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: Nathaniel Boyle
Occupation: Entrepreneur, Explorer, Lover of well-crafted beer, coffee, and life
Hometown: Boston, MA
Residence: Transient. Cape Cod right now.
College: Boston University
College major: Film Direction, Philosophy
Twitter: @nathaniel and @dailytravelshow
Facebook: Nathaniel Boyle and Daily Travel Show
Pinterest: Daily Travel Show
YouTube: The Daily Travel Podcast
Short bio: I’m an explorer and location-independent digital consultant, and frequent-flyer-mile-collector who’s circumnavigated the globe and been chased by dogs in four different countries. I grew up in Boston, which has always been my homebase. I like craft coffee, beer, weird food, baseball, Calvin & Hobbes, sharing stories and ideas, and trying anything new. Most recently, I’m a father to a 3-month-old girl and the creator and host of the Daily Travel Podcast, the first and only daily podcast about travel, inspiring thousands to make travel a bigger priority in life and build a life of travel, whatever that means to you.
How often do you fly? Since I quit my job? At least 10 times a year.
How many countries have you been to? 30-35
How many continents have you been to? 5
Earliest travel memory: When I was 5, my mother swapped our house in Massachusetts for an entire castle in the Lake District of England. There were rolling green fields, suits of armor, swords and capes, canopy beds, and an entire room of Legos. The castle, for me, is more of a feeling than a memory, and one that I’m always trying to rediscover on the road.
Favorite American city: New York City.
Favorite international city: For scenery, Cape Town. For food and culture, Rome or Kuala Lumpur.
Least favorite country: I could never actually answer this. Every country has something to explore!
Country with the meanest immigration officers: In my experience, China. Dalian, en route to Beijing, was unpleasant. They actually yelled at me and I’m pretty sure the stamp was done so hard it damaged my passport. Although, in fairness, I was being shuffled through an unruly crowd of Chinese Nationals and loud Japanese school children who the Customs officers clearly didn’t want to deal with at the time.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Tongariro National Park, New Zealand.
Favorite airline(s): Singapore is hard to beat. I’m going to stick up for Malaysia Airlines right now though. I’ve had great experiences flying with them.
Favorite aircraft type: The bigger the better.
Aisle or window: Window. Sunrise over the clouds is one of my favorite things.
Best flight attendant you’ve ever had: The most turbulent flight I’ve ever taken was on Air China into Tokyo. It was frightening for most of us. One of the attendants was calm and made an effort to smile at everyone who looked to her. That can be all it takes. When I arrived at my hostel in Tokyo, a bunch of backpackers were huddled around television watching the news. I said, “What’s going on?” They said, “Big typhoon coming from the south.” That’s what we’d flown through.
Favorite airport lounge: I try to stay outside of my comfort zone…Okay, who am I kidding? Lounges are awesome! But I haven’t been in enough to declare a favorite.
Favorite U.S. airport: Provincetown, MA. Love the small ones that remind you of the 90s TV show, Wings. The smaller the better.
Favorite international airport: Blantyre, Malawi. Again, I just love tiny airports. This one had one small room with both customs and a baggage claim carousel. It gets a bit hectic with all the of people there so be on your toes when you arrive and know where you’re going.
Favorite hotel: Ashford Castle, in County Galway, Ireland—right on the border of County Mayo. Easily the most amazing castle I’ll likely ever stay in. This one barely edged out the Royal Livingstone in Livingstone, Zambia. You can hear Victoria Falls from the back lawn, where zebra munch on grass while you enjoy a nice cocktail or cold beer overlooking the Zambezi River.
Favorite cruise line: Tradewinds Cruise Club. It’s a small sailing-yacht company (50’ catamarans for up to 8 guests and 2 crew). My wife and I used a timeshare week that was gifted to us to book a week’s journey with Tradewinds through the Ionian Islands for our honeymoon. They taught me how to wakeboard in a tiny cove and even let me sail the boat! I felt like Odysseus a little. I’ll never forget sitting on the bow of the boat while pulled into a tiny village port called Fiskardo.
Favorite travel credit card: Chase Sapphire Preferred. The sign-up bonus is consistently good, the point transfer versatility is perfect for me and most of the people I help earn points and miles. There’s no foreign transaction fees and everyone I hand it to comments on how cool it looks and feels.
