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: Hilary Doling
Occupation: Travel Editor, luxury commentator
Facebook: The Luxury Travel Bible
Short bio: Jet-setting Editor in Chief and founder of The Luxury Travel Bible, one of the world’s most respected independent luxury travel websites. The award-winning editor has been getting on and off planes for 20 years since her days on London’s Fleet Street, where she worked for newspapers such as The Times and The Guardian, as well as glossy magazines. She is a guest speaker around the world on all things travel and luxurious. She also contributes to The Weekend Australian national newspaper and appears sporadically on TV when they need someone to comment on five-star family luxury or the latest liner to arrive in Sydney Harbour…
How often do you fly? About once every five weeks long-haul, lots of shorter hops in between.
How many countries have you been to? 90 and counting…always new ones on the wish-list. Return trips are pretty good too because a country is never really the same twice. One of the great joys of travel.
How many continents have you been to? All of them including icy Antarctica. How lucky am I?
Earliest travel memory: Bucket-and-spade-English-seaside.
Favorite American city: New York, New York, so good they named it twice. A cliché I know but I can’t help myself…
Favorite international city: I am a Londoner by birth so London still has my heart but Rome probably has my soul.
Friendliest people in the world: I have often found those with the least give of themselves the most.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: I once had an interesting encounter with mustached customs officials in Uzbekistan which lasted to the small hours. But they let me in without a visa eventually so they can’t be all bad.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Angkor Wat but Angkor fifteen years ago. So magical, so deserted…then.
Favorite airline: Singapore—service counts. Etihad—innovation counts too.
Favorite aircraft type: A380, more space, especially at the expensive end. They do thump a bit when they land though. I’ve found this to be true whichever airline is piloting.
Aisle or window: Ideally one of those flatbeds where aisle or window is irrelevant but if I had to choose—window. I still enjoy the excitement of take-off and landing as city lights wink beneath you.
Favorite airport lounge: The Virgin Clubhouse at Heathrow.
Favorite U.S. airport: Aspen. It’s small and you know you’re going to ski when you land. Flying out with the snow coming in and the wings freezing. Less fun.
Favorite international airport: Sydney—it means home.
Favorite hotel: Pick a city and I’ll give you a favorite hotel but not to cop out on this…Devi Garh, Udaipur, India, because It is like being inside a maharani’s jewel box. The Peninsula, Hong Kong, always wins points for service and those fabulous sage-green Rolls-Royces. The new Rosewood London is currently on my list too.
Favorite cruise line: I like ‘em small; the French cruise line Ponant is a class act. I recently sailed from Venice to Istanbul with them. My fellow (mostly French) passengers were so chic and well-dressed I felt permanently creased by comparison.
Favorite travel credit card: Black. Exclusive. Limitless credit. Sadly not mine.
Favorite island: Laucala, Fiji. Private island owned by Red Bull billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz, where everything is inclusive and nothing is impossible.
Favorite beach: Whitehaven in Queensland, Australia. I defy anyone to find a whiter one anywhere in the world. And the sand feels like silk between the toes.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Oxford.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: More a hole-in-the-floor that I was taken to once in Tokyo…down steps, unmarked door. World’s best sushi and sake. I have never been able to find it again.
Favorite bar: A rooftop bar in Shanghai but which one to choose there are so many…
Favorite fruit: Not a durian—so pungent on an aircraft. I won’t make that mistake twice. Starfruit—they say “Asia” and “exotic” and “adventure” to me even when they are just in my fruit bowl back home.
Favorite food: Thai.
Least favorite food: Fried grasshoppers. Eaten them. Won’t do it again.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): In air, boringly, water and lots of it (maybe I should rethink that previous aisle or window seat choice). On the ground I once had a lychee martini at the Royal Monceau hotel in Paris which I have never quite forgotten. I try and replicate it around the world…
Favorite travel movie(s): The Grand Budapest Hotel—weird and wonderful.
Favorite travel book(s): Novels set in the places I’m travelling to—so much more evocative.
Right now I am reading: “The Bone Clocks” by David Mitchell.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! LOVE Johnny Jet actually. I think luxurytravelbible.com is pretty good too. Am I biased?
5 things you bring on a plane: Kindle (used to be a book…sigh), water bottle, contact lens case, glasses (so I can see without the lenses), pen for arrival documents.
What do you always seem to forget? The last time I had jetlag. That’s why I keep doing it all over again.
What do you like least about travel? I’m not fond of hours in airports and always look for the shortest connection times. Which means I am often running for flights…
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? Perfume. Still romantic even if it is bought at the last minute just before he hits passport control.
Most embarrassing travel moment: Walking into a plate glass door that I thought was open at a very exclusive hotel, the sound resounded around the hushed lobby…then the wheel fell off my suitcase just as I as trying (for the second time) to make a dignified exit.
Worst travel moment: I was once very sick on a train in India shortly before having my camera stolen at New Delhi railway station. Not the best day. Still love India though.
What’s your dream destination? All the places I haven’t been yet. People say the world is getting smaller but I think it is getting bigger as more destinations open up to travelers. Luxury huts at the top of the Himalayas, cabins in the jungle—there’s a wide world of possibilities out there.
Favorite travel charity: packforapurpose.org—it is such a simple concept that can make such a difference.
Best travel tip: Travel with an open mind.