21 Realistic Ways to Save Money for Travelling

 

Planning your travels is super exciting, but when it comes to paying for travel, not so much.  Sometimes saving can feel like a daunting task; moving chunks of your earnings into an account and praying to God you don’t move them back out by the time payday comes back around.  Fear not friends, I have compiled 20 tips to save a little here and there and help your money take you from your couch to the Canary Islands.  Although lots of items on this list may seem frugal, its incomparable to the feeling of lying back on a sun lounger sipping on sangria.  Here we go:

Reconsider your outgoings. Have a look at the money you’re paying out each month – do you really need to be paying out £9.99 and £5.99 for Spotify and Netflix?  This equates to £191.76 over the year! Sacrificing Ed Sheeran for a weekend in Dubrovnik? You decide.

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Budget! Although this one seems fairly obvious, it surprised me on how much money I actually saved when I sat down each month after I got paid and wrote myself out a weekly budget.  When you get paid; take away your outgoings for the month, subtract the money you need for the month such as parties, birthdays etc.  Consider all the extras, such as fuel, money for food.  Then, decide on a reasonable figure to save and a little disposable income left over. When you have an actual figure in your head of what you can save it makes it much easier to cut down.

Cancel your gym membership. Between YouTube and Pinterest, you can come up with plenty of at-home workouts.  Running outside tends to be more fun than running on a treadmill anyway.  Even if you attend one fitness class each week, this is still cheaper than your monthly gym membership fee.

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Cut down on the nights out. If you’re a bit of a party animal like myself, this is often easier said than done.  In my group of friends, there is usually 2/3 nights out a month on the cards.  Save money on the cheeky one-off nights out by having your mates round for a night in instead. Put it this way, for every night out you sacrifice here, you earn yourself one in a more exotic location like Thailand, so you’re not exactly hanging up your Saturday night sliders forever.

If you can’t skip a night out, or have a birthday or a celebration, re-evaluate your spending habits when you are out socialising. Taking the car is an excellent idea, your bank account and body with thank you the next morning.  If you can’t bear the thought of a night out being sober whilst your pals are on one (like me), then maybe this isn’t for you.  Drink beers – they take longer to drink so you can pace yourself.  Avoid shots.  At all costs.

If you’re a big fan of your hair and makeup products, you could potentially save yourself loads. Beauty products are certainly not cheap, so ditching your MAC foundation during the week and substituting it for either nothing or a cheaper brand could help your expensive products last longer.

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Meal prepping is so beneficial in more ways than one. Taking a day out to plan your meals for the week will help you save money at the supermarket by knowing exactly what ingredients you need.  You could save even more if you are used to buying your lunch through the week or eat out often.  You might even lose a few lbs by eating healthy, home prepped meals – so you’ll thank yourself when you’re strutting  in your swimsuit in Florida!

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As the saying goes “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”.  Sites like eBay and Depop transform your unwanted possessions from dust collectors to coin collections.  Put away any money you earn from this into a separate account or a money bank and you might be surprised at how much you could fetch.  It’ll make your home look tidier too.

Look at changing bank accounts that could potentially earn money. Some banks such as Tesco offer 3% interest current accounts.  Every little helps, as they would put it.

Start saving with a porcelain or tin piggy bank. Some of these allow you to insert up to £200 in coins.  By adding a little loose change every other day, you won’t notice, but let it build up over the course of weeks\months, and you’ll want to give yourself a big slap on the back.  Who cares if it looks daft – money, yay!

Get creative! Thanks to websites like Pinterest, it’s never been easier to get a wee bit arty-farty. If you have any birthdays or events coming up, have a browse and see if you can find any quirky home-made gifts you could try your hand at.  You might even find yourself a new hobby that could earn some extra money by selling your crafts on Etsy, or something similar.

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Start earning money online. If you’re good at writing, you could try your hand at earning money on UpWork.  This is a website for freelance work. Copywriting, proofreading, and virtual assistant jobs come up frequently, and you could earn yourself some extra cash in your spare time.  You can find the link here: https://www.upwork.com/ab/find-work/

Instead of eating out or ordering a takeaway, try recreating the same dishes at home. This could save you a fortune if you’re a bit of a foodie like myself.  Again, Pinterest is your savior.  You could even make a night of it with some of your pals.

