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: Molly Mogren Katt
Occupation: Food, Travel & Adventure Writer
Hometown: Stillwater, Minnesota
Residence: Minneapolis, Minnesota
College: University of Wisconsin – Madison
College major: Journalism & Communications
Facebook: Hey Eleanor
Pinterest: Hey Eleanor
Short bio: The daughter of a flight attendant and a hippy-turned-real estate developer who toured Europe in a Volkswagen bus, Molly Mogren Katt arrived on the planet with an inherent sense of adventure. She’s a food and travel writer and the co-host of the “Go Fork Yourself Podcast with Andrew Zimmern.” Her latest project, Hey Eleanor!, chronicles her experience doing one thing every day that scares her. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband (Josh), dog (Patsy Cline) and kitty (Bogart).
How often do you fly? About once a month.
How many countries have you been to? Maybe 22?
How many continents have you been to? All seven!
Earliest travel memory: Visiting my grandparents near Orlando. I was so spoiled—we did this maybe twice a year for a decade! We’d hit Disney or one of the parks every other day, and in between just veg out at the pool. To be fair, we had a free place to stay, free airfare (my mom was a flight attendant), and my grandparents probably paid for a lot of stuff while we were there. Talk about hooked up.
Favorite American city: After Minneapolis, I gotta say either Austin or Nashville. Both are incredible food cities. I travel to eat!). I love the outdoorsy, adventure vibe they’ve got going in Austin, and I’m a die-hard classic country fan, so Nashville makes my heart explode. In fact, the last time I went, I experienced music-fueled cry-fests at least three times. I dare you to visit RCA’s Studio B and not shed a tear a two.
Favorite international city: Barcelona! Great food, awesome shopping (why are clothes so cool and inexpensive in Spain?!), and lots of hot, sexy people who look like they just rolled out of bed—no matter what time of day it is.
Least favorite country: Though I did love this place, India. I spent three weeks there in 2008. I don’t know—I felt like I could never relax. I did love the many of the people I met, and of course, the food.
I have no desire to go to: Coachella or any other large outdoor music festival. I love music, but outdoor festivals are not my jam.
Friendliest people in the world: The Irish and the South Africans! And of course, Minnesotans.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: New Zealand. They tore my husband a new one when he didn’t declare his (very clean) hiking boots on his customs form. We’d been traveling for nearly two days, it was the middle of the night and it was extremely unpleasant.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Internationally, Serengeti National Park. Domestically, the Grand Canyon. Anyone who says, “It’s just a big hole in the ground” has a heart of stone. That place is magical.
Favorite airline: Delta.
Favorite aircraft type: One without Wi-Fi. I like thinking of my flight time as a way to relax—read, watch a movie, listen to a podcast. Don’t guilt me into working!
Aisle or window: Window.
Favorite airport lounge: I wish I had experienced enough to make a call on that.
Favorite U.S. airport: Minneapolis! Super clean, great food, easy to navigate.
Favorite hotel: Anything by the Bunkhouse Group. Great beds, unique mini bars, beautiful and fun design, and awesome breakfasts. Liz Lambert gets how I like to travel.
Favorite cruise line: I’m not much of a cruiser, but I did take Linblad Expeditions’ Explorer to Antarctica in 2009. Not exactly that all-you-can-eat, party atmosphere. They partner with Nat Geo, scientists and naturalists, so it was more like a floating university.
Favorite travel credit card: Capital One Venture.
Favorite island: Isla Mujeres.
Favorite beach: Deception Island on the Antarctic peninsula—it’s volcanic and you can kind of go swimming there!
Favorite fancy restaurant: Piccolo in Minneapolis.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Pho Tau Bay, Minneapolis.
Favorite bar: Liquor Lyle’s, Minneapolis.
Favorite fruit: Pineapple.
Favorite food: Anything Vietnamese.
Least favorite food: Chocolate ice cream.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): A kalimotxo (pronounced kali-mo-cho), which I first tried in Barcelona. Fill a glass with ice, then do half red wine and half Coke. Sounds disgusting, but it’s delicious (think of it like sangria) and refreshing. It’s the perfect airplane cocktail—it stretches that glass of wine further. The only downside is having to order a Coke, a wine and an empty glass of ice. The flight attendants always give you the side-eye.
Favorite travel movie(s): Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
Favorite travel show(s): Anthony Bourdain, Andrew Zimmern, Samantha Brown.
Favorite travel book(s): Anything that marries food and travel—like Under the Tuscan Sun.
Right now I am reading: “It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying is Cool, Too)” by Nora Purmort.
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: Yes & Yes, Samantha-brown.com, Andrewzimmern.com.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! Airbnb, Eater.com for food recommendations.
5 things you bring on a plane: Headphones, Esquire magazine, Kindle, iPhone loaded with audio books or podcasts, giant bottle of water.
What do you always seem to forget? Toothpaste and face wash!
What do you like least about travel? People tend to be the worst versions of themselves at the airport and Costco. Also, I can’t stand gum chewing, and everyone loves to smack their gum at the airport and on planes. Drives me nuts.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? I’m not a big duty-free person, but real German Haribo gummies are always a delight.
Favorite travel app(s): Google Maps, Foursquare.
Most embarrassing travel moment: Missing a flight because I stopped for a coffee.
I’m embarrassed I haven’t been to: Canada! I could literally drive there in six hours.
Worst travel moment: Getting food poisoning at six months pregnant while staying in an over-priced but filthy hotel in the Florida Keys.
What’s your dream destination? I’d love to go to Mexico City or Nicaragua.
Favorite travel charity: Project Explorer.
Best travel tip: Act like a local when you travel, but be a little more like a tourist when you’re at home. There’s a lot to be experienced in your own backyard. Also, you can always go back! I remind myself of this whenever I feel overwhelmed about seeing everything in a particular place. It takes the pressure off.