How Pan Am inspired me to travel.

What first inspired you to travel? Was it exotic far-off lands you read about in a book or saw in a film? Or was it from watching Gilligan’s Island?  For me it was a board game. The Game was called Pan American World Jet Flight Game, which had the tagline ‘Pilot a Jet Clipper to all the continents of the world.’ Read more


The 20 best travel books (not including mine!)

I’m about to head off on a trip and for my holiday reading I’ve decided to take one of my old favourite travel books with me. The only problem is that I’ve gone through my entire book shelf (which is mostly made of travel guide books and travel literature) and I can’t decide which book to take. I have so many favourites. If I could take (and read!) 20 books with me these would be my 20 favourite travel books:

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The 14 wackiest places to stay with Airbnb.

There was an old tourist who stayed in a shoe. Actually, anyone can stay in this shoe. It’s one of the wacky places to stay in listed on Airbnb. I follow Airbnb on Instagram because I love seeing all the amazing and cool places that you can stay in, but there are also some seriously kooky places you can stay in as well. I’ve trowled my way through the Airbnb website and found my 14 favourite wackiest places to doss down for the night (make sure you click some of the links to the actual Airbnb sites – the insides of some are just as kooky!):


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The 5 best travelling Instagrammers.

I joined Instagram not long after it started and for quite a few months I had no followers or followed anyone (although that was because there was no one I knew to follow). My first post (since deleted) was a shot of my foot. I loved the filters and frames on Instagram and it soon became my favourite app and social media tool – even if no one was seeing my brilliant post of my blue Converse runner on grey carpet.  Since then of course it was sold to Facebook for a paltry billion dollars (that’s Instagram was sold, not my brilliant shoe pic) and now has over 300 million monthly users (more then Twitter) and I at last have some followers! Read more


The hills are alive with Eat, Pray, Love.

‘EPL,’ our Balinese waiter whispered to us with a wink. He nodded in the direction of a woman in her mid 30s sitting at a table by herself with a cocktail reading a book. Our waiter was referring to Eat, Pray, Love, the mega-best-selling book and subsequent film starring Julia Roberts. The book had already fuelled a boom in Eat, Pray, Love tourism in Ubud, Bali, but the film had sent it skyrocketing. There is even a big bunch of tour operators and travel companies that offer up ‘the EPL experience’, which has given rise to a new customer for Balinese tour operators: spiritual seekers. Or, just hoping to meet and fall in love with a handsome and charming foreigner. Read more

Starbuck$ Ubud

Bloody Starbucks.

That’s what I said when I spotted a Starbucks in Ubud. ‘Are tourists that desperate for a shitty chain coffee?’ I asked my wife as we strolled past the giant Starbucks right in the heart of central Ubud. I knew that they were coming to town because a local had mentioned their imminent arrival the last time I visited and they weren’t happy about it. And here it was in all of it’s faux Balinese glory. They were trying to ‘pretend’ that they were all culturally sensitive and had this fakey-temple thing going on with a giant Balinese Starbuck’s gong at the entrance. I really can’t understand why people on a one week holiday can’t last a few days without having a Hazelnut Vanilla Double Frappe Macchiato. I searched the Ubud Starbucks on Trip Advisor and there were comments like: ‘It’s really expensive; but it’s such a nice luxury,’ and ‘I was SOOO excited to find a Starbucks in Ubud!’ If you have read any of my books you will know how much I hate those big horrible ‘restaurant’ chains that set themselves up right in the heart of historical towns and cities.

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Airbnb vs Resort


On my recent family trip to Bali we split the trip in half both in the destination and the type of accommodation we stayed in. On Nusa Lemobongan we stayed in a villa in a resort, which was booked through, while in Ubud we stayed in a private villa, which was booked through Airbnb. So, which one was better? I’ll let you decide. Below are comparisons from the initial booking to the arrival and the accommodation itself. Read more

tripadvisor logo

I contracted a venereal disease at this hotel.

That is just one of the great quotes from a review on Trip Advisor. The bad reviews on Trip Advisor can be really bad. Like scare-everybody-away bad. I admit that I use Trip Advisor quite a bit when I travel and have stayed in some fantastic accommodation and eaten in some amazing restaurants because of the advice and comments. Yes, it’s nice to just wander around aimlessly sometimes to find that ‘hidden gem’, but there is a very good chance that the hidden gem is ranked No.4 for that town or city on Trip Advisor anyway. And they can still be hidden gems, by the way, even if they are on Trip Advisor. On my last trip to the Philippines I went to the No.1 ranked restaurant in Taglibaren City and beside enjoying my best meal in the Philippines it was truly a hidden gem because no tourists really stay in Taglibaren City anyway. Nearly all of the reviews were from locals. Read more

Air asia plane

Flights for $3 (inclusive of taxes and toilets).

I’m planning to go to Malaysian Borneo in June (for another Dad and Daughter Adventure) and I started looking at flights today. And being somewhat frugal I spent a lot of time trying to figure out the cheapest way to get there. After way too much time searching around I did find a cheap way, but it does mean detouring quite a bit. If we fly to KL with Air Asia we can get a flight from KL to Sabah, Borneo for around $35. I’m not sure If we’ll do it because we’d have to pay for accommodation in KL, but boy wouldn’t it be fun being an ex-pat in KL. Read more

travel apps

My favourite travel Apps.

For quite a while I refused to take my phone with me when I travelled. I actually liked being away and feeling like I was truly away. And I certainly didn’t want to sit in a cafe with a beer in hand and update my Facebook page about sitting in a cafe with a beer in hand. I resisted for a while then one day, a few years back, I flew into London for a connecting flight to Zurich and all the planes were grounded because of fog and I was put up in a hotel. The problem was that someone was picking me up from Zurich airport. I couldn’t call or text until I got to the hotel, but by then it was too late because they were already on their way to the airport. I had to call them from the hotel phone to tell them what happened. That cost me 80 dollars. A text would have cost me 50 cents. From then on I took my phone with me when I travelled. Then along came the iPhone and I now sit in a cafe with a beer in hand and update my Facebook page about sitting in a cafe with a beer in hand. Read more