James Asquith is known for being CEO of Holiday Swap and for being the youngest man to visit all 196 sovereign nations in the world. This brave Brit is also known for being rather funny with his honest and detailed reviews of airline/travel/hotel experiences across the world.
We caught up with James whilst he was in London to chat about life and all things travel and life.
Tell us about your company Holiday Swap and why Holiday Swap works.
Holiday Swap is basically a home exchange platform. It has been designed for travellers to securely swap and host their homes across 185 countries. It’s low cost, it’s essentially a network for like-minded travellers, and people who want to travel. It’s also a sharing economy where people can save money, which is really important right now.
Tell us about your life before you used to travel.
I used to work in investment banking. My background is mostly in finance and banking. On top of setting the world record, I used to travel a lot personally as well.
Favourite airline and why?
Either Qatar Airways, Etihad or Singapore Airlines. They always have amazing professional service. It doesn’t matter what cabin you’re in, they are always brilliantly professional, and sell a great hard product (the flight itself) and great soft product – and by that I mean, food, crew, everything.
How do you do your laundry when you are on the move?!
Good question! Anywhere and any way I can really – it can be in sinks, it can be in laundromats, it can be in the accommodation where I’m staying. You just learn to get on with things when you’re living life on the road all the time.
You visited all 196 countries on earth. What is your favourite country and least favourite country?
My favourite country is the US, because of the diversity and culture. You’ve got everything from Hawaii and Alaska, and the natural beauty there, to all of the incredible national parks, and the culture, music and food in the South from Nashville to New Orleans. I never tend to say I have a least favourite country – there’s things I don’t like about certain places, but I wouldn’t say that I hate anywhere.
What is the next record you want to break?
I don’t really have one. I’m not sitting around hoping to chase records. I guess I am one of the most frequent fliers – I’ve taken over 1500 flights now, and I normally take about 150 flights a year, but I don’t go out of my way to try and break records. I didn’t even set out to do that with the Guinness Record when I first started traveling – it just sort of happened.
Favourite global restaurant?
There are too many great restaurants to choose from! My favourite food is Italian, but I never really try to have favourite places, or favourite one offs, because I feel that it just sets you up for thinking that something you try isn’t as good as something you’ve had.
What is next for Holiday Swap?
More expansion this year; we’re looking to grow even more. I think as people start to dream and are wanting to travel again, we’re looking to offer more options and cheaper alternatives for people who want to save on the biggest cost of travel, which is accommodation. We’ve seen a large increase in user interest over the last year as our platform actually saves people money. People will now still want to travel, but be more cost aware in the new economic climate. Not only is Holiday Swap affordable, but it’s a great community as well. We are pushing domestic and regional travel now more which we are finding very popular. We’re in 185 countries as well, so lots more to come from us.
Top tips for managing jetlag?
I don’t even know anymore. I’m all over the place with time zones. I’m always moving around, so I usually just have a few glasses of champagnes (check out the slammer trend me and my friends started on Instagram) and pass out on a flight after I’ve got my work done. I’m usually working in any kind of corner at airports and on planes wherever and whenever I can, so I don’t usually stay in one particular time zone for too long anymore.
Favourite champagne and why?
There’s some great champagnes around – Dom Perignon vintage is always very good. I’m also a big fan of Krug on planes. That’s probably the best champagne I’ve had in the skies – Krug on ANA, although a few other airlines serve it as well.
Favourite continent and why?
Either Africa or South America. I just love Africa – I love the people, I love the enthusiasm of it all. Otherwise South America just for the beauty and variation. It’s crazy if you go from the beaches in the East and Brazil, and the rainforest all the way to the mountains and the Andes, it’s just so incredibly culturally diverse.
‘Happiness is best when shared’ (from the book Into the Wild.)
To discover more about Holiday Swap, visit: holidayswap.com
To watch James Asquith and his fun shenanigans on his new YouTube channel, visit: youtube.com
All imagery courtesy of James Asquith.
View this post on Instagram