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: Jim Hinckley
Occupation: Storyteller—blog posts, books, feature article, video, podcasts, Facebook live broadcasts, and presentations. Any venue or platform where I can gum beat for fun, profit, and to encourage people to travel.
Hometown: Morehead City, North Carolina (adopted hometown since 1966 Kingman, Arizona)
Residence: Kingman, Arizona
College: Trade school
Facebook: Jim Hinckley’s America
Google+: Jim Hinckley
YouTube: Jim Hinckley
Short bio: Before turning to writing and work as a tourism marketing consultant and tourism development consultant, I earned a living in some rather colorful occupations. I worked as a cowboy along the Mexican border and in Arizona, was a rodeo rider as well as a truck driver, mechanic, repossession agent, finance manager and loan officer, truck leasing agent, used car salesman, carpenter, dredge operator, and underground miner. My writing career includes a stint as associate editor for Cars & Parts, and the publication of feature articles as well as 18 books on an array of diverse topics including Route 66 history and travel, ghost towns in the southwest and along Route 66, restoration of Chevrolet truck electrical systems, the Checker Cab Manufacturing Company, back roads of Arizona, and the history of the American auto industry from 1885 to 1945.
How often do you fly? Once or twice per year.
How many countries have you been to? Counting Louisiana, six.
How many continents have you been to? Two.
Earliest travel memory: 1963, a trip from Michigan to Kentucky. As a side note my parents insist I was potty trained along the highway.
Favorite American city: Los Angeles, California.
Favorite international city: Amsterdam, Netherlands. However, my hands-down favorite isn’t a city but the charming village of Dinkelsbuhl in Germany.
Least favorite country: Mexico, at least the section along the border and about 100 miles south.
I have no desire to go to: The Middle East, Antarctica, or anywhere the temperature is below zero, or where people might see me as target practice.
Friendliest people in the world: Americans, Canadians, Germans, and Dutch.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: US. The experiences are to lengthy to note, but suffice to say pulling me aside for further evaluation and sending my 12-year-old son into the concourse alone is not a favorite memory of mine.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Upper/middle Rhine Valley, Germany is tough to beat. However, I am a man of the desert southwest and so places like Chaco Canyon in New Mexico often top the list.
Favorite airline: Condor.
Favorite aircraft type: Airplanes that don’t make emergency landings.
Aisle or window: Window.
Favorite airport lounge: Frankfurt, Germany.
Favorite U.S. airport: McCarren, Las Vegas, Nevada.
Favorite international airport: Frankfurt, Germany.
Favorite hotel: Hezelhof Hotel, Dinkelsbuhl, Germany. However, you can’t travel and not have a few favorites. Also on my list are the 1882 Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas, New Mexico (the original), Hotel Hollaender Hof in Heidelberg, Roadrunner Lodge and Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, New Mexico, and Copper Queen in Bisbee, Arizona.
Favorite travel credit card: Visa.
Favorite island: Isle Royale, Lake Superior.
Favorite beach: Santa Monica, California.
Favorite National Park: Mammoth Cave National Park or Grand Canyon National Park or Great Basin National Park or Isle Royale National Park or Rocky Mountain National Park.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Clifton’s Cafeteria, Los Angeles, California.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Clanton’s Café, Vinita, Oklahoma or Grand Canyon Caverns restaurant, both serve excellent food and offer superb pies.
Favorite bar: De Prael, Amsterdam tops the list but I also enjoy timeless places such as the Sportsman’s in Kingman, Arizona almost unchanged from when it opened in 1907. They may not have painted the walls since Wilson was president.
Favorite fruit: Apples, blueberries, cherries—anything that can be baked into a pie or cobbler.
Favorite food: As there are still foods I have yet to try, I will need to answer at a future time.
Least favorite food: Bugs, in any shape or form including big ones such as lobster.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Beer—dark, pilsner, lager, anything but light.
Favorite travel movie(s): It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.
Favorite travel book(s): “Travels with Charley.”
Right now I am reading: “By Motor to the Golden Gate” written by Emily Post, 1916.
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: Rhys’ Pieces, by Rhys Martin; Route 66 Chick, Cheryl Eichar Jett; AAA Highroads.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! Rick Steves Europe.
5 things you bring on a plane: As I travel only with carry on bags and no checked luggage, everything is at hand.
What do you always seem to forget? Anything forgotten isn’t needed, or I will buy it on the road, at the airport, or have the fun of trying to find it in a store where no one understands me.
What do you like least about travel? I haven’t found anything yet.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? I never travel without my dearest friend.
Favorite travel app(s): Google Maps.
Most embarrassing travel moment: After a long, delayed flight that had begun with meetings in the morning and a 100-mile drive to the airport we arrived at Schiphol two steps passed exhausted. When the customs agent asked were would be staying, I said Dries’s house.
I’m embarrassed I haven’t been to: Most anyplace that I haven’t been to yet.
Worst travel moment: The worst travel incident is better than a good day anywhere else.
What’s your dream destination? Alaska, in the summer, or Scotland, or Austria, or Australia, or New Zealand.
Best travel tip: Plan, but don’t over plan. A rigid schedule transforms a trip into a day at the office.