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: Viktoria Altman
Hometown: Saint Petesburg, Russia
Residence: Brooklyn, NY
College: Baruch College, City University of New York
College major: Computer Information Systems
Short bio: I was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia, and moved to the United States around 12-years old. Shortly after arriving in the States I became a professional fashion model, I lived in Brooklyn and worked in the city. After high school I decided to stay in the city for college. I got married and had two children. In 2012 I opened my first business, a tutoring center not far from where I grew up. I have worked in several small ventures since and I have been lucky enough to travel a lot. I started to take pictures and eventually put them to stories, and gained a sizable Instagram following. I am very lucky to be able to do something I love.
How often do you fly? Once a month.
How many countries have you been to? I have no idea…never occurred to me to keep track. I think you can revisit the same place over and over again and learn something new each time you go.
How many continents have you been to? 5, haven’t made it to Australia and Antarctica (yet).
Earliest travel memory: I was six-years old and it was New Year’s Eve. It was my first time on a plane. I remember it took a very long time and I looked out the window for a while, and I was sure that the cities beneath us weren’t real—just someone’s drawings spread under an airplane. My grandfather lived in Kazakhstan, part of the Soviet Union at the time but a world away. I marveled at the women dressed in traditional colorful pant and shirt combo, their long black braids hanging all the way down their backs to wear their legs would start. The old men, wearing white hats and robes, sipping tea on the colorful carpets. The long horns played at the entry to the mosque. It was a world so different from my familiar surroundings of Leningrad, a large Soviet city, decidedly Russian and western.
Favorite American city: New York, naturally.
Favorite international city: Paris, predictably.
Least favorite country: No such thing. Every country is beautiful and fascinating.
I have no desire to go to: No such place. I want to go everywhere, and if I have been there, I want to go again.
Friendliest people in the world: I loved the Scottish people. They were so friendly, warm and polite. It felt like home.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: Cuba—not mean necessarily just incredibly inefficient. Lines everywhere!
Favorite World Heritage Site: The Great Chinese Wall.
Favorite airline: JetBlue.
Favorite aircraft type: Private… ;)
Aisle or window: Window, always. Especially during sunset and sunrise.
Favorite airport lounge: Qatar, The Oryx lounge at Doha airport.
Favorite U.S. airport: JFK—when there are no major flight delays.
Favorite international airport: Dubai International Airport.
Favorite hotel: The Ritz-Carlton.
Favorite cruise line: Norwegian.
Favorite travel credit card: Chase Sapphire Reserve.
Favorite island: Grenada.
Favorite beach: The Eagle Beach in Aruba.
Favorite National Park: Yosemite.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Daniel.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Any noodle shop in any Chinatown ☺
Favorite airport restaurant: You got me. I got nothing ;)
Favorite bar: Death and Company in NYC.
Favorite fruit: Kiwi!
Favorite food: Russian style fried potatoes with mushrooms.
Least favorite food: Anything slimy…
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): White wine!
Favorite travel movie(s): Titanic ;)
Favorite travel show(s): No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain.
Favorite travel book(s): Into the Wild.
Right now I am reading: “Young Nero.”
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: National Geographic, Travel + Leisure, Destinations.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! Lost with Purpose, NationalGeographic.com, Instagram (to follow all my favorite travel photographers), Twitter (to see all the travel deals).
5 things you bring on a plane: Power source for phone, laptop, earplugs, journal, snacks.
What do you always seem to forget? Nothing—I am very organized ☺
What do you like least about travel? Leaving a wonderful place.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? Alcohol ;)
Favorite travel app(s): SkyScanner.
Most embarrassing travel moment: That one time I lost my passport…on a flight! Searched through half the plane and it was in my bag the whole time.
I’m embarrassed I haven’t been to: Prague. How weird is that? Looks like such an amazing place.
Worst travel moment: Was in a bad neighborhood on an island alone and some guy started following me. I channelled my best Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider and it worked—he backed off.
What’s your dream destination? Antarctica.
Favorite travel charity: The Travel Foundation.
Best travel tip: Go with an open mind. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Keep your eyes peeled for signs of trouble. Learn to communicate without words—smiles and gestures go far, no matter how bad your language is. Learn to say hello and thank you in local language. Be present.