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: Sebastian Harrison
Occupation: Founder of Cellular Abroad, Inc.
Hometown: Born in Rome, Italy
Residence: Malibu, California
College major: Political Science and Italian Literature
Facebook: Cellular Abroad
Google+: Have one but I don’t use it so…not worth mentioning!
Short bio: I was born in Rome, Italy and grew up between Rome and Los Angeles. After high school, I followed my father’s footprints and acted for several years in Italy. Although my acting career was blossoming, I decided to go back to school to get my degree. Eventually I got two degrees from UCLA. I spent the next decade traveling and spent extended periods in Japan, Spain, Ethiopia, Norway, the Philippines, Germany, and Italy. I eventually ended back up in Los Angeles and, drawing up my experience of having an incredibly difficult time staying in touch, founded Cellular Abroad, a company that helps travelers stay in touch. 12 years and 300,000 customers later, we are still doing the same thing. Cellular Abroad is my primary focus although I also have several other business ventures that keep me more than busy.
How often do you fly? Usually only 3-4 times a year now but my trips keep me out of the country for a couple of months out of the year.
How many countries have you been to? About 60. I tend to travel back to the same destinations to revisit favorite destinations and the friends that I have made along the way.
How many continents have you been to? 5
Earliest travel memory: My earliest travel memory was when I was about 3 on a boat traveling from Italy to Spain. We had a vacation home in Marbella so we went often but this time we went by boat and the memory stuck.
Favorite American city: Los Angeles. It’s also my least favorite at times…like when I am sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic!
Favorite international city: Rome…but that’s cheating since I was born there so, outside of a city that I have called “home,” I would have to say Barcelona.
Least favorite country: I have never been to a country where I didn’t find something I really liked about it. I was really surprised even how much I liked Ethiopia which was totally unexpected.
I have no desire to go to: The moon.
Friendliest people in the world: Filipinos and drunk Norwegians.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: Switzerland and the US. They are consistently tough. My worst experience however was with a French immigration officer who kept me for hours because I was young and driving a sports car. He was convinced I was a drug runner.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Scala dei Turchi in Sicily. It’s an amazing beach and close to where I go every year on vacation.
Favorite airline: Lufthansa.
Favorite aircraft type: Gulfstream VI.
Aisle or window: I usually travel business thanks to my AmEx miles so I have the luxury of being able to have the extra space and being able to look out the window. There is nothing like flying over the Alps while the sun is setting!
Favorite airport lounge: I like the Air France one in Paris but mostly because it is right by the gates.
Favorite U.S. airport: Any one that is small because it’s easy to get in and easy to get out.
Favorite international airport: Hong Kong because the landing strip is so scary that when you land you feel blessed you are still alive.
Favorite hotel: Hotel San Pietro in Positano.
Favorite cruise line: Never been on a cruise but I would love to go on a National Geographic expedition or a Viking River Cruise.
Favorite travel credit card: AmEx.
Favorite island: Kauai.
Favorite beach: Le Pergole in Sicily.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Madeo’s in Los Angeles.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: I only eat healthy food so…I don’t I don’t have one.
Favorite bar: I’m the wrong person to ask as I don’t go to bars!
Favorite fruit: Papaya.
Favorite food: Rigatoni alla Gricia, which is a typical Roman pasta.
Least favorite food: Whole raw carrots. Shredded I’m ok with.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Cabernet Savignon.
Favorite travel movie(s): Anything but Snakes on a Plane.
Favorite travel show(s): Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations and Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmerman.
Favorite travel book(s): “Into Thin Air.”
Right now I am reading: I usually read multiple books at a time, one of which is a re-read entitled “Basilica: The Splendor and the Scandal.” I highly recommend this to anyone interested in the history of Rome and/or architecture.
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: National Geographic Traveler magazine, Joe Brancatelli’s blog and Johnny Jet’s newsletter (and I am not just saying that!).
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! I like TripAdvisor and I just discovered a new one called Parla Food about good eats in Rome.
5 things you bring on a plane: iPad, extra shirt, magazines, healthy snacks, and chapstick.
What do you always seem to forget? I am almost paranoid that I will forget something so I am pretty good at not forgetting anything.
What do you like least about travel? The jetlag—especially the one you get going towards the east.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? Chocolate always works for me. The problem is that it works for her too so I can only count on half a box…if I’m lucky.
Favorite travel app(s): Uber and Trip Advisor.
Most embarrassing travel moment: I was rushing from one terminal to another and, to the displeasure of the passengers, the plane was waiting for me. When I attempted to put my oversized baggage in the overhead department, it popped out and hit me in the head, knocking me silly. The entire plane erupted hysterically in laughter.
I’m embarrassed but I haven’t been to: Chicago.
Worst travel moment: Any time I come to the realization that my baggage is not ever going to drop out of the shoot and onto the carousel.
What’s your dream destination? Private yacht starting from the Amalfi Coast and then slowly working my way along the Italian and French Rivieras and then ending up in Ibiza.
Favorite travel charity: Raincatcher.org.
Best travel tip: Mark your suitcase with stickers or something to personalize it. If the stickers are a children’s theme (like Mickey Mouse), chances are that baggage handlers will not raid your suitcase.