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: Monica McCarthy
Occupation: Writer, Host, On-Camera Consultant, Wanderer
Hometown: Orange County, CA (Not my fault!)
Residence: Brooklyn, NY (Whoop!)
Short Bio: Monica McCarthy is a writer, host, world traveler, public speaking/on-camera consultant, and chaser of good stories. Previous incarnations have included: Acting on Broadway and television, doubling for celebrities, encouraging a plant-based diet as a certified holistic health coach, singing with a Big Band in Japan, and serving more drinks behind the bar than she cares to recall.
These days you can find Monica running around Brooklyn or cashing in her rewards points for frequent flyer miles.
How often do you fly: 1-2x per month since last September. I hit a ten-year dry spell before that (internationally speaking).
How many countries have you been to: 20. Remember that dry spell I mentioned? Almost half of those were within the past eight months.
How many continents have you been to: 3. This will change. Pronto.
Favorite American city: NYC. I’ve lived here for 7 years and it’s still magical. Blue Hill, Maine is a wonderful getaway for stunning views and relaxation.
Favorite international city: Eek! Hard to say. I love Amsterdam because the people are lovely and the cheese is divine. Inley in Burma is like a dream. I have a special place in my heart for Heidelberg, Germany after having studied there.
Least favorite country: I’ve never met a country I didn’t like. Can I say least favorite city? Hands down Mandalay (though the food poisoning probably had something to do with it).
Favorite World Heritage Site: The most recent site I visited was Angkor. It was pretty awesome.
Favorite airline: Cathay Pacific. They have orchids in business class. Orchids!
Favorite aircraft type: Anything that flies. My dad, a former Navy fighter pilot, will be disappointed I don’t know the difference between any of them.
Aisle or window: Window. I’m a dreamer with a large bladder.
Favorite airport lounge: The Wing in Hong Kong. The balcony section had just opened when I was there and the coffee lounge and noodle bar were terrific.
Favorite U.S. airport: JFK. It kind of feels like a second home now.
Favorite international airport: HK
Favorite hotel: I love the Harmony Hotel (http://www.harmonynosara.com/) in Costa Rica for their commitment to the eco-system, delicious food, and proximity to the beach. The Blue Hill Inn in Maine is lovely and has the best innkeeper around (Sarah Pebworth). Bamboo Nest outside of Chiang Rai was a lucky find and the owners Nok and Noi are delightful.
Favorite cruise line: I’ve ever been on a cruise! (Hint hint)
Favorite island: Does NYC count? Also- Koh Yao Yai in Thailand was incredible beautiful and quiet.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Honestly, I prefer food from food trucks and outdoor markets. Though Candle 79 in NYC is always terrific for upscale vegan food.
Favorite hole in the wall: Renee’s in Santa Monica. I worked there right out of college. They have a drink there called the mind eraser… it lives up to the hype.
Favorite fruit: I recently had mangosteens for the first time in Bangkok and I craved them for the rest of my trip in Southeast Asia. Mmmmmmm
Favorite food: A tie between Mango Sticky Rice from the market in Chiang Mai, fresh stroopwafels in Amsterdam. Now I’m hungry, thanks a lot.
Least favorite food: Anything with meat
Drink of choice (In the air and on the ground): Usually a glass of Malbec or a Chai Latte. Sometimes washed down with seltzer water.
Favorite travel movie(s): All the Indiana Jones movies inspire adventure. Paris je t’aime is fun and brings out the Francophile in me. Casablanca was showing on a recent flight and I had forgotten how terrific it is.
Favorite travel show(s): Long Way Down, Michael Palin’s Around World In 80 Day.s
Favorite travel book(s): The Art of Travel (Alain de Botton), The Geography of Bliss (Eric Weiner), anything Bill Bryson writes.
Right now I am reading: I just finished Man’s Search for Meaning and I underlined every other sentence. I’m about to dive into McCarthy’s Bar (no relation).
Five things you bring on a plane: Earphones, Laptop, Notebook, Pen, my imagination (see response to window seat).
What do you always seem to forget: I don’t think I’ve ever taken a trip without forgetting something. During my recent trip to Colorado for TBEX I forgot: my hairbrush, toothbrush, jacket, and tweezers. Not cute. On the same trip I forgot my rolling bag on the bus (later retrieved) and my iPhone at the coffee shop at the airport (also retrieved). Phew!
Favorite travel iPhone app(s): I recently got introduced to Tripit. Looking forward to testing it out!
Most embarrassing/worst travel moment: Worst? Any bus ride in Burma (http://www.showandtellstories.com/2012/04/19/the-best-of-times-the-worst-of-times-a-bus-ride-in-myanmar/) but especially the one with the drunk pukey guy for 12 hours from Inle to Mandalay. As far as embarrassing goes, that’s a given since I get lost every trip I take.
What’s your dream destination: I really can’t pick just one! But India, Ireland, and Iceland are all high on the list… I guess I have a thing for the letter “I”.
Favorite travel website(s)- besides JohnnyJet.com of course!: I’m generally more loyal to writers than websites, largely because I prefer narratives to how-tos. I particularly enjoy the writing of David Harley, Rozanne Krystalli, and Spud Hilton.
Best travel tip: Just do it! No, really. If your heart says “go for it” do what you gotta do to make it happen.