By Jae-Ha Kim, Tribune Content Agency
Celebrity Travel by Jae-Ha Kim
9:30 AM EDT, September 30, 2013
After making a name for himself on WE tv's "My Fair Wedding," celebrity wedding planner David Tutera's back with another reality series on the cable network: "David Tutera: Unveiled." An avid traveler, Tutera says, "My travels have always been an inspiration for my business. It opens my mind up to designs, culture and food. Travel allows me to see how other people live. I find all of the vast diversity in even our own country fascinating. The things I've seen and the people I've met have truly expanded my design capabilities and permeate every aspect of my career." Fans may follow Tutera on Twitter at https://twitter.com/DavidTutera.
Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
A. Italy. First of all, give yourself enough time to enjoy all of the amazing sights. Spread out your journey because Italy has so many different areas that you should explore. What I always like to do is go to the popular places, even though they are touristy, because I do like to see those spots, but I also try to meander off because that is when I stumble upon the most incredible locations.
Q. What untapped destination should people know about?
A. In Italy people should visit Ravello, a town of 3,000 people on the outskirts of the Amalfi Coast. It's amazing. The Amalfi Coast is known for Positano and Capri -- places that tourists always go to for the incredible sights. Ravello, however, is located on top of a hill and not necessarily on the water, but it is still part of the Amalfi Coast and looks down on all of the beauty. The simplicity of its town square with a teeny little church, the beautiful Hotel Caruso that's there -- you just feel like you're tucked away in the middle of magic and that it's a place that has been untouched.
Q. How about in the United States?
A. Santa Fe, N.M. It's not easy to get to -- there are very limited flights directly into Santa Fe, so you either have to work around these or fly into Albuquerque and drive in. The food and culture are amazing and the diversity of the population is incredible. The art is spectacular and the focus on health is very much about energy and holistic medicine. It's simple and low key. A lot of people don't understand it when they arrive, but it's like Ravello in that you have to allow the environment to introduce itself to you by exploring its space.
Q. What was the first trip you took as a child?
A. The first flight, which I consider my first official trip I took as a child, was to Disney World. I loved it, and still do.
Q. Where is the most romantic destination?
A. Paris is by far the most romantic destination. Venice, Italy, is also pretty spectacular.
Q. If you've ever gone away for the holidays (Christmas, etc.), which was the best trip?
A. I've never gone away for the holidays, but will be doing so for the first time this year when I head to Australia, where I will spend Christmas and New Year's. I'm really looking forward to it. I've always wanted to be away somewhere internationally for the holidays.
Q. What are your five favorite cities?
A. Not in any order: Paris, Rome, London, New York, Chicago.
Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?
A. The Fiji Islands, India, Brazil and Chile.
Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A. My phone, camera and iPad -- not to work on but to enjoy.
Q. What is your guilty pleasure when you're on the road?
A. Believe it or not, I actually do not enjoy shopping in my day-to-day life. However, this changes when I'm on the road, because I love to bring things home that I cannot get where I live.
Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?
A. I ask friends and clients the best places they've been. I don't rely on what I find online or travel agents. It's just like when looking for a new doctor and you ask for a referral. When I travel, I ask for guidance from people I know personally who have traveled to these locations.
Q. What is your best and/or worst vacation memory?
A. Worst vacation memory would be when I went to Fire Island about 25 years ago and they did not have a room for me. I ended up sleeping in the tool shed that was infested with mosquitoes. Another bad memory is when I traveled to Morocco and slept in Casablanca on my way to Marrakesh in a horrible hotel where I woke up with my entire face covered in bug bites. The third worst memory was when I stayed in a "luxury" hotel in Africa. The doors wouldn't lock, the water was brown, there were bugs everywhere and the ceilings leaked. The best vacation memories I have are anything and everything I've done in Italy and Paris.
(Jae-Ha Kim is a New York Times bestselling author and travel writer. You can respond to this column by visiting her website at http://www.jaehakim.com. You may also follow "Go Away With..." on Twitter at @GoAwayWithJae where Jae-Ha Kim welcomes your questions and comments.)