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.

Francis Tapon
Francis Tapon

Name: Francis Tapon

Occupation: Travel Writer + TV producer

Hometown: San Francisco

Residence: San Francisco—in theory

College: Amherst College

College major: Religion

Website: FrancisTapon.com

Twitter: @ftapon

Facebook: Francis Tapon

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Short bio: Francis Tapon, author of “Hike Your Own Hike and “The Hidden Europe,” is creating a TV series and book called “The Unseen Africa,” which is based on his five-year journey across all 54 African countries. He is a TEDx speaker.

How often do you fly? Once a year.

How many countries have you been to? 102

How many continents have you been to? 6

Earliest travel memory: Going to visit Chile to see my mom’s family and to France to see my dad’s family.

Favorite American city: San Francisco.

Favorite international city: Venice, Italy.

Least favorite country: Guinea-Bissau.

Friendliest people in the world: Africans.

Country with the meanest immigration officers: Belarus.

Favorite World Heritage Site: Yosemite.


Favorite island: Madagascar.

Favorite beach: Some beach in Dominican Republic.

Favorite fancy restaurant: Greens, in San Francisco.


Favorite fruit: Mango.

Favorite food: Thai.

Least favorite food: Eastern European.

Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Water.

Favorite travel show(s): Parts Unknown.

Favorite travel book(s): “Neither Here Nor There.”

Right now I am reading: “Will Africa Feed China? (Short answer, no).

Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: Nat Geo, Amateur Traveler, and How to Get Into Travel Writing.

Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! Everything Everywhere.

5 things you bring on a plane: Ear plugs, Kindle Paperwhite, snacks.

What do you always seem to forget? My brain.

What do you like least about travel? Dealing with visas and border crossings.

Favorite travel app(s): Maps.me.

Most embarrassing travel moment: When my car broke got stuck in sand in a deserted part of Mauritania and I had to press my DeLorme InReach SOS button to get myself out. They called the US embassy, which got the Mauritanian military to save me.

I’m embarrassed but I haven’t been to: China or India.

Worst travel moment: Getting strangled and robbed in Yaounde, Cameroon.

What’s your dream destination? The 3 poles: North and South Pole + Everest.

Best travel tip: Plan and take less.

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