Travel Miniseries: Planning a Trip, with FT Globetrotter | Tech US News

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This is an audio transcript of the FT Weekend Podcast special edition – “Travel Miniseries: Planning a Trip, with FT Globetrotter”

Lilah Raptopoulos
Hello FT Weekend listeners. I’m here to welcome you to a special mini-series of bonus episodes. For the next four weeks, as we descend into winter, we’ll be posting a little chat about all things travel every Wednesday. For each one, I’ll talk to different experts. From Jessica Nabongo, who has been to every country in the world, to Nomadic Matt, who is the expert on how to travel better for less. To our travel editor, Tom Robbins, who is so good at cutting through the BS and telling us the truth of what’s really going on in tourism right now. I’m joined today by Rebecca Rose and Niki Blasina, who are the editors of the FT Globetrotter. Globetrotter is a particularly fun corner of the FT Weekend. i love it They publish travel guides written by journalists, which means you get insider recommendations from my colleagues on the best places to do all sorts of things in cities around the world: eat, swim, karaoke, drink coffee and more. OK, this is FT Weekend, the special edition of the podcast. I’m Lilah Raptopoulos. there we go

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Rebecca and Niki, welcome to the show.

Niki Blasina
Thank you for having us.

Rebecca Rose
Great to be here.

Lilah Raptopoulos
Okay, let’s go inside. So I know you two divide travelers into two types of categories. There are the planners and then there are the non-planners. And to start, I would like to ask Niki, what kind of traveler are you?

Niki Blasina
I am a planner. I’m a planner, actually. I have been known to make spreadsheets for my vacations in general. When I go away, I like to have, I like to have some activities booked and some restaurants booked and I know I have, like one or two things each day.

Lilah Raptopoulos
Rebecca, what about you?

Rebecca Rose
Well, I am a total planner. I start getting excited about trips that, you know, six months in advance or as soon as I know I’m going to research where I’m going to eat, I even look at menus. I plan exactly what I’m going to eat, at which point it’s a completely different season when you . . .

Lilah Raptopoulos
(Laughs)

Rebecca Rose
. . . arrive at the restaurant and the menu no longer exists. The other thing I do, which is really unhealthy, is to study long-term weather reports forever. (laughs) I think so, it depends on whether you get a lot of joy out of this phase. Some people, I mean Niki and I, for example, probably get as much joy out of planning and talking about the trip as we do actually being there. But some people just don’t have time or can’t be bothered or not – their brains don’t work that way. I am full of admiration for the people who just arrived and that they ended up having a great time. But I, I don’t know. I think if you’re gone for a short time, there’s no room for bad coffee or bad food. You know, you’ll only have three or four meals while you’re there. Why leave it to chance when it can be disappointing?

Lilah Raptopoulos
I landed in a city and didn’t have a hotel reservation for . . . (Laughs)

Rebecca Rose
Lilac?!?

Lilah Raptopoulos
And that’s kind of funny. i know That’s like a horrible thing.

Niki Blasina
exactly To make me break into a cold sweat.

Rebecca Rose
Come to us next time.

Lilah Raptopoulos
(Laughs) The horror. The shock and horror on your faces. i know But at the same time, when you do that, even though it might be fun and you might end up somewhere weird and interesting, you realize there’s an amazing restaurant there that you wish you had the chance to go to. you can’t because you haven’t thought about it.

Rebecca Rose
That’s the dream. I mean, how often does that happen there? Let’s face it.

Lilah Raptopoulos
Are there mistakes you see people make over and over again when planning a trip? Niki?

Niki Blasina
Yes, definitely. I think my main thing that I think people try and do is fit too much.

Lilah Raptopoulos
yes

Niki Blasina
I think especially if you are traveling to a city. I mean, I’ve been in London for eight years and I still haven’t seen the whole city. So you won’t be able to go somewhere for a weekend or a week and see everything. It is simply impossible.

Lilah Raptopoulos
right

Niki Blasina
So I think yes, the key is to find, not try to fit in too much. That’s the number one mistake, right?

Lilah Raptopoulos
I mean, the things that tourists go to in New York, a lot of times, I haven’t been and they don’t represent New York to me. And it gives me the feeling that they leave and say, “Wow, that city is too busy and exhausting.” It doesn’t look like they went to New York that I know of.

Niki Blasina
When friends come to visit me, as always I say so too. I’m like, the London I love isn’t, you know, in the halls of Westminster. They are the pubs I go to every weekend with my friends. London is such a neighborhood-y place and so is New York, and I think you really get a good sense of a city when you actually spend time doing things that the people who live there can do?

Lilah Raptopoulos
right

Niki Blasina
And I think you take a lot more out of it when you do that.

Rebecca Rose
I always say that the best time to visit a city is the second trip there, because the first trip, inevitably, you want to tick off a couple of big tourist attractions. You know, it’s hard to go to Paris, not go look at the Eiffel Tower.

Lilah Raptopoulos
Totally.

