Co-founder and chief marketing officer of ODIGEO (eDreams, Go Voyages, Opodo and Travellink), the largest European online travel company and the fifth largest in the world. Passionate about the sea, he could spend hours swimming and enjoying the peace and tranquility of the water. A family guy who greatly admires his wife and daughters.
That’s Mauricio Prieto (@mauprieto), Mexican by birth and a person who loves to live in different cities and learn about other cultures. Today we invite you to get to know him better.
With last year’s creation of the ODIGEO Group, surely the amount of business trips have multiplied… What is the last trip you’ve taken for pleasure, to disconnect from the world a bit?
Yes, business travel has increased, but fortunately the cities I most likely travel to for work are attractive destinations: Paris, London, Hamburg, Milan, Stockholm.
The last trip for pleasure was a weekend in Ibiza, to swim in the Ibiza Ultra Challenge, a 11.4 km swim organized by Marnaton. Swimming long distances in open water is without a doubt the best way for me to disconnect and focus.
What do you remember from your first trip?
My early years were spent in Monterrey, a city in northern Mexico, and I remember the trips I took with my parents and siblings to the border town of McAllen, Texas, about three hours drive from Monterrey. The city of McAllen is not necessarily a tourist destination, but for me these trips were very special and I remember them fondly.
3 places you “need” to visit in your lifetime
Serengeti National Park, the Great Barrier Reef and see the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights).
Are you more of a backpacker or an all-inclusive resort type?
Neither of the two.
“Swimming long distances in open water is without a doubt the best way for me to disconnect”
Do you bring a camera on all of your trips?
Yes, but over my last few trips I’ve replaced a traditional camera with my camera phone. I love photography, but I’m no expert, so in most cases it’s sufficient to use the camera on my phone. On Instagram (mauprieto) I have some of my favorite pictures.
When you choose a destination or while you are planning a trip do you use new technologies to get everything under control?
Yes, a lot. Foursquare is becoming an increasingly useful tool when it comes to exploring and finding new places. What I can’t find using the power of the masses on Tripadvisor I find on foursquare using the power of the recommendations of people with similar tastes to mine.
Your ideal trip would be by… plane, train, or boat?
My ideal trip depends on the destination and the company, not the means of transport. If we specify a type of transportation, I prefer non-motorized transportation. And between plane, train, boat or car, generally I prefer the fastest option to get me door to door to my destination, but I do value the punctuality and comfort of the train and the freedom of traveling by car.
The best story from a trip is…
What I enjoy most is rediscovering the world from my daughters’ perspectives. You can’t put a price tag on experiencing the first time they saw snow, the Statue of Liberty, the waters of the Caribbean, the Eiffel Tower … Traveling with them is guaranteed fun and learning thanks to the innocence and curiosity of children.
Who is your ideal travel companion?
Without a doubt, my wife and daughters.
What is the one item that is essential to pack in your suitcase?
Before it was a Swiss Army knife. Now it’s my iPad.
Have you ever lost your suitcase?
No, but almost. Once I forgot my bag in a taxi in Madrid. When I realized it (an hour later), I returned to the same stop where I caught the taxi, with the tremendous luck that the same taxi was there. I was with my daughter, Sofia, who at the time was 5 years old. When we went to the airport, I told her it would be better that she was in charge of my bag to be sure not to lose it again.
What type of souvenir or memento do you like to bring back from your travels?
A good picture that captures the essence of the journey.
“What I enjoy most is rediscovering the world from my daughters’ perspectives”
A hotel should have…
When we travel to the Americas with the girls it’s essential that the hotel has 24 hour room service because the jetlag the first few days means we usually wake up at 3 in the morning for breakfast.
Currently we live in a super connected world. Surfing the Internet all the time … Are you able to leave your phone in the hotel room when you go on vacation?
Yes, but since I use my phone for other purposes (camera, reading, notes, etc..) it also helps to disconnect.
If you had to recommend a restaurant to a friend, you wouldn’t hesitate to suggest…
Chez Allard in Paris, Elios in New York, and in Barcelona, I recommend all that appear in my Foursquare.
What could you eat over and over again without getting tired of it?
I love Mexican food, including pozole, the soups, quesadillas and tacos al pastor.
In the last few years low cost airlines have become very popular. Do you use them frecuently? Why?
I choose the company that offers me the best combination of price and schedule. The only exception being Ryanair, which I avoid. I pay extra to not fly with them.
“I think we all have an individual responsibility to explore, and discover where we’re going, what to do with our lives and where to live”
Mexican by birth, Spanish by adoption… How would you describe Spain in terms of tourism?
A country that is privileged in every way: food, nature, sports and culture.
Could you live without travel?
I would definitely miss it. Travel has been part of my life, not just for vacation but to live. I have lived more than two years in Monterrey, Mexico City, Princeton NJ, Berkeley CA, San Francisco CA, Miami FL and Barcelona.
I think we all have an individual responsibility to explore, and discover where we’re going, what to do with our lives and where to live. For me “we have to live here” doesn’t apply, I really value the effort in finding your own space and your own opportunities, going beyond what you have by default.
If you ever go missing, where could we look for you?
Swimming in the sea. Along with three American swimmers, one of them being my wife. I plan to cross the Straight of Gibraltar (www.swimminggibraltar.com) next summer to raise funds for Worldreader, meaning you have to have many kilometers of training under your belt ahead of time.