Simon Calder


Simon Calder is Britain’s leading travel commentator and a charismatic after-dinner speaker on the adventures and misadventures of a travel writer. Simon owes his love of travel to his parents – and in particular their decision to move to Crawley, a new town in Sussex. He was born beside the A23 on Christmas Day, 1955. By the time he was six, he realised that there had to be more to life than this. Fortunately, that summer he joined the Crawley branch of The Woodcraft Folk, and after a camping trip to the Lake District, Simon was hooked.

Later that same year, the USSR decided to send some nuclear warheads to Cuba. President Kennedy threatened retaliation and Simon’s parents realised that Gatwick Airport, two miles away, was in the line of Soviet fire. So they took the family to Gatwick, and boarded a plane to Guernsey in the Channel Islands, where they stayed for a week before the superpowers stepped back from the brink of nuclear war. Simon has been grateful to Fidel Castro ever since. When Simon was 13 he started to learn the fine art of free travel by hitch-hiking. Four decades later, he is still thumbing his way around the world, augmented by cycling.

Simon’s career began at Gatwick Airport, where he cleaned out planes for Sir Freddie Laker and, later, frisked passengers (for a job, that is; not a hobby). He then started to write travel guidebooks and articles.  Today Simon is Senior Travel Editor of The Independent, and also writes for Conde Nast Traveller, BA’s inflight magazine, High Life, and the trade publication, Travel Trade Gazette. Simon presents Fast Track’s Travel Clinic on BBC Worldwide where he answers viewers travel questions and queries. He also films a Weekly Video Diary which can be found online at The Independent and on his personal website.

He was recently a contestant on Celebrity Mastermind, and his specialist subject was Concorde.  To his utter surprise, he won. More recently he was a contestant on Celebrity Eggheads and lost! Simon is also a regular guest on national TV, often seen on BBC Breakfast News, Daybreak, ITV News, CNN and Sky News. He is often interviewed on BBC Radio, particularly for BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio Five Live. In 2012, Simon won the award for Outstanding Achievement and Broadcast Journalist of the Year at The Travel Press Awards, and the News Journalist of the Year for Print at the Business Travel Journalism Awards.

To book Simon Calder as the motivational speaker for your corporate event, function or conference, simply contact the Champions Speakers agency by emailing or by calling a booking agent directly on 0207 1010 553.

When at corporate events, Simon is known to cover the following topics:

  • Drive & Determination
  • Peak Performance
  • Concorde
  • Fidel Castro’s Government
  • Nuclear War