Many travellers talk of tourist sites, museums, history and culture. Today’s interviewee provides a different perspective. His travel is all about the party! Please meet Ben Warner of HugeParty Travel.
What is your name?
Which country do you come from/call home?
“The Windy City” Chicago, USA
Are you a backpacker/long term traveller/business traveller/live and work abroad?
Personal and Business Travel. When work sends me abroad, I make the best of it.
How do you fund your travel (savings/work whilst travelling/other)?
Savings, and the occasional trip to the Roulette table 😉
How would you describe your “HugeParty” Travel Lifestyle?
The idea of “HugeParty” stemmed from a crazy weekend with a group of friends at a music festival. We started using it as a noun (Tonight is going to be a HugeParty) and verb (We were HugePartying last night), it quickly caught on. I applied it to my travel lifestyle because I’m always in search of a legendary night club, crazy festival, packed beach or wild sporting event. Historical sites, landmarks, museums, etc. rarely appeal to me. I was just in Rome, visited the Coliseum and Vatican City…. I hated it. Too many tourists, too many ‘mandatory’ sites to see. Give me a bar or festival where I can meet local people or other travelers and I’m extremely happy.
I run into a lot travelers who share this same philosophy, and it’s easy to form a common bond with them. My favorite part of my trips are meeting people along the way, and it seems to be quite easy to do that during long nights out in a foreign city.
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
My first trip to London was eye-opening, I knew there was plenty to see and do, and it was my first time in Europe. I spent two days canvassing the sites and tourist attractions, I thought I got to see all of central London. Boy was I wrong. That experience helped me realize that I disliked mainstream tourism, and wanted to see the real side of the cities I visited. It wasn’t until my second trip to London that I felt like I saw the real city, getting away from the tourist attractions.
Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?
On a group trip to Costa Rica we met two guys during our travels. A week after our trip we saw on the news that one of them had been killed while riding a rental bike. This made me less risk-averse, and I probably became a safer traveler after.
Do you have any funny travel stories?
I split my pants during an impromptu dance-competition at a night club in Copenhagen. Also, I did not win the dance competition.
Which is the worst place you’ve been to and why?
I wasn’t too impressed with the Temple Bar district in Dublin. After hearing how much of a HugeParty is was from friends, I was eager to get involved. Unfortunately it was overcrowded with tourists and riddled with bars that were a total misrepresentation of the city. My advice for people is to get out of Temple Bar to some regular pubs and meet the real people of Dublin.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
Las Vegas. It’s not my favorite place to travel to, but certainly my favorite place in the world. A land of excess and hedonism, my kind of place. Although in my travels, I fell in love with Stockholm, what a beautiful and clean city… not to mention a HugeParty.
Which travelers party the best?
Aussies. Sometimes I can’t keep up with their travel lifestyle. Usually I’ll spend 1-2 days in the middle of a trip recovering/rehydrating. I meet Aussies all the time when I’m in Europe, and they seem to gravitate to the nearest bar. It’s fun though, because I’ve always got a group of people ready to have fun.
I was in Berlin, both of my travel buddies were sick, it was mid-week and we had just came from Oktoberfest… I met a group of Aussies who were headed to an underground club… they welcomed me with open arms. Certainly one of my most random and memorable nights.
Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?
La Tomatina Festival in Bunol, Full Moon Party in Kho Pha Ngan, Beaches in Rio and Carnival in Trinidad, New Year’s Eve in Singapore. There’s a few to start. I’m also dying to go to Portugal.
Can you imagine life without travel?
Up until a few years ago, I could. Unfortunately I hadn’t made it out of the country until I was 26. I didn’t know what was out there. I’m blogging nowadays telling a different story though.
If you were not travelling what would you be doing instead?
I’d spend more time organizing local events for charity. In my spare time, I am a Board Member of a local charity that raises needed funds and awareness for Autism Speaks in Chicago.
