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: Mickela Mallozzi
Occupation: TV Host/Producer of Bare Feet®; Founder of the Bare Feet® Dance Tours; Director of The Women’s Travel Fest
Tag Line: Experiencing the world, one dance at a time!
Hometown: Stamford, CT (FUN FACT: Johnny Jet and I were born in the same hospital!)
Residence: New York City & Nashville
College major: Music & Italian
Facebook: Bare Feet™ with Mickela Mallozzi
Pinterest: Bare Feet® with Mickela Mallozi
Google+: Bare Feet® with Mickela Mallozi
YouTube: Bare Feet® with Mickela Mallozzi
Short bio: Mickela is the host and creator of the travel dance TV and Web Series, Bare Feet®, where she experiences the world one dance at a time; the show airs weekly on NYC Life, the official PBS station of New York City (scheduled to air nationally on PBS in fall 2015). With the popularity of the show, Mickela created the Bare Feet® Dance Tours, itineraries based on current episodes of the series, for other travelers to join her on these dance adventures and experience other cultures through music and dance for themselves. Mickela and Bare Feet® have been featured in The New York Times, Dance Magazine, Yahoo! Travel, Travelocity, American Express, Travel + Escape, and more. She is also Director of The Women’s Travel Fest, an annual conference whose mission is to inspire, empower, and connect women through travel.
How often do you fly? 2-4 times a month.
How many countries have you been to? 25+
How many continents have you been to? 5
Earliest travel memory: 2-years-old: killing chickens with my grandparents on their farm in southern Italy.
Favorite American city: New York City.
Favorite international city: Rome, Italy NOT during the summer months. My newest obsession is Dubrovnik, Croatia. Munich, Germany during Oktoberfest. And Buenos Aires, Argentina any time of year. I have so much more of the world to see, so I’m sure that list will continue to grow.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: Canada.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Dubrovnik’s Old City (Croatia).
Favorite airline(s): Southwest—friendliest staff, 2 free checked bags (you can’t beat that), and they are the best option for me to go back and forth between NYC and Nashville.
Favorite aircraft type: The bigger the better—unfortunately I suffer from terrible motion sickness (just my luck!), so the bigger the plane, the less motion I feel.
Aisle or window: Window. I’m short, I like to sleep as much as I can on a flight, so I prop myself against the wall of the plan—it’s the best!
Favorite U.S. airport: JFK’s Terminal 5 is the coolest—best shops, better food options, 80s music playing in the sound system, and they even have surprise live concerts! (however, the rest of JFK, like the international terminal, needs to step up its game…)
Favorite international airport: Frankfurt Airport—as a central hub in Europe, I just love the idea that if you really wanted, you could jump on a flight to anywhere in the world from there! And the Germans are so efficient, that airport has bikes for employees (since it is massive), I love the authentic bakery (I’ve seen them rolling bread many times during my early morning arrivals), and of course, the free wifi. It’s also very clean.
Favorite hotel: Number 31 in Dublin, Ireland—hands-down the best hotel! It is a gorgeous B&B right by St. Stephen’s Green, built in an old Georgian home, owned by a lovely married couple whose full Irish breakfast is to die for (the carriage house was redone by modern architect Sam Stephenson). A close second is Hotel Puri in Melaka, Malaysia—unassuming from the outside, but this gorgeous boutique hotel is a living museum of the Chinese-Malaysian aristocracy, along with extremely modernized rooms (and an adorable courtyard).
Favorite cruise line: The only cruise I’ve ever been on was with my family when I was seven years old, and it was a Disney cruise. I was the happiest kid alive!
Favorite travel credit card: The Chase Sapphire Preferred card—no international fees, the points redemption is fantastic (no black out dates), and it is now equipped with chip capability, a necessity for international travel.
Favorite island: Puerto Rico—I fell in love with bomba dance and music when I got to San Juan. The people are so warm, the nightlife is great (especially if you go out with the locals), and the food is amazing. It’s so close to home, and you don’t even need a passport to get there!
Favorite beach: Sperlonga, Italy—I grew up going to this beach with my family, as my parents were both born only 20 minutes away from there. In the summers that we were able to visit my grandparents, we would pack a cooler full of food and spend the entire day at a lido in Sperlonga. Italians really know how to live it up at the beach: great music in the jukeboxes, gelato readily available, and the best sun!
Favorite fancy restaurant: Momofuku Ssam Bar in NYC, by the brilliant Chef David Chang.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Trattoria Mario in Florence (they only serve lunch) and Gus O’Connor’s in County Clare, Ireland (they serve the best fish chowder and you can’t beat the live music trad sessions that happen daily).
Favorite bar: Lucy’s in the East Village, NYC—best dive bar in the world (truly rough around the edges) and one of the last, remaining New York gems. I’m not a fan of smoking hookah, but the most authentic place for Turkish tea and people-watching is Corlulu Ali Pasa Medresesi in Istanbul, Turkey—it’s right around the corner from The Grand Bazaar, and it smells fabulous in there! Another incredible pub is Harbour Bar in Bray, Ireland (30 minutes south of Dublin)—probably one of the most interesting bars I’ve ever been to!
Favorite food: My Nonna’s Italian cooking (you can catch her preparing one of my favorite dishes on my web series in Italy).
Least favorite food: I’m an adventurous eater, but the only thing I can’t stomach are insects.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Ginger ale—it always soothes my stomach during/after a long flight.
Favorite travel show(s): My own blood, sweat, and tears: Bare Feet® with Mickela Mallozzi (coming to your local PBS station in fall 2015, stay tuned!).
Right now I am reading: “A Dance With Dragons” (Book 5 of the Game of Thrones series). These are great books for long trips!
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: AFAR magazine (& AFAR.com), Travel + Leisure magazine, and whichever airline magazine is in the seat pocket in front of me on my flight.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! Thrillist.com and PassionPassport.com.
5 things you bring on a plane: Bottle of water, a book, a big scarf (multiple uses: blanket, scarf, pillow, et al), quality head phones (not ear buds), a home-cooked meal packed in Tupperware.
What do you always seem to forget? Gum/breath mints.
What do you like least about travel? The jet-lag—would want the super power of overcoming any time zone changes.
What do you buy from an airport Duty Free store? I always pick up a bag of mini Toblerone (assorted chocolates) for my husband. He loves them, and it’s always a sweet way to show him that I’m thinking of him on my long trips.
Favorite travel app(s): SkyScanner.
What’s your dream destination? I have always wanted to celebrate Carnival in Brazil, and I’ll actually get to live out that dream in 2015! #2 on the Bare Feet® Bucket List is dancing in a Bollywood movie in Mumbai, India—nothing is short of impossible!
Best travel tip: Embrace chaos! Some of my most memorable travel moments happened by chance and were usually accidental (or more on the verge of disastrous). But when you go with the flow and make the best of any situation, some real magic can happen!