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: Jessica Festa
Occupation: Travel Blogger
Hometown: Farmingville, New York
Residence: Farmingville, New York
Website: Jessie on a Journey
Facebook: Jessie on a Journey
Pinterest: Jessie on a Journey
YouTube: Jessie on a Journey
Short Bio: Born and raised in New York, Jessie is a backpacker by nature and has traveled all over the world, including studying abroad in Australia, teaching English in Thailand, orphanage work in Ghana, backpacking Europe and South America, and touring through South East Asia and China.
How often do you fly: I usually do extended backpacking trips, as well as a few shorter trips each year. Maybe on average about 10-15 times per year.
How many countries have you been to: 30-35
How many continents have you been to: 6
Favorite American city: New York. Even though I’ve lived in New York all my life, I never get bored here. It’s just so alive with so many things to do.
Favorite international city: Sydney. I studied abroad there and it’s one of the cleanest, most beautiful cities I’ve ever been. Not to mention it also offers a ton to do.
Least favorite country: That’s tough. Probably Prague, not because I didn’t like it, but just because I have to choose one.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Iguazu Falls. The Devil’s Throat is breathtaking (I mean that, I actually couldn’t breath I was so astounded!).
Favorite airline: Aerogal. I flew them from Quito to the Galapagos Islands. Not only was the customer service great, but on a flight that was only about two hours we got fed twice for no extra charge. One of my snacks was a really nice cheese, cracker and fruit plate, the other was a really fresh sandwich.
Favorite aircraft type: I actually don’t have one. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner looks amazing, though!
Aisle or window: Aisle (bathroom breaks!)
Favorite airport lounge: I don’t have one.
Favorite U.S. airport: Minneapolis- St. Paul International Airport. Very clean and beautiful with lots of restaurants and shopping.
Favorite international airport: Vancouver Internal Airport. It reminds me of a cozy museum.
Favorite hotel: Smith Fork Ranch in Crawford, Colorado. It’s rustic yet elegant and has a great location that puts you in the middle of nowhere, but still offers myriad activities. While I was there I did nothing but line dance, drink wine, practice archery, hike and horseback ride in a beautiful setting.
Favorite cruise line: Carnival
Favorite island: Galapagos
Favorite fancy restaurant: Morton’s Steakhouse. It’s the best steak I’ve ever eaten.
Favorite hole in the wall: McSorley’s Old Ale House in the East Village of Manhattan. It’s dumpy but historic, as it was a popular hangout in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It really hasn’t changed, with an old-style furnace, old photos and posters, sawdust covering the floor and wishbones supposedly left from soldiers going off to fight in WWI. They also only serve ale, regular or light, just like when they first opened over 100 years ago.
Favorite fruit: Lychee
Favorite food: asado in Argentina and Brazil
Least favorite food: Pickles. Anything pickled or with pickles makes me stomach flip.
Drink of choice (In the air and on the ground): Cabernet
Favorite travel movie(s): That’s tough. Probably Vicky Cristina Barcelona, although EuroTrip always makes me laugh.
Favorite travel show(s): I absolutely love Man vs. Food! Adam Richman is such a down-to-Earth guy, and it’s so entertaining to see the crazy things he has to eat. It’s also a great way to learn about some of the offbeat restaurants that exist.
Favorite travel book(s): “Travels with Charley: In Search of America” by John Steinbeck and “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert. For guidebooks, I love anything by Rick Steves’. I rarely ever bring a guidebook anywhere, but he made my first solo backpacking trip through Europe absolutely perfect. Not to mention he helped me save a lot of money with his tips.
Right now I am reading: Ha, it’s not travel related, but “50 Shades Of Grey”
Five things you bring on a plane: Mostly entertainment and food-related items since these usually cost a fortune onboard. My netbook for in-flight Wi-Fi, iPhone to use Kindle, iPod with my own headphones, trail mix and a hoodie to double up as a pillow and for warmth.
What do you always seem to forget: Any sort of rain gear. Because I usually only bring a backpack, I never feel like packing an umbrella or rain jacket. Of course, it always rains and I end up having to get something anyway.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport duty free store? A bottle of expensive liquor! Ha.
Favorite travel iPhone app(s): Skype for cheap long-distance calls, Kindle to read on long bus/train/plane journeys, Instagram for sharing artsy travel pictures, Flashlight for being able to see when coming in late at the hostel or camping and OANDA Currency Converter to help me figure out what I’m really spending abroad.
Most embarrassing/worst travel moment: Falling in a fountain in Darling Harbour. I was with some girls I had just met, and was joking around saying how funny it would be if one of us fell in one of the fountains. Unfortunately, when I jokingly touched my toe into the fountain I lost my balance and ended up submerged under the water. I broke my phone and camera, and had about 100 drunk college students clapping for me.
What’s your dream destination: South Africa. I’ll get there one day!
Favorite travel charity: SelflessTee– Every two weeks there is a new cause-inspired T-shirt, and the charity gives $7 per shirt sold to a nonprofit trying to help the world.
Favorite travel website(s) – besides JohnnyJet.com, of course!: Gadling and Matador (Yes I write for them.) Travelllll, Kyle the Vagabond, AFAR and Vagabondish.
Best travel tip: Never underestimate the powers of traveling solo. So many people are afraid, but it can help open you up to new experiences and help you grow. And if you use common sense, you’ll be more than fine.