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: Rebecca Rusch
Occupation: Seven-time World Champion mountain biker and endurance athlete, author, adventurer, speaker, and star of the new, award-winning documentary Blood Road produced by Red Bull Media House
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Residence: Ketchum, ID
College: University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana
College major: Business/Marketing
Short bio: Rebecca Rusch is the Queen of Pain with a heart of gold. As a professional athlete for over three decades, the 7x World Champion has continually tested her own limits and has shattered the glass ceiling in whatever sport she tackles. Rebecca has redefined the team dynamics of adventure racing, has a first female ascent rock climbing El Capitan in Yosemite, river boarded down the Grand Canyon, and has given the men a run for their money in endurance mountain biking. Beyond the start line, Rebecca brings energy, positivity and inspiration to whatever challenge she meets. She has pedaled through the night on an epic adventure across Italy, ridden all the way up to the summit of Africa’s legendary Mt. Kilimanjaro, and taught clinics and camps in her #JoinTheRusch effort to introduce more women to her sport. Rebecca is also the best-selling author of “Rusch to Glory,” event producer for Rebecca’s Private Idaho, motivational speaker, firefighter, and cycling advocate. She has raised more than $150,000 for bike related charities through her adventures and events. Rebecca stars in the Red Bull Media House feature film called Blood Road, which documents her personal journey along the 1,200-mile Ho Chi Minh Trail in search of the place where her father, a U.S. Air Force Pilot, was shot down during the Vietnam War.
How often do you fly? Two times per month on average, but more during this film tour.
How many countries have you been to? 30
How many continents have you been to? All of them except Antarctica.
Earliest travel memory: Being loaded on a plane as a young kid alone or with my sister en route to visit my grandparents in New Jersey. It felt daring to travel without an adult. We always got wings from the flight attendants. And on the way home, my grandparents always made us put on our Sunday best for travel. I hated feeling constricted on a plane in tights, patent leather shoes and a dress.
Favorite American city: San Francisco, CA.
Favorite international city: Perth, Australia or Reykjavik, Iceland.
Least favorite country: Costa Rica.
I have no desire to go to: The Mall of America—kind of represents a lot of things that I try to escape from when I travel!
Friendliest people in the world: Laotian.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: Brazil.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Luang Prabat, Laos.
Favorite airline: Delta, but mostly because that’s the only major airline servicing my home airport. It’s all about status baby!
Favorite aircraft type: Helicopter, hopefully dropping me off on top of a peak somewhere.
Aisle or window: Aisle if in a plane, window if in a helicopter.
Favorite U.S. airport: Minneapolis.
Favorite ho Shore Hotel in Santa Monica.
Favorite cruise line: Never been on one…I think I would feel trapped. My idea of cruising is white-water rafting or even river boarding, you know lying on your belly going downstream, which I did with two other female athletes down the entire length of the Grand Canyon.
Favorite travel credit card: American Express.
Favorite island: Borneo.
Favorite beach: Margaret River, Australia.
Favorite National Park: Yosemite, but not on the ground…up on the rocks. I had the female ascent of Lurking Fear on El Capitan. It was seven days with my feet off the ground.
Favorite fancy restaurant: BBQ in my own backyard.
Favorite bar: The post-party at Rebecca’s Private Idaho (Patron, Lagunitas, PBR are sponsors), the Gelände Quaffing Challenge; an epic drinking event that requires skill, finesse, a good tolerance for beer chugging, endurance, and a sense of humor. I also love the bar at the Limelight Hotel in Ketchum, where dogs are allowed and live music happens every night.
Favorite fruit: Mango.
Favorite food: Bread, cheese, wine (as a grouping).
Least favorite food: Kimchi, blech…
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): In the air, sparkling water with lime. On the ground, rye Manhattan.
Favorite travel movie(s): Lost in Translation, Thelma & Louise, anything Star Wars or Indiana Jones.
Favorite travel show(s): Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown.
Favorite travel book(s): Anything by Hemingway or Steinbeck; “Democracy in America” by de Tocqueville; “Endurance,” which was Alfred Lansing’s account of Ernest Shackleton’s expedition in Antarctica.
Right now I am reading: “The Obstacle is the Way.”
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: Janeen McCrae’s , Conde Nast Traveler, National Geographic’s Intelligent Travel.
5 things you bring on a plane: Headphones, laptop, Sea to Summit neck pillow and eye mask, journal, actual book or magazine.
What do you always seem to forget? To put the garbage out before I leave home.
What do you like least about travel? Packing and unpacking…once I’m en route, things simplify.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? I wouldn’t refuse a good bar of dark Swiss chocolate or a nice whiskey.
Favorite travel app(s): Headspace, the meditation app.
Most embarrassing travel moment: Being pulled off the plane by armed security guards in Ecuador, detained and aggressively interrogated while drug dogs searched my checked baggage, and then let back onto the plane with the waiting passengers when they discovered all I was bringing back was about 20lbs of tasty Ecuadorian coffee.
I’m embarrassed I haven’t been to: London.
Worst travel moment: Being in the air on 9/11 heading back to the United States, then hearing the announcement that all US air space was closed and we’d be landing in Canada and staying there for an undetermined amount of time.
What’s your dream destination? Bhutan.
Favorite travel charity: Anything that supports non-motorized travel on two wheels—my cycling event, Rebecca’s Private Idaho, supports four cycling non-profits: World Bicycle Relief, People for Bikes, National Interscholastic Cycling League, which supports high school mountain bike programs, and Wood River Bike Coalition—which supports the beautiful mountain biking trails in Ketchum Idaho.
Best travel tip: If you’re the outdoorsy type who likes to hike or bike, a plastic shower cap, a pair of surgical gloves and two Ziplock bags should be part of your “go everywhere” kit. These weightless pieces of plastic are life-savers if you get caught in a storm or freezing cold weather unexpectedly. Shower cap on your head, gloves on your hands and baggies inside your shoes as vapor barrier liners to keep your body heat in. You will look ridiculous, but you’ll be warm and you’ll survive until you find shelter.
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