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.

Mary Ann Anderson
Mary Ann Anderson

Name: Mary Ann Anderson

Occupation: Writer, editor, and photographer and serial comma aficionado

Hometown: Hazlehurst, Georgia

Residence: Hazlehurst, Georgia

College: Brewton-Parker College and Mercer University

College major: Communications

Short bio: Mary Ann is a travel and nature writer and photographer whose work has been syndicated in thousands of newspapers around the world through most recently Tribune News Service and the Washington Post and in the past through Scripps Howard News Service, Knight-Ridder, McClatchy, and Hearst News Service. She also writes for Georgia Backroads Magazine and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She’s won several awards, including Tanzania Travel Writer of the Year and Mississippi Travel Writer of the Year, and has been blessed with myriad adventures from meeting Prince Andrew to flying with the Blue Angels to trekking gorillas in Uganda.

How often do you fly? This year 1-2 times a month.

How many countries have you been to? 35

How many continents have you been to? 5

Earliest travel memory: Sitting on the beach on the Georgia coast, staring toward Africa, and wishing I could visit one day. So far, I’ve been nine times. So far.

Favorite American city: Not a city girl, but I would never say no to a trip to San Francisco.

Favorite international city: Cape Town.

Least favorite country: There’s never a least favorite.

I have no desire to go to: Oh, please. I’m a writer. There’s no place I wouldn’t visit at least once.

Friendliest people in the world: Zimbabwe.

Country with the meanest immigration officers: Once barked at in Germany for getting in the wrong immigration line.

Favorite World Heritage Site: Historic Quarter of the City of Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay.

Favorite airline: Singapore Airlines overall. Business class Aer Lingus. Domestically Delta.

Favorite aircraft type: The now-retired L-1011 TriStar that Delta flew. Somehow it bespoke of airline glamour with its wide body and generous seats. And 747s still enthrall.

Aisle or window: Aisle for short flights; window for long-haul.

Favorite airport lounge: Virgin Upper Class Heathrow. Wow.

Favorite U.S. airport: Brunswick, Georgia. One gate. One airline.

Favorite international airport: Atlanta. So easy.

Favorite hotel: Bulgari in Milan.

Favorite cruise line: Why cruise when you can fly?

Favorite island: Cumberland and Sapelo, both off the Georgia coast.

Favorite beach: Little St. Simons Island, off the Georgia coast. Seven miles of isolated beach, just you and the seabirds and the waves.

Favorite fancy restaurant: Can’t remember the name, but it was in Prague. Best. Meal. Ever.

Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Smith’s Fried Chicken, Hazlehurst, Georgia. Unreal fried chicken.

Favorite bar: Not a bar girl.

Favorite fruit: A perfectly plump and sweet navel orange.

Favorite food: Homegrown tomatoes from my garden with grain bread and olive oil. Heaven.

Least favorite food: Anything in a can.

Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Always water, followed by sweet tea and then red wine.

Favorite travel movie(s): For travel inspiration, always Out of Africa.

Favorite travel show(s): Not a television watcher.

Favorite travel book(s): Any that inspire travel.

Right now I am reading: The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway.”

Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: Lots of them.

Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! State Department travel pages, National Geographic Archives to 1888, and for driving, Gas Buddy and Google Maps.

5 things you bring on a plane: Water, iPad, tissues, a pretty sequin-and-lace hand fan for when airplane air conditioning fails, and hairclips.

What do you always seem to forget? Not much. Have it all down-pat after all these years.

What do you like least about travel? Hot, cramped airplanes. Middle seats.

What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? Local wines.

Favorite travel app(s): Delta Air Lines. Weather apps.

Most embarrassing travel moment: Having a come-apart moment in Newark because of supremely uncompassionate airline employees.

Worst travel moment: When a Kenya Airways flight from Nairobi to London lost all interior lights, including emergency lighting, for about 30 seconds somewhere over North Africa. The darkest dark, the blackest black you can even imagine..Everyone aboard thought our number was up. When the lights came back on, even the flight attendants were crying.

What’s your dream destination? Too many to count, but I would really like to see the other Georgia, the country, and either the North or South Pole.

Best travel tip: Two tips here. Number One: Just go. You may not always have the opportunity or means to travel later, so take your chances when they’re offered. Number Two: Go with the flow. Delays and cancellations happen, people, and it’s not the gate agent’s or flight attendant’s fault. I would rather wait in the airport for a mechanical issue to be fixed or a storm to pass than be in the air during either situation.

1 Comment On "Travel Style: Mary Ann Anderson"
  1. Joan Lindsay Kerr|

    I would like to thank Mary Ann Anderson for her wonderful article about “shooting” lions, but I can’t figure out how to reach her. I hope that millions of people read it. Could you please send along my congratulations and thanks for the excellent article? Thanks so much!

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