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.

Perry Garfinkel
Perry Garfinkel

Name: Perry Garfinkel

Occupation: Journalist, author, writing teacher, speaker, media consultant, ghostwriter

Hometown: West Orange, New Jersey

Residence: Berkeley, California

College: Rutgers College, New Brunswick, NJ

College major: English, Spanish minor



FacebookPerry Garfinkel

Short bio: A journalist for some 40 years, author of three books, co-author of four and ghostwriter of four, Perry Garfinkel has been a regular contributor to the New York Times since 1986. He’s also written for National Geographic Magazine, the LA Times, Departures, Travel & Leisure and many others. His 2007 book “Buddha or Bust” (Three Rivers Press) was a national bestseller. He has been teaching adult writing workshops, specializing in travel, for some 30 years. His next is on Martha’s Vineyard, Aug. 30-Sept. 5.

How often do you fly? 4 to 6 times a year.

How many countries have you been to? 26

How many continents have you been to? 6

 Earliest travel memory: From New Jersey to Vermont when I was a wee little one, and throwing up on my grandfather’s neck from the back seat.

Favorite American city: Three-way tie: New Yawk, Bah-ston, San Francisco.

Favorite international city: Udaipur, Rajasthan, India.

Least favorite country: I have a love-hate relationship with India.

I have no desire to go to: Uganda.

Friendliest people in the world: Costa Ricans, aka Ticos.

Country with the meanest immigration officers: They’re all just doing their jobs, some more vigorously than others.

Favorite World Heritage Site: Jaipur Observatory, aka Jantar Mantar, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India.

Favorite airline: Cathay Pacific.

Favorite aircraft type: 747.

Aisle or window: Aisle (for my poor knees to stretch).

Favorite airport lounge: Finnair’s lounge in Helsinki.

Favorite U.S. airport: Chicago.

Favorite international airport: Heathrow.

Favorite hotel: Luna Hotel Baglioni, Venice, Italy.

Favorite cruise line: None.

Favorite travel credit card: Visa.

Favorite island: Martha’s Vineyard.

Favorite beach: Quansoo, Chilmark, MA.

Favorite fancy restaurant: Le Cinq, Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris.

Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Brennan’s, Berkeley, CA.

Favorite bar: The one I’m at right now, any right now.

Favorite fruit: Mango.

Favorite food: Most Asian foods.

Least favorite food: (Except) Indian.

Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Stoli, iced.

Favorite travel movie(s): Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Favorite travel show(s): Rudy Maxa’s World.

Favorite travel book(s): “Innocents Abroad,” “On the Road,” “Travels of Marco Polo.”

Right now I am reading: “A Force for Good” by Daniel Goleman.

Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: Afar, BBC Travel.

Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! Travel with Val.

5 things you bring on a plane: Book, magazine, laptop, headset, Samsung G5…please give me another: neck rest.

What do you always seem to forget? Swim goggles.

What do you like least about travel? Security checklines.

Most embarrassing travel moment: Contracting extreme case of Delhi belly within first days of arrival to Udaipur, Rajasthan, to work with the House of Mewar on media and brand development for the U.S., not a good first impression made.

I’m embarrassed I haven’t been to: Morocco.

Worst travel moment: Almost dying after eating deep fried chicken in Atitlan, Guatemala.

What’s your dream destination? Nagaland.

Favorite travel charity: Habitat for Humanity, Cheetah Conservation Fund, Ethical Traveler.

Best travel tip: Get lost, literally. Keep a map or app in your pocket but go off the beaten track, use your instincts and street smarts, and your built-in compass, and be surprised. The best travel experiences are often the unplanned ones.


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