Have a look at websites such as TopCashback, where you can earn cash back (funnily enough), as you shop with top retailers.

Earn cash back with YouGov surveys. Download the app and you can earn £50 by doing surveys in your spare time.

Buy in bulk. If you run out of any household necessities, keep an eye out for offers such as 3 for 2.  Do you really need to buy 100 toilet rolls at once? No, but it means you don’t have to worry about it again for a while and may save yourself a few extra pennies.

Downgrade your TV packages. Although there are fewer channels, there are other ways to watch your favourite shows and films.  Turn your TV into a smart one by purchasing an Amazon Firestick, so you don’t have to miss out on your favourite programmes.

Buy second hand. Before you think about splurging in Topshop, have a look on eBay, or local charity shops for equally as nice stuff at a fraction of the price, and is also kinder to the environment.  If you really can’t resist, google discount codes or if you know any students, ask to borrow their student discount.

Hitting the supermarkets at the right times can save you loads.  They have specific times when they reduce items that are approaching their best before date – make the most of this by grabbing your groceries for the evening’s dinner and freeze the rest for another day.  Most of the time they are less than half price.

Be savvy when it comes to expensive hair and beauty treatment by finding out at your local college when they require models.  I got 3 waxing treatments done for under £10 once – there was absolutely no difference in end result apart from me being better off.

Attention bookworms! Save yourself a fortune by signing up for a library card instead of overspending in Waterstone’s and on Amazon.  You can find everything from guidebooks to biographies and everything in between.

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Here we have it.  I hope some of these come in useful for you, and please let me know if you have any swear-by methods of saving the pennies. It might feel a bit frugal at first but small lifestyle tweaks all add up to make a difference.

 

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Kanchanaburi Highlights

Located in west Thailand, about an hour’s drive from Bangkok, I would argue that Kanchanaburi offers a more authentic experience than some of Thailand’s more popular destinations.  It’s less crowded than bustling Bangkok, possesses the charm of Chang Mai, and contains plenty to see and do; whether you’re a foodie, party animal, outdoor enthusiast or culture vulture, you certainly won’t be disappointed.  Kanchanaburi may not be the first place that springs to mind when planning a trip to Thailand, but it won’t disappoint!

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Play with elephants at ElephantsWorld

ElephantsWorld is a non-profit organisation whose slogan is: “We work for the elephants”.  They opened in 2008 to take care of old, sick and abandoned elephants.  You have the option of a day visit, an overnight stay, or the forest programme which can last up to 4 weeks.  Depending on your package you will spend time gathering food, feeding and learning about these majestic creatures.  This is one of the more ethical ways to get up close and personal with these gentle giants in Thailand.

 

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Visit Erawan Falls

Located in Erawan National Park, visit these stunning waterfalls which cascade over 7 tiers.  You could certainly spend all day here exploring caves and playing in crystal clear rock pools.  Keep your eyes peeled on the upper tiers for mischievous monkeys.

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See the Bridge on the River Kwai

This historic site was made famous by a series of films and books narrating the harrowing tale of how the bridge and railway line came to be.  Also known as “The Death Railway”, the line stands as a reminder of Kanchanaburi’s role in WW2.  The bridge and railway were constructed by forced labourers from Thailand, Burma and Allied POWs.

 

“For every sleeper laid, a life was lost

                   For every life lost, a sleeper was laid

                   Sleep in peace, the crosses you bear

                   Over 90,000 crosses, remember in prayer”

 

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Take a cookery class

Learn to cook the Thai way, by learning from the locals.  There are several places that offer this within the city centre.  There’s no way better to impress your family and friends back home than cooking up an authentic Thai banquet upon your return.

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Have a night out on backpacker street.

“Backpacker Street” is the nickname given to a district within Kanchanaburi known for its lively bars and restaurants serving western dishes.  Chill out with a matcha latte in 10 O’Clock café, or head to 10 Baht Bar or Sugar Members for a wild night out.

