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How Not to Travel the World: Adventures of a Disaster-Prone Backpacker

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  1,237 ratings  ·  130 reviews
I had no life experience, zero common sense and had never eaten rice. I suffered from debilitating anxiety, was battling an eating disorder and had just had my heart broken. I hoped by leaving to travel the world I would be able to heal myself.

Instead, Lauren's travels were full of bad luck and near-death experiences. Over the space of a year, she was scammed and assaulted
Paperback, 352 pages
Published August 13th 2015 by Summersdale Publishers Ltd. (first published August 12th 2015)
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Average rating 3.76  · 
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 ·  1,237 ratings  ·  130 reviews

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Jul 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

I think Lauren's misery during her travels stems 33% from bad luck, 33% from her own stupidity, and 33% from having an asshole boyfriend with zero tact and empathy, who has no idea how to comfort people with anxiety.

But all her misfortune did make up a really good story, and I loved reading all the descriptions of the many places she's visited. Definitely a good one for your wanderlust.
Fiona MacDonald
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-books
I read this in one setting. I loved it. I love reading about people's experiences travelling because I have always been too scared to go myself, so it's reassuring to read about it whilst from the safety of my own house!
Lauren has always lived an extremely shelteres life, to the extent that she has never tried eggs, she has never used a bus, she can't speak to people and she doesn't know how to function her own. Added to whcih, she has numerous psychological problems including anxiety, panic att
Mar 02, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: travel
There is something truly depressing about reading a book written by an idiot who doesn't realise what an idiot they are.

Though the delusional, whiney author would have you believe she is the unluckiest traveller to ever live, her problem really is that she is stupid. This is the story of Lauren Juliff, a phoney, anxious, hypochondriac who decides to travel the world.

In the first few chapters Lauren talks up how bookish and intelligent she is. She says she studied physics in university and read
Alessandra Crivelli
Nov 16, 2016 rated it it was ok
You can read the full review on the blog (here)

I struggle a bit to finish this book. I loved the premise and all but I just couldn't relate with.
I didn't really appreciate the introduction of the love story and all. I understand that this book is probably a true story and all but I just aspect a different story.

Also, I can relate with a bunch of anxiety stuff but Lauren really pissed me off on so many things.
1. How can you drink a margarita next to a super expensive computer? What the he
Michael Yorke
Nov 17, 2015 rated it it was ok
I was very disappointed with this book. I picked it up when travelling myself and thought it looked like a light-hearted entertaining read that I'd probably be able to relate to, but I very quickly realised that Ms Juliff isn't quite the comically accident-prone innocent she is so keen to appear. There are just too many things that don't ring true in her description of herself and she came across to me as an obnoxious whinging fraud who played the doe-eyed damsel in distress in order to manipula ...more
Sep 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
I loved Lauren's narrative voice in this travel memoir. There were many instances of laughing out loud at her cluelessness, and equally as many "how are you still alive you dummy?" moments where I wondered how someone with so little common sense could exist. But more than that, this book began to inspire me to look into countries I never would have thought to travel to - Croatia, Thailand, Cambodia, to name a few. All in all, an excellent and entertaining read. ...more
Angharad Elin
Nov 22, 2016 rated it did not like it
I really don't want to be brutal, but this book was awful. I couldn't wait to finish it, get it out of my house and back to the library. Just awful.

I really do hope that some of this book was made up, because parts are completely implausible. The narrator is infuriating, and completely unlikeable. I really wanted to delve into the book and shake her.

I just felt like she was wasting an incredible opportunity by:
1. Not being prepared for anything! - Who buys closed shoes at 0700 in the morning be
Jan 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
winter reading travel books memoir literature how not to travel the world lauren juliff

I’ve got a love-hate thing going on with female quit-my-job-to-travel memoirs. I start the book feeling hopeful, ready to dive in and swim in the wanderlust. And unfortunately, sometimes I barely make it out of the shallow end before giving up. Reading a book about one’s travel love affairs and nightly bar crawls gets old quick, with travel a mere background character to an unlikable author. Spare me t
Iqra Choudhry
Jan 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
A hilarious page-turner, and a testament to the difficulties that come with travelling solo with crippling anxiety. Loved it.
Kerry Tolson
Oct 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: travel
I'm so disappointed with this book. As a keen follower of Lauren Juliff's travel blog, I was so eager to read this, plus as a person who also 'lives to travel' but has severe anxiety, I too find myself dealing daily with the fear & panic attacks verses the yearning for traveling; so her fears (be them rational or irrational) resonated with me very much. However I felt this book was a little misleading and at times the anxiety & mishaps too 'manufactured' for the story.

