You should have been there Dec 06, 2023
We discuss the pros and cons of airport lounges and hear more from Pat Yale on the delights of slow travel to Turkey, including the unexpected charms of Belgrade. With many thanks to Nicola, Amanda, Laura, Nick, Gordon Stone and Pat Yale (@patyale on X)
PODCAST 178 COP 28: BEYOND THE BLAH BLAH BLAH
We ask some of the questions that aren't being asked in Dubai at COP 28 and suggest one or two answers.
PODCAST 177 THE ROAD TO BERLIN
Travel meets football in our guide to the 2024 Euros. Discover where to go, when to book and what to see in Simon Calder's essential guide to next year's football feast across the length and breadth of Germany.
PODCAST 176 THE END OF TOURISM?
Chris Christou joins us from the lovely Mexican city of Oaxaca to discuss his podcast- "The End of Tourism" - and his ideas about "radical hospitality." We also feature listeners' tales of entertaining experiences of changing money. Chris' website is www.theendoftourism.com
PODCAST 175 INSIDE THE TRAVEL BUSINESS
Simon visits two of the industry's major get togethers to take the pulse of travel. Amongst the delegates, he meets Iceland's First Lady and the man who aims to put Airbus 380's back in the skies.
PODCAST 173 SLOW TRAIN TO TURKEY
Writer Pat Yale joins us to talk about the pleasures of travelling overland from the UK to Turkey as well as what it's been like to live in the country for the past twenty five years. Pat's new book, "Following Miss Bell: Travels around Turkey in the Footsteps of Gertrude Bell," has just been published by Trailblazer Publications.
PODCAST 172 THE HIGHS AND LOWS OF MOUNTAIN TREKS
Simon and Mick conclude their walk across the Ariège in the French Pyrenees and ruminate on the challenges and the rewards of mountain walking
PODCAST 171 A WALK IN THE WILD COUNTRY
Simon and I share the audio diary of our trek across a remote area of the French Pyrenees, the wild and woolly Ariège - yes, it is famed for its sheep. On the agenda are physical challenges, human errors aplenty and entertaining encounters with humans and animals.
PODCAST 170 WHERE WILL WE BE IN 2053 - PART 2
We continue our attempt to divine the future direction of travel, assisted by listeners.
PODCAST 169 THE PLACES TO BE IN 2053
We break out our crystal ball and hypothesise about the shape of travel in thirty years time. VTOL aircraft, jetpacks, autonomous vehicles, affordable rail travel ........ maybe.
PODCAST 168 Travel chaos theory
We try to make sense of the mayhem endured by holidaymakers during this summer's busiest month for travel. Planes, boats and trains, all have been affected. Who is to blame, do we ever learn from previous mistakes and how bad is the UK, compared with other countries?
PODCAST 167 BELGIUM, BEYOND THE CHIPS AND CHOCOLATE
We discuss the many, very accessible charms of the small country that is becoming a surprise travel hit. With thanks to Vonne of Brasserie Vonne in Balham, South London, for joining us. brasserievonne.co.uk
PODCAST 166 TRAVEL CLICHÉS : CURSE OR BLESSING
We discuss "bustling" markets, "palm-fringed" beaches and "towering" peaks with professor of philosophy, Emily Thomas from Durham University. Do clichéd travel descriptions add to our understanding of other places or quite the reverse? Plus an interview with Eleanor Parker, the winner of last week's Trans-Europe Race to Istanbul by public transport.
PODCAST 165 ISTANBUL OR BUST
Simon joins the competitors and organisers of Lupine Travel's Trans-European Race at the start line in London's Trafalgar's Square. It's a bizarre medley of mystery and travel challenges, all on public transport. So who on earth would spend their holidays doing this and what prizes are at stake?
PODCAST 164 WHAT CAN A.I. DO FOR YOUR HOLIDAYS ?
We welcome to the show Michael Motamedi, chef, digital nomad and influencer, who tells us what it's like to entrust his family's travel plans to a digital guide called Guide Geek. And we compare AI's take on Mykonos with a human view of it as a holiday destination. You can follow Michael's experimental journey at michaelmotamedi.com. And thanks for the lovely photo of Mykonos are due to Dana Tentis at Pixabay.
PODCAST 163 THE WRONG KIND OF DELAY
Snow, leaves, sun, swans, even trampolines. We investigate delays to planes and trains and discuss the bizarre causes and often ludicrous excuses.
PODCAST 162 ISLAND HOPPING
We delve into this delightful holiday activity and suggest some of the best places to try it out. You don't need to go as far as Panama's San Blas Islands as the UK has island hops that are sometimes much easier than you'd think.
PODCAST 161 THE PERFECT ISLAND
Lyn Hughes of Wanderlust magazine joins us to discuss the endless allure of islands and what it is that makes them so attractive. Is there one perfect example among the world's million chunks of offshore land?
