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: Zach Honig
Occupation: Technology Journalist
Hometown: Philadelphia suburbs
Residence: New York, NY
Short Bio: Zach Honig is a Senior Associate Editor at Engadget, responsible for domestic and international trade show and events coverage and coordination, along with new employee training. He’s also a freelance travel writer, and has been published in Frommers and AOL Travel before he joined AOL full time to work at Engadget. He spends much of his time abroad in Germany, the UK and Japan, though he also covers annual conventions throughout Europe and Asia, along with a handful of U.S. cities. For personal travel, Zach is frequently drawn to Bermuda’s laid-back lifestyle, gorgeous landscape and pink sand beaches. And it’s just a 90-minute flight from his home in New York City. Zach has visited more than 30 countries in the past decade, many aboard United Airlines, where he spends most of his time in the air.
How often do you fly: At least once every other week (roughly 75,000 miles so far in 2012)
How many countries have you been to: 30
How many continents have you been to: 5
Favorite American city: New York
Favorite international city: Tokyo
Favorite World Heritage Site: St George, Bermuda
Favorite airline: United
Favorite aircraft type: United flat-bed 777-200
Aisle or window: Aisle in business/first, window in economy so I can sleep
Favorite airport lounge: Asiana Lounge, Seoul Incheon
Favorite U.S. airport: Newark. I’ve flown out of there hundreds of times and have never had an issue. There’s also a fairly good assortment of restaurants and duty free stores.
Favorite international airport: Tokyo Narita. It’s far from the city — make that VERY far from the city — but it’s clean, efficient and there’s a ANA lounge with a draft beer machine and a soba bar.
Favorite hotel: Dan Elat. It’s been a very long time since I’ve stayed, but the hotel is gorgeous, the staff is top-notch and it’s right on the beach.
Favorite cruise line: How about least favorite cruise line? That’d be Carnival.
Favorite island: Bermuda
Favorite fancy restaurant: Jean Georges Nougatine in New York City
Favorite hole in the wall: Kuma Inn, New York City
Favorite fruit: Mango
Favorite food: Sashimi from the Pacific Northwest
Least favorite food: Anything with lots of onions
Drink of choice: (In the air and on the ground) Bloody Mary in the air, vodka martini on the ground
Favorite travel movie(s): Coming to America
Favorite travel show(s): No Reservations
Right now I am reading: Cruising Altitude by Heather Poole
Five things you bring on a plane: Full-size pillow, custom-molded earbuds that effectively block out almost all noise, eye mask, Samsung Galaxy Note (for email and reading), water bottle
What do you always seem to forget: A notepad.
Favorite travel iPhone app(s): United Airlines, TripAdvisor, TripIt
Most embarrassing/worst travel moment: I was in Beijing working at the Summer Olympics, and decided to venture over to the Olympic Green the day after Closing Ceremony. It was incredibly hot and no vendors were open, and the nearest restaurant or store was a 20-minute subway ride away. After a couple hours of walking around, I desperately needed water, and finally found a food stall with workers inside. The Olympics were over, however, and the kiosk was closed, so the employees refused to sell me anything, despite the full cooler. I even offered 50 times the listed price (about $20) for a bottle, which is a huge amount of money in China, but they refused to sell me anything. The supervisor saw that I wasn’t looking good and motioned for me to drink from a hose. There’s no way I was going to drink unclean water in China, regardless of how ill I was feeling, leaving the employees thoroughly confused. I had no choice but to leave the Olympic Green right away and head a store in the city.
What’s your dream destination: The St. Regis in Bora Bora. I’ll definitely go at some point, but it’s incredibly far and expensive.
Favorite travel website(s) – besides JohnnyJet.com, of course!: Gadling, Conde Nast Traveler, Huffington Post Travel
Best travel tip: You can still get a good night’s sleep without handing over the cash for a lie-flat seat — just sleep on the window! Your best options for a window seat vary by aircraft, so head over to SeatGuru to check out a map of your plane. If the best seat isn’t open, grab something else and set a seat alert over at ExpertFlyer — you’ll get an email if something pops up. Then, bring along a full-size pillow in a vacuum bag when it’s time for your flight (I like the W Hotels Cloud Pillow), along with a few extra pillow cases (for subsequent legs on the same trip if you’re a germaphobe like me). And, if you end up getting that upgrade, the pillow you brought will surely offer more support than whatever the airline provides.
One more option: If there appear to be many empty seats on your flight at check in, select an empty row and (very, very nicely) ask the check-in agent to block out the other seat or two; if there are plenty of open seats, they may oblige.