When I left my career in corporate and investment banking in 2008, my primary goal was to spend some time on ‘me’. I was tired and I felt somewhat out of touch with myself. I decided to embark on a five-month (predominantly) solo round-the-world trip. In a sense, I used that trip to grow; I chose to reflect upon the path I’d taken till that point, face up to unresolved issues from my adolescence, challenge myself and discover the things that make me tick…. in style! I bought myself a Business Class round-the-world ticket and off I went! I wrote about my experiences (see my Travelations essay), and late last year spoke about my trip during my TEDxTalk. Upon my return in late-2008, I started Velvet Escape as a luxury travel blog – to reflect my preferred travel style – and before long, blogging had become my new career.
It’s not surprising then that, when I was offered any of the books in a new travel series, The Traveler’s Handbooks, to read, I chose The Solo Traveler’s Handbook and The Luxury Traveler’s Handbook.
Travel according to your interests
Traditional travel guides are useful for the basics of a destination. They provide valuable information on how to get there, how to get around, places to stay and eat… But these guides are generic. Whether you’re a backpacker or a luxury traveller, you’re getting the same information.
The Traveler’s Handbooks, by contrast, focus on how you travel instead of where. They don’t replace travel guides but the handbooks offer lots of valuable tips and advice as well as travel stories to help you travel according to your style and interests. The books are written by travel bloggers who are tops in their niches. I delved into the luxury and solo books. The former is written by Sarah and Terry Lee of LiveShareTravel and the latter by Janice Waugh of Solo Traveler.
Liberating luxury for the smart traveller
Yes, that’s the subtitle for the Luxury Handbook and that’s exactly what Sarah and Terry do: they provide advice to help you plan your own luxury vacation with confidence and tips on getting the best from travel agents, concierges, cruises and more. I can definitely relate to their story of how they saved almost £3,000 by packaging their own dream, luxury trip – I did the same on my round-the-world trip and made similar savings. In this sense, their two 12-Point Plans for packaging your own trip and for managing loyalty programs are priceless nuggets of advice. Their travel stories show the type of luxury you can expect by following their advice.
What you need to know about travelling solo
The four sections of this book cover why solo travel, planning for a solo trip, how to have a fabulous time travelling alone and how to do so safely. The book offers advice for novices but there’s lots that experienced solo travellers will find valuable as well. I enjoyed many of the stories that are peppered throughout the book that show just how fantastic travelling solo can be. I also got a good chuckle from “14 Signs You’ve Had Too Much Alone Time”. Oh, and there’s a modest contribution from me too!
Five books. Five travel styles.
All The Traveler’s Handbooks are designed so that you can quickly access the information you want. And they don’t have to be read cover-to-cover. You can open these books to just about any page for tips you need as well as great travel stories. There are currently five books in the series and there are plans for more this year. Right now you can get:
- The Career Break Traveler’s Handbook – How to make your dream trip a reality today
- The Food Traveler’s Handbook – How to find cheap, safe and delicious food anywhere in the world
- The Luxury Traveler’s Handbook – Liberating luxury for the smart traveller.
- The Solo Traveler’s Handbook – For those who love and those who long to go solo.
- The Volunteer Traveler’s Handbook – How to find ethical and sustainable volunteer opportunities
Check out the Traveler’s Handbooks in the Velvet Escape Shop!
When I was in my teens and 20’s, I travelled simply to see the world and tick off as many boxes as I could. In my 30’s, travel took on a different meaning for me. It was an escape from the daily grind, but also an opportunity to immerse myself in a different environment and culture, and learn a thing or two. This handbook series speaks not only to the way I like to travel but to the different stages of my life, and provides excellent tips from experts to make the most out of one of the greatest schools I’ve ever known: TRAVEL!