Erik “the Travel Guy” Hastings, is an EMMY award-winning television personality who speaks directly to consumers who can't afford to "get their vacations wrong". He is the host and managing editor of three internationally syndicated television series; "Beyond Your Backyard", “Food for Thought” and “Cruise Food”.
Erik leads an incredibly talented team of industry pros and is the editorial driving force of his platform. While the travel industry directly supports millions of families worldwide, Erik believes travel makes the world a better place. Through exploration and discovery, he has learned that travel brings cultures together and he eagerly shares that spirit with his viewers.
Erik Hastings got his first taste of being an entrepreneur as a young Iowa boy when he began selling school supplies at Hubbell Elementary School in Des Moines, Iowa. He parlayed that experience into a lifelong commitment to living life successfully on his own terms. Drawn to performing, Erik became a steady face on the local theater scene, highlighted by a lead performance in the international production of Peace Child at the Des Moines Playhouse; a powerful musical about war from a child’s point of view. At the age of 14, this production took him to the Soviet Union for a six-week performance tour and then a subsequent tour in the U.S. the following year.
Lucky enough to attend one of the few high schools in Central Iowa that included several incredibly creative and hands-on performing arts classes, Erik honed his performance craft through dance classes at Betty Hill Dance Studios, music lessons, and acting intensives. At the age of 15, Erik began his radio career. Working "on the air" every weekend until graduation, Erik learned through experience how to become a successful on-air personality. He continued his radio career in Des Moines and then in New York at WABC. He added video production and hosting to his long list of credits at 17, which added a new level to his appreciation for the incredibly powerful potential of the creative arts. Leaving the comfort of his Midwestern roots for the challenges of NYC in 1996, Erik returned to video production repeatedly over the next decade while building an impressive resume in radio, media design and production, theater, commercial work, and hosting duties, including work for WABC, HBO, The Disney Channel, PBS, and Starz & Encore. Over the years, Erik has interviewed thousands of celebrities and headline-makers including Gary Player, Jennifer Aniston, Brian Williams, Tom Hanks, Lester Holt, John Ritter, Phil Mickelson, Michael J Fox, Miss America, Bubba Watson, Dan Rather, Haley Barbour, Jim Justice, Wayne Newton, Tom Watson, and countless others.
In 2005, Erik launched his own production company that specialized in creating high-quality, low-cost travel videos for online distribution, which has added “world traveler” to his resume. This enterprise encapsulates all of Erik’s true joys by combining video production, writing, discovery, adventure, performing and interacting with fascinating people in some of the most inspiring and beautiful travel destinations in the world. Since inception, he has amassed an impressive client roster including Hertz, The Greenbrier Resort, CruiseOne, Carnival, Pinehurst, Iberostar, and countless official tourism bureaus throughout the world.
In 2017, Erik and his creative team began production on "Beyond Your Backyard", a new educational travel series for Blue Ridge PBS. The series debuted in April of 2018 on Blue Ridge PBS and other public broadcasting stations and quickly gained national attention and new affiliates. Today, the series is seen by millions of viewers nationwide. The series is syndicated by NETA and carried on the CREATE Channel. In its first season, the series was honored by the industry with two EMMY awards for the show and its host.
In 2022, Erik formed a new venture (4:55 AM Entertainment Co.) with his longtime friend and creative partner Jason Zumwalt. His new company produces two series: “Cruise Food” and “Food For Thought”.
Erik spends (on average) about 25 weeks on the road per year. When he's not traveling, he spends time with his two daughters in the New York City area.