Do you travel light or heavy?


Cattle or first class?

Used to be cattle class all the time, until recently when I found out the glory of business class and above.


I can't travel without ...

Thinking I might have left something on at home that I shouldn't have.

What type of suitcase do you carry?

A green Samsonite thick-weave travel bag given to me by a fellow comedian, the lovely Jan Maree. Careful, she'll try to give you doilies and vintage plates as well. Just politely refuse and back slowly away.

What's always in your hand luggage?

Tiny bottles of shampoo, conditioner, hand gel and whiskey from the hotels on tours. I can't stop taking them. Sometimes they come in really handy when you can't be bothered buying a big bottle of the stuff.

Are you a planner or last-minute packer?

Used to be last minute, right up until I grabbed my travel bag and hit the road on a four-day tour only to find out many hundreds of miles away, and minutes before show time, that the bag was empty. I was in stubbies, T-shirt and sandals so I quickly bought the necessary dress shoes and outfit from a nearby men's shop - the Warehouse, I believe.

What's the best thing you've brought back from a trip?

Vivid memories of new experiences. I know it's a wafty answer, but it's the truth and I'm sticking by it.

Favourite or most exciting airport to land in?

Either one of Bagram or Bamiyan air bases in Afghanistan when I went there to perform in August 2012. Bagram because of the sheer immense military display all along the tarmac of trucks and planes; and Bamiyan because there was no tarmac, just dust, and we were landing in a Chinook Helicopter with special forces.

Best packing tip?

Remember the contents of your bag. Don't leave them neatly folded on the bed BESIDE the travel bag or you'll grab it, realise it's empty hundreds of miles away, and return to find the folded clothes RIGHT where you left them. Okay I'll shut up about that now.

Most memorable trip?

Definitely the August 2012 trip to perform three gigs in Afghanistan. It blew up super-dangerous just as Mike King and I got there, Kiwis had died and more were going to. We flew to Dubai, where we then caught a chartered jet full of SAS and special forces soldiers only, and flew to Bagram, then Bamiyan. Flew back the same way, same conditions after the most amazing, mind-blowing two weeks of my life staying in the most dangerous parts of the most deadly country on earth. Quietest passengers I've ever experienced.

Simon McKinney hosts The Year That Was, a retrospective of 2003, December 19, 8.30pm, on TV2.