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: Robert Wheeler
Hometown: Kittery, Maine
Residence: New Castle, New Hampshire
College: University of New Hampshire
College major: English
Facebook: Robert Wheeler, Author
Short bio: Robert is the author of “Hemingway’s Paris: A Writer’s City in Words and Images” and the newly released “Hemingway’s Havana: A Reflection of the Writer’s Life in Cuba” (Skyhorse Publishing, NYC). He is currently working on a book about Boston’s Freedom Trail. When not writing, he practices the art of Gracie Jiu Jitsu at Fusion Training Academy. Robert currently lives by the sea in New Castle, New Hampshire, with his wife, Meme, and daughters, Emma and Helen.
How often do you fly? From two to six times a year.
How many countries have you been to? Fourteen.
How many continents have you been to? Four.
Earliest travel memory: As a young child, I remember the typhoon, the snakes and the rats while on an extended trip with my parents to the Philippines…and I also remember the bonka boats and the waterfalls and rainforest…what a place to explore!
Favorite American city: Boston all day and in every way!
Favorite international city: Paris…but only in the quiet and grey winter months.
Least favorite country: Have not found one…knock on wood…even in Angola, on a visit shortly after its long civil war, I found beauty.
I have no desire to go to: Bed.
Friendliest people in the world: All those I meet in the bars and on the streets and along the Malecón in Havana.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: Nope…they have all been just fine.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Normandy Beach…the entire guided tour and landscape is breathtaking and inspiring, yet always melancholy. It was comforting to learn that each of the many white marble headstones face west toward the United States.
Favorite airline: Air France, as the dreamy music that plays once the plane lands always makes me smile…that said, however, I will always have a special place for American Airlines and the McGuinness/McQueen family.
Favorite aircraft type: A Boeing 787…brilliant engineering and comfort.
Aisle or window: Aisle.
Favorite airport lounge: They’re all very nice and quiet.
Favorite U.S. airport: I love the openness and feel of Southwest Florida International.
Favorite international airport: Charles de Gaulle…great shopping.
Favorite hotel: Hotel Brighton, Paris…the rooms looking over the Tuileries Garden are spectacular and the staff is welcoming and helpful.
Favorite cruise line: I’ve never been on a cruise.
Favorite Island: Captiva Island…relaxing and picturesque.
Favorite beach: Captiva Beach…after having chilled peel-n-eat shrimp and a few too many Sunset Ales at RC Otters.
Favorite National Park: I’m just not a park guy.
Favorite fancy restaurant: La Closerie Des Lilas on the Left Bank in Paris…perfect ambiance, cuisine, cocktails, wines, and service. But I also loved my one dining experience at the acclaimed and artistic Colombe d’Or in the village of Saint-Paul de Vence…thank you Katie!
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Regina’s Pizzeria in Boston’s North End…love that spicy oil and the waitstaff!
Favorite airport restaurant: It’s always nice to belly up at the bar before a flight at Legal Sea Foods in Boston Logan’s International Terminal E.
Favorite bar: Bar Hemingway, Ritz Paris, and any cocktail made by Colin Peter Field…that said, I sure do feel comfortable at the elegant Bar 228 at Le Meurice.
Favorite fruit: A cold red apple.
Favorite food: No matter where I am, I always embrace the local cuisine…it’s a lovely part of the travel experience. But Italian food anywhere and anytime—bring it on!
Least favorite food: I ate a sea urchin once and once was enough.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Air: water…Ground: Belvedere martini, extra dry, light squeeze of lemon, shaken not stirred.
Favorite travel movie(s): Midnight in Paris…“Can you picture how drop dead gorgeous this city is in the rain? Imagine this town in the ’20s…Paris in the ’20s, in the rain. The artists and writers!”
Favorite travel show(s): I’m a huge fan of Anthony Bourdain, always trying places he recommends…am also impressed with his jiu jitsu (that he weaves into his travels) and would like to train with him one day.
Favorite travel book(s): Frommer’s is always a first choice, but I always enjoy picking up a DK Eyewitness guide as well. I also enjoy reading those not-so-common guides such as Edmund White’s “The Flâneur” and Rainer Maria Rilke & Maurice Betz’s “Rilke in Paris.” Must also say how much I enjoy re-reading parts of “I Wonder as I Wander” by Langston Hughes.
Right now I am reading: “Hemingway’s Cuban Son” by René and Raúl Villarreal…and I’m paging through the stunning “Paris in Bloom” by Georgianna Lane.
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: Thoroughly enjoy Condé Nast Traveler, Departures and Travel + Leisure.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! Really do enjoy Johnny Jet…and I do most of my booking on Expedia and have had nothing but pleasant experiences.
5 things you bring on a plane: Tic-Tacs, cologne, Imodium, protein bar, and the perfect book.
What do you always seem to forget? Actually, nothing as I’m a very light traveler…usually never more than a carry-on.
What do you like least about travel? Lines and men that wear flip-flops.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? Havana Club Rum, Añejo Blanco, thank you!
Most embarrassing travel moment: Let’s just say that bathrooms are scarce before you get through customs at José Martí Airport in Havana.
I’m embarrassed I haven’t been to: Been to Paris a dozen times and still have not gone to Versailles…the gardens, the Hall of Mirrors…one day!
Worst travel moment: Let’s see…misplaced documents, airline and taxi strikes, those three-foot-high iron posts that line the streets of Paris (ouch)…and the list goes on.
What’s your dream destination? I’m writing this in the month of February, so Paris is always a dream at this time…specifically, I wish to be at the Musée Rodin, with coat and scarf sitting quietly on a chair in their garden café with a bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape Télégramme and a pen, notebook and camera.
Best travel tip: Along with packing light and greeting people with a smile, find time for long and aimless strolls, ones where you find so very many things you were not looking for.