If anyone knows luxury travel it’s Paul Johnson. Leading travel blogger and Editor of the hugely popular A Luxury Travel Blog, Paul and family have learned you never regret life’s extravagances.
From helicopters in Lithuania, partying on the hotel rooftops of Shanghai, and skiing in St Moritz, Paul travels all over the world in style. Though he strongly believes it’s a misconception that you have to be rich to travel in luxury, and offers insights into how every traveler can travel in luxury for less.
What inspired you to start travelling?
It’s just something I’ve always done, ever since a young age. I love seeing different parts of the world and experiencing different cultures, food and experiences.
What inspired you to start blogging?
Although A Luxury Travel Blog began in 2005, it was not my first blog. What actually inspired me to start blogging was the birth of our first son in 2004.
I ran a blog for him for a while, just documenting events during his earliest weeks and months. It’s a lovely thing for us to look back on now that he is more than 10 years old!
What defines “luxury” travel?
The person engaged in the travel. Luxury travel is different things for different people so what I see as luxury travel will be different to what someone else sees it as.
For that reason, I would say it’s the individual that’s travelling that defines whether the travel is luxurious or not.
What do you love the most about luxury travel?
Getting to share so many amazing experiences with my family.
Has luxury travel always been your travel style or was there a transformation?
No, I’ve not always travelled in luxury. As a hard-up student, my travels were very different.
I backpacked in Italy and Norway as a teenager, I inter-railed around Europe as undergraduate student, and I camped in sub-zero temperatures in Greenland as a postgraduate (my doctorate was in glaciology).
Tell us about some of your most luxurious travels to date.
Recent trips have included skiing in St. Moritz, going on an Everest flight from Kathmandu, mountain biking through the winelands of South Africa, eating bear in Helsinki, taking a helicopter flight in Lithuania, and attending a party on the helipad of a hotel in Shanghai.
How do you generally travel? Cruise ship, plane, helicopter, private driver?
It depends, but I usually fly.
I have never been on a cruise ship – it’s not especially something that appeals, although I’d make the exception for somewhere like the Norwegian fjords, Alaska, Greenland or Antarctica, or perhaps even a river cruise.
How does one afford to travel in luxury? Are you rich? Or does your blog offset a lot of your costs?
It’s a misconception that you have to be rich to travel in luxury. Indeed, there are some luxury options – such as travelling by private jet or staying in a Presidential Suite – that will usually cost you an arm and a leg, but there are others that are very affordable.
Again, it depends how you define luxury of course, too. In my particular case, my travels are invariably hosted by companies and brands I’m working alongside so my situation is atypical.
Any tips for achieving a luxury trip on a budget?
Sure – I have a blog post outlining 4 ways to travel in luxury for less.
If you’re flexible enough to travel out of season, and open-minded about where you want to go, you can make huge savings.
Are there any downsides to luxury travel?
I’m struggling to think of any! Some will argue that you can’t truly experience a place if you travel in luxury. I beg to differ on that but I can see where people are coming from when they say that.
Sure, if you head for a luxury resort for 2 weeks and never venture out or explore the confines of the resort, then that would be a major downside. But just as there are different definitions of luxury travel, so too there are many different types of luxury traveller.
Which destinations are at the top of your bucket list?
Iceland, New Zealand and Santorini.
Most practical piece of advice for those wanting to try their hand at luxury travel?
Have a loose itinerary but one that is not too regimented. A lot of the fun with travel (not just luxury travel) comes with the unexpected – and unplanned for – encounters.
Why should people splurge and travel in luxury?
Again, you don’t necessarily have to splurge but, as someone once said to us “you never regret life’s extravagances”.
Ever since hearing that, we often now find ourselves recollecting that quote with any decisions that we make (not just travel-related ones). There’s a lot of truth to it!