Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “How Not to Travel the World: Adventures of a Disaster-Prone Backpacker” as Want to Read:
How Not to Travel the World: Adventures of a Disaster-Prone Backpacker
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  981 ratings  ·  108 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)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about How Not to Travel the World, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about How Not to Travel the World

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  981 ratings  ·  108 reviews

More filters
Sort order
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
Full review will be posted on The Cubicle Escapee

Confession: I started toying with the idea of taking an around the world adventure back in 2011. I only got serious about taking the adventure in June. That being said when I first started playing with the idea it was about a week before Lauren left for her trip.

I was sitting at work one day bored and googled "How to make money to travel long term" and came across her blog, I learned quickly that she was leaving soon and I have been following her
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
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!
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 wan
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
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
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
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
Samita Sarkar
Jul 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
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. :)
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
Lucy Dodsworth
Oct 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
I’ve read Lauren Juliff’s blog, Never Ending Footsteps for years, so was looking forward to her travel memoir, How Not to Travel the World. With the subtitle ‘Adventures of a Disaster-Prone Backpacker’, you know it’s not going to be the usual story of fabulous experiences in exotic locations. Leaving the UK with an anxiety problem, a broken heart and no life experience, Lauren headed off on a solo round-the-world trip, hoping it would transform her into a confident backpacker. Instead she ended ...more
Brian Sherlock
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
I don't read much non fiction but I've followed Lauren Juliff's blog for a few years so her book was on my 'to read' list. I got it done in a few days and I enjoyed a lot that it had to offer - mostly the use of locations (SE Asia is a wonderful setting) and it had really good momentum in most parts.

I felt some of the supporting characters could've been fleshed out more and I just didn't understand why she used lines like 'I was sat by a table' and 'I was stood against a wall'. It kinda bothere
Aug 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: travel, non-fiction
I received this book as an ARC for a review (up on my blog, soon!) but I just wanted to say how much I adored this book. Lauren has a way of writing that makes you feel like so mush more than just a reader, it feels like one of your best friends telling you a story. I tore through this book in a day, simply because I couldn't put it down. I would recommend this book to anyone who has ever thought about traveling, whether they just got their first passport or they've seen over ...more
Steven Walker
Aug 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book in a first-reads give away a few weeks before setting out on my own 6 month backpacking trip, and what a laugh it was. Not the kind for thing I'd normally go for, but much better than what I was expecting (maybe I'm a snob...). It was just a very fun read, and really made me look even more forward to starting my trip! If you're looking for funny and, in parts, quite touching, and entertaining, light read, this is a good choice. The only reason it's not getting 4 stars is because ...more
Sep 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was the only book written in English in my hostel in Vienna so as per usual I picked it up to see what it was- I emerged from the book 2 hours later upon finishing it. As an avid amateur traveller and professional travel book reader I found this book refreshing, not only because I identified with Lauren's point of view and could very easily have ended up in some of these situations myself but also because it's nice to hear an honest account of not only the ups but also the many downs of tra ...more
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Diary of an Unsmug Married
  • Sorry, I'm British!: An Insider's Guide to Britain from A to Z
  • Tired of London, Tired of Life: One Thing A Day To Do in London
  • Leaving the Hall Light On
  • Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom: The Escape of William and Ellen Craft from Slavery
  • The Ribbons Are for Fearlessness: My Journey from Norway to Portugal beneath the Midnight Sun
  • Paddling North
  • The Worrier's Guide to the End of the World: Love, Loss, and Other Catastrophes—through India, Italy, and Beyond
  • The Best Women's Travel Writing, Volume 9: True Stories from Around the World
  • Fearless: One Woman, One Kayak, One Continent
  • Learning to Fly: An Uncommon Memoir of Human Flight, Unexpected Love, and One Amazing Dog
  • A Journey North: One Woman's Story of Hiking the Appalachian Trail
  • Breaking Trail: A Climbing Life
  • The Traveller: Notes From an Imperfect Journey Around the World
  • A Long Trek Home: 4,000 Miles by Boot, Raft and Ski
  • Him & Me
  • Dirt Work: An Education in the Woods
  • Be Brave, Be Strong: A Journey Across the Great Divide
See similar books…