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: Kari Byron
Occupation: Host of Thrill Factor for Travel Channel
Hometown: Los Gatos, CA
Residence: San Francisco, CA
College: San Francisco State University
College major: Film/Sculpture. I was trying to make a Special Effects major
Facebook: The Real Kari Byron
Short bio: Born and raised a California girl, I didn’t travel much growing up. I lived where most would vacation. After graduating college in San Francisco, I felt the need to see the world to truly understand it. I set off on a year-long backpacking trip around the globe that turned me into a lifelong traveller. Once home, I started an internship at the special effects shop where Discovery Channel’s show Mythbusters started to film. I became part of the show and spent over a decade in reality-based television. Now, I host a Travel Channel show called Thrill Factor. Along with my charming co-host Tory Belleci, I tour America exploring the science of thrill rides.
How often do you fly? Several times a month for work and play.
How many countries have you been to? Too many to count.
How many continents have you been to? 4
Earliest travel memory: Road tripping with my parents while picking on my little sister in the back of a van. “Don’t make me turn this car around! Stop picking on your sister!”
Favorite American city: San Francisco.
Favorite international city: Tough call, maybe Paris…or Rome!
Least favorite country: It is hard to judge a country entirely, but I had the hardest time in Thailand. My passport was stolen and I was traveling alone. But it did become an amazing adventure and a lesson in personal strength.
I have no desire to go to: Any country that oppresses women.
Friendliest people in the world: Philadelphia.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: Israel, but I looked like a dirt bag coming through.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Egypt. I spent a month exploring the ruins, tombs and pyramids with a girlfriend. We sailed the Nile in a felucca and fell in love with the country.
Favorite airline: Virgin. They are the friendliest, cleanest and most considerate airline.
Favorite aircraft type: Bigger, the better.
Aisle or window: Aisle.
Favorite airport lounge: Any one with a good bar and Wi-Fi.
Favorite U.S. airport: Denver. I enjoy looking for signs of the Illuminati.
Favorite international airport: I had the most fun in Heathrow.
Favorite hotel: I loved the Swiss Hotel in Russia. The view from the top is insane.
Favorite travel credit card: One I don’t have to pay for.
Favorite island: Kauai. I have been to so many pretty islands, but this was where my daughter tasted a snow cone for the first time, smiled and said, “Mommy, Daddy—happy, happy.” Pure bliss.
Favorite beach: Blue Lagoon in Fiji.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Manresa in Los Gatos.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: I will never tell.
Favorite bar: It burned down, looking for another.
Favorite fruit: Pineapple.
Favorite food: Tartine country bread with Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam cheese.
Least favorite food: Anything Andrew Zimmern eats on Bizarre Foods. Seems like a lovely man, but eats food I wouldn’t put in my mouth on a drunken dare!
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Scotch.
Favorite travel movie(s): I carried a copy of Bladerunner and Breakfast at Tiffany’s with me on my travels. They are my happy place.
Favorite travel show(s): Bourdain on any network.
Favorite travel book(s): I miss carrying a Lonely Planet around.
Right now I am reading: “Handmaid’s Tale.”
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: I get Conde Naste, and love looking at tuulavintage.com (mostly because I will never be that glamorous on the road). But I get travel inspiration from Pinterest and random local blogs I search out before I land anywhere.
5 things you bring on a plane: Wet wipes (I’ve seen people change diapers on food tray tables. Ew.), water, iPhone, sweatshirt, my lucky vintage compass.
What do you always seem to forget? Nothing. I am a list-maker.
What do you like least about travel? Dirty airplanes but emotionally, being away from my family.
Most embarrassing travel moment: At a bathroom break on a long bus ride across Egypt, I realized I had an audience of spying men watching me pee.
I’m embarrassed but I haven’t been to: The Grand Canyon!
Worst travel moment: Lying on a bathroom floor in an ashram in India with such bad sickness that I couldn’t walk. Sweet Israeli girl brought me water. I will pay it forward someday.
What’s your dream destination? Bicycling through Europe.
Best travel tip: Make friends with locals and leave the tourist areas. Stay fluid. Plans can hold you back.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- 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.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- 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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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.