Motorhome trip Denmark with small kid(s)

This summer we went on our first motorhome trip through Denmark; my husband, myself and our 2.5 year old daughter. We currently live in Oslo and drove all the way south to Denmark, along the Swedish coast.

Here are some tips I’ve learned along the way, from a mom and travel planner.

Flexible itinerary

On our first day we got a late start and we only managed to drive half the distance we’d hoped to cover. We decided to camp at a proper campground for our first night and we were happy to find a quiet camping by the water in Smögen, Sweden.

On our second day we had to catch up and still make it to Copenhagen where we initially planned to stay for only 1 night. Soon we realised this wouldn’t be feasible for any of us, especially for our toddler who found paradise at our new overnight spot in Copenhagen.

Copenhagen was so worth the extra night, even though it meant we had to adjust our itinerary from day one. Eventually we skipped the southeast part of Jutland because weather conditions had changed so we decided to drive inlands. We spent 2 nights in Billund, home to Legoland, Lego House and Aquadome, which were absolutely a wonderful alternative for the rainy days.

My advice: it’s good to start with a (rough) itinerary but there’s no harm in adjusting the schedule. The fun part about a motorhome is the freedom and flexibility it offers you!

Driving into Smögen, Sweden

Booking in advance or not?

This must have been the first trip in my life without any prior reservations. We just showed up and somehow there were always a few sites left at the campgrounds (and this was July, high season!). The golden rule here is to arrive shortly after check-out time (usually around 12pm). Check-in mostly starts around 2-3pm so during this time frame, you’ve got the biggest chance to still find a spot (whether it’s a campsite or a wild camping site).

We loved the freedom to come and go whenever and wherever we wanted; that was the whole point of renting a motorhome. You can call the bigger campgrounds in advance to check their availability but I wouldn’t worry too much about this as especially Jutland has a large variety of campgrounds.

Mix campgrounds with wild camping

Staying at a campground gives you all facilities, some even have a swimming pool which is a perfect treat for kids during hot summer days. However, a campground in the Nordics easily costs somewhere between $45-90 per night. If you’re on a budget, search for wild camping/parking spots as well. Make sure the water tank is full – refill at a gas station – and go for an adventurous and budget-friendly accommodation option.

Wild camping in Denmark isn’t as widespread as in Norway or Sweden where there’s a right to roam in open country, for free. Denmark is more densely populated and there’s a lot of privately owned land. However, there are many nature areas where wild camping is explicitly permitted and also gray areas that allow you to spend the night in nature. The basic rule is common sense: don’t bother anyone else, only stay for one night and don’t make a bonfire.

We had a remarkable night camping on the beach (literally in the sand) in Skagen. We discovered this spot in the app park4night together with other campsites. It features all kinds of overnight stays, from official campgrounds to wild camping spots as well as parking places for motorhomes.

Wild camping in Skagen

How to survive the long car rides?

I still have to meet the first parent who’s thrilled by the idea of a long car ride… The key here is to split up the longer journeys. We never drove for more than 2 hours and planned a lunch break along the way or a beach walk or just a toilet stop.

The other trick (and probably the most common) is the tablet with some series or educational games. For us, there’s no harm in having some screen time if that’s compensated by all the outdoor time during the rest of the trip. It just makes things easier for all of us.

The three of us en route to Denmark

Your home on 4 wheels

We’ve traveled a lot with our (almost) 3-year old but this trip felt more relaxed and less exhausting to us. I would say that it’s a perfect way to travel with children! We could park our motorhome in front of our door and pack it with anything we wanted. No struggling to fit everything in suitcases, queuing at the airport or dealing with flight delays. We were surprised by the amount of storage room we had, we even had a bike rack that allowed us to bring our bikes.

It truly felt like our home on 4 wheels during our 10-day trip. Driving, sleeping, eating, showering; all in one place. Motorhomes come in all shapes and sizes and there’s a motorhome (or van) for every kind of family (and budget). You don’t have to go far for your first adventure; maybe go to a nearby national park during a long weekend break. We can definitely not wait for our next motorhome trip 🙂

Denmark has several beaches where you can drive and park on the beach

Hi! My name is Sofie, I’ve been a travel planner for the last 7 years and I create tailor-made itineraries, adjusted to your needs and budget. I plan family trips, safaris, honeymoons and collaborate with several RV providers across Europe to give you the best rates. Feel free to send me a message and I’ll be happy to help you!

Many travellers, whether you’re a frequent traveller or not, wonder how they can find the best airline tickets for their vacation. Should I book via a booking platform, directly with the airline or a package deal? It all can be a bit overwhelming. Don’t panic, we’re here to help! With our tips you will find the best airline tickets at a good price for your next vacation.

Travel during shoulder season

If you want to save on flight tickets and accommodation, it is wise to travel outside the school vacations. This is of course only possible if you are not tied to your kids’ school calendar. However, if you have flexible dates, it is better to leave before the summer holidays, i.e. from April to June, or after the busy holiday period, i.e. in September or October. Most southern destinations also have (much more) pleasant temperatures in the shoulder season. Bust most importantly, you’ll find much better deals on airline tickets outside the busy vacation periods.

Definitely check one of the comparison websites and/or the webpage of the airline to find the cheapest travel dates. This can save you a lot of money! If you deviate one or two days from your planned dates, you can easily save over €50 per ticket. Make sure to check rates in your departure month and then pick the best dates.

Depart from another airport

Compare prices between the nearest airports. You may be surprised how much cheaper tickets might be if you fly on the same day to another airport. Flying to Oakland International Airport for instance is usually much cheaper than San Francisco International Airport (this is due to the airport taxes).

You should also check the price difference between the airport parking and public transportation. Driving to the airport might be convenient but if you’ll be abroad for a long time, then the cost of the airport parking can be quite high. You can compare prices of airport parking at Parkfellows.

Flight times and options

European summer destinations can often be reached with a direct flight. For further destinations, it is often a lot cheaper to fly with one or more stopovers. Bear in mind that you’ll have to add an overnight stay if the layover is too long. In the latter case, a direct flight can be more cost-effective (and convenient).

If you have found a cheap flight, it is good to check whether there are any additional costs for check-in baggage. Especially if you’re on vacation for more than a week, it’s nice if you can take a large suitcase with you.

About the GuestBlogger

Vliegen en Parkeren” is a Dutch company that allows you to compare different parkings near the most important airports in your area. We’re present in more than 12 countries, each one with its one website and a wide offer of parkings near the respective airports. Our useful comparison and booking tool will help you find a cheap parking.

In het afgelopen jaar hebben we gezien dat de vraag naar personalised travel planning enorm is gestegen. Diezelfde trend zien we zich dit jaar verderzetten. Social media hebben de manier waarop we reizen beïnvloed en steeds meer reizigers contacteren me voor een unieke reiservaring. Hoe reageer ik als travel planner op deze trend?

Social media

Massa tourisme lijkt sedert het begin van de corona pandemie een probleem uit een ver verleden. Stilletjes aan beginnen we opnieuw aan reizen te denken maar het laatste wat we willen, is in drukke massa’s terechtkomen. We zijn op zoek naar unieke ervaringen. Social media en review websites zoals TripAdvisor zorgen ervoor dat informatie heel makkelijk en toegankelijk is voor ons en creëren tegelijk een platform waar we onze meningen kunnen delen. Hoe vaak kijk je zelf niet eerst even naar de reviews van een hotel vooraleer je dat boekt? Inderdaad, online review websites bepalen mee onze keuze en zijn de manier waarop we reizen, aan het hervormen.

TripAdvisor, Facebook en Instagram zijn niet de enige platforms die ons beïnvloeden. Over het algemeen is reizen nog nooit zo goedkoop en toegankelijk geweest (ja, en dat zelfs tijdens een pandemie). Onze generatie reist nog steeds meer dan de vorige generaties, vraag maar aan je (groot)ouders. We leven in het nu “living in the moment” en willen investeren in onvergetelijke (reis)ervaringen.

Hoge verwachtingen

Hoe meer we reizen en erover opzoeken, hoe hoger onze verwachtingen zijn voor een toekomstige reis. Niemand wil in de typische tourist trap vallen of één van de zovele toeristen zijn die de gids met de rode paraplu volgt. Mijn klanten nu hebben specifieke verzoeken ivm hun overnachting, activiteiten, restaurants, etc. De vraag voor unieke overnachting is ook enorm gestegen. Waarom in een hotel slapen als je in een treehouse of tented camp kan verblijven?

Overnachting is niet de enige factor die een reis succesvol maakt. De ervaring ter plekke is ook dubbel zo belangrijk. Zeker voor internationale reizen zie ik dat mijn klanten zich willen onderdompelen in de lokale cultuur. Dat kan bv zijn door een sport evenement mee te pikken, deelnemen als vrijwilliger in een lokaal project, een festival of concert bijwonen, de lokale keuken proeven (en dat het liefst in een restaurant off-road).

Personalised Travel

De travel industry is zich aan het aanpassen aan deze groeiende vraag voor personalised travel. Als travel planner doe ik er alles aan om gepersonaliseerde ervaringen te creëren die op jouw maat gemaakt zijn. Elke trip is uniek en daarom zoek ik ook telkens overnachting, activiteiten en vervoer uit die specifiek aan jouw wensen, interesse en budget voldoen.

Het is de voornaamste reden waarom ik geen ready-to-go reispakketten verkoop. Ik promoot duurzaam reizen waarbij je lokale ervaringen kan opdoen en daarbij een gepersonaliseerde aanpak krijgt. Ik ben flexibel op vlak van werkuren, communicatie en culturele verzoeken.

De Toegevoegde Waarde van een Personal Travel Agent

Zelf je reis samenstellen, is enorm tijdrovend en voor sommigen zelfs stresserend omdat ze door de bomen het bos niet meer zien. Mijn taak is om jou tijd en geld te besparen! Ik doe de research en maak de noodzakelijke boekingen voor jou. Ik help je zoeken naar de beste deals en de hidden gems. Hiertegenover staat er een kleine vergoeding voor mijn werk, maar je betaalt voor de expertise en een stressvrije vakantie!

Ik luister naar jouw specifieke wensen, suggereer opties die voor jou handig zijn en maak de nodige aanpassingen totdat we jouw droomreis in elkaar hebben gestoken. Ik voeg er een persoonlijke touch aan toe, die je helemaal niet kan vinden als je boekt bij een groot reisagentschap.

Eenmaal de planning van je reis gedaan is, zit het er nog niet op voor mij. Ik blijf contact met je houden als er updates zijn (bv ivm covid) en ook tijdens je reis ben ik stand-by voor last-minute veranderingen. Ook als je terug thuis bent, check ik met je hoe alles verlopen is. Want een happy traveller, daar doe ik het voor!

Hei! Mijn naam is Sofie en ik ben founder van Your Way To Travel. In 2015 zei ik mijn corporate job in Barcelona op om remote te beginnen werken. Samen met mijn man reisde ik gedurende 15 maanden de wereld af. Deze ongelooflijke ervaring hielp me om mijn passie te volgen en zo in de reissector te belanden.

Your Way To Travel is een online boutique reisagentschap waarmee ik gepersonaliseerde reizen creëer, zowel voor individuen als voor bedrijven. Zit je met vragen ivm je volgende reis of weet je nog niet goed waar je naartoe wilt? Stuur me een mailtje en ik help je graag verder.

A citytrip to Oslo is always a good idea but why not make it better with a wellness retreat in the city’s best spa, The Well? The Well is not just a spa, it’s Scandinavia’s largest bathhouse offering 10,500m2 of pure relaxation for adults. Here’s what you can expect from your visit:

The Well just lies 15 minutes by car outside Oslo city centre (you can also take public transportation or a private transfer can be arranged). Upon arrival you’ll be impressed by the size of the building which is spread over three vast stories.

Picture by The Well

During check-in you’ll be offered bathrobe, slippers, sauna and bath towel. The indoor area has numerous indoor pools and 15 different saunas where you can join one of their rituals. Every visitor gets one complementary ritual booking but you can drop in to as many rituals as you want as long as there are available places.

Picture by The Well

What’s even more special about The Well, is their so-called philosophy The Naked Truth allowing you to be naked in all pools whereas swimwear is simply not permitted in saunas and steam baths (except on Tuesdays when it is optional). If you prefer more privacy, you can always cover up with a towel or peshtemal.

In The Well you’re in for the whole experience featuring a restaurant and hotel accommodation (packages can be purchased including breakfast, lunch and/or an overnight stay). And while you’re here, you should definitely treat yourself to a luxury (couples) massage – you won’t regret it!

Next to the indoor facilities, you can also find a peaceful outdoor area with a garden, lounge, a large outdoor pool and several jacuzzis.

Picture by The Well

It’s a spa and wellness retreat like no other! Besides its popularity, it remains a luxury yet comfortable adult-only space to leave your phone and busy live behind and just relax.

Picture by The Well

Hi! I’m Sofie, I’m a personal travel planner living in Oslo. I create tailor-made itineraries based on your needs, interests and budget. Are you traveling to Norway soon and would you like some help or recommendations with your trip? Please do not hesitate to contact me, I’ll be glad to help you!

We’re all eager to resume international travel but where in Europe can I travel if I’m fully vaccinated (and what are the restrictions if I’m not)? Each country defines its own entry rules but this alphabetical list will give you a clear overview when picking your next destination!

Albania

Americans over 6 years old either need proof of full vaccination, a negative test result from a Covid-19 test (taken within 72 hours) or from a rapid test or a recovery certificate. More info here.

Austria

Austria requires a certificate of vaccination, a certificate of recovery or a negative result from a PCR-test (taken in the 72 hours before arrival). If you can’t provide any of these, then you can get tested at the airport ($40) and quarantine until the results get in. More info here.

Belgium

No pre-travel test is needed when traveling to Belgium but you have to show proof of full vaccination. All passengers must complete the Passenger Locator Form within 48 prior to arrival. More info here.

Croatia

Vaccinated US citizens can travel to Croatia as long as you can provide proof of paid accommodation. If not (fully) vaccinated, you can also enter with a negative PCR-test taken within 72 hours or with a negative rapid antigen test taken in the previous 48 hours. More info here.

Cyprus

International travellers as of 12 years old need to present either proof of vaccination or a negative PCR-test result taken within 72 hours and another test upon landing (at your own expense). More info here.

Czech Republic

US residents travelling to the Czech Republic need a vaccination certificate or a negative test result (PCR-test taken 72 hours or rapid test taken 48 hours before departure of your flight). More info here.

Denmark

Denmark only allows travellers from the US if they’re fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated travellers may only enter the country under strict conditions, like if you’re studying or working in Denmark. Note that unvaccinated teenagers ages 16 and 17 who are traveling with their vaccinated parents, must present a negative PCR-test result. More info here.

Estonia

Only vaccinated US travellers and those who recovered from Covid-19, can enter Estonia for tourism purposes. More info here.

Finland

Only vaccinated travellers can enter the country. Unvaccinated US citizens are not allowed to enter Finland for tourism purposes. More info here.

France

On September 12 France has changed its entry rules for US residents. Vaccinated travellers can still entry the country (same rules apply to children under 17 who are accompanied by a vaccinated adult) without further requirements.

