The best of travel, by Monocle

There are scores, if not hundreds, of "Top" whatever lists every year. Most of them are pretty much crap to me. Whether due to limited breadth of scope or obvious advertiser influence, most lists seem rather worthless to me. So I will admit that I was skeptical when my father-in-law told me that he thought of me when reading one such list in a magazine in recent days. He handed me the latest copy of Monocle and I gave the list a read. At least for the categories I can pass judgment on, I nearly universally agree.

Part of the reason the list works is because it isn’t the Top N of anything. Instead it is their 50 top things in travel. With categories ranging from the common (airport lounges and first class cabins) to the less so (in-flight blankets, baristas and bellboys) the list covers a range that makes it hard to argue too much that they might be wrong. After all, unless you’ve had Thomas Lehoux pour you a cappuccino in Paris how can you say his isn’t the best? At the same time, when it comes to choosing a long-haul aircraft (777-300), Asian Airport (Haneda) or imaginative route network expansion (Turkish) I’m finding it hard to argue many of their decisions. I’m even willing to accept that Ryu working the front door at The Peninsula in Tokyo is the best bellboy in the world, having never had the opportunity to meet him.

There are also a few of the choices I disagree with (hardly surprising, I know). Monocle chooses Copenhagen and Haneda as their favorite airport approaches. I like St. Maarten, Quito or Queenstown, at least of approaches I’ve had, for the scenery and the fun of the approach. I’d even put San Diego on the list, so long as you’re in an A seat headed in over the mountains and through downtown.

Yes, in many ways it is just another "Top" list. There is obvious bias showing in some of the choices and the categories are, in some cases, bizarre. But it was also one of the few such lists I’ve seen in recent memory which I found entertaining, reasonably well researched and hard to argue with, at least too much.

Do you have any favorite travel lists worth sharing? Let me know; I’d love to take a look at some…

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. Tyler Brulee speaks more sense on travel than anyone else I read, even if the way he does it is out of my league.

  2. I think you’re right about many so called “Top” list articles online being a bit lame, so it’s always nice when you find one that actually has something to recommend it.

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