Meet Yaya and Lloyd, these two UK based travel writers stand at the helm of the wildly popular travel website, Hand Luggage Only. What started as a mere idea back in 2012 is now an online destination for readers to fuel their wanderlust, learn tricks to improving their photography and share tips on travel planning. As a fan and follower of Hand Luggage Only, I am thrilled to interview this dynamic duo for The Traveler Series. Here, Yaya and Lloyd explain their travel style and share their best advice to budding travel writers.
What inspires you to travel?
For us, traveling is all about experience! We both love to experience different cultures, witness breathtaking cities and architecture, while of course eating delicious local cuisine! I suppose we love variety, we don’t have ‘one set rule’ when it comes to traveling, so we tend to see where the world takes us.
For those who don’t yet know you, can you explain your travel style?
Hand Luggage Only is our travel site where we share our experiences in traveling. We also share a variety of tips on how best to travel and exchange the best tips and tricks with fellow travelers.
How do you afford your travels?
We are based in London, so we have the benefit of being connected by 6 hub airports around the city, which makes the choice (and cost) of flights very easy to take advantage of. We are also fortunate that we have the EuroStar, so we can head to places like Paris in under 3 hours. We always try to travel efficiently and we will keep our costs as low as possible. For example, when flying short haul we make it our goal to only ever travel with ‘hand luggage only’. This is one of the main reasons our site name was chosen!
We love Iceland! It has such a diverse geographic environment, great hotels, food, very friendly and welcoming people… oh yes, and the northern lights. Iceland ticks all the boxes for us as a destination where you can really explore and submerge yourself in this beautiful country.
If you had to settle down in one location forever, where would you choose and why?
We have thought about this for a while… If we had to choose anywhere other than London it would have to be Vancouver, British Columbia. We visited a few years ago and we still have a lasting impression of the city and the surrounding national parks. The city is clean and it literally takes you only 30 minutes in a car to be in a totally different landscape thousands of feet on top of the mountains!
What’s the funniest or weirdest cultural idiosyncrasy you’ve either witnessed or experienced?
Oh, this is a hard one… Actually, we stayed in Singapore for over 5 months last summer and you are not permitted to chew gum in public. No shops sell it! So as soon as we got back to London we had a marathon chewing session!
What keepsake do you have to get at all your destinations? (Whether it’s something free like ticket stubs or brochures, or something you have to buy)?
We tend to always keep our ticket stubs, but we also try and purchase one meaningful gift for ourselves as a memento. Recently, we have found lots of beautiful crafted wooden masks that we have, from places such as; Indonesia, Hong Kong, Cape Verde and Thailand to name a few.
Our DLSR cameras. We never go anywhere without them. We are passionate about taking photos and love sharing our photography with others. I think If we ever forgot our cameras we would have to buy another… which would be waaaaay to expensive!
Have you ever traveled solo? If yes, what was the experience like?
Lloyd traveled solo a few years ago… it wasn’t planned… he was due to fly back from Washington DC to London but all flights where cancelled due to the volcanic ash cloud in Iceland. On his 6 day attempt to get back to London, he managed to go to NYC, Toulouse, Paris, Amsterdam, Glasgow and finally London. In each place he had at least 10 hours in-between flights so he took the opportunity to explore each city. There is always a silver lining!
What are your go-to travel apps?
Skyscanner, Trip-it and Trip Advisor! These are always a must!
Sometimes the only thing stopping you from traveling or visiting places is yourself… By removing this ‘barrier’ we have found so many amazing places that we would have never thought about going to previously.
Why did you begin your website? How did you come up with your website name?
We began Hand Luggage Only as a way for us to share and gain valuable knowledge on traveling. Our name came from our own motto to always try and pack as light and efficiently as possible. Yaya is terrible at this!
What is your best piece of advice to budding travel writers looking to start a blog or website?
Be yourself, enjoy the experience and write what you like. If your thing is food… write about that… if it is history, own this area… write about your passion!
We have lots of trips planned, over the next three months (in order of visit) we are heading to; Iceland, Austria, Italy, Germany, Norway, Denmark and Luxembourg… We are also in the process of organizing our South American adventure for later in 2015.
Keep up with Yaya and Llyod on their travels around the world here: