How To Travel Like A Pirate! An Interview With Deal Hunter Gem Bowles

A deal by , 31. May. 2018 8:12 am


Gem Bowles

Job Title

Junior Online Editor for the UK with HolidayPirates


I worked in magazine publishing for a few years before moving to New Zealand and working with horses. I now reside in London.

How To Travel Like A Pirate! An Interview With Deal Hunter Gem Bowles - 6

Gem releasing baby turtles into the sea in Bali

How many countries have you visited?

Thanks to my scratch map I can tell you exactly! It's 27 and I already have plans to surpass 30 by the end of the year.

What is your favorite place you’ve traveled so far and why?

It’s a toss up between Vietnam for the food and landscape or Cambodia, because the people there are just lovely!

Where are you traveling in June? Why did you choose that destination and month?

June is my birthday month so I always treat myself to a trip away. This year it’s Tanzania for 2 weeks. I fly into Zanzibar for the beaches and then head to Kilimanjaro for the safaris. I will be the first to admit that I am not fit enough to climb the mountain, so I shall just admire it from afar!

What is your best tip for someone looking to plan a vacation on a budget?

Going solo is tough sometimes as there’s no splitting the cost of rooms, taxis etc. so it’s best to start saving as soon as you’re in the planning stage of your trip. Scouting around for out-of-season flights, comparing hotel prices (some sites have loyalty programs with free nights/secret prices up for grabs) etc. One tip is that, yes it may save you money by taking a flight with a longer stopover, but consider the money you will spend during that stopover and how much more exhausted you will feel at your final destination… is it really worth it? I fell foul of this once and will NEVER make that mistake again.

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Gem walking sheep in New Zealand

What’s the most underrated travel destination?

Many of the smaller European countries like Estonia, Bosnia and Slovenia. They are all so beautiful, cheap and yet no one seems to go there much. It’s a shame as they have so much to offer.

What song/album/artist gets you in the mood to travel?

I am a huge music fan so this is a tricky question. To get me energised I listen to a lot of Kasabian - their powerful beats are perfect for when you’re taking off! For the beach it’s Noah & the Whale and HURTS and to chill out I listen to The Charlatans.

Some people like to plan everything down to the tiniest detail when they travel, and some prefer to be completely spontaneous. Where do you fall on the spectrum?

Well, I head to Tanzania tomorrow and apart from the odd accommodation booking, I have nothing else planned. Sometimes I find that is the best way to travel as it allows you to get a vibe for a place before making concrete plans. I understand that this isn’t for everyone though. I am lucky as a solo traveller because I can merge my spontaneous nature with my travel plans.

You’ve been gifted an all-expenses-paid trip anywhere in the world–where do you go?

I would LOVE to do a trip from Patagonia to Antarctica, just because the idea of going somewhere only a handful of humans have stepped is really intriguing.

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Gem riding a moped in Bali

What was your most memorable/unique travel experience?

I went to Bali last year and as it’s not really a destination for many solo travelers, I ended up making friends with a group of locals who invited me out to a bar on my last night. This place was in the middle of nowhere, the beers were really cheap and everyone wanted to know about my travels. We then decided to have a moped race at the end of the night. As I am an experienced motorcyclist (which I don’t think they were expecting) I managed to win! To feel so included in a group of people like that was a wonderful experience.

What kind of trip/destination would you recommend for someone who has never traveled outside the US?

It depends on how adventurous they are. If they want to stay on the safe side I’d recommend an inter railing trip around the UK & Europe. The history we have over here is so unique and the beaches are glorious.

Fill in the blank: When I discovered _________, it made travel so much better

Traveling solo isn’t as scary as it sounds

Fill in the blank: I know a lot of people love to ________ while traveling, but I hate it.

Take anti anxieties/ sleeping pills to help them drift off whilst flying. I had a horrendous experience on a flight to New Zealand where they had the opposite effect. Yes, they work for a lot of people but I believe they increase your heart rate and cause more stress than they’re worth.

How To Travel Like A Pirate! An Interview With Deal Hunter Gem Bowles

Gem atop Mount Manaia, New Zealand

What was your longest trip?

Does two years in New Zealand count?

What was your shortest trip?

Less than 24 hours. I flew from London to Berlin for a concert and then back the next morning to see another band play in London the following evening!

Tell us about a time when you felt like a pirate on your travels

When we were battling against two-meter waves going from Bali to Manta Bay to see stingrays. I ALWAYS get seasick so I was terrified to even go out on a boat after seeing the wildness of the waves. But as soon as we got out there and the boat was flying - yes literally flying - from wave to wave, I suddenly came over all giggly and actually relished the experience!

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How To Travel Like A Pirate! An Interview With Deal Hunter Gem Bowles