13 Jun Chilled Travel with Luxury Travel Blogger Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson has worked in the travel industry for more than 25 years.
As well as being Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog , he is Director of The Dedicated Partnership Ltd, an internet marketing company that specialises in promoting tourism and Director of a luxury vacation rental business on the edge of the English Lake District, Kendal Holiday Cottages Ltd.
Paul, what made you set up A Luxury Travel Blog and how much of your time is spent travelling, as opposed to overseeing the site?
It started as a labour of love originally. I had worked in the luxury travel industry and had an ongoing interest in the field. Most travel blogs at the time focussed on backpacking and budget travel, and so I saw this as an opportunity to do something a bit different. I would estimate that at the moment I travel for about 1/5 of the year and spend the rest of the time running the site. Most of my travels are with family and we have school commitments that mean we couldn’t easily travel much more than this.
Are you a big city lover?
If truth be known, I’m more of a country person! I live in quite a rural are in the UK, between the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks. But I do enjoy short breaks in cities from time to time. I am just back from Athens and heading out to Shanghai in a couple of days.
Do you have any tips for really getting under the skin of a city rather than doing what all the other tourists are doing?
Speak to the locals. On a recent trip to Helsinki, I chatted to a couple of Finns on the flight and they offered me all sorts of recommendations – not just touristy suggestions but the kinds of things they themselves got up to.
Have you always been into luxury travel, and what exactly does that mean for you?
I have always been into travel, but many of my earlier trips were not of the luxury variety. I youth hostelled in Italy and Norway before University, interrailed around Europe as an undergraduate student, and worked out in Greenland as a postgraduate, camping in sub-zero temperatures.
Indeed, luxury travel is such a loose term these days and means very different things to different people. In my opinion, it isn’t really about lavish furnishings or accessories or anything like that, but much more about the experiences that come with a trip.
What makes a hotel or resort a real luxury one in your eyes, as opposed to a wannabe?
The service. For me, it’s all about people going the extra mile to ensure your stay is extra special.
Which city or cities would you say you are most relaxed in?
Cities with a relaxed atmosphere and plenty of green space. I feel more home with at least a little bit of “countryside”!
If you’ve been on the road, what’s the first thing you do to unwind when you reach your destination?
Explore the immediate whereabouts. Stretch my legs, have a look around and get my bearings. Then freshen up and have a shower.
Is there a particular Soothed in the city moment you’ll always remember – a moment when you just felt so at home and at peace with everything whilst you were travelling?
I think I’m relatively relaxed whenever I travel but I suppose one of the times when I’d have felt most “at peace” would have been on my honeymoon. We had a fabulous time on safari in Tanzania, followed by a stay on an exclusive, private island off Zanzibar.
Finally, travel can be a stressful activity, do you have any tips for making your trip as soothing as possible?
I think good planning helps to minimise stress when you travel. That doesn’t mean to say you need to plan every detail (that can spoil much of the fun!), but thorough planning of the basics can help make a trip run more smoothly.