Unvaccinated US residents will need to present a negative Covid-19 test (either PCR-test taken within 72 hours before departure or a rapid test conducted within 48 hours prior to departure), perform another test upon arrival, self-isolate for 7 days upon arrival followed by another test at the end of the self-isolation period. More info here.

Note that a French health pass is required to enter bars, restaurants, museums, cultural sites and nightclubs. You can apply for a health pass prior to departure.

Germany

Only vaccinated Americans with an essential travel reason can enter Germany (applicable as of 12 years old). You must register prior to arrival here. More info here.

Greece

Greece has been one of the first countries to allow vaccinated US travellers to enter. By presenting a vaccination certificate you do not have to quarantine. Unvaccinated travellers age 12 and over must provide a negative test result (a PCR-test taken 72 hours or a rapid test taken 48 hours before entry). All travellers also must complete the passenger locator form. More info here.

Hungary

US vaccinated citizens are allowed to enter Hungary by air with a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours. These restrictions do not apply for entry by rail or road. More info here.

Iceland

Iceland has been allowing vaccinated US citizens since April 2021. However, in July 2021 the entry rules have slightly changed and now a negative PCR-test is also required. If you’re not vaccinated you’ll need to undergo two PCR-tests within a 5-day quarantine period. Children born 2005 or later are exempt from testing. More info here.

Ireland

Fully vaccinated US travellers and those who recovered from Covid are exempt from quarantine and testing when entering Ireland. Unvaccinated travellers will be required to present a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours, quarantine for 14 days upon arrival and undergo post-arrival testing. More info here.

Italy

Italy has opened its borders to vaccinated US travellers but proof of a negative PCR-test taken within 72 hours of arrival is still required. If not fully vaccinated, you’ll need to quarantine upon arrival for 5 days and take a test on the last day of quarantine. Children under 6 years old are exempt from testing. More info here.

Luxembourg

US citizens need to provide either a vaccination certificate, proof of recovery or a negative test performed less than 72 hours prior to the flight (or less than 48 hours for an antigen test). More info here.

Malta

If fully vaccinated you can travel to Malta. Cards issued by the C.D.C. have to be verified through the VeriFLY app. Unvaccinated travellers are subject to a 14-day quarantine in a hotel selected by the government. More info here.

The Netherlands

Only vaccinated US tourists are allowed to enter the Netherlands and a negative PCR or antigen test is required before departure. Additionally, all US citizens – even if vaccinated – are subject to a 10-day quarantine which can be shortened to 5 days providing a negative test. More info here.

Portugal

All tourists can travel to Portugal providing a negative PCR-test taken within 72 hours before boarding the plane or 42 hours in case of a rapid antigen test. More info here.

Spain

All vaccinated US travellers can enter Spain without testing but you’ll need to show a QR code which is generated through the Spain Travel Health platform. More info here.

Sweden

Since September 6 the USA is no longer on Sweden’s safe list and access to all US residents will be denied. More info here.

Switzerland

Switzerland allows vaccinated travellers and those who have recovered from Covid-19 in the past 6 months to enter without further testing. All others must present a negative test. Children 16 and younger, if accompanied by an adult who falls under one of the previous conditions, are exempt from testing. Note that the online travel form has to be completed prior to departure. More info here.

The United Kingdom

All vaccinated US travellers entering the UK must present a negative test taken within 72 hours of arrival and perform another test before or on day 2 of arrival. Note that all visitors also have to complete the online passenger locator form. Unvaccinated visitors are subject to a 10-day quarantine. More info here.

Hi! I’m Sofie, a personal travel planner Iiving in Oslo and I create tailor-made itineraries. Travel nowadays requires some initial planning and I get that it can be confusing to get through the maze of entry requirements. That’s why I’m here: as your personal travel agent, I’ll give you the specific entry rules per country and/or research which destination is the perfect fit for you! You can contact me for assistance – no compromise – and I’ll be happy to help you 🙂

For more detailed information about our tailor-made luxury safaris (group or private), click here.

International travel is slowly resuming but Africa is still not on the bucket list of many travellers due to the variants and the low vaccination rate. Local travel and mainly road travel seems to be the traveller’s safe choice for now. I’m definitely not arguing that but I’d like to encourage vaccinated travellers to think of Africa as your next destination. Here ‘s why:

Travel Outdoors

There’s no trip where you’ll spend so much time in the open air like on the African continent. Besides the airport and some hotel lodges, you’ll be outside all the time: game drives, meals, chill time and even an outdoor shower! Most accommodation is at (luxury) tented camps where you’ll stay at a large tent just for you and your party, widely separated from the other tents. You’ll either have a private deck or a shared lounge area with no walls allowing for perfect air circulation.

No crowds

Before COVID it was common to see a long queue of safari vehicles lined up to catch a glimpse of one of the big five. This year most touristic places like Masai Mara, Serengeti and Ngorongoro are seeing less visitors which makes it so much easier – and pleasant – to see the animals. The same is to be expected for 2022.

A safari in Africa means you’ll get away from the everyday stress of modern life. You’ll get in touch with nature and watch wild animals roaming freely in the bushes. Social distance is the norm here!

Smiling local staff

East and South Africa rely heavily on safari tourism and the local staff feels lucky and grateful that travellers are returning. They need their jobs to support the extended family and they’re following all sanitary requirements to ensure their income. Some of the bigger lodges and tented camps even perform daily tests on their staff.

Hi! I’m Sofie, a personal travel planner creating tailor-made travel itineraries, always customised to your personal interests and needs. I work together with trustworthy partners to offer you private or group safaris all around Africa. For more info or for a personalised offer, send me a message (no strings attached) and we’ll get you more info!

Many people fear the idea of traveling with an infant, especially by plane. We get you, things have changed a lot in the way we travel with our daughter but small kids are still very adaptable (as long as you’re flexible). The more you travel with your baby, the easier it gets!

Here are some essential tips from our travel experience so far:

Traveling by plane

Hopping onto a plane with your child? Sure! You shouldn’t miss out on the “children under 2 fly for free” airline policy. By the time they turn two traveling by plane gets more expensive so you should take every opportunity you get as long as they fly for free.

Traveling with a baby during Covid-19

Baby food & beverages

Airlines allow you to carry the amount of food necessary for the duration of your flight. What about liquids? You can basically pack anything and as much as you want. We always fill up all bottles with water (with two bottles we’re good for at least 7-8 hours). Additionally, we also carry a large bottle of water (1.5l) in case “our baby gets very thirsty on the plane” which we use 😉 No one at the security desk has ever asked us or commented about the extra bottle of water.

Besides the formula, we also carry some fruit pouches (our go-to if we’re on the road) and cookies. When she gets older, we will probably need to pack more snacks but right now we keep it simple to mostly formula for the duration of the flight.

Note: We also pack her silicone bib to avoid any unnecessary cloth changes.

On our first flight with Zoe 🙂 We started feeding her right before take-off.

Clothes

Don’t try anything new just because it will look so good on your baby. Dress your child in some of her most comfortable clothes which can easily be changed. And pack a pair of extra clothes: I remember Zoe had a blowout right before boarding her first flight 💩 – she was only two months old – and I had to quickly change her entire outfit. Also pack an extra shirt for yourself, you never know 😉

Checked baby gear (and stroller)

Apart of the stroller (more on that later), airlines allow you to check two extra pieces for your baby. This can be a crib, baby carrier (for hiking), car seat, etc. Once you’ve landed, you’ll find them at the “special luggage” belt. Side note: last time we went on a hiking trip to the Alps, we even stuffed our Thule baby carrier with quite some clothes as we exceeded the allowed weight of our checked luggage.

Now, what about the stroller? You can take your stroller until you board the plane. Most strollers don’t fit in the overhead cabin so in that case a crew member will take yours down to the airplane hold. That also means that you’ll have to wait for your stroller until you pick up your luggage. After our first flight with Zoe, we got our stroller back broken so for our next flight we decided to buy this compact model which can be stored in the overhead bin. It literally takes us a few seconds to set it up and from the moment we’re out of the plane, we can put her back in the stroller and sometimes she evens does a quick nap while we’re heading towards the baggage carousels.

Note: a baby carrier comes in handy if your stroller has to be checked.

For our first flight we didn’t have the compact stroller and we forgot to pack our baby carrier.

At the airport

No rush

When traveling kids-free, we never arrived too early at the airport but now we schedule in extra time. Let’s face reality, traveling with an infant takes significantly more time. You’re carrying more equipment (plus a baby!), you’ll need to fold and unfold the stroller when passing security control, you’ll have to sit down a few times to feed your baby or vist the restroom, etc.

We’ve also noticed that the older Zoe gets, the more play time she needs, even at the airport. Once we’re on the plane, we know it’s more difficult for her (and us) to move around so we let her burn off some energy before boarding.

Note: Don’t arrive too early either because the earlier you get there, the longer you’ll need to keep them entertained, etc. It’s all about finding the right balance for you.

Use the airport restroom

So far we’ve never had to use the airplane toilets to change a diaper – we’ve been lucky indeed! Anyway, we change her for the last time right before boarding using one of the baby changing rooms near our gate. They are spacious and most of them have some convenient facilities you won’t find once you’re on board!

Family priority boarding: pro’s and cons

I know that many parents will advise you to take advantage of the family priority boarding. So did we the first time we took a flight with Zoe. I agree that boarding an empty plane is very convenient but for us the time we’re seated while the rest of the passengers are still boarding is just too long to keep Zoe entertained. For us it’s easier to keep her active and happy outside than at the plane where we’re no longer free to move.

At your destination

You made it to your final destination, great! Same as for flying, the pace of your trip will change. Here are some tips that have worked for us:

Be flexible & patient

We all want to travel to explore new places, meet up with family and friends we haven’t seen in a while but your kid will need some time to adjust. Even some small changes can disrupt your baby’s routine.

When we traveled to Belgium in summer, we put Zoe down to bed at 9:30pm which had been her normal bedtime for the previous months. What happened is that she consistently fought sleep and we couldn’t manage to get her to bed until 10:30pm. We live in Spain where sun sets around 9:30pm in July whereas in Belgium sunset is around 10:30pm. Only one hour of difference but it affected her night routine quite a lot. After some days of initial struggle, we shifted her schedule.

It can take a few days (or even more) to adapt to this new routine but there’s a lot to process for your little one. A different sleep environment can make them awake in the middle of the night not understanding where they are. I know it’s easy to say but be patient; eventually they will get used to the new situation.

Be realistic and adjust the pace of your trip

Our life has changed since our daughter was born and so have our travels. You need to be realistic and accept that you can’t cram as much as you’d like to into your days. You can try but you’ll end up with a cranky and overtired baby.

After one or two days being out on the road, we know we need to schedule in a rest day. During our active days Zoe easily falls asleep in the car, the stroller or even the backpack but the quality (and duration) of her naps aren’t the same and she ends up very tired. The rest days are all about allowing her some time to get some good naps (in the crib) and lots of play time.

Even during our most active days, we still need to stop every now and then to give her some play time. We always carry a large sarong with us and whenever we get the opportunity, we take a break.

Parks are great for some play time for the kids. We always carry this large sarong with us.

A family room with more space is worth the extra money

At five months old Zoe started to sleep in her own room and our night sleep has significantly improved since then. However, when we’re on the road sometimes there’s no other option but sharing the same room. That’s fine for a couple of nights but for a longer period we look for alternatives where Zoe has her own room.

One time in Italy we stayed at a tiny, one-bedroom apartment where we barely had space to move around or unpack. It was pouring rain so Zoe’s play area – and our living area – was so limited we all ended up hating that apartment 😉 We promised ourselves we wouldn’t let that happen again and ever since we look for places to stay that have an extra room or a large open area. It’s worth the extra money!

“Slow travel” means we take a break to let Zoe play whenever we get the chance

Just do it!

If you’re ever doubting whether or not you want to travel as a family, just do it! You’ll never know how it feels for you unless you give yourself the opportunity. Sure there are moments when we’ve thought we better should’ve stayed home but we’ve got so many priceless moments in return. The effort definitely pays off! Shoot us a message if you have any questions, we’ll be happy to help you.

Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, many people have seen their holiday plans get cancelled. Same happened to us but after some initial disappointment we decided to reschedule our plans without giving up on our summer break.

Hopping onto a plane now might look more complicated and stressful than ever before, especially with a 7-month old baby. Our reality however is different than others – we live on an island without any family – so traveling is our only option to stay connected.

In July we traveled to Belgium and due to the poor connection between Menorca and Brussels, we had a layover (in Palma for the inbound flight and in Barcelona for the return flight). Then a couple of weeks later we boarded a direct direct flight to Geneva for our trip through the Alps. We hope that sharing our experience helps you understand that traveling as a family in these uncertain times is definitely possible.

The Covid-19 pandemic has reshaped the way we travel

Airport and in-flight experience

It was mid-July and the airports of Palma and Brussels looked like ghost towns. Shops, restaurants and airport lounges remained closed so our only lunch option was a snack from the vending machine. There were few people traveling at that time so luggage drop-off and airport control went very smooth. I can’t imagine the last we traveled without cueing nor delays!

Except for our return flight Barcelona-Mahón, all planes were almost empty allowing lots of space between passengers. Airlines also adapted to the back-to-front boarding which reduced the waiting time considerably. Wet towelettes were distributed to all passengers from the moment we boarded the plane. The on-board meal service was very limited and there were no menus in the back of the front seat.

That being said, although we noticed a weird atmosphere in the airport and on the plane, we’ve never had such a smooth flight experience. No delays (which is rare in high-season), no crowds, no cueing, empty planes; there are definitely some perks to flying now!

Our first family travel since the Covid-19 outbreak

Personal tips

Don’t arrive too early at the airport

Arrive at time but don’t get there too early! Although it’s high season, there’s less traffic than during low season. The more time you spend at the airport, the more you expose yourself. Also, if there’s a chance to pack light, do so as it’s the fastest way to get in and out off the airport.

Wear a comfortable face mask

Sounds logic but did you already wear your mask for 12 hours straight? After a full day of traveling (leaving the house at 9am and arriving at our destination at 9pm), we felt so relieved to be able to take off our mask. We use a washable cloth face mask but after an hour or so we felt that the ear loops were too tight.

Hand sanitiser – use it all the time!

This is a general rule but worth mentioning here as well. We disinfected our hands after every single contact with other humans or objects (so yes, we basically did it all the time!). It’s was tougher with a 7-month old baby who started to crawl and put everything in her mouth 😉 We tried to disinfect her hands as much as possible but when you get out with a baby, you know there are certain things you can’t control so we didn’t want to stress too much about it either.

Bring your own snacks

Everything was closed in Palma airport so our lunch options were limited to the vending machine snacks. On our return flight, we brought our own sandwich – tastier, cheaper and safer!

Don’t stress out too much

Probably the best advice we could give you. True, there’s a pandemic going on but as long as you’re in good health and you follow some basic safety measures, there’s no need to stress about traveling. Honestly, we’ve boarded so many flights but few times we’ve had such a smooth and easy experience as we did this summer.

As an extra safety measure we did a PCR test when we arrived back home from our last trip. We had been through five airports and traveled to five countries in the course of eight weeks but luckily our tests came back negative (and it also confirmed that we had never been in contact with the virus).

