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: Jacki Ueng
Occupation: Travel Writer/Blogger; VP Business Development for Ticor Title Company
Hometown: Hacienda Heights, Los Angeles County, California (San Gabriel Valley where the best Taiwanese & Chinese food are in the US)
Residence: Bel Air
College: UC Riverside
College major: Cultural Anthropology, minor in Philosophy
Pinterest: Bohemian Vagabond
Short bio: Began traveling with my family as a teen but in big tour busses with full day, back to back schedules. While I didn’t enjoy that style of traveling, it gave me a taste of exploring the world and I couldn’t wait to do it on my own. Once I graduated college, I was willing to take any job to go on my first solo trip to India. I was offered a job at a Title Insurance Company as an Account Executive in Beverly Hills which was an area that was incredibly difficult to tap into. At the ripe age of 21-years old: full of hope, un-jaded, optimistic with the world ahead of me, I went out there and did my best in bringing in sales by cold-calling real estate offices—door to door. I was able to travel to Costa Rica that year with friends and lived my dream of going to India solo for three weeks the following year. That is when I first started my travel blog, just for friends and family.
Then I realized that I was able to keep my job while traveling as long as I kept my sales up and managed my business on the road via email. Fast-forward almost 11 years later, I now travel to 5-9 countries a year while still staying managing my extensive list of clientele on the road. Life couldn’t be better.
How often do you fly? On average, once a month.
How many countries have you been to? 35
How many continents have you been to? 5 (not to Australia or Antarctica, yet).
Earliest travel memory: Taipei, Taiwan when I was three-years old. My parents sent me to live with my grandmother when I was just a baby and lived there for a few months, but that I do not recall that far back.
Favorite American city: My hometown of Los Angeles, although San Francisco comes close. Needless to say, I’m a California girl, LOVE the weather!
Favorite international city: Tel Aviv.
Least favorite country: I appreciate everywhere I go. Although China was rough to travel through as the people came off the rudest in my experience. I am of Chinese heritage, and I know they are just as good people as everyone else in the world. It is just their mannerism that does not match ‘our standard’, so they are not necessarily right or wrong to behave as they do. It was just difficult to travel through when people had no sense of waiting in line or order. Once you are welcomed into their home, they are incredibly hospitable and warm people. I would like to go back and explore more.
Friendliest people in the world: Costa Rica, Jordan, Canada, Thailand (it is a tie between them all!).
Country with the meanest immigration officers: USA, possibly LAX.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Wadi Rum.
Favorite airline: Emirates.
Favorite aircraft type: 787.
Aisle or window: Aisle.
Favorite airport lounge: Dubai.
Favorite U.S. airport: Augusta, Georgia.
Favorite hotel: Kempinski Hotel & Resort in Jordan (Dead Sea & Aqaba).
Favorite cruise line: Viking Cruises.
Favorite travel credit card: Chase Sapphire Reserve.
Favorite island: Roatan, Honduras.
Favorite beach: Mykonos, Greece.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Mastro’s Penthouse.
Favorite airport restaurant: I’m not sure the name but there’s a restaurant at the Taipei “Taoyuan” International Airport for a big, delicious bowl of beef noodle soup (even at 5am in the morning!).
Favorite bar: Jackie O bar in Mykonos, Greece.
Favorite fruit: Guava.
Favorite food: Chinese food, specifically Hunan or Szechuan (SPICY!).
Least favorite food: Filipino food.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): I don’t like to drink in the air as I get too dehydrated, although when I do, it’s wine in the air. On the ground, Jack Daniels & Diet Coke.
Favorite travel movie(s): The Beach.
Favorite travel show(s): Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.
Favorite travel book(s): “Eat, Pray, Love.”
Right now I am reading: “Married to a Bedouin.”
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: Afar, National Geographic, Lonely Planet.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! DavesTravelCorner.com, Bucketlistjourney.net.
5 things you bring on a plane: Noise-cancelling headphones, chapstick, two books, journal, socks.
What do you like least about travel? The long plane ride & going through immigration.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? A local specialty.
Favorite travel app(s): I don’t use many, so I’ll just say Instagram to capture & follow all the beautiful moments.
Most embarrassing travel moment: Traveler’s diarrhea is always embarrassing even if no one knows, it’s just a pain.
I’m embarrassed I haven’t been to: Japan & Cuba (this year!!).
Worst travel moment: Getting verbally harassed in Udaipur by some local guy. I couldn’t leave my hotel and walk down the street without hearing him shout at me. Otherwise, I’ve had nothing but amazing experiences in India the three times I went.
What’s your dream destination? Iran.
Favorite travel charity: Room To Read is my favorite, most trusted Charity. They support Literacy & Gender Equality by providing education through libraries, publishing culturally relevant books, training teachers/librarians, while boosting the local economy (by not having outside volunteers). Currently in 10 countries throughout Southeast Asia & Africa (RoomtoRead.org).
Best travel tip: Go with a tentative plan, but stay flexible. You never know what opportunities may come your way. Meet as many locals as possible. Do as they do, eat as they eat. And if you’re so lucky, you will be invited into their home which is truly the richest experience in travel.