Virgin Boss, Sir Richard Branson, chats to The Travel Hop about holidays and hot air balloons
Visionary, entrepreneur, founder of Virgin Airlines, and all-round serial globetrotter and adventurer; Sir Richard Branson is a legend in the travel industry. The Travel Hop chats to the billionaire businessman about his favourite holiday, hot air balloon disasters, and flight tips and tricks.
WHAT WAS YOUR BEST HOLIDAY?
Richard pictured holidaying on his beloved Necker Island in the Caribbean
It would have to be Necker as I’ve got so many wonderful memories of the times I’ve spent there with family and friends over the years. There are two occasions that stand out. One was my own wedding over 25 years ago and the other was Holly’s wedding that took place in 2011. Joan and I were thrilled that not only did she choose to have her wedding on Necker but that she chose to get married on the same day as us, which now makes our wedding anniversary even more special.
HOW ABOUT THE BEST HOTEL YOU'VE STAYED IN?
Richard Branson poolside at one of his Virgin Limited Edition hotel properties
It’s impossible to choose out of the Virgin Limited Edition portfolio, each property is small, especially in comparison to the larger hotel chains out there and each one brings soul to the mix; our quirkiness is a nice distinction – you won’t find cookie-cutter hotels in our collection. Every property operates with the sole aim of creating amazing experiences for our guests, but they are run like a home since they are by and large homes.
WHAT DO YOU ALWAYS TAKE WITH YOU?
My notebook always goes everywhere with me.
BEST PIECE OF TRAVEL ADVICE?
Make a plan, get some sleep, don’t fret over jet lag, stay hydrated and try and snag an upgrade!
YOUR WORST EXPERIENCE ON HOLIDAY?
Crossing the Pacific in a hot air balloon didn't go as planned for Richard Branson
I love travelling full stop – so while I’ve had some harrowing experiences, I never look at any of them negatively. Memories are made more when you’re travelling and experiencing new places and cultures – rather than when you’re chained to your desk. But my worst experience must have been crossing the Pacific in a hot air balloon when everything that could have gone wrong did and for three days we were both certain we’d never come home. As it turned out we missed Los Angeles by 3000 miles and ended up in the Arctic.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST PACKING MISTAKE YOU'VE MADE?
I have been known to forget my passport on the odd occasion!
WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO NEXT?
Commercial space travel - with Virgin Galactic - is Richard's next bucket list trip
Space of course - courtesy of Virgin Galactic! Space has always held a fascination for me since I watched the moon landings back in 1969, it’s a challenge but it’s worth it.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE CITY?
Australia's Harbour City, Sydney, ranks as Sir Richard Branson's favourite city on earth
WHAT’S YOUR CARRY-ON ESSENTIAL?
My iPhone and my wallet!
HOW DO YOU BEAT JET LAG?
I try to always regulate my sleeping hours and get as much sunshine as possible. I like to go to sleep at 11pm and be up at 5.30am.
WHEN YOU TRAVEL DO YOU PREFER ADVENTURE OR LUXURY AND WHY?
Adventure travel and staying active is a must for Richard Branson when on holiday
I would probably have to say adventure. You only get one shot at life and I’ve always thought you need to make the most of it. I’ve probably calmed down over recent years, especially now I’m a grandfather but I still like to be as adventurous as possible and stay active as much as I can. My biggest passion sports-wise is kite surfing and something I’m lucky to get to do a lot when I’m on Necker Island.
Virgin Limited Edition is Sir Richard Branson's award-winning collection of luxury retreats and hotels from around the world. Find out more HERE.