The ABC of Travel

“A man should arrive as if he’s visited before, explore as if it’s his first adventure, and leave as if he’s lived there for years.” – Tom Marchant, co-founder Black Tomato

In 1964, iconic Savile Row designer Hardy Amies created the ABC of Men’s Fashion, a guidebook that changed the world of British fashion forever and is as useful today as it was in the influential designer’s heyday. Inspired by Amies’ advice and commanding knowledge of the industry, we’ve created the ABC of Travel, a guide that offers some of Black Tomato’s  top tips for global exploration. So whether you have a plan in the pipeline or are simply looking for a little inspiration, check out our guide below for a glimpse into our expert’s advice.

A – Adventure: You don’t have to hike to snow-clad peaks or dive into fathomless depths to get a sense of adventure from a trip. The beauty of adventure is that it can be found in the smallest of experiences, whether you’re dining on unusual cuisine in a bustling food market or learning a new language with the help of a local.

B – Beaches: Whether you’re a sun worshipper or a scuba-diver, swathes of sand have long been a staple of the global explorer. And from the black sand of Vik Beach in Iceland to the golden expanse of Aruba’s pristine coastline, there’s a perfect patch of sand out there for every type of traveller, so make sure you’re heading to destination that offers yours.

C – Cuisine: Be adventurous with the local cuisine by visiting markets and food stalls, where you can get a real sense of the flavours and smells of a destination by sampling tasters and mingling with local traders. Or try something a little different – one of our favourite foodie experiences is heading out on a Vespa food tour with a guide in Saigon, Vietnam.

D – Diary: A picture can tell a thousand words, but nothing preserves memories like a good old-fashioned travel diary. Whether it’s a bullet-point guide or an in depth journal, try your hand at documenting your next trip, you’ll be surprised by the results.

E – Explore: It’s impossible to really feel a destination without a healthy measure of exploration. Don’t be afraid to take risks, travel is all about getting off the beaten path, blazing your own trail and seeking the new.

F – Flexibility: Whilst it’s true that planning is the cornerstone of every great adventure, spontaneity is also vital if you’re looking to make the most of a trip. Make sure that your plans are susceptible to change if you’re looking to surprise yourself during your next escape.

G – Guidebooks: Thorough research is a prerequisite of any great trip, and there are a lot of helpful guides out there, but our best advice is to make sure you save the planning for before you depart. That way you won’t waste your time with your head in the pages during your precious time away.

H – Hotels: Few things are as important as accommodation during your travels. So do your homework, explore your options, and never be afraid to stray out of your comfort zone, whether you’re looking for a remote safari camp in the Okavango Delta or a panoramic view from the dizzying heights of the Burj Khalifa.

I – Indulge: If there’s ever a time to indulge, it’s when you’re exploring a new country. Don’t fret about sampling the finer things during your travels, it’s what worldwide discovery is all about.

J – Jet-lag: An affliction which should be avoided at all costs if you want to make the most of your travels. Once you’ve arrived at your destination try to stay awake for as long as possible within daytime hours, we know it’s hard, but don’t give-in to that mid-afternoon snooze or 7pm bed time.

K – Kit-list: Whether you’re hiking in the Atlas Mountains or sun worshipping in the Seychelles, there’s nothing worse than leaving something vital behind when you travel. Generating a destination-specific kit-list before you depart is the best way to ensure that nothing important gets left behind in the excitement.

L – Language: Nothing opens doors like attempting to speak a new language. Buy a simple phrase book or enrol in a language class before you travel and you’ll soon see that a little effort goes a seriously long way.

M – Memories: The memories that come as a result of travel are possibly our favourite byproduct of global adventure. Collecting keep-sakes is a perfect way of preserving the memory of your trip.

N – Nomad: There’s nothing quite like a relaxing break, but if you’re looking to discover the true spirit of travel a nomadic attitude is essential. Try not to become stagnated in an area, no matter how much you love it, because there’s always something new around the next corner.

O – Organisation: It may sound like a no brainer, but organisation is one of the single most important aspects of travel. Create checklists, double check timings and make sure that everything has it’s own place in your luggage. There’s no shame in a little obsessiveness when it comes to organisation.

P – Packing: Finding a balance is never easy, but always strive to take away no more than you really need. Travelling light gives you more freedom in every respect, whether you’re darting through the crowds at the airport or embarking on an impromptu excursion.

Q – Questions: In our eyes you can never ask enough questions. Whether you’re quizzing the taxi driver about his favourite lunch spot or asking your hotel about the best sunset view, questions unlock little known secrets and insider knowledge of a destination.

R – Reputation: Never let a reputation precede a destination. Opinions can easily be divided when it comes to travel, so make sure you’re speaking to the right people when you’re looking for your next escape, and don’t always believe what you hear about a destination until you’ve witnessed it first hand.

S – Share: In the travel world, your experiences are your wealth. Tell your stories, share your photographs and give advice to fellow travellers on the road. Travel is all about spreading the word and inspiring others.

T – Timing: Timing is everything, and finding a balance between catching the perfect weather and avoiding the crowds can be a challenge. So do your homework before you start planning and find a destination that strikes the best balance between the two.

V – Variety: A word that should be at the forefront of every traveller’s mind. Never settle for routine during your trip, as each day brings the opportunity to try something new and harnessing that opportunity is the real beauty of travel.

W – Window Seat: There’s nowhere better to place yourself if you’re looking to take in your surroundings whilst in transit. Whether it’s on a plane, taxi or speedboat, book yourself the window seat for unbeatable landscape views.

X – Xi’an: Embodying everything that we love about China, Xi-an is a melting pot of culture, religion and cuisine that’s perfumed by the sweet smell of aromatic spices and underpinned by an exciting bustle. Make sure it’s a destination on your Chinese itinerary.

Y – Yes: Yes is a word that should be on the tip of every traveller’s tongue. Yes opens doors to new experiences and adventures and promises that you’ll never regret an opportunity that passed you by.

Z – Zambia: A destination that perfectly captures the adventurous spirit of Africa. Zambia boasts the tumultuous Victoria Falls, the Zambezi River and some of the finest wildlife parks in the world, making it one of our favourite African destinations.