Name: Richard Krulik
Occupation: CEO, U.S. Luggage with its two brands: Briggs & Riley and Solo
Hometown: Long Island, NY
Residence: Long Island and Manhattan, NY
College: Undergrad—The University of Rochester; Graduate—Columbia
College major: BS in Electrical Engineering; MBA
Facebook: Briggs & Riley
YouTube: Briggs & Riley
Short bio: Richard Krulik is Chief Executive Officer of U.S. Luggage consisting of its two brands, Briggs & Riley and Solo, two leading innovators of high-quality luggage and business case products.
Krulik is passionate about the travel goods industry. His philosophy is deeply rooted and reflective of the principles that guided his grandfather almost 100 years ago when he owned a prestigious luggage and leather goods store in Vienna, Austria. After getting off the boat in 1940 with his family and nothing more than what he could carry, his grandfather started the company that Krulik’s father eventually joined and grew further. Krulik got his first inkling of being part of business at the age of 12 when a product he designed became a successful model in the line for three years. After finishing his formal education, and then working alongside his father for several years, Krulik took the reins in 1995.
In 2003 he fulfilled a long-time dream of getting his pilot’s license and flies often for both business and pleasure. He and his wife both grew up on Long Island and he has four children.
How often do you fly? 18 business trips per year plus many personal flights that he flies himself whenever possible.
How many countries have you been to? Best guess is about 30.
How many continents have you been to? Five out of seven. I haven’t yet made it to Australia or Antarctica.
Earliest travel memory: Going to Puerto Rico as a kid with my family every Christmas vacation. Occasionally I’d sneak into the casino and play some blackjack until I got caught for being too young.
Favorite American city: New York City is without comparison although my wife and I love Charleston as well.
Favorite international city: So many great places, but London is definitely one of my favorites. As a country, I love anywhere in Italy. It’s friendly, relaxed and magical.
Least favorite country: I’ll stay silent on that. I find the joy in every place I go but twice hospitalized after coming home from this country definitely makes me avoid it.
I have no desire to go to: Back to jail in Beijing. It’s a great city but I showed up late at night 20 years ago with an expired visa and was locked up. Luckily, I had a friend with connections who got me a new visa the next morning.
Friendliest people in the world: Canadians and Italians. They’re really wonderful people. You can sit endlessly in a restaurant in Italy and they will never bring you a check until you ask.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: I don’t think it’s a country thing. There’s always a few grumps in any group. I think the trick is just relaxing and trying your best to be friendly and respectful.
Favorite World Heritage Site: My favorite cultural site is the Panda reserve in Chengdu, China, where I visited with my daughter.
Favorite airline: RK Airways (my own single engine turboprop).
Favorite aircraft type: TBMSingle engine turboprop—it’s so much fun to fly.
Aisle or window: Pilot seat.
Favorite U.S. airport: I’m holding out for LaGuardia when it’s finished.
Favorite hotel: Nayara, Costa Rica—amazing hotel that’s like the Garden of Eden.
Favorite cruise line: AmaWaterways. My wife and I just went on our first river cruise and it was wonderful.
Favorite travel credit card: Amex. They really take good care of you.
Favorite island: British Virgin Islands—hopping on a boat without any schedule and then jumping in the water in the morning for a shower—you can’t beat it!
Favorite beach: Anywhere in BVI.
Favorite National Park: Bryce Canyon.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Too many to pick just one.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Sal’s Birdland in Rochester, NY. I loved it in college and still drop in a few times a year when I’m flying nearby.
Favorite airport restaurant: Any that has a runway next to it that I can land at.
Favorite bar: Anyplace that has Guinness on tap.
Favorite fruit: Bananas with peanut butter.
Favorite food: Dark chocolate and Mexican- Guacamole is a favorite.
Least favorite food: Escargot. Just can’t do it.
Favorite travel movie(s): Forest Gump.
Right now I am reading: WSJ everyday.
5 things you bring on a plane: iPad, magazines, eyeshades, slip-on shoes, and a light travel jacket since planes always have wacky temperature.
What do you always seem to forget? Nothing. I’m an engineer and a virgo so I’m too OCD to screw up more than once.
What do you like least about travel? When airline delays screw up plans.
I’m embarrassed I haven’t been to: Australia and New Zealand.
Worst travel moment: When I was arrested in Beijing for an expired visa, hence why it’s the city I don’t want to go back to.
What’s your dream destination? Galapagos and taking my kids on an Alaskan cruise.
Favorite travel charity: Each February, we host “A Case for Giving” that encourages people to trade in their gently used luggage and receive a credit toward a new Briggs & Riley bag. We then give the donated bags to local charities. This year is our fifth annual event and we’ve supported over 100 charities.
Best travel tip: Pack light. You never need as much as you think you do.