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: Ashley Fleckenstein
Occupation: Freelance writer and travel blogger
Hometown: A town outside of Detroit, Michigan
Residence: Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France, a town outside of Paris
Short Bio: Ashley Fleckenstein is a travel writer and blogger with a passion for cultural immersion, language and food. Right after graduating from college she moved to Paris to learn French and soak up the city of lights. Next up she will be traveling to Southeast Asia.
How often do you fly: It depends- in the last year I’ve taken only ten flights because I’m living abroad in France so I often take trains to reach my destination.
How many countries have you been to: 28!
How many continents have you been to: 3: North America, South America and Europe.
Favorite American city: San Francisco is my favorite city in the world and where I someday dream of living long-term.
Favorite international city: Barcelona or Paris
Least favorite country: I wouldn’t say I had a least favorite country but Florence is probably my least favorite city in Europe. It’s just too touristy and doesn’t even feel Italian!
Favorite World Heritage Site: The Alhambra in Granada, Spain
Favorite airline: I’ve never had a bad experience with Air France. And , it means I’m on my way to France!
Aisle or window: Always, always window.
Favorite U.S. airport: Detroit is beautiful, well-designed and easy to get around. Plus it usually means I’m coming home.
Favorite international airport: I like smaller, open-air airports like the ones in the Caribbean.
Favorite ho I loved the Sofitel in Biarritz for its impeccable service and heated, outdoor, salt-water pool overlooking the Bay of Biscay.
Do you unpack into the dresser/closet? Or live out of your suitcase? I unpack if I’ll be there for more than a few days but live out of my suitcase for shorter trips.
Favorite cruise line: I’ve only been on one cruise, Carnival, and I didn’t care for it at all. I don’t see myself taking a cruise in the near future!
Favorite island: I love traveling to islands because they feel much more insular and culturally different than the mainland. Some of my favorites so far are the Isle of Skye in Scotland, Sardinia and Chiloé Island, Chile.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Tokyo Eat in Paris for its terrace in the summer and Globe in San Francisco for its late-night eats.
Favorite hole in the wall: Falafel King in Royal Oak, Michigan. It serves up the best Arabic food in metro-Detroit, which is home to the largest population of Arab-Americans in the country. Order the kafta kebob if you come!
Favorite fruit: At the moment I’m really loving the sumer produce you can buy in France right now, especially white peaches, wild strawberries and black cherries.
Favorite food: I have so many that it’s hard to choose! But maybe ceviche, boudin noir and bread with butter.
Least favorite food: Green bell peppers
Drink of choice (In the air and on the ground): In the air all I need is a bottle of water but on the ground I love margaritas and mojitos.
Favorite travel movie(s): The Motorcycle Diaries. It may be the reason I spent my teens exploring South America.
Favorite travel show(s): Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. I’ve been watching his show since I was 16 and he’s really shaped the way I look at travel.
Favorite travel book(s): Absolutely anything by Bill Bryson, he’s brilliant and hilarious.
Right now I am reading: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in French. You may laugh but it really helps!
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: AFAR, Lonely Planet and Nomadic Matt’s newsletter.
Favorite travel website(s) – besides Hundredbacklinks.com, of course!: Some of my favorite travel blogs are C’est Christine, Expat Edna and Alex in Wanderland.
Five things you bring on a plane: Notepad and pencil, iPod, Advil, laptop and an eyemask to help me sleep.
What do you always seem to forget: A toothbrush, which is the most annoying thing to forget!
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport duty free store? A nice bottle of wine.
Most embarrassing travel moment: Butchering French in general. Several months ago a friend was telling me about his fishing trip and I responded, “Oh that’s great, how many peaches did you catch?” Oof. I make some pretty silly (and embarrassing) mistakes but practice is the only way to improve, right?
Worst travel moment: Delta lost my backpack permanently on a flight to Santiago, Chile. Inside were some of my most prized possessions: my laptop, family photos and jewelry included. I certainly learned my lesson and will never check valuables again.
What’s your dream destination: At present I find myself dreaming about exploring Quebec- I’m really interested in learning about the French they speak there as well as exploring Canada’s beautiful wilderness.
Favorite travel charity: I loved working for Habitat for Humanity in Ecuador. There was something so rewarding about building a house all day and gradually seeing the product of our work come to life. In the near future I’d love to work with the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai.
Best travel tip: Don’t over-plan your trip- build a guideline of things you might like to see or do but once you arrive travel slowly- the best travel experiences are always spontaneous! And bring at least two debit cards and one credit card.
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