Arrival in Bora Bora – a dream come true!

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

Travelling solo in luxury – enjoying some bubbly in Cathay Pacific Business Class

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:


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!

8 Responses

  • It wasn’t as expensive as most people think. I think I paid something in the region of EUR 5,000 – 6,000. Amazing value considering most long-haul return tickets in Business Class cost a lot more than that!


  • Excellent blog Keith! Especially for me, who is fond of resort and cruise tourism. But I can not stop myself from asking this question, how much the business class word trip ticket was worth? I am sure it must have been very expensive.

  • I love travel and am defiantly a solo traveler. Travel has taught me more then school ever did.

  • Lovely! I was there in WTM when they announced the books! My style? The happy (sometimes clumsy) traveller. Should I write a handbook about how to smile after a ring that flew from your finger reached a lady in Florentine restaurant?

  • Hi Doreen,
    The Food book is next on my list!
    Bora Bora sure was a dream come true for me. I loved every minute of my time there and had to keep pinching myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. Haha!


  • Indeed, travel is such a wonderful school! I feel I will be a lifelong learner as I am definitely hooked!

    This series of travel handbooks looks interesting. If I had to pick just one, it would be the Food Traveller’s Handbook. With a certain amount of luxury thrown in!

    Lucky you to have gotten to Bora Bora, Keith! It’s definitely on my list.

  • Nice image, well taken. The sx still has a nice retro look about it without that cheap feel. good article mate.

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