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: Kari Byron
Occupation: Host of Thrill Factor for Travel Channel
Hometown: Los Gatos, CA
Residence: San Francisco, CA
College: San Francisco State University
College major: Film/Sculpture. I was trying to make a Special Effects major
Short bio: Born and raised a California girl, I didn’t travel much growing up. I lived where most would vacation. After graduating college in San Francisco, I felt the need to see the world to truly understand it. I set off on a year-long backpacking trip around the globe that turned me into a lifelong traveller. Once home, I started an internship at the special effects shop where Discovery Channel’s show Mythbusters started to film. I became part of the show and spent over a decade in reality-based television. Now, I host a Travel Channel show called Thrill Factor. Along with my charming co-host Tory Belleci, I tour America exploring the science of thrill rides.
How often do you fly? Several times a month for work and play.
How many countries have you been to? Too many to count.
How many continents have you been to? 4
Earliest travel memory: Road tripping with my parents while picking on my little sister in the back of a van. “Don’t make me turn this car around! Stop picking on your sister!”
Favorite American city: San Francisco.
Favorite international city: Tough call, maybe Paris…or Rome!
Least favorite country: It is hard to judge a country entirely, but I had the hardest time in Thailand. My passport was stolen and I was traveling alone. But it did become an amazing adventure and a lesson in personal strength.
I have no desire to go to: Any country that oppresses women.
Friendliest people in the world: Philadelphia.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: Israel, but I looked like a dirt bag coming through.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Egypt. I spent a month exploring the ruins, tombs and pyramids with a girlfriend. We sailed the Nile in a felucca and fell in love with the country.
Favorite airline: Virgin. They are the friendliest, cleanest and most considerate airline.
Favorite aircraft type: Bigger, the better.
Aisle or window: Aisle.
Favorite airport lounge: Any one with a good bar and Wi-Fi.
Favorite U.S. airport: Denver. I enjoy looking for signs of the Illuminati.
Favorite international airport: I had the most fun in Heathrow.
Favorite ho I loved the Swiss Hotel in Russia. The view from the top is insane.
Favorite travel credit card: One I don’t have to pay for.
Favorite island: Kauai. I have been to so many pretty islands, but this was where my daughter tasted a snow cone for the first time, smiled and said, “Mommy, Daddy—happy, happy.” Pure bliss.
Favorite beach: Blue Lagoon in Fiji.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Manresa in Los Gatos.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: I will never tell.
Favorite bar: It burned down, looking for another.
Favorite fruit: Pineapple.
Favorite food: Tartine country bread with Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam cheese.
Least favorite food: Anything Andrew Zimmern eats on Bizarre Foods. Seems like a lovely man, but eats food I wouldn’t put in my mouth on a drunken dare!
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Scotch.
Favorite travel movie(s): I carried a copy of Bladerunner and Breakfast at Tiffany’s with me on my travels. They are my happy place.
Favorite travel show(s): Bourdain on any network.
Favorite travel book(s): I miss carrying a Lonely Planet around.
Right now I am reading: “Handmaid’s Tale.”
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: I get Conde Naste, and love looking at (mostly because I will never be that glamorous on the road). But I get travel inspiration from Pinterest and random local blogs I search out before I land anywhere.
5 things you bring on a plane: Wet wipes (I’ve seen people change diapers on food tray tables. Ew.), water, iPhone, sweatshirt, my lucky vintage compass.
What do you always seem to forget? Nothing. I am a list-maker.
What do you like least about travel? Dirty airplanes but emotionally, being away from my family.
Most embarrassing travel moment: At a bathroom break on a long bus ride across Egypt, I realized I had an audience of spying men watching me pee.
I’m embarrassed but I haven’t been to: The Grand Canyon!
Worst travel moment: Lying on a bathroom floor in an ashram in India with such bad sickness that I couldn’t walk. Sweet Israeli girl brought me water. I will pay it forward someday.
What’s your dream destination? Bicycling through Europe.
Best travel tip: Make friends with locals and leave the tourist areas. Stay fluid. Plans can hold you back.
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