Visit Hellfire Pass

This is a section of the Death Railway line you can visit and observe the conditions and what it was like for Allied POWs and forced labourers.  Hellfire Pass is literally a section of mountain that was carved out to make way for the railway line into Burma.  You can spend a full afternoon here but be prepared, it’s an emotional one.

 

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Explore unique temples

There are hillside and cave temples scattered around Kanchanaburi, so there is plenty for you to explore.  Wat Ban Tham is also known as “The Dragon Cave”.  Be prepared for lots of stairs on the way up, but there are fascinating caves to distract you on the way up.  The view from the top offers panoramic views of the surrounding lush landscape.  Wat Tham Seua is another hilltop gem and perhaps the most impressive.  See the massive golden Buddha statue at the top and marvel at the colourful paintings on the walls.

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Hit the market

The JJ Mall is a bustling market popular with locals and visitors alike.  Sensory overload are two words that sum this night market up perfectly!

Kayaking

Kayak down the idyllic and beautiful river Kwai taking in the beautiful lush landscapes.  If your super active, you can combine a kayaking tour with a biking tour too.  Booking excursions like these when you arrive tend to be cheaper than pre-booking, but if you like to be organised (unlike myself), then this is an option too.

Where to stay

Accommodation in Thailand is quite cheap in general.  Fortunately, because Kanchanaburi is not a “touristy” hotspot in the same sense as Phuket etc.

Budget:

Sam’s house: A quiet relaxing guesthouse. Friendly atmosphere. Poor wifi.

Pongphen Guesthouse: Beautiful views, a pool and bar area.  Rooms vary, some were nicer than others.  Bungalows also available.  Free wifi.

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Luxury:

River Kwai Hotel:  Clean, modern rooms with en-suite.  Outdoor pool with gym area.

Pung Waan:  Beautiful grounds and interiors, relaxing pool with gorgeous views.  Free wifi. Restaurant serving quality meals.

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Ask in the comments if there’s anything else you would like to know!

 

 

A Complete Guide to: Dubrovnik

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About the city:

Aptly named the Pearl of the Adriatic – Dubrovnik is a medieval, walled city on the Dalmatian coast. It’s hardly believable that most of what you currently see was rebuilt. Dubrovnik was a Republic since it was established, and remained so, until it became part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and then communist Yugoslavia. After the break-up of Yugoslavia in 1991, the city was significantly damaged from shelling. The city has since bounced back, is now listed as a UNESCO world heritage site and rakes in millions from tourism revenue. Go you Dubrovnik!

Activities:

Sea Kayaking
Take a 2-hour trip out to the glittering Adriatic on a kayaking tour. This cost us 250 Kuna – which equates to about 25 GBP. Prepare to paddle 4.1 miles, around the beautiful Island of Lokrum, exploring cave beaches along the way. Don’t panic, you stop for small breaks every 15 to 20 minutes – so your arms don’t fall off from rowing. Our wonderful guide Marko also treated us to some mini history lessons along the way. Paddle along the rugged coastline before hopping off into a cave to have a snack and a paddle. The tour company are called X-Adventures, who I would highly recommend. You can access their website by clicking here

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City Walls
No trip to Dubrovnik would be complete without a walk along the marvel of the city walls. From here, you can truly appreciate the sublime contrast between the Adriatic and the terracotta roofs. Tickets can be purchased at the Pile gate – for 150 Kuna they grant you entrance to the walls and surrounding forts. Make sure you take water with you to the top. And also be prepared to stop for a photo op (or 70). The views are irresistible.

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Mount Srd
Mount Srd is approximately 412m high and boasts breath-taking views of the Old Town below and the Island of Lokrum. You have the option to hike up to the top or catch a cable car. It takes about an hour to reach the top by foot and is quite challenging – if that’s what you’re into. Dubrovnik, in general is quite hilly so don’t worry about missing the gym, by day 3 I was hobbling about like a 90-year-old.