PODCAST 160 TRAVELLERS' LUCK
Simon and Mick discuss the role played by luck, miraculous interventions and the kindness of strangers in a fulfilling journey. And we reveal an odd connection between Brexit and Dexy's Midnight Runners
PODCAST 159 THE MANY ROADS TO SANTIAGO
Simon and Mick are joined by walker and novelist, Stephen Marriot, to discuss the enduring appeal of the Caminos de Santiago (I bet you don't know how many there are!) Stephen explains how the first of his "pilgrimages" inspired him to write his Reluctant Pilgrim series, published by The Marsh Books while Mick completes his audio diary of the "Camino inglés"
PODCAST 158 YOU KNOW YOU'RE IN A BORDER TOWN WHEN.....
We talk border towns and their unique features, in particular those curious places which are split by an international frontier. In Baarle Hertog, for instance, divided between Belgium and the Netherlands, the border runs through the middle of the council chamber while the main street of Le Perthus offers opportunities to shop in Spain on one side and France on the other.
PODCAST 157 THE WRONG BOOTS
We swap tales of footwear malfunctions while shining a light on the neglected, important and richly comic topic of traveller's shoes.
PODCAST 156 SURPRISING DELIGHTS
Simon travels to Israel and Hong Kong, finding unexpected pleasures in harsh and politically volatile destinations. In particular, he enjoys the "friendly" Negev desert and the tranquil island of Tai O
PODCAST 155 THE SHORT ROUTE TO SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA
Simon and Mick discuss the latter's experience of walking the "camino inglés", the 115 km pilgrims' route from Ferrol to Santiago. On the agenda: the weather, the kindness of strangers, fellow-pilgrims and the nature of the walk itself.
PODCAST 154 AROUND THE WORLD WITH JESSICA NABONGO
Jessica has visited every country world and is almost certainly the first black woman to do so. She shares her tales of favourite and not so favourite places, of inspiring encounters and lessons learnt along the way. You can follow Jessica's journeys on https://thecatchmeifyoucan.com . Her new WhatsApp docuseries, Crossing Cultures, is about the world's diasporas and starts in London's Peckham : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzndKNV9HrE
PODCAST 153 NORTHERN SPAIN BY TINY TRAIN
We report on recent journeys: Simon to the potentially controversial destination of Israel, Mick to the North of Spain, where the FEVE narrow-gauge railway takes you to some remote and intriguing mountain villages. Find FEVE information here https://www.renfe.com/es/en/suburban/cercanias-feve
PODCAST 152 LGBTQ+ TRAVEL
We are joined by Sophie Griffiths from TTG Media to talk about gay-friendly destinations, oppressive and discriminatory laws and the improvements in attitudes towards LGBTQ+ travellers that Pride events are helping to bring about around the world
PODCAST 151 Planning trips, connections and transits
We compare and contrast Simon's happy-go-lucky approach to travel planning with Mick's meticulous preparations. Serendipity v serious forethought. And which is better when it all goes Pete Tong, as journeys often do? We also hear from listeners about the ideal length of time to allow for transits, layovers and stopovers. Thanks to all contributors, in particular traveller, Catherine Oldham and coach driver, Husain.
PODCAST 150 GREAT MOMENTS IN PODCAST TRAVEL
We celebrate our 150th podcast at London's St Pancras station with highlights (and some lowlights) from our previous editions. On the agenda: crossing strange borders, psychogeography, Pyrenean slip-ups and strange brews.
PODCAST 149 Dark Sky Tourism
We are joined by astronomer, traveller and tour group leader, Doctor John Mason. He talks eclipses, paths of totality, meteor showers and how best to see the Northern Lights. According to Doctor John: "Think of yourself as an insomniac Polar Bear"
PODCAST 148 Solo travel for women: risks and rewards
We are joined by Claudia Gualdi, a travel data expert at the company Riskline. She talks us through a recent survey that reveals in a surge in post-pandemic travel by solo females. What are the rewards and, sadly, the risks? How best can they be mitigated? Websites: riskline.com and solotravelerworld.com/about/solo-travel-statistics-data And apps: Toilet finder: Flush Safety: Bsafe App
PODCAST 147 COSTLY ERRORS
We hear the salutary tales of Debra's passport and of Mick's misplaced click, while continuing the hot topic of travelling with children- is there a best age? With many thanks to Debra Davis, Alec Webb and Charlotte Hindle. And do send us your own stories of travel errors to be avoided and childhood memories to be cherished.
PODCAST 146 TRAVELS WITH KIDS
We hear anecdotes and advice about travelling with young children, from TV producer Nicky Lessware, You Tuber Mark Wolters and Charlotte Hindle, co-author of the Lonely Planet Guide to Travelling with Children. On the agenda: which country is the best to visit with a baby, what dogs should be avoided in Georgia and where in Rome can you find Bugs Bunny's house?
