This week’s NileGuide 5 interview is with Brett Snyder, author of the award-winning consumer air travel blog, The Cranky Flier. He also writes as an airline industry analyst for BNET Travel. You can usually find him milling around his home airport in Long Beach.
1. What’s the most underrated destination you’ve been to?
Slovenia. I saw an article on Slovenia in the travel section of the LA Times when I was a kid that had a picture of the bluest, most pristine river I had ever seen, and I knew I wanted to go. I ended up spending a week there with some friends in 2004 and it was better than I could have imagined. It’s a tiny country that’s easy to get around, but it has an incredibly diverse landscape. There are the glacial valleys with the super blue water in the west, lakes in the Julian Alps, the wine country of Maribor, old town Ljubljana, and a small sliver of coast on the Adriatic. If that wasn’t enough, the people were incredibly friendly and spoke just about every language on earth.
2. How do you kill time when you’re stuck on a bus or plane?
If there’s TV or a movie, I usually watch that. Otherwise I just read or I fitfully try to sleep. (I’m not very good at it.)
3. What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen or experienced traveling?
Narrowing that down is tough . . . . I think I might point to the hostel/homeless shelter that I stayed at in Iceland with my two friends during our Spring Break of senior year in college. (Hey, what’s cheaper than Iceland in March?) We were already in rough shape because it was freezing and food was far more expensive than we could have imagined ($10 for a McDonald’s value meal). But when we stumbled into the hostel and realized it was also a homeless shelter during the non-peak months, we were, um, surprised. We had our own room, but we all shared bathrooms. One of my female friends came running back after a guy in the hall who had been watching her pinched her butt on her way to the bathroom. That was pretty strange, but it was a great trip, and we didn’t even think twice about finding another place to stay.
4. What’s the first thing you do when you arrive at a new destination?
I find an ATM. That’s honestly the first thing I do since it’s the best exchange rate I can find in most cases. But then I grab a map. I like to have a lay of the land when I go somewhere, so a map is essential.
5. If you could give one tip or piece of advice to travelers, what would it be?
Pack light. You don’t need all that stuff. Trust me.
Slovenia photo by Veni Markovski/Creative Commons