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Simon Calder (born 25 December 1955) is an English travel writer and broadcaster, currently senior travel editor for The Independent newspaper.

Simon Calder
Simon Calder Holiday Extras Customers' Awards.jpg
Calder in 2009
Born (1955-12-25) 25 December 1955 (age 63)
Alma materUniversity of Warwick
OccupationTravel journalist
Parent(s)Nigel Calder


In 1962, Calder joined the Woodcraft Folk and travelled with the group to the Lake District. That same year, after the USSR sent nuclear warheads to Cuba, Calder's parents decided that with Gatwick Airport only two miles away they were in the line of a potential Soviet target. The family moved to Guernsey, for a short holiday while the danger passed. The school he attended, Thomas Bennett in Crawley, compulsorily taught Russian, which Calder comments was not useful on regular school and family trips to France.

Calder's first job was a cleaner for British Airways at Gatwick and later as a security guard. He began writing budget travel guidebooks during this period, starting with the Hitch-hiker's Manual: Britain. He later studied for a degree in mathematics at University of Warwick, while also indulging his love of hitchhiking around Europe. At one point he was the holder of the record for the quickest hitchhike between Land's End and John o' Groats.[1]

After university, Calder wrote several books and series of guides including the Traveller's Survival Kit series and Backpacks, Boots and Baguettes. His first broadcast as a travel expert was on Simon Bates programme Studio B15 on BBC Radio 1 in 1980.[2]

Calder became travel editor for The Independent in 1994 and shortly afterwards began presenting for BBC 2's Travel Show until the programme ended in 1999. He then contributed to several BBC 1 shows, including Perfect Holiday and Departure Lounge. Calder presented the final film in the last edition of the long-running Holiday programme in 2007.

In 2011, Calder wrote an article for the Independent entitled "A new age of the train is dawning across Europe" about how competition on the railways was improving service across Europe.[3]

He continues to contribute to various BBC programmes, including Rip Off Britain[4] as a presenter of short films and as an expert providing advice to consumers. He regularly comments as an expert on travel issues for other radio and TV stations. Calder presented The Travel Show, a weekly travel phone-in on the London talk radio station LBC, for four years until April 2012.


Calder is the son of science writer Nigel Calder and the grandson of Lord Ritchie-Calder. He is the nephew of Scottish writer and critic, Angus Calder and educationalist Isla Calder (1946-2000).

Simon married Charlotte in Las Vegas in 1997. He has two daughters (born in 2000 and 2003) and lives in London.[5]


  1. ^ "Simon Calder". Vacation Work Publications. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  2. ^ "Programmes and Presenters - Simon Calder". Classic FM. Archived from the original on 22 October 2006.
  3. ^ Calder, Simon (10 December 2011). "A new age of the train is dawning across Europe". The Independent.
  4. ^ "Holiday problems: Simon Calder". Rip Off Britain. BBC One. Retrieved 22 June 2019.
  5. ^ "Biography". Retrieved 11 January 2018.

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