My life in travel: Nicky Campbell, TV presenter

'Japan was so clean, you could eat your sushi off the floor'
  • @SophieLamTravel

First holiday memory?

Going to the Scottish Highlands with my parents and sister. We used to rent a stone cottage with an outside loo in the middle of a bog marsh. I remember it being heaven for me and my sister – we ran around in the sunshine.

Best holiday?

I went with my wife Tina to Trinidad and Tobago for what we thought was going to be our dream holiday, and it was until we got bitten my mosquitoes and both caught dengue fever. Since then, I've been slightly averse to holidays like that.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

The West Highlands, where I go every Christmas, summer and Easter. The Lake District is full of people, whereas the Highlands are deserted. The scenery is almost spiritually overwhelming; I love the grandeur of it.

What have you learnt from your travels?

That in Japan and South Korea, you can't beat your luggage to the airport carousel. I was covering the World Cup there in 2002 and we flew all over both countries. We'd play a beat-the-baggage game, but it would always be there waiting for us by the time we had rushed down. You could also eat your sushi off the floor, it was so clean there.

Ideal travelling companion?

My wife. We can just read or chat or eat.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I'm a mountains and Highlands man. I only holiday in the UK these days. I don't like lying by a pool feeling uncomfortable in the heat, and there's no point sitting in the shade in a hot country because you might as well be at home, by the fire.

Greatest travel luxury?

A trip on which I have time to read for pleasure, rather than just briefing for work.

Holiday reading?

I do a lot of long-haul travel and I enjoy reading on long trips. I might grab a political biography or a history book, but I might also take a biography of Jordan, say, or Posh Spice to get a measure of things. I pick up Heat magazine along with the Spectator and the New Statesman. I like to throw people off the scent at the airport newsstand!

Where has seduced you?

I did a charity walk from the southern tip to the northern tip of Ireland over 13 days. I loved getting up at dawn on a summer's morning and seeing hares gambolling through the fields.

Better to travel or to arrive?

It is definitely better to arrive. I always panic at airports, and I get incredibly tense. Coming back from Sydney airport once, a German man barged in front of me in the queue, and when I pulled him up on it, he told me that he really didn't care. Very immaturely, I did a half-hearted moustache and lifted my arm to him, and he threatened to have me arrested.

Worst travel experience?

Flying back from Trinidad with dengue fever in economy, with a five-hour connection in Barbados.

Worst hotel?

I did the Radio 1 Roadshow for years, and stayed at some gloriously bad hotels around the UK. Sometimes, the worse they are, the better, because of the comedic value. When I was covering the World Cup in Germany, I stayed in a box room where I could touch my bed when I sat on the loo!

Best hotel?

Claridge's in London: the most comfortable bed I've ever slept in, the best shower I've ever had, and the best scrambled eggs I've ever eaten.

Favourite walk/swim/ride/drive?

The A87 to Skye, through Glen Shiel, is unbelievable. I hate being in the driver's seat because I can't look at the scenery.

Best meal abroad?

The food in Japan, because I love sushi. Even the sushi you get at railway-station vending machines is better than the stuff you get in the UK.

First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?

Turn the TV on.

Dream trip?

I would love to go to St Petersburg, because I studied it so much at university.

Favourite city?

I love New York, also London and Edinburgh. I fell in love with Berlin, too, because it has incredible history, wonderful architecture, great restaurants, and it's very multicultural and bohemian.

Where next?

Manchester for work, then to Scotland, and wherever work takes me this year.

Nicky Campbell presents the new 5 Live 'Breakfast Phone-in', 9-10am weekdays, on 909 and 693AM, DAB and