What is the name of your travel blog and the url?
HugeParty Travel (www.HugePartyTravel.com).
When did you begin your website?
January 2014. I’m a newbie to the game, but my recent travels have created a lot of awesome experiences worthy of writing. I also have branched out and created two different series of posts. One is called “The Pro’s Corner”, and gives HugeParty advice. The other is called “Sweet Home Chicago”, and is geared towards provided travelers advice for the city I call home.
Why do you write (for money/connecting with people/therapeutic/fun)?
I’m writing for fun, but am certainly open for other reasons to write/travel.
What makes your site so unique and why should people read it?
I’ve got an interesting niche in the Travel Blog world. It’s not insanely unique, I know there are other established party travel bloggers, but I think I hold my own with them and provide a strong party perspective. Some people may be turned off with the partying vantage point I have, and that’s ok… there’s no shortage of travel blogs for them. I get a lot of feedback from people who enjoy what I write about because they prefer the partying side of travel.
Do you have any products or services to offer?
Nope, I’m writing to provide fun tips and travel awesomeness. Free advice sold here. But… I do have an excellent handle on planning large group trips and events, so there may be an opportunity down the road. I’m also open to the idea of building the HugeParty brand.
What has been your most successful blog post to date and what was it about?
My London post saw the most traffic. “Disguised as a local” I was able to see the regular side of London, without the tourist attractions, museums and ‘history’. Having a few friends that live in that great city, they took me along their regular weekend adventures, through a variety of neighborhoods.
I also am open to Guest Writers, and featured a friend’s travels to Ha Long Bay, Vietnam. This post saw the most globally diverse traffic, and likely extended my website’s brand throughout the world. If you’ve got a “HugeParty” type experience and would like to share it, I’m open to partnering on a guest post.
What has been your favourite article to write either for your blog or another publication?
I enjoyed reliving the time I spend in Prague. Such a beautiful, old city with something crazy around every corner. We met a group of amazing people, and formed a truly global team.
What is your favourite mode of transport? (plane/train/boat/car)
I like to hop around fast, since I have limited vacation days. Therefore I prefer flying…especially in Europe, where it is cheap to fly. I took the train from Prague to Munich, which was a cool experience… but 7 hours on a train was too long.
I’ve driven on the autobahn in Germany, and wouldn’t mind doing some coastal road trips in the future, but airplane is my preferred mode.
Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
Obviously, plan as far ahead as possible, especially for group trips. I wrote a post on planning a group Eurotrip, and I’ve received a lot of positive feedback on the planning process I use.
I also recommend using a “save jar”. Every morning when I wake up I put the money in my pocket into a jar, after 6-months I had $1,100+, which became my spending money for my latest adventure.
What has travel taught you?
Travel has taught me a lot about being a global citizen. I’m still a very proud American, but I’ve had the chance to meet so many awesome people around the world. I love hearing new perspectives on life, neutral opinions on current events (not skewed by American news outlets) and differing cultural experiences.
Quick fire questions:-
Favourite airline? KLM Royal Dutch. Business Class there is phenomenal. Thank you to my employer, who sends me Business Class to Europe.
Favourite country? USA. Still a proud American. Plus, the varying cultures depending on cities you travel to are quite unique and fun.
Favourite city? Stockholm. If I had to move from Chicago, I’d pick Stockholm. Amazing city.
Favourite beach? Playa D’en Bossa, Ibiza. A truly HugeParty.
Favourite food? Chicago Pizza, Thai Street Food in London, Tapas in Barcelona, Casados in Costa Rica. I love food.
Favourite language? English. Only because I am terrible at speaking all other languages. I’ve never felt so helpless than trying to order deli meat at true Italian meat market. Language barriers can be fun at times, but also frustrating.
Please provide the following:-
Website url? www.HugePartyTravel.com
Twitter handle? @HugePartyTravel
Facebook page? www.facebook.com/HugePartyTravel