First of all I want to say
Aug 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, 2016-reads
As a fellow anxious person, I could relate to some of Lauren's worst-case-scenario feelings. While I've found solace in regular exercise, travel experiences (particularly ones in which I try something scary and/or unfamiliar) have been really helpful both for quelling anxiety and improving my self-confidence.

Perhaps what stood out to me most in this book is Lauren completely owning everything about herself - the fact that she didn't know what she was doing, her anxiety and hypochondria, and bein
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars
I gave Lauren 2.5 stars mostly because she was brave enough to tackle writing a book, but also good enough to get it published.

In her own words, Lauren describes herself as having little common sense. That is the biggest understatement since the famous, "I'm from the government and I'm here to help". She has absolutely ZERO common sense. I think she has delved into the world of hyperbole, because someone who has never eaten rice and was afraid of eggs, simply wouldn't travel to a count
Samita Sarkar
Jul 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A funny, laugh-out-loud page turner. I enjoyed reading about Lauren's (mis)adventures and was happy to watch (read?) as she overcame her mental health issues and her anxiety slowly but surely faded away. As someone who has struggled with anxiety myself I rooted for her throughout the book, even through some of her less thoughtful moments (do not go to the dentist if you have a headache)! Oh, and that Chinese scammer totally deserved what Lauren gave her. :) ...more
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019
While this book is full to bursting with hilarious misadventures and still manages to make the backpacking life seem appealing, there are a lot of anecdotes here that are obviously so stretched as to be completely unbelievable. For one thing, I have a hard time believing that someone who doesn't know what checked luggage is and has never eaten eggs or rice would spend years of her life planning a years-long trip around the world. For another, about half of the misadventures are a direct result o ...more
Aug 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: southeast-asia
The interesting thing about the author of this book is that she makes a living from travel blogging and has made a home in Thailand. It would have been interesting to hear more about how this alternative career choice works for her, but there's only passing mentions of it. Most of the actual travel experiences she does cover are fairly mundane - not to downplay them, but they are the experiences of every slightly naive backpacker in Thailand who only grazes the surface of the country and are not ...more
Feb 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: travel
The author comes off as a bit naive and almost self sabotaging sometimes but really, her story of overcoming fear and severe anxiety is very inspiring. I could relate to a lot of her fears and found it helpful to read about her overcoming them. I enjoyed her writing voice and she is quite funny. I also appreciated her awareness of and reflection upon her privilege in being able to travel as she did. A fun and worthwhile read!
Kat Jacobi
Feb 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book! I takes courage to talk about your insecurities, bad luck and anxiety while traveling and Lauren Juliff is absolutely honest in this one! I can recommend the book to everyone who loves traveling, feels wanderlust, battles insecurities and anxiety and basically everyone who's up for a good laugh! ...more
Matthew Blum
Sep 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Just reading the prologue of this book will grab you and make you want to know what happens to this character introduced. It jumps ahead of time, while she is on her travels and it is at a time where she believes she is about to die. "I stood frozen to the spot, 100 m from the glistening turquoise ocean, and waited to die." How Not to Travel the World is about a young girl who decides to follow her dream and travel the world. The book contains her stories and mishaps along the way. It reminds th ...more
May 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
In the throes of googling about anxiety and travel I stumbled upon a blogger named Lauren Juliff. in the article she speaks about anxiety and travelling and gave brilliant tips on how to cope with both. When I found out she had written a book I immediately downloaded it and began to read. I only had to read the first 3 chapters to realise that we had a lot in common, disaster -prone wise. Her struggle with anxiety as well as her accident prone-ness through Asia are incredibly relatable to me as ...more
Jan 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I've been reading a lot of travel memoirs lately, and Juliff's debut is well-composed, interesting, and somewhat humorous as she recounts her horrifying travel experiences. Afraid of nearly everything, and having never even eaten rice or eggs, Juliff decides that she will face her fear of the world--of certain death--by traveling. Descriptive accounts of her escapades make me long to reach for my passport, while at the same time they make me shudder because I am often subject to catastrophe. (Al ...more
Alyssa Bridges
Sep 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anxiety suffers, people looking to learn more about anxiety, anyone above the age of 14
Recommended to Alyssa by: My mother found it online, and ordered it for me in hopes that is will help me with our family summer travels
This book has officially made its way to the top of my list of favorites. It's a fun book that really shows the thoughts and emotions of a person who deals with anxiety. As a person who suffers with anxiety myself, I can relate to so much to this book. The chapters are pretty long, but I never got bored while reading it. If you are someone who deals with anxiety, you will love how relatable the book is. And if you know someone who is going through anxiety and/or you are trying to learn more abou ...more
Aug 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been following Laurens blog for 2-3 years now, so when she finished this book, I obviosuly had to read it as I know how well she writes. Unsurprisingly it was a great read which made me both laugh and cry a little, as well as feel sympathy for her in some of the worse situations she experienced. Lauren has really managed the feat of writing so well the the reader gets pulled into the story and almost feel you experience it yourself. Perhaps particularly for me in some cases because I've bee ...more
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, travel, dnf
First half a dozen chapters or so were fantastic - I had so much empathy for Lauren and was rooting for her to do well. It's truly commendable how much she pushed herself out of her comfort zone in the initial chapters. Had the book followed on like that, it would have easily been a five-star rating.
However, once Lauren meets up with a guy, the book becomes unreadable.
Lauren's independent adventures are reduced to whole passages of her essentially hero-worshipping this man and the book reads li
Linzi Sutcliffe
Jan 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
I first saw this book when I was in my local library..picked up, read the back and thought hum.. Sounds like something I'd like.. I loved it!
I loved reading all about Lauren's adventures, from the story of her packing her bag up until the last page!
I am quite sad that I've finished it, but after realising she's one of the bloggers I'd recently heard of , I think I'll be reading through her blog from the beginning to read even more of her adventures!
I love that she shares all of the horrors that
Sam Warren
Oct 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'd very much like Lauren to come round for tea one evening, that's how much you warm to this lovely, disaster-prone young woman who is - quite frankly - living my dream for me. I've loved her warm chatty and very useful blog for a while now and she makes a huge effort to interact with her followers on FB (replying to posts etc) which as is confirmed in the book must take up heaps of time! I found I just couldn't put this down... hence the 5 stars even though it's really just one girls story of ...more
Kate Sortino
Sep 26, 2019 rated it liked it
My very first book review! Posted here:

