‘Don’t Offer Papaya’ offers an array of travel tips for trips of almost any length or distance/ Book review

The inexpensive little travel book “Don’t Offer Papaya” by author Kia Abdullah and photographer Peter Watson has a lot to offer, even though it was published as a guide to round-the-world travel.

The couple — and they ARE a couple — co-publish the popular Atlas and Boots travel blog. The book is available for $4.99 on Amazon or free if you have Kindle Unlimited.

As you would expect, Abdullah and Watson have done a whole lot of traveling. What they’ve done here is not recount those travels, but offer practical tips that will hold up even if you’re only going to the next state over in the U.S. And that, of course, is about the best we can hope for in this time of COVID-19.

The book is short. It won’t take you long to read it cover-to-cover, if you choose to do that.

I wouldn’t, though. The guide is divided into very short sections covering a wide array of topics. Just find the section containing the information you want, and move on.

It’s well-written in clear, concise language.

Many younger travel bloggers these days are overly fond of the listicle, which is an article that’s basically a list of things like: The Top 10 Things to do in Buffalo, New York, or The 10 Best Bars in Lee’s Summitt, Missouri. These listicles are a discouraging trend, in my view, both because they are overly bossy and because there are either far more or way fewer than 10 things you might want to see or do in any given place. Sometimes, I’d rather sit in my hotel room with a beer and a good book than I would chase around after 10 things somebody I’ve never met thinks I should do.

This book isn’t like that at all, although there are a couple of “tips” that verge on being too prescriptive. Don’t take a guitar (or a ukelele) with you when you backpack is one tip that I think crosses my line. I don’t WANT to take my guitar to Bora Bora, but if I did, who are these folks to tell me not to? If I’m spending my money on the trip, I’ll decide about the guitar, thanks.

Overall, the book avoids those minor annoyances, and could serve as a helpful resource to safety, health, money, housing, camping and a bunch of other topics you might want to explore before you travel.

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