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: Kristin Henning
Occupation: This used to be a simpler question to answer. These days, publisher, writer, photographer, blogger, influencer, freelancer).
Hometown: St. Cloud and Minneapolis, MN
Residence: St. Paul, MN
College: Carleton College (Northfield, MN)
College major: English
Facebook: Travel Past 50
Pinterest: Travel Past 50
YouTube: Travel Past 50 (“Next week I must focus on video,” she repeated every week.)
Short bio: Kristin Henning and her husband Tom Bartel are the former publishers of City Pages, Minnesota Parent Magazine and The Rake Magazine, all in Minneapolis/St. Paul. The two have been on the road since 2010, traveling across six continents and blogging about their traveling life at travelpast50.com.
Kristin’s freelance work has appeared in the (Minneapolis) StarTribune, International Living Magazine, FWT Magazine, and online for TravelChannel.com and flights.com. She’s a regular contributor to Travel Writers’ Radio and blogs for Best Western, and contributed to two books published in 2017, “Ultimate Journeys for Two” by National Geographic Books and “Great Hiking Trails of the World” by Rizzoli Publications. She won six 2017 awards from North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA), including two golds and two silver honors.
Kris is a fresh air fiend, a map-lover, a mom, and a grandmother. She migrates toward cultural and historic centers as well as national parks, lakes and rivers. She enjoys live music and theater, a good book, and a nice beer or wine with dinner.
How often do you fly? About six times a year, although most trips involve nested flights, so more like a dozen times.
How many countries have you been to? 65 or so.
How many continents have you been to? Six, though we have a lot more to cover in both Asia and Africa, especially.
Earliest travel memory: Driving with family to Northern Minnesota, we’d stop in Duluth to watch a ship come in from the Great Lakes and parts unknown. Then we’d spend a week at Gunflint Lake in the Boundary Waters Wilderness Canoe area. There in the middle of the woods, I was fascinated that I could stand on a continental divide (the Laurentian Divide between Hudson Bay and the Gulf of Mexico) and on the border between the U.S. and Canada.
Favorite American city: Minneapolis/St. Paul is pretty cool, I have to admit. It has all the arts and culture you can handle, plenty of parks and lakes and bike trails, and it’s an easy place to live. Our kids, now grown, seem to be happy staying here.
Favorite international city: To live, Madrid or Barcelona. To visit, New York or London.
Least favorite country: Trick question. I always find redeeming qualities.
I have no desire to go to: Mali? I would say Libya, but I have a secret dream to circumnavigate the Mediterranean.
Friendliest people in the world: Vietnam, Cuba, Estonia, Canada.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: U.S.A.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Favorite three are the Camino de Santiago (Spain), the caves and cave art of Altamira (Spain) and the Cappadocian Rock Sites (Turkey).
Favorite airline: Delta in the U.S.; Turkish Airlines elsewhere.
Favorite aircraft type: Any with USB/power outlets; B737 because a friend is newly rated on this for Southwest; P-38 (WWII era) because they look cool.
Aisle or window: Aisle.
Favorite airport lounge: Istanbul.
Favorite U.S. airport: MSP.
Favorite international airport: No affinity.
Favorite hotel: Best Western for U.S. road trips; Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest; Sofitel Athens Airport; in Europe we enjoy the reliable and personable Eurostars Hotels.
Favorite cruise line: Lots of great experiences with Viking River Cruises.
Favorite travel credit card: Chase Sapphire; AmEx Platinum.
Favorite island: Bali; or Japan, Ireland or Cuba if you want national scale islands.
Favorite beach: Tulum.
Favorite National Park: Zion National Park (Utah).
Favorite fruit: Berries, bananas.
Favorite food: Seafood paella.
Least favorite food: Bad apples.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Scotch in the air; Negroni on the ground.
Favorite travel movie(s): Lost in Translation.
Favorite travel book(s): “Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire” by Peter Stark.
Right now I am reading: “Missing Mom” by Joyce Carol Oates and “Sing, Unburied, Sing” by Jesmyn Ward.
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: Nat Geo Traveler, Afar, U.S.gov (Global Entry Trusted Traveler and State Department sites).
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! Lots of bloggers to admire: Ottsworld.com by Sherry Ott is one of my favorites.
5 things you bring on a plane: Headphones, Kindle, scarf, notebook and pen.
What do you always seem to forget? To charge headset and Kindle in advance.
What do you like least about travel? Deciding where to go when.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? Booze.
Favorite travel app(s): TripIt, XE currency.
Most embarrassing travel moment: First visit to Europe when I was 20, trying to speak Italian. I asked for underwear instead of a dresser. It was like Google Translate at its worst before there was even Google.
I’m embarrassed I haven’t been to: Alaska, India.
Worst travel moment: Having a chain ripped off my neck in Quito, midday and on a main street, with a policeman just a few meters away…and then being scolded by the cops. What?
What’s your dream destination? Pacific Islands, the Amazon, a cabin with a view.
Favorite travel charity: I just recently learned about Biosphere Expeditions, and am intrigued by their “citizen scientist” approach, combining travel with useful wildlife research. I also love any organization that preserves land, like Nature Conservancy in the States and hundreds/thousands of small organizations around the world such as Huaico Reserve near Salta, Argentina.
Best travel tip: Leave yourself plenty of unscheduled time. Pack less, stay longer, listen more than you talk, and stop to rest before you get overly hungry.