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Explore:

Enter the famous Old City through either the Pile or Ploce Gate. You’ll notice the statue of St Blaise – the cities patron Saint and protector since the days of the Republic. Wander along the polished cobbles of the Stradun and stumble up the quaint little side streets. There are plenty of cafés and bars that are an absolute delight to sit in and watch the world go by.

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Dubrovnik’s beaches are to die for, and you are spoilt for choice! Banje beach and Dance beach were my favourites, situated near the Old Town. There are plenty more in the surrounding areas – such as Lapad. In Lapad, visit the beautiful pier or challenge yourself to the Total Wipeout style assault course in the sea.

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Game of Thrones Tour
We took the Game of Thrones tour on day 3. Our guide was wonderful and knowledgeable, however, the tour included spots that we had already visited. I would maybe recommend googling these areas yourself, they’re not too hard to find!

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Lokrum
The island of Lokrum is situated a short distance across the water from the Old Harbour. We didn’t get a chance to visit, but our kayak instructor and GOT guide highly recommended it. Our instructor also told us the chilling tale of how the Island was cursed by Benedictine Monks. A few people met their grim end after staying overnight on the island, including two members of the Austro-Hungarian Habsburg family. On a lighter note, there is a replica Iron Throne and you might see some peacocks!

Food and drink:

One of the many reasons I fell in love with Dubrovnik was that there were no franchises. No McDonald’s, no Burger King, no Starbucks. Now, I don’t know the first thing about economics BUT I assume that money being spent is pumped back into the local economy and not going towards some CEO’s 4th holiday mansion. Coffee addicts, don’t fret! Dubrovnik is renowned for its coffee culture and it’s not hard to find a good cup.

Vegan/Veggie Eats
Nishta – Vegan food and cakes! (Highly recommend).
Bona Fide – Mexican cuisine with plenty of vegan-friendly options!

Panorama Restaurant
This is situated at the top of Mount Srd and offers insane views of the Old Town and surrounding islands. Definitely worth a visit.

Drinks:
Banje Beach Club – Amazing cocktails, I suggest a Bramble! Happy Hour is from 5-7pm.
Karaka – Irish Bar. We found it hard to find a nice rose wine in the Old Town, but here they have a bottle called Laguna for 120 Kuna.
D’vino – Good for wine tasting.
Anywhere else really, what’s not to love about getting drunk in a UNESCO world heritage site or a beautiful beach.

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Budgeting:

Dubrovnik is enjoyable whatever your budget. It is easily doable on £70 per day, which includes excursions, eating out, and going out at night! Here’s what you might expect to pay for:
2 Course meal for 2 (Relatively un-fancy) – 4/500 Kuna
Domestic draught beer – 30 Kuna
Sea Kayaking – 250 Kuna
Access to the walls – 150 Kuna
Cable Car – 130 Kuna
GOT Tour – 150 Kuna
Airport return transfer by bus – 70 Kuna

£20 = 180 Kuna
€20 = 150 Kuna
$20 = 130 Kuna

When to go and where to stay:

We were advised by several locals that May or late September are the best times to visit. In the high season it gets really crowded and temperatures soar. High season is from June – mid-September.

Staying anywhere near the Pile Gate is recommended. This way, you are about 5/10 minutes away from the Old Town. Look for apartments or an Airbnb and you will find something to suit your budget, whether it be basic or luxury.
We stayed in Cib&Co Apartments. The apartment itself was beautiful, 10/10 for cleanliness with minimalist chic décor. The only downside was that it was situated almost half way up Mount Srd, (hence aforementioned hobbling). Although this was challenging it meant we got a good old workout in. YAY.

Packing list:

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As usual, I packed way more than I needed because I didn’t quite know what to expect. In May, right before the season starts, the weather is hot – but bearable!

For Sea kayaking – Swimsuit/comfy shorts T-shirt.
For the city walls – Consider a hat and something to cover your shoulders. There is NO shade from the sun up there.
People weren’t overly dressed up in the evenings, so most of my fancier clothes stayed inside my suitcase.

Shoes:
Definitely opt for comfortable structured shoe. There are a LOT of hills in Dubrovnik.
Those frightening looking shoes made for the beach. Most of the beaches here are pebble so you will be thankful to have packed a pair of these if you love the beach!

