Travel tips from Lisa Pagotto of Crooked Compass

WARNING: If you've been bitten by the travel bug you may feel the overwhelming need to book your next adventure after reading the below...

Can you see yourself hiking through Transylvanian forests sipping traditional Romanian wines along the way? Exploring ruins in Rarotonga? What about kayaking with killer whales off Vancouver Island? If you’re all about heading way off the beaten track – we’ve got some very exciting new experiences for you!

You may recognise Lisa Pagotto, the founder of Crooked Compass, from her recent appearance on Shark Tank. We’re thrilled to announce that six of her most popular customised tours are now available on RedBalloon.

We caught up with Lisa to find out a bit more about her company, her wildest experiences and favourite places to escape to. Prepare to be inspired! 

What's the one thing you never go on a trip without?

A hidden stash of USD - just in case.

Confession time: are you a last-minute packer?

For business trips yes, for tours and personal holidays -  no. I pack as far in advance as possible to make sure I don’t leave anything important behind. You can’t be unorganised when you are hosting a group!

Lisa Pagotto Crooked Compass

What's your top tip for the perfect travel photo?

Capture the moment as it is. Don't try to stage the perfect shot – it won't have as greater story behind it.

Tell us about your worst travel fail…

I'm only human, so I have certainly endured more than one travel fail over the years. One trip to Korea and Kenya probably takes the cake. You can read the full story here.

What's your favourite destination of all time and why?

Tunisia was the first 'non-western' country that I visited. At the age of 21, my Nana took me here for 10 days. It was a place she had travelled to almost annually when I was younger and I was always desperate to see the places she spoke about, and wanted to become part of her stories. The culture fascinated me. These 10 days laid down the foundations that morphed me into an adventurous traveller and embedded a yearning to see what other enthralling cultures and countries were out there.

What's the one travel experience that changed your life?

Living with nomads in the middle of winter in Mongolia. My husband and I were privileged to stay with a grandmother in her ger in Terelj National Park in January – the middle of winter. Our beds were wooden slats with reindeer hide over them. Our food was horse dumplings and horse milk. Ice was hacked from a frozen river bed and melted on the stove for water. Being engaged in such a primitive life where the people were so happy really made me think about how overstimulated and spoilt we are in the western world.

What's the most popular Crooked Compass tour?

Our most popular tour is our Mount Hagen Cultural Show (check out the video below). However, my favourite tour is our newly launched Reindeer Tribes of Mongolia – it is so remote, culturally deep and unique. You can browse the selection of Crooked Compass tours now available on RedBalloon here

Take a sneak peek at the Mount Hagen Cultural Show.