A Conversation with Peter Shankman — TripIt Blog

5 mins read

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Going Places is a new series from TripIt that highlights frequent travelers to showcase their unique travel styles and insider tips. 

Keynote speaker, author, founder of HARO (Help a Reporter Out), founding editor of AOL News—and frequent traveler—Peter Shankman is happiest when in transit. For him, flying is as much fun as arriving at his destination. 

“A plane is my happy place. It’s where I can tune everything else out and focus on my work,” he said. “I’ve written five books while sitting on planes!” 

What kickstarted this air travel love affair? “I’m a born-and-raised New Yorker. When I started my own PR firm, I started traveling to meet clients outside NYC and fell in love with the whole experience,” he said. “It’s also when I discovered the value of airline loyalty. The first airline I ever earned status with was Continental.”  

And when COVID-19 kept him grounded? “It was rough. I have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) so a lack of travel—a lack of a schedule!—during COVID-19 made it hard for me to cope,” Peter shared. “I had nine keynote speeches canceled in three days. If I had known that my flight on March 8, 2020 would be my last flight for nine months, I would have stayed on it longer.”

On managing ADHD—and his travel plans

Having ADHD (check out his podcast on the topic) is part of the reason why Peter relies on TripIt to keep his travel plans organized. 

“Once my travel plans are in the app, I know they’re handled. I don’t have to worry about them,” he said. “I forward my plans and—boom—they go to my calendar; to my mom’s calendar; my dad’s calendar; my girlfriend’s calendar. Everyone is in the know about my schedule, thanks to TripIt.” 

What else does he love about traveling with TripIt? “The flight alerts—such as when my gate’s changed or my flight’s delayed—are helpful. I also love reviewing my Travel Stats.”

“But more than anything, TripIt keeps me sane. I’d pay triple the annual fee of TripIt Pro for the peace of mind it gives me,” Peter said. 

‘Travel light, but tech heavy’

Staying organized with TripIt means Peter has more time to enjoy the journey—and the small moments. 

“While I typically use my time on a plane to work, I also like to have some fun. I love to capture time lapses of my flight—so yes, I always book the window seat!”

Peter told me his travel motto is: ‘Travel light, but tech heavy.’ As such, he packs a carry-on bag only, but he also swears by SCOTTeVEST—a clothing brand that makes a travel jacket with myriad pockets for all his gear. 

So, window seat only; carry-on only—what about souvenirs? “I’m always on the hunt for great souvenirs for my daughter,” he shared. 

And while he’s likely off to Asia next (“best hotel breakfasts in the world!”), he thinks everyone should visit Morocco once in their lives. “Specifically, a place called Skoura, Morocco. You won’t see stars like that anywhere else in the world,” he said. 

Any final advice for his fellow travelers? “Practice kindness. Especially now. Especially with your flight attendants.”

Curious to see where Peter is headed next? You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter to keep up with his latest travel tales, tips—and time lapses. 

Catch up on all Going Places features to learn new travel tips, discover underrated destinations, and more. 

About the Author

Amanda Wowk

Amanda Wowk is a freelance writer, founder of Amanda Wowk Creative — a content writing services company — and avid traveler. Her experience spans the travel industry, supporting clientele in travel tech, luxury travel, and consumer brands. When she’s not helping clients tell their stories, Amanda writes about her own experiences to inspire others to travel as far, wide and frequently as possible.




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