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: Larissa and Michael Milne
Occupation: Travel writers
Residence: We’re global nomads who have been on the road for 2 ½ years so our residence is wherever we’re staying that night.
Facebook: Changes in Longitude
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Short bio: In 2011, after a particularly difficult period in their lives, Larissa and Michael Milne sold their house, quit their jobs and gave away their possessions to travel around the world with a statue of movie boxer Rocky Balboa. (Hey, they’re from Philly.) After learning to live much more simply, they are now permanent global nomads with no fixed address.
They write about their journey for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Travel + Escape, National Geographic’s Intelligent Travel Blog, Huffington Post and other media outlets as well as on their own blog at Changes in Longitude. It won the 2013 Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Silver Award for Best Travel Blog.
How often do you fly? As much as we can but not so much these days since we are on an extended road trip around North America.
How many countries have you been to? 50+
How many continents have you been to? 6
Earliest travel memory: Larissa: I grew up in New York and on weekends my dad took us to JFK airport to watch the planes taking off and landing. I always wanted to jump on one of those planes; Michael: I was raised in the landing pattern of JFK so on a busy day I’d hear the roar of jet engines every five minutes. It became a comforting sound that I associated with adventure.
Favorite American city: Our former hometown of Philadelphia.
Favorite international city: Larissa: Paris; Michael: Berlin.
Least favorite country: We visited North Korea and certainly wouldn’t want to live there but it was interesting as a travel destination.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: No place was mean but we had a difficult time in China because Michael doesn’t look like his passport photo (thank God) so he kept getting pulled out of custom lines and taken into interrogation rooms normally reserved for drug smugglers and international arms traffickers.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Petra.
Favorite airline: Hainan Airlines.
Favorite aircraft type: A330. Seating is 2-4-2 in coach so you never have to climb over more than one person to get to the aisle.
Aisle or window: Larissa: Window; Michael: Aisle
Favorite U.S. airport: Tucson, there’s not much there so you’re in and out in five minutes and there’s never a weather or traffic delay. Best of all, before you land you’ll see the legendary “Boneyard,” which is home to thousands of retired military airplanes parked in rows out on the desert.
Favorite international airport: Changi in Singapore; among other amenities it provides free movies, a butterfly garden, and a free tour of the city depending on the length of your layover. We were so enthralled we almost missed our flight.
Favorite hotel: The Essence Hanoi in Vietnam.
Favorite cruise line: We haven’t been on a cruise in many years but we did enjoy Windstar.
Favorite island: Manhattan.
Favorite beach: Watching the sun melt into the Indian Ocean on the unspoiled white sand of North Swanbourne Beach in Perth, Australia. Of course it wasn’t until several people joined us to watch the sunset that we realized it was a nude beach.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Hostaria Costanza in Rome. It’s built in the remains of the Teatro di Pompeo where Brutus stabbed Julius Caesar in the back in 44 BC.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: LC’s BBQ in Kansas City. Their burnt ends are the best barbecue dish in America and that’s saying something.
Favorite fruit: Mangosteen.
Favorite food: Larissa: Vietnamese noodles; Michael: Lasagna.
Least favorite food: Vegemite, the Australian national dish, is about as vile a substance one can put in their mouth.
Favorite travel movie(s): Larissa: Raiders of the Lost Ark; Michael: Lost in America.
Favorite travel show(s): The Amazing Race. In New Zealand we stayed with John and Beth Keoghan, the parents of Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan to get some behind-the-scenes stories about the show.
Favorite travel book(s): 1) National Geographic’s “100 Countries, 5,000 Ideas,” 2) “Guide to Over 900 Aircraft Museums” by Michael Blaugher (It’s the ultimate aviation geek’s travel guide.), 3) “500 Things to Eat Before It’s Too Late” by Jane and Michael Stern.
Right now I am reading: Larissa: “The Sex Lives of Cannibals”; Michael: “Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water.”
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: 1) RetroRoadMap.com with Mod Betty, 2) FoxNomad.com for tech tips, 3) Saveur Magazine for international food tips.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! Airbnb.com. We usually rent apartments when we travel so it’s always fun to plan the next destination.
5 things you bring on a plane: Computer, music, something to read, granola bars and gum.
What do you always seem to forget? The gum.
What do you like least about travel? Unexplained airport delays.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? Nothing, we just got rid of almost everything we owned, although Larissa wouldn’t mind some chocolate.
Favorite travel app(s): Airport Flight Tracker. It tells when planes are arriving at an airport. It’s a valuable tool for planespotters.
Most embarrassing travel moment: We were leaving Brisbane, Australia to head to New Zealand and didn’t have a return ticket so we weren’t allowed to board the plane. We scrambled around the airport and found a Flight Centre where we bought a ticket back to Australia with a random day on it just so we could get on the flight. As experienced travelers we should have known better.
Worst travel moment: The utter disappointment when we first encountered the trash-filled beaches in Bali. It was not the Bali of our dreams nor what we had read gushing reviews about. We posted pictures of the debris on Changes in Longitude that created quite a story among travelers and environmentalists.
What’s your dream destination? Japan. We didn’t go there on our round-the-world trip because they just had the earthquake and tsunami so things were unsettled. Michael would also like to visit Iran to tour the rug markets.
Best travel tip: To all those who are waiting for the perfect time to take a trip, just go already!
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