Note: We’re not mentioning some other basic safety rules as we assume you’re all familiar with them at this point but you can check this list for a quick recap.

Flying with a baby during a pandemic isn’t the ideal situation but it’s doable and safe

We hope this article helps you to understand how Covid-19 has reshaped the way we travel. We are frequent travellers but since the coronavirus outbreak and the birth of our daughter, we had only taken one short flight back in February. So yes, we were nervous but we wanted to give it a chance. For us it turned out to be a (very) positive experience and we want you to feel confident about your upcoming flight. If you have any questions for us, please let us know!

Stay safe and safe travels!

The travel industry has been hit hard by the Covid-19 outbreak and traveling will look very different once the world begins to reopen. But travel will get back and it will even be better! Things are looking positive here in Menorca and we’re glad to promote our island as a safe destination for your upcoming holidays in this post-pandemic era.

Low Incidence Rate

As we write this article (May, 22) only 5 active cases remain on the island and no new infections were reported in the last 15 days (Update May, 27: No new infections in the last 20 days). Since the beginning of the corona crisis, a total of 112 people tested positive for Covid-19. Out of a population of 96,620 habitants, that means an incredibly low infection percentage of 0.12%. (Source: Salut GOIB)

The closure of local ports and the airport when the outbreak hit the Spanish mainland has put the island in a favorable position. The geographical isolation and the strong confinement imposed by the Spanish government explain the extremely low Covid-19 incidence rate in Menorca.

Menorca as a Safe Destination

As many European countries are considering to reopen their borders before the summer starts, safe corridors will be created. Menorca has been anticipating this safe corridor option for international flights as it meets all criteria set by the national government.

So yes, Menorca is a safe destination to spend your summer holidays and by looking at the raw figures, we can even reassure you that it’s safer here than in many other European countries. Safety measures adopted by airports and airlines will be strict – think about blocking middle seats, mandatory use of face masks and limited onboard service – but this crowd-free and hassle-free travel will be the future.

Research has also shown a strong correlation between air pollution and the severity of Covid-19. Menorca’s only a small island with less than 100,000 habitants and its industry heavily relies on agriculture and tourism. Here you won’t find any large, crowded cities or traffic jams but you’ll breath in the fresh – and clean – sea breeze.

Son Saura, Menorca

But what about the 14-day quarantine requirements imposed to incoming travellers? Well, this is just a temporary measure while the country deescalates. The foreign minister has confirmed that the quarantine measures for overseas travel will be lift as of July, 1 when Spain reopens its borders to foreign tourists.

What Will Summer Travel Look Like?

Needless to say that travel will undergo a huge transformation. As social distancing will become the norm, our summer holidays are likely to be outdoorsy; enjoying wild, open spaces avoiding the crowds.

Small and private accommodation will also see a major spike in popularity as an alternative to remain socially distant while staying away from home. Menorca only has a few large hotel complexes as it mainly offers small (boutique) hotels, farm stays, holiday apartments and villas. Camping naturally adheres to the social distancing rule and that’s another option to consider for your next holiday in Menorca.

Furthermore we also would like to point out that hotel and villa owners are offering enhanced flexibility measures for summer bookings.

Slow Travel

The era of mass tourism is over and we’ll all be more thoughtful about how to spend our money and what to do. The focus on sustainable tourism and slow travel will increase as we will look for destinations to disconnect.

Menorca has always been a place where you can leave your stress behind. It offers charming authenticity, a wealth of virgin sandy beaches and as a Biosphere Reserve, it’s a place where tourists and locals find their balance with nature. The strict lockdown measures have left the island untouched during Spring and nature invites us to enjoy its pristine beaches with crystal-clear water and the green countryside.

You can rent your private boat (no license needed), navigate across the coastline and explore secluded beaches and coves – now, that’s how we love to “socially distance”! Runners, walkers and cyclists can tour along the Cami de Cavalls, a coastal route that circumvents the island. Here it’s all about slow travel which is what sets up apart from Mallorca and Ibiza.

Cala Pregonda, Menorca

Menorca Concierge Service

We’re a Menorcan based travel agency specialised in tailor-made travel and concierge services. As local residents, we’ve got the experience and resources to make your trip to Menorca unforgettable. Our personalised assistance has been designed to save you time and let you enjoy your vacation without the hassle of organising it. We offer you a wide variety of services, always tailored to your needs. 

Would you like to explore the wonderful coastal landscapes of this island? Contact us now and we will take care of every need!

During 2019 the demand for highly personalised experiences has skyrocketed and the same trend is set to continue during 2020. Social media has influenced the way we look to travel and more and more travellers ask us for a unique and engaging experience. How do our Personal Travel Agents respond to this uprising demand?

Social media

Travellers are no longer buying the first deal they find. Social media and online review websites like TripAdvisor make it very easy and accessible for travellers to find information, contribute to the travel community and share their opinion. Think about how often you book a hotel without reading reviews about the property? Indeed, online review websites are influencing the decision-making process. Online platforms are reshaping the travel industry.

TripAdvisor, Facebook or Instagram are not the only tools that influence the way we think about travel. In general traveling has never been so cheap and accessible to everyone. Millennials are traveling more today compared to the previous generations, our parents and grandparents. It’s all about living in the moment and investing in unforgettable life experiences.

High expectations

The more we travel and the more we read about it, the higher the expectations to make our experience memorable. Nobody wants to fall in the typical tourist trap or find himself behind a line of tourists following the guide with the umbrella. Customers now have specific requests about their preferred accommodation, activities or food. The demand for unconventional accommodation is increasing; people look for something fresh and new like a treehouse or a tented camp in the desert.

Accommodation is not the only decisive factor to make a trip successful. The on-site experience can make or break a trip. Cultural immersion is part of the personalisation demand of customers. We want to live a local experience: volunteering in a local project, participating in a major sport event, attending a summer festival or concert, tasting the local food preferably in a restaurant with few other tourists, etc.

Personalised Travel

The travel industry is reacting to this growing demand of personalised travel. Our Travel Agents work hard to build personalised customer experiences that are 100% adjusted to your specific needs and interests. Each trip is unique to us and we select your accommodation, activities and transportation methods very carefully.

This is the main reason why we’re not selling travel packages. We address the need to travel local and to enhance your personal experience. Our Personal Travel Planners strive to deliver a new level of personalised service, from A to Z. We’re flexible in terms of working hours, communication methods and cultural demands.

The Added Value of Our Personal Travel Agents

Personalising your own trip can be very time-consuming and overwhelming given the amount of information available on the Internet. Now, our job is to make your life easier and save you time and money! We do the prior research and make the necessary arrangements for you. We help you find the best value and will recommend you the hidden gems. It is true that we charge a service fee for our work, but you pay for our expertise and the peace of mind.

We listen to your specific needs, suggest options that are most convenient to you and adjust your trip to achieve the holiday you have in mind. We’re all about creating happy travelers. We add a human touch that search engines, as powerful as they might be, can’t replace.

Our job isn’t finished once we’ve finalized your itinerary. We will keep in touch with relevant information prior to your departure and assist you with last-minute changes during your trip. Finally, we will follow-up with you when you’re back home.

We’re Fran and Sofie, founders of Your Way To Travel. In 2016 I (Sofie) quit my corporate job to start a remote life, traveling around the world during 15 months with my husband Fran. Together we’ve founded Your Way To Travel, an online travel agency aiming to create customised trips for individuals and companies. We’d be happy to be your partner-in-crime for your next trip! Send us an email and let us know your preferences/specific needs and we will create you an unforgettable, personalised experience.

Looking from our window it feels too soon to talk about Christmas but if you want to visit one of Europe’s Christmas markets then booking ahead is highly recommended! In this article we will list some of Europe’s best Christmas markets and they make for a great (winter) weekend escape!

Vienna, Austria

Set in a charming decor, right in front of the City Hall, the Christmas market in Vienna guarantees great entertainment besides the usual shopping and eating/drinking. Inside the City Hall, kids can also learn how to make Christmas cookies and candles. The market also boosts a huge ice rink for the older ones.

Dates: Nov, 15 – Dec, 26 2019

Vienna’s charming decor for the annual Christmas market

Munich, Germany

The Christmas scene in Munich will blow your mind away. You can choose between many markets, from the classic, traditional ones to the more unconventional markets. The oldest and traditional Christmas market takes place at Marienplatz, Munich’s main square. It’s by far the most crowded one but it’s popular for its variety of handmade crafts and food stalls.

Dates: Nov, 27 – Dec, 24 2019

Christmas market at Marienplatz in Munich.

Strasbourg, France

Strasbourg – located in east France and just across the border with Germany – hosts one of Europe’s oldest Christmas markets. With around 300 wooden stalls, illuminated streets in the old centre and a giant Christmas tree, Strasbourg feels like the Christmas capital to many travellers.

Dates: Nov, 24 – Dec, 24 2019

Christmas at Strasbourg. Pic by noel.strasbourg.eu

Prague, Czech Republic

The Czech capital not only offers one, but two Christmas markets that are just a 5 minute walk from each other. You won’t be able to resist all the delicious Christmas treats as you can sample local food and drinks to get you prepared for your Christmas shopping. If you find yourself in Prague on Christmas Day, you’ll be surprised to find all huts open!

Dates: Nov, 30 – Jan, 6 2019

Christmas market at Prague. Pic by pragueexperience.com

Bruges, Belgium

The waffles, hot chocolate and the fairytale setting of Bruges – listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site – all add to an incredible winter atmosphere. Bruges’ main square is the centre of all festivities but you’ll find entertainment and Christmas decorations all around town. There’s also an ice rink to warm your body or skate all that delicious food off!

Dates: Nov, 22 – Jan, 5 2019

Christmas market at Bruges. Pic by kerstmarkt.com

Lille, France

Located in north France, Lille is a charming place to visit during the festive season. With a vast range of stalls, this market offers a great selection to shop for Christmas gifts and taste local products. But there’s more; you can hop on a giant ferris wheel to enjoy panoramic views of the market and the city. With direct Eurostar connection, this is popular destination for British citizens.

Dates: Nov, 22 – Dec, 29 2019

The giant ferris wheel at Lille Christmas market. Pic by frenchmoments.eu

Berlin, Germany

In Berlin you’ll be spoiled: there’s no just one Christmas market but over 70! Now, if there’s only time for one then you should visit the historical Gendarmenmarkt, located at the old town of Spandau. It’s popular for a good reason: besides the typical crafts stalls, you can also have a cup of mulled wine and taste a delicious sausage. All that set against the magnificent backdrop of the Deutscher Dom and Französischer Dom.

Dates: Nov, 25 – Dec, 31 2019

Berlin’s Gendarmenmarkt Christmas market

Brussels, Belgium

The Winter Wonders event is more like a festival taking place at different locations in the capital: at the Grand-Place (the main square) and around the Bourse, the Place de la Monnaie, the Place Sainte-Catherine and the Marché aux Poissons. There are more than 200 chalets serving hot chocolate, Belgian beers, waffles and much more; but also a covered ice rink for skating and a ferris wheel.

Dates: Nov, 29 – Jan, 5 2019

Winter Wonders at Brussels

Stockholm, Sweden

For a traditional Christmas celebration, the old town Christmas market (Gamla Stan) in Stockholm is a must. The red stalls sell typical Christmas treats like smoked sausages, reindeer- and elk meat and glögg (Swedish mulled wine). If the market’s too crowded, head to some of the smaller streets in the old town which are also nicely decorated.

Dates: Nov, 23 – Dec, 23 2019

Red stalls at Gamla Stan Christmas market. Pic by visitstockholm.com

Salzburg, Austria

With its wonderful baroque architecture providing a backdrop for the more than 100 stands, the Christmas market in Salzburg makes for a great stroll. Selling everything from Christmas treats and handicrafts, the city of Mozart concludes our list of European Christmas markets.

Dates: Nov, 21 – Dec, 26 2019

Salzburg Christmas market covered in snow

It’s definitely not too soon to start planning your Christmas getaway! Prices of flights and accommodation during the Christmas holidays can increase significantly nearer the holiday season so make sure to contact us soon. We can arrange transportation and accommodation for you!

Menorca not only offers some of the best beaches in the Balearics but also has a large selection of fantastic restaurants with great care for the local product. Here’s our guide to some of the best places to eat in Menorca.

Courtesy of Smoix

Mon Restaurant & Fonda

This restaurant/boutique hotel in Ciutadella combines outstanding food quality with a pleasant atmosphere and a diverse wine menu. Affordable lunch menu available at weekdays.

Binifadet

The oldest winery on the island, located in Sant Lluís, not only has a wine bar but also a Mediterranean terrace where food and wines can be tasted in an elegant and trendy setting making it the perfect venue for private events as well.

Terrace at Binifadet

Smoix

Conveniently located in the centre of Ciutadella, Smoix restaurant prepares contemporary food with a creative touch. No surprise they’ve been recognised by the Michelin Guide. The recently opened guest rooms are a nice addition to their restaurant.

Es Cranc

Known by many locals (and tourists) as the best place to eat caldereta de langosta, a lobster stew, Es Cranc is a classical. Aside from the house specialty, you can’t go wrong by ordering any seafood dish. Located in the small fishermen village of Fornells, on the north coast of Menorca.

Caldereta de langosta at Es Cranc

Café Balear

Another one to add to Ciutadella’s buzzing dining scene. Café Balear is one of our favourite places for fresh seafood – the catch of the day is delivered from their own fishermen boat. The terrace along the water with views of the old harbour is perfect for a romantic summer night.

Terrace of Café Balear

Aire

Set right on the beach of Punta Prima, Aire offers unpretentious food with a laid-back vibe. Families love it as the kids can play around while you enjoy your meal.

Ulisses

Located next to the fish market in Ciutadella, Ulisses takes pride in selecting fresh and local products (all fish and seafood comes in from their own fishermen boat) creating an innovative Mediterranean cuisine you haven’t tried in many places before. Joan, the owner, also knows how to prepare signature cocktails, besides having an extensive wine knowledge.

Calamares a la bruta (Squid) at Ulisses

Pan y Vino

Sumptuous meals in a gorgeous local setting with very welcoming staff. Their tasting and à la carte menu changes according to the seasonal products. Located in Es Mercadal, in the centre of the island.

Roasted duck with rosemary reduction at Pan y Vino

Es Tast de na Silvia

The only restaurant on the island with a slow food – Km 0 certificate. Silvia only uses local products, selected from the local market resulting in a fantastic menu that changes every day. One not to miss out on when you’re in Ciutadella.

Piqniq

This small takeaway restaurant in Ciutadella centre is committed to offer you healthy dishes like poke bowls, quinoa salads, quiches, etc – many of them vegan and vegetarian-friendly. Their brownies are also to die for! This summer they opened a new restaurant in Los Delfines with a nice, large terrace.

Take away food from Piqniq to enjoy at the beach

As part of our Menorca Personal Concierge Service, we assist with restaurant recommendations and reservations. Contact our travel planners and we will be glad to help you!

The collapse of Thomas Cook has left the tourism sector a bit shocked and while the English tour operator has ceased its operations immediately, hundreds of thousands of tourists are left with unanswered questions and an overall feeling of no-control over their own holiday plans.

Nothing new though…. that’s what tour operators do. They ask us to hand them all control in exchange of lower rates but what they don’t tell us is far more important than what they promise.

