The Daily Telegraph - Travel
Harlan Coben Author
How often do you travel?
I travel six to eight weeks a year for book promotions. But Americans are stingy with holiday time. My wife is a paediatrician and we have four children who play sports, so it’s hard for us to get away. But last year I took three of the kids to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. I love the treacherous rides.
What do you need for a perfect holiday?
There are times when I want an active holiday. But more and more I’m looking to stay on the beach, hang out in a wading pool, eat well and play golf with the boys. I feel like I have a very narrow window left with the kids, whose ages range from 15 to 22, before they all lead their own independent lives, so my priority is to make as many memories with them as I can.
Your favourite golfing destination?
In Florida, there’s a place with two courses called Streamsong, 90 minutes’ drive from Tampa. It’s like a boys’ club and the rooms look like man caves. I went with friends last year. After golf, we had steak, red wine and hearty discussions.
Earliest memory of travelling abroad?
My grandfather had a travel agency and we would get the spare seats on charter planes to Europe. When I was 12, I’d already been to Rome, London, Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam. The most memorable would be the first time I went to Italy and saw Michelangelo’s David. A few years ago, I took my kids to Italy and to see them react in a similar way was really incredible.
Most remote place you’ve been?
My son Ben loves to fish, so we went to Laramie, Wyoming, in the middle of nowhere. We drove for hours and stayed in a cabin. There was nothing around and I was terrified all night. Fishing is boring but it was about making memories with my kid. We did similar trips salmon fishing in Alaska and shark fishing off the coast of Georgia.
Most relaxing destination?
We love Costa Rica. We’ve stayed mainly in the Four Seasons Resort in Guanacaste. You feel you’re in another country, yet with all the comforts of home. We’ve visited the Arenal volcano and we go zip-lining, which my wife hates but the kids and I love. We’ve also stayed in a villa on a mountain overlooking the water and the only time the spell was broken was when a monkey jumped into our room. We closed the window and I’ve got a great picture of it trying to get back in.
Favourite book festival location?
Bouchercon, the world’s largest mystery literature conference, which is going to be in New Orleans again this year. New Orleans is one of my favourite cities. There’s Mardi Gras and a wonderful Second World War museum. In Mother’s
The Covent Garden in London. There’s something boho-luxurious about it and you can’t beat the location. It features in my next book.
Paris. It makes me want to write. Everything is raised to the 10th power in Paris. The food tastes better, the romance is better. I love walking in the gardens at the Rodin Museum and going to a cheese shop called Cantin. The owner and I have become friends. One of the coolest meals I’ve had was in her basement, with her favourite cheeses and red wine. We don’t have cheese in America. We have cardboard.
Most memorable meal?
At elBulli in Catalonia. My brother has a house on the
Your one travel essential?
For the plane, noisecancelling headphones and an app called Brain Wave, which plays comforting ambient sounds so you can sleep.
What do you hate about holidays?
Waiting at airport security.
Bermuda in June. It’s the first time in ages that I’ve got all four kids together. I’m looking forward to a beautiful time on the beach. Harlan Coben’s latest novel, Fool Me Once (Century, £18.99), is out now. His television series The Five can be seen on Sky on Demand