We are delighted to present to you an extract of an exclusive interview of renowned travel host & blogger David Hoffman from Miami in Florida. Also an entrepreneur by profession, he has been there and seen it all. Addicted to traveling and trying exotic cuisines, his objective is to inspire people to travel and get obsessed with wanderlust.
Out of the 73 global expeditions, he found the country of Malawi in Africa to be the most luxurious and delightful one with deluxe lodges, delectable food, sunset cocktails, and wilderness of the Safari. He went with his wife and stayed there for 22 days. In the interview, he also mentioned the trip to Morocco was the most disappointing one since it was difficult to navigate.
When asked about the most surreal place he has visited so far, he replied San Blas, Panama. He was quoted saying “It’s a group of islands on the border with Colombia. The islands are made up of indigenous tribes. We stayed in a tiny island with a hotel run by the locals. The experience was epic, and the islands are gorgeous, from the virgin beaches to the coral reefs.”
A quick intro about yourself?
My name is David Hoffmann and I am an entrepreneur, husband, father, travel host, foodie, and blogger from Miami, Florida. I’ve been addicted to travel and trying cuisines from around the world for as long as I can remember. I founded my business, David’s Been Here, in 2008 to share my adventures with like-minded people and hopefully inspire them to leave their mark on the world.
How would you describe your style of travel and your travel blogging content?
I’m all about immersive, independent travel. There is magic in planning a trip on your own, connecting with locals, and having them take me to their favorite spots, introduce me to their favorite foods and bring me into their culture. That’s how you find hidden gems that aren’t listed in any guidebook, and it’s how you have authentic, local experiences. On my website, I do a mix of in-depth travel and city guides, top 10 lists, tips for travellers, and occasional lifestyle pieces. I try to do something for everyone!
What has been the most surreal place you have visited? What made it so magical?
The most surreal would have to be San Blas, Panama. It’s a group of islands on the border with Colombia. The islands are made up of indigenous tribes. We stayed on a tiny island with a hotel run by the locals. The experience was epic, and the islands are gorgeous, from the virgin beaches to the coral reefs. The best part was at night when you can see all the stars. There is zero light pollution. Plus, there is zero cell service or WiFi so you automatically disconnect from the real world. Overall one of my top experiences!
What’s one of your most cherished travel memories or moments?
There are so many, but at the moment I have to say it’s interacting with locals everywhere I go. The #1 way to experience any destination is to do it with locals and to dive deep into their culture, cuisine and everything in-between. Tours By Locals is a great website to book tours with local guides. They are vetted and I’ve taken several amazing tours with them.
Do you tend to hang out with or meet locals more often than meeting other travelers?
100% the way I travel, its only with locals. I rarely travel with anyone except my wife or YouTube buddy Sam from Samuel and Audrey. I believe the best way to experience a destination is through a local’s perspective. If you travel on a group tour, you will never get the full experience.
What is one city or country that didn’t live up to your expectations? Why?
This is a tough one, but I have to be honest and say Fes, Morocco. I traveled for three weeks in Morocco and this city was difficult to navigate. We had multiple issues of people trying to extort us. It even got to the point where we were threatened physically if we didn’t pay a price that wasn’t agreed upon. I thought it was a beautiful place but if the people aren’t kind to you it ruins the experience.
How many countries have you travelled to & how long have you been a travel blogger for?
I have travelled to 73 countries and over 1,100 destinations. I have been a full-time travel content producer since 2007.
What is the most luxurious place you have stayed at? What was it like and where?
My most luxurious experience was in the country of Malawi. I travelled the there for 22 days with my wife and visited multiple Wilderness Safari lodges. They’re super lux lodges in the middle of game reserves. The experience is super lux, from the food, to the game drives, and sunet cocktails. Everything was on a whole other level. My favorite of these lodges was in Nyika National Park, which is in the northern part of the country. If you ever get a chance stay at any Wilderness Safari Lodges in southern Africa, they are incredible!
What are biggest advantages and disadvantages of being a travel blogger?
The biggest advantage of being a travel blogger is that I get to live out my dreams and travel the world. It’s a dream job but it’s not all fun and games. There’s a lot of hard work that goes into it that most people never see. The disadvantage of being a travel blogger is that sometimes people take it for granted and take jobs for free. I’m not above doing occasional jobs for free, depending on what they are, but when bloggers and vloggers do jobs for free all the time, it hurts the industry for those of us who have to make a living. When you reach a certain audience, your time and the content you produce is worth more than a free trip you’re not getting paid for. Because of this, sometimes companies and tourism boards will low-ball you and not offer what you’re worth, which kind of destroys the industry.
Do you have any little hidden gems or local secrets that you have discovered about certain places you have been to?
For me it’s always about the second or third –largest cities that really show you what a destination is all about. Capital cities are obviously must-visits, as they are economic hub of most countries, but when you dive deeper into any nation you really see different aspects of the people, culture, and way of life if you venture out. My advice is to always spend time in the nearby cities or towns around the country if you want to know what it’s really like. Day trips are a great way to do this without having to switch hotels.
What should travelers be doing on every trip to maximize their experience while travelling?
If you want to maximize your experience, don’t try to cram 10 cities into 14 days. I hear from a lot of people that they are planning on doing 4 European countries in 2 weeks. I personally don’t believe that is a good way to maximize your time. The best thing to do is spend 2-3 days in each major city and try to limit travel time to your next destination to 3 hours. This way, you won’t lose too much time in transit.