Fred Waitzkin

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: Fred Waitzkin

Occupation: Author

Hometown: New York City

Residence: New York City

College: Kenyon College and then NYU for graduate work in English Lit

College major: English


Facebook: Fred Waitzkin

Instagram: fred_waitzkin

Short bio: I was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1943. When I was a teenager I was undecided between a career as a fisherman, Afro-Cuban drummer or novelist. I went to Kenyon College and did graduate study in English Literature at New York University. My writing has appeared in Esquire, New York Magazine, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, the New York Times Book Review, Outside, Sports Illustrated, Forbes, the Huffington Post, and the Daily Beast among other publications. My memoir, “Searching for Bobby Fischer,” was made into a major motion picture released in 1993. My other books are “Mortal Games,” “The Last Marlin,” “The Dream Merchant,” and most recently “Deep Water Blues.” I’ve also written an original screenplay, The Rave. I live in Manhattan with my wife Bonnie, and have two children, Josh and Katya, and two grandsons, Jack and Charlie. I spend as much time as possible on the bridge of my old boat, Ebb Tide, trolling baits off distant islands with my family.

How often do you fly? About six or eight times a year.

How many countries have you been to? 10

Earliest travel memory: I’m about four visiting grandma’s house in Palm Springs, California. I run through a porch door, which shatters like movie glass. Blood is gushing from my skinny little arm. Mother is trying to stop the bleeding to little effect. We wait for the doctor to save me, while I bleed all over my clothes and the tile floor. Meanwhile grandma is feeding me a cream cheese sandwich and singing in her grim, interplanetary voice, “Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think. Enjoy yourself, while you’re still in the pink. The days go by, faster than a wink. Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think.” Really!

Favorite American city: New York City…it’s perfectly true. There’s New York and then everything else.

Favorite international city: Manaus, Brazil.

Friendliest people in the world: Costa Ricans.

Favorite airline: United.

Aisle or window: Aisle, without question.

Favorite U.S. airport: Newark.

Favorite cruise line: I cruise whenever I can to distant islands on my old boat, the Ebb Tide.

Favorite travel credit card: AMEX.

Favorite island: Bimini, in the Bahamas.

Favorite National Park: The Grand Canyon. When I first visited I had a ho hum attitude—I was doing this for my kids. But when I took took in the vastness and grandeur it took my breath away.

Favorite fancy restaurant: Periyali on 20th just east of 5th. The food is terrific but more to the point when I go there with my buddy Bruce the environment seems to elicit the most interesting conversation.

Favorite hole-in-the-wall: A stretch of rough deserted ocean with a broken lighthouse called “Hole in the Wall” located at the south end of the Abaco Islands. It’s a great area for trolling up yellowfin tuna and large wahoo.

Favorite airport restaurant: Always enjoy lunch before taking off for New York in the airport restaurant in Liberia.

Favorite bar: Quixote on West 23rd Street, but alas, it’s closed.

Favorite fruit: Mango.

Favorite food: Paella.

Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Beer on the ground, tea in the air.

Right now I am reading: “The Night of the Gun” by David Carr.

5 things you bring on a plane: New York Post (for the sports), a novel, my Bose noise-cancelling headphones, my lined sweatshirt.

What do you always seem to forget? I worry about forgetting something crucial like my house keys or passport or if I locked my door but usually I don’t forget.

What do you like least about travel? If I am traveling internationally I’m usually exhausted the following day. 

What’s your dream destination? The Bahamas. I love to fly there to visit old friends and of course to troll my baits and lures in that luscious water.



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