Risky travel: how much is too much?

Is it safe to travel to Turkey or other areas of unrest? After several weeks in the country, we reflect on recent attacks and ask how much risk is too much

On Tuesday 7th June 2016, a bomb went off in central Istanbul, killing 11 people and injuring 36 others. The news was particularly sobering because we had been in the city only a day and a half before.

We had spent a few weeks travelling through parts of western Turkey, stopping in Istanbul, Selçuk and Ephesus, Denizli, Pamukkale and Cappadocia and finishing off in Istanbul.

On the flight back to London, I mentally planned the post I wanted to write: a call for tourists to start visiting Turkey again, to experience the iconic landscapes, historic architecture, delicious food and amazing people of Turkey.

Brexit: waking up to Little Britain

Waking-up-to-little-Britain-featimg-2

Britain’s decision to leave the EU was a bad one. On Friday 24th June I woke up to discover I live in a very different Britain to what I thought

Kia and I tend to steer clear of politics on this blog. We have such a varied and international audience, it’s rare that the politics of one region will interest everyone. However, last week our home country made a decision that sent shockwaves across the globe. Britain’s vote to leave the European Union was a bad decision and one I feel I can’t ignore.

The countries I least want to see

“So what’s the plan after Africa?” I ask Peter.
He shrugs nonchalantly. “We’ll see after Africa.”
I frown.

As ever, I need a game plan. I know we’re planning to head to Africa in the summer but what comes after? Do we settle in London and travel in between things? Do we stay on the road? Do we move to Sri Lanka of which we occasionally and idly dream?

6 charmless South American towns we couldn’t avoid

Tourist towns inevitably crop up next to major sights and more often than not, they’re completely charmless. Here are five we failed to avoid

Travellers go to Latin America hoping, expecting, knowing they’ll be wowed. Home to three of the world’s Seven Wonders, the region has a wealth of both manmade and natural attractions.

Travellers also know that their journey through this vast continent won’t always be full of rainbows and kittens. Amid the bright, great wonders will be dreary days in dull towns with nary a redeeming feature.

Work-life balance: what Americans can learn from the Brits

work-life balance: people working at a table

So many of us can afford to work less and yet we choose not to. As we prepare to return to work, we look at why work-life balance is still so elusive

Tim Armstrong, the 43-year-old CEO of AOL, gets out of bed at 5am. He tries to hold off sending emails until 7am. After this, he’s on email “in the morning, during the commute, and late at night.” For some of the weekend he enjoys a respite but then starts work calls and emails at 7pm on Sunday.

Natural wonders vs manmade sights

natural wonders: pyramids of Giza

Atlas & Boots host Lonely Planet’s #LPChat

In August, we hosted Lonely Planet’s #LPChat on Twitter to celebrate the release of their [easyazon_link keywords=”lonely planet 500 best” locale=”US” tag=”atbo0c-20″]Ultimate Travelist, a list of 500 unmissable attractions across the world ranked by their global community of travel experts. The subject in question was natural wonders vs manmade sights.

10 lessons from ‘the world’s poorest president’

Uruguay’s José Mujica, the ‘world’s poorest president’, lives in a 1-bed home, drives a Beetle and gives away 90% of his salary. We share his wisdom

I’ve always had a very specific idea about Uruguay. Crouched deep in the belly of the continent, it was in my mind an expansive plain of rolling hills, laconic gauchos astride thoroughbred horses and tall blades of grass bristling in the sun.

I’m sure my version of Uruguay exists somewhere but the one I found was vastly different. Instead of a South American Arcadia, I found a modern country with liberal views and impressively progressive laws.

10 places to see before they’re gone – or perhaps not

Diving the Galápagos

Friends and readers often ask us about the Galápagos. Is it worth the expense, they say. Would you recommend going?