You see, tour operators are founded to optimize the money they make, not the quality of their service or the happiness of their clients. Tour operators choose a few sites and operate their whole machinery to squeeze every tiny bit of income they can from that site. They flood one city, or in fact, one hotel with as many tourists as they possibly can with fake ads and misleading offers. They show us pristine beaches and spacious hotels in their brochures only to discover ourselves that they happened to promise the exact same thing to other 600 people in the exact same week for the exact same price. They bend the rules to the extent of overselling their packages knowing that it is more profitable for them even if they have to re-accommodate and compensate a percentage of their clients. All in all, they treat clients like a commodity.

It is sad to know that thousands of people have lost their jobs over the night and it is hard to imagine the unfair conditions that a giant corporation will eventually negotiate with unions and governments to compensate for their own mess. However, there is some light at the end of the tunnel.

The chaos created by Thomas Cook’s bankruptcy is the result, in part, of people waking up and realising that they want to be back in control of their holidays. Mobile apps and hundreds of websites across the Internet have never offered such a big amount of possibilities for travellers to plan their own trips. We live in an era of endless possibilities where the difficulty lies not in “planning” but in “choosing” and the upcoming generations do not feel comfortable when others choose for them. People want DIY projects and they want to be in control of where they go, how much they pay and what they’ll do.

We, at Your Way To Travel, want to offer a service tailored to the needs of each of our clients. We believe in downscaling the economy to escale our happiness. We advocate for a more diverse way of travelling. We support the idea of shoulder-season travelling, boutique hotels and sustainable tourism. We offer a different perspective on how the jurassic tour-operation industry works. One where you experience the place you visit rather than quickly scan through its highlights. One where you taste the local food, listen to local music and mingle with local people rather than staying in an all-inclusive resort eating the same food, listening to the same music and talking to your neighbour because she saw the same ad and purchased the exact same holiday deal as you did.

And if you think that sustainable tourism and proper travelling (one where you don’t have to rush from monument to monument) is more expensive, brings more headaches and takes considerably much more resources than just purchasing a fixed-no-changes-package, we’d ask you to let us prove it otherwise. Let us take care of you and we’ll prove that you can have the best of both worlds. You can choose how much to spend, where to go and have a unique and bespoke holiday made exactly and only for you. You don’t have to pay top dollar for it, you just have to want a better holiday.

Even the most frequent travellers are sometimes confused about travel insurance. Is it worth the extra money? Where should I buy it? It’s probably not the first thing that comes to mind when planning your vacation but in some cases your travel insurance can make or break your holiday.

Insurance types

There are many types of travel insurance and coverages. It’s important to get the insurance that covers exactly what you care most about. Most carriers start with a basic insurance package which include trip cancellation or interruption, baggage lost and/or medical and flight insurance. Extras can be added depending on your personal concerns (in case you have a specific medical condition or a valuable item you want to protect). A comprehensive package will include all of the above and much more, like coverage for expenses occurred due to flight delays or change to the itinerary.

Tips when purchasing travel insurance

Check what’s covered by your (private) health insurance

Most health insurance plans offer partial coverage when traveling abroad. You’ll most likely get coverage for emergency cases which you’ll have to pay out of your pocket when abroad and then submit for reimbursement once home. Contact them before you leave to make sure you understand the specifics of the inclusions (and exclusions).

Check what’s covered by your credit card

Some credit cards offers free travel insurance when making your reservation. The benefits depend on the type of card and may include reimbursement when cancelling your reservations or travel accident insurance; while others include extras like lost luggage reimbursement or rental car collision coverage.

What credit cards include travel insurance? American Express, Chase or Citi are some of the most popular cards issuers chosen by frequent travellers.

EU Resident? Get your EHIC card!

The European Health Insurance Card is a personalised card that grants you access to medical assistance during a temporary stay in any of the countries of the European Union, the European Economic Area (Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway) and Switzerland. You can get your card in the country you’re registered as a resident.

It’s important to know that the EHIC doesn’t cover private healthcare or reimbursement for flights, losses or theft. It’s not a travel insurance; the aim is to cover urgent medical assistance for emergencies or illnesses that occur abroad.

Do you really need travel insurance?

Weigh the cost of your trip with the cost of the insurance. For a short weekend getaway that doesn’t involve high costs it’s probably not worth spending money on a travel insurance. If you’re taking a once-in-a-lifetime trip that means a lot to you or a long trip across many countries, then it’s worth looking into the options.

We don’t have exclusivity with any travel insurance company but we do want to give you a personal recommendation. So far we’ve always used World Nomads for our long (and overseas) travels and we’re really satisfied about their service! Their standard plan includes all basic needs (and even more) and can be extended to the explorer plan. The price depends on your destination, age, trip duration and country of residence. Get you online quote!

Do you have more questions whether you need to purchase travel insurance for your upcoming trip? Contact our travel planners for further assistance!

Manchester, once one of the richest cities of the British Empire, now has evolved into a vibrant city that combines innovation with attractive buildings showcasing the glorious past of the city. Together with Liverpool, it’s the birthplace of some of the world’s most famous bands. The latter is packed with landmarks of The Beatles making it a must-visit for every Beatles fan or music lover.

In this post you’ll get to know everything on how to spend a perfect weekend in both cities.

Manchester

Manchester’s industrial wealth during the Victorian Era is visible everywhere you look. Impressive facades, the Cathedral and the Chetham’s Library are some of the monumental highlights of the city.

Manchester City Centre

Right in the city centre you’ll find another great library which is often classified as one of the world’s most beautiful libraries, The John Rylands Library; which is said to have inspired J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter stories.

John Rylands Library, picture of visitmanchester.com

Manchester also features some great museums like the Museum of Science and Industry, the People’s History Museum which tells the story of the social development in Britain, and the National Football Museum.

As a football fan you should definitely combine your visit to the National Football Museum with a stadium tour at either Manchester United or Manchester City. Check out the schedule and you might be lucky to even watch a live game.

A visit to Manchester wouldn’t be complete without a stroll along the city’s bohemian neighbourhood, the Northern Quarter. It’s a trendy area with some of the city’s best brunch spots – special mention to Ezra & Gil, restaurants, live music venues and cool bars proudly playing some of the best music produced in Manchester like Oasis, The Smiths and The Stone Roses.

Where to stay?

All following hotels are conveniently located in Manchester’s city centre. Whitworth Locke is a new aparthotel set in a 19th century building next to Gay Village. Abel Heywood is a nicely decorated boutique hotel located in the Northern Quarter. Stay at Hotel Gotham for an upscale accommodation in the heart of the city.

Liverpool

Liverpool, the birthplace of The Beatles, thrives on its most famous sons John, Paul, George and Ringo. The city is tied so closely to the most famous music band in history that the Fab Four have shaped Liverpool’s tourism industry. Beatles fans can start their tour at the statue that lies just in front of the British Music Experience. From here it’s just a short walk down the waterfront to the Beatles Story museum which is located at Albert Dock.

The Beatles Statue, Liverpool
The Beatles Story, Liverpool

Head to Rough Hand Made at Albert Dock for a freshly baked sandwich or pastry.

Continue towards the Cavern Quarter which is centred around Mathew Street. Here you’ll find the world’s mosts famous club, The Cavern, where The Beatles played nearly 300 times. There’s live music during the day and at night there’s a live performance of The Cavern Club Beatles, four Liverpool locals who replicate the looks and the sound of the original band. If you also want to see the places that inspired The Beatles like Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields or the neighbourhood they grew up in, step aboard the Magical Mystery Tour which will take you in about 2 hours around the city with a complete visit of all places associated to the band.

But that’s not everything! Head south to visit the country’s largest cathedral, an impressive 20th century construction. A short walk from the cathedral lies the city’s trending and upcoming district The Baltic Quarter. It’s Liverpool’s innovative neighbourhood where start-ups, bars and restaurants have created an alternative vibe in former warehouses.

Liverpool Cathedral
The Baltic Quarter, Liverpool

Where to stay?

You’ve got plenty of accommodation choice in Liverpool! From the cozy apartments of Staybridge Suites next to Albert Dock or the stylish rooms at Aloft By Marriott to The Beatles inspired Hard Days Night Hotel.

Getting Around

If you rent a car, it’s about one hour drive from Manchester to Liverpool (or vice versa). Alternatively, a short train ride connects both cities in less than 40 minutes.

Both Manchester and Liverpool airport are well connected with direct flights to most cities in the EU. Due to our flight connections from Menorca, we decided to fly to EMA (East Midlands Airport), located south of Manchester.

Optional: Peak District National Park

Due to its proximity to our arrival airport, we included a quick visit to UK’s original national park; Peak District National Park. A nice break from the city scene and highly recommended if you have some time left!

Although often overshadowed by its bigger sister the Lake District, the Peak District offers breathtaking views and great hiking and cycling opportunities. The green landscape, rolling hills and cute little villages are a great escape for any outdoor lover!

Mam Tor at Peak District National Park

Whether you only have a few days or longer, Manchester and Liverpool offer plenty of things to do, see, eat and drink. Besides, they are the perfect base to explore Northern England’s countryside. Planning a trip to England soon? Contact our travel consultants now and we will send you a tailor-made offer.

I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up that I was not happy.
– Ernest Hemingway.

Africa; the land of the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets, infinite landscapes, the greatest show of wildlife on earth and hopeful and generous people. A trip to Africa will create long-lasting memories and we want to make sure you enjoy it to the fullest.

For most people a safari is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We work with high-end providers all over Africa to create tailor-made luxury safaris. These are unique trips customised to your personal preferences and include top accommodation, transfers and game drives. Depending on your needs, we arrange extra perks like personal staff, a private pool, air-conditioned tent, spa, balloon flight, etc.

Treat yourself with a balloon safari during sunrise

In this article we’ll list down some of Africa’s best safari destinations, including advise on when to visit each park and our favourite accommodation picks.

Where to go?

What are the top destinations for a safari? Africa is a massive continent with a rich diversity of fauna of flora as well as culture so the options are endless. Here we will give a few examples that will hopefully inspire you!

Kenya

Maasai Mara Reserve, Kenya

A classic destination for a first-time safari. Along with Tanzania, it ranks high in the list of the best safari destinations. The Maasai Mara Reserve, covering over 1,500 km2 (580 sq mi), is home to the BIG 5 (lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard, rhinoceros). It’s pretty much a year-round destination but the best time to visit is definitely between July and October when millions of wildebeests and zebras cross from Tanzania to Kenya, also called the Great Migration.

Tanzania

Serengeti National Park is located in northwestern Tanzania, bordering with the Maasai Mara Reserve in Kenya. Few places compare to the open landscapes and beauty of the Serengeti. It’s one of the best places to watch cheetahs and lions in action. November to June is the best time to watch “one of the greatest shows on earth”, i.e. the migration of huge herds of wildebeests and zebras who are heading south, seeking fresh grasslands. The exact timing of the migration however depends on the rainfall patterns of each year.

The Great Migration in Serengeti

Uganda

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, located in southwest Uganda on the edge of the Albertine Rift Valley, is the place to be to spot gorillas. This dense rainforest is home to half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas. Go gorilla trekking and meet this endangered primates in their natural habitat. Permits should be booked with months in advance as only small guided groups are allowed to get face-to-face with the apes.

The endangered mountain gorilla in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Namibia

Animals gathering together around a waterhole at the Etosha Pan

Located in northwest Namibia lies Etosha National Park, providing a wonderful opportunity to watch a great diversity of animals gathered together around the Etosha Pan. It’s a huge salt desert where a large variety of mammals, birds and reptiles can be spotted. The best way to view wildlife is at one of the many waterholes at the reserve. By night, just sit at the floodlit waterholes at your lodge or camp to view game. You might even spot a black rhino, an endangered specie and Etosha’s main attraction.

Botswana

The Okavango Delta is a popular safari destination in Botswana. This inland delta is the primary water source for millions of animals and offers an exclusive way to view wildlife. The best way to explore, is to take a boat trip into the delta on a traditional mokoro or canoe. Travel between May and October when animals migrate to the delta providing the best opportunity for a canoe safari. In July, the water level is at its highest and as of then it slowly starts to decline.

Aerial shot of the Okavango River

South Africa

Enjoy the Kruger National Park, South Africa’s world-famous park, on a self-guided drive or with a guided tour. The park is approximately 360km long (bigger than Belgium or Wales!) and is located 4 to 5h driving from Johannesburg. Charter flights can also be booked to get to your lodge promptly. The park has excellent game viewing opportunities and besides the BIG 5, it’s the perfect place to watch cheetahs and leopards. Kruger is also home to some extraordinary lodges, see below some examples.

Explore Kruger on a self-guided drive or guided tour

Group vs private travel

All our safaris can be booked as a group or a private trip. A group safari means that you’re part of a group itinerary which follows a clear schedule with fixed departure dates. It’s a great way to meet fellow travellers. On the other hand, these people might have different expectations or interests than you. Your group leader will always try to find a compromise but make sure you understand you’re not in control of the itinerary.

On a private safari you’re fully in control of your schedule and all activities. A private safari works like any other private trip where you decide on the dates, duration of your trip, activities to include, accommodation type, etc. You’ll have the freedom to create the safari of your dreams. A private safari is of course more expensive than a group safari but the extra dollars are definitely worth it if you prefer a customised safari!

Have total freedom to decide where to go, when to include a break (and get the window seats) on a private safari

At Your Way To Travel we create tailor-made travel itineraries, always customised to your personal interests and needs. We work together with trustworthy partners to offer you private or group safaris all around Africa. For more info or for a personalised offer, send us a message (no strings attached) and we’ll get you more info!

This post is also available in DUTCH and FRENCH.

Menorca is without doubt the most idyllic and peaceful of the Balearic Islands. One way to discover its stunning nature is through the Camí de Cavalls, a 185km long path along the coastline. In this article we’ll explain you more about this trail and give you plenty of tips to organise your trip.

Playa Macarella - Menorca

What is the Camí de Cavalls?

The Camí de Cavalls (literally: “way of horses” or horse path) is a historic path along the coast of Menorca which was initially used by horse-riding guards to defend the island from incoming sea attacks. Later on it was also of strategic importance for the French and English during their period of dominance. The historic relevance of the trail eventually faded away until some locals joined efforts to restore the path in the nineties. In 2010 the Camí de Cavalls was officially reopened and since then, more and more tourists are visiting Menorca to discover some of the island’s best beaches along the trail.

Cami de Cavalls (Punta Nati) - Menorca
Cala Morell to Punta Nati

Walking the Camí de Cavalls

Let’s start by clarifying that there are different ways to experience the Camí de Cavalls: by foot, by (mountain)bike or even on horseback. This is a self-guided trail so the decision is entirely up to you.

The trail

The trail is 185km long and is officially divided up into 20 stages, starting in Mahón (the capital). You can walk the entire loop of the island, choose one individual stage (or several stages) or only hike the north or south coast. There’s no need to follow this official division of 20 stages; you can walk/run/cycle at your own pace and in the direction you prefer.

