Part of our job building one of the largest social, networked platforms for travel is that as developers, we are continuously evaluating and re-evaluating the user experience. And part of this process involves constant reinventing of the tools we use in a way that best facilitates a certain “richness of interaction” within the community.
Perched atop the rankings on this tenth of October is Leith Stevens, a twenty-something Boulder-based travel entrepreneur. Mr. Stevens maintains a busy schedule flying around the world meeting clients and business partners as CEO of Flextrip, and by the time we had a chance to catch up with the smooth-talking Aussie, he was already making final preparations to fly to Singapore for an industry conference.
Leith has logged over two hundred seven trips and over six hundred thousand miles over the past three years alone. A quick glance at his travel record reveals that he typically spends over half of his time travelling and on the road. You might consider him a true road warrior.
A well-seasoned veteran of both business and leisure travel, he considers his native Australia–more specifically, the sunny North Coast–as among his favorite destinations, along with the idyllic Maldives. As CEO, business travel typically takes him across continents, from Sydney to Hong Kong to Boulder. Yet despite living a nomadic lifestyle on the road, there is still one place, sub-Saharan Africa, that remains a to-be-realized goal for him, as an as-of-yet unexplored dream destination.
Spending a majority of the time travelling however is never without its share of travel-related follies. With a bit of after-the-fact bemusement, Leith recounts to us a bizarre holiday incident. Due to a surprise holiday blizzard last year, what should have been a routine connection in Frankfurt, Germany on a trip back to Australia nearly turned into a season without gifts for the family.
“There were about one hundred fifty people in line to report their lost bags, which I declined to wait in. I was finally able to get through on the phone about a week later to report the lost bag, and by that time they located the bag, I was already on my way back to Boston. I ended up using FedEx to send the gifts back home, but they first took a nice little vacation in Frankfurt for two weeks.”
An extremely organized traveler, Leith takes these setbacks in stride. He uses Traxo because it combines a lot of the best features from travel organization sites, but integrates it in a way that doesn’t require the extra effort involved in forwarding or scanning emails. This allows him to be as efficient as possible and devote the maximum amount of time to work or leisure, rather than organization.
As for tips for less experienced travelers, Leith offers this tidbit, “Concentrate your bookings on one airline, one alliance, and make sure you get rewarded for it. Even if it means paying a little bit more or going out of your way in your routes. And never go to the same place again and again.”
“See new and different things each time and you’ll experience things that are amazing. For example, I love visiting the Philippines. On paper, considering their history and struggles, you’d be hard-pressed to understand how they can remain a functioning society, but once you get there, you realize that it just works.”
Upon being told of his position atop the Traxo rankings, Leith is unfazed. “Well, I actually hope someone overtakes my position. That way I can work hard to take it back.” We too, hope that someone else as passionate about travel as Leith Stevens is up to the task.