So you have chosen your destination, booked your trip and packed your bags. You are ready to travel, right? Not quite! There are quite a few things you need to do before you leave for your travels. Luckily, there is a comprehensive checklist right here, so you are fully prepared.
‘When you compare the price of a hand painted, made to measure kimono to a Western designer dress it is quite reasonable’. I had to agree with Sonoe, £1000 for the stunning silk gowns did seem like a bargain. She adjusted the kimono jacket I tried on, showing how I could wear it in two different ways. It was from her vintage collection and had a lovely pink tweedy style pattern, circa late 1960’s to 1970’s. Luckily, it was a tenth of the price of the bespoke ones.
When you catch a man accidentally admit out loud that a display of flowers is 'so beautiful' then you know that it must be pretty phenomenal. Tulips are synonymous with the Dutch and I'd been given rave reviews about the floral shows at Keukenhof, but had also been warned off, with someone else's advice that it was only for flower lovers. Curious to know the truth, I devised a plan for a thorough investigation.
Independent travel is empowering, liberating and builds confidence by the bucket load. When you are travelling alone there’s no: tour guide acting like your mom, telling you what to do, where to go and for how long, irritating friend who was previously up for anything but now seems to prefer staying indoors, group weirdo who wants to be more than friends for the entire two week trip, despite your efforts to explain how that isn't going to happen. Ever. You can spend whatever you wish, your itinerary is your own and spontaneity is your middle name! But it can also have its downsides, and after a while, wandering as lonely as a cloud can make you feel like a real ‘Billy no mates’. So here’s my tried and tested list of ways to instantly banish the ‘toute seule’ seclusion, the ‘peke yako’ blues, the ‘all by myself’ moments.
What do you do with twenty-four hours to kill in Dar es Salaam? The pseudo capital of Tanzania doesn’t normally feature on the tourist trail other than an entry, exit or transit point, a small blip on the itinerary in between safaris, summiting and sunbathing. It’s a dirty, hot, humid, chaotic conurbation; one of the world’s fastest growing cities. But behind this facade what does the metropolis offer the stranger on a layover? I’ve taken on this challenge many many times, so here are just a few suggestions of how to turn Dar es Salaam into a highlight of your trip.
What is the most romantic food? Is it falafel? One of the show’s characters came over to ask us for our opinion as we settled into our seats, taking notes of our suggestions. This was just one of the interactions we had as part of the Galway International Arts Festival (GIAF). It has been a cultural catalyst since 1978 and attracts over 200,000 visitors to the city every July. For two weeks there are over 200 amazing events in Galway including theatre, music, dance, opera, comedy, drama and street extravaganzas. It features international and local acts, many critically acclaimed artists, writers and performers, and has helped the town win European Capital of Culture in 2020.
Having the experiences you want and reaching your travel goals is totally possible if you are willing to put in the effort. If you haven’t started your ‘diet’ then check out ‘How to easily SAVE money to finance your travels’, part one of the Funding Travel Bootcamp series. Now we are going to bulk up those savings by simply generating oodles of cash.
If you are really serious about wanting to head off on adventures you have to bite the bullet, get lean and sacrifice a few things. You might not like it, but it will mean you will have the money to do what you want, which is having amazing travel experiences. Spending can be controlled and once you see your savings grow it can be addictive!
Sometimes it's inevitable that you have to spend some of your travels 'in transit'. This could be seen as an awful waste of time or an amazing opportunity. Here are a few cool ways to turn the long wait into something much much better.
Outside 69A, Murdoch is surreptitiously guarding the street wares. Apparently, he likes mushrooms, tomatoes, and cucumber, which is unusual for cats. He’s pretty good at jumping out and scaring the customers too.
The t-shirt printing store boasts tops with the slogan ‘Westport - voted the best place to live in Ireland’. However, it failed to declare by whom and more importantly, why? We were keen to investigate this further, so when we saw an advert for ‘Ireland’s best loved heritage attraction’ it was our first port of call.
What is a single supplement and why do we have to pay it? It seems so mean. Some travel operators, (for example accommodation providers and cruise companies) impose an extra charge to people who travel alone. Their argument is that a single person does not spend as much as two people on additional revenue generating services such as food and drinks and therefore the lone occupant has to make up that shortfall. However, the percentage of single travellers is increasing, and the traditional industry providers are changing due to the introduction of new competition from innovative demand based start-ups. Here are a few top tips to use if you are unattached and itching to see the world!
Texel was chosen as one of the top places to visit in 2016, but they got it wrong, my Dutch friend said. Apparently, Schiermonnikoog, which is also one of the West Frisian islands, is way better and also her favourite place in the Netherlands. The rest of the Dutch population agree; it was voted their best loved nature spot. I was sold. However, she warned me that we should also be prepared for an adventure, as when she has missed the last boat before she slept on the floor of the ladies room of an empty ferry and at the foot of a desolate sea dyke. I wondered, how remote is this place?
When was the last time you felt like the coolest person on the planet? How about at an exclusive, brilliantly executed, all-inclusive festival in the wild plains of Tanzania?
Once synonymous with ship building, coal mining, flat caps and whippet dogs, the north-east of England’s main city of Newcastle has managed to migrate into a modern metropolis whilst still retaining its character. It hasn’t shed its party town image, nor its reputation for producing great musicians, comedians and sports players. We jumped at the chance to experience some of the new cultural highlights and also the traditional passions of this full of character city.
The Big Smoke. Nodnol. Londinium. The capital of the United Kingdom. A hectic mash-up, where big business, high-class art, ancient history, urban fashion, aristocracy and international cultures all meet and mingle freely. It’s a festival of human awesomeness disguised as a city. Famous wordsmith Samuel Johnson managed to put it succinctly: ‘When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford’. Too true.