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: Veronica Stoddart
Occupation: Travel Editor and Content Strategist
Hometown: Bogota, Colombia
Residence: Washington, DC
Citizenship: United States and Germany, previously Colombia
College: Wellesley College
College major: Political Science/International Relations
Short bio: I’m an award-winning travel editor and content marketing consultant with more than three decades in travel publishing. I provide content marketing solutions for travel clients via my consultancy, VS Content Strategies, and as Executive Editor in Residence for Percepture, a marketing communications agency.
Previously, I was USA TODAY’s Editor in Chief for Travel, producing content for the nation’s largest newspaper, its travel website, and other digital products, reaching a combined daily audience of 6 million readers. I was also the founding editor of Caribbean Travel & Life magazine, which I edited for 10 years. I’ve worked as a contract editor for the National Geographic Society, as travel editor of Americas magazine, as stringer for Time-Life News Service in West Africa, and I was a faculty member of the SATW Institute for Travel Writing & Photography for five years.
A thought leader in travel and tourism, I’ve served as a frequent speaker or panelist for dozens of professional organizations. I’ve received more than 30 awards, including 12 Lowell Thomas Awards from the Society of American Travel Writers, seven awards from the North American Travel Journalists Association, and the Marcia Vickery-Wallace Memorial Award in Travel Journalism. I was granted a 2014 Asia Pacific Journalism Fellowship by the East-West Center.
I believe that travel can be a force for good in the world.
How often do you fly? About once a month.
How many countries have you been to? More than 100.
How many continents have you been to? 5
Earliest travel memory: Traveling to Miami from Bogota for summer vacations with my grandparents when I was a child. Flying was always a thrill.
Favorite American city: Hard to pick just one.
Favorite international city: Too many to list.
Least favorite country: I don’t have a least favorite, but among the strangest ones I’ve visited are Paraguay and Qatar.
I have no desire to go to: Alaska or Antarctica. I think there’s a theme here.
Friendliest people in the world: Dominican Republic.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Petra, Jordan—especially at night when it’s lit with hundreds and hundreds of luminaries.
Favorite airline: Singapore and Emirates for international; Alaska and JetBlue for domestic.
Favorite aircraft type: They mean nothing to me, though I hanker to fly on the 787 Dreamliner.
Aisle or window: Window—for gazing and daydreaming.
Favorite U.S. airport: Reagan National for its size, maneuverability, shopping and most important, proximity to my home.
Favorite cruise line: Windstar, for the size of its ships, fabulous itineraries and outstanding service.
Favorite travel credit card: Capital One.
Favorite island: Anguilla, for its incomparable beaches and gentle vibe, and Jamaica, for everything about it.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Any of the hawker markets in Singapore, which serve some of the best food on the planet.
Favorite fruit: Mango.
Favorite food: Cheese and chocolate, two things I couldn’t live without.
Least favorite food: Eggplant.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Sparkling water and Earl Gray tea (I always travel with tea bags).
Favorite travel movie(s): Out of Africa, Under the Tuscan Sun, A Room with a View, French Kiss, Lawrence of Arabia, Amelie.
Favorite travel show(s): No Reservations, Parts Unknown, Bizarre Foods.
Favorite travel book(s): “The Snow Leopard”; “A Moveable Feast”; “Eat, Pray, Love”; “Under the Tuscan Sun”; “The Alexandria Quartet”; “The Blue Nile”; “The White Nile”; anything by Graham Greene and Paul Theroux.
Right now I am reading: “Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World.”
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: Skift, Travel Weekly, TravelPulse.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! TripAdvisor.
5 things you bring on a plane: Pashmina (for warmth or to use as a pillow), snacks, laptop, cellphone and all my magazines that I haven’t had time to read (with the ads torn out!).
What do you always seem to forget? Nothing—I’m pretty organized.
What do you like least about travel? Delayed flights, which happen way too often. Groan.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? I never visit duty free stores so am clueless about this.
Favorite travel app(s): Google maps, Instagram, Weather, Uber, AroundMe.
Most embarrassing travel moment: Leaving my passport at Customs in Gibraltar before taking the ferry across the Straight of Gibraltar to Ceuta. I discovered the mistake when I arrived and had to take the ferry back to retrieve it.
I’m embarrassed I haven’t been to: India or Australia.
Worst travel moment: When my husband briefly hopped off our train during an unscheduled stop at 3 am in Zagreb, Yugoslavia, and didn’t make it back on board before the train departed. He was stuck behind the Iron Curtain (it was the 1970s) with no passport, money, or ticket and I was on the train hurtling toward the Yugoslav/Italian border without him—and with no way to contact him! I threw myself on the mercy of the not-very-friendly conductor after discovering our only common language was German (no Serbo-Croatian in my repertoire!) and he begrudgingly helped us reunite in Ljubljana before the train crossed the border. A harrowing experience.
What’s your dream destination? Tibet, Vietnam and Scotland top my bucket list.
Best travel tip: Plan, but stay open to serendipity. It’s the unexpected moments, encounters and discoveries that usually linger long after the trip is over.