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Travel Diaries: How A Flight Attendant Travels The World

Welcome to Refinery29’s Travel Diaries, a place where we find out the how, the why, and the where people are exploring now that the world is opening up again. In their answers to 29 questions, diarists will reveal their unique — and often a little offbeat — travel habits, stories, and hacks, from their bucket list destinations to their must-have road trip munchies to the wildest thing that ever happened to them while on a vacation. Buckle up, because we're inviting you along for the ride.
Today, a flight attendant tells the truth about packing cubes, makes us envious of her airline benefits, and has us craving the best beignets in all of New Orleans.
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Name: Jacqueline Michelle
Age: 29
Occupation: Flight Attendant
Home: New York, New York
Handle@flywithmerm (TikTok), @merm.v (Instagram)
Plane, train, or automobile? Automobile — I love driving.
Beach or mountains? Beach, because who doesn’t love the sun and clear water?
What's your biggest vacation splurge? Carnival Cruise for a friend’s birthday. It was a group of us going about three years ago. I wasn’t working and had just moved back to New York City but wanted to go, so I opened up a credit card to pay for the trip. The cruise went to Honduras, Turks and Caicos, and the Cayman Islands.
What’s your minibar weakness? Nothing. I was taught never to touch it by my parents and that has stuck with me, haha.
What is the first big trip you ever took? I went to the Dominican Republic with my childhood best friend and her family when we were kids.
Tell us about your best travel experience. Going to Aruba with my roommate at the time. It was so beautiful. It was our first vacation we went on using our flight attendant benefits. My airline really takes care of their employees — we fly for free domestically and for little-to-nothing internationally. We went to Flamingo Island and laid out on the beach all day.
Tell us about your worst travel experience. A friend and I went to Tulum, Mexico and her bags were left at JFK. It was all because of standby confusion, since we didn’t get on our initial flight.
What is your favorite place to visit? Seattle. It’s such a nice area with good people and lots of things to do.
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What is your go-to traveling outfit? Leggings, Yeezys, and a tee.
Do you arrive at the airport three hours early? Or 30 minutes before boarding? Before becoming a flight attendant, I was three hours early. Now I show up an hour prior.
What are your favorite traveling snacks? Pretzels.
What's your favorite part about staying in a hotel? The gyms. My favorites are the Intercontinental Hotel gyms.
Where do you want to go next? The Maldives.
Where would you travel if it were the end of the world? Bali for sure.
What’s your most frequent trip? Seattle.
What’s your packing style? Minimal AF.
What was your last trip? San Francisco.
What's your next trip? The Bahamas.
What’s your best travel hack? Invest in packing cubes. The best part of packing cubes is the organization. If you travel frequently, it’s important to be organized so you don’t lose your items or panic if you think you’ve lost them. They also help you fit more things in your luggage since they’re so compact.
What’s better: solo trips or traveling in groups? Depends on the group. I prefer traveling in groups with experienced travelers.
What’s a touristy spot that’s actually worth it? Miami! I love the food and walking on the strip.
Window, middle, or aisle? Aisle for sure. I can get up and use the bathroom whenever I want.
Hotels: splurge or save? Splurge.
What’s your go-to airplane drink? Ginger ale.
Domestic or international travel? Domestic. If all else fails, at least I’m in my home country and it’s easier to get to.
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What’s the best meal you’ve ever eaten while traveling? The beignets from Cafe du Monde in New Orleans are one of my favorites! They’re so sweet and you get three of them for like $3.
Podcast, audiobook, or playlist? Podcast. I’m currently listening to Coffee Break Spanish right now. I’m trying to learn Spanish fluently since I travel so much. Everyone should be able to speak the language, in my opinion.
What’s your favorite airplane movie? Girls Trip.
What’s at the top of your bucket list? Staying in a tiny house.

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