The Favourites of Julie Falconer

Julie Falconer (A Lady in London) is a professional London-based travel blogger who does public speaking. She has done an impressive amount of travelling and visited more than 100 countries.

What are three of your favourite countries and why?

Three of my favourite countries are Namibia, Chile, and the Maldives. I love Namibia for its beautiful desert landscapes and variety of wildlife. I love Chile for its natural beauty, from the Atacama Desert to Patagonia. I love the Maldives for its pristine beaches.

Are there any countries you don’t like visiting?

I like visiting all countries.

What are three of your favourite cities, and why?

My three favourite cities are London, San Francisco, and Hong Kong. I love London for its international population, world-class art scene, cultural attractions, rich history, and beautiful streets. I love San Francisco because it’s my home city and it has a great mix of stunning views, amazing food, pretty Victorian houses, and waterfront scenery. Hong Kong wins me over every time with its abundant energy, excellent restaurants, stunning architecture, and great nightlife.

What are three of the worst places you’ve stayed?

I’ve been lucky in that I’ve mostly stayed in amazing places when I’ve travelled. That said, I stayed in a hotel once where the toilet in the room never worked despite multiple attempts by the staff to fix it. I stayed in another place where the sheets were so dirty and the shower walls so covered in hair that I slept on top of the covers in my clothes and didn’t bathe (thankfully I was only there for one night!). A third-place I stayed in had mold growing all over the shower and bags of trash throughout the halls.

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Do you have any favourite hotels or restaurants?

As far as hotels go, I love Little Kulala in Namibia. It has an amazing desert oasis feel. When it comes to restaurants, Zushi Puzzle in San Francisco serves some of the best sushi I’ve ever had. I always eat there when I go home to visit.

What are three of your favourite travel moments, and why?

My favourite travel moments always involve firsts. One was when I went to study at a language school in Nice when I was 18. I’d never lived anywhere but the house where I grew up, and I was terrified when I arrived. But the experience was one of the best of my life, and it sparked my passion for travel. Another was the day I moved to London. I remember arriving and thinking “wow, I’ve finally made my dream come true”. It was the best feeling. A third is a recurring one. Every time I land at SFO airport in San Francisco I tear up as I look out the window of the plane and see my home. It’s the sweetest feeling.

What are three of your worst travel moments, and why?

One was when my taxi broke down in the middle of nowhere in Senegal and I had to hitchhike to Dakar. I didn’t know if I’d ever make it, and I was really anxious. Another was on the same trip when my flight from Dakar to Nairobi was grounded in Bamako for 48 hours due to a mechanical problem with the plane. I love Bamako, but I’d already been there a few days before and I wanted to get to Lamu, which was the next destination on my itinerary. I got there in the end, but I missed the first two days of my stay. A third was when my taxi driver fell asleep on the way to the Stansted airport in London. There was thick fog and I thought we were going to crash. It was really scary.

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What are three of your best travel tips?

One is to bring noise-cancelling headphones everywhere. They’re lifesavers on long-haul flights and train rides. Another is to never check a bag. I swear by travelling with just a carry-on (I’ve even been interviewed about it in the New York Times). It makes travelling a lot easier. A third is to always be flexible. Things are different everywhere, so being adaptable makes for a positive experience wherever I go in the world.

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