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: Scott Parazynski (MD)
Occupation: Astronaut who’s hung up his spacesuit, and an explorer who’s climbed Everest and gone deep in the world’s oceans, and who is now inventing and commercializing cool new technologies
Hometown: Little Rock, Arkansas by birth—but Houston has been home for > 20 years
Residence: Houston, Texas
College: Stanford University, Stanford Medical School
College major: BS in Biology/MD (Medicine)
Facebook: NASA Astronaut Scott Parazynski
Google+: I have an account but don’t much use it…
YouTube: Scott Parazynski
Short bio: See occupation above, else parazynski.com has a longer bio
How often do you fly? Almost weekly for business, which typically doubles as fun
How many countries have you been to? I’ve lost count, but I’ve been traveling the world since I was nine or 10 with my adventurous parents. When I was 11 we moved to West Africa (Dakar, Senegal) for my dad’s job in international marketing at Boeing, and we subsequently lived in Beirut, Tehran and Athens. A rough guesstimate would be 75 or 80, plus Antarctica and low-Earth orbit!
How many continents have you been to? 7, or 9 if you include the Mir Space Station and the International Space Station.
Earliest travel memory: Going to visit my cousins in Germany; my uncle was stationed there for the US Air Force. Bike riding in the snow, and seeing the German and Austrian Alps for the first time is something I’ll never forget.
Favorite American city: Home is currently Houston, as it’s been for 20+ years, and I love it here.
Favorite international city: Paris, with my beautiful wife at my side.
Least favorite country: Any country that I can’t safely go to, e.g. North Korea, Iran, Syria. Hopefully they will one day join the league of nations…
I have no desire to go to: Syria, at least for now…I’d love to go explore any place I haven’t been, as long as it’s not an active war zone.
Friendliest people in the world: The Sherpa people of the Khumbu region of Nepal.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: Without naming names, one or two southeast Asian immigration departments are “less than motivated” to be efficient.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Meteora, Greece.
Favorite airline: Singapore Air.
Favorite aircraft type: Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Aisle or window: Window—as a pilot, I have to see where I’m going!
Favorite airport lounge: Lufthansa/Frankfurt, Germany.
Favorite U.S. airport: SFO or IAH/Houston.
Favorite international airport: Lukla, Nepal (the gateway to Mount Everest).
Favorite hotel: Four Seasons chain, Oberoi chain.
Favorite cruise line: I don’t cruise. I fly, swim, hike, or bike.
Favorite travel credit card: United Presidential Plus to garner the miles.
Favorite island: Santorini, specifically the cliffside village of Oia.
Favorite beach: In front of the Del, Coronado, CA (San Diego).
Favorite fancy restaurant: Tony’s in Houston, Texas.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Vinoteca Poscol, Houston, Texas.
Favorite bar: Benjy’s in Rice Village, Houston, Texas.
Favorite fruit: Mango is hands-down, without a doubt, the greatest of all fruits.
Favorite food: Tie between Greek and north Indian cooking.
Least favorite food: Hongeo, Korean fermented (rotting) fish! I had to eat it under cultural-business pressure, but never again…
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Dasani sparkling lime water.
Favorite travel movie(s): The Bucket List.
Favorite travel show(s): Michael Palin’s travel series.
Favorite travel book(s): “A Walk in the Woods” by Bill Bryson.
Right now I am reading: “Setting the Hook” by Peter Hunt (about scuba diving on a famous wreck, the Andrea Doria).
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: Outside magazine, National Geographic, Condé Nast.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course!: Just started using TripAdvisor, which seems pretty well-referenced; I browse a lot before deciding…
5 things you bring on a plane: Laptop, iPhone, reading glasses, power cables, and lots of email.
What do you always seem to forget? Noise-canceling headsets.
What do you like least about travel? Weather and mechanical delays, the latter seeming to happen more frequently as of late.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? Marzipan, without a doubt.
Favorite travel app(s): United, Kayak, Expedia, TripAdvisor, specialty apps for the country or region I’m visiting…
Most embarrassing travel moment: Being given an expensive bottle of single malt by a host, rushing to the airport and not checking my bag (and then having to jettison it because I didn’t have time to go back out of customs to check it…).
I’m embarrassed I haven’t been to: Brazil—a great, exciting country, and an easy flight from home.
Worst travel moment: Having all my family’s bags stolen from a car near Montmartre, Paris, France (when I was a kid—rookie move!).
What’s your dream destination? A month of diving on Bora Bora.
Favorite travel charity: angelflight.com provides free transportation for those in need of medical care, supported by volunteer pilots.
Best travel tip: If you’re a pilot, arrange to rent a plane with an instructor who knows the local area. See the sights from up in the sky…