paul brady

 

The 'Check-In' series was designed to celebrate individuals for whom travel is a way of life. Each profile focuses on a notable global traveler: business consultants, editors, industry members, movers, shakers, and anyone else who—for whatever reason—spends a lot of time in the air.

Occupation: Editor at Conde Nast Traveler

Number of countries traveled to: 30, or 31 if you count flying through Heathrow as visiting England.

Favorite destination: Usually the answer to this question is the place I've just returned from! But if I could book a flight right now, I'd probably choose from Eastern Uruguay (those beaches), Oman (those landscapes), and Venice (those canals).

Least favorite destination: I've had some crummy times in some great places (Istanbul) and some sketchy times in some dicey places (Tegucigalpa), but I wouldn't say anywhere I've been was flat out, objectively bad.

Favorite airport stop: I really like the little tapas cave, Piquillo, at T5 at JFK. What makes you a great traveler? I'm very curious! Being curious about where you're traveling is the number one way to avoid listing it as your least favorite destination at some point in the future.

What makes you NOT a great traveler? I'm lamentably losing my ability to visit a new place without the crutch of a smartphone.

Must-have travel product: Besides a smartphone? A really, really good piece of luggage. It's always nice to earn knowing nods from bellmen and porters—who see luggage tragedies every single day—by carrying a well-packed weekend bag that's going to last you all week.

Top travel advice: Forget about blending in…while trying to do your best to do so. Let me explain: If you're walking around the old city of San Miguel, El Salvador, nobody is going to think you're a local. But if you dress the way the locals do, walk the way they walk, speak even a few words of the local language, and generally try to play it cool, you'll often find yourself in exactly the kinds of zany situations that you'll end up talking about for years to come. Last time I did that, I ended up meeting a Canadian photojournalist who took me to meet a source of his on the coast, where we rode out an approaching hurricane in the source's well-provisioned beach house in sight of the Pacific, which, in hindsight, is not the best place to ride out a hurricane.

What do you never travel without? You never need earplugs until you really, really, really need them. I keep a few pairs kicking around in my luggage at all times.

In-flight drink of choice: Just water on morning flights; bloody marias in the evenings.

Nicest hotel toiletries: Kiehl's at the Sunset Tower in Hollywood.

If you could sit next to absolutely anyone on your next flight, who would it be? Meriwether Lewis. I imagine he'd get a kick out of flying in a few hours the same distance it took him two years to chart.