Cameras:
GoPro Hero 4 – The wide-angle lens lets you capture landscapes beautifully. The waterproof housing and compactness meant I could capture our sea kayaking adventure!
Canon EOS 1300D – I love this camera, as it captures the smallest of details. It has versatile settings meaning its good for close-ups, portrait, landscape and action shots.
The trusty iPhone! I love shooting in HDR mode during the day.

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DUBROVNIK

How To Spend 4 Days in Rome

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Rome is by far one of the most beautiful places I have visited, I instantly fell in love with the cobbled streets, cosy ristorantes and breath-taking sights.  The city is a historical treasure with plenty on offer.  I would definitely recommend 3-4 days, as there is so much to see and do!  I also happen to be an avid Dan Brown fan, so being present in some of the landmarks that I had read about so many times was an absolute delight! Here’s what we got up to in four days, followed by some tips we picked up along the way.

We arrived at about 12:30pm into Ciampino Airport and jumped into a taxi outside.  Within moments of our forty-five-minute journey, we were greeted by gorgeous views, accompanied by some insightful knowledge from our native Roman taxi driver. We arrived at our hotel, situated two streets away from St Peters Square.  We stayed at Starhotels Michelangelo, which I would also recommend.  You can find a link here.  We swiftly checked in, unpacked, and went for a quick nap (we had been up since 3am, and none of us cope well with being tired).  About 4pm we got freshened up and headed out to explore.  We opted to head across the river and upwards to Piazza Popolo, one of Rome’s many beautiful squares, to sample some of Italy’s renowned cuisine and of course, WINE.  We decided on an early night to get a good rest and get up and conquer the following morning.

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Day two we headed over to St Peter’s Square and into the Basilica.  The que was startlingly long even in January, so being there bright and early is a must, especially if you have more than one place on your itinerary for that day.  Another thing I would recommend is to pre-book a tour, as we ended up forking out 41 Euros each for a tour of the Basilica and the Dome, which is quite steep if you’re travelling on a budget.  The tour of the Basilica was indeed amazing, as there are hundreds of years’ worth of artwork and history to see.  You can pay 8 Euros to climb the Dome without a guide, and is definitely worth is as the panoramic views of Rome and the surrounding Vatican City are mesmerising.

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Next, we ventured in towards central Rome and the Trevi Fountain.  As per tradition, we tossed a coin and made a wish, in good faith that we would one day return.  The only downside to this particular spot were the pesky guys who approached us several times trying to trick us into posing for a polaroid photo which they were selling at ridiculous prices.  Obviously, as it’s quite a crowded spot as well, so be sure to watch out for pickpockets.  We moved on and happened to stumble across another beautiful square, which we later learnt to be Piazza di Navona, which had plenty of pretty little outdoor wine and cocktail bars.  We stopped by one for a drink, and ended up spending a couple of hours here watching the world go by as it was so gorgeous!

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Day three, we arose at 11am, (reluctantly, and with slight headaches thanks to the previous evening).  We walked over to St Peter’s to catch the Pope’s blessing, which was wonderful to see! The next stop was the Colosseum, which we walked to using nothing but a map.  The walk was absolutely divine as we ventured into the ancient part of the city.  We opted to stop off first at Palatine Hill, where we purchased a 12 Euro ticket that also included the Roman Forum and the Colosseum.  I wasn’t even aware of the existence of Palatine hill prior to our trip, and took it for granted that it was going to be a short climb with some gardens at the top. How wrong I was – what a treat! We ended up spending the full afternoon meandering around this vast space of ruins and views, pondering what it would have been like to be a Roman back in the day.  There is a museum at the top of the hill which gives insight into the history of the ancient grounds and about its inhabitants over thousands of years. It also leads on to the Roman Forum, which is an equally exquisite stretch of ancient columns and ruins. As it happened, we spent so long in this magical place that we missed the last entry in to the Colosseum.  I would say doing it in this order is more beneficial, exploring the Palatine Hill and the Forum gives a better insight and context of ancient Roman history.

