Richard Branson's best and worst holiday experiences

Cabin crews have more fun ... Richard Branson advises business travellers to stay where the flight crew is staying.
Cabin crews have more fun ... Richard Branson advises business travellers to stay where the flight crew is staying. Photo: James Morgan

Richard Branson thinks you should stay where the flight attendants do and explains why his worst holiday was his honeymoon.

Which was your best holiday?

I think it must be on Necker Island; it's in the British Virgin islands - a very, very beautiful place, as pretty as the most pretty place in Australia, I suspect. I bring my family and friends. We can always go there, pull up the drawbridge, let our hair down and have a blast. I got married on Necker Island. I came in dangling from a helicopter to impress my young children and I got dumped in the shallow end of the swimming pool and ended up on crutches for the wedding.

Which is your favourite Australian destination?

I love Byron Bay. I like to surf and kite-surf and Wategos is one of the best surfing beaches around.

I went on my son's gap year. I'd never had a gap year myself - I've been working since I was 15 - so I cadged a lift for two months on his gap year and had a blast in Byron Bay.

What's the best hotel you've ever stayed in?

Rae's on Wategos is a lovely little hotel; it's only got about seven bedrooms and I highly recommend it.

What do you need for a perfect holiday?

Company; family company, children, friends. That's all, really.

What do you always take with you?

I'm afraid I take my mobile phone and I take my BlackBerry. I make sure I don't look at the BlackBerry more than once a day; and I don't turn the mobile phone on, I just get the messages once a day. And sun cream and a swimming costume.

What is your best piece of travel advice?

If you're travelling for business, ask the cabin crew where they're staying and stay at their hotel; you'll have a lot more fun than most boring, stuffy hotels and cabin crew are always great fun in the bars at night-time. I always stay at the Holiday Inn at Potts Point in Sydney, which is not the most salubrious of hotels but the bar is throbbing with Virgin Blue crew and I can assure any businessmen that come to Australia they'll have a good time there.

Where are you going to next?

Morocco, to a kasbah hotel up in the Atlas Mountains. A Berber tribe runs the hotel; there's some lovely riding up in the mountains and then there's Marrakesh, which is a stunning city, close by, and beautiful ballooning over the countryside.

What's been your worst holiday?

I think my honeymoon was perhaps my worst holiday. We were out on a fishing trip, the boat sank and everybody drowned except for myself and my wife. We managed to swim about four miles [6.4 kilometres] to the Mexican coast; we'd been shark fishing so that was an interesting swim. But, anyway, we survived but it didn't make the best honeymoon.

What is your least favourite Australian destination?

I've sat out in the bush with an Aboriginal community in the Northern Territory and there was not one inch on my face that didn't have a fly on it. If I opened my mouth, my mouth was full of flies - trying to get food in without taking 200 flies with it was tough. I tried to experience what they have to go through out in the bush but I was quite pleased it was only a one-night experience.

Your biggest packing mistake?

There must have been something embarrassing in my suitcase going through security that made my wife blush but we'll just leave it at that.

Which is the worst hotel you've stayed in?

Any of the big, faceless, big-brand corporate hotels where you just sort of clock in and think, 'What the f--- am I doing here?'

What do you avoid on holiday?

Conference calls, business, work. I just try to give one's time as much as possible to one's family.

What do you hate about holidays?

I don't hate anything about holidays. I like everything about life and holidays are part of life, and thank god for holidays.

Sir Richard Branson is the chairman of Virgin Group.

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