Tom Hall, Lonely Planet travel editor

Tom Hall
Travel Editor, Lonely Planet

What does your job involve?

I work on a few different things, I look across the whole company for how sustainable we’re being and also making sure we offer as much information to our readers as possible about sustainable travel.

How can travellers be sustainable?

It’s all about equipping yourself with as much information as possible before you go, read the books, surf the web. If possible try to use overland travel rather than flying, not only is it better for the environment but some of the train rides can be breathtaking. Try to be aware of any environmental issues in the location that you’re visiting, and also know what type of place you’re visiting, is it jungle, mountains, because each place has different environmental considerations. You should also look to see if you can give something back while you’re there, be it a donation or doing some voluntary hours at a local organisation.

What do you think of the rise in meaningful travel?

It’s fantastic that travellers are looking to give something back to the communities that they are visiting. It’s important that people know where the money they are paying for these volunteering types of trips is going, a lot of these types of trips need to be focused more on the destination and the people there rather than on the person themselves who is volunteering. I think that some rigorous standards need to be introduced to that industry as a whole to make sure that across the board there is enough money going back to the communities that volunteers visit.

Safety tips for travelling solo

1.    Tragic incidents such as Lucie Blackman are very rare, so don’t walk around thinking you’re going to get murdered, mugged etc
2.    Use your common sense while you’re out and about, if you wouldn’t do something while at home then don’t suddenly start doing it in a foreign country
3.    Be careful when out and having a drink, be responsible
4.    Keep your valuables with you at all times, only take a small amount of money with you, keep the rest back at your hotel in a safe
5.    Get as much information as you can about your destination and be aware of any special events or customs that might be apparent there
6.    Check the foreign office security advice before you travel

How long have you been travelling?

Since a very young age, my first independent trip was at 16 with my brother, we went interrailing around Europe. That was an amazing experience and I’ve been a number of times since then. I’ve done a few round the world trips, visited too many countries to remember. I’ve been working for Lonely Planet for 8 years and been writing for them for around 6 years.

What are your top five destinations and why?

1.    New Zealand – it is as beautiful as everyone says and there is a real chance for adventures when you’re there
2.    Chile – when you travel North to South in Chile then you see such dramatic changes in the scenery, the people are extremely friendly
3.    Britain – holidays at home are very underrated, there are some stunning places on our own doorstep, the Lake District and the Highlands of Scotland in particular are great to visit
4.    Tanzania – if you want a varied place then you can’t get much better, the beaches of Zanzibar are everything you’ve dreamed about and then you can head in land to the Rift Valleys of Africa and go on safari.
5.    Ethiopia – the place still feels very wild, it’s been unchanged for thousands of years, the people still live the same, there are some amazing natural beauty spots and if they weren’t in Ethiopia then they’d be heralded the world over but unfortunately the country has such a stereotype e.g. war and famine

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