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On our last day, we made the trip again to the colosseum.  Unfortunately, I thought it was far more impressive from the outside than it was on the inside, but definitely still worth visiting as we had already paid for entry.  The surrounding metropolitan area is simply stunning, with gorgeous little cafes and bars lining the pretty streets.  We headed back to the hotel around 2pm, to catch a taxi to the airport.

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On theway backwe visited the Spanish Steps and the Pantheon, both equally as impressive, and can be conquered in a short space of time.  By the time we got back to the hotel we were both knackered, but buzzing from the previous four days of adventuring! So there you have it, four perfect days in the Eternal City!

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Here are some pointers that we picked up on throughout our time:

  1. However tempting it is to jump on a tour bus or catch a taxi from one point to another, we opted to walk, as it allowed us to stumble across some of the cities hidden gems and truly take in the scenery along the way.
  2. On that note, definitely take comfortable clothes, including SHOES (especially in the hot summer months). I packed my suitcase full to the brim with pretty outfits and high heels to try and fit in with the flawless Italian style scene, only to find that I wore leggings and trainers 90% of the trip. (Stilettos, cobbled streets and vino are a deadly combination).
  3. Pack a travel mug, there are several places to fill up your water bottles, instead of paying well over the odds for water in and around the popular attractions.
  4. Get up early, to try and beat the crowds and long ques, especially in the peak months.
  5. Price and book tours in advance, so you know when someone is trying to rip you off (which unfortunately happens).
  6. On that note don’t be afraid to be firm, and say NO, as some people tend to be quite persuasive.
  7. Definitely take your time and try not to rush, despite there being so much to see. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day!

Wedding bells & roller coasters

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When I got the invitation to a wedding in Florida I could not contain my excitement! Having never been before, I was absolutely buzzing to experience the legendary theme parks, and of course, visit the home of Mickey and Minnie Mouse!  I’ll keep this post short and sweet because Orlando is a popular destination that many of you will have visited for yourselves.  Below are my top 5 highlights of our two week trip:

 

  1. We arrived at Orlando and were greeted by my boyfriend’s family who had already spent a week there. After a few days of catching up and celebrating a birthday, it was time to conquer the famous Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure!  This certainly did not disappoint.  The park is so authentic you feel as though you are strolling through the set of several well-known and beloved movies.  Which brings me to Harry Potter’s Wizarding World. This should definitely be a priority on the bucket list of any HP fans! Everything feels so realistic; from strolling down Diagon Alley, browsing through wands in Ollivander’s, disappearing through the platform, and finally enjoying a Butter Beer after alighting the train at Hogsmeade.  This was definitely my favourite part of Universal, closely followed by Jurassic World, and Skull Island: Rein of Kong.

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  1. What would be a trip to Orlando without visiting Disney World? We opted to visit the Magic Kingdom, truly one of the most magical and happy places on Earth.  Possibly why this is the most visited theme park in the world!  We started off at Hollywood Studios, then crossed over to the Magic Kingdom in the late afternoon.  The castle itself is breath-taking and dreamlike, even from a twenty-three year olds perspective, I felt like a child at Christmas!  The fireworks show at the end of the night is spectacular, so much so it brought a tear (or ten) to my eyes!

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  1. Most importantly, the wedding ceremony itself! This was situated in the Four Seasons, within the Walt Disney World resort. I was here with my boyfriend’s family to witness the wedding of his cousin and her now husband.  The location was fantastically fairy-tale like and definitely a reception I’ll never forget! After the vows were exchanged in a beautiful garden by a divine little lagoon, we moved inside to eat and celebrate, followed by indulging in one too many cocktails on the private terrace.

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  1. Orlando is the home of magic in more ways than one. Their basketball team! A group of us purchased tickets to watch Orlando Magic take on the Denver Nuggets in the famous Amway centre.  This night did not disappoint! Sporting events in the USA are a huge deal and this was no different, the atmosphere was second to none.  Although Orlando Magic got beaten, we kept the spirit alive by beer fuelled chanting: “LETS GO MAGIC!!”.

