How I Travel: Johnny Jet

Johnny Jet: Rocket Man

Believe it or not, Johnny Jet used to fear flying. Now he seems to spend the majority of his time in the air. Born John E. DiScala, the Connecticut native first made a name for himself as an expert at collecting frequent flyer miles. Over the years, his wildly popular web site has also developed into a travel journal of sorts, in which he shares his musings from the road—along with tips for travelers to get the most from their own trips. As a travel writer he has published his work in a wide range of outlets including USA Today, COAST Magazine, MSN and Outside.

My first travel memory was riding in the back of the station wagon with my brother and sisters driving up to Canada.

It wasn’t much fun since there was no GPS. My dad was horrible at directions and he wouldn’t listen to my mom. I often wonder if they would’ve fought so much if we had today’s technology.

Johnny and friends in Kyoto

Johnny and friends in Kyoto

I have a crazy travel style.

I’m usually staying at some of the world’s swankiest hotels (since those are the ones that can afford a PR firm) and I’m popping around cities, islands and countries like a pinball. I’m rarely at one hotel for more than 3 nights but I’ve adjusted to it – I think I’m ADHD anyway. When I’m traveling on my dime I find the cheapest possible mode of transportation, and can usually score a nice place to stay but for cheap. I’m good at finding deals. Real good!

It’s weird when I’m home in Manhattan Beach I usually don’t want to leave even when I’m going somewhere exotic.

But the moment I get on the plane – I usually don’t want to go home. It’s crazy. There are times when my fear kicks in and I don’t want to travel but then I think about all those poor people who are living vicariously through me because of their own health or financial conditions so I just put a smile on my face and realize how lucky I am.

Everyone thinks that the plane air is unhealthy but it supposedly has better filters than in a hospital.

I rarely get sick (knock on wood) and the reason why is because I make a conscious effort not to touch my face with my hands. I spend 30 seconds wiping down my surroundings when I first get on a plane (tray table, controls, seatbelt, overhead compartment bin…), or rent a car (steering wheel, radio…), and of course my Hotel room (knobs, handles, remote control, light switches) with one of those anti bacterial wipes. That does the trick!

Flipping out in South of France

Flipping out in South of France

I rarely research a place I go because I like to walk in with an open mind.

I usually only find out the currency exchange is, what plug adapter I need and the best way to and from the airport. I rarely carry a guidebook anymore but if I do – it’s Frommers (I write for them).

I don’t really have a favorite place to go – I seem to like them all.

But I could definitely live in Sydney, Hong Kong and anywhere in Europe (in the summertime).

Taking a daily walk on the beach with his dad in Florida

Taking a daily walk on the beach with his dad in Florida

The oddest thing I ate on a trip was a live grub worm in New Zealand.

A Maori took me hiking and showed me what I could and couldn’t eat. Here’s the story and video .

It all depends on the country but I usually stay away from street food…

unless it’s really busy with locals.

Johnny at the Taj Mahal

Johnny at the Taj Mahal

The first thing I do when I arrive at a new place is hit the ATM.

Then I go to my hotel and drop my bags off so I can go for a walk and check out the surrounding area. If it’s real late at night I will check email and take a hot shower before jumping into bed so I can get on local time. But that usually doesn’t work too well because I’m so excited to be somewhere.

Everybody’s body is different. For me I try to get on a local time when I get on the plane.

But I usually can’t sleep well on planes and I don’t take sleeping pills. If I arrive in the morning after a long flight I do my best not to sleep. Instead I go out in the sun for a long walk and if I have to sleep I nap outside for 20 minutes and then try and stay up to 11pm. If it’s raining and cold then I’m screwed.

I never leave home without…

…my laptop (Toshiba Portege), Blackberry and … Here are the other 14 products.

Be nice to everyone and be courteous.

Johnny's mother was his favorite travel companion

Johnny's mother was his favorite travel companion

Best thing to do if going to a foreign country is to read about their customs.

A great book on this is Kiss, Bow and Shake Hands.

Pack light and don’t check bags.

You can be so much more flexible and you will save a ton of time which in turn will make your trip that much better.

With a "good kitty" in South Africa

With a

Right when I get home from a long international trip the first food I usually get is Mexican.

Because you can’t get good Mexican food out of the country except in Mexico and I don’t go there too often.

I grew up in Connecticut and have always been fascinated with air travel.

Even to this day I cannot believe these metal birds can get off the ground and carry so many people to such far distances in such a short amount of time. When I was younger, it blew me away that I could leave the freezing cold Northeast and be in hot and sunny Florida in just a couple hours.

My greatest travel secret is to be nice to everyone…

…especially the gate agents and flight attendants since they can make or break your trip. I almost always bring them a box of chocolates.

Island of Taha'a in French Polynesia

Island of Taha

Besides, Johnny also founded the sites,, and which have the numbers of the companies featured so that you can speak to a human if booking online doesn’t work for you. He also created, which helps travelers save money by pricing tickets to nearby airports. He can be found on Twitter at @JohnnyJet.

“How I Travel” is a new BootsnAll series publishing every Tuesday in an effort to look at the unique and diverse travel habits of some of the world’s most well known and proficient road warriors. Got ideas for who we should talk to? Drop us a note.

You’ll find links to all the “How I Travel” articles on the How I Travel archive page, you can become a fan of “How I Travel” on Facebook, and you can follow the @howitravel profile on Twitter to get updates as soon as new features in this series are published.

all photographs provided by Johnny Jet and may not be used without permission


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Older comments on How I Travel: Johnny Jet

16 March 2010

“Even to this day I cannot believe these metal birds can get off the ground and carry so many people to such far distances in such a short amount of time.”

I feel exactly the same way. I’m fearful of flying, but I do it because I know (when I’m thinking rationally) that it’s safe and the mechanics of flight make it possible. Yet when I get scared on a plane all I can think is “How can this giant metal tube fly? This isn’t normal!”

17 March 2010

I love it that someone else loves to wipe their tray table & surrounding items down with an antibacterial wet wipe on the plane. I thought it was just me.

And agree with avoiding the “nose” zone. Best way to stay healthy on the plane-Don’t touch your face.