The truth is it’s hard to encourage people to visit when we’ve seen first hand the damaging effects of human presence on the islands. Equally, it’s hard to discourage people from visiting because a) it would be hypocritical and b) underneath the frenzied tourism lies a unique destination with some of the best beaches we’ve seen and the best diving we’ve ever done (sharks, rays, sea lions and turtles). Clearly, the islands are worth a visit.

Checking my privilege: why travel reminds me I’m not as smart as I think

things about the British

Privilege is so often invisible to those who have it. It provides us security and strokes our egos and lays claim to achievements that aren’t fully ours

I never felt poor until I went to university. I was one of eight siblings that grew up in a Tower Hamlets council house (vouchers for my school uniform, free school meals), but I never felt that my family was poor until I entered higher education.

There, my peer-set changed from Bengali girls like me to those whose families owned second homes, second cars and even thriving businesses – not international conglomerates like you might find at Oxbridge, but impressive nonetheless: a diamond shop in west London, a doctor’s surgery in Surrey, an accountancy firm in Redbridge.

World’s most divisive destinations: should you go?

most visited countries in the worldAtlas & Boots

We look at some of the world’s most divisive destinations destinations that continue to pull in the crowds

Should we or shouldn’t we go?

There are some travel destinations that no matter how picture perfect their landscapes or how much history steeped in their ancient lands, will always provoke a strong reaction in traveller circles. Whether it’s for political, geographical or social reasons, the world’s most divisive destinations will likely divide opinion for a very long time.

Below we look at some of the most contentious and divisive destinations that rightly or wrongly pull in the tourist crowds year after year.

An Atheist and a Muslim walk into a church…

“Do you have faith?”
Peter stumbled for a response. “I’m sorry?”
“Do you have faith?” the priest repeated matter-of-factly.
Peter stopped loading his plate with cucumber sandwiches. “Um, yes,” he managed before quietly shuffling away, elaborating no further.

The question, anodyne as it was, was unexpected. We had enjoyed a relaxing day at his friend’s summer wedding in the beautiful English countryside and weren’t expecting to share our religious affiliations with the head of service in the buffet queue.

5 things travel writers don’t tell you

things-travel-writers-dont-tell-you

Before I quit my job to travel, I worked at roughguides.com for two years and, before that, as Features Editor at Asian Woman and Asian Bride magazines. During this time, I noticed some common themes and phrases emerge in the travel writing I read: diners always enjoyed “hearty fare”, cabins were always “nestled among” something, and seas always comprised “azure waters” (that last one I’m guilty of myself).

In defence of the travel guidebook

travel guidebook

My colleague picks up the two guidebooks strewn across my desk.
“Are you planning to take these with you?”
I nod.
“Won’t they be too heavy?”
I shrug. “Peter will carry them.”
“You could just look it all up on TripAdvisor.”
“I prefer guidebooks.”
Her lips curl into a look that is half confusion and half disdain. “Okay,” she says in a tone that suggests it’s not okay at all.

10 tips for travelling in a developing country

how to take better travel photos

I’ve been lucky enough to experience a decent cross-section of the world – rich and poor – and all the charms it has to offer.

From the pristine streets of Berlin to the dusty roads of Delhi, from the clockwork metro in Austria to the rickety network of dalla-dallas in Tanzania careering along at breakneck speeds, and from 5-star luxury in the Maldives to a cockroach-infested Cambodian dorm – they all have their allure and if I’m honest.

What qualifies as having ‘travelled the world’?

travelled-the-world

Many people say they want to have ‘travelled the world’ but how can we quantify this? Countries visited? Passport stamps? Borders crossed?

How many times have you heard someone say it? Or read a blog post about it? Seen it in an Instagram status or on a bucket-list? Scores of people (including me) say they want to ‘travel the world’ but how can we quantify this? By the number of countries visited? Stamps in our passports? Borders crossed? Cultures experienced?

Kia asked this question on Quora a while ago and received a response from Jay Wacker, a former Stanford professor who offered up Hasbro’s Risk Map as a measure, suggesting that you can say you’ve travelled the world once you have visited half the territories on the map – that’s 21 out of 42 in total.