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: Debra Bokur
Occupation: Explorer, Poet, Writer, Obsessive Tea Drinker
Hometown: Greenville, Rhode Island
Residence: Nederland, Colorado
College: Flagler College
College major: I doubled in English Literature and Drama, with a minor in Philosophy; described by certain relatives as the perfect trifecta of useless skills
Short bio: For decades, I’ve been traveling the world as a writer and filmmaker, and have served as the travel editor at national publications including Healing Lifestyles & Spas Magazine, Fit Yoga Magazine, and American Cowboy Magazine. I’m grateful to have received a number of honors including a 2015 Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Award, and have been a member of SATW since 2002. Past work has appeared all over the place, and I’m currently the Digital Content Provider at Global Traveler Magazine and the Travel & Wellness Editor at HealingLifestyles.com. I have a professional background as a horsewoman, trainer and competitor, and have also enjoyed being a repeat guest on Wine Country Network’s national radio program, which gives me a legitimate reason to sample things poured from beautifully labeled bottles. I’ve also been widely published in literary journals and on countless dinner napkins.
How often do you fly? On average, two to four times a month.
How many countries have you been to? 39
How many continents have you been to? Four.
Earliest travel memory: Grand Central Station, age nine. My six-year-old brother and I decided a different train than the one our parents were boarding looked as though it might be heading somewhere more interesting, so we got on that one instead.
Favorite American city: Providence, R.I.
Favorite international city: Edinburgh.
Least favorite country: Any place where the daily temperature is over 85 degrees.
I have no desire to go to: Venus or Mercury. The landscapes look brutal.
Friendliest people in the world: Portugal.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: Depends on current politics. At various moments in time, I’ve had my passport thrown at me by immigration officers in Italy, Germany and France.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Just one? Not fair.
Favorite airline: Swiss.
Favorite aircraft type: Ones that stay in the air until safely landing.
Aisle or window: Window, or I’m not boarding. You can’t see the world from the aisle, and too many flight attendants use their trollies as weapons. Middle seats don’t warrant discussion (see “Worst Travel Moment”).
Favorite airport lounge: It’s a tie between the Iberia lounge in Madrid and the Virgin lounge at Heathrow.
Favorite U.S. airport: Denver.
Favorite international airport: Frankfurt.
Favorite hotel: Il Salviatino just outside Florence, Italy.
Favorite cruise line: Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.
Favorite island: Toss-up between Sylt and the Isle of Wight.
Favorite beach: Any deserted beach in Iceland.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Dining room at Adler Thermae in Italy.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: The café in the garden next to the Einstein Museum in Bern, Switzerland.
Favorite bar: The American Bar at The Stafford in London.
Favorite fruit: Cloudberries.
Favorite food: Apple cake served with a pot of strong black tea.
Least favorite food: Okra. Whose idea was that, anyway?
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Chilled prosecco.
Favorite travel movie(s): Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and The Darjeeling Limited.
Favorite travel show(s): Any travel show with Michael Palin or Stephen Fry.
Favorite travel book(s): “Einstein’s Dreams”; plus I keep an old paperback collection of Dylan Thomas in my carry-on.
Right now I am reading: “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield.
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: Laurel’s Compass and Nowhere.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! Skiplagged, Kayak.
5 things you bring on a plane: Notebook, extra earplugs, mixed nuts, warm socks, and optimism regarding the power of gravity.
What do you always seem to forget? My wristwatch, but I think that’s a subliminal desire to not follow a schedule.
What do you like least about travel? Encountering people who want everything to be exactly the way it is at home. Why bother traveling unless you’re willing to.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? I already have everything.
Favorite travel app(s): GateGuru.
Most embarrassing travel moment: I’m too embarrassed to tell you.
I’m embarrassed but I haven’t been to: See my mother in months.
Worst travel moment: Missing a flight and winding up on the next one in the only available seat—a busted middle seat in coach across from the toilet—for 18 hours.
What’s your dream destination? Greek Isles or Middle Earth.
Favorite travel charity: Global Animal.
Best travel tip: Thrust yourself fully into the fray and allow yourself to be swept into the experience: absorb the rhythms, savor the food, embrace the light.