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: Richard Kerr
Occupation: Award Travel 101 Facebook Community Founder, Senior Points and Miles Contributor ThePointsGuy.com, Naval Officer
Hometown: LaGrange, GA
Residence: Quantico, VA
College: The Georgia College
College major: BBA International Business
Website: Award Travel 101
Facebook: Award Travel 101
Short bio: I’ve been on the road since leaving home in Georgia to attend high school in the United Kingdom. I am finishing up nine years of active duty as a Naval officer before moving to travel as my full-time career. I became a certified travel addict while in high school and again in the Navy. I served around the world with three years on a nuclear submarine then living in Japan for three years and traveling to the Middle East and all of Asia. I earn and redeem millions of frequent flyer miles each year and spend my spare time dissecting loyalty program award charts in order to maximize the value of my points and miles. My wife, three-year-old son and one-year-old daughter are also (reluctant) jetsetters with me.
How often do you fly? 3-4 times a month.
How many countries have you been to? 40
How many continents have you been to? 4
Earliest travel memory: I remember my first flight was Atlanta to Columbia, South Carolina (all 30 minutes of that flight) when I was about eight on now defunct airline Air South—where I sat in the first row which was facing backwards.
Favorite American city: Charleston, SC—my dad grew up there and family has been there for several generations. I grew up spending my summers and holidays there, before it was cool.
Favorite international city: Osaka, Japan.
Least favorite country: Cambodia—I was offered to shoot a live cow with an old Chinese RPG for $300 at the airport.
I have no desire to go to: I’ve got to try everywhere once, but I won’t be going back to Bahrain.
Friendliest people in the world: Scandinavians.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: I actually had the hardest time getting in New Zealand—I have no idea why and I’m sure is not the standard there.
Favorite airline: Japan Airlines.
Favorite aircraft type: 777-300ER.
Aisle or window: The business class and first class seats that are both.
Favorite airport lounge: Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt.
Favorite U.S. airport: XNA—Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport. They have chess boards, a poker table, yoga room, and tons of moving walkways to entertain my son.
Favorite international airport: Tokyo Haneda.
Favorite hotel: Hyatt Regency Danang.
Favorite cruise line: Royal Caribbean.
Favorite travel credit card: Currently it’s the Amex Everyday Preferred.
Favorite island: Okinawa.
Favorite beach: Gulf Shores, Alabama.
Favorite National Park: Smokey Mountains in North Carolina.
Favorite fancy restaurant: A La Biche Au Bois in Paris.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Any hole in the wall in Osaka will do you right.
Favorite airport restaurant: Wok on Air in Sydney—you get $35 in free food with your Priority Pass Membership.
What do you always seem to forget? Ear phones.
Favorite travel app(s): FlightAware.
Most embarrassing travel moment: While living in the Tokyo region, I once went up and down the same flight of stairs in a train station three times without realizing it. Each time I went down the stairs to the platform, I boarded the train only to once again be headed in the wrong direction. When I returned to the original station, I apparently headed back up the stairs, got spun around, and came down to the same platform again. Apparently, an elder Japanese gentlemen had spotted the 6’1″ rather large white guy do this and after the third time, had enough mercy on me to politely tap me on the shoulder and take me across a pedestrian bridge to the staircase leading me to the other platform. To this day I think of the amusement I provided him each time I showed back up at that platform with a more and more bewildered look and imagine him telling his buddies over sake about the big white guy who got confused.
I’m embarrassed I haven’t been to: Spain.
Worst travel moment: For as much as I’ve flown, I’ve been pretty lucky with avoiding disaster scenarios. My worst was recently when my three-year-old and I got stuck in Reagan Airport in DC for nine hours trying to get to Texas. We ended up on a flight to Arkansas and made it 26 hours after originally intended, with no naps. My son was a trooper but it was pretty trying.
What’s your dream destination? I’m on a kick to see Eastern Europe, no idea why, but it all seems so interesting to me.
Best travel tip: Be spontaneous and don’t pass up opportunities. Some that seem like a boring or bad idea turn into the best memories.
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