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: John Kunkel
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
Residence: Miami Beach, FL
College: “The School of Hard Knocks!”
Short bio: In the heart of Miami, restaurateur John Kunkel, founder of 50 Eggs, Inc., focuses his unwavering passion for food and cooking a wide variety of cuisines into a diverse group of successful culinary concepts. In just under two decades, Kunkel has built 50 Eggs into an award-winning restaurant group, demonstrating his talents with brand ideation, menu development and operational excellence for a broad range of hospitality concepts. His current collection of restaurants includes two locations of the award-winning Yardbird Southern Table and Bar, Swine Southern Table and Bar, and Spring Chicken, with CHICA opening in spring 2017.
Kunkel currently resides in Miami Beach with his wife and their three children. He and his restaurant group, cited by Restaurant Hospitality magazine as one of “the coolest multi-concept companies in the land,” have been featured in nearly every conceivable national print and broadcast media outlet that follows culinary and travel trends.
How often do you fly? 2-3 times per month.
How many countries have you been to? At least 35 and counting!
How many continents have you been to? 5
Earliest travel memory: Traveling at a very young age, as my father was doing a lot of international business, and I would accompany him frequently—but the most memorable was visiting Southeast Asia when I was only 12.
Favorite American city: New Orleans for the music, food, southern hospitality.
Favorite international city: It’s a toss-up between Hong Kong and Buenos Aires.
I have no desire to go to: There is absolutely no place I don’t want to go, I love to travel and I want to go everywhere!
Friendliest people in the world: Thailand, hands down!!!
Favorite World Heritage Site: For my 20th wedding anniversary, we took our entire family on a trip to Kenya and Tanzania. While we were in Tanzania we went to Serengeti National Park which was absolutely beautiful. We had such an amazing time, and made memories that my family will hold onto forever.
Favorite airline: My favorite airline is Singapore Air. I’ve been traveling to Singapore a lot lately because we just opened our first international Yardbird restaurant over there called “The Bird” which is in the Marina Bay Sands.
Favorite aircraft type: I love the new airbus a350. The plane has a wider body, and is built with passengers in mind and is by far the most comfortable plane I’ve been on.
Aisle or window: Mostly aisle, but depends on the configuration of the plane, I’ve gotten very particular and will actually go online and see the plane seating chart to pick the best seat.
Favorite airport lounge: Doha first/business lounge is spectacular.
Favorite U.S. airport: Miami International Airport is my favorite, but I might be showing a little favoritism because I am opening a new Spring Chicken restaurant there in Concourse D.
Favorite international airport: Singapore Changi Airport.
Favorite hotel: The Four Seasons is always dependable, but I also like to look for new and interesting boutique hotels.
Favorite cruise line: NONE—I am not a fan of the group cruise, I would rather do a charter with close friends and family.
Favorite travel credit card: American Express Centurion—we use some of the travel services quite a bit personally and for business.
Favorite island: Bora Bora.
Favorite beach: Harbor Island Bahamas.
Favorite National Park: The Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park in the Bahamas near Staniel Cay.
Favorite fancy restaurant: There are way too many to list, but anything by my good friend Chef David Myers I’m a sucker for.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Alabama Jack’s, a little bar on the water in the middle of nowhere in the Florida Keys that used to be a drug smugglers hangout.
Favorite airport restaurant: I always make it a point to stop at Frontera Grill by Rick Bayless in Chicago.
Favorite bar: Jay Boroski in Hong Kong.
Favorite fruit: Coconut.
Favorite food: I love all food but I am a sucker for amazing Szechuan cuisine and great Thai food.
Least favorite food: I’ll eat anything, and trust me have eaten some pretty weird stuff in my travels.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Highland Park 18.
Favorite travel movie(s): Cool Hand Luke.
Favorite travel show(s): You’ve got to love anything with Anthony Bourdain.
Favorite travel book(s): I don’t have too many, usually my travel time is used to catch up on work emails listen to music. It’s a great downtime for me where I am up in the air and there are no distractions.
Right now I am reading: These days I’m reading lots of real estate briefs about potential locations as we continue to expand out different brands nationally and internationally.
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: Lonely Planet, Travel + Leisure and
Nat Geo Travel.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com of course! Eater, TimeOut and Forbes
5 things you bring on a plane: I always pack lots of vitamins, healthy snacks, a sleeping pill
for international trips, good head phones, and a couple of downloaded movies.
What do you always seem to forget? Socks.
What do you like least about travel? Bad service…it’s the easiest thing to do and yet great service is the hardest thing to find.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? Nothing really…but I would never turn down a good bottle of Scotch.
Favorite travel app(s): SeatGuru.
What’s your dream destination? I haven’t been to New Zealand yet and that’s pretty high on my list.
Favorite travel charity: I love anything military related. My family has a military background and we are always honored to help out our troops.
Best travel tip: Never eat airplane food and load up on vitamins before you get on the plane.