Chris Noble is the General Manager of WorldNomads.com, a leading global travel insurance company and a co-founder of The Footprints Network, an alliance of e-commerce businesses funding community poverty alleviation around the world. Chris and his team have combined their love of travel, marketing, social media, and customer engagement to help position WorldNomads.com as more than just a travel insurance company. From travel philanthropy, online travel blogs, travel safety advice and travel mentorship programs, the team at WorldNomads.com aim to be the ultimate travel safety companions.
When he’s not wrestling with his kids and twittering from obscure locations, Chris can be found travelling off the beaten track, shooting documentaries, and wishing he could hold a tune in Karaoke.
Image: Chris Noble
What’s the most underrated destination you’ve been to?
Without a doubt it’s Norway. Most travelers leave it off the list because it’s so expensive. Yes, I too cried when I paid $20 for a pint of beer, but this country is full of wonder and a must see. I was lucky to travel from Tromso, up above the Arctic circle, by boat down to places like Narvik, Bodo and Trondheim. The scenery is so beautiful and at times so haunting, that it’s a country that deserves it’s own soundtrack when travelling through it. Bergen is also stunning and Oslo holds my favourite art installation, Vigeland Scultpture Park. Never have I been so moved by sculpture before, it’s awe inspiring and something that with stay with me forever.
The other underrated destination has to be your own country. We spend so much time looking to ‘escape’ that we forget how beautiful our own backyard can be. There is nothing finer that strolling along a deserted beach with my family, it makes me appreciate every moment I have when I’m travelling and what I leave at home.
How do you kill time when you’re stuck on a bus or plane?
I travel to work by train, it takes me close to two hours. This is the time of day I go a little social media mental. I love reading articles from favourite bloggers, travel sites, marketing peers, and then sharing through my @worldnomads twitter account. It’s how I keep up-to-date with everything that’s happening around me, as well as making me feel part of a global travel community. I’m also a glutton for app testing on my iPhone, from cool travel apps to utterly time wasting games, love it !
What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen or experienced traveling?
I’ll give you a selection. Scariest thing I’ve seen is the traffic approaching when taking any transport in Vietnam (trust me, turn on your iPhone, close your eyes and don’t open them till you arrive). Funniest thing is travelling with my family or my colleague @tunnsey. They make me cry with laughter and that re-enforces how great travel is when shared with family and friends.
Strangest thing I’ve seen was a Norwegian hermit (he must have been, as there wasn’t a house/ person/ dog for 250 miles around him) walking naked into the sea in what must have been -20 degrees. I didn’t see him come up from the boat we were travelling on, that was freaky, the Captain later told me he does it every day.
What’s the first thing you do when you arrive at a new destination?
Kiss the ground, I’m a terrible flyer. I then usually tweet how depressed I am that no-one was at the airport to hug me and that next time I’ll pay someone to do it!
I’ll then head straight for the nearest cafe packed with locals, order a coffee, and just do ‘people watching’ for a couple of hours. You get a sense of the state of the nation very quickly and it’s a chance to ask some questions about the hidden gems around town. I then usually spend the next 4-6 hours walking (off the jetlag) and immersing myself in the sights and sounds of the place.
If you could give one tip or piece of advice to travelers, what would it be?
It might come as no surprise when I say this, but don’t leave home without travel insurance. The shock and burden of having to pay in the tens of thousands of dollars should you require emergency medical treatment and/or repatriation can easily be avoided by being covered. If you do choose to take out insurance, please, please read the fine print. You’ll spend months planning a trip, weeks looking for the best travel bargains, but so many people don’t even bother to read what they covered for and most importantly, what they’re not.
Take the time, ask as many questions of your travel insurance company as you can to make sure you have the right cover, particularly if you plan to undertake adventure activities etc.
As we say at WorldNomads.com, keep travelling, safely.