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: René Zografos
Occupation: Journalist, author, photographer
Facebook: René Zografos
YouTube: René Zografos
Short bio: Award-winning Norwegian/Greek author of fiction- and non-fiction books. International travel journalist and photographer. Songwriter. I have has also invented family board games. I recently wrote a book about how the world sees America, called “Attractive Unattractive Americans”—it’s now available on Amazon.
How often do you fly? Sometimes several times a week, other periods, not at all.
How many countries have you been to? I’ve lost count. Between 50-60.
How many continents have you been to? Most of them :)
Earliest travel memory: The island of Rhodes in Greece, I was just a kid, but I never forget—the warm wind, nice people, clear sea, the smell of spring flowers, the palm trees, the atmosphere. I have been back to the island later and I can recommend it to travelers who are nearby. Visit “the white city” Lindos.
Favorite American city: America is so diverse. Beyond the big cities like New York and LA, I quite like both San Antonio and Austin in Texas. Everyone tells me to go to Boston, which is a city I haven’t been to yet, so I guess that city is high on my visiting list in America.
Favorite international city: I can’t decide, I have to name three: Florence, Paris and Brussels. Oh, how could I forget, also Siena in Italy.
I have no desire to go to: Somalia.
Friendliest people in the world: From Thailand, Indonesia and Burma/Myanmar—then Canada, Australia and USA (for politeness).
Country with the meanest immigration officers: Indonesia and Egypt—not mean, but strict.
Favorite airline: Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines—for low fare travel: Norwegian airlines—who are first-rate.
Favorite aircraft type: Boeing 757.
Aisle or window: Window.
Favorite U.S. airport: There isn’t one in particular that stands out as good, but I’m sure there are some.
Favorite international airport: Copenhagen airport in Denmark, a good number 2; Schiphol Amsterdam in Netherland.
Favorite hotel: Madinat, United Arab Emirates—almost like Venice. And The Ritz, London UK.
Favorite cruise line: Silversea.
Favorite travel credit card: Visa.
Favorite island: Corfu, Greece for relaxing, green water, stunning beaches and good food.
Favorite beach: On Ta Chai Island, Thailand (even better than a postcard images).
Favorite restaurant: Agni Taverna, Corfu, Greece.
Favorite fruit: Fruit: Watermelon and peach, and strawberries from Norway, all organic of course.
Favorite food: Thai and Italian.
Least favorite food: Can food/processed food.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): In the air: Water and tea—I love tea. On ground: Tea and water of course, and a local beer.
Favorite travel movie(s): The Tourist, for the scenery.
Favorite travel show(s): Almost everything on Travel Channel, especially if animals are included.
Favorite travel book(s): “The Alchemist,” Paulo Coelho.
Right now I am reading: “Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes.
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: The Poor Traveler, Condé Nast Traveler, National Geographic.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! TripAdvisor, Wiki travel and now JohnnyJet ;)
5 things you bring on a plane: Ear plugs, music, stockings for long distance flights, books, computer for work.
What do you like least about travel? Long distance, crowded airplanes with narrow seats and delayed flights.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? Nothing, I want a hug.
Favorite travel app(s): Wifi Map and that thing that translate and talk for you, so clever (don’t remember the name of it) I think Google Translate has it also.
I’m embarrassed but I haven’t been to: Rome, Italy, I’ve been all over Italy but somehow haven’t made it to Rome, stupid me!
Worst travel moment: A 32-hour airplane delay because of bad weather, at the same all the other airplanes took off and landed as scheduled. Also, was suddenly in the middle of a gang shooting in Monterrey, California. It went well…
What’s your dream destination? I have to visit Tahiti.
Best travel tip: Talk to people, in my view the people you meet are the real destination. I have met so many different people around the world who give wisdom, warm smiles, great stories, and good mood.
Also, don’t stay only in your hotel area. I have many times travelled to boring, unattractive places, but sometimes a short walk, a taxi trip or renting a scooter can take you to magnificent places—most countries, in my opinion have something interesting to explore.
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.