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James Kaiser
James Kaiser

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: James Kaiser 

Hometown: Bangor, Maine

Residence: Bar Harbor, Maine

College: Dartmouth College

College major: Engineering

Twitter: @JamesKaiser_

Facebook: James Kaiser Travel Writer/Photographer

Instagram: jameskaiser_

Pinterest: James Kaiser

Short bio: When I graduated from college I wrote, photographed and self-published a guidebook to Acadia National Park in Maine. It became the bestselling guide to Acadia, and I’ve been writing guidebooks ever since. My latest is “Costa Rica: The Complete Guide.”

How often do you fly? At least once a month.

How many countries have you been to? I stopped counting at 40.

How many continents have you been to? Five. Still missing Australia and Antarctica.

Earliest travel memory: Tanzania. In 1983 my father volunteered at a hospital in a small village at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro. I was six-years old. It was magical. From that point on I wanted to travel as much as possible.

Favorite American city: New York.

Favorite international city: Mexico City.

Least favorite country: That’s a nice way of saying “Worst Country.” There are no bad countries. Just bad travelers.

I have no desire to go to: Hell.

Friendliest people in the world: Costa Ricans. They never cease to amaze me with their warmth and friendliness. Stress and impatience are taboo. Not surprisingly, Costa Rica consistently ranks as one of the world’s happiest countries.

Favorite airline: Any international airline. Other countries treat flying as a special experience. In America an airplane is basically just a fast bus. And don’t even get me started on passenger attire. It’s an airplane—not a pajama party.

Aisle or window: Window. Always. Imagine asking that question 100 years ago. “Want to see the glory of Earth from above?” “No thanks!”

Favorite hotel: Any hotel surrounded by rainforest.

Favorite beach: Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica.

Favorite National Park: Acadia National Park.

Favorite fruit: Guanabana. It grows in the tropics. Imagine a spiky green football with a marshmallow interior. It’s delicious.

Favorite food: Street food.

Least favorite food: Airport food.

Worst travel moment: Having all my camera gear confiscated by the Egyptian authorities when I landed in Cairo, then spending eight hours in a dimly lit concrete room with several large men chain smoking and yelling at me in Arabic. I was traveling solo. They thought I was a troublemaking journalist. You don’t get that experience on a package tour!

Best travel tip: When traveling abroad, learn how to say “hello,” “goodbye,” “please,” and “thank you.” If you’re not willing to do that, you shouldn’t be traveling.

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