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: JC Lightcap
Occupation: Travel Safety Advisor
Hometown: Waverly, NE
Residence: Denver, CO
College: Wayne State College, Middlebury College, Regis University
College major: Communications, International Studies/French, MBA Marketing
Short bio: When you study French in college, you do not expect to years later be sitting on sacred crocodiles in Burkina Faso, drinking straight from fresh coconuts in Tahiti or learning to surf in Senegal. Former military, English teacher abroad and government contractor, now travel safety consultant, speaker and author of “The Travel Safety Handbook,” JC is teaching the world to travel safer. He believes every awesome experience starts with a “Yes” and has lived in France and Morocco because of it. JC has been quoted in The Washington Post, featured in the Liberty Project and is a member of the International Ecotourism Society. He currently lives in Denver, Colorado with his two dogs that protect him from strangers, and his well-traveled wife, who protects him from himself.
How often do you fly? Maybe fifteen times per year. Previously it was mostly international. Lately I fly more within the US.
How many countries have you been to? 38
How many continents have you been to? Five: Africa, Oceana, Asia, Europe, North America.
Earliest travel memory: Family trips across the country in a Chevy Suburban with a trailer in tow. Mom always made “munchies and crunchies” (granola mixture) as road snacks.
Favorite American city: Denver.
Favorite international city: Madrid.
Least favorite country: I haven’t been to that one yet. Guinea perhaps.
I have no desire to go to: Baltimore. Ever.
Friendliest people in the world: Istanbul was full of super friendly people. Have never drunk so much tea in my life.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: I found the Germans to be efficient but cold.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Casbah in Algiers. Love the idea of a ‘living’ World Heritage Site.
Favorite airline: Austrian Airlines. Staff was always super friendly and I love that the chef comes out.
Favorite aircraft type: The ones that land.
Aisle or window: Window. I sleep like a champ on flights, I’m usually asleep before the plane takes off (sorry flight attendants!). I like the window so other passengers don’t have to crawl over me to use the restroom.
Favorite airport lounge: Virgin Atlantic in IAD was nice.
Favorite U.S. airport: DEN. There is a breakfast burrito joint that will make you appreciate taking the red-eye. Tamales by La Casita.
Favorite international airport: CDG. This is probably because I spend so much time there transiting to West Africa.
Favorite ho Kempinski.
Favorite island: Mo’orea, French Polynesia. So easily navigable, we rented a Vespa to scoot-scoot around the island. The island has so many physical activities available, the lagoon is super accessible, whale watching, fresh fruit. I think I’m planning my retirement as we speak…
Favorite beach: North shore of Barbados. Quiet, like most great experiences, the locals were great. They had breadfruit stuffed with crab, onions, etc, left it in the bonfire fire to cook, then let me try some!
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: La Paillotte, Mo’orea, French Polynesia. French (okay, Marseillaise) for “roach coach”, this was a culinary surprise for me and my wife. We went back twice that same week!
Favorite fruit: Eastern hemisphere mangos. So, so good.
Favorite food: Mexican street food. Every half hour while exploring I’ll stop for another taco (or two).
Least favorite food: Bland food.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Gin and tonic. My wife hates them. More for me.
Favorite travel movie(s): The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I’ve probably watched it once a month to get stoked for an upcoming trip to Iceland!
Favorite travel show(s): Survivor Man. Les Stroud makes you ask the, “What would I do in that situation” type-questions. It appeals to the safety advisor in me.
Favorite travel book(s): “Into the Wild.”
Right now I am reading: “F**k it. The Ultimate Spiritual Way.”
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: Outside/Backpacker/5280.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides Hundredbacklinks.com, of course! I’ve been spending a lot of time on Iceland’s .
5 things you bring on a plane: Magazine, earplugs, headphones, Visine, gum.
What do you always seem to forget? To plan more days.
What do you like least about travel? Leaving the dogs at home.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? Dark chocolate. Anything made with dark chocolate.
Favorite travel app(s): Flight Aware. Gives flight status of current flight inbound so there’s no surprises. I’ve approached the gate agent and known that a flight was delayed before they did with this app.
Most embarrassing travel moment: Missing the rescheduled flight out of Boston, which I had booked due to missing my original flight.
I’m embarrassed but I haven’t been to: Hoover Dam. I mean, how far is that from Denver?
Worst travel moment: Showing up in Tokyo with no cash and no way to pay for the room!
What’s your dream destination? New Zealand!
Favorite travel charity: Pathfinder.org.
Best travel tip: Be a traveler, not a tourist. Safety overseas is mostly making yourself a harder target than those around you.