Wheels Up: Travel Hacks From BH Founder Jack Slade

Wheels Up: Travel Hacks From BH Founder Jack Slade

Travel hacks from Boss Hunting's Founder and Managing Director.
Boss Hunting
Boss Hunting


You can’t buy more time. It doesn’t matter if you’re Bernard Arnault or Michael Jordan, time is the one universal equaliser that can’t be commodified. But maximising time is undeniably what the world’s most successful people do best.

In partnership with Uber Reserve, Wheels Up is where you’ll find some of Australia’s highest flyers and business leaders alike pinned down, albeit for a brief moment. We want to know how they move more efficiently around the country and the globe, as for them, every second counts.

To kick it off, we thought it’d be apt to unpack the fast-moving life of Boss Hunting’s very own – Jack Slade – and understand how he came to run a digital publishing business from every corner of the globe.

Even before starting Boss Hunting as a humble Facebook page over a decade ago, Slade’s been a self-confessed ‘avgeek’ that’s bounced around the world since his first flight at 3 months old.

If you don’t know the story behind Boss Hunting’s inception, Slade will be the first to admit to you it came about somewhere at the intersection of luck and a passion for the finer things in life. Essentially, in 2012, when he was a student at the time, Slade started posting photos he liked from around the internet to a Facebook page. He called it ‘Boss Hunting’ for no other reason than he thought it sounded cool.

“There was a lot of luck involved in the beginning. In the golden age of Facebook, reach was unlimited, and the page quickly grew to over 100,000 fans.”

After moving to London later that year, he watched it rapidly grow to 250,000 fans in disbelief. He was working a job at a tech startup at the time, and as he moved around Europe (with the odd jaunt back to check in on his hometown of Melbourne) Slade still found it weird meeting people in random places around the world who knew about Boss Hunting.

“I spent a summer in 2016 playing cricket in a small town in Wales. The first day I rocked up to training and told the boys what I did – half of them already followed BH on Facebook which I just found wild at the time.”

It wasn’t until 2015 that he figured out how to build a WordPress website, started writing articles, and made a call out for contributors on the Facebook Page. Slade would stay up on his laptop in bed until 3 am London time so he could be awake for the Australian morning, sending emails to these agencies he’d never heard of and getting content published. After a few years of doing this, he realised it was time to come back to Australia and make the most of his fledgling business.

“The content and website, early on, was pretty trash I must admit. I had no idea what I was doing. The world of media was completely foreign to me, so there was a lot of trial and error. Even these days I’m happy to fail fast and just try new things to see what works and what doesn’t.”

Coming back, it turned out, was the best decision he could’ve made. “When I managed to get back in the same time zone as our audience and clients, things just started to click. We grew from just me and a few part-timers (including John who’s still with us) to a team of 10.”

With that, Boss Hunting’s audience 10x’ed, and his international travel ramped up almost just as fast. Slade says travel is all about remaining as flexible as possible but having most contingencies planned for.

“I like to do hours and hours of research on a region so I know what to expect, but I rarely book flights, hotels, or restaurants months in advance…because you know, just like in the business world, things are constantly changing. Flexibility is key. Much to the chagrin of my plan-loving fiancée.”

His passion for flying can border on obsessive at times. Slade keeps a spreadsheet tracking every flight he’s taken over the last 10 years, including flight number, plane, airline, origin and destination, and KM’s flown. A number that has just ticked over the 1,000,000 km mark.

But his favourite ever flight?

“An error fare with Cathay Pacific that James Want and I booked in early 2019. First Class return from Hong Kong to New York for $900. We were like giggling school kids, eating caviar and drinking Krug like it was going out of fashion.”

Give us one veteran-level flying tip to kick it off.

If you’ve only ever really used the Qantas Frequent Flyer program and are constantly banging your head against a wall trying to find award seats, there are other options. Look to build your Amex Membership Rewards balance, it offers so many transfer partners that you’re bound to find a seat you want – and often at a cheaper point cost than Qantas (hint…Asia Miles).

