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: Wendy Burk
Occupation: Founder and CEO of
Hometown: Suburb of Detroit, Michigan (Oak Park)
Residence: La Jolla, CA
Short bio: Travel has been the focus of Wendy’s career since 1977. She founded her full-service travel company, Cadence, in 1995 as a host agency for corporate travel agents. Today, Cadence is an award-winning full-service travel company with 50+ employees and 150 independent affiliates supporting $125 million in travel sales through three divisions including managed business travel, meetings & incentives and host agency. Wendy’s commitment to the travel community has allowed her to serve on industry boards like the Four Seasons Advisory Board and Ritz-Carlton Advisory Board. She has been an active member of Virtuoso since 1999. In 2014, Wendy was featured on the cover of Luxury Travel Advisor.
Why are you drawn to travel? People and cultures draw me to traveling. I love experiencing how others live, seeing the beauty of their environments and experiencing all that comes with it—food, architecture, art, style, and nature. It’s inspiring and invigorating to surround yourself with different cultures.
What do you think travel offers people that nothing else does? A path toward tolerance and understanding. With travel, you’re willingly immersing yourself into another culture and another way of life. You have to be open-minded, and doing so allows you to bring that mindset into everything else you do.
What is important to know when it comes to planning a trip? Have a plan B! Expect the unexpected and be aware of your backup options.
How often do you fly? At least once a month.
How many countries have you been to? I’ve been to 69 countries and have stepped foot on every continent.
Earliest travel memory: My travel memories started as car trips all over the country with my family, cousins and all!
Favorite American city: Nashville, Tennessee. You can find joy and creativity everywhere.
Favorite international city: Depends what I’m looking for…Paris is my go-to for art, fashion and food; and Kyoto is my calming retreat for spirituality.
Friendliest people in the world: You cannot beat genuine aloha spirit! I moved from Michigan to Hawaii when I was 17 and have yet to meet friendlier, happier people.
Aisle or window: Aisle.
Favorite airport lounge: British Airways First Class Concord Lounge at Heathrow (Terminal 5) – it’s the one I was in most recently.
Favorite beach: Hands down, the Seven Sacred Pools at Ohe’o in Maui, in Haleakalā National Park. It’s this incredibly lush piece of paradise with streams and waterfalls that flows right into the ocean.
Favorite National Park: Yellowstone. It’s so authentic, and the air is so clean.
Favorite fancy restaurant: This changes every time I try something new…I have pictures of menus around the world saved on my phone. Right now, it’s Restaurant Coworth Park, inside Dorchester Collection’s property in Ascot, England. It is a Michelin-starred restaurant that serves modern British recipes, and there is a giant oak leaf chandelier because the entire hotel’s design is focused on its woodland countryside surroundings.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Rainbow Drive-In in Honolulu. They have a Korean short rib barbecue plate to die for…and I always get extra macaroni salad.
Favorite airport restaurant: This might sound crazy because I always carry healthy snacks with me (even when I’m not traveling), but I decided a long time ago that the airport is a free zone. I am all about Auntie Annie’s pretzel dogs, caramel popcorn and Cinnabon.
Favorite bar: The King Cole Bar at St. Regis New York. They invented the Bloody Mary (originally called the “Red Snapper.”)
Favorite fruit: I grow passionfruit in my back yard…it’s called liliko’i in Hawaii. I eat it straight or add the pulp to passion fruit soda water. It’s the most wonderful thing and I eat it all year round.
Favorite food: Fresh salmon from my husband’s annual fishing trips to Alaska. My freezer is full of it, and now he wants to go to Ireland for the fish!
Least favorite food: Mushrooms.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): The more you get to know me, the more you know that I keep my own flask of Don Julio 1942 with me at all times.
Favorite travel movie(s): Out of Africa.
Favorite travel show(s): Anything on the History Channel.
Favorite travel podcast(s): I’m usually listening to music…Luther Vandross, Sade, Rod Stewart, or Nora Jones. Or I’ll put on a Jon Kabat-Zinn breathing meditation.
Favorite travel book(s): I have so many! I love reading…where do I start? “Gift of Rain” by Tan Twan Eng is great, and I loved “I Am Pilgrim” by Terry Hayes.
Right now I am reading: “Lessons in Leadership” by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and “Master Your Mind: The More You Think the Easier It Gets,” by D.E. Boyer.
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: Skift, Virtuoso Life and TMR.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides Hundredbacklinks.com, of course! because we put so much thought and intention to the new design.
What do you always seem to forget? Bad memories. I purposely block out anything negative.
What do you like least about travel? Alterations to the body’s circadian rhythms (AKA jetlag). And unpacking.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? Something authentic, so it depends on the location…but interesting jewelry is always a great souvenir. I have a local jeweler who creates amazing custom pieces out of the beads I’ve received and collected over the years.
Favorite travel app(s): I use TripCase for itinerary management…and always make sure Gogo Entertainment is downloaded before flights.
Most embarrassing travel moment: Shopping in Paris and missing my connecting flight…!
I’m embarrassed I haven’t been to: India!
Worst travel moment: I was being hosted by the Belmond Hotel Monasterio in Cusco, and was all upset that there was no on-site gym. Little did I know, I was about to suffer from serious altitude sickness and could barely make it up the stairs to my room anyway! Stay humble.
5 things you bring on a plane: My iTunes, a noise-canceling headset, snacks, compression socks, and a change of clothes.
What’s your dream destination? Jerusalem, Israel.
Favorite travel charity: Right now I’m focused on our long-term commitment with ECPAT (End Child Prostitution and Trafficking). We just signed the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct and are taking action all year, raising funds and awareness. Also, we’ve supported USO (United Service Organizations) for longer than I can remember. The largest is in San Diego, and they recently opened a lounge in the airport dedicated to members and their families. It was so meaningful.
Best travel tip: Be flexible!
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