Interview with James Asquith | Global Biz

James Asquith is a British traveller, author, founder and CEO of Holiday Swap. He is the official Guinness record holder for being the youngest person to visit every sovereign country in the world. James was 24 years and 192 days old when he entered his final country, Federated States of Micronesia, on 8 July 2013.

At Holiday Swap, the aim is to bring together and support a community of like-minded travellers and enthusiastic holiday-makers who can benefit from sharing their accommodation.

The Global Biz is so honored to feature James Asquith. Here we go !

Interview with James Asquith

1. What gets you out of bed in the morning i.e., What is your source of motivation ? 

Honestly my favourite day of the week is a Monday. Everything gets going again in the corporate world, and whether or not you work 7 days a week in a start up, like it or not, Monday to Friday remains the norm – so it’s when lots of people start taking calls and replying to emails again. I used to hate Monday’s when I worked in investment banking. My motivation is disrupting the world of travel and waking up every day to be able to do that at Holiday Swap. Making travel cheaper and more accessible in 185 countries. We are a true sharing economy platform, and from my extensive travels, this is what I want to do every day. If we can facilitate just one person travelling for less each day, then we have done something right!

2. What made you realize you would want to do this ? 

After I got the Guinness World Record for being the youngest person to visit all 196 countries, I knew I wanted to create a platform to allow people to travel more and for cheaper, but I just didn’t have the idea. I saved up to start up Holiday Swap by working in Investment banking, and suddenly one day the idea of a true sharing economy platform came to me. I knew I wanted to create something in travel, but it took a few years for the right idea to come along

3. Why should people choose you / your product / service ? 

It saves users a ton of money ! Holiday Swap makes travel more affordable to everyone by using what we have, a house, apartment or room. Accommodation makes up the greatest cost of travel at 28% and with prices continuing to go up, why not save money you’re spending on just a bed to sleep in, and use that for flights and activities. Not only that, but you can make some incredible connections around the world!

4. What comes first for you, money or emotions ? 

Neither. Helping people and giving back does. I guess you could translate that to emotions, but money is certainly one of my last priorities. Sure, it facilities many things, but not personal wealth. I think it’s important to give back and use my platform to be able to get positive messages across, whether that’s working with UNICEF in Yemen or not making the whole world one big product placement advert. Telling people what is good and what is not so good, which we don’t see enough of these days particularly on social media. There are too many people ‘selling out’ for money, and I want to ensure that giving back, and inspiring travel are always number one for me above money.

5. Tell me about an accomplishment you are most proud of. 

Working with UNICEF in Yemen, which is facing one of the worst humanitarian crisis’ ever. Raising awareness and money in a region that few news outlets were covering was very important to me and my team at Holiday Swap. 

6. How do you handle the pressure ? 

I think pressure is relative. I have been in some pretty tough situations in some dangerous areas around the world – and it’s all about thinking what’s the worst that could happen. When you’re comfortable with the ultimate outcome, you can start taking calculated risks and understand that changing things, disrupting and making the world better isn’t easy, but there’s a goal to it. I always said to myself when I first founded Holiday Swap, imagine you have one year to live. In that situation, you’ll say yes to the things you put off, and the risks you never took. 

7. What advice would you give to someone starting out ? 

Take the risk! Whether that’s exploring the world and buying the ticket when it may seem scary, or starting a business. I just got on and started Holiday Swap, despite it seemingly scary at first. If you remove fear of doing anything and make calculated decisions in those risks then you can achieve your goals. And if you have a vision that you really believe in, that is a goal greater than money, that motivation won’t stop you from pushing for it.

8. Where do you see your business in 1/3/5 years ?
We want Holiday Swap to be the largest sharing economy platform. We are essentially a marketplace for users to swap and host their homes, and with the low pricing point, everyone can use us, so we really want to grow to disrupt travel (to start) and then beyond.
Thanks much for having me here. Wishing the entire team of Global Biz and the readers all the very best !
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