Want to know how to travel in style, just like the pros? We check in with frequent fliers to find out how often they fly, their favorite destinations and what they never leave home without.
Occupation: Travel Writer & Editor, Speaker, Talk Show Host
Hometown: Middlebury, CT
Residence: Piedmont, CA
Short Bio: I’m the author of Lonely Planet’s Guide to Travel Writing; the newly updated third edition of this best-selling travel writing guide is now available online and in bookstores. I’m Editor at Large and Book Review Columnist for National Geographic Traveler and National Geographic’s Intelligent Travel blog, and Features Editor and Blogger for Gadling.com. I also edit and write for GeoEx’s blog, Wanderlust: Literary Journeys for the Discerning Traveler, and the Adventure Collection’s Adventurous Traveler blog. I’ve been Travel Editor at the San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle, founder and editor of Salon.com’s Wanderlust travel site, and Global Travel Editor for Lonely Planet. I appear frequently on CNN, NPR, ABC, and other national and international radio and TV outlets. I speak and teach regularly at conferences and on campuses around the world. I’m the co-founder and chairman of the Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers Conference. I’m currently compiling Adventures of a Lifetime, an anthology of my own best travel stories, to be published next year.
How often do you fly: I average at least a couple of flights a month
How many countries have you been to: 80-plus
How many continents have you been to: 5
Favorite American city: San Francisco (New York a close second)
Favorite international city: Paris (Kyoto a close second)
Least favorite country: I’ve truly never been to a country I haven’t liked. I realize how saccharin that may sound, but even in the most challenging places, I’ve always found someone to connect with and something valuable to learn.
Favorite World Heritage Site: It’s tough to choose just one! Man-made: Chartres Cathedral; nature-made: Uluru.
Favorite airline: Singapore
Favorite aircraft type: Palatino Linotype
Aisle or window: Depends where I’m flying – when I flew from London to Nairobi on a daytime flight some years ago, I chose a window seat and stayed glued to the window almost the entire time: It was like watching the globe turn beneath me…. Amazing!
Favorite U.S. airport: SFO
Favorite international airport: Aitutaki International
Favorite hotel: Paris Ritz
Favorite cruise line: Crystal
Favorite island: 1) Shikoku, 2) Aitutaki
Favorite fancy restaurant: La Colombe d’Or (St. Paul de Vence, France)
Favorite hole in the wall: Caffe Strada (Berkeley, California)
Favorite fruit: Durian (OK – papaya!)
Favorite food: Too many to single out one — but if I had to choose, grilled wild salmon…..
Least favorite food: Sheep’s eyeballs
Drink of choice (In the air and on the ground): Veuve Clicquot
Favorite travel movie(s): The Passenger, Midnight in Paris
Favorite travel book(s): The Snow Leopard
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: National Geographic Traveler, Gadling.com, Wanderlust (www.geoex.com/blog) [Full disclosure: I work for all these!]
Favorite travel website(s) – besides JohnnyJet.com, of course!: National Geographic’s Intelligent Travel blog, WorldHum, Vela — and of course, www.don-george.com!
Five things you bring on a plane: Book, water, sweater, journal, Airborne
Most embarrassing travel moment: Getting lost (happens every time; also most liberating travel moment)
Worst travel moment: I think the worst travel moment was the time I just missed a connecting train from Greece to Turkey and was abandoned in a truly middle-of-nowhere border town called Pythion for about eight hours, until the next train came through. All I had for diversion was my journal – but as it turned out, that was more than enough!
What’s your dream destination: Bhutan, Buenos Aires, Bali, Barcelona (and that’s just the B’s!)
Favorite travel charity: Kiva
Best travel tip: Every journey is a pilgrimage: Practice the fine art of vulnerability and open yourself up to a place — whatever you put into the world will come back to you many-fold. Also, get lost and you’ll be amazed at what you find. And — seed love.