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: Christine van Blokland
Occupation: TV Host, Writer, Producer of Curious Traveler on PBS. Over-Packer, Museum-Lover, Artist, History Nerd.
Residence: Curious Places
College: University of Florida & Vancouver Film School
College major: UF: Broadcast Journalism, Art & Religion. VFS: 2-D Animation
Facebook: Curious Traveler TV Series
Short bio: I caught the travel bug early on: I was born in Scotland, I’ve traveled from Africa to Austria to Aruba to Alaska. Yet can never catch any Zzzzs on those flights. Travel motto: Never stop learning. Although I’ll never learn how to pack light.
I’m a two-time National Daytime Emmy Nominee as Creator, Executive Producer, Writer & Host of the educational travel series, Curious Traveler. Curious Traveler airs on PBS, Create-TV, American Public Television Worldwide & select airlines.
Other awards: Southeast Emmy Award, Suncoast Emmy Award, Thomas Lowell Travel Journalism Award, National Telly Award, North American Travel Journalists Association. I’m also work on four other travel series: as a Featured Travel Writer for travelsmith.com, and the Host, Writer & Producer for: Oceania Cruises Travel Series, Georgia Traveler, and Let’s Go! Travel Series.
Other Fun Stuff: before becoming a travel host, I was an entertainment reporter for more than a decade at NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX & PBS stations across the country. I’ve covered the Oscars, the Grammys, American Idol, International Film Festivals, and the World’s Largest Moon Pie for the 40th Anniversary of Apollo 11. It was 55 pounds and delicious. Favorite celebrity interviews: George Clooney, Carl Reiner, Julie Andrews, Simon Cowell, Jane Lynch, Phyllis Diller, Andrea Bocelli, and #1: Kermit the Frog. I’ve run two Disney Marathons. No, not back-to-back. One at a time is goofy enough.
How often do you fly? Too much.
How many continents have you been to? 4
Earliest travel memory: Age 14, Piccadilly Circus, London: At the height of Boy London & 80s punk. Freaked me out.
Favorite American city: NYC, no question.
Favorite international city: Paris.
Least favorite country: No such thing.
I have no desire to go to: An All-Inclusive Resort. Shoot me now.
Friendliest people in the world: The Welsh.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: Canada, surprisingly!
Favorite World Heritage Site: Kotor, Montenegro.
Favorite airline: Alitalia. First, last and only time airplane food was good.
Favorite aircraft type: Any with fully reclining seats.
Aisle or window: Window. I look out & pretend I’m not trapped in a floating metal box.
Favorite airport lounge: Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson’s Minute Suites. The ultimate private napping pod. Greatest invention ever. Only in 3 US airports so far—please, please build more!
Favorite U.S. airport: Dulles. Can’t beat that architecture. Close second is Charlotte, with those rocking chairs.
Favorite international airport: Charles De Gaulle.The architecture, the food, the snooty staff. Everything is better in Paris.
Favorite hotel: Castle Cottage in Harlech, Wales. Feels like a tiny little Hobbit or Winnie the Pooh cottage. You wake up to a view of Harlech Castle & the Irish Sea. Pure heaven.
Favorite cruise line: Oceania Cruises. Full disclosure: They’re a sponsor of my TV series, but honestly, I thought I hated cruises until I went on theirs. Everyone’s a polite adult on here.
Favorite island: Vancouver Island. Tea at the Empress, please!
Favorite beach: Sorrento, Italy.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: 72nd Street Bagel in NYC. Very Soup Nazi-esque. And so insanely good.
Favorite bar: (Espresso Bar) Gran Caffe le Caffettiera, Piazza di Pietra, Rome.
Favorite fruit: Japanese Loquat
Favorite food: Anything with the holy trifecta of olive oil, cheese & tomatoes.
Least favorite food: Red meat. Can’t do it.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Espresso, espresso, espresso.
Favorite travel movie(s): Ratatouille. Don’t judge.
Favorite travel show(s): Michael Palin, Globe Trekker, An Idiot Abroad, and of course, Curious Traveler.
Favorite travel book(s): Hemingway’s “A Moveable Feast,” Gertrude Stein’s “Paris, France,” Adam Gopnik’s “Paris to the Moon.” Anything and everything by Peter Mayle, Bill Bryson, Frances Mayes & Elizabeth Gilbert.
Right now I am reading: Peter Mayle’s “A Year in Provence” for the umpteenth time.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! National Geographic, Smithsonian, Condé Nast Traveller, AFAR, travelsmith.com, NY Times Travel, toastingthetown.com.
5 things you bring on a plane: 1 Inflatable footrest (I’m 5’ 0”), 2 gallon of hand sanitizer, 3 water bottle, 4 something salty, 5 something sweet.
What do you always seem to forget? The one thing I need. Which I was sure I wouldn’t need this time.
What do you like least about travel? Having to be “on” during shoots. I’d rather just wander around & observe.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? Giant Toblerone.
Favorite travel app(s): Where to Wee, HopStop, Hipmunk, Yelp.
Most embarrassing travel moment: Oh, anytime I’ve tried to speak French in Paris or Montreal, and get English in return.
I’m embarrassed but I haven’t been to: San Francisco.
Worst travel moment: Accidentally eating warthog stew in Kruger National Park in Swaziland, Africa. Been a vegetarian ever since.
What’s your dream destination? Norway, so I can re-enact Frozen.
Best travel tip: Early morning solo runs in a new city will be your best travel memories.
Great to meet you Christine, you have a fascinating media history. I’ll certainly look out for you the next time I’m in the US and switch to PBS!
I share your appreciation for Karl Pilkington, did that get shown in the US? And fair play for interviewing Kermit, I hope Miss Piggy didn’t get jealous.
I’ve flown to a lot of those airports you mention and appreciate the tip about Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson, I really don’t think much of the Delta clubs at all (rip off).
I’m up to 6 of the 7 continents, not quite sure when I’ll tick that last one off though.