Phil Keoghan, Travel Tips

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Host of The Amazing Race and dad, Phil Keoghan shares his top three picks for family travel.

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Spend a little time with Phil Keoghan, and you’ll quickly realize that crisscrossing the globe 30 times as the Emmy awarding-winning host and co-executive producer of The Amazing Race on CBS is one of the least amazing things about him. This native New Zealander (who lived in Antigua and Canada as a child, too) and now California transplant has a list of far more amazing accomplishments.

At age 19, Keoghan survived a near-death scuba dive, where he found himself lost inside a 22,000-ton shipwreck at a depth of 120 feet.  That experience profoundly changed him and his outlook on life. He started making a life list - all those things that he wanted to experience while he could. He later turned the idea into a life philosophy and book entitled, No Opportunity Wasted: 8 Ways to Create a List for the Life You Want. When he’s not on the road shooting The Amazing Race or National Geographic Explorer, he’s touring the country as a motivational speaker, encouraging people to “tick it before you kick it!

So what’s he ticked off his list thus far?

  • Dine atop an erupting volcano on the Italian island of Stromboli

  • Obtain reindeer racing license in Finland

  • Dive the world’s largest underwater cave near Tulum, Mexico

  • Set a world record for bungee jumping

  • Renew my marriage vows underwater while feeding sharks

  • Swim from Asia to Europe across the Bosporus Strait in Turkey

  • Raise a million dollars for a single charity (In 2009, he rode his bike from Los Angeles to New York City for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The ride plus the resulting documentary film raised a million bucks.)

  • Putt a golf ball across the country of Scotland, ending on the 18th hole at the Old Course in St. Andrews (Despite claiming not be a good golfer, he did birdie the 18th.)

His bucket list and career have taken him all over the world. He says his love of travel started at an early age.

“When I was a kid in the 70s, my mom and dad took about a 9-week sabbatical, and we drove to every single national park in North America. To this day, it’s still one of the best memories that I have of any trip.”

Keoghan and his wife, Louise, an award-winning television producer and director, have instilled that love of travel in their daughter, who works as an executive assistant on the reality television show Big Brother.

You have a daughter.  She’s now grown, but take me back. What was your favorite family travel experience?

“Well, it was one of the most unexpected travel experiences. My family decided that they wanted to go on an African safari. And I sort of wasn’t looking forward to going, because I don’t like doing really touristy things. It ended up being the best time because my daughter was getting into photography. And I love photography, so I had this opportunity to share with her my knowledge. We had this really intimate time together; every night, we’d download all our photographs. She was at that age where she still listened to me!”

I know that you’re a list maker. What’s your top three destinations in the world for families?

“I don’t think you can beat Italy in terms of food, culture, amazing people - and so many great destinations. Cinque Terre is one of my favorite spots there (and so are) the Aeolian Islands.”

“Of course, New Zealand.” (Remember, Keoghan was born in New Zealand, and he still has a home on the North Island.)

And number 3?

“I would say a road trip across America. It’s not overly expensive, but you get that intimate time. You’re sitting in a car, and you’re forced to be together, and you just talk. You spend the time with each other one-on-one, and you’re forced to engage. I’ve driven across America a couple of times with my dad. And one of the things that he likes to do is get books that were written about the area that you’re driving through. It sort of brings it to life.”

I do that, too! I love audiobooks. I was trying to encourage your wife to get behind the wheel of an RV.

“I would do that… Just you and the road and the miles.  To me, it can be life-changing.”

“Remember, as I say on The Amazing Race: the world is waiting for you.”

Look for the BUCKiT with Phil Keoghan podcast coming soon. In the meantime, watch what happens when KidTripster editor Shellie Bailey-Shah interviews Keoghan on Facebook Live. You’ll see why she had to fire him as her cameraperson. Sorry, Phil. No hard feelings.


Photo Courtesy: Phil Keoghan

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