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: Liron Karpati
Hometown: San Jose, CA
Residence: Columbia, MD
Short bio: I am a 14-year old student and traveler. Growing up in a tri-lingual family, from early on I was exposed to different cultures, languages and foods. My parents have been taking me around the world since I was 11-months old. I took an early interest in flags and by age three I knew nearly all the flags in the world and when I was four years of age, I became the youngest (honorary) member of the International Federation of Vexillological Association (FIAV).
How often do you fly? 4-5 times a year.
How many countries have you been to? 25
How many continents have you been to? 4
Earliest travel memory: My earliest travel memory would be seeing a siege tower at Beckov castle in Slovakia. I was only five, and the only reason I remember this is because a few months prior to the trip when it was not even a thought, during our reading time, I had asked my dad if we would ever see a siege tower. He told me that since they were made of wood there would not be any left. So when I did see two of them at this one castle I was very excited and proud that one, I saw a siege tower, and two (more importantly) I proved my dad wrong…
Favorite American city: St. Augustine, Florida. It is rare to find such an old place in this country. I really liked the fort, the historic downtown area and the pirate museum.
Favorite international city: Vaduz in Lichtenstein. Ever since I started studying flags, I immediately got drawn to the name because it sounded interesting, it started with “Li” like my name, the flag had blue on it (my favorite color), and it had a crown so my four-year-old self deemed it my favorite country. Therefore, when I finally went to Lichtenstein I was very excited and Vaduz became my favorite international city.
Least favorite country: There has not been a country I don’t like…
I have no desire to go to: Any country with war going on but otherwise I am happy to go anywhere.
Friendliest people in the world: The Portuguese, because everyone there spoke English, and was very happy to help out a tourist, moreover when driving they were very rule abiding and courteous.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: Canada, because whenever we go there, they stop us for about an hour.
Favorite World Heritage Site: The Leaning Tower of Pisa. I have been fascinated with it since I was seven. At that time I was not allowed to go up, but this past November I finally made it up to the top. It was really cool to learn how they kept it from falling.
Favorite airline: Southwest, I loved the pins they gave me as an airplane enthusiast young child.
Favorite aircraft type: Boeing 777.
Aisle or window: Window (I always fight with my sister for it).
Favorite airport lounge: I was only at an SAS lounge in Seattle, I have not much to compare to.
Favorite U.S. airport: PHL—It has direct flights to many European destinations and I really liked the sandwich at Vino Volo.
Favorite international airport: I had a fantastic cake at Frankfurt airport so I have to go with that one.
Favorite ho I have two: In 6th grade I had a math project about the Cube hotel in Switzerland and the following year my parents surprised me with a trip to visit it.
Last year I stayed at a real fortress-turned-hotel in Cardona just an hour west of Barcelona. The lobby looked like a great medieval reception hall, the restaurant was in a gothic dining room where the knights used to feast.
Favorite cruise line: I have never been on one.
Favorite travel credit card: I wish…
Favorite island: I would love to go to the Isle of Man because of the very special flag they have. From the ones I have visited Malta stood out. At the start of the trip we watched the Malta Experience 3D movie, which showed the island’s rich history of 5,000 years. Due to its strategic position in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, all major powers occupied or at least tried to occupy the little island at some point and left their mark on it. We saw a Roman aqueduct, imposing fortifications from the Knights of St. John. Moreover, the local language sounded like a mix of Italian, English and Arabic.
Favorite beach: In the smaller Maltese island of Gozo, there is a natural arch with a cave on the beach that I really liked. The beach at Tossa del Mar in Northern Spain was also very nice.
Favorite National Park: Fort McHenry in Baltimore.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Divinum in Girona, Spain! I knew we were in for a treat when there were three kinds of colored salt and three different kinds of olive oil from different regions of Spain. Everything was perfectly cooked and we spent three hours eating a seven-course meal. After finishing dessert we thought we were done, but they still brought out another set of dessert that was just as fantastic as the first one.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: I love Middle Eastern food and back in California, my favorite place was a Persian restaurant called Isfahan Kabob in San Jose. The service is a great and the kebabs are superb!
Favorite bar: Blueberry with granola ;-)
Favorite fruit: I love most fruits, but red currant is my ultimate favorite.
Favorite food: Lemon and olives. Lemons are sour, and olives salty, but my favorite sweet food is milk chocolate. I highly recommend the Ritter Sport factory experience in Waldenbuch, Germany where kids can learn how to make their own Ritter chocolate.
Least favorite food: Any seafood.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Pure lemonade.
Favorite travel movie(s): Mel Brooks: Airplane!
Favorite travel book(s): Steven Clarke: “Talk to the Snail.” It has pretty accurate observations on common French stereotypes.
Right now I am reading: I know why the cage bird sings (School assignment…).
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: On Instagram I follow three great travel-related photographers: Sense of Huber, Discovering.our.globe, andrea_izzotti.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides Hundredbacklinks.com, of course! In that case TripAdvisor.
5 things you bring on a plane: iPhone, charger, headphones, laptop, and a book.
What do you always seem to forget? Not a lot because luckily my Mom packs.
What do you like least about travel? The least enjoyable moment of travel for me is when the food comes out on the plane, the smell really bothers me.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? Kinder eggs!
Favorite travel app(s): It may be surprising but Shazam! When we travel abroad and drive around we tune in to the local radio stations and pick up the latest hits. Shazam is a great way to find out who sings a song and “bring it home” with you. My latest find was “Fierte” from Team BS featuring Sindy.
Most embarrassing travel moment: I was probably six-years old. I was in the middle of the street along the walls of Lucca, Italy. My parents told me to move to the side because there were occasional bicyclists passing by. I moved to the wrong direction and the next bicyclist fell while trying to avoid me. I felt really bad for him.
I’m embarrassed I haven’t been to: Mexico.
Worst travel moment: We once got stuck at Heathrow for three days during a general strike. There were thousands of people stranded, there was soon no water or food left in the stores and it took hours to leave and find a place.
What’s your dream destination? Machu Picchu, Peru and the Isle of Man.
Best travel tip: Try not to arrive on Sunday or public holidays to your destination because everything is closed and buying even the most basic stuff can be very difficult.
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