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Michael and his son loved seeing the wildlife and unbelievable landscape at Yellowstone National Park.

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Up, Up and Away

Birmingham's Frequent Fliers Share Travel Tips and Tales

Brandon McBay 
Senior Vice President, Head of Credit, Southern States Bank

Favorite place you’ve traveled and why?
Paris, France. The city is full of history and is one of the few cities in Europe untouched by WWII. You can take day trips to Normandy (one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had), Champagne and Versailles.

What do you always pack on every trip? 
Lots of shoes! 

Flight drink of choice? 
Vodka soda with a lime.

Best souvenir ever? 
An original painting from Paris. The artist, Levesque Emmanuelle, has become well-known in France and even New York. The artist was in town when we purchased the piece and came by the gallery before it was shipped to sign the back with a message in French.  

Neillie Butler 
Owner and Founder, Mariée Ami LLC

Favorite place you’ve traveled and why?
It’s hard to name my favorite place, but if I must pick, I will say Venice, Italy. The charm that comes along with any European city paired being on the water along with delicious food and wine is hard to beat.  

What do you always pack on every trip? 
A pair of Golden Goose sneakers. They are the best multipurpose shoe that can be worn to dinner, meetings or for a stroll around the block. 

Essential carry-on item?  
My laptop — I get more work done on an airplane than a full day at my desk.  

Favorite hotel? 
Como Parrot Cay in Turks and Caicos is my favorite hotel right now.  I absolutely loved my villa on the beach with a private pool. The villa came with the sweetest butler who took such good care of us. It was truly paradise. 

Michael Goebel
President and CEO, Mercedes-Benz U.S. International

Favorite place you’ve traveled and why?
My son and I went to Yellowstone in 2010. We loved seeing the wildlife and unbelievable landscape and still talk about it today. My wife and I are planning to go back next year. 

Favorite airport and why? 
The airport in Bremen, Germany. It’s small with short walkways but always feels really personal. 

Essential carry-on item? 
I always have my iPhone and iPad with me, as I’m always connected. I love what I do and am really proud of the hardworking team at the Mercedes plant. 

Flight drink of choice? 
A glass of red wine helps put me right to sleep. 

Best souvenir ever? 
I have a picture of my family and me at the North Cape in Norway that I absolutely cherish. 

Kristy Mosolino
Owner, Wishes Travel

Favorite place you’ve traveled and why?
This is tough because so many places are unique. Most surprising would be Colombia. We took the family to visit this beautiful country and were blown away by the cultural and natural diversity and watching how this country has come back from the scars of Pablo Escobar's reign of terror.

Favorite hotel?   
My favorite hotel would be a tie between Saint Ermines in London and the Cotton House Hotel in Barcelona. Both hotels seamlessly invoke the theme where they are located, have fantastic breakfasts AND are close to the sites of the city.

Best souvenir ever? 
Our family’s favorite souvenir would have to be our Cuckoo Clock from Bavaria. Every 30 minutes, we get reminded of our travels!

Ragan Cain
Founder, The Francis Flair, @thefrancisflair

Favorite place you’ve traveled and why? 
Very tough question. Exploring new places is one of my all-time favorite things to do. I’d have to say South Africa is at the top of my list. In the fall of 2019, we visited Cape Town, Franschhoek and ventured on a life-changing safari out of the Singita Castleton Lodge in the Sabi Sand Reserve.

Favorite airport and why?
I am a big fan of Charles de Gualle — for the shopping, of course. 

Essential carry-on item?
You will always find a comfy sweater and fully charged Air Pods in my carry-on, no matter how long the flight. 

Flight drink of choice? 
Champagne. Always, Champagne. 

Favorite hotel?  
There is only one answer for this…THE RITZ PARIS. FOREVER. Trust me. 


  • Brandon McBay
  • Paris is Brandon McBay's favorite destination.
  • Paris is known great food, says McBay.
  • Neillie Butler with husband, Tom; daughter, Maddie; and son, Bruce
  • Neillie Butler
  • Neillie loves Venice for the food, wine and water.
  • Ragan Cain and her dog, Poppy
  • Kristy Mosolino
  • Kristy Mosolin with husband, Sam; daughter, Reagan; and son, Ryne.
  • Michael Goebel
  • Michael and his son loved seeing the wildlife and unbelievable landscape at Yellowstone National Park.
  • Michael cherishes memories of his family visiting the North Cape in Norway