and entertained.
What do you always seem to forget? Computer and electronics cables.
What do you like least about travel? Transit. Being treated like a criminal in airport security is never fun. And the ridiculous rule about turning off phones during take-off and landing is a pain.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? Perfume or peanut butter M&M’s.
Favorite travel app(s): Money Journal for keeping track of expenses and XE for keeping track of currency conversion rates. Also Google Maps helps us get to the right place.
Worst travel moment: Quite possibly the moment my son fell off his bunk bed in Israel and fractured his arm. The hospital doctors did not speak a word of English and seemed very unsympathetic to a crying 3-year-old.
What’s your dream destination? The same as most people—an ocean bungalow on Bora Bora. How boring am I?
Best travel tip: Check all flights on Cheapoair, you can easily use a discount coupon on that site to save even more money then booking direct.