From the Editor: Do we need to travel?

Great value destinations: Dublin, Maharashtra, Taiwan

Most would say yes (especially if there’s a free ticket involved), but I’ve read some interesting counterpoints recently. One is a hilariously grumpy book called Can’t Be Arsed, which asks why we need to do strange things like visiting Machu Picchu at all. The other, more serious, is an article in Time, which says you shouldn’t fall for pithy-sounding quotes on Facebook that say money isn’t important, travel is, etc. And that actually makes sense: going to Machu Picchu might or might not expand your mind (that depends on what mind you go there with in the first place), but, if you can’t afford it, it’s stupid to set your mind on it just because some pretty-looking forward on FB tells you to. And just because you can’t afford it, that doesn’t mean you aren’t as open-minded or as knowledge-seeking as someone who can take a year off to ‘go find themselves.’

A third thing that got me thinking was that one of my designers, in a fit of enthusiasm, tried an obstacle course while on a photography assignment, and, of course, fell and dislocated his elbow. Clearly, not every aspect of travel is meant for everyone, no matter what the “Live for the moment, don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do it!” brigade says. Travel, yes, but don’t leave your brain behind.

So, this month, we’ve got travel ideas that are huge fun, but not a leap over the edge – big, memorable experiences that won’t break the bank or any vital parts of your anatomy. Taiwan is like the shy cousin of Hong Kong and Macau: weird, fun and totally unique, it’ll have stingrays spitting at you and enormous bugs flying in the sky (and will dress you in a tutu). If you’re a foodie, you need to spend some time driving around Maharashtra, which has some of the most varied and more-ish food in the country, from ‘zhanzhanit’ mutton curries in Kolhapur to sweet-sour seafood on the coast (and the World’s Best Vegetarian Dish).

Dublin is in Europe, so it sounds expensive, but, young, adventurous travellers can have huge fun without ever doing anything expensive. And in case you still want to do the big world cities, we have London, NYC, Tokyo, Paris and Sydney on a budget. And finally, if you’re a woman and prefer your travel plans to not include leering men and high blood pressure, our bonus feature on Singapore for women should be right up your street.

Trust me, taking your brain along too is better than just taking your passport.