10 Questions For (13) : Darren Cronian of Travel Rants

Happy to present Darren Cronian of Travel Rants. Darren is one of my Travel Bloggers friends who, as a sort of Godfather, kept me going shortly after I started this Blog.

Darren doesn’t like to be photographed. Therefor I have used the Travel Rants logo. When I succeed to make a nice portrait of him on November 11, when approximately 80 travel Bloggers will meet in London , I will replace the logo with his portrait. Darren organized this Bloggers Meet Up, Travel Blog Camp, entirely on his own. Tickets are sold out now! Am looking forward to it!

1) Who Are you?

I am Darren Cronian, and in my spare time I write and promote Travel Rants, a blog that focuses on travel consumer issues and news. I live in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England, and work in IT development and support for a large organisation.

2) What do you like about what you do?

I love writing about travel, interacting with travel bloggers, and anyone involved in the travel industry. I like to write about my own travel experiences and consumer issues. My drive is making people aware of the Travel Rants blog and raising it’s profile in the UK, and around Europe.

3) What don’t you like about what you do?

The long hours, sat at a computer can be very tiresome, but I give myself mini challenges to complete which keeps me going. I usually write when I return home from work, or at the weekend, basically any spare time that I have.

4) Please tell us all about your blog and your aims with it.

I started writing the Travel Rants blog in April 2005 and has over the years become popular with consumers, bloggers and the travel industry. It’s been featured in a number of newspapers and this year won the Travolution Award for best Travel consumer blog.

I recently launched the Travel Rants newsletter, and will be launching the monthly Travel Rant Podcast. The aim then is to continue to write quality content, and raise awareness of the blog in the UK through an online advertising campaign at the start of 2009.

The goal is for it to become a hugely popular place for travel consumers to air their views and opinions.


Eagle’s eye view … the new route takes you through the steel to the top of the bridge. Photo: BridgeClimb Sydney via The Guardian

5) Your top 3 destination experiences you’ve ever stayed to date and why?

Sydney
Prague
Oslo

Sydney is my favourite city because I had so much fun; walking over the Harbour Bridge, no, I actually mean over the top of the Bridge. Then there’s the jeep safari in to the Blue Mountains, and relaxing on Manly beach.

Prague I visited for a long weekend break with my girlfriend at the time. It was romantic, historic and made me realise there is so much in the world that I have not discovered. Walking over Charles Bridge, up to Prague castle and through the markets in the Old Town.

Oslo was expensive, but I was expecting that – I loved the snow, yes tons and tons of snow, walking up to the top of the World Cup Ski jump at Holmenkollen, a visit to Norway’s international stadium. The people were so friendly too.

6) Your top 3 accommodations you’ve ever stayed to date and why?

City AS Hotel, Oslo
Albatross Bote, Prague
Southern Cross Hotel, Sydney

I chose all of these hotels because of the location – each hotel was within a short walking distance of the major attractions. When searching for hotels I don’t worry too much about the rooms themselves as I just want somewhere to sleep and get a shower. As long as they are clean I am happy.

7) Your top 3 most memorable food experiences to date and why?

Alligator Steak, North Queensland
Devils Curry, Kuala Lumpur
Chips and Mayonnaise, Bruges

Yum. Sat overlooking the great barrier reef eating my alligator steak with an ice cold beer, then there’s the time I had a devils curry in Kuala Lumpur which is about four times as hot as a Vindaloo curry, Hot very hot. I loved the chips with Mayonnaise in Bruges as well.

8) Your 3 worst destination/ accommodation / food experiences to date and why?

I don’t have any bad experiences, I choose my destinations and accommodation carefully, and as long as the hotel is clean I do not worry too much about it. The food, well I love food, and I have not yet eaten anything that I’ve found disgusting, well maybe the squid salad.

9) Can you offer the readers 3 travel/ food / accommodation / things to do tips about the city you are currently living in?

I live in Leeds, a city in Northern England. I would advise anyone to take a trip by train from London to the North. Visit York, it has tons of history with it’s Viking past. Then there’s a trip to Whitby on the coast, typical seaside place, and burial home of Dracula. Finally, a shopping and restaurant trip to Leeds, to collect your last minute Christmas presents before returning home.

10) Any Question(s) you’d expected me to ask that you would like to answer?

I get asked why I started to write Travel Rants, it’s a question I get asked a lot. Basically, I visited a high street travel agency and found that the agent was rude, and did not seem to be happy to help me find a holiday, so I left the shop in disgust and started writing Travel Rants a few days later.


Bitterballen

Thank you, Darren! Eating chips with mayonnaise is a typical Belgian and Dutch habit which few foreigners appreciate. if you appreciate that, you’re also likely to appreciate our typical Dutch “bitterballen” and maybe also our raw herring:-)

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15 Responses to 10 Questions For (13) : Darren Cronian of Travel Rants

  1. travolution says:

    I would like to ask Darren if he is a blogger, journalist, travel writer or a mixture of all three?

  2. Darren says:

    Kev, I am a blogger :)

    I have tendancies to write what could be perceived as journalist headlines, but those are more to attract attention in a crowded internet.

