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Featured Traveler: Cynthia Drescher


Jetsetter Cynthia Drescher is always on the move, whether it’s taking in the art scene in Miami, covering new developments in the airline industry in Santiago, Chile, or learning how to make sushi in the Napa Valley. And, in the midst of all this, she finds time to hold down the role of managing editor at the irreverent pop-culture travel blog Jaunted.com without ever losing her sense of humor.

Cynthia took the time to fill out our questionnaire below, and you can get to know her better through her AFAR profile and beautiful, original Easter Island Wanderlist here on AFAR.com.

Right now I’m in a 757 above Kansas City, on United flight 312.
Though I would much prefer to be camping in Norway’s Geiranger Fjord.
Occupation: Managing Editor at Jaunted.com and Contributing Editor at HotelChatter.com.
My next trip is to LA and then on down to Santiago, Chile for the inaugural flight of LAN’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner between LAX and SCL.
My last trip took me to Miami Beach for Art Basel!
First international trip—when and where? It’s hard to believe now, but my first major international trip didn’t go down until I was halfway through high school. I flew Continental DTW-EWR-FRA and spent two weeks hopping around Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein.
A Kairouan carpet is my most treasured travel souvenir.
Favorite hotel: There’s never just one, so I’ll give you two on both sides of the world: 25hours HafenCity, Hamburg, Germany. The Upper House, Hong Kong.
Favorite restaurant: Woods, on Mackinac Island, Michigan.
Favorite shopping destination: Seoul. If there was a city capable of elevating shopping to be nearly an art form, Seoul would be it. It’s also my number one destination for buying anything duty-free.
iPhone or DSLR? iPhone. Traveling light means I try to leave my DSLR behind whenever I won’t be shooting anything major.
Backpack, wheelie, or trunk? A 20″ wheelie and a tote or small duffle, and that goes for whether my trip is for 5 days or 5 weeks.
Plugged-in or unplugged? Plugged-in, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to do what I do, which is go wherever I want when I want and still work and get them paychecks.
Public transportation, cab, or bike? Anything but cabs, if I can help it.
If you’re in Singapore during the Chinese New Year, don’t miss walking the streets to check out the art deco architecture, followed by eating some Yusheng salad.
Preparation: guidebook, online research, or seat of your pants? Online research, especially with the help of Foursquare tips and lists.
Staying in Airbnb apartments is the best way/place to connect with locals.
Five things you can’t travel without: Passport (duh), iPhone, a spork/multitool, sunglasses, a Field Notes notebook.
Jet lag: Nap, power through, pills, or herbal remedies? Nap! I’m an ace at falling asleep nearly anywhere.
Favorite airport and why? Hong Kong International, hands down. It feels like home! I’ve comfortably slept there overnight many times, the WiFi is free and fast, the elite lounges are mini heavens, the architecture is stunning, the windows are large and prime for 747 plane spotting, the food vendors are spectacular and there’s one named “Lost City of Snacks.” How to top that?
Three travel apps you can’t live without: Google Maps, TripIt Pro and Foursquare.
What’s the one hometown place you miss most while traveling? The family farm. It’s so comforting to remember that somewhere out there, I’ve got roots both literal and figurative.
First thing you do when you get home: Sweep my kitten, Jetson, into my arms and then let him go about smelling my luggage.
Where do you always take out-of-town friends? My favorite bar, which isn’t in Manhattan and doesn’t have TVs. I’ve never had a barman before, but I have one here and he’s seriously serious about cocktails. I’m keeping the bar name to myself, so you’ll just have to become my friend to find out.
Fly solo or travel with family/friends/tour group? Is it horrible to say solo? Sometimes, if my itineraries exhaust me, then I can’t even imagine how it would be worrying about another person.
Most out-of-character travel experience? Something that you would never have done at home: Just recently in the Napa Valley, I made sushi and sashimi with Chef Masaharu Morimoto. Living in NYC, sushi is very much a go-out-to-dinner thing. I’d never made it myself and likely won’t again anytime soon, but wow was that great.
Biggest travel mistake? Anytime I book a flight leaving from Newark Airport. I think, “oh, Newark will be no problem.” WRONG. It is always a problem.
If I had a whole month to travel, I would drive around New Zealand or do the Trans-Siberian Railway.
If I had a whole year to travel, I would visit as many remote islands and territories as possible, by mail ship or cargo plane.
Favorite foreign word or phrase: Durst ist schlimmer als Heimweh, which is traditionally painted on the walls inside Bavarian beer halls. It translates to “Thirst is worse than homesickness.”
Favorite foreign tradition: The Ferragosto in Italy. Everyone should have a solid month off work to laze about on beaches.
Travel has taught me to always pack Handiwipes.