WHAT’S THE BEST GROUP TRIP YOU’VE BEEN ON?
I went as part of a coach trip when I was 20 to Paris from the North of England. I was dreading it, but the company that I travelled with had paired people up based on answers about themselves and so from the meeting point to the arrival, through to the trips we went on, I had a really good time and met some amazing people, a few of whom I am still friends with now.
WHAT’S THE WORST GROUP TRIP YOU’VE BEEN ON?
When I was a teenager we went on an organised trip for students across Europe for 18 days. Every step of the pre-flight experience was really difficult, the staff had no idea what was going on and they were more occupied in up-selling trips to us than they were in specific requests for hotel types and locations. It seemed like they had a list of preferred suppliers for the trips and if you wanted something outside of that then they ignored you. My hotel was robbed, I lost my passport and came home with more than just the holiday blues.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE UK DESTINATION FOR A GROUP DAY OUT?
There are so many places that I love in the UK. London is my adopted home and always will be, so I love it here and promote it as much as I can, but I have to say I have a personal synergy with Newcastle. Everything about the city makes me smile and I always have the best time there.
WHAT DO YOU THINK MAKES A GOOD GROUP EXPERIENCE?
Pre-planning and organisation. Don’t be led on where to go and what to do when you get there, if a particular place or attraction doesn’t fit your budget, always call them. Nine times out of 10 they will accommodate you based on what you have – especially for groups – which are the bread and butter for a lot of places.
WHAT DO YOU ALWAYS PACK?
I always make sure that I have got my iPad with lots of pre-downloaded material. If anything goes wrong, or the weather doesn’t behave the way you would like, then you have a great fall back plan plus you can spend that time researching the area.
AND WHAT DO YOU LEAVE OUT?
Family. Never travel with a large family group. It’s awful, and it isn’t the making for a nice time.
WHAT WAS YOUR MOST RECENT GROUP TRIP?
The last group trip I went on was probably in 2008 when I went to Italy on a trip with 17 people who were all travelling alone. Again, it was one of the most memorable trips I have ever done. I love chatting to new people and hearing about their lives, so for me these singles trips are the best.