Scott Mills: My life in travel

'I had a flying phobia, but I'm OK now'

DJ Scott Mills presents for BBC Radio 1 on weekdays at 1pm (bbc.co.uk).

First holiday memory?

Ibiza, when I was about eight. My mum and dad used to take us every year, to the same hotel. I can remember it vividly. It was in Cala Llonga and the hotel was called the Imperial. About five years ago, Radio 1 did a weekend in Ibiza and we stayed right next to that hotel.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

Cornwall. I've done quite a lot of work down there, playing club gigs in Newquay and other places. Also Devon, because I had a lot of holidays there as a kid. The people are really friendly. The South-west can't be beaten if you have the sun.

Best holiday?

Probably the first time I went to Thailand, about 10 years ago. I went with my flatmate at the time, who's still my best friend. I loved it: Bangkok blew my mind because of how crazy it was. It's a massive assault on all of the senses, but then you can fly to the beach afterwards.

What have you learnt from your travels?

No two places are the same. I went to Denmark to cover Eurovision for BBC Three and the year before it was in Sweden, and even those two places are quite different. I think you have to have an open mind. I found Denmark to be quite insular, really, because they've got a nice capital city in Copenhagen, they've got a great economy, they're doing just fine. I quite liked the experience of that though.

Ideal travelling companion?

My mum. She's great because I'm not a very good traveller. When I was younger, I had a really bad flight on the way back from Ibiza and I didn't step on a plane again until I was 20. I had a real phobia of flying. But I've actually turned it around now.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

Total beach bum. That's why I go to Dubai so much. I've got friends there, so I can stay with them.

Greatest travel luxury?

I invested in some quite nice suitcases recently, because I'm away a lot. They're not Louis Vuitton or anything, but I went through a stage of buying really cheap ones where the wheels would fall off as soon as I got them out of the shop. This time, I actually spent a bit of money on matching cases.

Holiday reading?

I don't read on holiday. I listen to a lot of podcasts or tune into local radio stations instead. There's an app called TuneIn which lets you find all the stations, wherever you are. I was in St Lucia at the start of the year. It rained a lot, so I listened to the local reggae stations.

Where has seduced you?

I know everyone loves Barcelona, but I really like Madrid. Every time I go, I have a really good time. The food is amazing and it feels like proper Spain, because not that many people speak English.

Worst travel experience?

Croatia about three years ago. I was in the airport in Split and over the public address came: "flight cancelled" and I thought, "Oh, great." Everyone was trying to book into a hotel, so there were no rooms. But what happens is, outside any airport or port in Croatia, there are a group of old ladies who stand there with a laminated folder of their house and you can basically choose one to stay in for the night. I had no other option, so I went to one of the grannies, asked how much and ended up spending the night. It was very nice actually. I walked in and her husband was drinking red wine, so they offered me some and I used her internet to book a flight home the next day.

Best hotel?

The Burj al Arab in Dubai. It's actually a bit too much. Every five minutes, someone's knocking on your door asking: "Hello, can I help?". Even when you go down to the pool, everyone knows your name. It's quite impressive, but scary.

Favourite walk?

Recently, I went for a hike at Runyon Canyon Park, which looks over the "Hollywood" sign. It was actually a real workout, because it was quite hot. You see some proper fitness fanatics. There are three trails: easy, medium and hard. I did the medium one and it was really tough!

Best meal abroad?

Nobu in Malibu. It's on the beach and it's amazing if you go at sunset. It's really expensive, but it was my birthday, so it was a real treat.

Favourite city?

New York, recently. I'd been before, maybe 15 years ago, and found it quite scary. Now though, I think they've cleaned New York up a lot and I found it to be almost like London, really. I went with my best mate and we went up to the High Line for a walk then explored Chelsea. It completely surprised me. I'd enjoyed it before, but I found it a bit edgy.

Where next?

I'm looking forward to a trip to Vietnam next spring. It's a place I've always wanted to visit and I'll be staying at the new resort, Angsana Lang Co, which I hear has a great open-air bar with DJ decks overlooking the beach. I'm also looking forward to the Vietnamese cuisine and exploring the surrounding culture in Hoi An and Hue.

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