Rebecca Rose
But the second time you can just relax and the third, fourth time even better. And you know, the more times you’ve been in a city, the more you can pick a neighborhood and hang out there.

Lilah Raptopoulos
So here’s a question for you. I’m going to take some time off next month for a trip in November, about 10 days. It’s on the calendar. I don’t know where I’m going yet. It’s probably going to be some sort of last-minute plan.

Rebecca Rose
Wait, are we talking 2022 here, Lilah?

Lilah Raptopoulos
November, mid-November 2022.

Rebecca Rose
My god.

Lilah Raptopoulos
yes Once I’ve chosen a location, what are your tips to start making the most of this trip? But what do I do first?

Niki Blasina
OK, so the weather. Time, I think, is where you have to start. I mean, you don’t have to go somewhere hot, like you’re looking for heat. I mean, that’s something you have to decide.

Rebecca Rose
I think Niki and I would say, try to talk to someone who lives there or someone who goes there very, very often. There is no better advice than from a local, essentially. They will be the people you have the most up-to-date information. The guides are often out of date. As soon as they hit the shelves, you’ll get the inside scoop, not the 101 things you’ll find online.

Niki Blasina
My advice would be to find a place to eat every day that looks great.

Lilah Raptopoulos
Hmmm.

Niki Blasina
You know, you have three meals a day, so you’re not over-scheduling if you have one booked. you . .

Lilah Raptopoulos
right

Niki Blasina
Definitely leave yourself open to new discoveries and then try to do as an activity. So if that’s, you know, an exhibition in the morning, a leisurely lunch, then you spend the rest of the day just enjoying that place.

Lilah Raptopoulos
yes I also want to ask you: Are you finding that what people want when they travel to a new city is changing?

Rebecca Rose
We’re definitely seeing a real trend in people wanting to know where their food comes from, what local ingredients are like. Another thing we’re noticing is that people are interested in sustainability when it comes to hotels. They want to know how much your hotel recycles. Where does the waste go? What do you do with leftover food? But at the same time, at the end of the luxury trip, people still want to take their toiletries home. . .

Lilah Raptopoulos
(Laughs)

Rebecca Rose
And they still want to see a giant steak on the menu. So there’s a bit of tension there, I’d say.

Lilah Raptopoulos
Are there any other kinds of trends, new trends that you’re seeing in travel?

Niki Blasina
We’re seeing the rise of something called “bleisure” travel, which is probably the sexiest combination you’ve ever heard (laughs). But it’s the mix of business and leisure travel, whether it’s adding a couple of days to a work trip or having a vacation and going somewhere for a few weeks, then adding, you know, a week or two of work to distance, if that. possible So it’s this, this mix of both to get the most out of that time.

Lilah Raptopoulos
yes yes That must also be increasing from Covid, in remote work. Like, I have a lot of friends who will go away for three weeks and just work, like an Airbnb or a short-term rental, just to simulate living in a new city. But it is a version of the journey.

Niki Blasina
Yes, no, absolutely. And it’s a good way to, actually, I think when you have a little more time in a place as well and you’re living there as a worker in a way, and how a normal person would live there.

Lilah Raptopoulos
So my last question is, if the listeners are planning trips in the next few months, like if I could give you a couple of months (laughter) could you recommend some places that people might want to go? Like, for example, if someone was planning a trip in January, where might they consider?

Rebecca Rose
Anyone going anywhere in January?

Lilah Raptopoulos
exactly They should! (laughter)

Niki Blasina
Oh, but they should. That’s right, it’s the best time to travel because then it just relieves you of your January misery.

Lilah Raptopoulos
right

Rebecca Rose
December I was in Venice in December and you have amazing blue skies too. It’s very cold everywhere. All the Venetians are in their fur coats, drinking jets, and it’s such a festive atmosphere. So I would really recommend that.

Niki Blasina
I think it would be remiss not to say to look at the coins as well. Japan, you know the yen is low right now. I mean, that’s something to think about. I mean, if you’re trying to plan a vacation now, think about where your money could go the most.

Lilah Raptopoulos
Mmm-hmm. It’s a very good idea.

Rebecca Rose
And also think about where you can get to by train. It doesn’t have to be a long flight away.

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Lilah Raptopoulos
Rebecca and Niki, this was very educational. Now I’m stressed about (laughs) how I made my trip last minute, but otherwise I’m excited. Thank you very much.

Rebecca Rose
Thank you for having us.

Niki Blasina
Yes, thank you.

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Lilah Raptopoulos
That’s the show. Thanks for listening to FT Weekend, the Financial Times podcast. I’ve left links to everything mentioned today in our show notes, as well as a special discount for an FT subscription. And you can find our city guides at ft.com/globetrotter. Next Wednesday, we have Jessica Nabongo. He recently published a book with National Geographic called O Catch me if you can. There are photographs of his travels to every country in the world. We talked about why we travel and I’m pretty sure you’ll leave that conversation with at least five new countries on your bucket list. This show is produced by Zach St Louis. Executive produced by Topher Forhecz and Cheryl Brumley, and sound design by Breen Turner.

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