Megan Claire Jerrard is an Australian journalist who started travelling back in 2007. She has visited more than 100 countries on all seven continents. She is known as Mapping Megan, the name of her blog.
What are three of your favourite countries and why?
Because beyond the culture, countryside, and living history/open-air museums in every city, who doesn’t love to eat pasta, pizza, and drink good wine every day!
Because nature here is like stepping into the pages of a fairytale. Majestic glaciers grind their way through cracked lava fields, gushing geysers explode with a powerful force, glittering ice caps pierce the sky, and vibrant green fjords rise from the mist of geothermal lagoons.
Not technically a country, so I’m cheating here on this one, but one of the purest destinations on earth, with landscapes so pristine, and incredible wildlife who haven’t learned to fear human beings – penguins walk straight over your toes, whales breach right in front of your kayak; it’s another world.
Are there any countries you don’t like visiting?
I believe that every country in the world is worth visiting because travel is ultimately about broadening our minds and perspectives, and experiencing/learning first hand. If I’ve learned anything about travel, it’s that it teaches us that everyone is wrong about other countries.
What are three of your favourite cities, and why?
London, Rome, and Istanbul. I’m much more comfortable in nature than I am in a concrete jungle, however, these three timeless cities hold a special place in my heart. They’re all so rich in culture, life, and history, and to visit each is the opportunity to step back in time while still enjoying modern comforts.
What are three of the worst places you’ve stayed?
I’ve been very lucky to have had some incredible accommodation experiences, from luxury hotels to traditional bungalows, riverboats, and even convents (in Rome!). I wouldn’t count any to have been a bad experience, but if we’re talking ‘worst’ I’ve spent many nights on the floors in airports, and they’re not particularly comfortable!
Do you have any favourite hotels or restaurants?
Sala Lodges in Siem Reap
Cambodia is definitely one of my favourite properties for accommodation – an eco-lodge near Angkor Wat with Traditional Khmer Bungalows, each bungalow an authentic Cambodian house with its own unique history. More about this experience on her blog.
Villa Talia in Tasmania
It is a spectacular holiday home we’ll never forget – set in the peaceful Huon Valley atop a hill overlooking Southern Tasmania, this stunning holiday home which presents as an unassuming Australian homestead, though is packed with treasure in the form of opulent furnishings, contemporary fixtures, and tempting adult luxuries. More about this experience on her blog.
JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa
It is incredibly special too – it’s on its own private island in Venice – Isola delle Rose – just 20-minutes from St. Mark’s Square, and there’s a 360-degree view from the rooftop pool over the Venetian skyline.
What are three of your favourite travel moments, and why?
Camping on the ice in Antarctica
Sleeping under the midnight sun is a unique opportunity (we didn’t have tents we simply dug ourselves a hole and jumped into a sleeping bag on the ice!), and as you enjoy the complete silence you’ll see an ocean of stars come to light above.
Making it to the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro
This was one of the toughest challenges I’ve undertaken in my life, and you push yourself to both your physical and mental limits to climb to the top of the mountain over 7 days. Once you reach the summit and see the sun rising from the highest point in Africa, everything that may have previously seemed impossible in life suddenly becomes possible. More information about that experience on her blog.
Meeting my husband in Tanzania
As two solo travellers, he from America and me from Australia, we met at the bottom of Kilimanjaro and had 12 hours to chat, swap stories, and swap numbers. What followed was a long distance relationship where we’d meet up for dates in different cities around the world, before marrying in a destination wedding in Hawaii.
What are three of your worst travel moments, and why?
Sleeping on the floor in airports
Definitely not a comfortable travel experience!
Exploring Venice for a day in men’s clothing
Turkish Airlines lost my bags and my only option was to share my husband’s underwear and clothes for the day!
A 10-day cruise to New Zealand
Where because of bad weather, the ship had to skip the majority of the highlights and sail straight back to Sydney! So we took an expensive joy ride around the Pacific, though the buffet was great so we won’t complain too much.
What are three of your best travel tips?
Always pack clean underwear in your carry-on
This makes you feel 100% better if you need to freshen up after a long transit.
Pick up a local SIM card at the airport
(and make sure your phone is unlocked and can take new SIM cards), which has data, and use of apps like Google Translate and Google Maps will make a world of difference (Google Maps was the only way we managed to not get lost in the maze of streets that is Venice!).
Use a VPN when you’re travelling
This means you can trick your internet provider that you’re logging in from your home country. I’ve had my email and bank accounts suspended before because I was logging in from all over the world, so I now use a VPN to avoid the hassle.