PODCAST 145 INSIDE WOLTER'S WORLD
Our guest this week is the incredibly popular US You-Tube traveller, Mark Wolters. He tells us how and why he started Wolters' World and shares some frank tips on travel do's and don'ts. When in the USA, for instance, don't touch Americans- unless they ask you to, of course! Find Mark's 2000 plus videos at woltersworld.com
PODCAST 144 10 TOP TIPS FOR CHEAPER HOLIDAYS
Simon delves into his library and his memory bank to come up with ten tips for reducing holiday outgoings
PODCAST 143 NEW WAYS WITH HOTELS
PODCAST 142 CRUISES-LOVE THEM or HATE THEM
Our guest this week is Sue Bryant, Cruise Editor of the Times and Sunday Times. As the cruise ships get even bigger and the booking numbers increase, we mull over the controversial subject of holiday cruises. Discover the many different facets of this branch of the travel industry, including the newly-minted concepts of "the retreat" and the "pier runner" . Sue's work can be found at www.suebryant.com, while the article by Jean Mcneil that we mentioned is on www.jeanmcneil.co.uk
PODCAST 141 IN AND OUT OF BRUGES
We reflect on the many charms of Belgium's star attraction- Brugge or Bruges. Mick's audio diary brings the city to life through its sounds while Simon generates the power for his own recording from the Eurostar terminal in Brussels- surely a first in podcasting history!
PODCAST 140 THE MAN IN SEAT 61
We talk train journeys of all kinds with the guru of rail travel, Mark Smith, aka "The Man in Seat 61. " Mark shares his own favourite journeys and experiences, particularly in the country where "the scenery inside the train is as enthralling as the landscape outside." Mark's hugely informative website is at www.seat61.com. Thanks as well to Monisha Rajesh, author of "Around the World in 80 trains"
PODCAST 139 THE PLACE TO BE IN 23
We discuss hot locations for this year's travellers and some of the new trends and buzzwords that are making a splash. Find out, for instance whether you are a set-jetter? The website we mentioned is www.tripfiction.com. And the photo is of Marseille
PODCAST 138 OUR VERY HARD NEW YEAR TRAVEL QUIZ
THE BEST TRAVEL FICTION
Our guest is Professor Jean Mcneil, who not only teaches writing but is an author of both novels and travel narratives. Hear her thoughts on the differences between factual and fictional evocations of other places, but also her top tips for good travel reading. Amongst her favourites are the novels of Zimbabwean author Tsitsi Dangarembga. Discover Jean's own work at https://www.jeanmcneil.co.uk/
PODCAST 136 WORLD CUP FINAL SPECIAL
We match France with Argentina to discover which of these football greats is the better travel destination. It's a game of dodgy decisions and dirty tricks with a thrilling climax
PODCAST 135 A GUIDE TO XMAS TRAVEL PROSPECTS
Are they as bleak as the weather? Join Mick Webb and Simon Calder for a summary of the festive disruptions, a lively listener exchange about business flights and a look back at the original Christmas journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem- challenging, to put it mildly. With thanks to Christian Bjoerklund for his electronic track, Hallon.
PODCAST 134 DIGITAL NOMADS-A GOOD THING?
We are joined by Cleo Paskal, journalist, academic researcher and a pioneering digital nomad. On the agenda: Cleo's own travels and her thoughts about the new wave of visa-assisted laptop-toting workers who are not universally welcomed in their constantly-changing homelands. Find Cleo on Twitter @CleoPaskal , or online at https://www.fdd.org/team/cleo-paskal/
PODCAST 133 A TOUCH OF CLASS
We take a peek behind the curtain that hides business class from economy to discover what life is like for that controversial traveller-the frequent flyer. Providing the low-down and behind-the-scenes gossip is Rob Burgess, founder and director of the website, headforpoints.com
PODCAST 132 HOW GREEN ARE YOUR TRAVELS?
We are joined, from her narrowboat home, by Anna Hughes, the director of Flight Free UK. On the agenda are ways of travelling more responsibly and sustainably and how to at least mitigate the effects on the planet of our constant need to move around it. The websites mentioned by Anna are flightfree.co.uk; byway.travel; raileurope.co.uk
PODCAST 131 TRAVEL MYSTERIES, GREAT AND SMALL
We discuss our favourite travel conundrums and their enduring fascination. Whatever happened to.......? How did they get here... ? Why on earth...... ? Flight MH 370, Easter Island statues and the bewildering seat numbers in Portuguese trains all make it onto the agenda
PODCAST 130 FREE TRAVEL
Our audio guide includes where to go to find free transport and and when you can visit the world's great museums without putting your hand in your pocket. Plus, we evaluate listener's miracles-do they stand up to our rigorous testing?
PODCAST 129 MODERN TRAVEL MIRACLES
Taking our cue from the miracles sought by pilgrims to the French city of Lourdes, we try to track down some secular miracles for the modern traveller.