Irreverent responses from our favourite travel ninjas.

Name: Allison Busacca
Title/bio: Associate Editor, BBC Travel
Born in: Mt Kisco, New York
Currently living in: Astoria, New York

1. Where would you rather be right now?
Wine tasting in South Africa.

2. Famous person (dead or alive, real or fictional) you’d most like to go on a trip with:
Ellen DeGeneres. She starts every show with music and dancing. I imagine that’s how we’d spend our vacation too.

3. Tourist must-see you think is actually a “must skip”:
Times Square. If you’ve seen one flashing light, you’ve seen them all. Unless you are going for the TKTS booth or for a black-and-white cookie at the Roxy, it’s not worth a stop.

4. Everyone asks what’s #1 on your list of places you want to go before you die. But what’s your #3?

5. You’d be mortified if people knew you did what when you travelled?
If there are free movies on the plane, I spend the entire flight watching the ones I’d never admit to seeing at home.

6. Your most stranded, “oh-my-[deity]” travel moment:
I thought my train out of Rome was heading to Florence. About an hour after the train left the station, I found out I was headed south, to Venice. Since I didn’t have the right ticket, I got kicked off the train in the middle-of-nowhere Italy, at 11 pm, and it was pitch black outside. We eventually made it back to Florence, but it took about three trains, two full-on sprints, a cab drive and one horrific incident where I insulted a blind man. More on that below.

7. Best (or worst) person/people you’ve had to sit next to while travelling:
Best was on my way to Hong Kong. I sat next to a man who flies back to HK every year to visit his mother’s grave, and was more than happy to share his favourite sights in the city. Plus, he didn’t seem to care that on a 14-hour flight 1) I never slept and 2) I must have asked him to get up at least 20 times so I could walk around the cabin. Worst was my best friend after she got food poisoning in Greece and spent the entire flight sweating, sleeping and running back and forth to the bathroom.

8. If someone was visiting your town, what’s the one thing you’d show them?
Long Island City, Queens. The neighbourhood is one subway stop from Manhattan, has amazing restaurants and a recently redone, always empty park along the East River with movie-worthy skyline views.

9. Travel-related invention you wish existed:
A portal that takes you right from your apartment to the airport. Sometimes, that cab/subway ride/airtrain seems to be half the journey.

10. Your most embarrassing travel faux pas:
In a continuation of the story above, on the last leg of our journey back to Florence, there was a man on the train whose bag was in my seat. Using mainly charades (my Italian at the time was more like Spanish with an Italian accent), I tried to show the man my ticket and ask him to move his bag. When he didn’t listen, my movements got more frantic and my tone a little more “annoyed New Yorker”. Then I noticed he was wearing sunglasses… at night… inside. He was blind, and I was an idiot.

11. Material thing you miss the most when away from home:
My comforter. It’s so amazing I’ve thought about bringing it on the plane.

12. Coolest mode of transport you’ve taken:

13. The place you don’t want anyone to know about but are willing to divulge here:
Watkins Glen, New York. The Finger Lakes have Napa-quality wine at half the price, with half the crowds. And it’s just as beautiful.

14. The travel story you’ll never stop bragging about:
A three-week backpacking trip across Europe for less than $1,000, including flights.

15. Lay on us a priceless bit of travel advice or wisdom:  
Buy yourself a nerdy passport/document/itinerary holder. It may seem Type A, but it will lessen the stress of travelling so you can enjoy the journey. Also, no trip is ever too big. Just plan it out, and go.