In this edition of Celebrity Travel Addicts, we speak with Vicky Philpott, the world traveler behind VickyFlipFlopTravels. We chat with Vicky about why travel is important to her, how the travel blogging industry has exploded over the years, her top destinations around the world, and much more. Check out her favorite things to do in one of her favorite destinations and find out where she’s off to next!
How did your passion for travel get started?
I hadn’t really travelled much as a child but it was when I signed up to work at summer camp in the USA for a university summer that my passion for travel really started. I met all these amazing people from all over the world and knew that I wouldn’t be happy just travelling in England again, well, not for a few years anyway. Working at summer camp just totally opened my eyes to how many cool experiences and amazing things to see there are in the world.
It was my first time in Asia that *really* got me though. I spent two weeks in Vietnam and it was two of the best weeks of my life (up to that point).
What does travel mean to you? Why do you feel it’s important?
Travel gives you the opportunity to experience just some of what our wonderful world has to offer. You get to try new things – eating, doing and seeing – and to explore a part of yourself, and the world, you didn’t know existed. It also gives you the opportunity to meet new people, people who’ve had entirely different life experiences to you. I just find it fascinating. I think it’s important for everyone to travel, just to see different ways of doing things, to see their way is not the only way, and to explore the many traits and interests shared the world over. We’re all so different, but essentially, the same.
You run a travel blog called VickyFlipFlopTravels. Can you tell us a bit about it? How did it come about? What makes it different from other travel content out there?
I started my blog in 2012 when I was working on what’s known as ‘blogger outreach’ for a hostel booking company. I couldn’t actually believe this was a job, and never expected it to be mine, but I thought I could learn more about my job by setting one up. I’d just been travelling with an ex-boyfriend for 4 months around Europe and had kept a diary as I went. Those notes formed the basis of my first blog posts. I can’t actually believe what a huge industry travel blogging has turned into. And the amount of incredible experiences I’ve had because of my blog just blows my mind.
My blog has been through many guises as I’ve grown over the last eight years and my life has changed with it. I’ve done the whole ‘travelling with a full-time job’ thing, and then the ‘break up backpacking’ stage when my relationship ended. Then I went a bit crazy on press trips, travelling to wonderful places and staying in places I could never afford. I feel that now I’m at an ‘affordable quirky and adventurous holiday’ stage now. I feel that I go to more achievable places, and try to keep costs down. I hope that my travels are an affordable and realistic way for my readers to travel.
What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started traveling?
How big travel blogging was going to become. I also wish I’d taken the time to stay in a place for a few months and really get to know it and settle a bit. I travelled for three years as a digital nomad and was pretty much in a new country every two weeks. There was so many places I wanted to see I couldn’t stop travelling like that but with hindsight it would’ve been good for me to actually commit to a place.
How many days/weeks do you travel in any given year? What types of places do you like to visit?
That changes depending on the year but I’ve been to 16 different countries this year which is just crazy. I’ve probably been away about a third of it.
What do you want audiences to gain and learn from your work?
I want them to open their mind and either find new places to travel to, or travel the usual destinations in a different way. I just want to inspire people to travel more, and to think wider.
What are the top three destinations you’ve visited?
I LOVE Japan. I’ve recently been and it just reminded me of what an awesome place it is. When I first started travelling I went for six weeks and travelled around, I absolutely fell in love.
Second place would probably be Greece. It’s a paradise isn’t it?
And third, hmmmm, torn between Canada and Finland. Both wonderful.
Give us your ‘Top 5’ list for one of your top 3 destinations. Like a mini-guide or a to-do list of sorts. It can be anything from your favorite hotel, the best place to have lunch, the best sightseeing, etc.
My top 3 places to go in Japan would be Niseko for the winter skiing, Fukui for the autumnal mountain views and Tokyo for the madness. I spent three weeks in Tokyo and would totally go back!
How many countries have you visited so far?
I’ve been to 77 different countries. I’ll stop at 100!
What are your top 3 favorite cuisines?
I would have said Japanese, but after my recent trip I learnt that it’s not just ramen, sushi, tempura and Katsu curry so I think I’ll say Thai as number one. I also love Mexican food and then I’d have to say Italian.
What is your favorite restaurant in the world? What dish do you recommend there?
Sakura in Southsea, Portsmouth. The sushi and ramen is everyyyyything!
I’ve eaten at many incredible restaurants around the world but that’s the one I’ve eaten at most, so I’ll stick with that.
What is your favorite travel movie?
Into the Wild. I often thing of Christopher McCandless on my travels.
What is your favorite international airport?
The ones I went to in Papua New Guinea. I mean, THAT was travelling! They were huts in a field and then I got on tiny planes to get to my next destination.
Which city had the friendliest people?
I’ve just been to Seoul and found the people there to be very friendly.
Who is your favorite travel companion?
Ha, difficult question. Am I allowed to say my phone and my laptop? They’ve just been there for me through the many emotions and ups and downs of the last five years of travel. I love sitting in a cafe in a new destination and cracking out the laptop to write up my adventures. Also, I should say, my boyfriend. Mum and dad are fun too.
What is the best way to kill time while traveling?
If you feel like you need to ‘kill time’ join some sort of day tour to inspire interest and excitement for where you are.
What is the most exotic place your career has taken you?
I’ve been on press trips to Papua New Guinea and Samoa, both were incredible experiences and places I probably wouldn’t have ventured on my own.
What is your best bit of travel advice for someone who wants to, or is about to, embark on a life of travel?
Do it! And keep the money to come back in a separate account… always have options and always know your exits.
What are 4 things you could never travel without?
Phone, laptop, sleep mask and my passport
What is your ultimate dream destination?
What is your favorite travel quote?
I often say this to myself.
“What if I fall?”
Oh, but my darling,
What if you fly?
My head is always full of what ifs, should I, and I can’t do this, but a little voice in me says this and then I give it a go.
Where are you headed next?
Next, I’m going skiing in Bansko in Bulgaria. I’m really excited to ski there as I’ve been wanting to go for years. It’s meant to be some of the best value skiing in Europe so I’m excited to check it out. And then, Japan, again.
Vicky Philpott is a travel and festival blogger at vickyflipfloptravels.com. She loves a bit of adventure, will try anything once, and has a strong passion for the local food and drink, whatever it may be. She’s here to inspire her readers to travel to places a little out of their comfort zone, or at least to explore the usual destinations in a different way. Find her @VickyFlipFlop on all the social media and on YouTube.