Recommended Reading

These are some of my favourite travel guides and related sites, encompassing a range of destinations and types of trip, whether you’re in need of an up-to-date city guide with the edge or you want to lose yourself in the wild and break away from the beaten path. I hope they’ll inspire you too…

Boy reading pile of newspapers

It’s important to never be short of reading material. Credit: TheThirdCity.org

  • Milk in the City – Created by my good friend Juliet, this is an über-cool website devoted to discovering the best bits of various cities around the world, including Seattle, London, Berlin and, most recently, Copenhagen. I can always rely on Juliet to know about the quirkiest shops and eateries before anyone else does!
  • 12 Hours – This does what it says on the tin, really: cleverly curated guides to spending 12 hours in certain cities and their best districts. The East London edition is a perfect example of the team’s insider knowledge, and the photos on the site are to die for. Up next, the team will be covering Paris and Milan.
  • Yonder Journal – If you’re having one of those relentless days where you feel like you’re just a cog in a big commercial machine (or an open-plan office with strip lighting), take a step back and enjoy a breather with this alternative journal, which picks out incredible journeys in America and the best places to disconnect from modern life and see the wild. The authors refer to themselves as ‘Cultural Anthropologists’, and with good reason.
  • Unlike City Guides – Think of Unlike as your much cooler and older friend who seems to instinctively seek out the hippest spots in town. The guides are really comprehensive and there’s real potential for this site to expand; I can’t wait to see where they cover next. If you’re heading to one of their featured cities and you like stepping away from books then you will find their tips indispensible.
  • Wanderlust and Lipstick – The consummate female travel site, with posts from all around the world and some fantastic advice for exploring new places as a woman, whether solo or with friends. Alongside practical information, there are also some brilliant first person pieces to really make you think about why you’re travelling.
  • Pinch Magazine – Dreamt up by innovative luxury holiday company Black Tomato, Pinch is not just a place for the team to showcase their product. It’s a fun exploration of the destinations they cover, through the eyes of expert creatives and journalists.
  • Another Escape – A very new British-based creative magazine with great ideas and beautiful photography (the print edition would look great on your coffee table). If you have big dreams and an even bigger enquiring mind then this will be right up your street. Check out the Tumblr account for bite-size inspiration.
1920s women reading

Writing so good that it’s worth ruining a picnic for… Credit: Vi.sualise.us

  • Spotted By Locals – Similar to Unlike but with a broader remit of destinations and a local-only expert focus, this is a really easy site to use and it always gives me new ideas. Some of the places may be slightly off the beaten track for tourists on short breaks, but if you have longer to spend somewhere then you will find loads of cool bars, shops and sights to add to your itinerary.
  • Atlas Obscura – A reliably weird and wonderful collection of the planet’s most unusual sights, from bone chapels and anatomical museums to ghost towns and bizarre monuments, you can find time slipping away as you browse by type of curiosity or by location. You can even add to the Atlas yourself, and there’s a sense of pride in creating your own map of places to tick off.
  • Civilian Global – This intelligent and carefully curated website looks at culture, design and travel around the world in a unique way. Features can include anything from the sleep therapy treatment offered at a spa to a woman who follows Bruce Springsteen on tour. One of my favourite pieces focused on a metal band whose repertoire consists of Barbra Streisand covers.
  • Boat Magazine – A really immersive exercise in getting to know the true spirit of a destination, Boat moves around each issue to focus on a new city. So far, issues have covered Sarajevo, Athens and Derry-Londonderry, amongst others. Next up is Reykjavik for Issue 6; I hope they visit some of my personal hotspots such as Dillon (a brilliant bar) and the Laundromat Cafe.
  • Standard Culture – The online lifestyle magazine from the team behind The Standard hotel chain is a great example of content marketing to a niche audience, with a touch of humour along the way. Think interviews, eye-catching products and the lowdown on the hottest events. Brands can be personable and attainable, even when they’re this cool.
  • Bon Voyaging – Run by the intrepid Nikki, this lifestyle site looks at the way you travel and aims to improve it with insight into the best hotels, as well as cultural recommendations and general tips to make your trips that bit more stylish. Nikki is definitely in the know, so follow her closely.

Do you have a favourite travel site that you think should be on the list? I’d love to hear about it.

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