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: Thomas Quinn
Occupation: Television Producer/Writer/Author/Speaker
Hometown: Sparta, New Jersey
Residence: Los Angeles, CA
College: Iowa State University, The American Film Institute
College major: BS: Economics/Political Science, MFA: Screenwriting
Short bio: I’m originally from New Jersey (Hey! Get back here!) and wound up in L.A. after 10 years in San Francisco learning about film. I’m a produced feature screenwriter; a former story analyst for HBO, DreamWorks and Universal Studios; a film critic for a Los Angeles weekly magazine; an on-screen interviewer; an author/speaker; and now a documentary writer/director/producer for Discovery, Travel, BBC, History, and anyone who will hire me. I received two Emmy noms as writer and producer of Beyond the Da Vinci Code (for History Channel). Alas, I lost to Ken Burns—that hack. But I’m not bitter.
My travels have taken me from a Viking fire funeral in the Shetland Islands to overnighting with the grandchildren of headhunters in Borneo, to the world’s largest bat cave, Area 51, a 500-year-old silver mine in Mexico, the world’s most active volcano, a mile-wide crater in Siberia, Egypt, Europe, China, the Caribbean, and the South Pacific.
The shows I’ve written and produced include Top 5, Eaten Alive for Discovery Shark Week, a deconstruction of Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons, and three seasons as Story Producer for Travel Channel’s top-rated Expedition Unknown. I’m also the author of “What Do You Do with a Chocolate Jesus? (An Irreverent History of Christianity).” And I do funny audio-visual lectures with themes like, “God Needs Therapy,” “Why I Don’t Believe in Aliens” and “America’s Pagan Family Values.”
How often do you fly? At least dozen times a year.
How many countries have you been to? 34
How many continents have you been to? 6
Earliest travel memory: Living in a desert oil colony in Saudi Arabia with my parents.
Favorite American city: Santa Monica, CA.
Favorite international city: Berlin.
Least favorite country: Russia.
I have no desire to go to: Pakistan.
Friendliest people in the world: Kiwis (New Zealand).
Country with the meanest immigration officers: Malaysia.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Belize Barrier Reef.
Favorite airline: Air France.
Favorite aircraft type: 747.
Aisle or window: Window (unless it’s at night or over water).
Favorite airport lounge: Star Alliance in Istanbul Airport.
Favorite U.S. airport: Kahului Airport, Maui.
Favorite international airport: De Gaulle.
Favorite ho Banyan Tree, Bangkok.
Favorite cruise line: Aren’t they just a Vegas hotel with nausea?
Favorite travel credit card: Chase Sapphire Reserve.
Favorite island: Caye Caulker, Belize.
Favorite beach: Southern tip of Tobago.
Favorite National Park: Muir Woods.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Thai Pepper, in Hollywood.
Favorite airport restaurant: Cheers, in Chicago.
Favorite bar: I can never remember…
Favorite fruit: Watermelon.
Favorite food: Pizza.
Least favorite food: Kale or squash.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Dry white wine, coffee.
Favorite travel movie(s): James Bond, sci-fi, adventure.
Favorite travel show(s): Expedition Unknown.
Favorite travel podcast(s): No time for one these days.
Favorite travel book(s): Anything by P.J. O’Rourke, Lonely Planet, DK Eyewitness Travel.
Right now I am reading: “On the Trail of the Golden Owl.”
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: Hundredbacklinks.com.
5 things you bring on a plane: Laptop, earbuds, New Yorker magazines, Trtl neck support, shaving kit.
What do you always seem to forget? Sunglasses.
What do you like least about travel? Waiting.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? A cheap, cheesy item emblematic of the location. (Taj Mahal snow globe, etc.)
Favorite travel app(s): Google Translate, Whatsapp.
Most embarrassing travel moment: When my big suitcase split apart on the tarmac in western China on a windy midnight.
I’m embarrassed I haven’t been to: Israel.
Worst travel moment: Flying over the mountains of central Mexico to Guanajuato, bouncing out of my seat in the worst clear-air turbulence ever. Terrifying.
What’s your dream destination? Fiji, Maldives, Cape St. Francis in South Africa, Deep in the Amazon, Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Favorite travel charity: My girlfriend.
Best travel tip: Plan, travel light, and just roll with it.
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