Saltee Founders give us their take…
Sam, describe your perfect micro-adventure?
I like to maybe go against the grain and go long haul – if you can sleep on a plane and the jetlag or time difference isn’t too great then why limit yourself to shorthaul destinations. We’re used to travelling for work long distances for only a few days so why not for pleasure? Once I’ve widened the net as a result it’s then about maximising the adventure with the time available.
Patrick, do you agree?
I agree that long haul is definitely worth considering. For me it’s about the anticipation and then being struck by the smells and feel of a new place once you arrive. I want it to be somewhere I’ve not visited before. Once I’ve decided on where, I love the pre-trip excitement of hunting down the best accommodation, usually these days via Air B’n’B. Then planning some of the activities for when we land. The best trips are usually part planned, part unplanned.
When do you feel like you’ve arrived on a micro-adventure?
Patrick: For a new country, leaving the airport in the taxi is when the adventure hits me. Seeing road signs in a different language and taking in new architecture. I want it to feel markedly different from home and ideally anywhere else I’ve been before.
Sam: Smell is usually the trigger sense – when you exit the plane door and walk down the gangway – the smell of the air tells you that you’ve arrived somewhere different.
So, what destinations stand out for you?
Sam: Rio is a great city break – during the European winter it can be as little as 2 hours’ time difference. After a night flight and you are waking up somewhere exotic which can be 30 degrees hotter. I like the different areas of Leblon and Ipanema with their beach side caipirinha stalls and beautiful mosaic boardwalks. I also try to pop up the coast to Buzios which is only 3 hour drive north. I love the mix of a big cosmopolitan and urban city combined with an exotic ocean beach culture.
Patrick: Buenos Aries is always my recommendation for city adventures. I spent 3 weeks in BA learning basic Spanish and loved the café culture, late night eating and the vibe of the bars and clubs. Walk around a street corner and you find something new and probably a little surprising. Truly a Saltee type of destination. And from Western Europe a micro-adventure to Buenos Aries is so doable. A friend went to BA for New Year and loved their 4-day trip. Get it on your bucket list!
What’s essential pre-trip preparation?
Patrick: For a micro-adventure I just want carry-on and that means the perfectly slimmed down ‘man’ washbag. I also like to go for a run when I arrive in a new place, which means researching a good route and squeezing my trainers in that hand luggage.
Sam: I’m the opposite to Patrick when I travel, I find checking my bag liberating – wheeling around your carry on makes me feel like I’m still on a business trip. Given the limitations on time I want to plan where I’m going, lunching, dining – book ahead as you can always change your plans if something better rears into view when you’re there.
5 Star lux or boutique back street apartment?
Sam: For a short break I want the ease of hotel service so would favour that over an apartment. If I can I contact the concierge in advance to see if they have good recommendations and sound them out as to whether they can really help plan elements of my trip when I’m there.
Patrick: I love a backstreet teeny hotel or room in a mountain chalet. Being close to the best restaurants also features in my priority list. On a weekend ski trip to Zermatt last year I found a perfectly furnished apartment just out of the centre but still near everything that mattered (bars, ski lifts).
Bar, restaurant or club?
Patrick: I like to go somewhere funky for first drink of the night – somewhere with a great view or special cocktails. But then the best nights often surprise you. An autumn trip to New York finished in a late-night piano bar (Brandy’s on Upper East Side) that was great fun but not somewhere I would have expected to have enjoyed.
Sam: I love a long lunch, preferably by the sea, followed by a recovery siesta and then a late dinner when you’ve revived yourself. One of the joys of being on holiday is to break from your normal routines. Sometimes being jetlagged helps you stay up later than you would do otherwise!
What’s your top Saltee tip?
Sam: Plan the trip with several staging post events and then just join the dots as spontaneously as you can – be as open as you can to getting swept along in whatever local vibe comes your way – travel is about new experiences so make sure you have some.
Patrick: Mix it up even if it’s a weekender. If you’re in the city find the green spaces, in the mountains hunt down the gourmet lunch spot. Most of all don’t just follow the app or guide-book: create your own Saltee memories.