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: Gavin Delany
Occupation: CEO & Cofounder, Stride Travel
Hometown: Irvington, NY
Residence: San Francisco, CA
College: Harvard (undergrad) Stanford (grad)
College major: Social Studies
Short bio: I am the cofounder and CEO of Stride Travel, the world’s largest search and reviews site for tours and adventure trips. I have worked in the online travel industry since 2001, starting at Starwood Hotels where I created the hotel industry’s first small business loyalty program. I’ve held leadership positions at travel tech pioneers Viator, Zozi and Kayak.
I first got the bug for international travel while studying abroad in high school and living with a local host family in central Mexico.
I have a penchant for unfortunate close encounters with wildlife, probably due to my quest to get up close and personal beyond normal good sense. A few experiences include:
- Chased by crocodiles in the Zambezi River after falling out of a raft in rapids near Victoria Falls
- Touching a lion on the open African savannah
- Bitten by a wild Tibetan macaque (monkey) while climbing one of China’s four sacred Buddhist mountains
- Paddling a canoe almost on top of a swimming bear, thinking it was a lost dog
- Swimming with 12-foot sharks, cageless, in Belize
- Missing a photo of the elusive cassowary despite practically stumbling on it in the dense rainforest of northeastern Australia
When not bringing Stride to the world, or traveling the world, I am hiking in northern California with my wife Crystal and dog Athena.
How often do you fly? Some years, a couple of times a month; This year less sadly.
How many countries have you been to? 46
How many continents have you been to? 6
Earliest travel memory: Looking for my younger brother who got lost in the crowds during changing of the guard at Windsor palace when I was about 10.
Favorite American city: New York.
Favorite international city: Munich.
Friendliest people in the world: Philippines.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: Zimbabwe. I had filled my passport and I almost couldn’t leave because of those pages at the back that say “leave blank” the officer wanted a bribe to use them for the visa stamp to let me leave.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Angkor Wat.
Favorite airline: JetBlue.
Aisle or window: Aisle. I hate bothering people to get up and I like to move around on flights.
Favorite U.S. airport: Salt Lake—nice and small easy to get to great skiing in under an hour.
Favorite international airport: Hong Kong.
Favorite hotel: St. Regis Princeville, Kuaui.
Favorite travel credit card: Starwood American Express.
Favorite island: Koh Tao, Thailand.
Favorite beach: Secluded beach in Daintree rainforest, Queensland, Australia.
Favorite National Park: Serengeti.
Favorite bar: Catamaran—huge multi-tiered glass bottom cruising club in Bodrum, Turkey. Wild.
Favorite fruit: Raspberries.
Favorite food: Xiao long bao—Shanghai soup dumplings.
Least favorite food: Guinea pig.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Cranberry juice & ginger ale.
Favorite travel movie(s): Planes Trains & Automobiles.
Favorite travel show(s): Idiot Abroad, National Geographic anything.
Favorite travel book(s): Lord of the Rings.
Right now I am reading: “Moral Tribes.”
5 things you bring on a plane: Water, extra hooded sweatshirt, earphones, audiobooks, charger.
What do you always seem to forget? Sunscreen.
What do you like least about travel? Waiting in lines.
Favorite travel app(s): Google Maps.
Most embarrassing travel moment: Passing out in between trains trying to get to an un-occupied bathroom, after getting amoebic dysentery in Morocco.
I’m embarrassed I haven’t been to: Seattle.
Worst travel moment: Waking up in the middle of the night on overnight train in rural China with the runs, making it to a bathroom, and there is a hole in the floor and no toilet paper.
What’s your dream destination? Andes cloud forest.
Favorite travel charity: Sierra Club.
Best travel tip: Pack less, way less than you think you need. But get extra passport pages if you are at all close to filling yours.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
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- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
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- Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
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