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: Bart van Poll
Occupation: Co-founder Spotted by Locals
Hometown: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Residence: 6 months in Amsterdam, 6 months rest of the world
College: University of Amsterdam, Yonsei University Seoul
College major: Economics
Facebook: Spotted by Locals
Pinterest: Spotted by Locals
YouTube: Spotted by Locals
Short bio: In 2008, after an 8-year career in management consulting, I left the corporate world with a new mission in life: convincing people it is much more fulfilling to experience destinations like a local, instead of going from one tourist highlight to the other.
My wife and I started Spotted by Locals, a series of mobile and online city guides with up-to-date tips by 300 handpicked locals (“Spotters”) in 56 cities in Europe and North America. We travel about 6 months of the year to meet our wonderful Spotters. I can’t get enough of traveling and meeting people from all over the world—it’s the best “job” in the world!
How often do you fly? Twice a month.
How many countries have you been to? 62
How many continents have you been to? All but Antarctica. Someday…
Earliest travel memory: A visit to a dancing Masai tribe in Kenya when I was very young. Now that I think of it it makes me sick we tourists were ruining their culture to get the chance to see their “culture” in exchange for a bit of money. I would never visit something like that again, so I guess I should thank my parents for the experience!
Favorite American city: Paramaribo, Suriname.
Favorite international city: Always the last city I visited. Now it’s Bengaluru, India.
Least favorite country: The Gambia. It’s my own fault though—we fell for a tourist scam, and had to run for our lives. On our honeymoon…
Country with the meanest immigration officers: The US.
Favorite World Heritage Site: The Amsterdam Canals!
Favorite airline: KLM.
Favorite aircraft type: The 1936 Douglas DC3, still in operation in many parts of the world! I flew one in Suriname.
Aisle or window: Window.
Favorite airport lounge: I’m too poor to use lounges ;)
Favorite U.S. airport: All are too unmemorable for me to call one a favorite.
Favorite international airport: Zurich airport.
Favorite hotel: Torarica Hotel, Paramirbo.
Favorite cruise line: I won’t be able to answer this before I turn 75, I think…
Favorite travel credit card: VISA.
Favorite island: Koh Bulon Leh, Thailand (one of the few Islands you won’t find on Google maps!).
Favorite beach: Valyaparamba, India.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Balthazar’s Keuken, Amsterdam.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Bistro MZ, Zagreb.
Favorite bar: Fogasház bar, Budapest.
Favorite fruit: Dragon fruit.
Favorite food: Indian.
Least favorite food: Dutch food.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): IPA beers—I’ve never been served one on the air though…I you know an airline that serves them, let me know!
Favorite travel movie(s): Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas.
Favorite travel show(s): Michael Palin’s “Around the World in 80 Days.”
Favorite travel book(s): Anything by Paul Theroux.
Right now I am reading: “B at Home: Emma Moves Again” by Valerie Besanceney.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! I must confess I spend most of my time browsing our locals’ tips on our own.
5 things you bring on a plane: Pen, notebook, Bose Q3s, toothbrush, phone fully loaded with podcasts.
What do you always seem to forget? I always lose my Persol sunglasses. In 15 years I’ve had the same model sunglasses, but bought at least 8 new pairs.
What do you like least about travel? Waiting at airports.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? An “Economist” + a “Wired” magazine gets me through any flight.
Favorite travel app(s): Google Field Trip & Foursquare.
Most embarrassing travel moment: I was forced to go on a hop on & hop off tourist bus in Berlin, and visited a Starbucks in Thailand. Never again.
Worst travel moment: Getting robbed on our honeymoon.
What’s your dream destination? Japan. I’ve been there, but the trip was way too short (5 days). I’d love to go back for a few weeks, and am saving to make it come true!
Favorite travel charity: The blind masseurs in Cambodia.
Best travel tip: Skip the tourist highlights—follow the locals.
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