It’s important to make a difference between the beaches in the north and south of the island. The north coast is more mountainous, with rock formations that resemble a lunar landscape in many places. It’s very rough and virgin and that’s one of the reasons we absolutely love the north side of the island! The south coast has more vegetation and light sandy beaches which make the water look transparent and turquoise. Access to most beaches in the south is easier and there’s more infrastructure (beach bars, restaurants) so these beaches can get more crowded, especially in the summer months.

In addition to the difference in terms of landscape and scenery, your choice will also depend on the wind conditions. When the south wind blows, the north is usually calmer and with less jellyfishes, and the opposite occurs when the north wind blows. Always check the latest wind conditions! We use the Windy app to get the most accurate wind forecast.

Playa Macarelleta - Menorca
Cala Macarelleta

Accommodation & Logistics

Menorca is a natural biosphere reserve; the island is protected meaning that in many parts you won’t find any accommodation for kilometres. Public transportation on the island mainly serves the urban areas and the beaches along the Camí de Cavalls are unfortunately not well connected by bus.

Some sections on the south coast are better prepared for tourism and here you’ll find a larger selection of hotels, agroturismos, serviced apartments and even restaurants or supermarkets. Note however that these touristic establishments only open during the tourist season (starting from May until October).

Whether you’re traveling to Menorca in winter or summer, we’re here for you to take care of the entire planning of your trip!

We will book all accommodation along the Camí de Cavalls for you and will assist you with all logistics, i.e. airport transfer, luggage transfer, etc.

Cala Algaiarens

Menorca Travel Concierge

We’re a Menorcan based travel agency specialised in tailor-made travel and concierge services. As local residents, we’ve got the experience and resources to make your trip to Menorca unforgettable. Our personalised assistance has been designed to save you time and let you enjoy your vacation without the hassle of organising it. We offer you a wide variety of services, always tailored to your needs. 

Would you like to explore the wonderful coastal landscapes of this island? Contact us now and we will take care of every need!

When we think of a European summer holiday, the usual and popular spots like Italy, Spain and Greece come to mind. We absolutely love these Mediterranean countries but during the busy summer months, they can get overcrowded. That’s why we’d like to introduce you to some lesser-known European countries which are often overlooked. In this article you will find a list of alternative destinations for a sunny summer escape in Europe.

Romania

Our first country on the list is a paradise for nature lovers. Romania is home to some of Europe’s wildest nature, including the largest population of brown bears (in Europe). Get out of the major cities and you will find a rich variety of medieval castles, surprising architecture, breathtaking nature and a long history.

The hiking trail possibilities are endless with some challenging trails found in the Southern Carpathian, the mountain range dividing the country.

A typical old fortress set against the mountain backdrop of Transylvania

Head to the east to the Danube Delta where the Danube discharges in the Black Sea. It’s a UNESCO protected area with more than 300 different species of birds. Stay at Casa Biota Boutique from where you can enjoy a boat trip on the canals of the Danube Delta.

Estonia

Estonia is often overlooked by many travellers who prefer to travel around Scandinavia. However, there’s no reason to miss out on any of these. Tallinn, Estonia’s capital is easily connected with Stockholm and Helsinki by a short ferry ride.

The charming old centre of Tallinn

Make sure to include a day or two to explore the Old Town of Tallinn surrounded by ancient walls and medievals towers. Stay at the charming The Three Sisters Boutique Hotel or go for a luxury stay at the Schlössle Hotel, both are located in the old town.

Due to its excellent ferry connection, you’ll note that most travellers stay in Tallinn only for a couple of hours. However, the relatively small size of the country makes it a great destination for a road trip. There’s a lot to see outside the capital; Estonia is an open country with lots of green spaces. There are five national parks of which Lahemaa National Park is a large conservation area home to an important population of brown bears and lynxes. If you’re traveling with friends or family, check out this lovely beachfront holiday house set in the park.

Ireland

You might think you’ve seen Ireland but chances are you’ve only driven the Ring of Kerry or walked along the Cliffs of Moher, right? These definitely are some must-see attractions in Ireland but there’s much more to see, as long as you go off the tourist radar.

Hit the Wild Atlantic Way and explore 9 counties along this stunning coastal drive. You’ll pass some amazing scenery along the west coast of Ireland like the Slieve League Cliffs in County Donegal, as beautiful as the Cliffs of Moher but with less people. For a local experience, stay at The Rusty Mackerel, a cozy pub with several rooms conveniently located near the Cliffs. 

The Slieve League Cliffs

Further south in Country Clare you can visit the medieval Bunratty Castle and Burren National Park, a moonscape-like terrain of rocks and cliffs which has several hiking trails.

If surfing is more your style, Strandhill beach, located in County Sligo, is renowned for its excellent waves. Walkers can also enjoy this beach on some of the walking trails provided.

Georgia

Georgia is a culturally rich country with some spectacular landscapes. Bordered by the Caucasus Mountains in the north, the Black Sea in the west and the desert in the south, it’s home to some great natural scenery.

You’ll probably arrive to Tbilisi, the capital and the country’s largest city, which lies on the banks of the Mtkvari River. The city is a great mix of western and eastern influences. You can stroll along the charming old town and at the same time take a break at one of the many new wine and cocktails bars. Stay at the beautiful Stamba Hotel, a design hotel in the historic quarter of Tbilisi.

Tbilisi at night, picture by the nytimes

Indeed, Georgia is a feast for wine lovers and foodies. The country is considered the birthplace of wine and traditional wines are made in clay jars.

The Caucasus Mountains are home to some idyllic medieval villages which make a great base for hiking. Locals here who are incredibly generous, will be more than happy to help you around.

Would you love to explore some of Europe’s less visited places? Our travel planners will be glad to help you with the planning of your trip. Contact us for more info.

Ukraine

Forget the typical historic European cities like Paris, Rome or Vienna. Visit Kiev, Ukraine’s charming capital instead. It’s a city with great architecture, nice markets and cobblestone streets that only gets 1.6 million visitors each year. Stay at the 11 Mirrors Design Hotel and enjoy a panoramic view of the city.

Take a short 1h flight to Lviv, a Unesco listed city located in Western Ukraine. It’s a gem of a city which is quickly becoming Ukraine’s top touristic attraction so visit this charming city now before it gets too crowded. Stay at the conveniently located Bankhotel in the Old Town.

The charming Old Town of Lviv

If you want to add a few days of beach to your Ukraine trip, head to Odessa, a lovely port city in the south. Known as the Pearl of the Black Sea, Odessa perfectly combines a vibrant city life with a laid-back beach vibe. Stay at the Frederic Koklen Boutique Hotel, a historic hotel with French inspiration.

How many times have you told your friends or family you must go on a trip all together? Traveling as a group means bonding but unfortunately it also involves a more rigorous planning. Are you the one in charge of the whole trip? No worries, we love group travel (and we’ve learned from our mistakes) so here are some useful and simple tips to plan a memorable group trip – without stress.

1. Assign a leader

Group travel doesn’t imply that every decision has to be reviewed by the entire group. Ideally you would organise the trip as a group but that’s not realistic. You better start by assigning one person or two who will lead the process.

Now, how do you choose the leader? Know the strengths of everyone. If someone with great organisation skills volunteers, then your problem is easily solved. If nobody is willing to take the responsibility, appoint an organisation team of maximum 2 or 3 persons. These people will take all decisions on behalf of the group, with their best interests in mind.

2. Agree on a budget

Now that you’ve got a leader, you can start planning your trip! The first challenge is to define a budget. Although a tricky point, it’s crucial to know the group budget before you start any further research. Be realistic (if you’re traveling in high season, you’ll need a slightly higher budget) and make sure everyone feels comfortable with the agreed budget.

Rely on technology to keep track of the group expenses. We normally use Splitwise for this. It’s very easy and intuitive and it saves a lot of time and headaches when it comes to splitting bills, tips and all sort of expenses.

3. Set dates

Finding a time frame for a (large) group is not an easy task so pick your dates as soon as possible. If it looks like a mission impossible, use the power of technology. We love Doodle, it’s a simple way to get to know everyone’s schedule and find the most convenient dates. Once confirmed, communicate the dates and make sure everyone clears his calendar for those days!

4. Choose location

Once your dates are sorted out, you’ll have to choose the location of your trip. Some groups already know where to go before they start planning so if this is your case, head to the next point.

If your group is open to ideas, you will have to research a little longer (just a little bit). What are the group interests? Do they want a beach vacation, a city trip, a mountain escape? How many days do you have? Just a weekend, a week or even longer? With just one weekend, you don’t want to travel too far from home. With a larger time frame,  you’re more flexible to head further and take a plane.

5. Book transportation

Depending on the location, you will have to book flights or ground transportation. If you’re all traveling from the same place, look around for deals on car/bus hire or plane tickets.

Renting a minivan can be cool but it will leave you with only one car meaning that the group will have to travel together at all times. If you prefer more flexibility, rent two (or more) cars which will allow the group to split up if necessary.

Book your flight tickets as a group reservation. Most airlines offer a separate reservation platform for groups as of 10 people where you can get a discount and/or flexible tickets.

6. Choose accommodation

Location is set so next step is to find appropriate accommodation. No pressure but the accommodation can make or break your trip.

Don’t limit your search to hotels as they’re not necessarily the best option for a group, unless there’s a specific wish to stay at an all-inclusive resort. Think broader and add some villas to your list. Sharing a house isn’t just more cost-effective, it will also create natural get-togethers. You can share one kitchen, hang out together in the garden or in front of the fire with a bottle of wine.

If your group opts for a hotel, then contact the hotel directly as you’re likely to get a group discount (in case of a large group).

7. Organise (some) activities

Now comes the fun part! All is set in place, you just have to find things to do at your destination. Think about tours, activities, dinners, etc. The larger the group, the more important it is to book in advance.

Bear in mind any accessibility issues, special family needs and the age of all travellers. Schedule your trip and make some bookings accordingly (remember to ask for a group discount).

8. Find a flexible itinerary

Don’t get too excited about pre-planning the whole trip! You will need to book certain activities (or dinners) in advance, especially if you’re a large group or traveling in peak season. But leave some room for spontaneous activities and don’t plan every second of the trip! After all, you’re on vacation and you all want to unwind.

A group trip can only be successful if everyone gets a little bit of privacy from time to time. Especially if you travel with a large group, it might be wise to split up for some activities. A flexible itinerary will give everyone the option to find some time for themselves.

 

Contact us if you need professional assistance to plan your next group trip! Whether you’re traveling with your friends, family or colleagues, we’ll save you a heap of time and effort!

One day is always too short to explore a new place but as for Waiheke Island, renowned for its good wine, bohemian life and superb beaches, it makes a great day trip from Auckland.

Located in the Hauraki Gulf, Waiheke island is easily accessible from Auckland harbour on a 40-50min direct ferry ride. SeaLink runs car and passenger ferries to Kennedy Point, mainly departing from Half Moon Bay (east Auckland). Fullers, however, operates passenger ferries from downtown Auckland to Matiatia Wharf.

There’s a hop-on hop-off bus that connects many of the island’s top sights but for full flexibility we advise you to rent a car.

Although it’s just a short ferry ride from Auckland, this small island feels like a world away so if you have more time, do stay longer! If you’re short on time like us, here’s a useful guide with some top places to explore.

Tip: We arrived early and went for breakfast to Timbuktu Nomadic Deli, a small café off the main road just a couple of minutes from Kennedy Point.

Beaches

Onetangi Beach

Onetangi Beach, the first beach we hit, immediately set the bar high. An almost 2km stretch of white sand beach with ample space to stroll and feel like you’re the only one on the beach. There are a few restaurants and apartments with sea view just across the road.

Man O’War Bay

A pretty and calm bay located on the eastern end of the island. From Onetangi beach you continue on the main road for about 5km. Then turn left onto the Man O’War Bay Rd, an unpaved road which you follow for 9km.

View of Man O’ War Bay

It’s a bit of an effort to get here but the ocean views along the hilly and curved road are absolutely worth it.

Views on our way from Onetangi Beach to Man O’War Bay

The main attraction here is found just across the bay, where the green lawns of Man O’War vineyard invite you to taste their wines.

Oneroa Beach

A nice and calm beach with clear blue waters just a few minutes from the wharf and Waiheke’s main town. Toilets and showers are available as well as limited parking.

Aerial view of Oneroa Bay, picture by rwdevonport.co.nz

Little Oneroa, a small sheltered bay right next to the main beach, is usually less busy than its bigger sister. There’s a pizza shag, Dragonfired, which serves excellent pizzas.

Wineries

Waiheke Island is internationally renowned as a prime wine growing region in New Zealand. There’s a wide range of reputable wineries across the island but we’ve narrowed down the list to a small selection of great vineyards.

Fun fact: we’re so used to say winery but actually in New Zealand, as well as in Australia, they’re called cellar doors. Unfortunately, unlike most of the cellar doors we visited in Australia, those in Waiheke don’t offer complimentary tasting.

Man O’War Vineyard

Overlooking the clear waters of Man O’War Bay, this pretty vineyard features a nice outdoor area. We were very much looking forward to tasting their wines, especially as it’s a bit of an effort to get here, but unfortunately the cellar door was closed due to harvest season. That was a bummer!

The garden area of Man O’War Vineyard

Passage Rock Wines & Bistro

From Man O’War Bay you continue south following the coastline, along the Te Matuku Bay, and you will arrive at Passage Rock Wines. A relaxing cellar where Alex, the friendly waiter, guided us through a wine degustation journey. They serve small bites as well as delicious wood oven pizzas in their restaurant.

Tantalus Estate

Right in the middle of the island, not too far from the wharf, lies one of the newest additions to Waiheke’s vineyard destinations. Tantalus Estate has definitely brought a new and modern vibe to the wine scene in Waiheke.  The majestical driveway, elegant looking tasting room, refined dishes, botanical courtyard and helicopter landing ground make it an outstanding venue for private or company events. There’s even a craft brewery on the floor below.

Mudbrick Vineyard

Our last stop on our vineyard route was Mudbrick Vineyard, a popular cellar set on a hilltop overlooking the gardens and the Hauraki Gulf (we could even see Auckland’s Sky Tower in the distance). Wine tastings take place at the cellar shop but if you purchase a glass or bottle of wine, you can sit at the garden terrace.

 

We hope you’ll have more time than us to visit this wonderful island. One day we’ll definitely be back! Contact us if you have any further questions for us or if you require assistance with your trip planning. Our travel planners will help you create a tailor-made itinerary, adjusted to your specific needs.

Kangaroo Island, a remote treasure on Australia’s south coast with a larger population of resident kangaroos than humans. This says it all; it’s a tranquil place where you leave all stress and worries behind from the moment you disembark to be in absolute awe with nature and wildlife.

This stunning island was our first stop on a 2-week road trip along South Australia and Victoria’s coastline and it was definitely the best part of it! In this article we are taking you back to a wonderful 3 days in Kangaroo Island with a detailed itinerary and all information you will need to explore this gorgeous island.

Three Day Itinerary

We stayed for 3 nights which was enough time to follow a route that covered the entire island. Below we’ll lay out our itinerary with a detailed explanation of each stop.

Scroll down to learn how to get to Kangaroo Island or to find accommodation suggestions.

The route we covered during our 3-day stay in Kangaroo Island

Dudley Wines

Upon arrival at Penneshaw, we drove to Dudley Wines, Kangaroo’s pioneer winery which is only a 15min drive from the ferry terminal. It’s a bit of a rough road but the impressive ocean vistas are absolutely worth the bumpy ride. Wine tasting is complementary – unless you opt for the premium flight – and food is abundant and fresh (try the seafood pizza).

Oceanview from Dudley Wines

Kingscote

You will either arrive to Penneshaw (by ferry) or Kingscote (by plane) which are both located on the east coast of Kangaroo Island. Kingscote is the island’s largest town with a selected range of services and shopping available. You will find a few general stores  across the island but as the island’s main supply point, Kingscote, has a larger variety of shops and restaurants.

Tip: Go to Cactus café for a delicious breakfast and try the fish and chips at Kangaroo Island Fresh Seafood. Both are located in Kingscote.

Emu Bay

About 20min north of Kingscote lies Emu Bay, a 4km long stretch of white, unspoiled sand beach. It’s a popular swim spot but it rarely gets too crowded even during the summer months. We arrived early in the morning and were lucky to spot pelicans.

Emu Bay

Tip: Don’t put “Emu Bay” in Google Maps, search for “Emu Bay Beach” or “Emu Bay Campground” instead. Both are easily accessible via a paved road and offer a beautiful view of the bay.

Stokes Bay

From Emu Bay get back to the North Coast Road, ridged with eucalyptus trees, and keep following until you get to Stokes Bay.

North Coast Road, from Emu Bay to Stokes Bay

From the parking in Stokes Bay you start walking between the rock formations until you get to a beautiful rock pool, a safe place for small kids to swim. There’s no shade on the beach so it can get hot in summer months. Right off the parking of Stokes Bay you can get a light snack or refreshment at  The Rockpool Café.

Getting our way through the rock formations before arriving to the beach

Stokes Bay beach

Flinders Chase National Park

Located at the west end of the island, lies Flinders Chase National Park, a protected area which includes many of the iconic sights of Kangaroo Island.

Cape Borda Lighthouse

Drive south on the Stokes Bay Road to rejoin the Playford Highway, the main road that crosses the island. After about 45min driving, you will continue on a dust road where you’ll have to slow down your speed considerably for another 30min until reaching Cape Borda Lighthouse.

The lighthouse is officially located within the Flinders Chase National Park and the area features a restored signal cannon, a museum and kiosk where refreshments and souvenirs are available. Tours only run from Friday to Tuesday – except during Australian school holidays – with a daily cannon firing on the 12.30 pm tour.

Take the short 1km hike that starts from the lighthouse passing through the rock gardens until a nice clifftop lookout point. There’s a sheltered picnic area with barbeque facilities, all extremely clean and well taken care of! During our walk we saw two wallabies on the trail and then during picnic another one came by to say hi (watch this video to see our lunch visitor).

Ravine des Casoars

From the lighthouse head back to the same road for about 3 kilometres. Then turn right onto Ravine Road, another dirt road, which you follow for 7km until you get to the Ravine des Casoars carpark. The 8km return hike starts directly from the parking and follows the ravine for 4km until one of the most spectacular and virgin beaches we’ve ever seen.

As most visitors to Kangaroo Island don’t visit the island entirely, there are still a few places that are left quite unexplored and this beach is one of them. We even couldn’t trace any footsteps of previous hikers! A great place to find peace and quiet.

Arriving at the beach after a short hike

Admirals Arch

This natural arch-shaped rock formation with stalactites dangling from the rocky ceiling is one of the top attractions on the island. Access is very easy, along a boardwalk that descends into a bay and emerges into Admirals Arch. There are several viewing platforms which allow you to watch the seals closer.

Remarkable Rocks

Another signature landmark in Flinders Chase National Park are the Remarkable Rocks, a 10min drive from Admirals Arch. These granite boulders gained their unusual shape after million of years of wind and rain. Needless to say it’s windy here!

Tip: Get here early! We visited the Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch around 9am and there was nobody! As the island’s most visited attractions, these places can get extremely crowded. It’s just a little bit more magical when you can admire these amazing sights without fellow tourists.

Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail

This recently opened trail – 2016 – is a challenging 61km coastal walk which takes 5 days to complete. The Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail starts in Flinders Chase Visitor Centre and is a one-way hike following Kangaroo Island’s rough coastline with campsites along the way. The first and last section can be walked by anyone but the other days are only accessible to hikers who have paid the trail fee (AUD161).

Our accommodation, however, was located on the fourth section of the trail so we decided to hike part of that one and the third section without permit. It was a long and tough hike with extended ocean views and a glimpse of the Remarkable Rocks at the end of our walk. It was definitely not a walk in the park, especially as we had to hike all the way back as well – this is where the permit comes in handy ;). What made the hike hard tough, wasn’t the distance but rather the rocky, technical terrain.

Hanson Bay Sanctuary

Our last stop in Flinders Chase National Park, the Hanson Bay Sanctuary, was located just a few minutes driving from our accommodation and unexpectedly resulted into a wonderful visit. On a self-guided tour we strolled along the koala walk and started spotting several koalas but all were asleep (which isn’t surprising knowing that koalas sleep between 18 and 22h each day!). This was our lucky day, however, as we saw a surprisingly active – and photogenic – koala:

Cuteness overload

Vivonne Bay

Overlooking the Southern Ocean, Vivonne Bay is set on the south coast of Kangaroo Island and is a long and wild beach accessible by taking the unpaved road past the Vivonne Bay general store. It’s great for fishing, surfing, sunbathing (as long as it isn’t as cloudy as during our visit) or you can enjoy one of the barbecue facilities in the designated picnic areas.

Long stretch of beach at Vivonne Bay

For a quick yet delicious lunch in Vivonne Bay, we definitely recommend you the whiting burger at the Vivonne Bay General Store. It’s not just a sandwich, try it and you’ll know what we’re talking about 🙂

Little Sahara

A short 10min drive from Vivonne bay lies Little Sahara, where you can rent sandboards and toboggans to surf the dunes of this sand system. It’s a fun activity for all ages, we actually ran down the dunes and had some great laughs.

Running down the dunes of Little Sahara

Seal Bay Conservation Park

Seal Bay has been home to an Australian sea lion population for thousands of years making it the 3rd largest colony of this wild creature. ⁣At the Seal Bay Conservation Park you can join a guided tour where you walk through the wild dune system onto a pristine sandy beach or you can go for a self-guided walk where you get this stunning view off the coastline! ⁣

Seals Bay

Getting there

Fly to Adelaide and drive 2h south to Cape Jervis, where you get on a ferry that takes you to Penneshaw. SeaLink operates the ferry route between both port cities with an average trip time of 45min. Make sure to book your tickets well in advance, especially in high season.

You definitely need a car to move around the island – there is no public transportation – but you can also fly to Kingscote from where your local guide or hotel can pick you up or arrange transfers.

If you rent a car, make sure to have full coverage in case a kangaroo hits your car. We didn’t face this unpleasant situation but sadly many kangaroos were encountered as road kill.

As for gas stations, you’ll find several across the island.

Top: Arriving to Penneshaw ferry terminal/ Bottom: Ferry crossing

Accommodation

  • Kangaroo Island Seaside Inn – Kingscote: This basic hotel with sea views was all we needed to crash on our first night after a red-eye flight.
  • Hanson Bay Cabins – Hanson Bay: Located inside Flinders Chase National Park, these beautiful cabins enjoy a prime location. We stayed for 2 nights at the Cygnet cabin, a newly renovated 1-bedroom cabin with ocean views. Dinner and breakfast can be arranged in advance which is an added bonus given the remoteness of the cabins. It’s a wonderful place to disconnect; literally, as there’s no phone or internet signal.

View from the living room at Cygnet cabin. Picture from Booking.com

  • The Southern Ocean Lodge: 6km west of Hanson Bay Cabins you’ll find 21 luxury and spacious lodges with clifftop ocean views.
  • Ecopia Retreat – Seal Bay: These new cabins are located in the centre of the island, only a 10min driving to Seal Bay.

 

We hope this guide helps you to plan your next trip to Kangaroo Island. We’re sure you’re gonna love it, we’re already thinking of going back one day! Contact us for any further advise or assistance with your trip planning. We will customise your trip to your needs and make it one to remember.

We’re back from a great weekend in Nusa Penida as a side trip from Bali. Nusa Penida is an island located southeast of Bali and with its 247 squared meters it’s much bigger than the neighboring and better known island Nusa Lembongan. Tourist infrastructure in Nusa Penida, however, isn’t as developed as in Lembongan although we think this will change quickly as we’ve seen construction works everywhere. So get to explore this wonderful island now before the tourist crowds arrive! In this Nusa Penida guide you will find useful information to plan your perfect weekend trip from Bali.

How to get to Nusa Penida?

The easiest and fastest way to get to Nusa Penida is to catch the fast ferry leaving from Sanur beach (southeast Bali). There are several ferry companies covering this route but our hotel in Nusa Penida arranged transportation for us with El Rey Junior. The entire journey, including hotel pick-up and drop-off in Ubud, went very smooth.

An almost empty ferry from Sanur to Nusa Penida

How to get around?

A motorbike is the most common transportation method on the island. Ask your accommodation for a motorbike rental or get one upon arrival at the port. Road conditions are pretty good on the north and east side of the island but get worse towards the south.

Must-see attractions in Nusa Penida

You will arrive at the port of Nusa Penida, located on the northwest side of the island. Most tourism is based on the north shore (close to the port) where you get spectacular views of Bali as well. The east and west side of the island have beautiful clifftop sights with some of the most incredible beaches in Bali!

Kelingking beach

The number 1 beach in Nusa Penida is Kelingking beach, located on the southwest coast. This was our last stop on our first day and the view took our breath away – save the best for last! The road to this paradisiac beach is a bit bumpy but the views are more than worth the effort. We didn’t go all the way down to the beach but be prepared for a (very) tough hike on your way back.

Crystal bay

This is definitely the most easily accessible beach in Nusa Penida. It has a large parking that is just a few meters away from the beach. The crystal clear water (hence the name) makes it an interesting dive and snorkeling spot. It’s also the perfect place to watch sunset.

Atuh beach

A personal favourite! A picture-perfect beach located on the east coast. This secluded bay with its turquoise water is surrounded by high cliff walls. Follow the small dirt road from the parking, it’s a short yet steep hike but an easy one compared to the Kelingking beach hike 🙂

Angel’s Billabong and Broken beach

A 45min (bumpy) drive from Kelingking beach you will get to Angel’s Billabong, a scenic rock formation with a naturally formed infinity pool. About 5min walking from Angel’s Billabong lies Broken beach, a picturesque viewpoint with a little cove in the cliffs. After a full day island touring on the motorbike we decided to skip these two; don’t underestimate the road conditions in the south!

Peguyangan waterfall

Another great clifftop viewpoint with a strenuous hike, this time on the south shore of the island. Although referred to as a waterfall, Peguyangan is actually more of a religious shrine. There’s a long walk down the steep, blue stairs with this magnificent view until you reach the shrine. Remember to pack a sarong or rent one for 10,000IDR.

Teletubbies hill

Lush green rolling hills in the middle of the island. We included this as a stop on our way from Atuh beach to Peguyangan.

Where to stay in Nusa Penida?

Most infrastructure is based on the north shore of the island and this is by the far the best area to stay: good road conditions and close distance to the port and restaurants. Here are some of our recommendations:

  • Pudak Nature Homestay: Basic bungalows with private bathroom just a 10min drive from the port with many dining options nearby. Good for budget travelers. Around $22/€20 per night.
  • Saka Boutique Hotel: Great location, a few minutes walking distance from the port. The hotel features a swimming pool. Around $40/€36 per night.
  • Kompyang Cottage: Beautiful, elegant cottages located on the north coast featuring swimming pool. Around $63/€56 per night.

Where to eat in Nusa Penida?

We started our day with a granola bowl and smoothie at Peñida Colada. This café/restaurant enjoys an amazing view of Mount Agung in Bali. We had some cocktails here as well on our first evening and all were superb!

For lunch we stopped at Villa Batang Golden Hills (near Atuh beach) where we had a delicious nasi goreng for only $/€2. We finished our day with a great seafood pasta at Organica, near the port.

We had some time left before taking the ferry back to Bali and headed to Maruti beach club, just a few minutes walking from the port. A great place to hang out and take a quick nap.

How much does a Nusa Penida weekend trip cost?

See below a breakdown of our expenses during the weekend:

  • Accommodation: $23/€21 per night, breakfast included
  • Transportation: The hotel charged us 550,000 IDR – $38/€34 – per person including pick-up and drop-off from/to Ubud, fast ferry Sanur-Nusa Penida-Sanur and pick-up and drop-off from/to our bungalow in Nusa Penida
  • Motorbike rental: $5/€4.5 per day

 

Plan your Nusa Penida trip now, it’s a gem of an island! Contact us for advise or travel assistance and we will research accommodation, transportation and activities personalized to your needs.

Leaving Bali is never easy; it’s like getting out of this perfectly shaped, soft cloud of good vibes and smiley faces into the hard (and often cold) reality back home. But what if you could extend this state of mind just for a couple of nights? One last shot of Balinese great service, food and style. We’re talking about Jamahal Private Resort & Spa, an adult-only boutique resort right in the heart of the former fishing village of Jimbaran. In this article we’re sharing our experience with you along with some pictures of this beautiful resort.

Unfortunately we only had one night before our next flight took off but as they say; save the best for last; we got the most out of our short stay in Jamahal Private Resort. Our garden suite villa was surrounded by lush green vegetation and offered a private entrance to the hotel pool.

The villa was decorated in a typically Balinese style with wooden furniture.

The staff had prepared us a Balinese flower bath; a nice treat for the body before embarking on a long flight!

The hotel doesn’t have beach access although there’s a complimentary shuttle to a beach club nearby. However, we didn’t feel like missing the beach during our stay because their pool is top-notch! It’s truly one of the best hotel pools we’ve ever seen, it’s like being in a natural lake surrounded by lush vegetation and a waterfall.

The hotel doesn’t have a restaurant but you can choose as much as you want from the à la carte breakfast menu which was served at the terrace of our villa.

À la carte breakfast which was served on our terrace

Last but not least, before packing our bags, we tried the 90min full body massage which was the icing on the cake. Hands down for the local ladies who gave us one of the best massages we’ve ever had in Bali.

 

Given its close proximity to the airport, only a 10 to 15 minute drive, this property is a great choice for couples who are looking to get pampered in full Balinese style before flying back home. Do you want to see more pics about this hotel? Check out our Instagram stories for more photos or contact us now if you’re traveling to Bali soon!

Last weekend we stepped into a dream of Balinese hospitality and elegance at the Six Senses Uluwatu resort. This brand new property opened last year (2018) and is about to become one of the top accommodations in Bali. Set on a roughed cliff on the southern tip of the island, the luxurious resort boasts panoramic ocean views where it seems like the pool, sky and ocean all melt together.

This was our second Six Senses experience – after Koh Samui in 2014 – and we were beyond excited to stay at their newly opened resort. The brand reflects an image of intimacy and absolute world-class creating high customer expectations.

The tone was set from the minute our car drove along the bamboo lined entrance path – the first impression from our driver says it all “very nice hotel”. As the car approached the entrance, it became clear that the spotlight was on the dramatic ocean view. This breathtaking scenery is the property’s key asset and we felt in love with it from the minute we arrived.

