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: Spencer Spellman
Occupation: Well I’d like to think of myself as a walking, talking, traveling jack of all trades, but my biz card says that I’m a traveling writer.
Hometown: Graham, North Carolina
Residence: Los Angeles, California
Short Bio: Flying for the first time at age 5 and by himself for the first time at age 7, Spencer has never been able to kick his travel habit. After no sports editors bought his sports essay in elementary school about what would happen if Michael Jordan challenged him to a game of H-O-R-S-E, Spencer took his talents elsewhere into the travel journalism field. Spencer got his start in the travel industry as a writer and editor for a travel guide publisher in 2008, before launching a career in freelance travel writing in 2010, when he started his travel blog, The Traveling Philosopher (yes, there are colleges that give out degrees in philosophy). Spencer has contributed for both web and print outlets that have included National Geographic Traveler’s Intelligent Travel blog, AOL, Southern Hospitality Magazine, Drink Me Magazine, and Expedia, where he’s the Editor-in-Chief of the Expedia Viewfinder blog. When he’s not got a pen in his hand, Spencer is either behind or in front of the camera. Spencer’s current loves and ambitions include a pursuit to eat from as many food trucks as humanly possible, become a respectable amateur cocktail creator, and do as many new things this year as possible, as part of his “30 at 30” list.
How often do you fly: Couple times per month
How many countries have you been to: 25 and counting
How many continents have you been to: 3
Favorite American city: Well that’s like having to choose between a hot fudge brownie and a red velvet cupcake, but it has to be New Orleans. The food, the drinks, the history, the culture – it’s places like New Orleans that is the reason I travel. And I don’t know if I’ve ever met people who love their city as much as the residents of New Orleans do.
Favorite international city: Ghent, Belgium. I think there’s something very fairy tale-ish about Ghent that’s even more so then the likes of other Western European cities. For example, there’s this one pub on the square, which upon ordering the “Max of the House” – a Belgium beer that comes out in a test tube that’s the height of a small child – requires you to hand over one of your shoes as collateral, which they then put in a basket that hangs from the ceiling. It’s very Hansel and Gretel-esque.
Favorite U.S. airport: SFO, Terminal 2. I judge an airport by my reaction to a delayed flight at that airport. At SFO’s relatively new Terminal 2, I can enjoy a wine flight, eat desserts from local restaurants, do a yoga sesh, and sit in one of those high-back chairs like a boss. Not a bad airport to get stuck in.
Favorite international airport: Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS). What’s not to love about an airport with a rooftop panorama deck that overlooks the tarmac?
Favorite hotel: Travaasa Hana on the Hawaiian island of Maui. The sea cottages are where it’s at in this small Hawaiian town that I really think comes closest of all the Maui towns to capturing the aloha spirit. I like how it really forced me to unplug – that, and I’d wake up for sunrise more often if the views of were like they are while viewing from the balcony of the seafront cottages here.
Favorite island: The Hawaii island of Lanai.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Nobu at the Four Seasons Manele Bay on the Hawaiian island of Lanai. Every piece of sushi I had there was better than any piece of sushi I had ever had.
Favorite hole in the wall: 3-Zero Café in Half Moon Bay California. You may raise an eyebrow when you find out it’s located at the Half Moon Bay Airport, but order the crab benedict and thank me later.
Drink of choice (In the air and on the ground): Jameson and ginger topped with a cherry.
Favorite travel movie(s): Midnight in Paris. It has everything that I love about travel: a beautiful backdrop, romance, adventure, and spontaneity.
Favorite travel show(s): There’s this show that came out last year, Hotspots 2012, with this guy, Johnny Jet. Maybe you’ve heard of it?
Favorite travel book(s): Honeymoon with my Brother by Franz Wisner
Right now I am reading: Turn Right at Macchu Picchu
Five things you bring on a plane: Headphones, a magazine, a book, breath mints (for my neighbor of course), and a pillow
What do you always seem to forget: Enough Whitey tighties
Worst travel moment: Every time I miss the train.
Favorite travel charity: Passports with Purpose. One of the things I love about the travel community is how it brings out the best in the world and each other, and what a great charity that brings together travel bloggers every year to raise money for good causes.
Best travel tip: Roll, don’t fold. It sounds counter-intuitive, but I can’t remember the last time I had to use an iron.