Tag Archives: travel

Book Your Flight and Leave: Why You Won’t Regret Travelling

Here’s the biggest cliche ever, but it’s true.

I have learnt more in seven months travelling than I have in my entire life. I have learnt about different cultures, languages, perspectives and had the realisation that all the first world problems that I was bothered about before don’t mean a single thing. When I was living in Manchester I had it pretty good but I was in this bubble that no one wants to admit they are a part of – it’s not a bad thing but I just don’t want to be a part of it anymore.

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Creativity

I have always been a highly creative person but at home I was working 40 hour weeks and was stuck in a rut where I told myself that I had no time to work on the things I was passionate about. It’s been a real eye opener for me and during my time away I have learnt how to make money online by picking up freelance writing jobs, started a degree and got involved with various projects in which I have made a difference to other peoples lives rather than working 40 hours for some rich people that don’t care if you’re dead or alive.

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It’s easier than you think

Planning a basic  holiday to an unknown place can be a stressful experience. For example, you and a few  friends want to get away for a long weekend… there is usually a small hassle over who gets paid when, who book the flights, what to visit when you’re there and basically just making the most of your time.

The benefits of long term travel is that you book your flight and the rest comes together on its own. You don’t need to rush into the details and can let everything flow together nicely. It seems awful to me that some people will never experience some of the things I have and in this day and age there are plenty of ways to travel for little to nothing. If I can do it then anyone can!

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Perspective

The way I used to see the word is much different than how I do now. I used to see life so black and white. I feel like a much more open person, I used to think too much about everything  so would rarely step out of my comfort zone and had so many misconceptions about the world. Meeting new people the same age as me from other countries has made me realise how lucky and different we all are! This is something I can’t explain but you must find out for yourself.

You soon realise that the stereotypes we are so accustomed to from the media and films are not even close to being true.

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Accomplishment and Improvising

Every day is different and you can never be certain how your day will go. Sometimes you will find places you have never even heard of but are amazing. Some days you will find out the bus stopped running at 5pm and you have no 4g to find out how or the route home… but it always works out! Other days you will try a new food that you’ve never heard of. It might not always be perfect but it proves you can do most things without relying on all the luxuries that we are used to I love it because it’s new, different and exciting.

 

Most people dream of travelling so what is stopping you?

Book a flight and make it work! You can make this a reality.

 

 

 

 

Things To Consider When Backpacking Around Europe

There are an unbelievable amount of countries in Europe to visit and with the current freedom to travel to them all with no visa (I’m British) I can’t picture a better time to go to see it all!

Don’t plan too far ahead

Going to any country without a plan may seem intimidating at first but it is the best way to travel. It’s easy for anyone to go online and pick out the most popular places to go to but then you risk falling into tourist traps, how can your trip be special if you just do the same as everyone else? Don’t get me wrong, the main attractions of places are popular for a reason but be prepared to step out of your comfort zone if you want to experience something different! I planned to stay in Montenegro for 2 weeks but ended up staying for a month because we heard about cool places to go after speaking to locals, friends and realising there is so much to see and do that isn’t always highly rated online.

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You will discover places you never knew existed

Before I took this trip I never realised how big the world is, I always knew it was big but when you travel and realise you only have a certain amount of time to see things it becomes over whelming! Sure, you will have heard of the Eiffel Tower and other famous monuments, but for me it has been all about finding amazing places that no one else I know has been to…  learning about other ways of life that you haven’t heard about in the media. It’s very hard to explain what I mean but everyone everywhere is so similar, we are all human. We just accept different ways of life because that’s what we are born into so we never question anything despite the possibilities being endless.

Flixbus 

If you are trying to budget, Flixbus is the cheapest way to travel around. I bought a pass for 99 euros and that gives you 5 trips pretty much anywhere in Europe over a period of three months. Some journeys can be over 10 hours but you get toilets, wifi, plug sockets and the occasional favourable view.