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  1. SHOPPING! The USA is an absolute dream come true for this, but unfortunately after Brexit, the pound had plummeted and our exchange rate was sh*t, meaning we didn’t quite get bargains as good as we would have previously.  But this certainly did not stop me.  The Orlando Premium Outlets were fab, and I managed to get myself some absolute STEALS from the Victoria’s Secret megastore (Don’t miss out on this one girls).  The relatively new Disney Springs is also amazing for shopping, and when I say this I mean it has a Sephora and a MAC.  Along with lots of shops, it’s also a leisure and entertainment complex, with various choices of places to eat and drink with a beautiful view.

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There is of course so much more to see and do in Orlando besides from these, and is the perfect place to spend your holiday as it has something for everyone!

 

11 Things to do in Berlin

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Okay, so I didn’t quite manage to get through all of these things when I visited, which means another trip to this edgy city is definitely on the cards!  This city break was memorable for us in more ways than one – it was me and my boyfriend Dale’s first Valentine’s Day together.

The city itself is endlessly captivating and overflowing with creative energy.  Full of vibrant monuments, landmarks, and culture, here are 11 things to do in Berlin:

Swing by Berlin’s unique concept Monkey Bar, located at the top of 25hours Hotel.  Here, you can enjoy panoramic views of the city and gaze down at the monkey enclosure of Berlin Zoo.  There are several fancy cocktails on the menu; I opted for ‘Don the Beachcomber Mai Tai – Monkey Style’, which came in a huge wooden monkey head! This place is definitely worth stopping by.  It also boasts a roof terrace, perfect for the summer months to watch the sun go down.

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The Brandenburg Gate is one of Berlin’s most famous and beautiful landmarks that represents peace and unity throughout Germany.  The Gate itself has withstood the test of time, and witnessed much of Germany’s recent history; from the Nazi’s rise to power, the Cold War and the abolition of the Berlin wall.  There’s a small pop up café that looks on to the monument where you can have a cold beer and a currywurst, and take in the beautiful view!

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The East Side gallery is a colourful open air museum that consists of a section of the Berlin wall, which had previously served as a division of West and East Germany.  The wall once symbolised divisiveness, which is today replaced by a representation of freedom – especially creative freedom, as the intriguing graffiti art speaks for itself.

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The Reichstag is the home of the German Parliament.  The large glass dome that sits atop the building is open to visitors and offers 360 degree views of the surrounding landscapes.  It’s advisable to pre-book tickets online in advance.

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The currywurst is an iconic German fast food dish.  It consists of sausage, spicy ketchup and curry powder and is an absolute TREAT.  I sampled about five of these when I visited Berlin, before my veggie days.  But don’t fret vegan/veggie pals, they have plenty of meat free options too!

There’s a website that is specifically dedicated to abandoned sites throughout Berlin! Say no more.  You can find it here.

Travel up to the Fernsehtrum – or, the Berlin TV tower. This is the highest building in Germany where you can dine with a view! This is located in the Alexanderplatz area.

radio-tower

Checkpoint Charlie was the name given to a crossing point of the wall between East and West Berlin.  This border crossing stands as an iconic symbol of the Cold War, where the Ally-occupied West met the Soviet East.  On November 9, 1989, Checkpoint Charlie was opened for free movement for the first time in thirty years, after Germans on both the West and East side protested for the guards to open the gates, which they eventually did.

If you’re looking to relax after a few busy days of exploring, the Liquidrome is the place to be.  The main spherical room consists of a heated salt water pool that includes underwater music and Zen lighting.  You can also enjoy various “infusion” experiences – a choice of saunas boasting individual aromas.  There are also other unique treatments available here, definitely worth a visit if you’re after some R & R.

Get lost. I tend to prefer walking from A to B, in order to take in and see what a place has to fully offer.  Often, it’s easy to wander of the beaten track, and if you’re fortunate enough you will stumble upon many of Berlin’s hidden gems.

Now, on to one of the most important activities.. BEER.  Germany’s renowned beer culture is second to none. Stop in a beer garden.  Order a Stein.

Of course, there is plenty more on offer in the hipster city.  Please feel free to leave any suggestions in the comment box. Hope you have enjoyed reading!