Interview: Travel Guides’ Kevin and Janetta

“I’m not going to drink Scotch whisky out of a plastic drink bottle.”

“Desperate times call for desperate measures.”

And so goes the conversation when two of Channel 9’s Travel Guides, Kevin and Janetta, are faced with the prospect of finding clean glasses in a slovenly Argentinian hostel kitchen.

Check out our interview with Stack and Mel from travel guides. They tell us why they nearly missed out on the show.

Dubbed ‘The Snobs’, Kevin and Janetta are the show’s resident purveyors of luxury travel. The well-travelled retirees – who have over 20 luxury cruises under their belt – know what they like, and what they like is nothing less than the best. So how in the world had they found themselves in that unkempt kitchen?

Interview: Travel Guides' Kevin and Janetta

Kevin and Janetta are one of five groups of ordinary Aussies who comprise the cast of Channel 9’s Travel Guides. The show sends the groups around the world to take on the job of professional travel critic – with experiences ranging from budget to premium. Entertainment ensues as the Travel Guides venture from country to country, which over the past three seasons have ranged from Austria, Taiwan, Israel, Sri Lanka and beyond.

Travel Guides season three has just wrapped up airing on Channel 9, and casting for the next season is currently open. If you think you’ve got what it takes to explore the world and take on the once in a lifetime experiences the show undoubtedly has in store, head to Casting closes 22 April 2019.

In the meantime, check out our interview with Kevin and Janetta, where they talk us through some of the ups and downs of the show.  

What have been some of the most challenging moments for you during the show?  

Not knowing where we’re travelling to until we got to the airport was certainly a challenge. As travellers, we like to be organised and prepared and although the element of surprise makes a good change, missing out on a very important part of the travel process, being the planning, can be challenging. We’ve always said that travel has three parts – the anticipation with the planning, the excitement of the actual trip, and the memories we keep for years.

Which locations have taken you most by surprise?

In season one we were surprised by Oman. We hadn’t been there before and were blown away by how the country and particularly the city of Muscat, was dragged into the twentieth and twenty-first century from a sheltered and thirteenth-century backwater in a matter of 40 years. Israel also surprised us – the diversity and tolerant sense of inclusion was not what we’d heard from media reports. Just proves that you must see things for yourself to get your own take on situations – and really, for us, that’s what travel is all about.

Unfortunately, we were also surprised that the Philippines had no definite cuisine. We would’ve thought that a country with so many ethnic influences over history would have developed a notable cuisine. Hawaii has become outrageously expensive, but I suppose that’s no real surprise.

Are there any you would go back to experience ‘your way’?

We would definitely love to repeat the European river cruise (we’ll take any excuse to get on a ship). Although we’d been to Israel before there’s plenty to do and see, so a return visit wouldn’t be out of the question. We loved Canberra and saw a different side to the capital and could happily spend more time there. Italy, of course always beckons so we’ll be back there for sure.

What made you decide to go for Travel Guides in the first place, knowing you would likely not be travelling the way you’re used to?

Any travel is good so the thought of testing the waters with someone else in charge of the planning was too good an opportunity to pass up. When it comes to travelling, we’re always up for a challenge and Travel Guides certainly promised that. Even though the process and experiences may not be what we’d necessarily plan ourselves, we were able to ameliorate some of the difficulties and unfamiliar experiences by using points or dollars to upgrade on flights where possible. The long hauls can be killers.

Interview: Travel Guides' Kevin and Janetta

Would you consider yourselves more open-minded in your approach to travel now?

We’d have to say that we’re probably more open to new things as a result of Travel Guides. We still like the ‘nice’ things that travelling has to offer but having been tossed out of our comfort zone with experiences such as climbing Masada and bungee jumping at 60, we’re pretty well up for anything now. Skydiving – we’ll see!

Words of advice for future Travel Guides?

To any future Travel Guides we’d have to say: “be prepared for any experiences and do them, keep an open mind and literally enjoy the wild ride”. Also, constantly remind yourself how lucky you are to get this amazing opportunity.

You’re both very well-seasoned travellers; what are some of your tried and tested travel tips you’ve picked up over the years?

Strangely, one of our most valuable tips is incredibly basic. Take a collection of Ziplock plastic bags with you on your travels – you’d be surprised how many times and for how many different reasons you’ll use them. But on a more esoteric note, our advice would be to not cheap out and miss out on unique experiences for the sake of a few dollars, euros, yen or pesos. You don’t go on holidays to save money and the airfares and accommodation are only a part of the experience.

Which destinations are still on your bucket list that you still haven’t travelled to?

We’ve always wanted to go to Iceland (even before it became a ‘must-see’ destination) so hopefully Travel Guides have that country on their list. We’d also love to see Scotland, the Arctic Circle and parts of Spain and Portugal that we need to explore. And for the record, we don’t call it a ‘bucket list’. The reality, at our age, is a bit too daunting. Let’s just say we want to see this world before we leave it!

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