Language

As a native English speaker I have been brought up with this ignorant mind-set that everyone speaks English- they don’t. When visiting new countries learn basic words such as ‘Hello’ ‘Thank you’ and ‘toilet’ it makes life easier and shows respect to locals who then may try and interact with you (unless they’re moody.) Download Duolingo to learn the basics! It’s also good to learn ‘sorry’ if you’re always bumping into people and clumsy like me or ‘wine’ because sometimes you can’t find it on the menu.

Visit off season

Visiting well-known hotspots in summer can be exhausting! Queues can be ridiculous and if its summer holidays there may be kids everywhere. I visited a Greek island out of season and it was amazing, super chilled and quiet. Unless you are after a super busy, more expensive trip then definitely check out quieter times, you are much less likely to get ripped off.

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Travel to Countries that use their own currency

Usually very Cheap!

Go to remote places

If you are a backpacker then you know that flashy stuff, paying for tours and spending 50 euros on a meal is simply not an option (I honestly can’t believe I ever bought into that stuff!) Get a random train somewhere slightly out of the city – or walk! And you will find cheaper places, REAL places, bustling with life and often much cheaper prices. For example, in Germany just outside of Berlin there is Potsdam or in Italy next to Florence there is Lucca. So many nice and underrated places out there… go and find them! I trust that you travel to learn about new places and not listen to anything the crappy rip off tours tell you. TOURIST TRAP ALERT!

Surviving camping at your first festival in Croatia

It’s almost the most beautiful time of the year… festival season! If you are jetting off to a festival in Croatia this year you are probably in two minds about whether to get an apartment or camp… camp camp camp! I cannot advise it enough, if you don’t camp you end up missing over half of the festival. And who wants to miss out? Yes in an apartment you get 8 hours sleep a night and a comfy bed but what’s the point of that? It’s a festival!

 

Camping is the ultimate way to immerse yourself in the full vibe of the festival. You’re constantly meeting new people, making new friends and always having fun, plus you don’t have the dreaded walk or taxi ride home.

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Camping Essential Items

Solar Charger or Portable Charger 

At most festivals there is a fee to charge your phone and then you have to leave it there for hours and then go back and collect it. The best thing to do is get a solar charger, it’s usually scorching all day you can leave it charging and then use that to charge your portable charger. For free!

Refillable water bottle

It’s essential to keep hydrated but there’s nothing more annoying than paying £1.50 every time you need a drink. If you get a proper plastic bottle you know its yours and can always stay hydrated.

Ear Plugs

One day or night you will inevitably need to catch up on some sleep. As music is only off for a few hours in the morning you need some earplugs to block out the music and probably your mates for a few hours too.

Portable speaker

Chances are you will be spending lots of your time at the camp site. Having some early morning sunrise tunes are essential for when everyone is chilling out. Also this is good to leave playing in your tent when you are elsewhere, it sounds as if someones in your tent to keep other people out!

Pillowcase

You tried to pack light for festival season but ended up bringing loads of clothes right? Well use this to your advantage! Fill your pillowcase with clothes and you have somewhere comfy to lie down.

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Double use as a mattress – enough said!

Footwear

You need a pair of slip on flip flops for the beach and roaming around the campsite and a pair of old trainers for the arenas. Don’t bother taking any nice footwear with you – you were warned!

Fairy Lights

From camping to glamping! At around 9pm before the music starts again most people drink at their campsite and there is nothing more annoying than not being able to see your drinks, pick up some cheap battery powered fairy lights before hand, this also draws new people to your camp too.

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The best way to stay out of the sun in the morning is to try and camp under a tree but the chances are you will wake up due to your tent becoming a sauna. A not so essential item is a hammock but getting one makes it much easier to sleep throughout the day.

See you in Croatia!

 

 

Insider Tips: Things to do in Skopje

Why visit Skopje, Macedonia?

Skopje is a small city and unlike any other place that I have ever visited. The people are extremely friendly, the cost of living is cheap and it’s almost as if they are living in the past and the future. One minute you can feel as if you are in ancient ruins and the next minute you are walking over a golden bridge surrounded by overly modern towering buildings.

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What to do in Skopje

The main and central part of Skopje is called Macedonia Square, a large open space surrounded with places to eat and drink. It is a bright and cheerful area filled with large statues and fountains – a typical tourist haven. This part of Skopje feels extremely modern but there was the constant tourist vibe as people are continuously hassling you to buy sunglasses, beggars asking for change and people posing in groups with selfie sticks. At night (when it is clear) they set up a telescope in the square so you can look up into the sky and identify stars and planets, I was upset that it was too cloudy whilst I was there but you can message the Facebook page to ask daily when and if they are setting up that evening!

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You can understand why there has been an uproar in the country – the government has spent so much money on huge buildings and statues to make the country more ‘touristy’ but when you’re there you witness a lot of poverty through the residents.

In Skopje the only form of public transport I used was taxis, the average taxi ride is around 100 DNR (about £1.50) and that can get you more or less anywhere.

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From wherever you are in Skopje you can see the famous ‘Millennium Cross’ we ventured up to the top via cable car as it is so high – just remember if you buy a return ticket for the cable car to keep it with you as you will need it to get back down! If it’s a sunny day the ideal thing is to take up a picnic and some beers and enjoy the view. If you are slightly crazy you can also take the 2 hour uphill trek to the top to see the cross, the cross itself is bigger than expected but the views of Macedonia and Albania were breathtaking.

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Food and Drink

If you want to buy alcohol from the shop in Skopje you should try their local wine which costs around 100 DNR and is delicious, just be warned you cannot buy alcohol in shops after 7pm.

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We visited the Old Bazaar which is as if you have stepped into the past and entered Turkey, the smell of shisha and people sat around drinking Turkish tea is a very relaxed vibe. At the top of Old Bazaar is Old Town Brewery, there was a live band on in the day and we drank locally brewed IPA and lemon and ginger beers. This is supposed to be a tourist hot spot but we weren’t huge fans of the beer as we all got a headache after drinking it… slightly overrated in my opinion. However we did eat some really nice food there including the ‘cheese bowl’ which was just a bowl of 4 different melted cheeses… heaven.

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Other places I’d recommend going to is Radio Bar for drinks as they had good electronic music on in the evening and also Brooklynski Jazz Bistro, for amazing salads, good customer service and live jazz 7 days a week. Coffee Factory for a delicious iced coffee and Sushi co for food!

Things to Do In Berlin

Planning a trip to Berlin? Then it’s probably best to have some sort of plan before you go… Berlin is a vast city and with so much to do it can leave you feeling overwhelmed about how to spend your time there. As I lived there for a few months I’ve managed to do and see a few things now. Berlin is such a cool place to visit, with so much history, art and of course nightlife! Honestly this list was hard for me because mainly all I did was go to bars and clubs…

I’d highly recommend getting the “Berlin Ulmon” app. It works as an offline map and if you plan properly beforehand you can favourite all of the places you want to  go and work out which places are close together before you go. There is a lot of walking to do in Berlin so make sure you bring a pair of comfortable shoes.

 

East Side Gallery is a memorial site representing the lack of freedom under communism after the war. The wall divided East and West Berlin and anyone that tried to cross the wall would be killed. The wall is located in the district of Friedrichshain and it is surreal to think that people living less than a mile away from each other weren’t allowed to see each other. It is a must see whilst visiting Berlin as artists have covered the wall in graffiti and quotes representing the political events that happened   in 1989 and 1990.

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District Mot is possibly the best restaurant that I went to the entire time I was in Berlin. It serves delicious ‘saigon street food’ and when you walk in the venue it’s as if you have  left Berlin and entered Vietnam. With such a wide variety of food I’d never tried before it took me around half an hour to decide what to eat! I  can’t remember the name of the dish that I chose but it was something with tofu and garlic with crispy sticky rice, which is basically a ball of rice… deep fried, it was amazing! 10/10 recommend

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Get a Mexicana! Ordering a Mexicana in a bar in Berlin is about as common as ordering a shot of vodka elsewhere. It tastes like a Bloody Mary but it’s a shot and uses tequila instead of vodka. They are usually sold for 2 euros and taste absolutely amazing. I didn’t manage to get a picture because I drank them as soon as they were given to me.

