The Big Money Game presenter tells Deirdre Mullins about her experiences around the world.
What I love about travelling is the buzz you get when your plane touches down. You're hit with a wave of heat and you don't know what is going to happen next. I love to experience new tastes, cultures and meet new people; it makes me feel so alive.
When I was a kid my holiday included a caravan, as my dad was obsessed with them. Every summer, hail, rain or shine the caravan would get the annual clean-out. The next thing you know the caravan is attached to the hitch and we were on the road. We travelled all over Ireland, England and France. In fact, back in the day the Kennedy clan were rarely seen without the caravan. When the weather was bad we passed the time playing snap, hide-and-seek and trying to convince my dad to teach us to drive.
My best travel experience has to be the six weeks I spent travelling around South America with my boyfriend. We took in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Brazil. Rio de Janeiro was the highlight for me. It was the most expensive trip I've ever been on but it was worth every penny. We also spent a month in India last September and it's in second place for my best travel experience. India is mind-blowing.
My worst travel experience is a long story that involves two con-men (one of whom was an eight- year-old boy), a coconut, and some random people praying. Realising you're part of a scam is no craic but it makes for a great story. I was annoyed with myself for being so naïve but I still get a good laugh out of it. I also had a bad experience while on holidays with my friends in the Algarve. I ended up getting sick and spending 24 hours attached to a drip. Not my idea of a good time.
The world's best city is Cork! But after that it has to be Rio de Janeiro. I love so many things about it: the hang-gliding, its soccer games, the street music, Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, the surfers, the food, the tattoos, the favelas, the itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny bikinis. It's safe to say that I am in love with the place.
If I won the Lotto I'd take a few months off work and visit all the places left on my 'to do' list. The first place I'd go to is Antarctica. Next would be East Africa and South Africa and I'd definitely spend a few months chilling on the beaches of Central America. If money was no object I'd bring all my loved ones with me but they would have to be prepared to go on safari, sleep under the stars and brave the cold to get a glimpse of some polar bears.
The best hotel I ever stayed in was in Thailand. It was amazing but it was a long time ago and I can't for the life of me remember its name. When I'm away I tend to go cheap on the accommodation and keep my money for adventure activities and good food. That said, I did stay in the Castlemartyr Resort in Cork last year and loved it.
My favourite place in Ireland is Kinsale. What's not to love? The food is second to none, it's beside the sea and there is always a great buzz around the town. I love to surf and Garretstown beach is only a spin away.
My favourite travel book is a good crime novel, especially true crime. I also always take a copy of the old reliable Lonely Planet series with me. They're great for tips on food and accommodation and cater for every budget.
My next holiday is hopefully East Africa but my man is pushing for a cheaper alternative in the form of Turkey. We've been a few times before and I do love the place. But I'll only go on the condition that I get to spend a few days in Cappadocia. Its landscape and caves look incredible.
I always bring back a painting. I tend to pick up a random canvas wherever I go. I don't know much about art but I know what I like and enjoy having a memento of my travels hanging on my wall.
I never go travelling without a really warm jacket because it doesn't matter if it's 40 degrees outside; you never know I might feel the cold. Yes, a typical Irish woman! Other essentials include hand sanitizer, Imodium and a travel pillow.
Catch Sinéad Kennedy and Brian Ormond as they present a new series of The Big Money Game starting this Saturday June 8 at 8:30pm on RTÉ One. Sinéad has just finished presenting a season of Two Tube and has previously presented Juice, Sattitude, ICE and The Rumour Room.