Born in Beirut, Lebanon, Marcus Lemonis was adopted as a baby by a Greek family living in Florida. His parents were friends with former Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca, who advised Lemonis to get into the camping and RV business. After making guest appearances on NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice" and ABC's "Secret Millionaire," Lemonis — who's also the chairman and chief executive of Camping World — caught the attention of CNBC. On his reality series "The Profit," the 39-year-old entrepreneur invests cash into failing businesses, teaches the owners how to better their businesses and, hopefully, earn a profit. Fans may follow him @marcuslemonis.
Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
A. Paris. Love the fusion of art, food and culture.
Q. To someone who was going there, what would you recommend that they do?
A. Wear sneakers and see every museum that exists.
Q. What was the first trip you took as a child?
A. I took a cruise from Miami, where I grew up, to the Bahamas, and got terribly sea sick. I threw up every day and I have never gone on a cruise again.
Q. What's the most important thing you've learned from your travels?
A. Be open minded, try new foods, go to new places and be willing to learn. Most people go places and want to eat American food and want to do American things. Open yourself up to learning new things and trying new things and embracing the culture.
Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
A. Walt Disney World. I go twice a year and I love it. It's the one place you can be a kid, act like a kid and get away with it. You can act silly and it's OK. I love to take friends and family and we love the rides. We stay on property — whichever has the best deal, because we don't spend much time in the room. We are at the parks all day. My other favorite weekend getaway is Miami to be with friends and family. When visiting Miami, I stay at either the Biltmore historic hotel in Coral Gables, or I stay in South Beach.
Q. Where is the most romantic destination?
A. San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito, Calif. No televisions. No phones.
Q. What makes a great vacation?
A. For me, the best vacation is one where I can have fun and live differently than I live every day and not be so serious. Lose the suit and tie. When I took my godchildren to Newport Beach, Calif., two years ago, I rented a house and I took four kids and their parents to Disneyland. What's fun about it is watching little kids experience different parts of this country and having fun.
Q. What are some of your favorite cities?
A. Miami, Vancouver, Paris, Denver, Santa Barbara and Chicago.
Q. Where would you like to revisit?
A. I have never been back to Beirut to see where I came from.
Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A. I always have workout clothes with me. When I go away, I look for a yoga studio or spin class nearby.
Q. What would be your dream trip?
A. To tour Italy.
Q. What is your guilty pleasure when you're on the road?
A. Candy. I always try to find a local candy store and get a little bag of gummies and things like that so I could have with me on my travels.
Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?
A. None, because I don't want to read about other people's experiences. I want to have my own experience. If I stay at a good hotel then I know I am going to get good advice. But I don't want to read about other people's expectations, experiences or opinions. I want to go and discover things for myself. I liken it to I don't want to know a lot about a person from you. Let me meet them myself and formulate my own opinions.
Q. What is your best and/or worst vacation memory?
A. Best vacation memory is fishing with my father in the Florida Keys. My worst was when me and nine of my high school friends crammed into a 200-square-foot hotel room in the Keys for spring break. Actually, all of my spring breaks were my worst memories!
(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 @GoAwayWithJae where Jae-Ha Kim welcomes your questions and comments.)Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun