Marrakech- The City That Comes Alive At Night

Before this year I had never been to Marrakech before and in fact I had never even thought about going there. It wasn’t until my sister happened to mention what a great time she had had when she visited a couple of years ago and how amazing the hotel was she stayed in.

During our time in Marrakech we opted to stay in an all-inclusive 4* resort which was close enough to the city centre, luckily our hotel put on a shuttle bus during the day which was perfect as it took us right into the centre of the Medina.

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We visited the Medina in the day time arriving at roughly 11 o’clock, we headed straight to the square where there were a large selection of drinks stalls selling fresh juices for about 20p we couldn’t get over how cheap they were when in London you would be paying at least £4.50. The juices were amazing they were so fresh and made to order we got one orange and the other mango and they were both so delicious.

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The Medina in the day time was fairly quiet, there weren’t many tourists walking around instead it was locals trying to sell fresh local produce. We did notice however, there were a number of snake charmers in the square which was quite scary (especially if you are terrified of snakes) so we avoided them like the plague.

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When we returned to the Medina one evening the atmosphere was COMPLETELY different, as you can see from the title of this blog post it is literally the city that comes alive a night. The atmosphere was buzzing, there were hundreds of people walking around the Medina visiting the different performers, it was amazing and the hustle and bustle was exactly what we were expecting to see when we went in the day time.

Souks
Visiting the souks in the day and night were two completely different experiences and we would definitely urge everyone to visit in both the day and night. The souks are under cover keeping you out of the heat in the day which is amazing as it would be far too hot otherwise.

During the day time the souks were basically deserted, apart from the market stall holders and a few stray cats roaming around. Every stall and shop we passed would try and entice us in telling us all about their products. It is a known fact that you should barter with the shop keepers when in Marrakech so that is exactly what we did, it was so much fun and you could see the happiness in their eyes when you agreed on a price and purchased the item.

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In the evening the souks are literally as busy as Oxford Street the shop keepers are occupied by customers who are already in their shops as this is obviously prime time for them to make their money. During the day we noticed locals riding through the souks on their mopeds and bikes which was something we kept having to dodge, we didn’t expect to still see this happening in the evening but I guess they have got to get home somehow.

As we were browsing the souks during the evening taking in the atmosphere and culture we happened to notice the young boys working in the souks all had their phones out watching something very intensely. We wondered for a moment what they were watching when we noticed it was football it’s funny that you can be in the middle of Marrakech and there are still young boys obsessed with football- the sport that speaks one language.

Food Stalls
When we first visited Marrakech in the day time we were looking for the food stalls as we had been told we had to visit them during our stay. We couldn’t for the life of us find the food stalls and it wasn’t until we returned back in the evening that we realised they were only set up at night.

The food stalls were such an experience and something we would definitely suggest everyone visit during their time at Marrakech. The men working on the stalls were hilarious, they were coming out with some hilarious English phrases; ‘M&S simply the best’, ‘you are well skinny minny, you must be starving marving’, ‘where are you from Wembley, Hackney, Chelsea Essex?’.

We decided to go back to the first man we spoke to as the food on their stall looked so delicious. We were seated at the table and all the staff behind started to sing ‘….’ It was hilarious and they were all so full of life.

We decided to try the mixed skewers, chicken tagine, vegetable cous cous and of course some of the traditional bread we saw being sold. It’s safe to say we were so full after so it was nice to finish the meal with a Moroccan tea (fresh mint) although they seem to like putting sugar in their mint tea in Morocco so it is incredibly sweet, I wasn’t a massive fan but that’s probably because I am not used to it.

Transport
We were lucky to have a shuttle bus at our hotel but we happened to notice lots of other hotels did as well. We would definitely recommend the shuttle bus/coach so if you are thinking of booking a hotel a bit of the way then find out if your hotel puts on this service.

If you want to use a taxi we would suggest using a taxi that your hotel recommends. We found that the same taxi drivers often sat outside the front of hotel. One evening we had to get a taxi back from The Medina as the last shuttle bus was at 8pm, all I can say is that if you want a real life experience of Grand Theft Auto then by all means go ahead and take a taxi because my gosh we did and it was the  scariest taxi ride of my life. We might have just been incredibly unlucky with our taxi driver but just be careful when you do get into a taxi as health and safety goes completely out of the window.

There are lots of horse and carts in The Medina that will take you around the city, we didn’t do this so we are not sure how much it would cost but everything in Marrakech is so cheap so it probably wouldn’t set you back too much.

Marrakech is an amazing city and like nowhere we have visited before, we would 100% recommend visiting!

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EIX Alcudia Hotel Review 

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During our trip to Mallorca we decided to stay in Alcudia a seaside resort about 45 minutes away from Palma. The hotel we stayed at was called EIX Alcudia. It was in fact an adults only hotel which we have never stayed in before so we were interested to see if there was any difference in our experience.

Upon arriving at the hotel the reception staff handed us each a cold glass of cava, this was a lovely surprise and incredibly refreshing seeing as we had just driven 45 minutes in a taxi with no aircon. We booked the hotel directly through the hotels website as they promised a free airport transfer. We did try and get in contact with the hotel before our stay to book the transfer but we didn’t hear back from them so unfortunately we did have to pay for a taxi.

We were able to check into our room slightly early which was a result and meant we could settle in right away. Our rooms were a decent size and very clean, we were particularly impressed to see we had been given a room with a balcony overlooking the Swimming pools.

We didn’t realise the hotel had two pools, there was a large rectangle pool and also a curved pool which were separated by a bridge. We spent the majority of our time by the smaller curved pool as we preferred the atmosphere and the steps that led you into the pool where perfect for sunbathing on.

The hotel did state they had a gym so of course we had to check it out whilst we were there. We wouldn’t really call it a gym it was the smallest hotel gym we ever seen the cross trainer was practically next to the jacuzzi, needless to say we didn’t go back. When we were taking a look we did happen to notice the spa facilities on offer at the hotel. There was a jacuzzi as mentioned previously but also a sauna and steam room.

The breakfast choice was amazing they had everything you can imagine on offer (minus smoked salmon). The fry up was pretty impressive if you are into them, imagine 3 or 4 different types of scrambled eggs, bacon and sausages. They had an egg chef that would prepare made to order omelettes, he was also in charge of cooking pancakes, waffles and friend eggs. We also happened to notice they had cava on offer which is something we haven’t seen before.  We also loved the fact you could sit outside and enjoy your breakfast in the sunshine.

The Internet connection at the hotel was amazing, we got so much work done on this holiday and we were able to upload our vlogs go YouTube daily which was amazing.

We had a cloudy day in the middle of our stay and one of the reasons we booked this hotel was because we knew they had bike hiring facilities. We went to reception to book our bikes for the day and we were picked up in a minibus and taken to the bike shop. It was ridiculously cheap only costing something like €10 for the entire day.

We mentioned earlier about the free shuttle bus service that came with the hotel, the day before we departed the hotel we spoke to the receptionist who contacted the shuttle bus service and arranged our transfer. There was a bit of confusion at first as the shuttle bus company couldn’t find us on the system, but once we explained that no one replied to our email about use arranging it they seemed fine.

If we were to go back to Alcudia we would definitely stay at this hotel again the location was perfect, it was less than a five minute walk to the beach, shops and restaurant which was ideal.

If you have any other questions about the hotel please do let us know, so we can answer them for you.

 

Ways to keep you entertained on holiday by the pool

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We love going on relaxing holidays. The sort of holidays that involve checking in, chucking on a bikini, grabbing a towel, finding your spot by the pool and not moving for a week or two. For the first couple of days we can just sit there ALL day long basking in the sun saying over and over again ‘this is the life’ because lets be honest life cant really get much better. The only thing you really have to worry about for the next week or so is whether or not you have got enough sun cream on because burning is certainly not on our agenda.

But are we the only ones who start to get itchy feet after a few days? We are so used to have hectic schedules where we are running around here there and everywhere that by day three we have some energy to burn. We therefore decided to collect and combine a list of of our favourite things to do to help keep us entertained and gives us another excuse to have an afternoon nap in the sunshine because lets be honest we deserve it!

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Lilo or Ring- who ever said lilos and rings were for kids? We always purchase a new lilo or ring when we go on holiday because firstly they make the perfect floating sunbed and secondly they are just fun. This year we both had watermelon rings from Primark, they were such a bargain and only cost us £5, when other stores were selling them for like £30!

Uno- this is one of our favourite games to play around the pool and can keep us entertained for hours. If you haven’t played Uno before then you really need to purchase it for your next holiday trust us your competitive side will definitely come out.

Play bat and ball- at the beginning of the holiday we are always shocking at bat and ball we can barely keep a rally going but with a LOT of practice by the end of the holiday we are pretty happy with our rally!

Magazine- Chilling by the pool reading a magazine catching up on the celebrity gossip or latest fitness craze. This year we opted for women’s and Men’s Health which we really enjoyed reading and also learnt some new work out tips as well. Does anyone else on holiday find themselves reading the same magazine over and over again until you eventually read every single article.

Books- we always manage to read so many books on holiday, its one of the only times in the year that we actually sit down and just read. We absolutely love getting stuck into a book that we cannot put down and always try and stick to reading when we get home but then life gets in the way and its not until the next holiday that we get our nose stuck into a book again!

Play would you rather- if you have never played would you rather its a game where you ask someone a question that starts with ‘would you rather’ and ends with a dilemma for example  ‘would you rather shave your head or not go to the gym for one year’.  The more you play the game the more ridiculous the dilemmas become.

Drink cocktails- need we say more?

 

TRYP Palma Bellver Hotel Review 

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Recently we went on holiday to Mallorca and during our time there we stayed in Palma for three nights. We stayed in a Melia group hotel called TRYP Palma Bellver Hotel.

We arrived at the hotel at 22:00, checked in and went up to our room. The room we had been allocated upon arrival was spacious and very clean, the bed was comfy and we had a great nights sleep (all that travelling knocked us out). We woke up early and went for a morning run, on our return we had a shower and noticed a strange smell coming through the drains. We decided to go down to reception to voice our concerns and the staff on reception were great and immediately moved us to a new room which had a lovely view of the port.

We had to a wait a few hours for our new room to be ready and because of this the guest relations manager offered us free breakfast for the remainder of our trip. If you know us at all you will understand how happy this made us we LOVE breakfast.

The breakfast was incredible, we love hotel breakfasts and this one certainly didn’t disappoint. Not only did they have a great variety of products the quality of the food was also amazing. We have noticed that lots of hotels are now offering a wide variety of milks including lots of non dairy options which we absolutely loved. We loved the fact you could also sit outside and enjoy the breakfast, quite a few hotels like you to sit inside whilst eating which is something that really annoys us. If we went back to this hotel we would definitely book the breakfast there is nothing we could fault.

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The pool was a decent size but the sun beds were rather cramped. It was a nice surprise to see they provided towels at the pool, we didn’t actually use our own towels all week which we wish we new before because towels are dam heavy! One thing we noticed is the lack of music being played at the pool, we love a bit of music at the pool but maybe that’s the norm when your not at a cheap hotel!

We didn’t actually use the gym at this hotel but we did go and check it out while we were there. The gym at the hotel was a decent size and it was well equipped for a hotel gym. They had several machines and lots of free weights etc. We got the impression the hotel was used business conferences etc so it’s a good gym for individuals that are away on business.

Taxis were always waiting outside the hotel which was incredibly handy, especially if you want to hop in a taxi and visit another part of the island.

The wifi at this hotel wasn’t great in our room which was the place we were mainly using wifi (uploading YouTube videos was painful). Wifi in the communal areas was far better and we were not the only ones desperately trying to get a wifi connection over breakfast because we nearly chucked the laptop against the wall waiting for our YouTube video to upload in our room.

The aircon was brilliant and we loved the fact there was a dial next to the bed for us to use at night if we wanted to turn the aircon up or down. We didn’t have to pay extra for the aircon either like you do in some hotels which was nice.

The location of the hotel was superb, we were a 15 minute walk away from the town centre where there were lots of shops and restaurants to eat at. There were also several restaurants opposite the hotel on port which offered a very picturesque view.

7 ways to keep you entertained at the airport

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We love the airport. Its one of our favourite parts about going on holiday, so much so that we often give ourselves longer a the airport than we actually need.

No matter how much you love the airport no one wants to see the words ‘delayed’ pop up on the screen because if there is one thing we love more than the airport its sitting by the pool with a cocktail in hand. Instead of being trapped trapped inside an airport when its not your own choice.

We decided to collate a list of ways to keep you entertained when you do see the dreaded word ‘DELAYED’ appear right before your eyes.

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1). Treat yourself to a coffee and a bite to eat- usually by the time you are through security you just about have time for a coffee and before you know it your gate it open and you are boarding your flight. If your flight it delayed your airline may even give you free food and drink vouchers.

2). Shop around duty free- buy a magazine or a book, treat yourself to something that you have been eyeing up for a while because airport money isn’t real money its Monopoly money right? At least that’s what we tell ourselves!

3). Pay to be upgraded to business class lounge- we recently did this and oh my gosh it was definitely worth it. We enjoyed a delicious breakfast served with prosecco of course, unlimited wifi and free magazines.

4). People watch- this is literally one of our favourite things to do in life! It is so fascinating watching people and trying to figure out there lives etc just make sure you don’t get caught staring as that could be slightly awkward.

5). Make sure you have downloaded a selection of programmes to watch on your Ipad/tablet/phone- this is a must for any flight, we always make sure we have a selection of programmes downloaded on our Ipads. We always pack our headphone splitter so we can enjoy programmes together as well.

6). Use it as a time to research the country you are visiting- we are usually quite organised with our planning and most of the time we lists of places we want to visit and things we want to see but there is no harm in looking at more hashtags on Instagram and lusting over some delicious brunch spots. If you have purchased and tourist book of the city or country you are visiting then this would be the perfect time to sit down and do some reading.

7). Play card games- who doesn’t go on holiday without a pack of cards in there bag? We love playing cards on holiday and one of our favourite card games of all time is Uno! So remember to pack them in your hand luggage as they are a great way to pass some time.

What do you get up to at the airport? we would love to know! 🙂

 

Hotel Arai Review-Barcelona

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We went away to Barcelona recently for our friends hen do. We didn’t do much research on where to stay prior to booking which is unusual for us but the hen found a beautiful hotel she had her heart set on so we agreed and went ahead and booked the hotel. As the time got closer to us visiting Barcelona we looked up the location of the hotel and realised we were staying in the gothic quarter which looked beautiful!

When arriving at hotel Arai we were greeted by the staff who made us feel incredibly welcome. We weren’t able to check into the hotel when we arrived as it was only 11am and check in wasn’t until 3pm. The hotel staff offered to store our luggage while we went out and explored the city which was a great help. The hotel took our phone number and called us when the room was ready which was handy.

When we arrived back at the hotel ready to check in the hotel staff had already moved our baggage to the room which was incredibly helpful of them (considering we had a lot of luggage as well). We were shown to our room by the hotel staff and we had already fallen in love with the hotel the decor was beautiful.

There were four of us sharing a room/apartment, we had 1 double bed and 2 single sofa beds. the room wasn’t that spacious for 4 adults and we did feel like we were living on top of each other. For the money we paid for the room we would have expected a slightly bigger room. Saying that though we didn’t spend much time in the room as we wanted to make the most of the beautiful Barcelona weather.

The hotel provided us with a bottle of red wine on our arrival which was nice touch. We enjoyed this one evening and it was probably one of the nicest wines we have had it was so delicious.

The Wifi at the hotel wasn’t too great we kept losing connection which we wouldn’t have usually minded when on holiday but we did have quite a bit of work that we needed to get done. When on holiday blogging doesn’t just stop and we do rely on a good internet connection.

We were really lucky to have a hotel with a roof top pool and this was one of the reasons why we booked the hotel. The pool wasn’t massive but we didn’t expect it to be as we had seen the photos on the hotels website. We chilled most afternoons on the roof top sun beds using towels that had been provided by the hotel, it was so lush and very relaxing. We spent our evenings on the roof top prior to going out for dinner, the sun was going down and the lighting was beautiful-perfect for photos.

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We could have asked for a more perfect location. we just had to step outside the hotel and we were already in the middle of the gothic quarter.

The gym at the hotel was like any other typical hotel gym it was small and limited but that didn’t bother us as we chose to go on morning runs instead of using the gym.

We would definitely recommend this hotel for the Future and we would be sure to visit again. The hotel staff couldn’t be faulted and we felt incredibly safe in the hotel.

 

An Amtrak Adventure

We have always wanted to explore the U.S. via Amtrak, as we love the idea of visiting the country via train or bus. We have heard and read lots of good reviews about Amtrak, especially that it’s known for being very reliable and offering a comfy mode of transport. We have planned our route below so you can use it for inspiration. We have visited some of the cities before, but we’d jump at the chance of going again!

San Francisco

We would start our trip in San Fran, as it’s a city that everyone falls in love with immediately. We definitely recommend hiring bikes and cycling over the famous Golden Gate Bridge. We would suggest taking the longer scenic route and then taking the boat back to the city after a long day of exploring.

You can’t write a post without mentioning food, especially when visiting America. You have to visit In-N-Out Burger, which is a burger joint that’s only in six states. You also have to try the bread bowls filled with chili con carne or seafood chowder, as they are specialities in San Fran.

“The Princess Diaries” is one of our favourite movies filmed in San Fran. Of course, we would take a ride on the tram and hop off and visit the amusement arcade to reenact that famous seen with the Queen of Genovia.

Los Angeles

We would definitely take a trip to the famous Barry’s Bootcamp and end the workout with a delicious shake in the summer sunshine. When in LA, you must visit the Hollywood sign. Take a walk to the Observatory Griffith to get that Instagram shot.

We would also visit the Walk of Fame, where there are over 2,500 brass stars on 18 city blocks. We would take a long walk and try to spot our favourite celebrities and public figures.

San Diego

We would of course love to visit Belmont Park and take a ride on the Giant Dipper. It was constructed in 1925, but it’s still the centrepiece of Belmont Park. We love amusement parks, and Belmont Park looks like so much fun.

We would also love to try a fish taco in San Diego. We would go to Oscar’s, as we’ve heard this spot sells the best fish tacos in town. We’ve been told we may have to stand in line, but it would definitely be worth the wait.

Las Vegas 

You can’t visit Vegas without stopping by a famous pool party. We love the Wynn and the Encore. They’re so much fun, and the atmosphere is incredible at both.

We would also spend an evening dancing the night away at Drais, which is a rooftop pool and nightclub that overlooks the Strip. You should also watch the incredible water display at the Fountains of Bellagio. It takes place seven days a week, and you can find the timetable here.

To take a break from a busy Las Vegas schedule, we would take a day trip to the Grand Canyon for the breathtaking views. If you have cash to splash, then you should definitely opt for a helicopter ride for an experience you’ll never forget.

Albuquerque 

We have always wanted to visit Albuquerque, New Mexico, so we would set aside a few extra days to visit and properly explore this city. During our trip, we would stay at one of these hotels close to the Amtrak station.

We would kick our trip off with a tour of the Old Town, as we have heard it’s a reflection of the city’s Native American and Spanish heritage. We would also love to visit the ABQ BioPark, Paseo del Bosque, Petroglyph National Monument, and Sandia Peak Tramway.

New York

After spending a few days in Albuquerque, we would fly to New York. We would end our trip here because you can’t go all the way to America without visiting the Big Apple. You can read all about what we would get up to in Brooklyn here.

Now, where are our passports? We need to make this dream a reality pronto!

Whats in our hand luggage

For some people they will only travel with hand luggage – putting baggage in the hold is just so expensive anyway! When we go on short holidays we will ALWAYS travel with hand luggage, whats the point in paying the extra when you can usually fit everything into a small wheelie suitcase anyway. Additionally it means that you have your luggage with you all the time so as soon as you get off the plane there is none of that faffing about waiting for the carousel, plus the little panic when your suitcase still hasn’t appeared isn’t fun at all.

However for those longer holidays where you have check bags we thought we would share our hand luggage essentials so your holiday can run as smooth as ever.

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1) Spare underwear/clothes – this is number 1 because its SO essential you do this. If by that very unfortunate event your suitcase ends up halfway across the world in China you need to have some spare clothes and of course spare swimwear. We always pack a spare bikini and underwear in the event this might (and we hope never) happen.

2) Phone – this is most probs a given as we know everyone these days are glued to their phones, however it has to be on our list anyway. These days you can download the airline app and have your boarding pass on your phone, we LOVE this and it saves that stress of printing or losing your paper ticket. Paper is so old school now anyway 😉

3) Portable charger and cable – this is vital for your hand luggage to keep your devices fully charged. The cable is important because some airports have charging points and some planes also have charging sockets, so you will never have to worry about your phone running out of battery.

4) Magazine/books – you have to have something to read to occupy your time and in case of a delay too! We always treat ourselves to a magazine for holiday, because we rarely buy them otherwise. Plus once you have the magazines you can also read them by the pool. If you don’t want to carry so many books we recommend downloading kindle app to your phone or tablet, or even purchase a kindle.

5) Headphones – we use our headphones to listen to music on the flight or at the airport. However we often download programmes to watch on the flight onto our tablet, so will use headphones to catch up on our favourite TV show.

6) Moisturiser/lip balm/toothpaste & toothbrush – planes can make you feel so dry due to the air con so we always carry moisturiser and lip balm with us to keep our hands and lips moisturised. Brushing your teeth can make you feel ten times better about yourself and if you are travelling long haul then we would definitely recommend this one.

7) Socks – planes can be so so cold due to the air con, therefore we will always bring a pair of socks in our hand luggage – there is nothing worse than feeling cold on the plane. However if you are on a long haul flight they will provide you with socks!

8) Eye Mask – if you are on a night flight or a long flight then an eye mask will be your best friend! Eye masks are so small and easy to fit in your hand luggage, and may make that long plane journey not feel so long!

9) Local guide book – you may as well kill some time by flicking through the guidebook and getting ahead of the game with planning your trip.

10) Pen & paper – We always make sure we carry a pen and some paper with us. We always find we spend the plane journey planning the holiday and writing down the things we want to do and places we want to see, this often involves flicking through a guide book (see point 9!). Sometimes we draft out a mini itinerary too to make sure we fit everything in.

11) Anti-bacterial hand gel – this is a necessity as you never know what you are going to touch or if there will be any tissues to dry your hands. In addition aeroplane toilets are not exactly the nicest! We love ones that smell nice and fruity!

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Happy travels! 

A Tourists Guide to Paris

Paris is an amazing city and we were lucky enough to spend the weekend there at the end of April. There so much to see and do so we have written down the top 10 things to do when visiting Paris:

1) Eiffel Tower
Of course you have to see the Eiffel Tower when visiting Paris, although you don’t necessarily have to go to the top of it, sometimes you want it in pictured as its so iconic and if you have climbed up it it wont feature in your pictures. The best place to go for pictures directly in front of the tower is the Place du Trocadero, you can walk through the gardens and up the stairs and have stunning views of the Eiffel Tower. As for all places in Paris to get good pictures it best to go early and beat the crowds.

2) Arc du Triomphe
You can climb up the Arc du Triomphe and get amazing views of the streets of Paris or head to the Champs Elysees where all the amazing shops are with the Arc du Triomphe at the end. On the first Sunday of every month it is free to climb to the top of the the Arc du Triomphe.

3) Notre-Dame de Paris
This famous cathedral is located on the Ile de la Cite and is very popular with tourists so is a great photo opportunity. You can visit inside and climb to the top too. When here make sure you also visit the Ile Saint-Louis which is the slightly smaller island but has some amazing shops and restaurants. Make sure you also visit the green market stalls on the streets surronding the Notre-Dame de Paris!

4) Sacre-Coeur – Montmartre
Another touristy place you must visit when in Paris and great photo opportunities. This stunning church is located at the top of a hill. Whilst here make sure you visit the artist market, which is iconic for Paris and can be seen on many postcards! The Sacre-Coeur is also very close to the Moulin Rouge if you are a fan of the film then pop here for a picture outside the famous red windmill.

5) Galeries Lafayette
The Galeries Lafayette are a huge department store, so if you fancy a spot of shopping then head here. However we recommend you visit here for the free amazing views of Paris. If you head right to the top of the building there is a roof terrace that looks out over Paris and its not to be missed.

6) Boat trip
We went on a boat trip with a company called Bateaux Mouches which took us up and down the river with commentary. The commentary pointed out all the landmarks and also gives a brief history too which is interesting. The commentary is in English, French and Chinese. However there are many other boat companies to choose from and all as equally good.

7) Grand Roue
This is like going on the London Eye only much more cheaper. To ride this costs 12 euros and you go around twice. This is a different way to see the sights of Paris and get some pictures from high up. From the wheel you can see all of Paris so its pretty spectacular.

8) Palais Royal
These gardens and courtyard are stunning and the black and white pillars and perfect photo opportunities. Its best to visit early to avoid all the tourists to get a good pictures without massive of crowds spoiling it

9) The Ritz
This is the hotel that Princess Diana stayed in when she visited Paris. The Ritz is on the Place Vendome and is surrounded by designer stores including Rolex and Chanel. Its good to go here for some stunning photographs of the square, and oogle at the expensive cars.

10) Museums
We have put 2 museums into on point in order to make this list only 10 (oooops!). The Louvre is where the Mona Lisa painting lives, however be prepared to queue to enter the museum and also be prepared to see how small the painting actually is! If you don’t fancy going inside you can take some cool pictures with the famous glass pyramid. When visiting the Musse D’Orsey make sure you go and see the iconic huge clocks and take that Pinterest worthy picture! This museum is in a former station so inside it is pretty impressive.

 

Top 10 tips for solo travel

You never really travel alone, the world is full of friends waiting to get to know you

For most people the thought of going on a trip to another country on your own is extremely daunting and very scary. Well you are getting on a plane to possibly the other side of the world and visiting a country you have never been to before so of course it is going to be a scary thought.

However, solo travel is in my opinion the best way to see the world. When you are on your own you have to step outside your comfort zone, put yourself out there and meet new people, struggle to read a map on your own and decide what you want to do for the day or where to go next. The best thing about travelling on your own is you are complete control of your adventure, you decide where you want to go next or where you eat. The freedom is amazing and you are guaranteed to have the time of your life!

Below are some tips when travelling on your own

1) Just book it – You want to visit a country, no one to go with, once the flight is booked you kinda have to (well not really if you really chicken out!), get on the flight. Sometimes the scariest part is just making the plunge and booking the flight. Once you’ve booked it you will have completely mixed emotions; you will be so excited as you now have something to look forward to. However you will also have the feeling of OMG WHAT HAVE I JUST DONE! Don’t worry both is completely normal, and you’d be slightly worried if you didn’t feel just a teeny bit nervous. When booking a flight, make sure you shop around and find the best deal but also one that arrives as a decent time. You don’t really want to be arriving in a country by yourself late at night. Try to arrive in the morning or at lunch time, as this will give you plenty of time to find your way to your hotel or hostel. Make sure you also pre-book your firs nights accommodation. You don’t want to turn up to a place with nowhere to stay.

2) The sleepless nights or really weird dreams are normal – you are guaranteed to start over thinking things at night, just when you want to go to sleep. This may be on the run up to the trip or just the night before, it depends how much of a worrier of over thinker you are! The bizarre dreams are also expected, and even if you may not feel nervous or worried, your body weirdly knows! All of this is to be expected and it’s better to be prepared for this to happen.

3) Pack as little as possible – when you are on your own there may not be someone to help carry your bags for you so travel as light as possible. If you are travelling with a rucksack, you do NOT need a massive one, in fact the smaller the better because then you won’t be tempted to over pack. When travelling you are most likely to have to walk quite a lot carrying your bags, you basically are carrying your entire life with you. You may have to walk to the bus or run for the train, or the hostel may be a long walk away from the station, therefore you don’t want to feel like you are carrying the kitchen sink! Check out the post called ‘what’s in my rucksack’ for more information in regards to what to pack.

4) Unlock your phone – if you are travelling for a long time make sure you unblock your phone before you go. This way you can buy a sim card for the country and you will save yourself a fortune! I bought a sim card in both Australia and new Zealand and it was so handy. Quite often you need to call places to book trips or to confirm your place on a trip. In addition it means you have a number so you can keep in contact with the people you have met and arrange to meet up with them. It also means you can keep in contact with your friends and family at home, because you are going to want to message them every now and then. It also great to have a sim card with data as google maps will be your best friend if you get lost, or cannot find your hostel or bus station.

5) Smile – so you have arrived at your hostel and you are in a shared dorm with 12 other strangers. The best thing to do is the find your bed and smile at the people in your room or head to the communal area bringing your smile with you. When walking down the corridor, smile at people and say hello and they are most likely to want to talk to you.

6) Get advice/recommendations from other travellers – listen to what other travellers tell you, or ask people to recommend places to stay. When I was travelling Australia I was recommended hostels to stay at so I knew they would be good as people I had met loved them, and they were always right.

7) Communal areas are a must – try to book hostels with excellent communal areas or kitchens. I have stayed at a couple of hostels with no communal areas so it was harder to make friends and was much easier to feel lonely. Finding hostels with communal areas means everyone will hang out here so it’s the best place to meet other people. Quite a lot of hostels only have Wi-Fi in communal areas so it encourages people to chill out in these areas which is good!

8) SAY YES– when another traveller invites you somewhere, say yes! Mingling with other travellers is the best way to meet people. I had just arrived in Australia and no idea what I was doing and it was a girl in my rooms last night, she was going to the night market and invited me along. Of course I went with her and we got on so well that we are still friends now and regularly meet up for dinner and drinks. Even though I had severe jet lagged and was feeling very over whelmed I would’ve been silly to say no and had such a lovely first evening in Australia.

9) Take advantage of every opportunity– you only get the opportunity once so make the most of it. Face your fears and do that sky dive or jump out a plane. I have a fear of caves and small spaces but sucked it up and went inside the caves at Halong Bay, because I probably will never visit the caves at Halong Bay ever again! You do not want to look back and regret anything, so make the most of your time in that country.

10) Trust your instinct – always always trust your instinct because most times it is right. If you have a bad feeling about doing something don’t do it. Or if you think someone seems a bit dodgy, stop hanging out with them. If a situation doesn’t feel right then leave and walk away. In Hanoi I had booked into a nice hotel for my last night and on arriving I had a bad instinct about the place and the area I was in. I left the hotel and found a different one back in the centre of the city and it was the best decision I could’ve made.

Now go ahead and book your first or next solo trip and let us know where you are going? Trust us you won’t regret it!

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