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: Shelly Rivoli
Occupation: Family travel author & blogger
Hometown: Albany, Oregon
Residence: San Francisco Bay Area
College: University of Oregon
College major: English
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Short bio: Shelly Rivoli is the award-winning author behind the “Travels with Baby” guidebooks and blog, and she’s the founder of TravelswithBaby.com (2004) and FamilyTravel411.com (2014). She’s received four awards from the North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA), and her Travels with Baby books have received both Gold and Silver awards in the National Parenting Publication Awards and have been finalists in the Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Awards in both Parenting and Travel Guides categories. Shelly has changed diapers on four continents and is the proud mother of three passport-wielding children. As a trusted family travel expert, Shelly’s advice has been quoted by numerous magazines and newspapers including The Boston Globe, L.A. Times, American Baby, Parents, Fit Pregnancy, and TimeOut New York Kids, and she was a recurring guest on ABC 7’s View from the Bay. She hangs her hat in the San Francisco Bay Area.
How often do you fly? It varies, but right now it’s around 3-4 times a year. With 5 of us + a young dog, road trips dominate.
How many countries have you been to? 18
How many continents have you been to? 4
Earliest travel memory: Riding the Amtrak Coast Starlight to visit family in Seattle, flushing all sorts of things down the train toilet with my brother and new-found friends because…you could see the tracks below!
Favorite American city: San Francisco/New York.
Favorite international city: Tie: Paris/Rome/Prague.
Least favorite country: Haven’t met one yet.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: Independent Republic of Chicago.
Favorite World Heritage Site: The Roman Forum.
Favorite airline(s): Air France = free champagne and cognac in coach with fresh-baked mini baguettes.
Favorite aircraft type: Seaplane.
Aisle or window: Window!
Best flight attendant you’ve ever had: Actually, she was an American Airlines agent and it was before we even got on the plane—but it had everything to do with our flight experience. She managed to get the 5 of us 8 center seats together on a transatlantic flight (I think we only had tickets for 4 seats).
Favorite U.S. airport: SFO.
Favorite international airport: Any that is not Heathrow.
Favorite hotel: Tough one, but it’s hard to argue with the penthouses at Wailea Beach Villas.
Favorite cruise line: Costa—only 3% of the passengers on our cruise were Americans and I got to eavesdrop in foreign languages.
Favorite travel credit card: Capitol One.
Favorite island: Maui.
Favorite beach: Tunnels, Kauai.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Room service.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Herby K’s, Shreveport, Louisiana.
Favorite bar: I’m trying to remember. ;-)
Favorite fruit: Raspberries.
Favorite food: Tom Kha Khai (Thailand).
Least favorite food: “Chicken’s Children” (Taiwan).
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Red wine.
Favorite travel movie(s): My Family and Other Animals, Couples Retreat.
Favorite travel show(s): An Idiot Abroad, No Reservations.
Favorite travel book(s): “Travels with Charlie.”
Right now I am reading: “Last Train to Zona Verde” and “A Sense of Place.”
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: National Geographic Traveler, Afar, Via.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course (and TravelswithBaby.com)! Travelzoo, BookIt.com, VacationstoGo.com.
5 things you bring on a plane:
- Reusable water bottle
- Eye drops
- Comfy socks
- Cliff bars
- Wikki Stix
What do you always seem to forget? My sunglasses—it seems like I always leave in the dark.
What do you like least about travel? Insects.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? Insanely good chocolate.
Favorite travel app(s): Sit or Squat.
Most embarrassing travel moment: Before reaching cruising altitude on a 10-hour flight, my 1-year-old son (riding on my lap) vomited all over the bulkhead, narrowly missing the newlywed couple who’d been seated beside us. They were whisked off to first class in a heartbeat, and we had 2 extra seats to ourselves for the duration, so…it worked out.
Worst travel moment: Train strike in Italy upon leaving Venice.
What’s your dream destination? With kids: Cairns + Great Barrier Reef. Without kids: Borneo.
Favorite travel charity: Passports with Purpose.
Best travel tip: Put away your phone and ask a local instead.