Woohoo!!! Hand Luggage Only is 2 years old. Okay, fine – it was 2 years old like almost a month ago but we’ve been o the road for the past few week and that, coupled with my love of procrastination, is why I’ve not gotten round to writing this post until now. 🙂

Lloyd and Yaya in The Blue Lagoon, Iceland

Now I know everyone says this but honestly, if you’d told us we’d be where we are when we started, I don’t think we’d have believed it. Hand Luggage Only has grown so much, we’ve made so amazing friends along the way and had some pretty fantastic experiences. This has been a space to connect with other travellers around the world and a space to share our experiences – both of which we enjoy very much and feel so lucky to be able to!

10 Important Things To Remember Today! (1)

The blog started thanks to us having travelled for several years and amassing a lot of photographs (I’m a serial photograph hoarder – I even have the first photos I took on my first camera phone, the Nokia 3200). Starting a blog seemed like a great way to store and share these photos instead of using good old Facebook and boy am I glad we did, have you seen how ‘disco’ those Facebook photos from like 5 years ago look now? 🙂 To be fair, the idea of travel blogging isn’t much different from say several decades ago when people travelled, got back home and developed their photos to share with friends and family over food and drinks. The internet has just changed the way it’s done but its still essentially the same thing. 🙂

Random Experiences I Had On Our Trip Across America (1)

Flash-forward to today where each month, over 450,000 fellow travellers come on to our little old blog to read about our experiences and share theirs too.

And there’s of course, the over 527,000 like-minded travellers who’ve chosen to connect with us across all social platforms – I have you guys to thank for my new(-ish) phone addiction and my impromptu fits of giggles when I come across the hilarious messages and comments from you, as we travel. This connection with you still blows our minds and once again, we just want to say a HUGE THANK YOU TO YOU! YOU’RE THE BEST!!! Seriously, your comments, messages, emails and feedback makes us feel very special and while trying not to sound too soppy,we just wanted to let you know how much we appreciate you!!! 🙂

Mount Batur, Kintamani, Bali, Indonesia, Travel (1)

Reef Explorers In The Maldives (6)


Okay, right! I’ve digressed off the title of this post so I better get back on track. Without thinking too hard about it (I’m literally thinking as I am writing this), here are some important lessons we’ve learnt in the last two years of blogging.

1.) There’s no one kind of travelling. You can choose to be a solo traveller, a group traveller, an adventure traveller, a sunshine and beaches traveller… an anything traveller. All forms of travel are absolutely valid – as long as you have fun doing it!

2.) There’s no point trying to create a pre-conceived notion of a destination before you visit. Keeping an open mind about it is the best way to enjoy it. For instance, if you visit Cape Town expecting it to be the same as Marrakesh (or vice versa), you’d leave yourself disappointed – just experience the place for what it is.

3.) Travel is not about money. Granted, it does take money to travel so travel feel synonymous with money but in truth, you can have as much fun in a destination regardless of the budget you have. In simpler terms, you don’t have to travel first class/in luxury or far distances to feel like you’re really travelling.

4.) There’s no point waiting for perfection before you do something. That wait for perfection can be one of the main reasons why you never get certain things started. I say start whatever it is you want to do and learn on the go. A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step after all… 😉

5.) Some days, all you wanna do is stay at home, spend time with family, drink wine with friends and binge-watch Netflix and that’s perfectly fine! Part of the fun of travelling is coming back home.

Lloyd and Yaya at Jökulsárlón - The Glacier Lagoon in Iceland

6.) While we mostly travel with hand luggage only, we don’t exclusively travel with hand luggage only. Some travel needs that checked-in luggage!

7.) To get better at anything, you need to invest some time into learning how to improve yourself. You’ll never learn how to take better photo, speak a language better or even dance better if you don’t spend time trying to improve yourself.

8.) Be yourself more! Sounds like basic advice (and to be fair, it is) but we all have people we look up to and the more you try to look or sound like them, the more you lose what makes you special. There’s nothing more refreshing that reading or listening to someone with a unique perspective that reflects who they truly are. There’s also the confidence that comes from you just being yourself and not trying to imitate anyone else that’s just so obvious and apparent.

9.) There’s no substitute for a good night’s sleep (sorry coffee). Seriously, waking up well rested has the power of changing your whole outlook on things and as obvious as it sounds, it took several years for me to realise this.

10.) You are amazing! This one is a bit more of a personal message from us but you have strengthened, empowered and supported us in more ways that you realise and I’m so very grateful for this. You’ve given us the power to chase our dreams (we’ll try to do the same for you) and the whole Hand Luggage Only community would be nothing without you.

Maya Bay, Phi Phi Island, Thailand on Hand Luggage Only Blog (1)

Okay, I’m starting to get soppy again so I’m signing off here! Thank you so much and have a lovely day! 😉 🙂

Hand Luggage Only srprsme competition

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  • Congratulations on two years! I’m so inspired by your blog; can’t wait to see what the future holds!

    Kate | http://www.petiteadventures.org/

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thanks so much Kate – that means so much to us… honestly! Our blog is our little baby and we love it so much!

