I tell all to the Roaming Gnome

Travelocity’s Roaming Gnome is a busy fellow. But I’m honored that he took time out to include me in a series of holiday interviews in the Window Seat blog.


RG: Where are you off to this holiday season? New York City? Tahiti? Poughkeepsie?

HB: Our family gathers in a suburb of Washington, D.C., where Christmas morning comes fast on the heels of that age-old holiday tradition: Christmas Eve poker.

RG: As the expert – if you had to be stuck at an airport during the holidays – which one would you choose? (I’d go wherever there’s frozen yogurt!)

HB: As an airport aficionado and creator of StuckatTheAirport.com, nothing pleases me more than being stuck at an airport during the holidays. For people-watching, any airport would fit the bill, but beyond that, I’d want to be somewhere such as Philadelphia International Airport, where there are plenty of shops and usually a good schedule of planned holiday entertainment,

RG: What’s the one thing you can’t travel without? Me- my wit and good looks of course!

HB: I always pack a lightweight silk sleep sack, because especially during the holiday travel season, you just never know where you might end up sleeping. Two other lightweight must-haves: my patience and my sense of humor.

RG: What’s your favorite travel tip? I always say leave early in case there is a line at the airport bar.

HB: I keep an extra $20 bill tucked into a corner of my wallet. It’s my “mad money:” If I get really irritated or weary – or mad – while traveling, I use that $20 to buy myself a frivolous treat.

RG: Brilliant! Mad money could come in handy for my favorite guilty pleasure – airport and travel shopping. (I own a neck pillow in every color.) How many gifts will you be purchasing from SkyMall and/or Hudson News this year?

HB: Oh! For years, I’ve done all my holiday shopping at airports. That used to mean everyone got a shot glass and a pack of gum. The shopping scene at most airports is much better these days, so friends and family no longer heckle my gifts.

RG: Fun travel fact: I easily fit in overhead compartment bins. What’s your fun travel fact

HB: I’ve been touring and writing about airports for more than 15 years, so can tell you where the best restaurants – and restrooms – are at almost any airport.

And… I too would fit easily into overhead airplane bins, but flight attendants don’t usually let short people travel that way.

RG: No, I don’t suggest it for humans – it’s a bit stuffy.  I’ve traveled at various times of the year, but holidays are my favorite times. When else can you see holiday sweaters and poodles on layovers? What’s your best holiday travel story?

HB: Unable to sleep while on a Christmas weekend get-a-away at a park lodge in Washington state, I grabbed a book and settled in by the grand fireplace in the lobby. About 5 a.m. I was joined by a slow moving, somewhat-Santa-looking fellow who poured me a cup of hot coffee from his thermos and then took off. Not sure if he left by the chimney..

RG: That was either my friend Santa, or one of my fellow garden gnomes.  Santa and gnomes have similar beards.  Shall we spend Spring Break together? I do a wicked cannonball.

HB: And I once won second place in an oyster-eating contest where the goal was to be the fasted to eat a dozen oysters- with your hands behind your back.

RG: I’d like to try that!  My hands are cemented to my sides, and I love to eat!

Thanks for visiting Stuck at the Airport. Subscribe to get daily travel tidbits. And follow me on Twitter at @hbaskas and Instagram.