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: Ilona Kauremszky
Occupation: Travel expert & Digital Content Producer
Hometown: Niagara Falls
College major: Graduate Journalism (now Master of Journalism)
Short bio: Ilona Kauremszky is an award-winning travel writer and a prolific contributor to many publications. She is the founding president of TMAC Ontario and a former first vice chair of SATW Canada. A syndicated travel columnist for 13 years and co-producer of mycompass.ca, Ilona also coproduces travel videos for mycompasstv, a digital travel and lifestyle channel with 1.5+ million views. She is available as a guest speaker and does broadcast appearances as a travel expert, working with networks like NPR, CBC and other international broadcast agencies. You can follow her on Twitter and YouTube mycompasstv.
How often do you fly? Once a month.
How many countries have you been to? …too many to count.
How many continents have you been to? All of them with the exception of Antarctica and South America. Okay I did see Venezuela when I was in Curacao ;-)
Earliest travel memory: Family roadtrips to Allegheny State Park in western New York where we stayed in the “old house.” Mom brought the linen, swept the floor, and dad hauled in the timber. At night we munched on roasted marshmallows by the bonfire and were enamored by the glow of fireflies. Daytime was reserved for swimming, ice cream, hikes, and feeding the visiting raccoons by our picnic table.
Favorite American city: The city so nice they named it twice: “New York, New York.”
Favorite international city: Paris.
Least favorite country: …hmmm, you got me stumped.
I have no desire to go to: The second I answer this, I’ll probably get an invitation, so I’m going to pass.
Friendliest people in the world: The Scots, they are truly the most hospitable people with a total absence of pretense.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: I’m going to respectfully pass…
Favorite World Heritage Site: The Ring of Brodgar, it stirs my soul. View our clip.
Favorite airline: Air France for its complimentary champagne and stylish flight attendants who make me feel at ease as soon as I hunker down for my long haul over the Big Pond. I also enjoyed receiving a fine bottle of maple syrup with a mini Canadian flag once when I flew with them on Canada Day.
Favorite aircraft type: Boeing 787.
Aisle or window: Window please.
Favorite airport lounge: Porter Airlines is ultra cool. Love the free capps and cashews.
Favorite U.S. airport: Detroit airport for its groovy underground walkway.
Favorite international airport: How does Montreal’s grab you? Watch our clip for Johnny Jet’s sister at :30 ;-)
Favorite hotel: The Lalu Hotel, Sun Moon Lake, an architectural masterpiece in Taiwan. Here’s why.
Favorite cruise line: Uniworld.
Favorite travel credit card: AMEX.
Favorite island: Cuba.
Favorite beach: Cocoa Beach—you can see the NASA launches from there.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Hotel Eden in Rome. I still dream about those ricotta-stuffed zucchini flowers.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Chateau Bordeau in USVI. Don’t blink because you’ll miss it. Fabulous bay view with one of the best mahi mahi rotis I ever tasted, which was nicely washed down with a Dirty Monkey.
Favorite bar: The old Horseshoe Bar in Glasgow.
Favorite fruit: Mangoes.
Favorite food: Mediterranean.
Least favorite food: Dripping over-fried anything.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): A glass of shiraz.
Favorite travel movie(s): Under The Tuscan Sun and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
Favorite travel show(s): Anthony Bourdain’s The Layover, Parts Unknown and No Reservations.
Favorite travel book(s): Lawrence Durrell’s “Bitter Lemons” and Peter Mayle’s “A Year in Provence.”
Right now I am reading: Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl Who Played With Fire” (I know I’m way behind).
5 things you bring on a plane: My noise-cancellation headphones, eye mask, my unread hardcopy magazines, plenty of filled water bottles, and some aspirin.
What do you always seem to forget? …more munchies.
What do you like least about travel? Waiting at the airport then finding out your flight’s been cancelled.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? …spirits are always nice.
Favorite travel app(s): I’m into translation apps right now so I welcome any tips.
Most embarrassing travel moment: Thinking a dinner guest beside me was a famous European movie star.
I’m embarrassed but I haven’t been to: Vegas baby.
Worst travel moment: Swimming during red flag conditions off the Mayan Riviera in a guided tour. It was bad enough hours earlier our guide had us dive deep into a cenote with rising freezing water levels through hair thin wide underwater caves.
What’s your dream destination? The south of France.
Favorite travel charity: The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and its Elephant Orphans Project.
Best travel tip: Go with the flow