Dan Nainan is an American comedian who has performed for many celebrities including Barak Obama who found him hilarious. Dan has toured as a featured act with Robert Schimmel and Russell Peters. Dan has appeared on network television including “Last Comic Standing” as well as in feature films, Family Guy, on radio and in an Apple “Get a Mac” commercial, and he performed for Donald Trump in Palm Beach, Florida. He has performed in 27 countries and visited 63.
How many countries have you been to?
Only 63! It’s been wonderful, but I have so many to go. I want to be like you and visit every country in the world. You are my hero! And of course, there’s nothing more satisfying than a passport with extra pages crammed with passport stamps!
How many days have you travelled, approximately?
That’s a tough one! I travelled a ton with Intel, and now as a comedian. I also travelled a lot before doing either of those. I’d say probably at least 2,000 days out of my life. Holy cow, that’s more than five years straight!
What are three of your favourite countries, and why?
Singapore is my favourite. Unlike most people, I love hot, humid weather. I think it’s great for the skin and hair! I also love how clean and safe Singapore is. The people are wonderful as well. And as you know, the official language is English. I love the culture there, and the food is exquisite.
The United States of America
I know I’m a little bit biased since I live here, but I also love the United States. There is so much to see here, and I’ve been to almost all 50 states. There is a tremendous amount of variety and lots of natural wonders. The national park system is pretty amazing. For example, there is very little on earth that can match the Grand Canyon or the volcanoes in Hawaii.
Last but not least, the Maldives is beyond compare. Malé is like a smaller version of Manhattan, New York. Like Manhattan, it’s completely walkable. And this was the first time I remember being picked up at the airport by boat!
Are there any countries you don’t enjoy travelling to?
Brunei was the absolute worst. My flight landed at 2 AM, and there was no taxi or public transport to get me to my hotel. I wandered around the airport for over an hour, trying to figure out what to do. I called my hotel, and they hung up on me, and I tried calling back, but they wouldn’t answer. I actually considered walking the 10 miles with my rollaway bag.
I finally found a security guard who was willing to drive me to the hotel for the equivalent of US $20. He was very kind and sympathetic. I successfully disputed my stay with the hotel on my American Express card. Also, there was literally nothing to do in Brunei. Other than that, I have enjoyed every country.
What are three of your favourite cities, and why?
I love Kuala Lumpur. It’s very similar to Singapore but so unbelievably inexpensive. I went to restaurants with friends, and when the check came, it was so cheap I thought it was a joke.
Honolulu is another favourite. You’re probably sensing a pattern here, I love warm weather. One gets such a feeling of joy and peace when one steps off the plane, and it seems so laid-back. The people are great there as well. And a lot of people there look like me! Everyone tells me they think I’m local until I open my mouth. I’m considering retiring there.
Istanbul is also amazing. So much history and culture and of course, incredible food. The Hagia Sophia is one of the most beautiful sights in the world. Very warm people there as well.
What are three of your favourite hotels or places you’ve stayed and, why?
Blue Force Maldives yacht
Definitely the Blue Force Maldives yacht. For €1900 a person, we stayed on a beautiful, 120-foot yacht for one week, with three meals a day (including a freshly caught tuna) and 17 dives. We swam with sharks, manta rays and a whale shark. This was one of the most memorable experiences I’ve ever had.
I think this is a phenomenal deal compared to Maldives hotels, which I understand run a minimum of US $500 a night, then you are stuck at that hotel and have to eat their very high-priced meals. The yacht took us to islands and atolls all over the country, and we stopped at three different populated islands. One night we had a feast on the beach on an uninhabited island. It was heaven. A few months after we returned, we saw a special on the yacht, two for the price of one, €1300 total!
The Molokai Ranch
The Molokai Ranch was truly paradise. We had a “tentalow” near the beach, which was similar to what is known as glamping these days. It included a shower under the stars. Up the road, there was another part of the hotel with a restaurant and lounge, and more rooms. One of the most beautiful hotel experiences imaginable. Unfortunately, it’s no longer there, which is really sad.
The Oberoi Hotel in Gurgaon, New Delhi, India
It was exquisite. The arrival motor court looks like something out of Fantasia. This is one of the most relaxing hotels I’ve ever stayed in, and the rooms surround a beautiful reflecting pool.
What are the three worst places you’ve stayed?
The hotel in Brunei I mentioned earlier.
The Woodspring Suites in Melbourne, Florida
The hotel was a nightmare. An employee (not one of the housekeeping staff) barged into my room without knocking. And for some reason, this hotel doesn’t have “Do Not Disturb” signs. Maybe if they had them, then employees wouldn’t barge in! The fire alarm went off in the middle of the night and again in the early morning. I’ll always try to contact management before leaving negative reviews, but I was told to email the manager but received no response. Then I tried the corporate headquarters and also got no response. A total nightmare!
