Peter Riva
Peter Riva

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: Peter Riva

Occupation: Literary Agent, Producer

Hometown: I was born and raised in in New York City, London and Switzerland

Residence: Gila, New Mexico

College: UCLA, BBC Apprentice Program

College major: Television and film


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Short bio: Peter Riva is the author of “Kidnapped on Safari.” He has spent many months over thirty years traveling throughout Africa and Europe. Much of this time was spent with the legendary guides for East African hunters and adventurers. He created a TV series in 1995 called Wild Things for Paramount. Passing on the fables, true tales, and insider knowledge of these last reserves of true wildlife is his passion. Nonetheless, his job for over forty years has been working as a literary agent. In his spare time, Riva writes science fiction and African adventure books, including the previous two titles in the Mbuno and Pero Adventures series, “Murder on Safari” and “The Berlin Package.”

How often do you fly? I’ve averaged 20+ flights a year over the last 50 years.

How many countries have you been to? I’ve been to over 60 countries.

How many continents have you been to? Four.

Earliest travel memory: Age three, flight to Tel Aviv via Azores in 1953.

Favorite American city: My favorite city is Manhattan. My favorite American town is Silver City, NM.

Favorite international city: Copenhagen, Geneva, Edinburgh, Bologna, Dar es Salaam, Berlin, Tokyo, Paris…the list is too long.

Least favorite country: I have two: Uganda and Sudan.

I have no desire to go to (again): Places I knew 40 years ago that have changed beyond their originality (Marbella, Nairobi, etc.).

Friendliest people in the world: I cannot determine one nationality above another as being more friendly. 

Country with the meanest immigration officers: I would say Germany has the most unhelpful immigration officers.

Favorite World Heritage Site: My current favorite is Chaco Canyon in New Mexico.

Favorite airline: Emirates and Singapore.

Favorite aircraft type: Boeing 787 (lower pressure, more humidity) or the 747.

Aisle or window: Window in a big aircraft. Aisle in a small aircraft.

Favorite airport lounge: Virgin at Heathrow.

Favorite U.S. airport: Tucson International Airport in Arizona because it feels small and intimate (the way all airports were 50 years ago).

Favorite international airport: Cointrin (old) or the new Geneva airport.

Favorite hotel: Peninsula in Beverly Hills and the Prince in Tokyo.

Favorite travel credit card: Amex Platinum.

Favorite island: Mafia Island off Kenya’s coast.

Favorite beach: Santa Monica for people-watching.

Favorite National Park: Kings Canyon/Sequoia National Park or Omo National Park in Ethiopia.

Favorite fancy restaurant: Scott’s in London, La Coupole in Paris or—absolute favorite—Café De Paris, Geneva.

Favorite hole-in-the-wall: La Crepe Michelle, Albuquerque. 

Favorite bar: Oyster Bar, Grand Central Station.

Favorite fruit: Anything grown to ripeness and picked by hand.

Favorite food: Danish.

Least favorite food: I’m not keen on scorpions or poison fish.

Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Hemingway’s Sidecar or gin and tonic.

Favorite travel movie(s): 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Favorite travel show(s): Anything David Attenborough makes.

Favorite travel book(s): Anything about space travel.

Right now I am reading: “The Mysterious Affair” at Olivetti.

Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: Paris Match supplement, Travel + Leisure, National Geographic.

Favorite travel website(s)—besides, of course! CIA’s website.

5 things you bring on a plane: Passport, quality ear buds, Audible files, lip balm, and reading glasses.

What do you like least about travel? The cattle car experience is getting unbearable.

Favorite travel app(s): Amex, FlightView and Uber.

Most embarrassing travel moment: Arriving in Tanzania with the wrong passport visa.

I’m embarrassed I haven’t been to: China (mainland).

Worst travel moment: A near fatal event over Tsavo Park, Kenya—one engine quit and I had to guide the pilot to restart the engine before we crashed.

What’s your dream destination? To spend two weeks at the Rössli Hotel in Gstaad in January once more.

Favorite travel charity: Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders).

Best travel tip: Always have copies of travel documents electronically on your phone as well as paper copies in a suitcase.


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