Henrik Olsen is the man behind InsideFlyer.dk and is an experienced traveller that has visited approximately 70 countries and been several places a lot of times including more than 30 trips to Hong Kong.
How many days have you approximately travelled?
I haven’t got a precise number of days travelling, but I have since 2001 been having an average of 95 days a year travelling. So I have crossed the 2,000 days of travelling mark. More precise I can tell that I have been in an aeroplane for 166 days and 8 hours.
What are three of your favourite countries and why?
I have a preference for North America and Asia. So the favourite countries are USA, Singapore and then South Africa as the nature there is beautiful.
I am mainly a business traveller and frequent flyer. This has an impact on where I travel and how often. But my main focus is to optimize bonus points earnings and spend them again to travel better and stay at high-end hotels and resorts. That is my game.
Are there any countries you don’t enjoy travelling?
Not as such, but more a question about security that makes me avoid some countries. Especially now, when I am a parent. Earlier I was more open to visiting places that could have a higher risk for crime or corruption. Now, this is avoided, but there are so many places I haven’t been to so those are on the to-do list before. So, therefore, I haven’t been to Mexico City yet for that reason, but have been to other areas in Mexico and enjoy their local food.
What are three of your favourite cities, and why?
Hong Kong, Singapore and San Francisco
My favourite cities are Hong Kong, Singapore and San Francisco. Hong Kong, because of its vibrant and diverse culture. Singapore because you get a big city experience, local food stalls, and can do a “beach vacation”. San Francisco because the USA is an overall favourite, but this city has big city feelings together with nature and Napa Valley just up north.
What are three of your favourite hotels or places you’ve stayed and why?
Conrad Koh Samui
Number one is Conrad Koh Samui. There are no hotel rooms at this resort – all are villas. The good thing was not the villas but more the service and that everything is possible. The place is also having a special place as it was the place I proposed to my girlfriend. And she said yes – now we just wait for COVID-19 to be over so we can have a wedding.
Reserve, outside Johannesburg
Number two is outside of Johannesburg, where I was staying in a reserve with small cottages. There you could see the wildlife in the morning and evening just outside your door step. This makes you think more about how you treat the environment.
Radisson, San Francisco
Number three is in San Francisco. There was a Radisson hotel close to the Fisherman’s Wharf. There you have a direct view to Alcatraz, and it was in the middle of where everything happens. You could just take a bicycle and take a trip up to Golden Gate and back again. A perfect place for me as it also gave me good earnings of bonus points.
What are the three worst places you’ve stayed?
At the start of my travel life, I travelled to several Eastern European countries quite a few times. It was not in the main cities and a bit out in the countryside. There were no big hotels and mainly what you could refer to as a very simple motel, typically connected with a gas station. This was cold and not comfortable. You still find those places, but now they are much more developed.
What are three of your favourite restaurants and why?
I am a ‘foodie’ and focus on it when I travel. So I try all from food stalls to Michelin starred restaurants around the world.
Eleven Madison Park, New York
A clear number one was the Eleven Madison Park in New York – now closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tim Ho Wan, Hong Kong
The two others are in Asia and are much more local – but still have a Michelin star. One is in Hong Kong, and they serve Dim Sum. The name is Tim Ho Wan.
Liao Fan Hawker Chan, Singapore
The other is in Singapore and serve simple rice with chicken. The name is Liao Fan Hawker Chan. Both are amongst the cheapest Michelin restaurants in the world.
What are three of your favourite travel moments, and why?
The first was when I proposed to my girlfriend last year in Koh Samui when we stayed at a resort. This was planned weeks in advance and I had the staff at the resort to help me plan it. It made it a wonderful experience as it was with small things during the week we stayed there.
The second one is when I had my son with me on his first long haul trip to the USA. When he was eight months old, I decided he should come to the USA before turning one year old. We had a good trip, and he likes to travel like his mom and me. Currently, at seven years old, he often asks when we can fly again – dad is proud.
The third one is when I booked my parents on a Business Class trip with SAS (on points of course). They have never tried it before, and after five years they still talk about this first time. This was so good to “payback” them and let them experience it.
What are three of your worst travel moments, and why?
I have actually not experienced any really bad moments as most of my travel are in mainstream areas. But on one occasion, my travel pattern to the USA made some thoughts to the USA Immigration. They took me to some secondary investigation where I had to go to a couple of hours of interrogation and waiting time before getting my passport back and could enter. This was the not so nice picture of travelling.
What are three of your best travel tips?
Make time to visit one or two things where you are when you are on business travel. An extra day clears the mind and gives much more energy both under and after a business trip.
Do travel slowly – see fewer things and spend more time. No need to see everything in Vietnam in two weeks. Do things slower and then come back again to experience more. Time is needed to digest and see what really is at the destination you are. I have been over 50 times to New York, and still, I find things that I haven’t noticed before. The same counts for Copenhagen – there is a lot to see – even in your hometown.
Lastly, it is to use bonus points to save up to more comfortable travel. If you have dreamed of Business Class or even First Class, bonus points are the way towards it. It can take time, but many airlines and hotels have at least five years before points are expired and many continue to be active if you travel or stay with them once a year (for example most hotels). This has given my family and me some really exclusive experiences.
Do you have any little known travel tips?
Using a co-branded credit card will earn you a lot of bonus points on things you buy anyway or spend during travels. Instead of using a normal credit card from your bank (or VISA card), get a co-branded credit card. It is the closest you get to a free airline ticket.
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