Road warrior: Josh Bernstein
The Discovery Channel's host of Into the Unknown With Josh Bernstein talks about why he has two passports, his must-have gadget, and more.
(Fortune Magazine) -- Josh Bernstein isn't kidding when he says he loves everything about travel. "I love airports. I love planes. I love hotels. At this point, I've even learned to love customs," he says.
For nine months out of the year he's on the road as the host of Discovery Channel's Into the Unknown With Josh Bernstein. The show travels to exotic locales to investigate eternal mysteries: Did Noah's Ark really exist? And why do elephants attack? He estimates that he's logged some 500,000 miles during the past five years. In the off-season Bernstein is back and forth between New York City and Utah, where he's CEO of the Boulder Outdoor Survival School.
We caught up with the explorer to learn a few tricks of his trade.
1. Days on the road - Between 200 and 250 a year.
2. Must-have gadget - My Kindle. I love it because, as someone who needs to do quite a bit of research on the road, I find books can be both heavy and awkward to carry.
3. Staying energized - I'm envious of people who can travel the world and party all along the way. I have in the past tried coffee, I've tried Red Bull. I've just found that sleep and water are the best things for me.
4. Top hideaway - The Inkaterra Machu Picchu hotel. It's built into a hillside at the base of Machu Picchu. The rooms are Indian-style, a nice mixture of textiles and ceramics. It has an outdoor shower and a hot tub. It's one of the nicest hotels I've ever stayed in.
5. Best layover - Heathrow, only because it has the World of Whiskies shop there, and it is one of the few places in the world where you can actually get the distillers edition of Lagavulin. It's a single-malt Scotch from Islay.
6. Culinary custom - I try the local cuisine if I know it's safe. But if it's a location where hygiene may be questionable, I can't take too many risks because if I get sick we can't film. So I tend to be inquisitive but not overly adventurous. My comfort food is Italian and, if I'm feeling homesick, a cheeseburger.
7. Keeping in touch - I'm heavily dependent on iChat and Skype. And I use Facebook for status updates.
8. Luggage must - Filson. It's simple and rugged, and it holds up well. It looks better the more miles I put on it. All my luggage -- briefcases, computer bags, photography gear -- everything is Filson.
9. Passport tip - I have two U.S. passports, one for Arab countries and one for Israel [which is not uncommon for the region's travelers]. If you go into Israel with stamps from anywhere in the Middle East that's an Arab nation, it's problematic.
10. Beating the language barrier - Befriend a local and then ask [about body language]. In Bulgaria, for example, I kept asking taxi drivers if they were available and they kept shaking their heads as if saying no, but they just kept waiting for me. So I asked our fixer, "How do you say no and how do you say yes with your head?" She said, "It's the opposite of what you do in America."