Travel Style: Darrell Wade

Want to know how to travel in style, just like the pros? We check in with frequent fliers to find out how often they fly, their favorite destinations and what they never leave home without.

Darrell Wade

Darrell Wade

Name: Darrell Wade

Occupation: Co-founder of adventure tour operator Intrepid Travel

Hometown: Melbourne, Australia

Residence: Australia

College: University of Melbourne

College major: Marketing

Website: www.intrepidtravel.com 

Twitter: @Intrepid_Travel 

Facebook: /intrepidtravel

YouTube: Intrepid Travel

Bio: Following University Darrell had a series of jobs that proved what a terrible employee he really was. Fortunately these jobs were punctuated by extensive periods of travel, and it was during one of these periods that he and his co-founders hatched the idea for Intrepid Travel. They wanted to take people off the beaten track in an affordable and engaging manner where travelers learnt something of the destination they were travelling in, whilst having an absolute ball at the same time. It had never been done before which meant that it was either a crazy idea destined for failure, or a reasonable idea if they could figure out how to do it! 25 years later they’re starting to figure it out. Intrepid is now the largest adventure travel company in the world taking over 300,000 clients to 100 countries around the world every year. And not only are they travelers having fun—so are they! 

How often do you fly? Internationally about 8-10 times a year. 

How many countries have you been to? Not sure, but over 100.

How many continents have you been to? 6

Earliest travel memory: It was 1967 and I was 6….My first trip out of Australia and it was to Hawaii. It was dusk and this guy in a grass skirt ran past with a flaming baton. Now where I came from in the 60’s you didn’t see guys in grass skirts, less alone twirling flaming batons! Anyhow he ran along the beach lighting kerosene lamps all the way…It was the most magical thing I had ever seen—and got me hooked on travel forever!

Favorite American city: New York.

Favorite international city: New York (it’s international for me!), but otherwise Paris. 

Least favorite country: That’s tough! They all have their good points. Having said that though, I struggled to find them in Burkina Faso. 

Country with the meanest immigration officers: USA (sorry!).

Favorite World Heritage Site: Pagan, Myanmar (Burma).

Favorite airline: Emirates.

Favorite aircraft type: A380.

Aisle or window: Window—there is so much to see out there!

Favorite airport lounge: The Qantas First Class lounge in either Sydney or Melbourne.

Favorite U.S. airport: That a contradiction in terms: As much as I love America, you’re airports aren’t great!

Favorite international airport: Schiphol, Holland—it works!

Favorite hotel: il San Pietro, Amalfi Coast, Italy—sublime!

Favorite cruise line: I don’t cruise! I travel for adventure.

Favorite travel credit card: I see them as interchangeable, except perhaps Amex which globally is still not as accepted.

Favorite island: Boracay, Phillipines in the 90s, but it has changed. Zanzibar, Tanzania is still pretty special!

Favorite beach: Lorne, Great Ocean Road, Australia. I learned to walk there and I still get there several times a year.

Favorite fancy restaurant: Browns, London—I ate there on my first trip to London, and again on my most recent 40 years later: When a restaurant hasn’t changed all in all that time, it has the right to be called a classic!

Favorite hole-in-the-wall: The no-name restaurant on the beach at Isle de Saints, Guadeloupe. The best lunch I have ever had in my life, including lobster straight out of the water in front of us!

Favorite bar: Any of about 20 in the Lower East Side, New York.

Favorite fruit: Mangoes in Niger, West Africa—perfect!

Favorite food: Pizza, but only when done well, and generally only in Italy.

Least favorite food: Bananas—a shame as they are a traveler’s staple and found everywhere!

Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Champagne—it just gets you in the mood for life!

Favorite travel movie(s): I like to watch movies when I travel—not watch movies about travel. Why be voyeuristic when you can be there in real life?

Favorite travel show(s): No, don’t really do those either!

Favorite travel book(s): Nope! See comment re movies and TV!

Right now I am reading: The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau.

Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: AFAR, Get Lost, National Geographic Traveller (UK edition).

Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course!  Amazingly, not sure I have one!

5 things you bring on a plane: My luggage! (I only ever have carry-on—even for longer trips.) Specifics would include my iPad and Bose Headphones.

What do you always seem to forget? I don’t really forget things, but this might be because I’m a minimalist when it comes to packing in the first place. Heavy bags just weigh you down, make things slower and reduce your flexibility.

What do you like least about travel? Airports and jetlag. The flying itself I really enjoy, though I’m lucky because I’m at the pointy end these days.

What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? I would probably disown them if they bought something from a duty free store—it’s almost all unnecessary rubbish, even the premium brand stuff. Do we really need this stuff in our lives?

Favorite travel app(s): TripIt, Google Maps, Evernote, Skyscanner, Wikihood+, XE currency.

Most embarrassing travel moment: Paying a $100 bribe to a person I thought was a customs official so I could get a truck across the border and into Nigeria. It turned out he had nothing to do with anything, but told everyone I was a soft touch and it ended up costing me heaps to the truck through!!  It’s the first and last time I’ve ever bribed anyone! 

Worst travel moment: Being utterly lost in Dhaka, Bangladesh once and being unable to communicate with anyone—it was only a few hours, but it wasn’t pleasant.

What’s your dream destination: Generally anywhere that is new, beautiful and exciting—despite my already long list of travels, the wish list gets longer every year!

Favorite travel charity: The Intrepid Foundation—but then I am a director, so I’m biased! We distribute funds directly to about 40 fantastic, small independent NGOs in developing countries. We like to think we’re helping make the world a better place. 

Best travel tip: Don’t stress and go with the flow! People worry too much when they travel; the trick is to revel in the unknown and embrace the difference in your destination. Do that and you’ll have a good time!

Comments

  1. Loved Darrell’s post on his travels. What an interesting and fascinating man. Would be fun to meet him in person. But, you never know who you will meet when you travel…

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