Category Archives: Top Ten

Top Ten: Travel Books

There’s nothing quite like delving into a good book, especially at Christmas time when its cold and dark outside and you can cuddle up in the corner of the sofa with a cup of coffee cradled in one hand and thick warm socks bear-hugging your tootsies! With that in mind, you may as well grab yourself a fantastic read to keep you hooked.

We’ve racked our brains to come up with ten of our favourite travel-inspired reads so you can pick up a winner or to help to buy that all-elusive Christmas present for your nearest and dearest.

Have a read…!

1. On The Road by Jack Kerouac


On The Road Top Travel Books

‘What’s your road, man? – holyboy road, madman road, rainbow road, guppy road, any road. It’s an anywhere road for anybody anyhow.‘ 

Adventure in abundance, this one is the classic, really. One of those must-read novels if you’re a keen reader and/or traveller.

 

2. Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck

Travels with Charley Top Travel Books

‘When I was very young and the urge to be someplace else was on me, I was assured by mature people that maturity would cure this itch.’  

Man and man’s best friend on a tour of the US in 1960. A sentimental tale weaving historic context and loveliness, Steinbeck and his poodle Charley will certainly keep you entertained.

 3. Notes From a Small Island by Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson Small Island Top Travel Books

Not a book that should be read in public, for fear of emitting loud snorts – The Times

Witty, nostalgic and a definite for any fan of Bill Bryson’s. These notes on his final journey around Blighty offer some interesting insights into modern society and will have you chuclking away to yourself  all long, especially when you get to the list of bizarre place names!


4. The Beach by Alex Garland

The Beach Top Travel Books

‘This incisive novel may well come to be regarded as a defining text in the history of imaginative travel writing’ – Daily Telegraph

Pure, unadulterated escapism. Alex Garland’s tale of paradise found and lost has become a cult classic for generations of back-packers across the world. The ultimate companion for a trip to the Far East.


5. Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat Pray Love Top Travel Books

It’s about a woman’s sojourn through three countries, and it’s fantastic.’ – Julia Roberts

One for the girls. Gilbert’s novel may not to to everyone’s taste but we love the rich descriptions and unique qualities of Italy, Thailand and India. Magical stuff.

6. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

The Sun Also Rises Top Travel Books

‘Remarkable, startling, disquieting’ – Spectator

Perhaps one of Hemingway’s finest masterpieces, this novel tells the story of a group of American expats as they immerse themselves in the lives and loves of Paris and Spain in the 1920s.  The bull-fighting sequences in Pamplona are pretty incredible!

7. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

The God of Small Things Top Travel Books

 ‘May in Ayemenem is a hot, brooding month. The days are long and humid. The river shrinks and black crows gorge on bright mangoes in still, dustgreen trees.’

One of our favourite ever novels and deserved winner of the Booker Prize. Immerse yourself in descriptions and text that will transport you to the heart of Kerala in India. Simply beautiful.



8. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Top Travel Books

‘We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold…’

Surreal, sharp and consistently funny, Hunter S. Thompson’s “Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream” follows Raoul Duke and his attorney Dr Gonzo on a drug-addled trip to Las Vegas.



9. Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2013

best-in-travel-2013-lonely-planet

Some non-fiction brilliance. As always, Lonely Planet have put together the definite guide for travel in 2013. It’s a goodie and offers tons of reliable information and inspiration.

10. The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux

Great Railway Bazaar Top Travel Books

‘He has done our travelling for us brilliantly’ –  William Golding

‘I sought trains, I found passengers,’ writes Theroux in his recollection of travelling through Asia in 1973. A story of adventure  fuelled by the romance of the railway. We particularly love the descriptions of the people he encounters along the way.

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Top 10: Christmas Gifts for Globetrotters & Travel Lovers

Everyone loves getting presents, why wouldn’t you? But buying Christmas presents for our friends and family can be hard, especially nowadays when everyone already seems to have everything they need. So to help bring in the holiday cheer, we’ve rounded up our top 10 unique Christmas gifts for those who tend to be difficult to shop for, and who are also particularly fond of travelling.

1. Travel Journal

Travel Journal Christmas Gift Ideas

Bound in fabric or leather, and beautifully illustrated with vintage maps and inspirations from around the world, these exotic journals are ideal for anyone you know who holds travel memories dear. Tour the globe and store your priceless memories in a journal whose splendour captures the beauty of travel.

£20, available from www.libretto-group.com

2. P5 noise isolating mobile hi-fi headphones from Bowers & Wilkins

bowers-and-wilkins-p5-headpones

Compatible with most Apple devices as well as regular headphone sockets, these stylish noise-isolating headphones are the perfect partner for anyone looking to become the master of surround-sound. Slide them on, and only listen to your favourite tunes as loud as you like, safe in the knowledge that no one else is listening in to your playlist!

£250, available from www.bowers-wilkins.co.uk

3. Scratch Map

Scratch Map Christmas Gift Ideas

Know anyone who wears their immigration stamps like a badge of honour? Or thinks of their visas as a licence to be ‘bad-ass’? This World Map is made for them. Simply scratch away the wax over places you’ve visited and create a live documentary of your globetrotting. Travel, record, and remember. Then show it off!

£15.95, available at www.scratchmap.co.uk

4. Soar

aesop-christmas-gift-ideas

For Christmas, Aesop has released this trio of exotic bathroom essentials for all gentlemen far and wide. Named after the Hawaiian Koiea, a graceful honeyeater, and also suitable for post-workout purification, it’s an ideal gift for men who understand that to look good, you need to smell good.

