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: Sid Lipsey
Occupation: Travel Writer (Contributing Editor, Yahoo Travel)
Hometown: Fairfax, Virginia
Residence: Los Angeles, California
College: University of Virginia
College major: Commerce-Marketing
Facebook: Sid Lipsey
Short bio: After a lifetime as an amateur traveler, Sid Lipsey finally decided to turn pro after a long career in TV news. He’s currently a Contributing Editor for Yahoo Travel, where he shares his musings on travel and the airline, hotel and cruise industries. Before working with Yahoo, he was an Executive Producer for CNN Headline News and a Producer for HLN’s Showbiz Tonight.
A recognized expert in travel and entertainment, Sid has appeared on HLN, HuffPost Live and The Frommer’s Travel Show.
He’s also a proud husband, dog owner, poker player, gamer, runner, and an ardent enforcer of Amtrak’s “Quiet Car” rules.
How often do you fly? Roughly once or twice a month.
How many countries have you been to? About 30.
How many continents have you been to? 5
Earliest travel memory: Being super-excited at five-years-old to take my first flight, which I spent playing with the window shade. That began a lifelong love of flying, travel…and sitting in the window seat.
Favorite American city: New York City, followed closely by Atlanta and New Orleans.
Favorite international city: Madrid, followed closely by London.
Least favorite country: Haven’t been there yet.
I have no desire to go to: Any country under a State Department Travel Warning.
Friendliest people in the world: Australia.
Favorite World Heritage Site: The Great Barrier Reef—I did my first-ever scuba dive there, which kinda ruined every other diving location for me.
Favorite aircraft type: The Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Aisle or window: Window. Great views, lampshade control (see above) and no one climbs over you to go to the bathroom.
Favorite airport lounge: Virgin Atlantic’s London Heathrow Lounge. I’m almost disappointed when they announce my flight is boarding.
Favorite U.S. airport: JFK. One of the few places I feel the old-school glamour and adventure of international travel.
Favorite international airport: Lisbon Portela Airport, for the beautiful, colorful display you get when you approach on a bright day.
Favorite hotel: The Langham Huntington in Pasadena, California. And to represent the east coast, The Benjamin Hotel in New York City
Favorite cruise line: PONANT and Princess—both bring elegance and glamour to the cruise experience without too much of the artifice. Favorite large cruise line: Royal Caribbean.
Favorite travel credit card: American Express Premier Rewards.
Favorite island: Kauaʻi
Favorite beach: I’m not much of a beach guy. Sand and water are beautiful, but not much I can get from those that I can’t get from a photo. I prefer city travel.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Daniel in New York City. Old-school charm and precision service; I have yet to catch their waiters re-filling my water glass (I will one day!). Second Place: Arnaud’s in New Orleans. After eating there, I don’t need an Uber; I need a forklift!
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Mary’s Fish Camp in New York City. I have dreams about their Pan Fried “Hook and Line” Atlantic Cod Sandwich.
Favorite bar: The Highland Tap in Atlanta. Killer martinis. Plus, seven of my top 10 funniest stories take place there.
Favorite fruit: Apples.
Favorite food: Pizza.
Least favorite food: Cabbage.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): A whiskey, neat.
Favorite travel movie(s): Is Star Trek, a travel movie? No? Okay, I’ll say the best James Bond movies (Casino Royale, From Russia With Love and Goldfinger). Also Midnight Run.
Favorite travel show(s): Zane Lamprey’s travel/drinking shows, where he goes from country to country sampling bars, touring local distilleries and drinking with the locals. Every time I interview him I want to tell him I’m so jealous of him I could strangle him. I hope he knows I’m only speaking figuratively…
Favorite travel book(s): “Handling Sin” by Michael Malone. A straight-laced insurance salesman drives around the south meeting characters and getting into adventures as he looks for his dying father, who’s gone on the lam. I’ve stopped reading this on planes because I find myself laughing way too loud. (Dear Hollywood: How is this not a movie yet?!?)
Right now I am reading: “The Promise” by Robert Crais, a Los Angeles mystery writer whom I’ve been bingeing on ever since I moved to LA. When I’m done, I will have read everything he’s ever written and I honestly don’t know what I will do with myself.
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: Yahoo Travel (of course); Afar; Skift.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! A Broad Abroad, WeSaidGoTravel, TripAdvisor.
5 things you bring on a plane: 1) Noise-canceling headphones, so crying babies/drunks/arguing couples don’t drive me crazy. 2) Hand lotion, because I wash my hands incessantly. 3) My computer, so I can work. Or watch Casino Royale—again. 4) Magazines that I always intend to read but end up watching the in-flight movie instead. 5) A pen and paper to take notes about my flight. Ya never know when you’ll come up with a great article idea.
What do you always seem to forget? My gym clothes. Not that I ever get too upset about it.
What do you like least about travel? Being away from home.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? Johnnie Walker Blue. Hand me one of those and we’re automatically best friends.
Favorite travel app(s): Virgin America’s—that is, whenever they ever get one. Seriously, guys: It’s 2016!!!! What gives?!?
Most embarrassing travel moment: On my first cruise, I tried to go topside during a fierce storm in the Mediterranean but found the door to the outside deck locked. I then realized that it was done to protect idiots like me who failed to grasp that going on the deck, alone, at night, during a big storm is NOT a good idea. This was during my first vacation with my then-girlfriend; she later married me anyway.
I’m embarrassed but I haven’t been to: Paris. I’ve been throughout France countless times and have connected through CDG. But after spending a lifetime saying, “I’ll get to it” I still haven’t gotten around to exploring Paris. I’ll get to it.
Worst travel moment: My worst travel moment involves spending three hours on a tarmac waiting to take off. And considering other people’s “worst travel moments,” I see myself as very blessed.
What’s your dream destination? Fiji.
Favorite travel charity: I’m intrigued by an upcoming charity called Kind Traveler that allows you to donate to charities to earn travel rewards.
Best travel tip: Get Global Entry. It helps you breeze through US Customs and also makes you eligible for TSA PreCheck, another valuable airport time saver. But, I can’t stress this enough: If you’re gonna use it, pack everything in a carry-on. What good is it to breeze through customs if you’re just going to end up waiting in baggage claim with everyone else?