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: Leif Pettersen
Occupation: Freelance writer
Hometown: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Residence: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Short Bio: Leif Pettersen is a freelance writer, humorist, world traveler, polyglot, “slightly caustic” blogger and wino from Minneapolis, Minn. He has traveled through 51 countries and lived in Spain, Romania and Italy.
Pettersen has been a juggler since he was 12 years old, loves chocolate, hates pickles, types with exactly four fingers, and can escape from a straitjacket. He has not vomited since 1993, making him a consummate travel journalist and excellent party guest.
How often do you fly: This varies dramatically. Last year, only a handful of times. This year several times a month (so far).
How many countries have you been to: 51
How many continents have you been to: Six
Favorite American city: Minneapolis – after over four years traveling and living abroad, I realized that my hometown is a truly special place. Also, the cost of living is just right for a freelance travel writer income.
Favorite international city: Clit, Romania. I don’t understand why they don’t get more visitors. Honestly, this is difficult to answer. For having my mind blown all day long, Rome. For a lovely, café terrace hang out, Sibiu, Romania. For eating, Singapore. For wandering, Siena. For relaxing, any beach town that can be crossed by foot in less than 10 minutes.
Least favorite country: Andorra
Favorite World Heritage Site: Bagan, Myanmar (Burma). It’s actually not on the list, but it should be.
Favorite airline: Singapore
Favorite aircraft type: Fully operational
Aisle or window: Window
Favorite airport lounge: Anyplace that will have me.
Favorite U.S. airport: Minneapolis
Favorite international airport: Seoul’s Incheon Airport
Favorite hotel: Gold Class on the Indian Pacific Sydney to Perth transcontinental railway in Australia. It’s like a 4-star hotel on wheels. Excellent all-inclusive food service with ever-changing views.
Do you unpack into the dresser/closet? Or live out of your suitcase? Live out of the suitcase. My wardrobe typically isn’t the kind that needs hanging.
Favorite cruise line: “Kiss me if I’m wrong, but dinosaurs still exist, right?” – Unknown
Favorite island: Ko Kut, Thailand
Favorite fancy restaurant: La Belle Vie in Minneapolis
Favorite hole in the wall: Esquina La Comadre in El Tunco, El Salvador
Favorite fruit: Wine
Favorite food: Chocolate
Least favorite food: Vegan
Drink of choice (In the air and on the ground): Strongbow
Favorite travel movie(s): Lost in Translation, Up in the Air
Favorite travel book(s): “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” and pretty much everything written by Tim Cahill and Bill Bryson
Right now I am reading: “Thrilling Cities” by Ian Fleming. Yes, that Ian Fleming.
Favorite travel website(s) – besides JohnnyJet.com, of course!: Anyone that prints my stuff. Also, World Hum.
Five things you bring on a plane: Ear plugs, eye shades, reading material, headphones, backup ear plugs.
What do you always seem to forget: People’s names.
Most embarrassing travel moment: When I invented pants that convert to shorts.
Worst travel moment: Every time I open an in-flight magazine.
What’s your dream destination: Honestly, my couch. But Italy’s nice too.
Favorite travel charity: Passports with Purpose
Best travel tip: If, like me, it feels like your tailbone is being ground to dust on long haul flights, use the pillow and blanket as extra seat padding. Also, don’t sit near me on an airplane. There’s guaranteed to be at least one screaming baby within six feet of me.
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.