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: David Litwak
Occupation: Founder and CEO, Mozio
Hometown: Santa Monica, CA
Residence: San Francisco, CA
Short Bio: David is the CEO of the travel startup Mozio, which focuses on aggregating taxis, limos, shared-ride shuttles, airporters and public transit to make it easy to find and book airport transfers. He spent most of his time growing up exploring his two major passions, technology and traveling, either tinkering with robots or traveling to other countries with his family. His mother worked for various cruise lines, allowing him to get a lot of free travel. David is a recent graduate of the UC Berkeley Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences program, and Mozio came out of his travels to 65 countries plus his technical background. David is a citizen of both the U.S. and Estonia.
How often do you fly: 15 times a year.
How many countries have you been to: 65
How many continents have you been to: 5
Favorite American City: San Francisco or New York.
Favorite international city: Prague, Krakow or Edinburgh
Least favorite country: Russia
Favorite World Heritage Site: Cinque Terre
Favorite airline: British Airways. They did this awesome event called BA Ungrounded, where they flew 100 entrepreneurs out to London for the G8 Innovation conference, put them up for 2 nights, and gave them a flight back. I got to meet Richard Branson (a bit ironic considering Virgin and BA’s feud) and go to banquets in the House of Lords and the Royal Academy of Art. My loyalty is for sale to the highest bidder and they won.
Aisle or window: Window, I try to sleep.
Favorite airport lounge: Not at that level yet.
Favorite U.S. airport: JFK
Favorite international airport: Heathrow
Favorite hotel: Fairmont Lake Louise
Do you unpack into the dresser/closet? Or live out of your suitcase? Live out of my suitcase. I’m all about efficiency, and setting myself up someplace that I won’t be for more than a few days.
Favorite cruise line: Oceania. I went on a lot of Princess cruises going up, one Carnival, and one American Family cruise lines. On the whole though, cruises aren’t really my thing, as I’ve found they cater to a different demographic (read: older travelers) and I like some sort of nightlife on my vacations. As a startup founder I also need internet access, and I prefer to be in one location for more than 8 hours and not feel rushed.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Chez Panisse in Berkeley, CA
Favorite hole in the wall: Brazil Cafe, Berkeley
Favorite fruit: Grapes and Melon, kind of simple.
Favorite food: Italian, any type of ravioli, gnocchi or risotto.
Least favorite food: Sushi. Raw fish isn’t my thing.
Drink of choice (In the air and on the ground): Gin and Tonic. My first drinking experience was with British friends.
Favorite travel movie(s): Motorcycle Diaries, Casablanca
Favorite travel show(s): Anthony Bourdain, No Reservations
Favorite travel book(s): The Arabs, The Africans, The Impossible State (about North Korea). I’m usually more interested in the geopolitical situations of certain countries/regions than the tourist attractions. Also enjoy Bill Bryson.
Right now I am reading: From Beirut to Jerusalem by Thomas Friedman.
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: National Geographic
Favorite travel website(s) – besides JohnnyJet.com, of course!: I like Skyscanner because of the ability to figure out where the cheapest place to go is. You can put in “Anywhere” and it will return a list from cheapest to most expensive. Great for the wandering nomad.
Five things you bring on a plane: The Economist, The New Yorker, new podcasts (usually Planet Money & 99% Invisible), 2 books because I’m super ADD and need to vary my reading material.
What do you always seem to forget: A water bottle or something over 100mL in my carryon.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport duty free store? Lindt Chocolate.
Favorite travel iPhone app(s): TripLingo, awesome app to learn the local language and customs. Embark is a beautiful transit app (but was just acquired by Apple), and WeHostels helps you be social in hostels, so right up my alley.
Most embarrassing travel moment: I crashed a motorcycle on a volcanic island in Nicaragua. They tried to con me and make me pay ~5 times the cost of the fairly minor scratches, we had the local cops mediate, and luckily they agreed with me, but it was scary because the guys from the motorcycle shop had me followed by their friends to make sure I didn’t leave the island before I paid up. I should never have rented that motorcycle in the first place, so it was pretty embarrassing.
Worst travel moment: In Cusco, Peru, me and two buddies hired a private driver to take us around several Inca ruins for the day. One of them left his wallet in the cab when we got out to tour, and it was stolen. We took him to the tourist police when we got back to Cusco, and my friend had to endure a couple hours of anti-American rants from the Chief of Police, and then he had to witness the cavity search of the cab driver, after which he was extorted for more money.
What’s your dream destination: The Galapagos Islands.
Best travel tip: Don’t plan everything in advance. Have a general idea of what you want to do, but go with the flow. Over planning is just a waste of time.