10 Contiki Questions with travel guru Johnny Jet

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Traveling to 20+ countries annually is no easy feat, but Johnny Jet makes it look easy – and he shares his tips along the way on his website, newsletter, and through social media.  Contiki asked Johnny to answer a few questions to give us some insight on the man behind the jet-setter and dole some advice to newly-minted world travelers.

Check it out!

The travel world knows you as Johnny Jet.  When did you decide to dedicate your life to travel?

Basically in the year 2000 when I quit my day job to work on JohnnyJet.com full time. Here’s the back story: http://www.johnnyjet.com/folder/aboutjj.htm

When and where did you first travel by yourself, and why did you choose that particular destination?

Long story! But I grew up in Connecticut and used to be afraid to fly. I conquered my fear at age 20 which is also when I took my first flight by myself. It was from Tucson to Los Angeles to meet my dad in LAX to attend my great aunt’s funeral.

Was there a particular trip or travel moment in your life that changed your life?

The one above and a few years later when I flew overseas and in business class for the first time. My “princess” college girlfriend invited me to her parents apartment in Hong Kong and I fell in love with international travel, business class and got addicted to my miles.

Do you prefer to travel alone or with a travel partner?  What would you say the benefits of either travel style would be?

It all depends on the destination. But I prefer to have someone with me at least at the destination. Don’t tell anyone but I kind of like flying alone because I can work my magic to get upgraded. It’s more difficult to get two people in the front of the cabin.

As a traveler who visits 20+ countries per year, are there are destinations that you are consistently drawn to?  What made these destinations so memorable?

Yes. I tend to keep England, France, Germany, Australia, Tahiti, Fiji, Italy, Hong Kong and Thailand on my circuit. I just love going back to them.

What are 5 destinations that you recommend the 18-35 year old Contiki travelers MUST see?

That’s a tough question. It all depends what they fancy but I would say: England/France, Australia/New Zealand, South Africa, Brazil/Argentina, Thailand/Malaysia

Why do you think a tour operator like Contiki would be an ideal choice for a first-time traveler?

Companies like Contiki help eliminate first-time traveler fears and at the same time show them the ropes to getting around. And you get to meet people in your same age group.

What are the must-have items that you pack with you every time you take a trip?

Computer/iPad, sleeping mask, ear plugs, mini flashlight, two credit cards, headphones, water, snacks, sweater…

What are your favorite travel rituals? 

Check the 10-day weather forecast, sign up for flight alerts, print boarding pass, pack a box of chocolates for the flight attendants and gate agent and put a big smile on my face.

Where are your travels taking you to next?

I’m going to Florida for the holidays to spend time with my dad and have a viewing party for my show on the Travel Channel. Tune in Jan 1, 2012 at 9pm E/P.

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John E. DiScala (a.k.a. Johnny Jet) travels around 150,000 miles and visits over 20 countries each year. He and his website JohnnyJet.com have been featured over 2,000 times in major publications, including USA Today, Time, Fortune and The New York Times, and he has appeared on ABC, CBS, CNBC, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, FOX News Channel and PBS.  JohnnyJet.com has been named “one of the top best money-saving web sites for travel” by Budget Travel Magazine, while  the L.A. Times calls it “one of the top 10 essential travel resources on the internet.” Outside Magazine touted Johnny for having one of the world’s best “dream jobs”. Sign up today for Johnny Jet’s free weekly travel newsletter at JohnnyJet.com and follow him live on Twitter.

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