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: Gareth Leonard
Occupation: Adventure Capitalist
Hometown: Rochester, New York
Residence: Tokyo, Japan
College: SUNY Fredonia
College major: Finance/Economics
Facebook: Tourist 2 Townie
Pinterest: Gareth Leonard
Google+: Gareth Leonard
YouTube: Gareth Leonard
Short bio: I was the marketing director of a small textbook start-up that I helped develop from a dorm-room idea into multi-million dollar business. We sold the company and I had decision to make…continue down the path of a successful marketing career, or leave my comfortable world behind in search of a dream. To live a life filled with substance, passion and adventure.
I bought a one-way ticket to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and set up a plan to experience the world in an authentic way – by creating specific missions in unique locations that would force me out of my comfort zone and help me learn about foreign places through the people and culture that define them. The goal was to Travel Deeper.
How often do you fly? Once or twice per month.
How many countries have you been to? 35
How many continents have you been to? 5
Earliest travel memory: My father lived in Orlando, Florida, so we would go visit every summer and experience all the tourist attractions that city had to offer. Maybe that’s why I run from crowded tourist attractions now.
Favorite American city: Chicago.
Favorite international city: Rio de Janeiro.
Least favorite country: Every place has its pros and cons…I don’t like the senseless backpackers in Thailand, the pickpockets in Ecuador or the smoking in bars in Berlin.
I have no desire to go to: Syria…at least not at the moment.
Friendliest people in the world: Colombia.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: France, they always give me a hard time for some reason.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Machu Picchu.
Favorite airline: Southwest Airlines.
Favorite aircraft type: Private jet—does anyone have one I could borrow?
Aisle or window: Window.
Favorite airport lounge: Air France Lounge in Paris (once I get past security).
Favorite U.S. airport: Charlotte, NC.
Favorite international airport: Heathrow, London, UK.
Favorite hotel: Rancho do Peixe, Praia, Northeastern Brazil.
Favorite cruise line: No cruises for me.
Favorite travel credit card: Chase Sapphire.
Favorite island: Vieques Island off the coast of Puerto Rico.
Favorite beach: Whitehaven Beach, Australia.
Favorite National Park: Tayrona National Park, Colombia.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Restaurant Jean Sulpice, Val Thorens, France.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Anything in Bangkok.
Favorite airport restaurant: Potbelly’s in Chicago.
Favorite bar: Sunny’s, Fredonia, New York (my college bar).
Favorite fruit: Apples.
Favorite food: BBQ or ramen.
Least favorite food: American Chinese.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Whiskey and ginger ale.
Favorite travel movie(s): Motorcycle Diaries.
Favorite travel show(s): F*** That’s Delicious.
Favorite travel book(s): “The Alchemist.”
Right now I am reading: “Winning” by Jack Welch.
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: Travel and Leisure, Passion Passport, Outside.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! GoBackpacking, TripHackr, Brendan’s Adventures.
5 things you bring on a plane: Snacks, water bottle, headphones, book, camera.
What do you always seem to forget? More snacks.
What do you like least about travel? Impatient travelers.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? Toblerone logs and vodka.
Favorite travel app(s): Travelstoke, Duolingo, Google Maps.
Most embarrassing travel moment: Every time I opened my mouth to try and speak Spanish for the first six months of living in Argentina.
I’m embarrassed I haven’t been to: Africa.
Worst travel moment: The earthquakes in Nepal.
What’s your dream destination? Japan, New Zealand, and India.
Favorite travel charity: Kiva.
Best travel tip: Be patient, be kind, and be respect local cultures and people. If you do these three things, the results are incredible.