Spreepark! is an abandoned theme park in the Treptow-Köpenick district of Berlin. Unless you are an early riser it’s pretty hard to get into but you can still see the whole park despite a fence all the way around it. I was put off trying to get because there’s a huge park surrounding it and people constantly walking past. You can see all you need to see just walking around it. The Ferris wheel was moving around by itself which was pretty spooky, definitely a must see and it’s nice to walk around the area too.
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Klunkerkranich is the place to be in Berlin. It is a super cool rooftop bar in Neukölln overlooking the whole of East Berlin. It’s a quirky bar and you have to ‘know’ about it in order to access it. You have to go up a lift in  a car park, go to the highest floor, once you get out you will be left in  a car park, walk around to a ramp and you will find a funky garden. You are now in the coolest bar in Berlin. I have only been in  the nights so sadly I have missed the sunsets! But I’d love to go back on a sunny day to enjoy the views. In the evening it is usually busy with DJ’s on, the seats in there are super comfortable too.

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Bikini Hotel Berlin is the latest hipster hangout. You don’t need to be staying there in order to visit. Whilst walking there you can find views of the Berlin zoo (for free) so we saw a few monkeys which was pretty cute! There is also a rooftop bar here too but I’d really recommend booking in advance – we tried to go when it was 2 degrees outside and there was still a queue coming out of the door. On the main floor of the hotel there is a chill area, named ‘bikini island’ with unique seating, access to use of macs for focused work, hammocks to chill in and a cafe. There is a DJ area that sets the tone and feeling of the place – super nice atmosphere and a new place to be. No photos as my phone was dead but definitely worth the mention!

There are tonnes more things you can do in Berlin I couldn’t possibly fit it all into one post but if you need anymore help then feel free to ask in the comments.

 

How to travel for ‘free’

There is really no way to travel ‘without money’ but you can do it for cheaper than the average person. As long as you aren’t bothered about having a certain amount of privilege in your life each day then there are hundreds of ways  to travel and to make it last for as long as possible!

1. WOOFing

WOOFing is one of the most common ways for cheap travel. Sign up to the website, decide where you want to go and see what’s on offer. The idea is that you volunteer around 25 hours per week on organic farms in return for all your food and accommodation. As with everything, there are a few horror stories but as long as you do your research, read reviews and speak to hosts there is a chance you are going to have a really good experience.

2. Workaway

Like WOOFing you volunteer your time in return for 3 meals a day and accommodation. Although workaway is slightly more difficult for getting work there are many more opportunities available. You can do anything from au pair work to building to music, match your skills to hosts and send them a message explaining why you want to work for them. I have been living like this for a few months now and having the time of my life meeting people I wouldn’t have done otherwise.

3. Flixbus

If you are looking for long term travel or just want to travel for cheap the cheapest way to get around Europe is Flixbus. The UK equivalent to Megabus. Long cramped journeys may not be your thing but for less than 20 euros from Berlin to Prague count your blessings.

4. Airbnb

A more common way of travelling for cheap is airbnb, rent out full apartments, single rooms or even shared rooms, prices do vary but it’s much cheaper than getting a hotel. Don’t be afraid of getting rooms in houses with people that already live there,  I’ve made friends this way and so far all of my experiences have been good. Use my link below and sign up and you will get £25 off your first trip – which in many places is a room for the night, sometimes two nights.

www.airbnb.com/c/georgiaw26 

5. Bla Bla Car

Bla bla car is a platform for long distance travel across Europe. Drivers advertise their empty seats in return for fuel money – the more people in the car, the cheaper the journey. Although it can be slightly more expensive than Flixbus the benefit is that you can get dropped off in an exact location and possibly make a new friend along the way.

6. Couch Surfing

Couch surfing is great if you are a solo traveller as it connects a global community of travellers. Not only does it enable you to find events and meet new friends but it also gives you the opportunity to stay at peoples houses for free. It’s not for everyone as often hosts want to get to know you and spend all of the time with you, but if you are travelling alone I imagine it can be pretty useful. It costs £13 for an annual membership.