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#HistoryofmyHoliday: Umanga Basnayake

Every month, we'll be looking back through the holiday memories of one of our very own from the Travelex team.

Remittance Business Development Officer in Qatar: Umanga Basnayake

For our fourth #HistoryofmyHoliday staff interview here on the Travelex Hub, we've got some wise words from Remittance Business Development Officer, Umanga Basnayake. 

Umanga is based all the way in Qatar, in our Doha office.

Read on to find out all about his holiday memories, top travel tips and insider currency knowledge.

Remittance Business Development Officer in Qatar: Umanga Basnayake

What kind of holidayer are you? Beach break lover, culture vulture, foodie, backpacker or something else?

I guess I’m bit of everything. A few years back, I was enjoying the sandy beaches in Maldives and whenever I had the chance I would go on to exploring the untouched natural beaches in Sri Lanka. The beauty that country holds is unimaginable; truly a paradise.

When I went backpacking in Europe last year with my friends, we had no clue where to go or where to stay. We jumped on to a train and ended up covering six countries!

What’s your earliest holiday memory?

A family trip to the Ancient City of Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka. I remember my father telling me fascinating stories of kings while taking me through the ruins.

What’s the furthest you’ve ever been from home?

Well this may be a shocker to most: the furthest I’ve ever been is the UK. I absolutely loved the weather.

What’s the longest you’ve ever been away from home?

Once I spent two months in Thailand on a community service project, building shelters for the poor. I took lessons in Muay Thai and traditional dance.

What’s the best experience you’ve ever had on holiday?

Many unforgettable things have happened in my travels, but some stuff shall not be mentioned!

While I was in Thailand, my friends and I participated in an adventure race. We had to hike through the mountains and build our own raft to cross the ocean. It was dangerous and exciting. Despite getting lost in a mountain wilderness in Sattahip, we managed to finish 3rd place!

How many countries have you visited? Do you have a favourite?

I’ve been to 14 countries and counting. Paris is a place I want to visit again. I absolutely loved the atmosphere.

How far in advance do you pick up your foreign currency?

It depends on the destination currency - the dollar doesn’t fluctuate at all here in the Middle East. If it’s any other currency: once the value decreases to my preferred level, that’s when I purchase from one of our stores. (You can sign up to our Travel Rate Tracker to get notifications on when a currency has reached your chosen level!)

Do you budget your spending money or are you a holiday splurger?

I do budget my travels, but I always make sure to leave some amount behind so that I won’t be broke once I’m back from my holiday!

Do you like to research before you go or discover it all after you arrive?

It can be better to know where you're headed beforehand, but locals always know the best places.

Who’s your dream holiday companion?

My best buddies. Fun tags along when you are with your friends. Crazy things happen when they are around.

What's your top pick destination for 2016?

Turkey. That’s where I’m heading next - my friends who’ve already been there said it’s beautiful and worth the money.  

And finally, what's your top travel tip?

If you haven’t travelled you haven’t lived.

There’s a whole world out there for you to discover. It’s better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times.              

Want to know more?

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