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 Varr
Occupation: Freelance Travel Writer
Hometown: New York, NY
Residence: Houston, TX
College: Boston University
College major: Broadcast Journalism
Facebook: Richard Varr
YouTube: Richard Varr
Short bio: A former television news reporter, Houston-based freelance travel writer and photographer Richard Varr is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW). His stories and photos have appeared in publications and on websites including Porthole Cruise Magazine and the onboard magazines for major cruise lines including Carnival, Holland America, Windstar, Seabourn, Celebrity, Disney, Royal Caribbean, Cunard, P&O, Costa, MSC, NCL, and others. He’s also been published in USAToday.com, AOL Travel, London Telegraph, Dallas Morning News, the Good Sam Club’s Highways, Trailer Life, AAA Home&Away, The Rotarian, and German Life. Richard researched and wrote the Dorling Kindersley “Eyewitness Travel Guide to Philadelphia & the Pennsylvania Dutch Country.”
How often do you fly? 10 trips a year.
How many countries have you been to? About 60.
How many continents have you been to? Five continents.
Earliest travel memory: It was a trip to Washington D.C., and I remember my hat blowing off my head at the Washington Monument. I was maybe five- or six-years old.
Favorite American city: It’s a tossup between Boston and New York.
Favorite international city: Venice—I love looking at the Old Master Canaletto’s views of Venice from the 18th century, which are nearly identical today.
Least favorite country: Maybe a few I’ve never been to. I love visiting new places and exploring different cultures.
I have no desire to go to: War-torn countries, although I would have taken on the assignment as a reporter years ago.
Friendliest people in the world: Anyone who greets me with a warm smile.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: They’re all pretty stern, it seems.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Historic Centers of Prague and Krakow.
Favorite airline: British Airways, Lufthansa.
Favorite aircraft type: Airbus A300 Series.
Aisle or window: I’m 6’3”—what do you think?
Favorite airport lounge: Wish I could go to enough to answer this question.
Favorite U.S. airport: Miami, because I know I’ll soon be heading off to the Caribbean!
Favorite international airport: Dubai, Frankfurt and many others. Only flown to Dubai once but I’ll never forget that airport.
Favorite hotel: Marriott brand—consistent quality and I’ve been a Rewards member since 1994.
Favorite cruise line: Holland America.
Favorite travel credit card: Chase United Visa because I fly United from its Houston hub.
Favorite island: The Caribbean islands. Which one? The one with mountains, beaches and Johnnycakes.
Favorite beach: Megans Bay, St. Thomas.
Favorite National Park: Torres del Paine National Park, Chile.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Four Seasons’s restaurants are incredible!
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Every town has one! I prefer either home cooking or a good Chinese restaurant.
Favorite airport restaurant: La Carreta (Cuban), Miami.
Favorite bar: The Gingerman Pub, Houston.
Favorite fruit: Oranges and grapes.
Favorite food: Gosh, where do I begin!
Least favorite food: Sushi—I know a lot of you will say, what?!
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): IPA.
Favorite travel movie(s): This will take a while…
Favorite travel show(s): Rick Steves, GlobeTrekker
Favorite travel podcast(s): Don’t really watch any.
Favorite travel book(s): DK Eyewitness Travel Guides (because I wrote one), and Rick Steves guides.
Right now I am reading: The Eyewitness Travel Guides for Greece, where I hope to go soon.
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: I actually read a variety of other travelers’ blogs.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! Expedia.com, hotels.com.
5things you bring on a plane: Bose headphones, earplugs, around-the-neck travel case, hand sanitizer, and comfortable shoes!
What do you always seem to forget? There’s always something.
What do you like least about travel? DELAYED FLIGHTS!!!
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? Something electronic.
Favorite travel app(s): Airline apps.
Most embarrassing travel moment: If I have a hole in my socks at airport security.
I’m embarrassed I haven’t been to: Yellowstone National Park, the Greek islands (and I’m part Greek!).
Worst travel moment: Being stuck in Orlando for three days because the runways in Philadelphia were iced over—there are worse places to be stuck. How about sleeping on a cot at O’Hare? At least they had cots. Or my 14-hour flight from China was extended by four hours because of a weather delay at O’Hare.
What’s your dream destination? Greek islands.
Favorite travel charity: Turning in foreign coins to airlines and at airports.
Best travel tip: TRAVEL AS OFTEN AS YOU CAN! Life is too short and the world is too big!
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