How I Vacation: Pete Souza On the Ideal Locations He Frequented With President Obama

Even though he’s at the moment locked down in Madison, Wisconsin, former official White Household photographer Pete Souza made use of to have a journey everyday living handful of can visualize. He accompanied President Ronald Reagan and President Barack Obama in the course of their terms, from the mundane times all over the West Wing to boarding Air Drive 1 for appointments overseas—and what he has to say about people flying ordeals may possibly shock you.

A new documentary, The Way I See It, follows his job and some of his most memorable times with Obama. In anticipation of the movie, which is in theaters now and debuting on MSNBC on October 16, Souza chatted with Condé Nast Traveler about presidential planes, the U.S.’s most underrated destinations, and the finest places he observed with the 44th president.

The vacation he would like to consider as soon as it is safe:

I want to see my mother. She just turned 94, and I have not seen her for about 6 or eight months, and she’s in Massachusetts, so that’ll be the to start with vacation that I make.

How he packs his tools for excursions:

My packing is very chaotic. It really is quite past minute. What I try to do on a work vacation, if it includes photographing, is I have a small have-on bag that I am able to pack all my cameras in. It’s smaller sufficient that I can put it in the overhead bin. A single of the factors I check out to do is check in as early as I can, so that I’m one of the initial groups to board the plane from time to time I pay back added for that for the reason that I will not want to examine that bag.

The struggles of getting digital camera machines by safety:

Back again in the day of movie, it was a great deal far more tough. [Now,] I’d say a 3rd of the time, TSA will flag my bag and go by means of my digicam stuff, but I attempt to individual out all the batteries and items like that. So commonly, it’s not significantly of a challenge.

How he spends his airplane time:

Just one thing that I always consider to bring is sounds-cancelling headphones, and in some cases I am listening to audio or a podcast—I hear to a good deal of images podcasts. Sometimes I am going to read through as an alternative, or I’ll be wanting at shots on my notebook. Sometimes I check out a film, but that’s only ordinarily on a cross-place excursion or a overseas journey.

A surprising aspect of traveling on Air Drive A person with President Obama:

For the to start with 6 yrs there was no Wi-Fi. That was remarkable to me.

And the in-flight eating on Air Power One particular:

The foods was shockingly good, except that dessert arrived with each and every meal. I finally had to explain to the flight attendant, “Don’t ever place dessert on my tray all over again, simply because if it can be on my tray I am heading to try to eat it.” And so, I usually sat in a conference home with a several other persons, and everyone would get their lunch tray and all have dessert. I would not have dessert. Each after in a though I would see [a] dessert and I might seem at the flight attendant, and he’d know specifically. He’d go, “Ok I’ll get you just one.” It was really great!

The ideal spots he’s at any time been, for do the job or own vacation:

One and the same—it’s just likely to Hawaii. I love Hawaii. We went there every single year because that is in which [the Obamas] would invest Christmas. For me, it was usually the new areas that I preferred finest. So, the very first time I went to the Pyramids [was] with him I went to Petra, Jordan, with him I went to Stonehenge with him. Like when I went to the Terrific Wall with him, it was not that major of a deal to me for the reason that I had been there in 1984 with President Reagan.