Our GEM (Guest Experience Maker) Sri guided us through the resort in a “buggy”, a golf cart you can request to make your trip to the infinity pool, the cliff bar or the restaurant effortless. We noted that each villa fitted seamlessly into the natural environment of the island. A first glimpse of our one-bedroom clifftop villa blew our mind away. The villa offers a sophisticated look that pairs perfectly with the oceanic colours and the natural wooden ceiling. From the bedroom you step into a large bathroom which features an ocean-facing bathtub and two showers (two outdoor + one indoor). To top it all, the villa merges smoothly into a terrace with private pool.

The bathroom which features three showers (2 outdoor and 1 indoor) plus an oceanfront bathtub

The oceanfront pool at the villa called for some morning yoga

We could have stayed forever at our private pool but decided to try out the infinity pool as well. Surprisingly, there was no one else at the pool and we had the panoramic ocean view just for ourselves. The view is just spectacular – you can even spot turtles – and it’s the perfect scenery for sunset drinks at the cliff bar.

Cliff top infinity pool

Sunset drinks at The Cliff Bar

Local touches abound, from the amrak-inspired cocktail (Balinese spirit) at the cliff bar to the in-villa lecture featuring Indonesian topics. The food at the 3 restaurants – Crudo, Rocka and Rocka Edge – combines Balinese ingredients (some of them homegrown in the hotel’s backyard) with Mexican, Peruvian and Japanese flavours. Mexican chef Ricardo Luján has created an innovative menu that left us mouthwatering. He greeted us at our table, we chatted for a while and he prepared us a combination of home-made tacos, Crudo roll and pork belly ramen. Absolutely delicious!

Dinner at Crudo restaurant

Breakfast was served at Rocka restaurant offering sweeping ocean views. A Western and Asian-style buffet including a tropical fruit stand and a fresh-cut jamón ibérico – this came as a very pleasant surprise to us, especially after being away from home (Spain) for more than two months – plus an à la carte menu with delicious (and unlimited) brunch options.

À la carte breakfast at Rocka restaurant

What sets this property out from other luxury hotels in Bali is the attention-to-detail and the level of service. A welcome note with chocolate fondue upon arrival at our villa, complimentary homemade ice cream, the softness and fresh smell of the sheets/towels and the big smile of the local staff who loved chatting with us – special thanks to Erna and Dodi of the pool bar. It’s all in the details and at Six Senses they know how to do it right.

Needless to say that the property far exceeded our expectations. The Six Senses Uluwatu has been positioned as one of the top resorts in Bali and we believe that the guest experience will only get better with time.

Are you traveling to Bali soon on a special occasion? Do you want to share an unforgettable moment with your partner or family? Get pampered at this stunning new resort! Contact us for a tailor-made offer or book your stay at this world-class resort now.

 

Thank you Six Senses Uluwatu for a wonderful stay, we hope to be back soon!

Whether you travel to Bali for holiday or for a longer stay, you cannot miss our guide with tips on where to stay and what to do. Bali is Indonesia’s most popular tourist destination and gets millions of visitors each year. What’s so special about the “Island of Gods”? It offers something for everyone. Whether you want to unwind on a pristine beach, catch a wave break, stroll along boutique shops, go temple hopping, join a first-class yoga retreat or just relax at your luxury villa. Bali has it all! It’s an island with several destinations that everyone will experience differently.

When to go?

Bali has year-round pleasant temperatures due to its position near the equator. The wet season however – from October to March – typically experiences some heavy rainfall and high levels of humidity. December, January and February are extra rainy but despite the rain, the Christmas and New Year’s period is extremely busy and you will end up paying much higher accommodation rates. Many tourists will be gone by mid-January and rates will drop considerably, which makes end of January end February one of the cheapest months to travel to Bali. 

Where to go?

Kuta & Legian

Bali’s most touristic and crowded area. The party scene dominates the streets and beaches and attracts thousands of young and old travelers seeking for a vibrant nightlife.

Seminyak

Seminyak is an extension of Kuta & Legian yet much calmer and filled with upscale boutiques, art galleries and Insta-worth eating spots. Check out Café Organic for an all-day breakfast or a mouthwatering smoothie.

Stroll along the wide beach and enjoy a perfect sunset with a cool Bintang.

Sunset at Seminyak beach

Canggu

Canggu, between Seminyak and Tanah Lot, features black sand beaches with lots of surf breaks and a green countryside full of rice fields. It’s popular with surfers and expats and you’ll find lots of stunning villas. 

Canggu beach – pic by Zelement Club

Amed

Bali’s eastern shoreline has become a favourite amongst divers. The hotels in Amed beach serve as a perfect base to discover the USS Liberty shipwreck at neighboring Tulamben and the Japanese World War II shipwreck at Banyuning. You won’t regret an excursion with Euro Dive.  

Sanur

Sanur, at the opposite side of Kuta, is Bali’s earliest coastal village. It’s a family-friendly area that combines some Western establishments with a local touch (the beaches and warungs can get very crowded by locals on Sundays). You’ll find some of Bali’s first beach resorts but also nicely decorated Balinese villas. We love to start our day with a yoga class at Power of Now Oasis followed by a fancy breakfast at Dusk Blue or Soul in a Bowl

Yoga at Power of Now Oasis

Nusa Dua

Nusa Dua is Bali’s ultimate 5-star resort destination. This is the ideal place for families looking for an all-inclusive holiday or for honeymooners who want an exclusive stay in a villa with private pool.

Uluwatu

Uluwatu is home to an incredible coastline featuring many world-class surf breaks that attract surfers from all over the world. Even if you’re not a surfer, you should go to the south-western tip of Bali to visit the Uluwatu temple, overlooking the ocean from a cliff. 

Uluwatu temple

Uluwatu beach 

Watch sunset with a delicious tapas dinner and live DJ at el Kabrón

One of the top-resorts in Uluwatu is the new Six Senses Uluwatu, a cliff-top Balinese-inspired resort with ocean view. An absolutely incredible place to stay with great attention to detail and a super level of service. 


Six Senses Uluwatu

Jimbaran

Jimbaran is a fishing village located south of the airport with some world class 5-star resorts and luxury villas. Stay at Jamahal Private Resort & Spa, an adult-only boutique resort just 400m away from the beach.

Jimbaran’s beach offers the perfect setting for a romantic sunset dinner or for any seafood lover. Enjoy a fine dining experience at Cuca Restaurant

Ubud

Last but not least… Bali is not all about beaches! In the centre of the island, within the rainforest and the rice terraces, lies Ubud. Bali’s cultural heart is an absolute gem for nature lovers, yogis (join one of the many classes at the Yogabarn) and digital nomads. If you’re looking for a working spot with reliable internet connection, try Hubud, a great co-working space right in front of the monkey forest. 

Have dinner at the social restaurant Fair Warung Balé or head to Hujan Locale for an Asian dinner with  modern twist. 

Ubud, Tegalalang rice terrace

What else?

If you’re lucky to stay long enough in Bali, make sure to discover some neighboring islands like Lombok, located at the east of Bali. Hiking the Mount Rinjani is the most popular tourist attraction and definitely a must if you’re in for a bit of adventure. Take Lombok as a base to go island hopping around the Sekotong Islands. Many beaches in and around Lombok only have a fraction of the tourists that receives Bali.

Even if you’re on a tight schedule in Bali or Lombok, try to include a short stay at the Gili Islands. Gili Trawangan is the largest and most visited of the three islands, Gili Air is the closest to Lombok and popular with backpackers while Gili Meno is the smallest of the three, offering an ideal destination for romantic getaways. Cars and motorbikes area forbidden on the Gili Islands which pretty much explains the vibe here; happiness is all around as well as cool beers and nice bars.

Or, you can take a 45min ferry to Nusa Penida, an island located southeast of Bali. With its 247 squared meters it’s much bigger than the neighboring and better known island Nusa Lembongan. Tourist infrastructure in Nusa Penida, however, isn’t as developed as in Lembongan although this will change quickly as there are construction works everywhere. Get our full guide on Nusa Penida and explore this wonderful island now before the tourist crowds arrive!

Beach at Gili Trawangan

 

“The Swing”, right in front of The Exile resort at Gili Trawangan

About us

We’ve stayed twice in Bali for a long period, in 2016 and 2019. We love the island, its culture, people, food, beaches and vibe. At Your Way To Travel we’ve helped many travelers – from solo travelers to honeymooners – to organise their trip to Bali. Are you visiting Bali soon? Contact us for more information.

 

In one of our previous blog posts “Traveling around the world – How to plan your trip?” we briefly talked about packing for a long trip. Now, in addition to these tips we would like to share some awesome travel accessories with you. These are products that have made our travels much easier!

Travel Accessories

 

Noise-cancelling headphones

Block the sound of the baby crying in front of you or the chattering passengers next to you with a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. It makes traveling so much easier and bearable. We have the Bose QuietComfort 35 II headset and it feels great to disconnect from the noisy world in airports and planes.

Ear plugs and/or Eye mask

Ear plugs aren’t as powerful as a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones but they are definitely of great value! You will at least block some background noise on the plane and if you combine it with a (silk) sleep mask, you’ll catch a few hours of sleep on the plane.

Water bottle

It’s important to stay hydrated on the plane. We always travel with a (reusable) water bottle; airplanes are dry and the water bottles you get are too small to keep you hydrated throughout the flight.

Travel pillow

Unfortunately I don’t fall asleep anywhere but my travel pillow makes all the difference! It supports your head and neck and it prevents your head from falling towards your neighbor.

Travel adapter

Keep your electronic devices charged with a world adapter, no matter where you are. And more importantly, pack it in your carry-on luggage.

Portable power source

A portable power source always is a good idea to charge your phone quickly in case you don’t find any power source or plug nearby. This one is highly recommended especially if you travel with all your documents saved on your phone.

Travel hygiene kit

This may sound like an unnecessary or luxury item to some of you but believe us, cleaning your face or brushing your teeth after a 20h flight will revive you. Mine usually includes some face cleansing towelettes, a moisturizing cream, deodorant, hand cream and of course, a tooth brush and tooth paste.

Scarf

Temperature in an airplane cabin can vary so toss a scarf in your bag; it adds comfort for no weight or packing space. Besides, it’s also easy to combine with multiple outfits and it will cover shoulders when visiting religious buildings.

First Aid Kit

Always try to have some basic medical supplies to hand, especially if you’re traveling to a tropical country. If you’re sensitive to stomach issues or headaches, pack some Imodium or painkillers. Include mosquito repellent as well.

Pen

Last but not least; a simple pen always comes in handy to fill out your customs forms on the plane.

 

Enhance your in-flight experience with our list of travel essentials!

 

Crystal-clear turquoise water, fine white sand, tiny coves and lush green vegetation. It sounds like a remote island in the Caribbean but we’re talking about Menorca, the smallest of the Balearic Islands (Spain). With 216km of coastline, it’s a paradise for beach lovers! We’re lucky to call this amazing island our home and we want to share our list of best beaches in Menorca with you.

North & South Beaches

It’s important to make a difference between the beaches in the north and south of the island. The north coast is more mountainous, with rock formations that resemble a lunar landscape in many places. It’s very rough and virgin and that’s one of the reasons we absolutely love the north side of the island! The south coast has more vegetation and light sandy beaches which make the water look transparent and turquoise. Access to most beaches in the south is easier and there’s more infrastructure (beach bars, restaurants) so these beaches can get more crowded, especially in the summer months.

In addition to the difference in terms of landscape and scenery, your choice will also depend on the wind conditions. When the south wind blows, the north is usually calmer and with less jellyfishes, and the opposite occurs when the north wind blows. Always check the latest wind conditions! We use the Windy app to get the most accurate wind forecast.

Menorca Best Beaches Map

Best Beaches in the North

Cala Pregonda

From the car parking at Cala Binimela you need to walk about 30min to get to this long beach with reddish, gold sand and transparent water, great for snorkeling. Behind some rocks you will find a second, smaller beach.

Es Grau

Es Grau National Park is a huge natural area located near Mahón. There’s a large parking outside of the village of Es Grau and the nearest beach is only a few metres away. It’s great for families as the water is calm and not deep. If you keep walking along the Camí de Cavalls, you will find several smaller beaches that are less crowded.

Picture by menorcadiferente.com

Cala del Pilar

This wild beach is one of the less accessible beaches on the north side of the island. It’s a 30min walk from the parking via a beautiful track. Usually it gets less visitors so it’s a great spot to unwind in summer far away from the tourist crowds.

Platja de Cavalleria

A very long stretch of beach easily accessible from the car parking but with some steps to actually get to this stunning beach. The parking lot has a toilet (and beach bar in summer) and there are several picnic tables with views on the beach.

Cala Morell

Cala Morell doesn’t really have a sandy beach as it’s a small port town. It’s a sheltered cove surrounded by cliffs. There are several stone platforms with a ladder from where you can easily jump into the water.

Cala d’Algaiarens

Locals refer to this beach as La Vall; it’s a cove split into two golden sandy beaches. The first one, Platja des Bot is near the car park and although very nice, we recommend you to go to the second beach; Platja es Tancats which is much quieter.

Cala Tirant

This sandy beach lies in the bay of Platjes de Fornells, a holiday town. There are 2 beach areas, which separates the main beach from the smaller one in the east, separated by some wooden stairs.

Cala en Brut

The platforms in Cala n Brut are a popular place for young people to jump into the clear water. Just a few minutes drive from Ciutadella.

Best Beaches in the South

Cala Macarelleta

A postcard-perfect beach with clear, turquoise water set in an idyllic cove just a few minutes from the main beach at Cala Macarella. In summer both beaches get extremely crowded and the road to Macarella is closed to traffic. There’s a shuttle bus covering the popular route during high season.

Son Saura

A family-friendly beach with calm water that’s barely knee-deep. Access is easy but make sure to arrive early in high season as the car park closes once it’s full.

Cala des Talaier

A few minutes walking from Son Saura you’ll find this small idyllic beach. There’s a large picnic area tucked away behind some pine trees. Space can be limited during summer but if you go right before sunset, you’ll find the beach almost empty.

Cala en Turqueta

Relatively small beach – divided in two areas by some rocks – surrounded by pine trees. The car park, which has a small bar, lies about 20 minutes walking from the beach.

Cala Galdana

Cala Galdana is one of the most popular beaches in Menorca. It’s also one of the few beaches featuring a holiday resort. During the summer months it’s hard to find a parking spot in the town. During low season however, you will find plenty of parking space and a pristine, natural beach.

Platges de Binigaus

Park at Santo Tomás and keep walking towards the right to find a private and nudist spot.

Cala Binidalí

This tiny beach is tucked away in a secluded cove, popular with nudists. There’s a small bar near the main road, right next to the steep path that leads you to the beach.

Cala Binibèquer

The charming village of Binibeca is a popular tourist destination in Menorca and its main beach with soft sand is a great spot for families who want all facilities nearby.

Picture by calamenorca.com

Platges de Son Bou

You can enjoy Menorca’s longest beach, 3km long, from the comfort of your sunbed. Its high exposure to wind makes it also a popular kite spot.

