How not to lose your stuff: IDtagit

On the last flight I took before ordering IDtagit, the airline lost my bag. This had never happened to me before. Nor have I ever lost a bag on the road. And so I must admit, I was pretty blasé about my baggage.

But doing without my stuff for a full 24 hours (thanks Emirates) made me realize how much I rely on my possessions when I’m out on the road. It made me think: just imagine losing your bag for good? Or misplacing your laptop or your mobile phone, never to be seen again?

IDtagit steps in to help prevent this happening. Ok, so they can’t stop you losing your stuff, but they can help you to get it back.

It’s a simple system. Just order the tags online on the IDtagit website, register them on the same site and attach them to your stuff. They’re super-strong so can be attached to anything – suitcases, laptops, iPads – without falling off, and their sleek black and white design makes them discreet yet noticeable enough that anyone finding your item will spot them. Even better, they’re only 40mm long x 18mm wide x 1.3mm thick, just slightly larger than a mobile phone SIM card and can also be attached as a swing tag, ideal for keys, chains, even pet collars.

idTagit_58271When someone finds your stuff the tag directs them to the website, where they can log on and find you. IDtagit also takes note of your mobile phone number so that you can be contacted immediately once your item is found. You can include up to three numbers or email addresses, so you could even include that of a family member to ensure if you lose your stuff (especially your mobile phone) that you will still be alerted. After all it’s no use if your only contact number is for the phone you just lost!

For me though, one of the best things about IDtagit is that there’s no need to put your address or phone number on anything any more. We’ve all heard horror stories of lost luggage alerting burglars to the fact that you’re away from home, so this really improves security as your contact details remain private. The finder only gets them if you pass them on yourself once you’re in contact. And of course, you could just meet in a neutral location instead.

IDtagit is definitely the cheapest and easiest lost luggage system I’ve come across. Yes, you have to arrange the return of your items yourself with the finder, but at just a one-off cost of AU$23 for a pack of five or AU$29 for a pack of 10, including shipping anywhere in the world, it is great value for money. And it works anywhere in the world that has internet access. So that’s just about anywhere!

Post produced in association with IDtagit


Guardian article on my hometown of Devizes

I grew up in a small town in Wiltshire called Devizes, a little-visited place that has far more to offer than it might first appear. There’s a brewery for a start. And a canal with one of the world’s longest lock flights. Plus an ancient market square and a museum that is a world leader in Bronze Age exhibits.

I have been lucky enough to write about my hometown several times now and most recently had a feature published in the Guardian to coincide with the town’s very first boutique hotel, The Peppermill, opening.

Read this feature on the Guardian website.

Many thanks to Visit Wiltshire for assisting with this trip.


Sunday Times Travel magazine: Australia articles

The current (December 2014) issue of the Sunday Times Travel magazine features a Total Guide to Australia.

For the second time running, I was asked to contribute, and this time I have three articles in it. These focus on wine and wildlife touring in South Australia, driving the Great Ocean Road and the best Outback adventures.

Download a PDF here.



Guardian articles: the best British road trips

I love travelling in Britain – and I especially love a road trip. So I was delighted to be asked to offer some of my best itineraries and tips to the Guardian, for their Open Road project, in associated with Enterprise.

I gave my thoughts on everything from the best picnic spots and the quirkiest places to stay to the ideal road trips for golfers and the best way to explore the Scottish Highlands.

Read my recommendations at the links below:

Top tens:

Top ten picnic spots

Top ten scenic drives

Top ten quirky places to stay

Britain’s best beaches


The best itineraries:

For cyclists

For golfers

For bargain hunters


Top drives:

Driving the Pennine Way

Driving the Causeway coastal route


Along the way:

Best road trip playlists

Best boredom busters

Best child-friendly pit stops



Gear review: Craghoppers hiking trousers

As a travel writer I have to be ready for anything. Sometimes everything. I’ve had days when I’ve spent hours walking in the Alps or along the Cornish coast to only head straight in for dinner at a pleasant restaurant or to a street festival where everyone else is dressed to impress.

Finding gear to keep up with me is difficult. After all, what durable walking trousers are also decent enough to wear to a party or to dinner?

Fortunately I have recently been sent a pair of Airedale trousers from Craghoppers. And although they are waterproof and the AquaDry Membrane polyester is hardy enough to cope with hiking the Scottish Isles or through the Aussie outback, they are also black and fitted enough to make them passable as simple black trousers. I’ve worn them to a street festival in Switzerland and to dinner on a Scottish cruise ship and never felt out of place.
Even better, they have a part elasticated waist, so are really comfortable, and are 100% polyester, making them easily washable. They also have zip pockets roomy enough to take an iPhone or even, at a push, my notebook and pen. So I’m always ready to make notes or take photos. Ready for anything, you might say.

Travel writer, editor and broadcaster