10 Top Trips for Travel Companions in 2016

In association with British Airways American Express® Cards

Who you travel with is as important as where you travel to, or so I always think. So it’s fantastic to hear that British Airways American Express® Cards have partnered with celebrated publisher Phaidon to create Companion, a unique travel guide providing different perspectives on popular city destinations set to inspire those travelling together in 2016.

Featuring 10 of the most vibrant cities in the world, the Companion guide includes recommendations from creatives who live and work there, giving readers valuable insight and perspective on the must-see cities from the people that know them best.

Contributors include creative visionaries such as British photographer Martin Parr and renowned chefs Ferran and Albert Andrià, the founders of elBulli restaurant in Barcelona.

Inspired by the Companion Voucher*, a British Airways American Express Card benefit which provides a complimentary second seat for your companion on a British Airways flight**, Companion provides some great travel inspiration and tips for those looking to get away in 2016 and explore something new with a travel partner.

There really is a wealth of useful recommendations and tips included in Companion, giving travel companions the opportunity to explore the unexpected and a chance to enjoy, quite literally, a different view of each of the ten cities featured. To give you a flavour, here are some of the top tips taken from the insiders of five of my favourite cities.

Rome: There are so many unmissable hidden gems to discover in Rome, from the ornate and historic architecture, to the traditional Italian food. In Companion, Daniel Young, an award winning food writer, and architect Steven Holl, share their invaluable tips for the eternal city.
Daniel’s city: Sample a designer pizza at In Fucina, with unusual toppings such as apple and pear mostarda (candied fruit mustard), buffalo mozzarella, ricotta cheese and speck.
Steven’s city: Join the queue to place your hand inside the mouth of the famous statue, La Bocca della Verità, in the portico of the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin. It featured in the famous film, Roman Holiday, starring Audrey Hepburn.
On one of my recent trips to Rome, I ventured to the ornate Villa Medici and the Garden of the Oranges, for two different yet equally incredible views of this ancient city.

The Luxury Columnist - Rome Borromini's Perspective - 10 Top Trips for Travel Companions
Barcelona: The vibrant Spanish city of Barcelona has so much to offer, including an incredible food scene and stunning architecture not to be missed. Who better to give you the insight into the city and its vast array of incredible eateries than Ferran and Albert Andrià, founders of the legendary ElBulli restaurant in Barcelona.
Ferran’s city: To get away from it all without leaving the city, head to Montjüic and the Fundació Joan Miró, the stadium and the many other attractions around it.
I particularly enjoyed visiting the Poble Espanyol there – it’s a recreation of all the different architectural styles in Spain, where you can also buy traditional handicrafts and eat in a wide range of bars and restaurants.
Albert’s city: For two very different dining experiences, visit Suculent on the Rambla del Raval for traditional food, and Espai Kru in the Eixample neighbourhood for a contemporary take on shellfish.

Barcalona Fundacio Joan Miro cr - Roger Casas
Hong Kong: Great food and cool design work in harmony in what is now one of the fastest growing regions in the world. Design curator Aric Chen and chef/restaurateur Matt Abergel share their different perspectives on this vibrant city.
Aric’s city: To find some really exclusive brands that you won’t find anywhere else, PMQ is a design complex that’s the perfect spot to purchase some great finds for the home.
Matt’s city: Hong Kong’s multitude of wet markets are windows into a vivid and timeless world of food shopping that remains vibrant despite the introduction of modern supermarkets. The three level market at Sham Shui Po is a good example of a wet market and is located in the densely populated garment district.
Personally I’d love to return to Hong Kong and to revisit the Big Buddha on Lantau Island. The night markets in Kowloon are an absolute must for anyone who likes shopping, too!

HK PMQ cr Marcel Lam WCG
New York: To get the most from the city that never sleeps, take some tips from Michelin-starred chef Daniel Burns and brewer Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø who have day and night time in the Big Apple covered.
Daniel’s city: For live music, catch a band at the Music Hall of Williamsburg.
Jeppe’s city: Maison Premiere in Brooklyn is a beautiful cocktail bar. You can walk off the effects the next day with a walk along the High Line. It’s one of my favourite places too, you can admire the art as you’re passing through Chelsea and stop off at Chelsea Market for foodie treats.

The Luxury Columnist - View from the Highline NYC
Amsterdam: Showcasing two different sides to the same city, renowned husband and wife design team Carole Baijings and Stefan Scholten provide their unique insight into the Dutch capital.
Carole’s city: Make sure to look inside a florist, there’s a beautiful one called Pompon, near to the Noordermarkt, a market specializing in organic food (on Mondays) and antiques (on Saturdays).
Stefan’s city: Take a trip out of the city to Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, for a truly Dutch experience by the river, with beautiful old houses and fields of cows. I’d also suggest visiting Keukenhof if you are there between March to May. It’s an incredible 19th century park, filled with Dutch spring flowers.

As Mark Twain said, “to get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with”. This guide inspired by the British Airways American Express Cards, will certainly give you and your travel companions a serious case of wanderlust!
Visit www.americanexpress.co.uk/companions to download Companion travel guide.

Who is your ideal travel companion? Do you have any insider tips for these cities that you’d like to share?


The Companion travel guide was inspired by the British Airways American Express Cards and their Companion Voucher – a benefit that entitles eligible Cardmembers to a complimentary second seat for a companion on a British Airways flight (Terms, taxes, fees and carrier charges apply).

