Graeme Philipson
Graeme Philipson

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: Graeme Philipson

Occupation: Travel writer, poet, market researcher, author of “The Top 100 Countries – And Why You Should Visit Them”

Hometown: Tamworth, Australia

Residence: Sydney, Australia

College: University of New England

College major: Modern History/Political Science


Twitter: @geekaypee

Facebook: Graeme Philipson

Short bio: Long-term tech journalist, publisher and market researcher who has moved into travel writing later in life. Used those skills for the rating system in “The Top 100 Countries – And Why You Should Visit Them.” Inveterate foodie and drinkie.

How often do you fly? About once a month.

How many countries have you been to? 49

How many continents have you been to? 6

Earliest travel memory: My first flight—in a Fokker Friendship changing planes at Sydney Airport in the rain. I was six.

Favorite American city: San Francisco. I have to keep going back because I left my heart there.

Favorite international city: London—there’s so much to see and do and the pubs are fabulous.

Least favorite country: Brunei. It is SO boring.

I have no desire to go to: Central America.

Friendliest people in the world: Kiwis (New Zealanders).

Country with the meanest immigration officers: USA (but I am a foreigner).

Favorite World Heritage Site: Atom Dome and Museum, Hiroshima.

Favorite airline: Singapore Airlines and their fabulous Scoot budget offshoot.

Favorite aircraft type: A380.

Aisle or window: Aisle domestic, window international.

Favorite airport lounge: Qantas lounge, Melbourne airport (mainly because I spend so much time there).

Favorite U.S. airport: None. U.S airports are uniformly awful.

Favorite international airport: Singapore Changi.

Favorite hotel: Shanghai Mansion, Chinatown, Bangkok.

Favorite cruise line: None. Cruises are not travel.

Favorite island: Manhattan.

Favorite beach: I don’t do beaches. I don’t like direct sunlight and I hate sand.

Favorite National Park: Yosemite.

Favorite fancy restaurant: Chez Janou, 4th, Paris.

Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Le Bistro Sans Cullottes, 12th, Paris.

Favorite bar: The old Gold Dust Lounge in San Francisco. But since it moved to Fisherman’s Wharf I prefer Lefty O’Doul’s on Geary Street, especially the piano bar.

Favorite food: Peranakan (northern Malay).

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

Favorite travel movie: 2001: A Space Odyssey. (Does that count? He does go a long way.)

Favorite travel show: Michael Portillo’s train shows.

Favorite travel book: Anything by Bill Bryson.

Right now I am reading: Harry Turtledove’s World War III trilogy. “The Trial of Adolf Hitler,” about the Beer Hall Putsch and its aftermath.

Favorite travel blog:

Favorite travel website—besides, of course! TripAdvisor. Google Maps. And I just Google places all the time.

5 things you bring on a plane: The right attitude (flying is extra time in your life, not wasted time), good headphones, laptop, good book, chocolate.

What do you always seem to forget? Some sort of cable or other.

What do you like least about travel? Waiting for my bags on arrival on the carousel. Travel with hand luggage only where possible.

What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? Nothing. They are a rip-off. Duty might be free but the profit margins aren’t. Best buy something genuine outside the airport.

Favorite travel app:

Most embarrassing travel moment: Getting pickpocketed in Rome when I had been warning other people and telling them how to prevent it happening.

I’m embarrassed I haven’t been to: Greece and Turkey.

What’s your dream destination? Circumnavigate the countries around the Baltic Sea without flying.

Best travel tip: Eat where the locals eat. Avoid other tourists.


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