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: Julie L. Kessler
Occupation: Attorney, Travel Writer, Legal Columnist, Author
Hometown: Honolulu, Hawaii
Residence: Manhattan Beach, CA
College: University of Hawaii at Manoa; George Washington University Law School
College major: Political Science
Facebook: Julie L. Kessler, Writer
Short bio: I graduated with a B.A. in political science from the University of Hawaii, Manoa, and received my law degree from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. I have traveled to over 80 countries, lived in Japan and in France, and spent significant periods of time in Israel, Hong Kong and Indonesia. After 25 years of practicing law, I spend most of my time, when not writing legal commentary in The L.A. Daily Journal, pursuing good food, good wine, and interesting people as a travel writer. My work has appeared in The L.A. Times, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser and Travel + Leisure. When not circling the globe, I can be found enjoying my family and two crazy canines not far from an airport in California.
How often do you fly? At least twice a month.
How many countries have you been to? 82
How many continents have you been to? 6
Earliest travel memory: Four-years old and traveling solo in a window seat LAX to Atlanta to visit my dad’s parents.
Favorite American city: Tie between San Francisco and NYC.
Favorite international city: Tie between Paris and Hong Kong.
Least favorite country: I’ve learned something everywhere I’ve been, so even places I haven’t thoroughly liked were still beneficial in some way.
I have no desire to go to: Bangladesh.
Friendliest people in the world: Australians.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: China.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Angkor Wat.
Favorite airline: Tie between Cathay Pacific and Turkish Airlines.
Favorite aircraft type: Any one that gets me to my destination safely.
Aisle or window: Aisle, unless it’s a bulkhead seat, then window.
Favorite airport lounge: Istanbul’s Ataturk Lounge.
Favorite U.S. airport: Honolulu.
Favorite international airport: Singapore.
Favorite hotel: Anything Aman.
Favorite cruise line: Silversea.
Favorite travel credit card: American Express Platinum.
Favorite island: Bora Bora.
Favorite beach: Lanikai Beach on Oahu.
Favorite National Park: Banff.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Melisse in Santa Monica, CA.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Tito’s Tacos in Culver City, CA.
Favorite bar: Hula’s in Honolulu.
Favorite fruit: Mango.
Favorite food: Local food in Hawaii and of course French.
Least favorite food: Tongue, liver or clams.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Red wine, but if turbulence is really bad, then vodka.
Favorite travel movie(s): The English Patient, Out of Africa.
Favorite travel show(s): Anthony Bourdain.
Favorite travel book(s): “Paris Revisited.” Anything by Paul Theroux or Paolo Coelho.
Right now I am reading: “The Bat” by Joe Nesbo.
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: Travel & Leisure, Conde Nast, Departures.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! American Express, Weather.com and Orbitz.
5 things you bring on a plane: Custom-made ear plugs, eye shades, Ambien, socks and pashmina scarf, even in summer.
What do you always seem to forget? With each trip it’s something different.
What do you like least about travel? TSA, TSA and TSA. Did I mention TSA?
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? Nothing as there’s no longer any real value, and carrying excess stuff you can easily buy at home is a drag.
Favorite travel app(s): Priority Pass lounge locator.
Most embarrassing travel moment: Upon my return to the US (after Manila debacle below), the intense level of scrutiny I received from customs and immigration officers.
I’m embarrassed I haven’t been to: India.
Worst travel moment: Having my passport stolen while ON an aircraft immediately after landing in Manila from Hong Kong in 1982. It was July 4th weekend and I couldn’t reach anyone at the US Embassy and had to spend the entire weekend sequestered at the airport. It was about 100 degrees and equally humid and utterly miserable.
What’s your dream destination? Tahiti; always has been Tahiti, probably always will be Tahiti.
Favorite travel charity: Charities anywhere in the world that aid in clearing left over land mines.
Best travel tip: In cities, talk to cabbies; they are a wealth of information. In villages, talk to local women; they know what’s going on.