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: Jennifer Garcia-Alonso
Occupation: Co-Founder of The Purple Passport
Hometown: Greenwich, CT
Residence: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Short Bio: Jennifer is a Co-Founder of The Purple Passport, a web-based collection of chic one-stop-shop guides to experiencing the world’s cities in style. Through her work on The Purple Passport, she has also contributed to The Huffington Post Travel, National Geographic’s Intelligent Travel, SheKnows.com Travel, The Daily Muse Travel, among other sites. Prior to The Purple Passport, she worked as an Investment Banker and Management Consultant. She is a wife, mother, Wharton MBA, three time marathoner, and fluent Spanish speaker.
How often do you fly: It varies, but usually a couple of times a month.
How many countries have you been to: 35
How many continents have you been to: Five
Favorite American city: New York City
Favorite international city: I have a soft spot for Madrid, it’s where I met my husband.
Least favorite country: I honestly haven’t been anywhere (yet!) that I haven’t enjoyed.
Favorite World Heritage Site: The Great Wall – when I visited most recently I stayed at a hotel called Commune by the Great Wall that has access to a private, unrestored section of the Wall. So, I was able to hike this World Heritage Site without the tourist crowds, which was fabulous.
Favorite airline: Etihad
Favorite aircraft type: A380. Relaxing in the bar on the Emirates flight from Bangkok to Dubai was a unique travel experience
Aisle or window: Window
Favorite airport lounge: British Airways T5 in Heathrow. There are a number of BA lounges in this terminal, I tend to go to the one on the end near Gordon Ramsay’s Plane Food, and if I have an especially long layover I’ll grab a bite there too.
Favorite U.S. airport: Washington National
Favorite international airport: Singapore
Favorite hotel: Hotel Plaza Athenee in Paris
Do you unpack into the dresser/closet? Or live out of your suitcase? Unpack the large items and keep the small ones in my suitcase.
Favorite cruise line: I’ve actually never been on a cruise!
Favorite island: Palm Beach, Florida for its posh luxury, the Maldives for the postcard perfect scenery.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Jean Georges in New York
Favorite hole in the wall: Las Bravas in Madrid, Spain. This is truly a hole in the wall, but it has the best Patatas Bravas (potatoes with spicy sauce) and Tortilla Las Bravas (spanish omelette with spicy sauce) you will ever eat.
Favorite fruit: Mango
Favorite food: I never met a dumpling I didn’t like, but my favorite or soup dumplings from Din Tai Fung in Singapore (or any of their branches!).
Least favorite food: Black olives
Drink of choice (In the air and on the ground): Club soda
Favorite travel movie(s): Lost in Translation
Favorite travel show(s): As an expat myself, I love House Hunters International
Favorite travel book(s): The Purple Passport series for Kindle
Right now I am reading: Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker (taking a break from the travel reads)
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: Departures, HotelChatter.com, Intelligent Travel by National Geographic
Favorite travel website(s) – besides JohnnyJet.com, of course!: ThePurplePassport.com, TabletHotels.com
Five things you bring on a plane: Pen & Paper, loaded iPad (books, movies, etc) with earphones, Almonds (I get hungry!), extra socks and a big sweater (I get cold!)
What do you always seem to forget: A toothbrush! I’m constantly buying a new one upon arrival.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport duty free store? Any type of chocolate, Chloe perfume.
Favorite travel iPhone app(s): Any of my Twitter apps come in very handy when traveling, nothing beats real time feedback from experienced and like-minded travelers.
Most embarrassing travel moment: I have a lot of them from when I was learning Spanish – too many to list and many of my unintentional language mistakes are not suitable for general audiences!
Worst travel moment: Getting severe altitude sickness in Cuzco, Peru (for days). It completely ruined my much anticipated trip to Machu Picchu.
What’s your dream destination: I’m dying to go to Morocco. Or to relax, I’d love to visit Bora Bora.
Favorite travel charity: Save the Children. While not a travel charity per se, it is a global charity that does great work all over the world through its local organizations. This one is particularly close to my heart because I did strategy work with them as a Management Consultant in my previous career.
Best travel tip: Eat local food.