An Interview with David Walker, The Travel Snob

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.

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Hotel B in Lima, Peru


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.

 

Top 5 Places to Spend New Year  

New York City, New York

Millions descend on New York’s Time Square for a ‘once in a lifetime’ New Year’s celebration, dating all the way back to 1906.

Head to New York and experience the dazzling lights, bustling energy of Times Square and watch the ball drop to celebrate the end of the year. Afterwards, continue the celebration and head out to a New Year’s party. The One World Observatory hosts an amazing get-together where you can enjoy the view from the tower overlooking the entire city while you indulge in the open bar and DJ until 1am.

And for families who don’t want to miss out on all the fun, parents and children alike can enjoy Central Park’s midnight fireworks. While you wait for the fireworks you can relax in the park with a hot drink and some warm snacks of your choosing from the many street food vendors they have.

South Lake Tahoe, California

Skiers, snowboarders and music fans will love this celebration of the New Year. SnowGlobe Music Festival combines music with the mountains, bringing together the world’s best musicians with the best snow conditions.

If you want to celebrate the New Year skiing down Californian mountains in the mornings and chill out, listening to EDM in the evenings- this is the place for you!

Paris, France

Bonne année! Spend New Year’s Eve sipping wine with friends in the bar of your hotel, clubbing the night away in the centre of Paris or eating a meal with a view of the beautiful city; whatever the way you spend New Year in Paris, you’re guaranteed to have an amazing time. The ultimate way to New Year in Paris is heading to the street party along the Champs-Élysées where tourists and locals join as one to celebrate New Year together.

Hawaii

A New Year’s Eve in Hawaii is a celebration that boasts gorgeous weather, breathtaking views and lively parties going ‘til early hours. Whoever you are, you will find a celebration for you. From stunning firework displays perfect for all the family or Romantic River cruises where you can toast a glass of champagne to the New Year.

Sydney, Australia

A rival to New York’s stunning New Year celebration is the spellbinding display of fireworks in Sydney, Australia. Be the first to celebrate the start of 2017 with Sydney’s six-hour celebration. The night begins with entertainment and displays with water and planes before a ceremony is held to celebrate aboriginal Australian culture. Then it’s time for the fireworks! Centered over the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge, the stroke of midnight is started in spectacular fashion with a 12-minute firework display captured in the habour below.

Wherever you choose to spend your New Year’s, you’re guaranteed to have a fabulous time when you book your celebration with me. Contact me today on david@thetravelsnob.co.uk or give me a call on 07990 018018.

A year in the life of a Travel Agent !

I cannot believe I am writing this so soon – where has the year gone?

As a quick update for you all – this has been one hell of a year.  I could not have done this without my amazing customers, who I prefer to call friends, you have all been stars – thank you so much for the recommendations – I am almost at the stage now where there is no need for me to advertise, as you guys seem to be like my very own sales team.

January started on such a high – the busiest month in Sales and I managed to break the record for the most sales in one month totalling £186’000 – Iimg_7614 was busy.  I am looking forward next month already – with enquiries already starting to pile in..

 

As I had just turned 50 – it was a BIG trip planned with friends  – a few days in Hong Kong – one of favourite cities, and then to Da’Nang in Vietnam, my first ever Spa Inclusive Hotel at the Fusion Mia which has won the award several times for Best Spa Hotel in Asia – and we loved it…

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February I rewarded myself with a little weekend in Paris – one of my favourite places to go for a few days, staying at the wonderful Hotel Josephine and of course a visit to La Duree where they sell the best macarons in the World!  img_8058

 

 

 

 

 

 

March – any year isn’t a year without a short break to Cascais just outside of Lisbon, I just love this place and with our favourite restaurant just steps away from the amazing Farol Design Hotel this is the place where we return to each year – although nothing booked so far…  Hint Hint Georges!!!

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April was one of the Franchise Retreats in Marbella The Travel franchise assisting the new recruits on how to run their business and hopefully catch me up in Sales!

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May – and my first trip to the Caribbean of the year and a Stay at Sandals Royal Plantation in Jamaica.  Its pretty good writing ‘my first trip of the year to the caribbean” almost sounds like I am showing off.   I loved it here – so much that I have booked to go back in 2017 already.

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June – and as I said – my second trip to the Caribbean – another Sandals trip to see ALL the hotels in St Lucia and then Antigua, which I absolutely loved.  I have become one of Sandal’s Top Sellers as a result of my trips now, and find it really easy to select the right resort for people. I love my job!

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July – We went to Italy for a long weekend to the Christening of a friends beautiful daughter, then up to Lake Como the North of Milan, Villa D’Est has to be one of the most romantic hotels in the world, in the most stunning of locations.

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It was weird waking up on our last day in Italy thinking to ourselves – yeah – we’re going on holiday tomorrow!!  As the day after we got back from Italy we went to Madeira for the first time ever.  I loved it.  Was really surprised at the high level of accommodation and amazed myself at the quality of the food.  That won’t be my last trip to Madeira for sure.

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August – a weekend in Budapest.  We were lucky to be there for St Steven’s day and saw the most incredible Firework Display.  I fell in love with Budapest too.

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September – a weekend trip to Amsterdam – staying centrally and doing our usual SegWay city tour.  We managed as we usually do in many cities, to track down a Lebanese Restaurant and loved it.  We really enjoyed the city and of course the food in general.

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I also went to Crete with friends for a fly n flop – staying in Malia – we rented a Villa with stunning views of the Mediterranean in a Hotel Complex which was to Die for – complete rest and relaxation, with the usual space you get with a villa, but with room service and of course cleaned three ties a day!  Bargain!

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October – this was the only month other than January where I did not actually go away!  Although I did attend another retreat in Marbella in September which ran into the 1st of October so maybe we can count this?

November – saw me heading off to Mauritius for 12 days of hotel visits.  I now feel as if I am the total expert on Mauritius having visited all the coasts and really got to experience many of the hotels here.  What an amazing trip that was? Mauritius suites just everyone, families, friends or couples wanting a bit of spoiling and romance – there are a few hotels on my personal list i shall be going back to for sure.

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December – wow you have come round quickly – When I got back from Mauritius I flew up to Scotland to the Trump Turnberry for the UK Travel Awards – where I only went and got the Winner of Winners Award for being the Best UK Travel Agent…   I was shocked!!

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I am heading to Lapland this week to see Santa and the day after we get back, we fly to Puerto Rico for a weeks relaxation – after all this traveling I am certainly go to need it..

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I have had the most amazing year and as I said – I have just the best customers in the world that I send all over the world.  Thank you to you all – may you have a great Christmas and New Year, I know lots of you are already away celebrating – I will raise a glass to you all wherever you are in the world.

Already booked for 2017 we have Copenhagen, Geneva, The Bahamas and Jamaica…  So I need to get plenty more trips in to beat this year…

Thank you Thank you Thank you to everyone who has supported me this year and I look forward to helping you all allover again in 2017..

If someone is reading this that is not yet a customer – then feel free to contact me on +44 (0) 7990 018 018 or drop me an email at David@thetravelsnob.co.uk