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: John Graham
Occupation: Travel blogger
Hometown: Three Rivers, MI
Residence: Salt Lake City, UT
College: Grand Valley State University
College major: Liberal Studies, emphasis in Politics and Public Policy
Short bio: I’ve never enjoyed working 9-5 or having a “normal” life.
In 2014, my girlfriend and I sold our house and 95% of our earthly possessions. We bought one-way tickets to Bangkok, Thailand and traveled for the next seven months through Southeast Asia, Australia, and Europe. We spent an average of $2,300/month for all our expenses. It was the trip of a lifetime!
I’m not rich. On our travels I learned that the world is affordable. You can choose to live the life you want and make travel a priority.
How often do you fly? 10 times per year.
How many countries have you been to? 14. I prefer lengthy visits to a few countries vs. quick visits to many countries.
How many continents have you been to? 4
Earliest travel memory: Traveling with my grandparents and cousin to Treasure Cay, Bahamas in the 4th grade. It was my first international trip and broadened my worldview at a young age.
Favorite American city: Seattle.
Favorite international city: Barcelona.
Least favorite country: I haven’t been to a country I didn’t like. Even if I did, I would still want to go back and give it another try.
I have no desire to go to: I’d love to visit every country in the world. The only places I avoid are war zones.
Friendliest people in the world: Cambodia.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: United States.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Works of Gaudi (specifically Sagrada Familia) in Barcelona. Also, Angkor in Cambodia.
Favorite airline: Etihad.
Favorite aircraft type: As long as it’s comfortable, flies steadily, and lands safely, I approve.
Aisle or window: Always window.
Favorite airport lounge: I’ve only been to one lounge. Ask me again in a few years.
Favorite U.S. airport: Denver.
Favorite international airport: Singapore. It’s very modern and spacious, plus it has a free movie theater, pool and butterfly garden.
Favorite hotel: Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.
Favorite cruise line: I don’t do cruises. I get motion sickness.
Favorite travel credit card: Chase Sapphire Preferred.
Favorite island: Manhattan.
Favorite beach: Any beach that’s clean, lots of wildlife and very few people. I remember finding one like this just south of Krabi, Thailand.
Favorite fancy restaurant: I haven’t been to many fancy restaurants, but Tosi’s in Stevensville, Michigan, is nostalgic to me. Best minestrone soup ever.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: We stumbled upon Delikes Restaurant in rural Takeo Province, Cambodia. It’s a simple 1-2 person kitchen that serves traditional Khmer dishes and western cuisine. Some of the best food I’ve ever tasted—from fresh coconut shakes to carbonara to fish amok.
Favorite fruit: Michigan cherries.
Favorite food: Yellow Thai curry or guacamole.
Least favorite food: Durian fruit.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Water.
Favorite travel movie(s): The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Catch Me If You Can, Home Alone 2.
Favorite travel show(s): An Idiot Abroad, all Anthony Bourdain shows, and Departures.
Favorite travel book(s): “Vagabonding” by Rolf Potts.
Right now I am reading: “The Art of Thinking Clearly” by Rolf Dobelli.
5 things you bring on a plane: Ginger pills for motion sickness, the newest Tim Ferriss Show podcast, earbuds, comfortable clothes, and food in my stomach.
What do you always seem to forget? I always forget to research attractions and things to do before I go.
What do you like least about travel? Travel forces me out of my routine, so I’m forced to make more decisions throughout the day. This decision fatigue makes me tired and irritable.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? Don’t buy me anything. Send me a thoughtful postcard, text or Snapchat.
Favorite travel app(s): 1) Google Maps for not getting lost and 2) TripIt for keeping track of flight and hotel itineraries.
Most embarrassing travel moment: I forgot to get visas to Australia for my girlfriend and I. We didn’t realize it until we tried checking in to the flight. We almost missed it.
I’m embarrassed I haven’t been to: Washington, D.C.
Worst travel moment: Getting “Hell’s Itch” from a sunburn in Thailand. If you don’t know what it is, Google it. For 12 hours my body itched and it felt like bugs where crawling all over my skin. I almost lost my mind. Benadryl didn’t help and the only temporary relief came from taking scalding hot showers.
What’s your dream destination? New Zealand.
Best travel tip: Don’t compare yourself to other travelers. Travel the way you want, see the places you want to see, and do the things you want to do.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered. Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.