Neil Payne founded and runs Kwintessential, which provides a range of services designed to assist companies work on the international stage. This includes everything from translation to multilingual design to cultural awareness coaching.
Neil travels a lot for work as Kwintessential has offices in the US, Argentina, South Africa and the UAE. He also competes internationally in horseback archery, a niche sport with a growing following which has taken him all over the globe including Korea, Iran, Turkey and Sweden. (www.kwintessential.co.uk)
Cheapflights: What do you always do when you travel – any routine procedures?
Neil Payne: It’s usually the same routine of parking the car at the airport, checking in, then trying to rest as much as possible on the flight. I don’t like flying so find the whole experience a minor ordeal.
CF: What is your favourite kind of trip?
NP: A holiday with warm weather at the end of it – helps take the edge off the flying experience.
CF: Best destination you have ever been to and why?
NP: Damascus has always remained one of my favourite places. I loved the atmosphere of the place, the culture, the history and the people. It had everything for me and I long to go back one day.
CF: Where in the world offers the best value for money?
NP: This all depends on what you want. I still find Turkey good value for money whether you want the city experience of Istanbul or the beaches of the Mediterranean. Customized Turkey tours and travel packages are a great way to save money during your trip.
CF: What is the best airport you have flown from and is there a tip to make this airport experience great?
NP: Seoul. It was comfortable, had beds, free internet access and PCs, good food and plenty of facilities.
CF: When you fly, is there a tip you can share to make the experience a great one?
CF: Do you have any tips to help travellers pick up a new language when they are abroad?
NP: The best way is to engage with locals. They will give you the best phrases to use and you will get the local accent along with it.
CF: Do you have one sentence that you always learn before you travel to a new destination?
NP: “Thank you” always goes a long way.
CF: Have you ever come across any unusual rules of etiquette while you’ve been on holiday?
NP: As someone on holiday you are not really bound by the same etiquette rules as locals as they tend to not adopt them with foreigners. One would only really comes across this if they lived in a country or did business there.
CF: Do you have any advice for expats trying to fit in with the locals once they have relocated?
NP: Make an effort to fit in a mix with locals by doing what they do – so if they gather in a local square, go join them. This is the best way to make the new place feel like home. Learn the language bit by bit and you will soon see that you become adopted.
CF: If you could sit next to anyone in the world during a long-haul flight, who would you pick and why? And is there anyone else you would avoid?
NP: Cheryl Cole – do I really need to explain why? Who would I avoid? Tony Blair.