Apply before midnight on 10 February 2016 for the British Airways American Express® Premium Plus Card and earn 25,000 bonus Avios when you spend £3,000 in your first three months of Cardmembership*. That’s enough for a return flight from London to Berlin (9,000 Avios) or a return from London to Rome (15,000 Avios)**.  With the Companion Voucher, received when you spend £10,000 or more on your Card within an anniversary year, you can enjoy this benefit with your plus one (Terms, taxes, fees and carrier charges apply).

British Airways American Express Premium Plus Card Representative example: Representative 60.7% APR variable. Based on annual fee of £150 and assumed credit limit of £1,200. Interest rate for purchases: 22.9% p.a. variable.

Introductory offers are not available if you currently hold or have held any other
British Airways American Express Cards in the past six months. If you’d prefer a similar Card without a Cardmembership fee, an alternative option is available: the British Airways American Express® Credit Card.

British Airways American Express card

* Please note it can take up to one month for the Welcome Offer Avios to be awarded to your Account once you have met the required spend. For the Premium Plus Card, you will be awarded 1,5 Avios for virtually every £1 spent and charged per transaction, and 3 Avios for virtually every £1 you spend direct on British Airways flights and holidays. Avios are not earned on Balance Transfers, Cash Withdrawals, American Express Travellers Cheques purchases, Foreign Exchange, interest, any spending in excess of your credit limit, charges for returned payments, late payment or referral charges and American Express Credit Card finance charges. Written details available on request**Terms and Conditions apply to Avios redemptions. Flight is based on a return economy flight. Reward flights and companion voucher bookings are subject to availability. Detailed information on companion vouchers can be found at britishairways.com/travel./amexcompaniontc/public/en_ gb . Offer ends 10 February 2016. Promoter: American Express Services Europe Limited has its registered office at Belgrave House, 76 Buckingham Palace Road, London, SW1W 9AX, United Kingdom. It is registered in England and Wales with Company Number 1833139 and authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

  • Great tips for each city!
    And as usual… the photographs are stunning :))

  • Such a great and insightful post! I think it’s wonderful that Companions are able to have a free seat, which truly helps financially and much more convincing to invite someone to travel along with you! As for the recommendations, it’s awesome to have the suggestions by such accomplished and well respected individuals in food and travel. Daniel’s recommendation for the designer pizza in Rome sounds amazing! I’ve NEVER had a pizza with apples or pears on it before, it does sound rather interesting and something I’d love to try! As for the suggestions for New York, as a native New Yorker, Brooklyn is indeed the place to be, especially Williamsburg! They are known for their hipster restaurants and cafes, as well as their crafted beers. When I think art, I think Williamsburg; I truly LOVE it there! My mom lives in Midwood, so we’re always venturing over there 🙂

    Great post and thanks so much for sharing! I hope you have a wonderful week ahead!



    • Yes the idea of companions having a free seat is a great one. I haven’t actually tried pizza with apples or pears on it yet but I certainly want to. We really enjoyed walking around Brooklyn on our last NY trip but I’d love to return and spend longer in Williamsburg – I will know to come to you for tips!

  • Paola

    I would like to visit New York again!!!
    Interesting post!
    Kisses, Paola.


    My Facebook

  • You are giving me a major travel bug!!

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

  • Great list, I want to get a on a jet right now!


  • Caitlin

    This post is giving me total wanderlust! You’re so right, who you travel with is just as important as where you travel to. It really can make all the difference!

    xx, Caitlin

  • Love it! I haven’t yet been to Amsterdam or Hong Kong, but those are definitely on my travel list. 🙂


  • Marinella Rauso

    it was so cute to read about trendy spots in my city. It’s lovely to know a different point of view.

    • I know, fascinating to read the insider tips – we only scratched the surface when we came to Rome

  • JustGoPlaces

    We love our companion card! Just figuring out where to use it is the hard part (albeit enjoyable!!).

  • I love these places! I visited some of them, but others are just a dream! Great tips and thanks for sharing them!

  • I would love to visit Rome and Barcelona.
    It’s on my wish list to travel.
    Thanks for sharing some of great places to visit.


  • Barcelona is one of my favorite cities! I loved reading all these tips, I still have so many cities to visit. Fantastic post


  • Great destinations! I want to see Rome + Barcelona so bad!

    Le Stylo Rouge

    • Both are such brilliant places to visit and I’d recommend at least 4 days as there’s so much to see!

  • Corinne C

    Rome and New York are on my wish list to go to!

    Corinne x

  • This is such a great travel list! I definitely want to visit Rome and Amsterdam!


  • Ellie Adams

    Not that I needed any convincing for going back to NYC, but live music and cocktail bars in Brooklyn sound like my kinda thing!!


  • Valuable information about the voucher for companion on British airway flight.! I would like to thank you for sharing information about the voucher in your post!!

  • ♫ Alison M ♪

    Some great tips. Would love to revisit New York

    • Me too, and this time I’d hang out a bit in Williamsburg as well as see some more touristy sites

  • Lucy

    I really don’t need any tempting, the destinations sound wonderful, especially the additional tips. I would love to travel with those from the past who would be able to share the history of a place, since that won’t happen the other half will have to do Lucy x