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: Chris Vanocur
Occupation: Freelance journalist and writer
Hometown: Washington D.C.
Residence: Salt Lake City, Utah
College: Northwestern University
College major: Communications Studies
Short bio: Former TV news reporter. Winner of Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University and George Foster Peabody Awards. Currently writing biography of another reporter, Sander Vanocur (my father).
How often do you fly? As often as I can.
How many countries have you been to? Am heading out soon on a Scandinavian cruise. This will put me at about 35.
How many continents have you been to? 4
Earliest travel memory: As a very young infant, my parents (allegedly) spiked my milk with scotch so I would sleep during the flight.
Favorite American city: Salt Lake.
Favorite international city: Edinburgh, Scotland. Was very lucky to spend a year studying there during college. Not sure I’ve ever completely gotten over that magical year.
Least favorite country: I try not to judge.
I have no desire to go to: The 7th Circle of Hell.
Friendliest people in the world: Maybe I’m being naive, but I’ve found at least some friendly people everywhere.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: Midnight. On a train crossing (then) Yugoslavian border. Stern guards, nasty dogs, big guns.
Favorite airline: Cathay Pacific.
Aisle or window: A-I-S-L-E.
Favorite U.S. airport: Minneapolis-St. Paul. (Electrical outlets everywhere, Shoyu Restaurant. Their noodle bowls are my quiet moment of travel zen.)
Favorite international airport: Whichever one I’m headed to next.
Favorite ho Am a big fan of Kimpton Hotels.
Favorite cruise line: Since I often travel by myself, I like those that accommodate solo travelers.
Favorite travel credit card: American Express Delta.
Favorite island: Iceland. Immediately drawn to its uniqueness and mystery.
Favorite beach: Ferry Building (and markets) in San Francisco. Ok. So it’s not a beach, but it is on the water :)
Favorite fancy restaurant: It’s not especially fancy, but I love Raku in Las Vegas. Best. Tofu. Ever.
Favorite bar: Long Bar, Shanghai.
Favorite fruit: Blueberries.
Favorite food: Ramen.
Least favorite food: Cucumbers. They’re very dodgy, not to be trusted.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Two Utah favorites: 1) Epic Beer (Cross Fever Amber Ale) in Salt Lake and 2) Double Rye from High West Distillery in Park City.
Favorite travel movie(s): I like to watch documentaries about different places, like Jiro Dreams of Sushi or City of Gold (about Los Angeles food critic Jonathan Gold).
Favorite travel show(s): Anthony Bourdain. For my money, he’s the best journalist on TV.
Favorite travel book(s): Not necessarily travel authors, but am devoted to David Halberstam and Russell Baker. Halbertsam’s books taught me a lot about America and Baker’s autobiography taught me about the power of words to take us places.
Right now I am reading: “The Sixth Extinction” by Elizabeth Kolbert.
5 things you bring on a plane: A sense of adventure, my imagination, patience, a sense of humor and Glee gum.
What do you always seem to forget? Can’t remember.
What do you like least about travel? When the trip is over.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? Panodil Hot from the Reykjavik Airport. A cold medicine so soothing, you would think it was conjured up by Professor Snape at Hogwarts.
Most embarrassing travel moment: Mistakenly got off at a European train stop late at night to look around. Moments later, the train started moving. Had to hop on one of the freight cars. Thought I was pretty cool, like a young Hemingway. Then—to my embarrassment—the train stopped just a few feet from where I hopped on. I could/should have simply walked on board.
I’m embarrassed I haven’t been to: Kyoto.
Worst travel moment: Visiting Auschwitz to do a story on my grandparents who were killed there. Was emotionally numb for weeks afterwards.
What’s your dream destination? South Africa/Tanzania.
Favorite travel charity: Simply trying to be charitable and helpful to foreign visitors to America. As somebody who continually gets lost overseas, I always appreciate the help I’m given.
Best travel tip: May the force be with you.
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