Travel Style: Christopher P. Baker

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.

Christopher P Baker

Christopher P. Baker

Name: Christopher P. Baker

Occupation: Travel writer/photographer/lecturer/tour leader

Hometown: Yorkshire, England

Residence: Palm Springs, CA

Website: Christopherpbaker.com

Twitter: @CubaExpert

Facebook: www.facebook.com/christopher.p.baker.3

Short Bio: Christopher—the Lowell Thomas Award 2008 ‘Travel Journalist of the Year’—has established himself as one of the world’s leading travel writers, and is a Getty Images and National Geographic contributing photographer. He launched his journalism career three decades ago specializing in adventure travel and Asia/Pacific Rim, and later deluxe resort and cruise reporting. More recently a specialist in the Caribbean and Central America, he is today considered the world’s foremost authority on travel and tourism to Cuba, about which he has authored six books.

He has contributed to more than 200 print and online publications as far ranging as Caribbean Travel & Life, Maxim, National Geographic Traveler, The Robb Report, and CNN Go; and has authored more than 30 guidebooks for Dorling Kindersley, Frommer’s, Lonely Planet, Moon, National Geographic, etc. His literary travelog, Mi Moto Fidel: Motorcycling Through Castro’s Cuba (National Geographic Adventure Press), is a two-time national book award winner.

Christopher appears regularly on radio and TV interviews, and has been featured on ABC, CBS, Fox TV, NBC, NPR, & dozens of other radio & TV outlets. A gifted public speaker, he has been privileged to address the National Press Club, National Geographic Live!, and World Affairs Council; and has been keynote speaker at such venues as the TBEX (Travel Blogger’s Exchange) and North American Travel Journalist Association’s annual conference. He has anchored several TV travel shows, and co-stars with actor/singing legend David Soul in Cuban Soul, a TV documentary about the restoration of Ernest Hemingway’s long-lost 1955 Chrysler New Yorker convertible.

A keen motorcyclist, he recently led the first U.S. group motorcycle tours of Cuba, and is also a ‘resident expert’ tour leader for National Geographic Expeditions.

How often do you fly: I fly on average every second week, sometimes weekly

How many countries have you been to: More than 90

How many continents have you been to: Every continent except Antarctica

Favorite American city: New York

Favorite international city: Havana, Hong Kong, Istanbul, London

Least favorite country: Everywhere has its pluses and minuses. I used to author and photograph Lonely Planet’s The Bahamas guidebook. I found the destination boring and extremely expensive, but it redeemed itself with gorgeous beaches and fantastic sportfishing and scuba diving.

Favorite World Heritage Site: Machu Picchu, Habana Vieja, Great Barrier Reef

Favorite airline: Virgin, Singapore, Cathay Pacific… in fact, most of the Asian carriers are superb

Favorite aircraft type: 747… or a helicopter. I love flying helicopters

Aisle or window: Window, as I love to see the geography below

Favorite airport lounge: Virgin VIP London Heathrow

Favorite U.S. airport: Dallas

Favorite international airport: Anyone with a fantastic view on landing. Rio de Janeiro and the old Hong Kong airport are unbeatable

Favorite hotel: It depends on the context. With a lover I adored Las Brisas, Acapulco. Wilderness experience? I haven’t yet experienced an African safari, so I’ll opt for the tropical rainforest such as Pacuare Jungle Lodge, Costa Rica. Urban chic? Too many great hotels to pinpoint. The Regent Hong Kong used to astound me with its beyond-belief service

Do you unpack into the dresser/closet? Or live out of your suitcase? Suitcase

Favorite cruise line: Any of the masted ships, such as Star Clipper; but I also love small boat experiences, such as in the Galapagos Islands

Favorite island: Bora Bora for jaw-dropping beauty… The Marquesas Islands for the approach by copra freighter… Bali before the tourist invasion (I have fond memories of circling the island by bicycle).

Favorite fancy restaurant: It depends on the city

Favorite hole in the wall: As above

Favorite fruit: Kiwi, mango

Favorite food: Sushi

Least favorite food: I’m a gourmand at heart, but some of the animal oddities in Asian markets turn my stomach and give me guilt pangs

Drink of choice (In the air and on the ground): Sparkling water. I rarely drink alcohol and never when flying, but red wine with a meal, and vodka martinis back in the day

Favorite travel movie(s): Lawrence of Arabia, Thelma & Louise, Motorcycle Diaries

Favorite travel show(s): An Idiot Abroad. I’ve traveled with a few!

Favorite travel book(s): Mi Moto Fidel: Motorcycling Through Castro’s Cuba, of course! But also Jupiter’s Travels; Kingdom by the Sea; Slowly Down the Ganges, or any other book by Eric Newby

Right now I am reading: I usually have multiple books on the go consecutively. Currently I’m reading Visit Sunny Chernobyl plus Castro’s Secrets, and Inferno: The World at War 1939-1945

Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: Afar; Travel & Leisure; Christopher Elliott

Favorite travel website(s) – besides JohnnyJet.com, of course!: World Hum

Five things you bring on a plane: The Economist (it’s good for a five-hour flight) and/or a book, plus writing materials, and my camera bag and laptop

What do you always seem to forget: Nothing… I’m pretty organized

What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport duty free store? Nothing

Favorite travel iPhone app(s): I don’t use iPhone

Most embarrassing travel moment: Being lent a new BMW R1200GSA motorcycle by BMW for filming a travel how in Los Angeles, and dropping it in front of the manager, PR director, and sales staff as I returned it to the showroom.

Worst travel moment: Being robbed of all my possessions, including seven weeks worth of notes and photography, while on National Geographic assignment in Colombia. I woke up next morning and sobbed like a baby.

What’s your dream destination: Antarctica, an elephant-back safari in Botswana, and I’ve yet to explore Paris and Rome

Favorite travel charity: World Wildlife Foundation

Best travel tip: Don’t overplan things. Let serendipity deliver surprise rewards

Johnny Jet

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About the Author

Johnny Jet

I used to be afraid to fly and at times even leave the house! I conquered my fear (long story) and now I travel to 20+ countries a year sharing my firsthand knowledge, tips and deals with friends, family and readers. Please sign up to our free newsletters and tell your friends!

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