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Stuart Varney on the Cape, Taylor Swift, and keeping his sense of humor

Varney with some of his grandchildren at Sweet Dreams Ice Cream Shop in Chatham.

While he dreams of returning to India, and would like to revisit his old college stamping grounds in London, Stuart Varney, host of the morning show “Varney & Co.” on Fox Business Network, said his favorite place to be is on Cape Cod, specifically in Chatham, where he has family nearby and a home just a stone’s throw from the town’s quaint Main Street. “It reminds me a lot of England and there’s a lot of England in Chatham,” Varney, 75, said in a recent phone call from his home in Hoboken, N.J. “It’s a close-knit society and it’s just got that charm that has not been spoiled — and that’s a big deal. I like the church bells that ring. … I’m in the middle of Chatham and can hear them all the time. And the stores on Main Street are different and interesting. There are no chains, there’s no fast food. … It’s not like a trip into the past; it’s like a trip into the best present and I like that.” Varney also likes — and said he is excited about — hosting his first presidential primary debate. “To me, it’s a very, very big deal,” he said of his role in the second Republican candidates’ square-off on Sept. 27. “I think, frankly, it’s the highlight of my career. It is an honor.” In addition to his daily morning business show, which focuses on economic issues facing the country, the Derby, England, native serves as host of Fox Business Prime’s “American Built,” a series that showcases the ingenuity behind some of the country’s most iconic landmarks. We caught up with Varney, who has six children and 11 grandchildren, to talk about all things travel.

If you could travel anywhere right now, where would you go?


I would like to travel in India again. I was there as a young traveler in the 1970s and found it to be the most spiritual place in the world. I’m sure it has changed enormously since I was there, but I have not been back, and it would be a delight to see. Same thing with London. Even though I was at college there — 50 years ago — I have not been back since the 1990s. Again, I’m sure things have changed a lot, but it would surely be fascinating.

Where was the first place you traveled to after COVID restrictions were lifted?


My [tree] farm in upstate New York. I had to work from a very small apartment throughout the pandemic, so escaping to the woods seemed the best thing to do.

Do you prefer booking trips through a travel agent or on your own?

I am fortunate in having a daughter who is brilliant, technically, and has my interest at heart. So she organizes my travel. She is very, very efficient.

Thoughts on an “unplugged” vacation?

I’m not sure what an “unplugged” vacation would be like, but if you mean getting away from my phone, the answer is no way. I happen to like living on my phone and feel it to be a great connection with the world outside. I don’t want to lose it just because I’m on vacation.

Do you use all of your vacation time or leave some on the table?

I do not use all my vacation time. Fox generously provides me a great deal of time off, more than I actually want to use.


What has been your worst vacation experience?

My worst vacation goes back to my childhood in England. My dad would get maybe a week off in the summer and we would often go to an English seaside resort: Blackpool, Skegness, [or] Scarborough. The problem was always the weather. There’s nothing more dreary than an English seaside resort in the rain, and it rained often. I can’t remember a specific year that was bad, but I do remember several.

Do you vacation to relax, to learn, or for the adventure of it all?

There is a very easy answer to that: I relax, even though I have my phone with me.

What book do you plan on bringing with you to read on your next vacation?

I have two books that I am currently using as vacation reading: “I, Claudius” by Robert Graves, a really fine piece of Roman history; and “Peter the Great” by Robert Massie, a fine piece of Russian history. I don’t know why, but I tend to read history, whether I am on vacation or not.

If you could travel with one famous person/celebrity, who would it be?

I would love to travel with Taylor Swift. To be around a talent like that, the greatest of the age, in such exciting circumstances would be a brilliant vacation. Not relaxing, and also not going to happen!


What is the best gift to give a traveler?

I don’t give gifts to anyone other than family and occasional friends. I travel often, so if I got in the habit of bringing back souvenirs or little gifts here and there, it would never end. And I’m not very good at selecting presents suitable for anyone.

What is your go-to snack for a flight or a road trip?

That’s easy: a banana and breadsticks.

What is the coolest souvenir you’ve picked up on a vacation?

I never bring back souvenirs. Wait, I take that back. In the 1960s I spent a year in east Africa [in the British Peace Corps] and brought back a Masai spear. I’m not sure I could bring that back these days.

What is your favorite app/website for travel?

My favorite app is Flightradar24, which lets me track any flight anywhere in the world. A valuable travel app.

What has travel taught you?

If anything, travel has taught me to have a sense of humor. Things go wrong when you travel, and if you let it get to you, the travel experience is ruined. Somehow you have to find it within yourself to smile and look at the problem from a distance. Not always easy.

What is your best travel tip?

Very simple: Take the first flight out in the morning, always take a direct flight, [and] never check bags. You may think that never checking bags is impossible, but I’ve done it, and I have traveled with six children.


Juliet Pennington can be reached at