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.
Name: Chinmoy Lad
Occupation: PR/Marketing professional by day, moonlighting as a freelance travel and food writer by night. Like a superhero, without the cape or the spandex.
Hometown: Hong Kong
Residence: Hong Kong
Bio: Born in Mumbai, brought up in Hong Kong, Chinmoy has been featured as a freelance luxury travel and food writer for some of the world’s most popular online blogs and exclusive print publications, rating and reviewing resorts and restaurants in Asia-Pacific. A stint that began with an internship at a franchised publication in his hometown of Hong Kong ended up being a fervent hobby, and a part-time job.
How often do you fly? Not much as I’d like to.
How many countries have you been to? Hmm, haven’t kept track. But I’m looking to keep that metre ticking.
How many continents have you been to: Just the three so far; Asia, Europe, North America.
Favorite American city: Chicago. But then I’ve never been to New York or San Francisco.
Favorite international city: Bangkok. It’s so much more than what is portrayed in the Hangover…
Country with the meanest immigration officers: The United States, actually!
Favorite World Heritage Site: Chateau de Versailles.
Favorite airline: Any that willingly want to upgrade me.
Aisle or window: Seasoned travelers say aisle, but I say control your bladder and enjoy the take-off, landing, and everything in between. This is likely as close as you will ever get to whatever’s beyond Earth.
Favorite international airport: Singapore’s Changi.
Favorite hotel: The resplendent Falaknuma Palace, restored and now managed by the Taj Group of Hotels. The service is worthy of a palace of once the world’s richest man.
Do you unpack into the dresser/closet? Or live out of your suitcase? Most stays are short, so just out of the suitcase. Packing and unpacking is a serious hassle.
Favorite island: Not one island, but as a group of islands, the Maldives. One island? Bali; sun, sea, sand, surf and a jungle and a volcano to top it off.
Favorite beach: The beach by the AWAY Spa at W Retreat & Spa Maldives.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Restaurant Petrus, Hong Kong.
Favorite hole in the wall: There’s a food truck—or rather, food cart—outside Shivaji Park in Mumbai that serves a mouthwatering frankie; a “Mumbai gyro” is probably how I’d best describe it. But go to any khanavala—a local term meaning a public eating house—in Goa and you won’t be disappointed.
Favorite fruit: Indian Alphonso mango. There is nothing as sweet.
Favorite food: Everything.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Coca Cola. Nice and safe…
Favorite travel movie(s): Romcoms. Or disaster documentaries…just what you want to watch on a long haul flight.
Favorite travel show(s): Anything by Samantha Brown or Anthony Bourdain on TLC.
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: Travel Squire (www.travelsquire.com) for a variety of articles from food to travel; The Financial Times’ “How To Spend It” supplement; and Hong Kong Tatler for more long form journalism.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course!: A Luxury Travel Blog (www.aluxurytravelblog.com) for its scope of articles; Kiwi Collection (www.kiwicollection.com) to spend hours in browsing photos and to plan a trip. Mrs. O Around The World (www.mrsoaroundtheworld.com) has a great, unique style of check-in posts. And Johnny Jet!
What do you always seem to forget? Sunglasses. Especially when I’m visiting a tropical resort.
What do you like least about travel? The flying. Everything else is to be enjoyed!
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport duty-free store?
Favorite travel app(s): Postagram sounds like an interesting concept. I’ll certainly be trying it out more often.
Worst travel moment: When a plane I boarded recently had its interiors patched up using duct tape. It was not the most comforting sight, especially as I had never flown this airline before. Thankfully, the crew was very good and there were no incidents. But I won’t be flying them in a hurry any time soon…!
What’s your dream destination? Anywhere with a lot of history and culture, or a lot of nature. I’m happy in both situations.
Favorite travel charity: Animals Asia Foundation is doing a great job saving moon bears and other animals in Asia from horrific conditions. Check it out.
Best travel tip: Don’t go alone. Share the memories.