Occupation: Magazine and travel writer.
Favorite destinations: Northern California, especially Big Sur, Sonoma County, and Yosemite; Maui; Prague.
Dying to visit: The Amalfi Coast (beautiful Italians!), Australia (sharks!), and San Francisco's Farallon Islands (really big sharks!).
Bizarre travel rituals: I spend far too much time packing and thinking about packing only to overpack.
In-flight relaxation regime: Aisle seat at the front of the plane, Xanax, and a big bottle of water. The truth is that I hate to fly, but I power through for travel.
Always in carry-on: Xanax, sunglasses, and a magazine; I like to make like I'm Bernie from Weekend at Bernie's.
Concierge or DIY? Concierge. It cuts to the chase a bit more to start with the vetted and then jump off from there.
See it all or take it easy? See it all. Thanks to Rick Steves, I never tell myself it's the last time I'll be somewhere, but I do love a packed day.
Drive or be driven? Be driven by anyone but a Chicago or NYC cab driver.
Travel hero: My mom. A travel agent since before I was born, she's still a daring adventurer and has taught me everything I know about being curious, brave, and ballsy.
Weirdest thing seen on travels: A passerby on a trail hike with her nose deep in a book titled Famous Elvis Sightings.
Best hotel amenity: Stellar bathroom products, awesome pillows, free WiFi, and innovative spaces beyond the hotel room.
Everywhere I go, I check out the restaurants, coastlines, and outdoor adventures. I am a woman not afraid to eat, sunbathe, or face the scary.
When I arrive in a new place, I learn the lay of the land by going for a run. Hands down, it's my favorite way to experience a new place. Recently while visiting Mackinac Island, I ran the 8.5-mile trail around the entire island; it ended up being the highlight of my trip.
I always bring home found items like rocks and shells, including those from National Parks (sorry NPS!), boatloads of photographs, and treats for my kids.
If I never return to Budapest, it'll be too soon because fresh produce and happy-looking locals are far too hard to come by.
I travel for the heart-pounding thrill of experiencing something new.