    I would never classify myself as a journalist or travel writer, for a start I can get away with some of my grammar and spelling mistakes being a blogger.

    I’d be interested to hear why you asked that question Kev :)

  3. Darren and Guillaume were complaining on Twitter that my readers have to sign in to be able to comment.

    Therefore I tried to install the my chapta plugin in order to prevent spammers to flood me with comment, but while testing the my chapta plugin, it appeared to me that that is even worse than simply logging in. So I deactivated it again. Darren’s advice: Rely on Askimet, but just today Askimet missed two spam comments.

    On their repeated gentle nudging I decided not to require signing in into this blog anymore, but to keep moderation in place…..

    I hope everybody is satisfied now and we will see more comments her on the Blog.

  4. Shannon says:

    Guido-Thanks for providing insight into the lives of those we know virtually. I feel like I know a little bit more about Darren, now.
    Thanks, Darren for the answers.

  5. That was a fun interview. I enjoy learning about my fellow travel bloggers.

    Darren, why limit your blogs profile to the UK and Europe? I’m sitting here in sunny Northern California, reading the Happy Hotelier’s blog about a fellow travel blogger from Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. What a small world we live in.

    Have fun at Travel Blog Camp. Let me know when we have one in the US.
    P.S. I was introduced to Bitterballen on a recent trip to Amsterdam. Interesting; I perfer the Dutch chocolate.

  6. Good interview! I now know a lot more about Darren even though I’ve been following him on twitter for quite a while! Alligator steak? Hmmm… I’m gonna have to think about that one!

  7. Guido, I never realised I had so many female followers! ;)
    Thanks for the nice comments everyone, it was a fun interview to do, if you want to interogate me (in an online interview that is) then please feel free to let me know.

    I love online interviews like this because as you all mention it’s good to learn more about each other. Mmm it’s given me a great idea for the next travel rants blog carnival!

    P.S. you made the right decision Guido taking off the registration, I know it’s a pain in the arse to moderate but people will leave more comments.

  8. Hi ladies. You proved Darren and Guillaume (and later Elliott NG) right for not requiring signing in for commenting here:-)
    [For those not on the forum already I suggest to check from time to time Pam's Travel Blogger Forum. Not only interesting for the new views, but also to get a feel of your virtual fellow travel bloggers. They all share the same passion and all have their own angle of view. Always interesting. Especially for Nancy, because the forum announces meet ups. In SFO there are even Travel Bloggers Lunches].Update: the forum has disappeared later and been replace by TBex

    Secondly I suggest you check from time to time Travel Twit that aggregates many twitters of the twitter tlist group.

    Edited December 2, 2011

  9. Jenny says:

    That Bitterballen looks delish. I’ve been following Darren’s blog when I have the time, it has given me useful information when it comes to my travel plans.

  10. Lifecruiser says:

    Excellent interview. For me it was all new info since I just recently have begin to read Darren’s blog – as well as your blog. A great way to get to know other fellow travelers.

    It’s always very interesting to try out new local food – and drinks. The bitterballen’s look yummy, but what are they really? Looks a bit like Swedish meatballs :-)

    …and thanks x millions for the tips about the travel blogger forum and TravelTwit – I had no idea they existed :-)

    Oh, and regarding the spam matter: I use another plugin combined with Akismet and that stopped a lot of mine, it has other great features that Akismet don’t have.

    Bad Behavior Spam Plugin

  11. @ Lifecruiser
    Bitterballen are definitely not meat balls. They have a sort of soft meat and herbs and flower mix in them and a crusty outer layer. Actually they are more like small croquettes (French).

  12. Lifecruiser says:

    Aha. Thanks for clarifying this for me. They do look yummy :-)

    (You made me hungry now, so I have to go on a nightly kitchen raid *giggles*)

  13. [...] 10 Questions for (12): Darren Cronian of Travel Rants. You’re a traffic canon Friend! I would suggest to everyone to take him up for an interview:-) [...]

  14. Nice interview with Darren, whom I also know from the great world of the blogosphere!

    Darren and I have a couple of things in common – we are both travel bloggers, and we both live in Leeds!

    I definitely second Darren’s recommendations for a trip to the north of England taking in York, Whitby and Leeds. I think one of the amazing things about Leeds is its gorgeous arcades, from the ones that have been there forever, such as County Arcade, to the more recent ones such as the Victoria Quarter, and The Light. The indoor market is really good too – you can get everything there from toys, to ribbons and buttons, from meat to Caribbean veg.

    For anyone that has a few days to spare I would also throw in Haworth (home of the Bronte sisters), the Yorkshire Dales, and the National Media Museum in Bradford, followed by a delicious Indian meal in that same city. The old mill town of Saltaire is worth a visit too.

    A lot of people think of the north of England (“oop north”) as all dark satanic mills, etc, but I think a lot of people visiting here are in for a pleasant surprise.

    Keep up the good work, Darren! And you too, Mr Happy Hotelier!

  15. @ Carol:
    Thanks for coming by. Look at your in box:-)

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