      Big hugs from us both! Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Congratulations on an amazing two years of work!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Awwww – thanks so much Angie xx

  • Mandira Adhikari

    congratulations on two years! You guys are an immense source of inspiration! I completed 3 years of my travel blog but its on a hobby level only 🙂

    • HandLuggageOnly

      That is so lovely of you to say, Mandira. Honestly, it means the world to us! Hobby level… You’ve been so many places though… haha! 🙂

      Ps – love your Istanbul pics! Gorgeous! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Yay, birthday!!! I love you, guys, you’re awesome 😀

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Awwwww – thank you lovely lady! 🙂 xx

  • Thank you for two years of inspiration, tips and truth. I’ve really enjoyed reading about your moments and memories and it’s been pretty cool watching your blog grow along the way. Keep doing what your doing, you both deserve plenty of success and happiness.
    Daniela | http://www.wanderinginthenow.com

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Daniela, thats’s so kind – thank you so much. You made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside reading it! Big hugs!!! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Loved this!! Congrats guys, I’ve always been a fan. I’m so proud of you!!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thanks so much Isabel! Honestly, your warm-hearted comment means so much to us! :- ) xx

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Awww, proud of you guys

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Awwwww – thanks Chica! 🙂 xxxx

  • Ah you guys are so inspirational! Your blog is such a success and only in 2 years!! Love how you have made traveling from a hobby to a job and one you love and share with everyone! 🙂 I hope one day i can do the same!

    x. Carina

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thanks so much Carina. Hand Luggage Only is our little baby and we love it dearly! Haha!

      Lots of hugs,
      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Aw what a cute list! (maybe cutes a funny word to use idk?) I liked the binge watch Netflix part. Sometimes you need to drown yourself in Game of Thrones episodes!
    The Fernweh Wolf / Travel & Lifestyle Blog

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Right!!! We just watched the latest episode yesterday… it was immense! John Snow!!! 😉

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Congrats on the two years!! I love this and I love the list, but how can you say the bit about traveling and money? I’d like to travel one day myself but a passport and ticket out of this state would break me. Any advice or tips as another means?

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thanks Jimmy!!! 🙂 My bit about travel and money was that travel isn’t about how much money you spend or how far you go. For instance, the Cotswolds is just 1-2 hours away from London, can be visited on a shoestring budget and is so different from London. This counts as travelling as you’re getting experiences that you wouldn’t if you stayed in the same place you’ve been in for ages. Travel costs money but people sometimes feel like the travel isn’t really travel unless you’ve spent so much money travelling so far away. Money wise, there are lots of ways to try to save money for travelling or to try to get cheaper travel. We will try to share more of this on the blog as well! 🙂

  • Congrats on two years!!xoxo

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thanks so much Tanja xx

  • Fantastic article Yaya and Lloyd. I’m looking forward to share more of your story on my blog. I will try to post the article within the next 7 days 😀

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thanks so much Conor! Really looking forward to it… no rush, take your time! 🙂

      Hope all is good with you! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya

  • CONGRATULATIONS YAYA AND LLOYD! Seriously, you guys are so cute I’d marry you both if Blogging Polygamy is a thing (is it? Can we make it happen?). I can’t believe its been only two years and you guys have become a veritable Wikipedia for travel tips so quickly – whenever I consider a travel destination I do a quick search on HLO to see if I can find any articles to get me in the mood!

    Please please please throw a Blog Birthday Party! I’ll bake cookies…x

    Posh, Broke, & Bored

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Awwwwwwwww – thanks so much lovely lady! That literally made us both smile from ear to ear!!! Honestly, thank you xxxxx

      Yaaaaas to blogging polygamy – it must happen! Ha!

      Really though, thank you so much – it means the world! 🙂


  • rebecca beesley

    We have been so inspired by your blog that we are planning so many of our future holidays based on what we see here. thank you for all you do! x

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Ah! Thanks so much Rebecca – we’re so happy you like the places! There really is so much to explore isn’t there!

      Thank you so much! Big hugs!!! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Congratulations on the the two years! I am so grateful I came across your blog a few months ago. Each post you share puts a smile on my face, or when I see your adventures on instagram. It’s an incredible blog you two have created and just how many people around the world you have connected with! I come to your blog now for any travel questions I have about places I am going to visit =o) Congrats again and i can’t wait to see what the future holds for you =o)


    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thank you so much! Honestly, your comment made us VERY happy! Our blog is our our little Baby and something we cherish so dearly (thankfully, there’s no nappy changing involved) Haha!

      Thanks you so so so so so much! 🙂

      Big hugs,
      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Happy blogiversary! So glad you guys started this space, it’s been so helpful with planning trips and for giving me some serious wanderlust!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thank you so much Rachel! We’re so happy you like it! 🙂

      Big hugs,
      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Awhhh you guys are lovely. Thank YOU for having an amazing, authentic, and genuine blog. (:
    xx http://www.nuunablog.com

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Awwwwww! Thank you soooooo much Emma! Honestly, that’s so kind of you to say and it means so much to us both!

      Big hugs

      Lloyd & Yaya xxx

  • Congratulations!! You definitely made a good decision to start this blog, you’ve inspired me so much 🙂

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thank you so much Vanisha! So so so happy and unbelievably grateful that you like it as much as we do! Whenever we see you commented it puts a smile on our face! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Lotte

    Keep on doing what you guys do, I love following along! <3

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Awww! Thanks so much Lotte! That’s so lovely to hear – honestly, we really appreciate and love our chats here! 🙂 xx

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  • Congratulations guys and well done! I love what I’m seeing and the way you write your stuff. Honest but hilarious. Now just where do I sign on the dotted line….!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Awwwww – thanks so much lovely lady! 🙂

      big hugs,
      Lloyd & Yaya