My travel philosophy is simple - I want to have unforgettable trips with a little bit of luxury and a whole lot of adventure.

And I want to leave the world better than I found it.

That sounds like an absurdly lofty goal, I know. However, if my years as a doctor have taught me anything, it's that life is short and each of us touches the lives of others in ways we can't even imagine.

In this Insta-perfect, curated online world that so many of us inhabit, it can be easy to forget that an incredible holiday is so much more than a gallery of perfect images.

Travel, at its heart, is about connections.

Connecting to nature, to other cultures, and our shared history as human beings. It's about embracing the good and recognising the bad. Travel is about making small choices every day that strengthen the bonds between us.

And the beauty of thinking about travel from this perspective is that it can work for everyone. Whether you're the kind of person who plans every moment of your trip months in advance or the one who turns up with zero expectations and no bookings, it doesn't actually matter.

Those who like to have a plan can book rooms at locally owned hotels, tours with local guides, meals at local restaurants and cooking classes with local people. Those who turn up and wing it can ask for local recommendations.

I promise you that no matter where you are, it'll make your holiday infinitely better.

There are about a million names for this way of travel now. Sustainable travel, responsible travel, ethical travel; call it what you will.

I call it better travel.

Let's put money back into the communities that we visit. Done right, tourism can enable places to build better infrastructure, support community initiatives and preserve local ecosystems.

I'm sure you've seen what happens when tourism goes wrong. Overtourism, degradation of fragile ecosystems, pressure on overstretched infrastructure and angry locals are only the start. It makes places ugly, and it leaves you with that sense that you shouldn't be there.

So now you know why I think that it's important to be thoughtful in the way we travel, but how the hell do you go about it?


The first thing to accept is that we are not perfect, and travel doesn't suddenly change that. All anyone can ask is that you do your best with the information you have.

You'll have moments where you feel overwhelmed and out of your depth when you travel.

Messing up the language, getting lost, missing a "must-see" location and always feeling like you need to come back means you're doing it right. You're trying to explore, respect the local culture, and take the time to fall in love with a place.

That's what ethical travel is all about. Learning about local communities and cultures and supporting those people in ways they choose to be supported. It's the only way to guarantee that the incredible places we visit will survive long after we're gone.

It's rare, these days, that anybody asks me anything other than "Have a good trip?" when I get home. I nod, smile, and say, "Amazing". Because it's impossible to put into words all those moments that make a trip special.

Homemade meals in local kitchens. Walks with people whose families lived the history all around you. Drinks with people whose hands labelled the bottles. Dancing in the streets with people you'll never see again.


1. Before you visit, read a book, or watch a documentary or film, you'll instantly understand more about a culture. You'll get much more out of your holiday if you know more about the place.

2. Learn some of the local language. Even if all you can manage is hello and thank you, you've shown that you care enough to try, and that's much more than most!

3. Say yes to new things, whether it's somewhere you haven't heard of or an activity you never thought you'd do.

4. Take a tour with a local guide. Hands down my favourite way to find good restaurants, museums and things to do is to take a walking tour with people who live there.

5. Get off the beaten track. Don't skip the highlights, but build in some time to just take it slow and go to places the locals recommend rather than what's in the guidebooks.

6. Eat street food where the locals do. The busier the better and all vegetarian - my #1 tip to avoid food poisoning!

7. Drink the local booze. Tasmanian gin, Welsh wine, a Hugo spritz or three up a mountain in the Dolomites. No judgement here.

8. Walk everywhere you can and take public transport everywhere you can't. If we use public transport, then it keeps getting funded.

9. Ethical animal experiences only.

10. Stay in locally owned accommodation. It doesn't matter if it's a luxury hotel or budget homestay; if you're spending your money locally, that's where it stays. And that's a good thing.

11. Have an open mind. There's a lot about foreign cultures you won't understand, and you're bound to see things you won't agree with. Try to remember that judging others is rarely helpful and definitely won't lead to a better trip!

12. Don't sweat the plane ride. If you want to travel, do it. Offset the plane ride if you can, and remember the good you're doing by spending locally. I won't lecture anybody about air travel - I live in Australia, and it's a long way from everywhere.


Better travel means making a fool of yourself when you pronounce things wrong. It means having to ask for directions. It means learning as you go.

It's what's guided me through thirty years of travel and what keeps me coming back for more.

I hope that you're inspired to travel better too!