The tickets said 'Antigua'. But we ended up in a hotel at the airport

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The Independent Travel
"I'VE TRAVELLED an awful lot with my work," says Davina McCall, whose plucky presenting of MTV, God's Gift and Good Stuff among others, has taken her to the four corners of the earth. "But when you travel so much, you can end up making ridiculous journeys - like recently, when I went to New York to interview a member of the band Dog Eat Dog, and flew back later that evening. I'm going to New York for the day again, but this time it's by Concorde, so that'll be really exciting."

So which destination takes pride of place in Davina's passport?

"The first holiday I ever took was probably my worst," she recalls. "I was 17, and went with a group of friends to Ibiza. The first thing we did when we arrived was get extremely drunk on Tequila - the measures were so big out there. I was really ill, I practically collapsed for two days. My friends were in the same state, too, so they weren't much help.

"When we finally emerged from our apartment, we realised we were staying in the worst part of the island, San Antonio - the Benidorm of Ibiza. We'd asked for a place in the trendier Ibiza Town area. Anyway, you couldn't move for English bars and baked bean meals - it was a hell-hole. We hired out mopeds and got away from the place every day. By the end of the holiday we were so broke, we'd stopped eating just so we could buy cigarettes."

These days, Davina's passport stamps are a little more exciting.

"Every year, I try to get out of the country on Boxing Day, to spend New Year's Eve abroad. Last year, I went with a girlfriend to Reethi Rah in the Maldives, which is an island and resort all rolled into one - it only takes you 30 seconds to walk all the way round. It was just paradise; crystal clear waters, palm trees, snorkelling, a real 'Bounty advert' island."

But disaster struck on another trip to a paradise island. "I booked a surprise birthday holiday for my boyfriend. We turned up at the airport and when he saw the destination 'Antigua' on the tickets, he was really thrilled. But the plane was cancelled, and we were put up at the a hotel to wait for a plane the next morning. So much for the surprise," she laughs.

"When we woke up the next morning, an alarm was going off. I opened the door and saw smoke pouring into the corridor - the hotel was on fire. We had to evacuate, and almost missed our second flight because we weren't let back in to get our suitcases for ages."

Does Davina have any tips for those living out of a suitcase?

"I always take little knick-knacks with me, like soap - because I hate hotel soaps - and candles, because they make the room look less impersonal. And the first thing I do when I arrive is unpack everything, to make it feel more homely. On long-haul flights, earplugs and a neck-support cushion are a must."


Davina McCall is presenting the ITV holiday series "Dream Ticket" on Fridays at 6.30pm.