I want to start this out by saying, I like Lauren Juliff. I like her blog, her writing style, her approach to life. She’s literally living my dream and killing it. That being said, I didn’t expect to like Lauren when I first started How Not to Travel the World: she sounded like a privileged, college educated, wealthy white girl, the same kind you see positively littering the #wanderlust #hashtags on Instagram. The fi
Dan Lowry
Feb 04, 2020 rated it liked it
Wow there’s a lot of hate on the author’s decisions in here. While yes, a decent chunk of the decisions she made were naive, I feel like a lot of these reviewers must never have found themselves in an extremely ambiguous situation, in a strange country, while also having anxiety. I found the book super relatable to my early days of solo, shoestring travel. It’s a different world, and nothing really ends up being as smooth as you hoped. I do wish there was more of a focus on travel than the relat ...more
Karolyna Foret
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was ok
How not to travel the world is a very fitting title for this book. The book is very well written and does grab your attention.. BUT the author is the worst kind of traveler. Blind to the ways of the world, unsure of self and dependent on a man. Definitely wouldn’t suggest to anyone wanting to travel, it’s more of a feel sorry I’m a mess kind of book
Dec 17, 2017 rated it liked it
How Not to Travel the World: Adventures of a Disaster-Prone Backpacker is a travel memoir written by well-known travel blogger Lauren Juliff. Suffering from an anxiety disorder, Juliff's memoir is an inspiring and uplifting account of the early years of her travel experiences around the world, since she first left the UK in 2011.

Sick of simply being obsessed with reading about countries she had no real plans of visiting, Juliff finally plucks up enough courage to leave on a one-way flight to Cro
Kathleen Foley
Mar 03, 2018 rated it did not like it
Repetitive and uninspired drivel that jumps from one hypochondriacal instance to the next without any real substance or plot.

Possibly the most stupid protagonist ever written. How am I supposed to believe this girl has an advanced degree in physics, yet believes a cheesecake is sponge topped with cheese? Goes on a long distance bike ride in jandals? Is ignorant enough to think the entire world will communicate with her in in English?

Lauren is not cute or funny. She is ridiculous. And if it wasn'
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