In conversation with

Richard MacKichan

Editor-in-chief at Mr & Mrs Smith



In our recent interview with Richard MacKichan, editor-in-chief at Mr and Mrs Smith, we discussed the intricacies of his job and what it’s like to explore new destinations for a living. He shares the joys and challenges of writing about travel (insert synonym for ‘hotel’ here), and doing it in a compelling way with the ultimate goal of inspiring others to experience them too.

We delved deep into upcoming travel trends and destinations for the year, explored what sustainable travel means to both travellers and those working in the industry, and discussed common clichés that writers often fall into when writing about travel.

Question and Answer

What’s the best and worst part of being an editor in travel?

There’s the obvious stuff: visiting new destinations and getting to stay in some amazing places, but the biggest kick I’ve got, hotel-wise at least, is from hearing about people’s passion projects, experiencing them first hand, and then playing a small part in putting them on the map and convincing others to experience them too.

As for the worst, it’s a tie between thinking of synonyms for ‘hotel’ and reading the word ‘nestled’ a horrifying amount.

What are some travel trends you think we’ll be seeing in 2023?

Early in 2020 I had the privilege of working with the Future Laboratory who are professionals in this capacity; like modern-day seers. We put out a report speculating  what the next decade of romantic travel might look like and it covered everything from sex to psychedelics to sociology.

The pandemic put the brakes on some of it, but it was interesting to see what that actually accelerated: increased desire to be connected to nature, the ease of digital nomadism, a four-day ‘peakend’ – all of which are helping shape this year’s trends.

Owing to how long they’ve been inaccessible, I think we’ll also see a boom in long-haul favourites like Australia, New Zealand, Japan, etc. And if last year was about rekindling with old favourites, the less-trodden city break will be big in 2023 – Baltimore, Naples, Marseille and the like.

Mr & Mrs Smith are a BCorp. There’s been more awareness and more of a movement towards eco-travel – what exactly does sustainable travel mean?

It’s a tricky one, given the wider industry’s obvious footprint. But I don’t think there’s a blanket answer. Hotel stays can often be people’s first penny-drop encounters with environmental and community impact in close-up.

We felt our role – and particularly from an editorial point of view – was to shine a spotlight on such efforts and give our members as much information as possible to help them make the most informed choices they can. There are various things we do internally – offset staff travel, ongoing partnerships with the World Land Trust and the Blue Marine Foundation – that was nice to see recognised with B Corp certification but it will always be an ongoing process in the broader sense.

“It was interesting to see what the pandemic accelerated: an increased desire to be connected to nature, the ease of digital nomadism, a four-day ‘peakend’ – all of which are helping shape this year’s trends. ”

It can be easy to fall into cliches when writing about travel – ‘crystal sea’, ‘off-beaten path’, ‘there’s something for everyone’ are phrases you hear over and over. What are your top three tips to travel writers who want to avoid these cliches and write something fresh?

As we’ve expanded our editorial output this past year, I’ve actually sought to work with writers who also write on other topics for this very reason. So my tips would be:

  1. Travel is highly visual, so be playful, be inventive, be you. Make your writing convey something visually that a picture cannot.
  2. Keep other interests! What people really travel for is food, architecture, nightlife, history, literature, language, romance etc. Put a particular lens on a place to add to the appeal.
  3. Always be mindful of the rhythm of your writing. Recite it in your head even. It’ll teach you not to be afraid to be straightforward at times.

Other than Mr & Mrs Smith, who are some of your favourite travel-related brands and why?

HoteIs-wise, I love those old classics that become brands – places like Chateau Marmont and the Bowery that just have this irresistible allure. Elsewhere, I really like Ash NYC or Vacation Inc, always a good brand touchpoint. The GlobeTrotter x Tyler the Creator collaboration was inspired. Holiday magazine, the Modern House, and Soho House all get regularly cited for their general creativity.

But I take inspiration from all over: beauty brands like Diptyque and Aesop; fashion brands like Aimé Leon Dore, Wales Bonner, Loewe; lifestyle brands like Gossamer in New York and Flamingo Estate in LA; the record label Deewee in Ghent…

What are some of your favourite travel stories/writers? What makes them so great?

I recently read The Shadow of the Sun by Ryszard Kapuscinski and it was both transportative and educational which isn’t a bad combo. Currently I’m reading Gil Scott-Heron’s The Last Holiday – nominally a memoir but as compelling a read on civil rights era Harlem and Tennessee as you’ll find with, naturally, some sublime turns-of-phrase.

I find that musicians are some of my favourite travel storytellers – I’ll always find a record store wherever I’m travelling. There’s a Tom Waits song that I adore, Kentucky Avenue, which opens with ‘Eddie Grace’s Buick / Got four bullet holes in the side’ which is as good a transportative first line as any novel I can think of.

Does being in travel make you want to travel a lot? Describe what your dream holiday looks like – from the accommodation you’d love to stay at to the sights you want to see.

Yes, there’s normally blurred lines where work is holiday and holiday is work. But I actually did manage my dream holiday before the pandemic. I’d had a manic year so I dreamt of going away with the express purpose of doing nothing. The very opposite of my usual approach – and GoldenEye in Jamaica obliged perfectly.

For a whole week the only decisions I had to make were which pool to swim in, which treatment to try, and how early was it acceptable to have a Red Stripe. I watched sunsets, ate fish tacos, listened to a lot of reggae, and rescued some baby turtles. I was really quite surprised how quickly I adapted to such a sedentary lifestyle. Thankfully I didn’t have to write it up, because that’s about all you’d get.

Richard's Storylist


  1. Son by Christopher Anderson
  2. Amor by Kate Bellm
  3. Posters by Milton Glaser


  1. Gossamer
  2. The New Yorker
  3. Record


  1. Popbitch
  2. The Daily Beast
  3. Vittles

Digital Platforms

  1. @_whereisthecool_magazine_
  2. @piariverola
  3. @coverjunkie

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