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: “Ali” Nejad
Occupation: Television Host, Producer
Hometown: Albany, CA
Residence: Atlanta, GA
Short bio: A social media mainstay with nearly one million followers, Ali Nejad joined HLN in May, 2014 as its LA-based correspondent covering general news; and now hosts The Daily Share, M-F 12-3 pm ET out of Atlanta, and The Social Life, Tuesdays at 10 pm ET.
Born and raised in the San Francisco area, Nejad has spent his career covering everything from current events, to poker, to college sports, to video gaming. More recently however, Nejad has become a globetrotting purveyor of fine food, fast cars, and luxury travel who likes to share the best that life has to offer with his followers. He started working in television, while still in high school, for a local San Francisco station’s youth magazine show First Cut. He then studied business, economics and law at the University of California Berkeley, but left before graduating in 1999 to pursue his passion and become a professional poker player.
After achieving success in the poker arena he relocated to Los Angeles in 2004 and merged his twin passions by working as a television poker commentator for NBC, ESPN and Fox Sports 1, a role in which he continues to serve today.
In 2012, he again merged television with another passion—sports—in traveling the country to cover college football as the host of ESPNU’s Road Trip, which he describes as “the time of his life.” A self-proclaimed travel junkie who lists Paris, Shanghai and Melbourne as some of his favorite cities, Nejad says that moving briefly to Buenos Aires last year for a “life reset” was one of the best things he’s ever done, and he is looking forward to his new adventures with HLN.
How often do you fly? Last 2 years the answer would’ve been “less often than I don’t fly,” but more recently about twice a month.
How many countries have you been to? 28
How many continents have you been to? 5
Favorite American city: San Francisco.
Favorite international city: Barcelona. Though I love Paris, Buenos Aires, Melbourne, and Shanghai too.
Least favorite country: Slovakia—but only because a border guard shook me down for 20 Euros lol.
Favorite World Heritage Site: That I’ve been to: Tikal National Park, Guatemala. On my list: Iguazu National Park, Argentina.
Favorite airline: Singapore 1st class.
Favorite aircraft: 787 Dreamliner, or Bombardier Global 6000 when someone else is paying!
Aisle or window: Window. I invariably have better bladder control than my seat mates.
Favorite US airport: I like Chicago O’Hare. Believe it or not, I’ve flown through there 150x and NEVER left the airport!! Crazy, right?
Favorite international airport: How about my least favorite: Charles De Gall in Paris—the worst! Fave? I’ll go with Munich, Germany.
Favorite ho St. Regis Monarch Beach in Southern California, though I really want to go to their Bali property. Looks amazing.
Favorite cruise line: Any that doesn’t sink, or host drunk limbo events.
Favorite island: Australia. Is that cheatsies?
Favorite fancy restaurant: Guy Savoy, Paris.
Favorite hole-in the-wall: Burma Superstar, Oakland, CA.
Favorite fruit: Guava.
Favorite food: Sushi.
Least favorite food: Pork. Sausage and bacon not withstanding.
Drink of choice: Ground: Sparkling mint lemonade. Air: Sparkling water w/ splash of cranberry juice and a lime.
Favorite travel movies: The Motorcycle Diaries, Up In The Air.
Favorite travel shows: No Reservations/Parts Unknown, An Idiot Abroad.
Favorite travel book: Global Traveler Magazine.
Reading right now: The safety information card in the seat back pocket in front of me.
5 things you bring on a plane: My manners, Klipsch earphones w/ the double prong adapter thingamajig, amenity kit (lotion, lip balm, toothbrush/paste), chargers, the blind faith that the guy in the cockpit knows what he’s doing.
What do you always seem to forget? To drink enough water. ;)
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? Nothing. Just come home already. :)
Dream destination: Maldives, Koh Samui.
Best travel tip: . My travel guru and friend who taught me everything I know. And . You’re welcome.
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