My Life In Travel: Steve Jones

'You can't beat the Beverly Wilshire's ridiculously helpful staff'

First holiday memory?

A family holiday in Tenby when I was about five. It's a particularly nice memory, as my parents were still together and my youngest brother had just been born. I managed to sully the whole experience by breaking my cousin's collarbone by digging a hole in the beach and covering it with a towel.

Best Holiday

Magaluf – but let me explain. I was 17 and it was my first trip away – crucially, without the folks and with the boys. It was like a crazy two-week lawless party seen through the eyes of a clueless 17-year-old boy. I had never seen so many drunk girls in all my life! That first trip away with your friends can never be equalled.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

Snowdonia is an incredible place. In fact, North Wales is difficult to compete with for sheer scale and beauty.

What have you learnt from your travels?

Apart from geographical oddities like the salt plains of Bolivia or Uluru in Australia, I've found that most places are very similar. It's the people who define them and I'm delighted to report that whether it's been the Karen hill-tribe of Thailand or the French, most people are very nice.

Ideal travelling companion?

Definitely a girlfriend. I have always found a romantic train journey or watching a sun set awkward with my male friends. Girls have a certain get-up-and-go quality I find infectious, while my male friends have a certain sit-down-and-get-drunk-in-a-bar quality that I also find infectious.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

All three can be achieved in a day. Three hours on the beach is enough before checking out the old town, and if the mood takes me I can always do that dodgy vertical bungee jump in the evening.

Greatest travel luxury?

My mobile phone. I think people underrate what an incredible travel tool the mobile is. The ability to text, "Hi mum, I'm in the Arctic Circle and it's -33C" is truly astonishing.

Holiday reading?

I have spent a lot of time in Thailand and I was there around the time Alex Garland's novel The Beach was published. Everybody, including myself, had a copy. Whether you were on a boat, on one of the islands or in a bar in Bangkok, every backpacker was reading it. It was a fantastic way to meet new people. To be in the country where it was set felt like you were living it.

Better to travel or arrive?

Arrive. Travelling to the airport with the world's most talkative taxi driver at 4am is not good; queuing in the world's longest queue only to talk to the world's most pissed-off employee is not good; and scurrying around like a rat trying to find a taxi at the other end is not good.

Worst holiday?

Varadero in Cuba has basically been built by the Cuban government to keep people like you and me out of Havana. It's one of those mass tourist resorts that are wonderful in principle but as soon as you arrive you know you've made a mistake. I went for a week-long break alone, assuming I would meet other people, but quickly realised I was the only single person there amid a sea of octogenarians. The highlight of my day was bingo by the pool. After three days, I looked into going home, but was told the only flight out was the one I was due to leave on.

Worst travel experience?

I was in Miami with some friends as Hurricane Frances was due to hit. The whole city was evacuated and it was either leave or bed down in a stadium for a week. We tried to get a flight to anywhere and after 15 hours at the airport we got a flight to Rio. Unfortunately, the plane left without us, because it was full of people and our bags! Twenty-seven hours later, as Frances was on the doorstep, we somehow managed to get a plane to Mexico and arrived with nothing but the clothes on our backs and our passports.

Worst hotel?

There's a hotel on Sunset Strip that I find particularly loathsome: the funky hair-salon in the foyer and the "you're lucky to be here" atmosphere combine to make it most unwelcoming. Throw into the mix several hundred wannabe actor/musician types who party until 7am in every room and welcome to the worst night's sleep you will ever have.

Best hotel?

The Grand Hyatt in Seoul has one of the best city-at-night views I have ever seen. Also, you can't beat the luxury, service, or the ridiculously helpful staff at The Beverly Wilshire in LA (pictured). There are a couple of cracking bars and one of my favourite pastimes is watching women preen over old loaded gentlemen in them.

Favourite walk/ swim/ride/drive?

My favourite drive was London to Le Mans: I go to the 24 Hours of Le Mans race every year with my brothers and some close friends. We drive down in convoy – this year I hired a Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder. French roads are brilliant – big, smooth and empty, plus there are loads of tunnels en route. The growl of this car had to be heard to be believed.

Best meal abroad?

I'm a beef man. Australia is the place to go for the perfect steak, particularly the restaurant at The Excelsior Hotel in Sydney. I still remember the melt-in-the-mouth texture and the "this cow died happy" taste.

First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?

Iron my clothes. I am normally working when I travel and that means getting up very early for days on end. I like to do the lot at the earliest opportunity. Then I hit a bar.

Dream trip?

Space or the Moon.

Favourite city?

London. I've been all over the world and no city that I have been to matches the diversity, excitement and culture.

Where next?

Back to Miami, where I'll be filming T4, then to LA for some meetings. I might be going to the Cook Islands later in the year and Morocco is also on the cards. But first I'm going back to the valleys of Wales to see my mum.

Steve Jones's new show, 'When Women Rule the World', starts on 4 September on Channel 4 at 10.30pm

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Living for the moment: Julianne Moore playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Alice
Jay Z
businessJay-Z's bid for Spotify rival could be blocked
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle v United player ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Nemanja Matic holds the Capital One Cup with Branislav Ivanovic on Sunday
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th-century cartographer created the atlas
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Product Advisor - Automotive

    £17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to the consistent growth of...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Automotive

    £18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity exists for an ex...

    Recruitment Genius: Renewals Sales Executive - Automotive

    £20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity exists for an ou...

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor

    £18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Day In a Page

    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
    Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

    What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

    Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
    The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

    Setting in motion the Internet of Things

    British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
    Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

    Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

    Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
    Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

    Cult competition The Moth goes global

    The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
    Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

    Pakistani women come out fighting

    Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
    Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

    Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

    The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
    LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

    Education: LGBT History Month

    Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
    11 best gel eyeliners

    Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

    Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

    After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot