Helpful Sites

I wanted my final post to be something that would help people to start their own travel adventures and be able to give reviews of apps and told that I have used to help me when I am overseas.

The first website I highly recommend is Skyscanner. Skyscanner is a very easy to use website and mobile app thats helps you book flights and hotels. The site scans all over the web for the best deals on flights and hotels before directing you to the website where you can then make your purchase. One of the features that I love about Skyscanner is that you can easily make multi-city flights searches in one go unlike other sites where you have to make multiple single searches.

The next sites are similar however are used in different countries. Yelp is very popular in California however overseas it is not used as much. The site that I like to use which is very similar to Yelp is Trip Advisor which not only reviews places to eat and drink but hotels, tours, attractions you name it. TripAdvisor is always the first site I look at when I am travelling as it has great information and reviews.

I hope that these sites help to make planning your future trips both easy and fun!

Australia

I was contemplating whether or not to write about Australia in my blog however I thought that I couldn’t leave it out because as a native of Australia I believe that I have a unique outlook on the place.

Firstly, forget everything that you have heard about the deadly animals that are native to Australia, unless you go looking for them or are at a zoo you are extremely unlikely to see any of them. In fact the most deadly thing about Australia is the sun so make sure you pack a hat and lots of sunscreen especially when travelling in the summertime (which is the best time to go).

Australia’s east coast is a must see for all travellers with Sydney, Melbourne and the Great Barrier Reef in Far North Queensland definite destinations to visit. Sydney and Melbourne are two amazing cities with Sydney known for its amazing beaches and fantastic views around Sydney Harbour. Melbourne is known as being a huge sporting city and is rich with culture and amazing food. The Great Barrier Reef is one of the natural wonders of the world, think Finding Nemo but in real life.

Along with these destinations obviously there is so much more to see and Australia is somewhere that I think everyone should visit as it is very unique in the lifestyle, culture, wildlife and so much more!

Hostel vs Air BnB

On my recent trip to Prague I stayed in both a hostel and an Air Bnb and in this post I am going to discuss both options and why you might go for one over the other.

First off is the hostel. For those of you unaware of what a hostel is it is cheap accomodation that is usually in a dorm style setting with shared amenities. The main thing that turns people off hostels is the fact that you don’t have your own space in this dorm style living however this can be one of the things that people also choose hostels for. Hostels are great for meeting new people in shared common areas and are great for finding out information from the staff and other travellers. I would recommend staying at a hostel especially if you are travelling alone as it is very easy to meet new people and to do group activities even when you are not travelling in a group.

Air BnB is a new phenomenon taking over the world of travel and I have used it both in the US as well as overseas. Air BnB allows people to rent out their homes or rooms in their house for a limited time to travellers. This option is great for small groups and families as it allows you to live in a home style setting and to have your own privacy. Air BnB’s also allow you to save money by cooking your own meals. I would recommend staying in an Air BnB with a group as you are not so much looking to meet as many people as if you were travelling alone.

 

Both of these are great options and should be tried out to see what works for you on certain trips.

Prague

Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and is the capital of the Czech Republic. It is known for its beautiful architecture and history as well as its vibrant nightlife. I recently visited Prague for 5 days and loved the experience.

Prague is very renowned for its beer and the locals will tell you that the price of beer at any venue must be lower than the price of water or you are getting ripped off! My favourite place for beer was the Strahov Monastery in Prague Castle. This Catholic Monastery brews it’s very own beer named after a drunken Czech saint, St Norbert. This was an amazing experience to not only see inside the Monastery but to taste the beer made by the Monks.

Pictured above is St Charles Bridge and Vitus Cathedral in Prague Castle.

Prague is a very busy city filled with tourists but is still charming for all the hustle and bustle inside the main tourist region. Other highlights of my stay was the Vitus Cathedral at Prague Castle which took hundreds of years to build as well as St Charles Bridge and the John Lennon Wall.

Prague definitely has to be on every list when planning a trip through Europe!

Budgeting

When saving money for your trip you should consider a few things. First what needs to be paid for before you leave. These are usually the most expensive items and include airfares and other travel costs, tours that need to be booked in advance such as Contiki and accommodation. Planning ahead is an important part of your trip and can help you save before you go and keep on budget when you get there. Travel insurance is also a cost you need to consider paying for before you leave. Things such as new clothes and bags also can add up to the things you need to buy before you leave however these can be used not just on your travels so going for more quality pricier items may not be the worst idea.

Secondly budgeting for money you spend on your trip can be tricky as you may not know much about your destination. Doing your research on places you would like to eat and drink can not only save you time when you get there but can help you gain an idea of how much money you will need to budget for per day.

BY doing your research and allowing for some wiggle room in your budget you are able to make sure that money isn’t always on your mind when enjoying your trip!

Tours

I recently discovered the concept of free walking tours on a trip to Prague in the Czech Republic. The concept of a free walking tour is that the guide is paid in tips rather than you paying a set rate to go on the tour itself. I had never heard of this before but it sounded like a bargain and it really was. The tour itself was a 3 hour walking tour through the Old Town of Prague and our tour guide was very knowledgeable and fun. The tour was so good that later we booked a tour that did have a set rate with the same guide (these free tours are a clever marketing campaign also).

 

Now tours overall are the best way to see a city and know exactly what each building is and significance it has to that culture. Realising that people do travel on a budget which means hiring a personal guide is out of the picture there are cost effective ways out there to still get a great tour experience. Free walking tours are available in a number of European cities including Prague and are something that I recommend for all travellers. It is a good way to get introduced to the city as well as finding a tour group that you are comfortable for potentially more tours during your stay.

Stopovers

The art of the stopover or layover is something that I personally have not yet mastered but is something that I want to talk about regardless. A stopover is when you have a number of hours or possibly a night in between two connecting flights or other forms of transports. This stopover when you have enough time to leave the airport without missing your flight can be a great way to tick of a few more cities on your list or to test out the destination for future trips. When on a stopover there are a few key things to remember:

  • Time is key so you need to make sure that you are back at the airport with plenty of time to catch your flight. Checking your bags all the way through can help with this. It is also good to check online to see if your departure time has been delayed or not.
  • Plan ahead. Planning ahead makes sure that you can be efficient with your time and see all the sites that you want to in time.

So next time you book flights don’t always be so hasty in getting to your final destination, a few extra hours walking around Amsterdam or Tokyo might be exactly what you need!

Budapest, Hungary

The first travel destination that I will be talking about in my blog is Budapest,Hungary. Budapest is a beautiful city in central Europe that features amazing architecture, food, people and nightlife. Budapest is located on the Danube River and features some breathtaking architecture. Major tourist attractions are spread throughout the city. These include, Citadel at Buda Castle is located at the highest point in the city and offers some of the best views of the city, Fisherman Bastion is one of the most beautiful architectural attractions of the city and also offers great views. The Hungarian Parliament is a must see with its central location on the Danube and once again phenomenal architecture. While in Budapest make sure to try some goulash soup, Hungary’s most famous dish. The ruin bars of Budapest are also a great attraction for tourist who can lose themselves in different rooms with eclectic furniture in an environment very different to the bars of the United States. Overall Budapest is a must see on any European trip and isa place that for many reasons will not leave you disappointed!

Some views from Fishermans Bastion and The Old Town, Buda. (June 2017)

 

Why travel?

So why should you travel? Everyone travels for a different reason whether it be to experience different cultures, to go to major events or festivals or simply just to visit friends or relatives. Travelling is a truly personal experience and that is why it is great. Whether you want to party all night or visit amazing art galleries or do both your trip is exactly that, YOURS! For this reason I believe travelling is for everyone. You are able to cater a trip to what you want to do and how you want to do it. Now obviously things like budgeting and time come into play whilst planning your trip, but this should not be a deterrent with low budget options such a hostels and budget airlines allowing for costs to be kept down. So open a map (or Google Maps as it is these days) and start looking because the world really is your oyster!