MY CLUB • April 2018
The youngest person to visit every country on Earth, Guinness World Record holder and Bronze Executive Club Member James Asquith talks to The Club about developing his own travel app, plus the hotels, islands, and steakhouse that have him dazzled
What destination has inspired you the most?
A little group of Polynesian islands in the South Pacific – one of the furthest places you can get to from London. Vanuatu, Tonga and Tuvalu were the classic untouched, paradise islands; so beautifully remote, they were the perfect place to regroup. The Polynesian culture really inspired me, particularly on Tuvalu. Here, with only one or two flights into the island a week and evening temperatures of up to 40 degrees Celsius, locals play basketball and race motorbikes on the airport runway, even bringing out their mattresses to sleep there at night.
What kind of traveller are you?
As someone who tends to travel to the stereotypically ‘less-safe’ corners of the world, sometimes I’ll go down the luxury route just because those hotels tend often have the necessary security. However, I really see the benefits of budget travel, travelling out of a backpack for months on end, staying in hostels and meeting new people. My kind of travel isn’t always about the place, but always the people.
Could you describe your travel app?
I recently created an app that attempts to remove travelling’s largest cost: accommodation. The idea for Holiday Swap came to me during a trip to Tasmania, where I met so many young people who wanted to explore London and the UK, but didn’t feel they had the necessary connections for a fulfilling trip. I wanted to build a place where budding travellers could create a social map of fellow travellers who will put you up, and will help you out, and are there to hang out with on the other side.
What has been your most memorable hotel experience?
The Maldives is somewhere completely special and unique; each hotel seems to be on its own little island. Although some might think it can be boring, it’s perfect for those ready to accept the simplicity of pure, unadulterated luxury. I stayed at the Kurumba Maldives (below), a gorgeous resort with pristine waters and spectacular food and drink, where you can take in your surroundings barefoot, and completely recharge. For pristine waters and spectacular food and drink, this place has it all.
Your favourite restaurant in the world?
La Cabrera steakhouse, in Buenos Aires. These guys don’t allow reservations, so there’s always a bit of a queue outside, but when I’ve been here the staff always come out with champagne and chorizo to those in the queue. Inside, you can get an amazing steak and half a bottle of red for around £10. I’ll be heading back in a few months – I love South America and can say it's one of my absolute favourite parts of the world.
Why did you first join the Executive Club?
Because I flew British Airways very frequently. There are also lots of perks, including, of course, lounge access when you reach the Silver Tier. I fly long haul at least two-to-three times a month, and usually with BA.
What do you spend your Avios on?
I collect Avios from Amex, and from actual flying. Over the last few years my Avios have paid for upgrades to First class on the Moscow route, multiple transatlantic rewards flights, plus an upgrade to Club World on my journey from London to Buenos Aires. I have used them for onboard purchases, but mostly I like being able to upgrade to Club Europe and taking time to enjoy the lounge at T5.
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