On the Road with John Boulding

by Alicia Taggio

We meet a lot of people that travel for cool reasons. Whether for work or pleasure, travel ignites something inside of you and becomes infectious to those around you. For John Boulding, it wasn’t long before he caught the travel bug. Working various roles in the travel industry, he is now the CEO of Insight Vacations; a job he truly loves. After meeting various different people that work for John, it was evident that everyone genuinely enjoys working with him and couldn’t ask for a better boss. We recently had the chance to sit down with John in between his travels to pick his brain about his favourite destinations and what travel advice he has for others:


1. How did your journey into the travel industry begin?

In 1978 I was sharing a flat in London with a bunch of Aussies and one of them came back every month looking suntanned and loving life so I asked him ‘what do you do for a living?’ and he said ‘I’m a tour director with Contiki Holidays’. I knew from that moment, I had to be on the road. I trained and worked as a Tour Director with Contiki, became an Operations Manager living in different countries, and then joined Insight Vacations in 1985 to head up their Youth Program. Now, I’m CEO and loving every minute of it.


2.  If you had 3 words to describe an Insight Vacation what would they be?

Stylish, quality, and enjoyable. If I could add one more phrase though, it would be Signature Experiences.

Insight coach in Vienna

Photo credit: Simon Boucher-Harris, www.renegade-photography.co.uk


3. You travel a lot for work, which city do you wish you could spend more time in?

In some ways, I would like to spend more time at home since I travel so much for business.


4. How do you keep a work/life balance?

The great beauty about the work that I do, is that it’s a job I really love. I therefore find that I’m not seeking other personal experiences in life. I get them through my work. You can only juggle so many things, and I think I can just about juggle family and work.

John Boulding on Insight Coach

Photo credit: Simon Boucher-Harris, www.renegade-photography.co.uk


5. What’s been your favourite destination so far?

The most interesting place I’ve recently been to that blew me away was India. I found it to be such an amazing destination when it’s introduced to you properly.

TajMahal India

Photo Credit: Alicia Taggio

When you go on your own without a local resident introducing you to the country, it can be somewhat confrontational. Travelling with a company like Insight, you get to experience the destination with a local; and what was once confrontational becomes exciting, thrilling, amazing and incredible.  I also love Spain and Portugal since it’s so colourful.


6. Which destination surprised you the most?

Aside from India, I would have to say Eastern Europe. I hadn’t realized just how beautiful it is there because it was cut off for so long behind the iron curtain. I don’t think many people my age really truly realized what was there. To now see it and understand it, is quite remarkable.


John Boulding Insight7. What 3 things can’t you live without when you travel?

My smartphone, my laptop and some nice clothes to go out.


8. Serious question: Window or aisle seat?

Aisle. Always aisle.


9. What is your best cure for jetlag?

Burn through it. Keep going. Stay awake, and get yourself on the new cycle as soon as you can.


10. With all the years of travel experience under your belt, what’s the #1 travel tip you feel is worth sharing?

When I’m travelling for business, I always carry a small, slim carry-on suit bag with me. This way if my bag goes missing, I’m not turning up for a business meeting without a fresh pair of clothes.


A big thanks to John for taking the time to share his experiences with us. For more information on travelling with Insight Vacations, contact one of our Travel Experts by visiting your closest store, connecting with us online or calling 1-877-967-5302.

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