To celebrate a year since the official Travel Snob website went live, we interviewed Travel Snob owner, David Walker to find out his own holiday stories and secrets!
David is arguably the most travelled person you’ll ever have the pleasure of talking to. He has travelled over 5 million miles, been to 112 countries, visited over 100 hotels and 1000′s of restaurants around the world so who better to talk to about where to travel to next?
Why do you enjoy travelling?
DW: “Travelling’s about the stories you can tell, you can go to any dinner and meet anybody and talk about your travels. Everyone one will always be interested in your story. Even if you have a crap time, you still have disastrous tales to tell!”
Best holiday you have ever been on yourself?
DW: “An impossible question! [Laughs] I’ve got loads of really good ones- that’s why I love my job! I’ve been on so many amazing holidays. But a stand out would have been our ‘Posh Peru’ trip, we expected it to a bit grim and dirty but we stayed in the most amazing hotels and ate amazing food and saw some pretty superb things. And when we got to Machu Picchu it was a case of, how do we top this?
I also love Havana. Cuba is not the Caribbean paradise that you think it will be but Havana is just an amazing city with the brilliant music and incredible vibes. You haven’t really ever been to Cuba [if you haven’t experienced holidays in Havana]. It’s like going to Birmingham on holiday and saying you’ve been to London!”
Best hotel you’ve ever stayed in?
That would be in Hotel B in Lima- it was just incredibly quirky. Also the people that went into the bar, that lived in Lima, were just the most interesting people you’ve ever spoken to in your life.
Most memorable moment you’ve ever experienced abroad?
Watching the sun come through the sun gate in Machu Picchu or… missing a flight out of Útila in Honduras! I jumped on a ferry but [I] didn’t know where the ferry was going, got to the airport to be told my flight had gone and the next flight wouldn’t take me to get my connection. Luckily, the lady said ‘don’t worry there’s only 7 other passengers on the flight, I’ll get them to come early.’ Got an hour early flight. My favourite airline is Sosa Airlines in Honduras because of that reason!
Is there one place you haven’t been that you really want to go to?
Madagascar. [said without hesitation] The only place I haven’t been to that I really want to go to.
Any particular reason why?
Cos’ it’s there [Laughs]. It’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to go but never really had the guts to do, or the time- it’s not easy to get to. But I will be going there next year.
What’s the best city break you’ve been on?
“I love Beirut, I love Havana and I love Budapest.
With Havana it’s the atmosphere, but it’s quite a long way to go for a city break. I think New York is amazing. I love, love, love New York. And Budapest was surprisingly better than we thought it would be- and really, really cheap. We ended up eating at the Four Seasons and the Ritz all the time because it was so incredibly cheap.
I also adore Cape Town as well for a city break. It’s nine hours [the flight] but it’s overnight. Cape Town is perfect because you don’t miss any time. There is no time difference, it’s overnight flight there and back- get there for Saturday morning, go to a party Saturday night and be back in London by 5:30am on Monday morning.
Like with Toronto or New York, you catch up with the time difference over night on the way back. So you can go to New York on a Friday morning, be there for lunchtime and leave Sunday night and be home for Monday morning.”
Can you share just one of the memorable trips you’ve helped organize for a customer?
I met a lady at a networking meeting wanting a weekend away in Madrid, Spain. But two weeks later she was heading out on a trip to South America with her daughter. What started out as a weekend away ended up as a trip of a lifetime to the Galapagos Islands; she rebooked the same trip again for next year with her son. She just wants an adventure; we’re looking at going to Alaska or Antarctica for her next one.
If there were one holiday you would suggest everyone go on, what would it be?
I think probably the Maldives. Everyone should experience a few nights in the Maldives. Just for that beach, the ocean and the snorkelling and diving.
3 things you always take away with you?
My music, my phone and my laptop so I can do bookings. I’ve been away 16 times this year and got three more trips to do but I’ll still be working!
Who is the most interesting person you’ve met while travelling?
Madonna. It was a British Airways flight, she was 1A and I was on 2A. I got moved, normally I’m on 1A and was like ‘someone must be really important to move me’ and then I realised it was Madonna in front of me.
If you could only ever holiday in one place again, for the rest of your life, where would it be?
New Zealand because it’s so diverse and the wine is good and cheap!
Describe in 3 words what your customers are getting when they book with you?
“Experience. Customers are able to utilise my knowledge of places to guarantee they will have an amazing holiday.
A Friend. My customers can just be honest about what they want from a holiday and I can be honest with them. You don’t get that online or with other travel agents.
Availability. I am available 24/7. I think the difference between me and booking online is that everyone has my mobile number. Someone rang me up whilst they were on holiday saying the hotel were charging her for the kids club and so I just rang the hotel and got the kids club for free for the rest of the week because it wasn’t on anything we had been told where as if you booked that on Expedia what can you do? Just pay for it? That’s an extra £280 a week.
The only reason I don’t answer my phone is when I’m asleep or when I’m on holiday partying [laughs] because otherwise I would be giving out first class upgrades to everyone!”
If you’re as impressed by David’s travelling as we are, why not book a trip with him and find out just how great the Travel Snob experience is? Have a chat with David today on 07990 018018.