Airbnb on Molokai
Years ago, I stayed with my girlfriend at the time in an Airbnb on Molokai. It was terrifying because we heard what sounded like rats crawling in the walls late at night. But this was kind of a blessing in disguise, because we left that hotel and found the Molokai Ranch, which was absolutely out of this world.
What are three of your favourite restaurants, and why?
Venus de Milo
Venus de Milo in Swansea, Massachusetts, makes the most amazing meal I’ve ever tasted. It’s baked stuffed lobster, and you can get a one, two or even a five-pound lobster. The crust on the lobster is truly beyond compare.
One Flew South, Atlanta
I know you’ve probably heard this a lot, but One Flew South in Atlanta is not only the best airport restaurant I’ve ever sampled in the world, it’s a great restaurant in general.
Rumist Cafe, Istanbul
I highly recommend the Rumist Cafe in the Sultanahmet district of Istanbul. Great food, and Ibrahim, the owner, is a really nice guy and bears a striking resemblance to George Clooney!
What are three of your favourite travel moments, and why?
Free upgrade on Qatar Airways
I did a show in New Jersey, and in the meet and greet, an executive from Qatar Airways headed me his card and said, “Let me know if you ever need anything.” On the way back home from shows in Pakistan, I decided to stop in Beirut to explore for a day. I booked a fare from Beirut to Philadelphia through Doha on Qatar Airways. After much procrastination, I emailed the executive and asked if he might be able to upgrade me to business class. He said yes.
The experience was unbelievable. When I checked in, I didn’t even have to provide my name or ID. I guess he had sent them my photo. My boarding passes were ready, and a Qatar representative escorted me to a special luxury bus to the plane, and I was the only one on it. I had a flat bed in business class, and I think they must have blocked the seat next to me because it was empty. So I used one seat for my bed and the other one for my office.
In Tokyo, a city whose complete lack of crime is extraordinary, I saw hundreds of bicycles lined up at a subway station, and not one bicycle had a lock. Try that here in New York City!
Delta VIP treatment in Atlanta
Being Diamond Medallion and a Million Miler with Delta, I’ve always been treated like a VIP by the airline. The most amazing thing happened to me in Atlanta. I had a bit of a close connection, and when I got off the plane, there was a gentleman waiting in the jetway with a sign with my name on it. He told me to come with him, and we went down the stairs to the tarmac, and he drove me to my next flight in a Porsche SUV. I couldn’t believe it. Neither could my friends, until I sent them pictures!
What are three of your worst travel moments, and why?
Anegada Beach Club, the British Virgin Islands
We stayed at the Anegada Beach Club. Anegada is the most remote of the British Virgin Islands, beautiful and secluded. Unfortunately, before making the reservation, I asked the hotel if there was any seaweed on the beaches, and they were completely dishonest with me. When we got there, there was at least 6 feet of seaweed all along the beaches of the resort. I was furious. And the owner wasn’t willing to make any kind of accommodation, ever. That’s never happened at any hotel, anywhere in the world when I had a problem.
Forgot the laptop at a hotel in Mumbai
I was doing a corporate event in Mumbai. I hid my laptop behind one of the pieces of furniture so that it wouldn’t get stolen. Like an idiot, I forgot to take the laptop with me when I left, and I only realised this when I was at the airport! I quickly called the hotel, and they sent someone to deliver the laptop to the airport. I tipped him $50, which in India, is a lot of money, but he well deserved it. Talk about a bonehead move!
Forgot US $3000 in a safe
I got paid in cash for one of my shows in San Diego. I left $3,000 in $100 bills in the safe and drove all the way to Los Angeles. I only realised this after I had gotten to LA, so I called the hotel in a panic, and I had to drive all the way from LA to San Diego, pick up the money and drive back to LA.
What are three of your best travel tips?
A shoe in the safe
This one comes from my friend and travel blogger Johnny Jet. If you put anything valuable in your hotel safe, put one of your shoes in the safe so that there’s no way you can forget whatever is in it. I sure could have used that tip on that stay when I left all of the cash in that safe in San Diego!
Toilet paper in the peephole
Take a piece of toilet paper and stuff it into the peephole. There have been cases where celebrities have been filmed in the nude through the peephole, so why take a chance?
Put the hotel room key on the door handle
I always put my hotel room key on the handle of the door to the room. This way, I never, ever accidentally leave it in the room. Getting locked out of your hotel room can be quite embarrassing in certain situations!
Do you have any little known travel tips?
The right room
I always ask for a room as far away from the elevator as possible. This way, there will be less of a chance you will be woken up by drunk people stumbling in at three in the morning. My ideal room is the top floor, on one end of the building; that way one is surrounded by fewer rooms and there’s no one above you.
Portable bidet bottle
The greatest travel accessory which I take with me around the world (and use at home) is a portable bidet bottle. Not to get indelicate here, but this is much cleaner than toilet paper and as a result, saves money as well, because one uses about 90% less toilet paper – one only needs to use it to dry off. These are available for about $15.