Online Country Manager for the Netherlands: Ido Schiferli
For our second #HistoryofmyVacation staff interview here on the Travelex Hub, we sat down with Online Country Manager for Netherlands and Germany, Ido Schiferli.
Ido is based over in the Netherlands and spends his days working in our Amsterdam office.
Read on to find out all about his vacation memories, top travel tips and insider currency knowledge.
What kind of vacationer are you? Beach break lover, culture vulture, foodie, backpacker or something else?
It really depends on the destination. I can really enjoy relaxing on the beaches of Sardinia, but when going for a city trip, I’ll fully enjoy the cultural side and tasting the local food.
When I visited Rome with my wife a few years ago, we got a tip from the receptionist at our hotel to visit a small local restaurant. She mentioned that the food there would be very traditional, there would only be locals dining there and that nobody would speak English – we loved the idea! Even today, we think that it’s the best Italian food and experience that we’ve ever had!
What’s your earliest vacation memory?
A car trip with my parents and my younger brother to France. I remembered sitting on the back seat and listening to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles music on my Walkman.
What’s the furthest you’ve ever been from home?
I spent one month in Ecuador while my girlfriend (now wife) did her exchange program at the university of Quito.
It was an amazing month. We traveled all around Ecuador, I took Spanish lessons in Quito and we even spent a week living in the Amazon where we ate “banana dishes” for breakfast, lunch and dinner (scrambled bananas, banana soup, banana pure, baked bananas etc).
I also tried the traditional Ecuadorian speciality: guinea pig. Que rico! :)
What’s the longest you’ve ever been away from home?
During my business studies as part of an Erasmus exchange program, I spent half a year studying and living in Athens, Greece.
I met fantastic people from all over the world and combined studying with the Greek sun.
What’s the best experience you’ve ever had on vacation?
Six years ago we told our family and friends that we were going on holiday to Samos.
What everyone knew was that we would be away for 2 weeks, but what they didn’t know was that…we were going to get married there!
We always wanted to do it with just the two of us, so we organized all the details ahead, and on our wedding day we found two random witnesses at the local town hall. The whole ceremony was in Greek, so indeed it was all Greek to us! (P.S. We’re still happily married!)
How many countries have you visited? Do you have a favorite?
In total I’ve visited 21 countries. My wife is Polish so we spend quite a lot of time in Poland and I really enjoy those trips, the Polish culture, traditions and cuisine.
One of my most memorable holidays was our trip to Kenya. The nature and wildlife there are really amazing, and I really hope to go back one day.
How far in advance do you pick up your foreign currency?
I prefer to prepare my trips well in advance.
For our trip to New York, I ordered US dollars conveniently online and picked them up at Schiphol Airport, just before our flight.
Do you budget your spending money or are you a vacation splurger?
When on vacation, I try to enjoy my time and not to spend too much time with a calculator :)
Do you like to research before you go or discover it all after you arrive?
I like to read ahead about the places I’ll be visiting, but I never plan trips from A to Z. I like to discover new things and places accidentally. When we visited Prague, we found this great modern art gallery which wasn’t mentioned in any travel guide. We were just passing by and decided to check it out. We visit modern art and design places everywhere we go, but this one was the most impressive one we’ve ever seen.
Who’s your dream vacation companion?
What's your top pick destination for 2016?
Portugal. It’s a beautiful country with many great places to discover. Last year we spent our holidays in Cascais, near Lisbon and this year we plan to visit Porto with our family. A few years ago we went to the Azores: a great destination for those who love nature, whale-watching, long walks and Portuguese wine.
And finally, what's your top travel tip?
Prepare for your trips, but don’t plan too much. The most interesting places are found when you’re not looking for them!