Originally from Quebec City, Canada, Denis has traveled the world extensively for the past 45 years and spent twelve years living overseas in France, the United Kingdom and Mexico. Fluent in several languages and conversant in several more, he has become a passionate travel writer and, together with his wife Lynn, shares his wealth of travel and cross-cultural expertise through social media and their blog, BonVoyageurs.com. His travel writings are focused on "luxury escapes and city breaks for discerning business and leisure travelers". Denis is a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA), the International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA), the Professional Travel Bloggers Association (PTBA), The Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and the National Press Club (NPC).
They were kind enough to provide their travel insights below.
TA: How many years have you been traveling and what got you hooked?
Denis and Lynn: 48 years traveling internationally and my passion for travel only increases every year.
TA: Do you specialize in a particular type of travel?
Denis and Lynn: Luxury travel.
TA: What is the best vacation you've ever taken?
Denis and Lynn: Difficult to say because we have had many memorable and fantastic vacations. At the top of my favorite past vacations would be vacations like our one-month Cote d'Azur sojourn from our beautiful apartment in Nice, our cruise around the Greek Isles from Istanbul to Venice aboard the luxurious Sea Goddess, our culinary tour of the different regions of China, our safari in Tanzania, and our recent two-week stay at the Ritz in London.
TA: What's one place you've always wanted to visit?
Denis and Lynn: Paris.
TA: What's one thing you ALWAYS pack when you travel?
Denis and Lynn: There are many items which I ALWAYS pack when I travel. Travel vest, hidden cargo pants, waterproof hiking sneakers, WiFi long-zoom camera, Smartphone, IPad, global hotspot, battery chargers, plug adapters are but a few of the items which are always part of my travels.
TA: If you could only give a traveler one piece of advice, what would it be?
Denis and Lynn: Follow your passion and find a niche you excel at.
TA: What are some of your favorite travel blogs and communities?
Denis and Lynn: Our own blog BonVoyageurs.com is by far our favorite!
TA: What would be your #1 recommendation for a place to travel in 2019?
Denis and Lynn: London would be my #1 recommendation. Even though we lived in London for a couple of years and have traveled there on numerous occasions, we find that the city has a new vibrancy and attractiveness even for us. You can now tour the Houses of Parliament, visit Churchill's wartime underground bunker, tour the Shakespeare Globe Theatre, and enjoy several more attractions which were not available only a few years back. And London has become a great restaurant destination.
TA: Do you have any good airport or flight hacks for people traveling by plane?
Denis and Lynn: Living near a major hub is a big plus when you travel on a frequent basis. We are very fortunate to live near the Washington Dulles Airport which is one of the best airport in the world (among major airports) from the perspective of getting through to your gate in the minimum amount of time. I wear a Scottevest travel vest when I travel by plane, and have for many years, so that I can put all my items (from phone to wallet to keys ...) in secure pockets of the vest and have only one thing to put through the security xray machine and only one thing to worry about at the other end. That's probably the number one tip I would give to people having to travel thru an airport.
TA: What's a travel scam travelers should be wary of?
Denis and Lynn: The travel scam I come across most often, and a scam which I was a victim of many years ago in Morocco, is the one perpetrated by some hotels who use the card authorization system to charge your credit card upon your arrival at the hotel and again upon check out. I advise travelers to refuse to sign any card authorization slip upon arrival at a hotel, or if they do, to make sure the amount is not above the minimum cost of the stay and also to make sure to refuse to sign a second charge slip upon check out.
TA: What was the most romantic place you ever visited with a partner?
Denis and Lynn: I think Venice still holds the top spot in my heart when it comes to romantic places. We were at the Hotel Danieli in Venice (very much our recommended place to stay in Venice) this past February for two weeks for the Venice Carnival and loved every minute of our stay. Venice does not have a reputation for great restaurants, but we have had no problem finding superb food and fantastic romantic restaurants in Venice. The Bistrot de Venise is a good example of a fabulous restaurant at which to enjoy a romantic dinner.
TA: What is the most beautiful and affordable city you've ever visited?
Denis and Lynn: Buenos Aires comes to mind. If you happen to visit Argentina soon after one of its regular currency devaluations, you will be able to enjoy the Paris of the South for a very small amount of money. As a major cosmopolitan area, it offers many areas which are of interest to a visitor (eg La Boca), but our favorites have always been the Teatro Colon, the Recoleta Cemetery and the milongas (for tango dancing).
TA: Which underrated destination deserves to be more famous?
Denis and Lynn: Moscow deserves to be more famous. The city now offers first class hotels, first class restaurants, first class sightseeing museums and attractions. This was certainly not the case years ago when I was visiting Moscow, but there has been a tremendous amount of new investment in tourism infrastructure and it is bearing fruit. Moscow today is more attractive as a tourist destination than many other European cities. We certainly had a fabulous time in Moscow last year.