Globetrotter: Anders Dahlvig

Anders Dahlvig, former CEO of Ikea and now on the boards of major retailers, is a veteran budget traveller who dreams of five-star comfort.

Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Where do you travel?

I spent about 150 days a year going to Asia, the US and across Europe in the 10 years I was chief executive at Ikea. It's one reason why I left the company. Now it's a lot less - mostly between London and Sweden, where I live, and sometimes to the US and other parts of Europe.

What do you do when you get there?

It used to be meeting suppliers, talking to the staff, and meeting governments and regulators across the 50 countries that Ikea operates in. I'm now a non-executive director on boards including Kingfisher and H&M, so a lot of my time is spent in board meetings. I'll also go skiing in Switzerland and Austria a few long weekends a year.

Ideal vacation?

Going on safari in Africa or skiing. I took my wife and sons river rafting in the Grand Canyon two summers ago. I get bored lying on the beach.

Favourite hotel?

I honestly couldn't say. Ikea has a cost-conscious travelling policy. Sometimes we'd try to pick small and personal places, but there was less of that as time went on. Often we'd stay in chains because that's where Ikea could get the best prices.

Ever use a helicopter?

Never. And certainly no private jets. Managers and co-workers travel the same at Ikea and always by the cheapest method. That means economy class to India and Asia, even on night flights.

How do you pass the time?

Mainly by working. I can never sleep flying economy. I might write a speech or formulate a strategy. I can't remember the last film I saw.

Do you use trains?

Not often. It's easier to fly within big countries. Back home, I'd sometimes drive to meetings or visit stores, as long as it was in an environmentally friendly car.

Worst-ever travel experience?

I was stranded in Beijing a few years ago. I stayed in a low-standard hotel on my own, trying to work by making phone calls and sending emails.

Jet lag remedy of choice?

In the US I try to stay on European time, which means going to bed early and waking up early. I struggle in Asia, as I have to step off the plane and do a day's work on no sleep.

- Anders Dahlvig's book The Ikea Edge (McGraw Hill) is out now.

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