£55, available from www.aesop.com

5. On the Map: Why the World Looks the Way It Does – Simon Garfield

on-the-map-book-christmas-ideas

Described by the Independent as a ‘rollicking sweep through map history, packed with curiosities and written with verve’, this is an absolute must-read for any contemporary map lover. Start a fascinating new voyage this Christmas, and with Simon Garfield at the helm, it’s sure to be a journey to remember.

£16.99, available from www.amazon.co.uk

6. iPhone driSuit Endurance

underwater-iphone-case-christmas-ideas

A dream come true for any iPhone user, this iPhone driSuit lets your iPhone follow you to new, hidden depths. Travel underwater, play on the beach, or hike through mountains, and  relax knowing that the protective gel layer is keeping your phone safe and cosy. Phew!

£40, available from www.photojojo.com

7. Set of six Great Britain Map Plates

map-plates-christmas-gift-ideas

These set of stunning white bone china plates depicting a large vintage Great Britain map across them, are a beautiful addition to any household. Perfect for any British fan of fine china, and made for those who feel patriotic all year round, these map plates will help Christmas taste that much sweeter. Aaaaaw.

£130, available from www.liberty.co.uk

8. Oliver Sweeney Swipe Gloves

oliver-sweeney-swipe-gloves

These stylish, touch-sensitive leather gloves will delight any of the fashion-conscious out there. Rid the world of those ridiculous gloves that were woolly affairs, and trade them for these Swipe Gloves that allow you to comfortably use TouchTec technology in any type of weather, and in style.

£99, available from www.oliversweeney.com

9. Tapestry Cushion

tapesty-cushion-travel-christmas-gifts

This plush feather-filled tapestry cushion complete with striking Burmese imagery inspired by photography, is an ideal companion for any traveller who loves a good night’s sleep at a moment’s notice. No matter where you are, this square of feathery goodness is sure to bring you nothing but sweet, sweet, dreams.

£56, available at www.liberty.co.uk

10. Suitcase All Aboard Board Game

all-aboard-christmas-travel-ideas

A great gift for any fan of geography as your knowledge is put to the test in an exciting after-Christmas-dinner travel-themed game. Bring your love for exploring the world right to your door as you travel to exotic locations, navigate through interesting obstacles, and try to take the express route to victory. Hurrah!

£12, available from www.johnlewis.com

By Charles Oben (inspired by Conde Nast)


Top Ten: World’s Strangest Banned Items

Oh, the joys of packing for your holiday… Making sure your luggage weighs no more and no less than the exact limit dictated by the low-cost, high-stress airline you’re flying with, going to extraordinary lengths to ensure that any liquids, creams or gels comprise less than 100ml per piece and are safely enclosed in a zip-locked plastic pouch, removing potentially lethal objects from your hand luggage including tweezers, scissors and sharp pencils… the list goes on.

But here’s something else to add into the mix when you’re packing your luggage for your next adventure. Don’t even think about smuggling toys inside chocolate if you’re venturing to the US. Those travelling to New Zealand should leave their precious guitars at home, and if you’re flying into Malaysia don’t buy any new clothes before you touch down.

Confused? Yes, so are we. Let’s have a look at some other items you’ll need to consider unpacking if you want to be accepted into the country of your destination.

 Top Ten: World’s Strangest Banned Items 

1. Marmite and Vegemite

Think again if you want to bring a little piece of home with you when travelling to Denmark. Britain and Australia’s beloved yeast-extract spreads were banned in Denmark on the basis that the products contain ‘enhanced vitamins’. Shock Horror!

2. Guitars

There’s no outright ban on bringing musical instruments into New Zealand but you’ll have to be prepared to take your precious music-maker back with you when you leave the country, as customs will not allow musical instruments to be left behind under any circumstances. You’ve been told!

3. Cups and Saucers

Although you certainly won’t be arrested for carrying ceramic tableware into the United States, you do have to act with a little caution. American custom officials urge their citizens to test ceramics purchased in Mexico, China, Hong Kong and India for traces and levels of lead.

4. Chewing Gum

Leave your sticks of gum back home if you’re travelling to Singapore. The nationwide ban on chewing gum is far from an urban myth and there will be consequences if you’re caught harbouring or chomping on the minty stuff. You have been warned!

5. Mosquito Nets

You might have to risk getting bitten to pieces by mosquitos if you’re planning on visiting Nigeria. The authorities have banned travellers from bring mosquito nets into the country alongside mineral water, fruit and jewellery. Looks like you’ll have to make do with insect repellent… just make sure it’s under 100ml!

6. New Clothes

Make sure you’ve worn all your clothes at least once before packing for your trip to Malaysia. Turning up with more than three articles of new clothing on arrival is subject to duties and could leave you feeling a bit like a criminal. Not a good start to your visit.

7. Aubergines and Red Peppers

Import prohibitions on produce are a wise and, frankly, necessary measure in the prevention of disease. Quite what diseases Chinese custom officials think they’re preventing by banning aubergines and red peppers remains to be seen. But hey, you’re perfectly within your right to import guns and ammunition into the country.

8. Cordless Telephones

Indonesian authorities have long since banned live animals and produce from entering the country but it seems that the innocent-looking cordless phones are the latest objects to come under fire. If you can’t live without your cordless telephone when you’re visiting Indonesia then you’ll need an approved license if you’ve any hope of getting one into the country.

9. Kinder Surprise Eggs

Kinder Surprise eggs are banned in the States due to the ‘non-nutritive object’ imbedded within the shell of the chocolate treat that pose a potential safety hazard to children below the age of three. American kids need to fly over to Canada if they want to experience the joy of the world’s favourite chocolate surprise.

10. Toasters

Heading to Cuba? Don’t even think about packing fresh animal products like milk into the country or your beloved toaster for that matter. Breakfast may well be a bland affair without a cup of strong milky tea and crunchy toast laden with butter and jam. Shame.