Favorite island: You mean aside from The Island from Lost? Bali, hands down. Not even close.
Favorite beach: Ocean Beach, Raglan, New Zealand.
Favorite fancy restaurant: The Walrus and the Carpenter, in Seattle. Or Momofuku Ssam Bar, in Manhattan.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Bobcat Bite, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Favorite bar: Oh man, this one is like choosing a favorite kid. For beer? Three Penny Taproom (Montpelier, VT), Staminee de Garre (Brugge), Ma Che Siete Venuti a Fà (Rome). For cocktails? No. 9 Park (Boston), Backbar (Somerville, MA). For zebras? The Royal Livingstone Hotel in Zambia.
Favorite fruit: Avocado or raspberries. Unless I’m in the tropics, then its papaya all day.
Favorite food: Malaysian and Italian are my favorite cuisines, but one thing I can always eat is street tacos.
Least favorite food: Dog.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): In the air? Club soda with lime. On the ground, depending on the time of day, either an 8-ounce cappuccino, a fresh-hopped IPA, or an aged rum poured over a big ice cube.
Favorite travel movie(s): Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Favorite travel show(s): Long Way Round, Departures, Parts Unknown.
Favorite travel book(s): “The Lord of the Rings,” “Henderson the Rain King.”
Right now I am reading: Blogs! I can barely get through all my browser tabs. Seriously, it’s a problem. I need a browser tab support group.
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: Parla Food, Legal Nomads.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! The Flight Deal, Million Mile Secrets.
5 things you bring on a plane: My carry-on, a hooded sweatshirt, iPhone, and a smile. That’s only 4, but it’s all I got.
What do you always seem to forget? Toothbrush. Hotels and shops always have them, so it’s become a sort of habit to forget my own.
What do you like least about travel? Flying, ironically. If it’s within reason, I always choose overland travel.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? A local spirit or jar of honey.
Favorite travel app(s): TripIt, Trover, Google Maps, Yelp, Eater.
Most embarrassing travel moment: I was taken by a friend I’d made in Bali to a gathering of about 100 Balinese men sitting in a circle beneath a pavilion. They were singing something—more of a chant, really—while one man hit quarter notes on a wood block. I joined them and lunch was passed on big plates and eaten by hand, like a snack. We also had many cups of coconut wine ladled from a plastic bucket. One person would drink their cup in the middle of the circle while dancing in a traditional Balinese style. I was quickly inebriated but didn’t realize it until I found myself in the middle of the circle attempting my best dance moves. It got a pretty good laugh out of the locals.
Worst travel moment: On the same trip, I crashed my motorbike in Amed, Bali. It was night and Balinese roads don’t have street lights. A few kids had lit a fire by the side of the road and I glanced at it as I rode by. When I looked back to the road, there was a brick wall just about fifty feet ahead. I hit the back wheel brake, but the bike wasn’t slowing down fast enough to turn so I had to grab the front wheel brake which sent me flying, Superman-style over the handlebars. The bike was trashed. I landed belly up and slid on the pavement. Thank god I was wearing a helmet with a face mask because I remember my face smacking the pavement. I was surrounded by villagers and taken in by a young English boy whose mother ran a resort nearby. He sat there distracting me from the shock with jokes and yo-yo tricks while I cleaned and bandaged my torn up knees. He made me smile in a scary moment. I’ll never forget that kid.
What’s your dream destination? Space! Everything else can be a reality (for now).
Favorite travel charity: Mary’s Meals. They create locally-sustained school lunch programs to encourage kids in poor villages to go to school, if only for a good meal. This encourages education and fights poverty. I got the fortune to help serve a fortified hot porridge at a school in Malawi and spend time with the kids and teachers in their classroom.
Best travel tip: Let your travels guide you through life. Take the curious mindset of an explorer everywhere you go. Travel is about the stories that happen to us, that we take home, and share for the rest of our lives. This is our own personal legend. Often the most rewarding travel experiences come from the people we meet outside of our comfort zone and the ways in which we connect to help each other on our way. Stop planning and put yourself in the position to let these stories happen to you by taking baby-steps outside of your comfort zone and exploring the new, uncertain, and unfamiliar. If you open your eyes, and your heart a little, the smallest thing can change your life. And I promise you’ll be curious for more.
Thank you so much, Johnny! It’s an honor to be included among so many fascinating people.