NileGuide 5 with Johnny Jet

NileGuide 5 — By Nicole Lerner on January 6, 2010 at 2:37 pm

This week’s NileGuide 5 interview features travel blogger and founder Johnny Jet. Designed to point travelers to everything the web has to offer, offers travel deals, stories, tips, advice and more. Readers can follow Johnny, traveling over 150,000 miles and to 20+ countries each year, on Twitter at @JohnnyJet.

1. What’s the most underrated destination you’ve been to?

The Cook Islands and Abu Dhabi. I bet if you asked 10 Americans where either one of these places are located, nine of them would have no clue. The Cooks are similar to French Polynesia but it’s a lot cheaper and minus the French attitude. Abu Dhabi is definitely going to be on everyone’s radar in the next few years since they have so much money (unlike Dubai) and are rolling out cultural projects like the 27 billion (U.S. Dollar) Saadiyat Island that will have a Guggenheim and Louvre museum. Abu Dhabi also has one of the world’s best airlines (Etihad) which is starting to gain attention among American business travelers.

2. How do you kill time when you’re stuck on a bus or plane?

I work on my laptop which makes the ride “fly by” especially if there’s Wi-Fi available. After my first battery dies I will chat it up with the flight attendants and/or seatmates. I also bring a bunch of travel magazines just in case no one is feeling social.

3. What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen or experienced traveling?

I was cured of severe asthma by a Chinese doctor in Malaysia. Does that count? Here’s the story.

4. What’s the first thing you do when you arrive at a new destination?

Hit the ATM and get some local currency. Once in my hotel room I wipe down all the knobs, switches, remotes… with an antibacterial towel. It’s scary to think who was occupying the room before you. Then I change into my sneakers and go for a long walk around the neighborhood or resort to get some fresh air.

5. If you could give one tip or piece of advice to travelers, what would it be?

Always be nice to everyone but especially to the gate agents and flight attendants – they can make or break your trip which is why I bring them a box of chocolates and they often treat me like a rock star.

[Photos: Johnny Jet]

Tags: Abu Dhabi, Cook Islands, Johnny Jet, Travel Tips


  • lara dunston says:

    Nice interview with Johnny!

    I’m glad he mentioned Abu Dhabi! I’ve been saying it’s underrated for many years. We’ve long been writing on the city (most recent piece in National Geographic Traveler in October), and I wrote and my husband photographed the first guidebook to the place, DK’s Top 10 Eyewitness Guide to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, 4 years ago.

    We moved there in 1998 and fell in love with it immediately, but we loved it because it was so ‘real’. We lived in a shiny skyscraper in the heart of the downtown, but the backstreets just behind us were gritty, often dirty, and in many places ramshackle, but they were so real. We’d hear the call-to-prayer from the mosque on the corner, we had our local Lebanese bakery we’d go to on weekends to buy our fresh baklava, and in the afternoons we’d walk through these laidback, authentic neighbourhoods to the Corniche where we’d rollerblade along the waterfront. I taught film and writing at a women’s university to Emirati girls so we also had a great insight into the rich local culture and Bedouin heritage/society.

    There were no tourism plans then, no 7-star luxury hotels and no ambitions to become a global cultural hub although it has long had a low-key cultural scene. In many ways we loved it more then.
    We’re on the road permanently now but every few months or so we get back and while I always love returning, I am surprised when I read about the city in other travel magazines and see bloggers like Johnny talk about the place… while I have a great affection for the place, I wonder how much others who travel there will really like it. Because there is actually very little to *do* and the things that are really special are the authentic local things that most people staying in 5-star hotels will never see or experience. It will be interesting to hear your other readers’ thoughts…

  • KF says:

    Johnny – good call on the Cook Islands as well. I just spent 6 days on Aitutaki…wow!

    Part of me doesn’t want to promote it because I want it to be the same when I return…which will hopefully be soon.


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