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: Melinda Crow
Occupation: Independent travel writer and guidebook author
Hometown: Amarillo, Texas
Residence: On the water somewhere
College: Amarillo College
College major: Marketing
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Short bio: I caught my first rainbow trout on a camping trip when I was five; I wrote about it at age seven and my destiny was locked into place by that little smiley-face the teacher stamped at the top of my paper. I developed and wrote the first two camping guides for FalconGuides: Camping Colorado and Camping New Mexico. I spent all of 2015 writing for Yahoo Travel. (R.I.P.) I am currently writing independently for travel and news outlets and on firstread.me.
How often do you fly? As often as they let me.
How many countries have you been to? 27
How many continents have you been to? 4 (North America, South America, Europe, Asia).
Earliest travel memory: Family camping trips in New Mexico and Colorado.
Favorite American city: Ft. Lauderdale.
Favorite international city: Milan.
Least favorite country: Jamaica.
I have no desire to go to: I’ll go anywhere, even Jamaica.
Friendliest people in the world: Texans.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: In Turkey they aren’t exactly mean, just intense.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Ephesus.
Favorite airline: Alitalia for the food and wine.
Favorite aircraft type: Big ones.
Aisle or window: Window.
Favorite airport lounge: Amex Centurion Lounge at DFW.
Favorite U.S. airport: Austin Bergstrom—it’s small and friendly with Salt Lick BBQ and live music on weekends.
Favorite international airport: I’m not a fan of big airports, so I’m going with the smallest I’ve ever flown into which was Marsh Harbor International on Great Abaco Island. I think they have a new terminal now, but when I went the luggage claim was literally off of the loading carts on the tarmac. Small airports always equal big adventure.
Favorite hotel: Seven Stars Galleria in Milan.
Favorite cruise line: Silversea.
Favorite travel credit card: Chase United Mileage Explorer.
Favorite island: Bonaire.
Favorite beach: Punalu’u on the Big Island.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Le Champagne on Silver Spirit.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Maple & Motor in Dallas.
Favorite bar: Any bar will do as long as there’s a beach beneath it or a craft brewery attached.
Favorite fruit: Strawberries.
Favorite food: Pizza.
Least favorite food: Squid. I have a squid crush going and can’t stand the thought of eating them.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Beer.
Favorite travel movie(s): Casablanca.
Favorite travel show(s): Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.
Favorite travel book(s): I’m partial to FalconGuides, but love any book where the characters travel.
Right now I am reading: “The Knockoff” by Jo Piazza and Lucy Sykes.
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: Private Clubs, Celebrated Living and Travel Age West. Yes, this is a blatant suck up to editors I am currently developing a relationship with. It’s what freelancers do. Plus, I like that these three publications don’t write for the masses.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! Are there others besides JohnnyJet.com? Sorry Johnny, I have been cheating on you with AFAR and Bravo TV’s JetSet.
5 things you bring on a plane: Butt cushion, sanitizing wipes, iPad loaded with a choice of work or TV to catch up on, headphones—SleepPhones if it’s an overnight flight—and warm fuzzy socks.
What do you always seem to forget? It used to be contact lens cases, but I solved that by stashing one in every bag and suitcase I own. Now it’s teabags. I should travel with Samantha Brown.
What do you like least about travel? Big industrial-looking airports that lack food choices.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? It’s never too late to buy chocolate.
Favorite travel app(s): United, Google Translate, Google Maps.
Most embarrassing travel moment: I developed symptoms of “traveler’s tummy” on a flight from Cancun once. Really bad!
I’m embarrassed I haven’t been to: It’s sad that I have never been to Canada.
Worst travel moment: I broke my shoulder scuba diving once. The surgery, therapy and recovery meant I couldn’t dive for a year. Ack!
What’s your dream destination? My dream destinations are anywhere I haven’t been, especially those where I have yet to dive.
Favorite travel charity: REEF.
Best travel tip: Trust travel writers more than crowd review sites. We fake it way less.