My Life In Travel: Tim Lovejoy, television presenter - News & Advice - Travel - The Independent

My Life In Travel: Tim Lovejoy, television presenter

'I'm jumping on the camping bandwagon'

First holiday memory?

South Wales with my mum and dad. It was brilliant, because it rained all the time. We went swimming in the rain, played badminton in the rain, walked on the beach in the rain. That's what I thought holidays were until I went to the Algarve much later.

Best holiday?

Whistler in Canada. I went snowboarding at the Blackcomb Ski Resort. The snow was great, the people were friendly and the sheer scale of the mountains is amazing. It was phenomenal.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

The Gower Peninsula of Wales feels really untouched. My ex-wife comes from there, so we used to stay with family in the village of Llangennith, go to the beaches with our kids and take lovely walks on Worm's Head, followed by pub lunches. You can really escape there.

What have you learnt from your travels?

Stay away from tourist traps. In my experience, they're usually overpriced and oversubscribed. People spend so much time trying to see sights, rather than just enjoying their time in a place. If you want to have a good time on holiday, find out where the local people socialise and join them. In New York, I went to the same neighbourhood deli three days in a row. On the third day, they asked me if I wanted my "regular".

Ideal travelling companion?

My twin daughters, Grace and Rose. They get so excited about travelling and the three of us have gone off on so many adventures together. We started with Paris years ago, and have just come back from a trip to Stavanger in Norway. We went looking for trolls, visited the fjords and did some fishing.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

My favourite holidays are when I've been snowboarding. Every winter, I try and go as much as possible – to the French Alps, Whistler or northern Italy – and take the kids at least once.

Greatest travel luxury?

Flying business class on long-haul flights – because the experience in the air is as exciting as the holiday itself. I like switching off my phone and knowing there's nothing else I can do except relax. Some people would say it's a waste of money, but I like to make the most of the experience.

Holiday reading?

I always go for non-fiction: autobiographies and books where you try and learn something useful. I recently read SuperFreakonomics by Steven Levitt and Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell.

Where has seduced you?

I love the US. When you arrive in New York and there's steam coming out of the sidewalk. Or seeing all the beach bums and people on their roller blades in LA. It's brilliantly fake – you can't fail to have a good time.

Better to travel or arrive?

Arrive. I remember arriving in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam and being surrounded by a mass of people on bicycles and mopeds, with all these taxi drivers trying to grab my bags and sweep me off. It was exhilarating, slightly scary and nice to be outside of my comfort zone.

Worst travel experience?

Thailand was my idea of hell. It's really overdeveloped and seems to be where British people go on package holidays now. It's like Spain in the Eighties.

Worst hotel?

A hotel in Dubai. I had a two-bedroom suite to myself on about the 100th floor. The whole place felt a bit nouveau riche. I checked out and downgraded to an alternative place.

Best hotel?

The Andaman in Langkawi, Malaysia. It was pure paradise – stuck miles from anywhere with lush beaches and monkeys running around. Luxurious beyond belief.

Favourite drive?

A road trip from San Francisco to Chicago, which was thrilling and terrifying in equal measures. I got pulled over in Salt Lake City, Utah, by the police because my lights had gone. They had guns and shouted at me to "get back in the car" when I opened the door. Being British, that came as quite a shock.

Best meal abroad?

Cake and tea after a day snowboarding. Wherever you happen to be, you come into a nice, warm restaurant feeling exhausted and they give you tea and cake. You're so hungry and need the calories.

Dream trip?

China. I'm desperate to go have a look around and meet the people. Their lives seem so far removed from mine. I think it would be a complete experience.

Favourite city?

Madrid. I used to go there to eat a lot of jamón, drink a lot of cerveza and watch a lot of football. Every year, I try to go on a European city break that involves a bit of football. I've been to Rome, Milan, Barcelona and Madrid for that reason, and also to hang out with the locals in restaurants.

Where next?

I'm going camping for the first time to Eweleaze Farm in Dorset. It seems like all my friends have got into it recently so I'm jumping on the bandwagon. I'm going to embrace the camping culture and see if I like it.

Tim Lovejoy is taking part in 'Celebrity MasterChef' which starts on 5 September at 2.15pm on BBC One.

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