First person at the airport or last to board?

Domestically, last to board. It’s rare I’m doing something super important in the last four hours before an international flight, so when flying overseas I’m there like four hours before. I like to enjoy myself at the lounge and not be unnecessarily stressed before a long-haul. 

Check-in or carry-on?

As much as I love my Rimowa Trunk Plus, if I can avoid check-in then I’m going carry-on for sure. I think my record is two weeks in Asia with a cabin bag and a small backpack. 

Favourite airport to fly through?

I’m a real aviation geek, so international airports are up there with some of my favourite places in the world. Singapore or Hong Kong are probably my two favourite airports to transit through. Spacious, efficient, and an incredibly diverse mix of passengers. Plus plenty of planes to watch.

Oneworld or Star Alliance? 

Oneworld all the way. Oneworld Emerald (QF Platinum) has to be the best global status in the game.

Preferred airport lounge? 

Gotta be the Qantas First Lounge in Sydney (shout out to Neil Perry’s iconic Salt & Pepper Squid), otherwise, Cathay’s The Pier in Hong Kong is right up there. Number one on my bucket list is Air France’s Salon La Premiere at CDG.

One tangible thing you can’t travel without? 

Probably my noise-cancelling headphones, I’ve got three pairs that I cycle through (JBL/Sennheiser/Bose) and they are a must for any flight. 

Best travel app for your phone? 

Uber is the one I use the most at home and abroad, but I’m the aforementioned geek in me means TripCase is right up there. I also keep a diary of all my flights in Google Sheets because I have since day one. For those fresher to the game, John keeps telling me about a flight-logging app called Flighty.

Go-to airport outfit – dress sharp or dress casual? 

Comfy pair of jeans, a t-shirt or polo, a nice lightweight jumper, and a pair of shoes that are easy to get on and off.

Favourite airline? 

Internationally I’d have to say Emirates, domestically it’s Qantas (for better or worse).

Window or aisle?

Window for sure. I love seeing a new city under lights when coming into land. 

Favourite place to go off-grid? 

Not that exciting an answer, but it’d have to be my parent’s farm on the Mornington Peninsula. Further afield, I spent some time at NIHI Sumba in Indonesia last year which was incredible, and I’m a huge fan of the Austrian Alps for a bit of apres therapy.

Most memorable hotel?

For some reason, I can’t get over Sofitel The Grand in Amsterdam. Perfect location, has amazing staff, beautiful rooms, and one of my favourite cities.

Do you have a bar or restaurant in the world where you feel like a local?

My favourite pub in London, the Cock & Bottle in Notting Hill. Unassuming little pub with great food, great atmosphere, and very friendly locals.

Do you try to beat lag, if so, how?

Not a fan of sleeping pills or any other supplements, so I just make sure I get outside the moment I land for some sun and fresh air. And never let myself fall asleep before 8 pm.

Craziest travel story? 

I took a wrong turn while skiing in Niseko and ended up hiking kilometres through snowy farmland, before hitchhiking home with a Kiwi couple.

Cab or Uber? 

The amount of times I’ve been ripped off by cabs in foreign cities… Uber’s a no-brainer.

What’s your Uber rating? 

A slightly embarrassing 4.72.

Best airport hack to save time? 

Well, the obvious one is travelling by yourself. And I’m obviously biased here, but the more I tap into the hassle-free benefits of Uber Reserve’s Airport Pickups, the more I look forward to arriving in a new city. It just makes it easy.

When’s your next flight and where? 

QF1 to London this month on a juicy first class award seat with my wife-to-be.

Wheels Up is presented in partnership with Uber Reserve. Riders moving to and from airports across Australia can schedule a trip up to 90 days in advance from their destination airport, with flight tracking technology to help ensure a ride is ready and waiting, whether their flight is early, on time or delayed.

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