Picture by Royal Son Bou

Remember that Menorca is also an excellent beach destination in low season. It might be a little too cold for a swim in one of these beautiful beaches but day temperatures are still high (17ºC) and make it a great time to walk/run/mountain bike along the island!

Whether you’re traveling to Menorca in high or low season, make sure to contact us for local advise or help with your bookings!

Traveling around the world is a great learning experience, it’s the ultimate travel adventure. But when it comes to planning a round-the-world trip, many people don’t know where to begin. We know it can be challenging so we are sharing our experience and we hope it will help you to get through this process.

Our trip around the world

In 2015 I left my corporate job and a few months later Fran and I were boarding a plane direction Cape Town, the start of our trip around the world. Indeed, it all went quick! Our one-year trip turned into a 15-month journey as we decided to head back to Cape Town before returning home. The circle was completed. We managed to visit 13 different countries; including (in chronological order) South Africa, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, Australia, USA, Mexico, Martinique (France), Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. It was an amazing year! All the clichés of traveling around the world are definitely true: we met many interesting people, savoured the local cuisine in each country, learned some new words in a couple of foreign languages, saw the regional differences and cultural richness of each place and most importantly, we felt in awe with nature and this wonderful planet! Read the full story on how it all started.

Cape Town, where we started and finished our trip

Where to start?

There’s a big world out there waiting for you to be explored. As fascinating as it sounds, we also know that it’s a complex business. That’s why we’re here to take the stress out of the planning process. First of all, let’s break it down into several steps:

Where should I go?

This is the fun part! Maybe you have a bucket list of countries you’ve always wanted to visit? Which cities or cultures would you love to explore more? It all starts with your dreams, ideas or imagination. Take your time to brainstorm and research before you make a final decision.

In our case, we sat down with a glass of wine and made a list of the countries we wanted to visit (see below). We hadn’t done any research yet looking for the best travel time or cost of living in each of these countries. So a couple of days later, we revised our initial plan and scratched some countries off the list.

This is how our initial travel plans looked like 🙂

Some people challenge themselves to visit as many countries as possible in one year. This wasn’t our aim and although it might seem appealing at first sight, it will quickly become exhausting. Stick to a few countries but allow yourself the freedom and flexibility to change your plans whenever you feel the need to move to the next destination.

Over planning isn’t advisable, it will bring more stress than needed. We had our first 3 months planned before we left and decided on our next destinations along the journey. We do recommend you however to group all countries you want to visit per continent. At the end you want to travel following a coherent, logical route.

Once you know your first destination(s), you can look at flight tickets! We always booked individual tickets as soon as we knew what our next destination would be but did you know that you can also purchase an around-the-word ticket? Lone Drifters will tell you everything about the (dis)advantages of a world ticket!

How long do I need?

Ask yourself two important questions: “How long does my budget allow me to travel?” and “How long can I be away from my job/family/home?”. Both factors are decisive to determine the length of your trip. Are you taking a sabbatical? Do you have any family commitments in the upcoming year you don’t wanna miss? Are you using all your savings or will be you working while traveling? Be realistic and make necessary amendments to the number of countries you want to visit.

How much does it cost?

Taking about finance isn’t really exciting and might cause you some stress but it needs to be done. It will define the duration and scope of your trip. Think broad as it’s much more than just flights, food and accommodation. You will need to pay for insurance, visas, tours and attractions, vaccinations, etc. Make a list or even better, work with a spreadsheet where you include all expenses per country. It’s ok to use an estimated cost; the aim is to give you a general idea of the total cost of your trip.

Now let’s compare the approximate cost of your trip with your available cash. Do you have enough savings? Have a look at your financial situation before you start making some important decisions. A daily budget of $50/€50 won’t get you far in Europe or the USA but it will cover your expenses for a few days in Asia. Avoid the more expensive destinations and choose for cheaper accommodation like hostels if you want to save some money for the rest of your trip.

Remember that you can also earn money while traveling the world. Our 15-month trip wouldn’t have been possible without our remote jobs. If you’re not a freelancer, you can also look for a job on the spot. Think about working in a hostel or resort, bar, restaurant or maybe you can teach English?

Working from a local restaurant in Bali, where we stayed for 2 months

Do I need travel insurance?

Short answer: yes! There are many options and carriers when it comes to travel insurance so you need to check which one is most appropriate according to your travel plans. Whatever coverage you choose, make sure it includes flight cancellations/delays, loss and theft. Adventure travelers should include coverage for high-risk sports as well. We’ve used World Nomads in the past and were very satisfied with their service when one of our bags got stolen.  

What should I pack?

Look at  your itinerary and pack accordingly. We only had to pack summer clothes since we mostly picked tropical destinations. With one pair of jeans, a sweater, a jacket and a pair of comfortable shoes, we were covered for any kind of weather in case our plans changed. As a general advise, pack as light as possible, you can buy anything you need almost everywhere in the world.

Secondly, will you carry a backpack or do you prefer a wheeled trolley? Although a backpack sounds adventurous, we each traveled with a suitcase (23kg) and a small backpack. The latter is really useful if you want to make a side trip. For the suitcase, it’s just more comfortable to get around (especially in airports), easier to pack and repack and (most) suitcases have a hard shell and are waterproof.

Do I need a travel planner?

Many people dream of traveling around the world but as inspiring as it sounds, it also brings a lot of stress. We’ve been there and now we’re on the other side, helping fellow travelers like you. We want to take the stress out of your planning process. You can count on our expertise and our personal experiences to get it done. We will listen to you and together we will set up a plan that will excite you, taking into consideration your personal preferences and budget. We will research accommodation, suggest activities and recommend restaurants in each location of your trip. Read more about the added value of a personal travel planner.

In the last years we’ve passed on our personal recommendations and experiences to other travelers. It feels great and very rewarding to repeat the adventure through the stories of our travelers. This year we’re helping the Tachner family to plan their trip around-the-world. During our calls we got to know each other and understood their needs and interests. While they’re on the road, we’re planning the next stages of their trip.

We’d love to help you as well! Whether you need some guidance to get through the initial process of picking locations or help to book accommodation and activities during your trip; our travel planners will assist you with their expertise. Contact us for more info!

Cherry blossom season (or sakura) is a magical time in Japan. Japanese families and foreigners gather in one of the many parks for a picnic beneath the blooming cherry trees to enjoy the hanami (the tradition of blossom-viewing). This is the most busy time to travel to Japan so you need to plan your trip well in advance. In this article we will give you all the necessary information to plan your 2-week itinerary to Japan during the cherry blossom season.

When to travel?

The cherry blossom season in Japan starts in January in the southern island of Okinawa and lasts until May in the northern area of Hokkaido. Full bloom is usually reached within about one week after the opening of the first blossoms. As a general rule, they start falling off the tree about 2 weeks after the first bloom.

It’s still early to have a forecast for 2019, but this is how it looked in 2018:

  • Tokyo: Opening Mar, 17 – Full bloom Mar, 24
  • Osaka and Yoshino: Opening Mar, 20 – Full bloom Mar, 27
  • Kyoto and Hiroshima: Opening Mar, 22  – Full bloom Mar, 29
  • Kanazawa (near Hakuba, a ski resort): Opening Mar, 29 – Full bloom Apr, 3
  • Mt Fuji area: Opening Apr, 2  – Full bloom around mid April
  • Hokkaido: Opening Apr, 26 – Full bloom May, 6

Where to go?

Based on the 2018 schedule, the sequence of our 2-week itinerary for 2019 will start in Tokyo, followed by Osaka, Kyoto, Kanazawa and will end in Mt Fuji.

If you have more time or if you’re traveling towards the end of sakura and you want to try some of the world’s best powder snow, head to the north (Hokkaido).

Tokyo

Tokyo will most likely be your departure point due to your flight connection. The capital has many green spaces that transform into public cherry blossom viewing spots; there are numerous picnic-friendly parks with cherry trees.

Osaka

One of best places to taste Japan’s (street) food. Food scene here is incredible. You can add an optional day trip to Yoshino, a small mountain village surrounded by over 30.000 cherry trees planted at different altitudes so they all bloom in succession.

Kyoto

Probably the best sakura destination – and the most crowded one – simply because there is so much to do and see at this time of the year. Make sure to allocate at least 3 days to Kyoto.

Kanazawa

Kanazawa’s castle garden is a wonderful spot during cherry blossom season and has a direct train connection with Kyoto (and Tokyo).

Mt Fuji

Mount Fuji is one of the most picturesque places during cherry blossom season. If you like hiking and don’t mind a physical challenge, you can try hiking to the top of Mt Fuji. Due to its higher elevation, the cherry blossoms in this area tend to open later compared to the cities.

View of Mt Fuji from Lake Kawaguchi

Where to stay?

Tokyo

Shinjuku and Ginza are the best areas to stay in Tokyo for first-time visitors.

Shinjuku is a large commercial district, it’s Japan as we know it from tv with neon lights, huge shopping malls, buzzy streets, modern skyscrapers and it houses one of the world’s busiest stations – Shinjuku station.

Odakyu Hotel Century Southern Tower has an excellent location with just a few meters walking distance from Shinjuku station. 

Park Hyatt Tokyo is one of Tokyo’s most popular – and exclusive – hotels. The iconic hotel bar New York Bar Grill – located on the top floor – was featured in the movie “Lost in Translation” and is an important tourist attraction on top of many bucket lists!  If you’re lucky to stay overnight, you might as well go for the room featuring views of Mount Fuji!

Ginza is just one subway station away from Tokyo station, with excellent railway connection. It houses some of Tokyo’s most luxury shopping malls and upscale hotels. Its main shopping street, Chuo Dori, becomes pedestrian-friendly during the weekend.

Millenium Mitsui Garden Hotel is conveniently located near Ginza Subway station, which will take you in less than 10min to Tokyo station.

Osaka

One of the best areas to stay in Osaka is Kita (which literally means “north”). It’s an important commercial district with a very convenient location. Kita includes Umeda, the major transportation hub in Osaka and just one stop away from the Shin-Osaka train station where you’ll arrive by train from Tokyo.

Hotel Cordia Osaka is a new hotel – since Feb, 2017 – and is just a few minutes walking from several major transportation hubs. If you’re looking for a cheap accommodation, try the capsule hotel First Cabin Midosuji Namba. For those traveling on a special occasion, get pampered at the InterContinental.

Kyoto

Downtown is the best area to stay in Kyoto for first-time visitors. It’s a relatively small area, located on the west bank of the river Kamo and can be explored on foot. Shops, food markets, malls, restaurants and bars are all easily accessible.

Imu Hotel Kyoto has been recently opened (August 2018) and provides modern chic, Japanese-style rooms (with futon beds). If you’re traveling with a group of friends or family, then you’ll love the comfort, location and style at the Aoi Kyoto Stay, a holiday house. For a convenient stay at an apartment or suite, choose for R&Run Kyoto Apartment & Suites.

Kanazawa

Kanazawa is a relatively compact city with the main hotels located not too far from the central station.

Kinjohro offers unique, Japanese-styled accommodation just 400m from the castle. Guests can enjoy on-site breakfast and dinner at this typical ryokan. For a more contemporary look at a central location (and reasonable price), stay at Hotel Resol Trinity Kanazawa. If you’re traveling with friends or family, check out this nice holiday home, INTRO Tamagawa, which fits up to 8 persons.

Mount Fuji

Stay anywhere near Lake Kawaguchi in one of these properties with views of Japan’s most iconic natural beauty; Mount Fuji.

Fuji View Hotel – as the name reveals – overlooks Mount Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi and is surrounded by gorgeous Japanese gardens. If you’re looking for a cool outdoor experience, stay at one of the cottages of Kawaguchiko Country Cottage Ban. If the latter is too rough for you, try the HOSHINOYA Fuji, a fine luxury glamping resort nestled in a tranquil red pine forest.

 

How to get around?

Japan has an extensive railway network and is the fastest, most efficient and cheapest way to move around cities – trains are punctual, reliable and very clean. Japan Railways (JR) Group operates most passenger trains. You can save money and buy a Japan Railway Pass, which allows you to travel on all JR trains and buses including free seat reservation.

Shinkansen train which connects Tokyo to Osaka in less than 2h30

A pass costs USD252 for 7 days, USD402 for 14 days and USD514 for 21 days (there’s a reduced ticket price for kids under 11 years old). This is a real bargain knowing that a round trip train ticket from Tokyo to Osaka costs the same as a 7-day train pass.

 

Traveling to Japan during the cherry blossom season is on many people’s bucket list. Hotel rates during these weeks tend to increase considerably and many properties are sold out months in advance. Contact us for your tailor-made itinerary to Japan.

You may love it or hate it, but Black Friday is here to stay! It’s that time of the year again and we’re excited to see that many (major) airlines are launching incredible flight deals. Save on your upcoming trip(s) and be quick to book your flight tickets! We’ve made a list of some of the best flight deals you’ll find online (airlines are listed in alphabetical order).

 

Aer Lingus

Travelers can expect $100 off return flights from Dublin to LA, San Francisco and Seattle with Aer Lingus. Book by 6:59 PM ET on November, 28 and travel between January, 8 to March 22, 2019.

Air Canada

Book by November, 25 and save on your one-way or return flight from Canada to the US and international destinations. Travel between November, 28 andDecember, 13 or between January, 8 and March 31, 2019.

Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand is launching 100 return tickets from London to Los Angeles for just £175 return ($225). The sale starts on Friday at 10am (London time) and tickets are expected to be sold out in a few minutes. In addition to this deal, they will also have other great deals available until Cyber Monday on November, 26.

Cathay Pacific

Enjoy the incredible Black Friday savings and special offers on flights to Asia across all cabin classes of Cathay Pacific. Use the promo code HOLIDAY to save on their award-winning Business Class and Premium Economy Class with $1,000 off Business Class – fares starting from $2,338 – and $500 off Premium Economy Class – fares starting from $773. Furthermore, you can save up to 60% on airfare from US to their wide network of destinations, Economy Class flights starting as low as $593. Travel dates range between January, 1 and May, 15 and bookings have to be completed before November, 27.

Delta

Save money or miles to 48 select destinations in Europe and Australia when you book by November, 25. Fares start at $659 or 36,000 miles round trip plus taxes and fees in main cabin. Travel period goes from May 23 through September 3, 2019.

easyJet

Low-cost carrier easyJet is offering £50 off 60,000 city breaks, including the major European tourist destinations. Book before November, 28.

Emirates

As of November, 24 Emirates is selling round trip flights from many US airports to Milan, Dubai, Dhaka, Hyderabad, Delhi and Bangkok starting from $449 and from London to Dubai, the Maldives or Zanzibar from £429 return flight.

Iberia

Iberia has turned Black Friday into Colour Friday with cheap flights between Europe but also to their international destinations (US, Asia, Latin America). Book before November, 26 and check the travel dates for your particular destinations.

Norwegian

Norwegian is offering 30% off European flights and 15% off long-haul flights. Flights can be booked between 00:01 GMT Friday November, 23 and 23:59 on Monday November, 26. Use the discount code EVERYROUTE18 to book your deal.

Qantas

Australian airline Qantas is advertising amazing Black Friday deals on their website. Fly from Los Angeles or San Francisco to Brisbane, Melbourne or Sydney for $739 round-trip in economy, $889 from Dallas/Fort Worth, and $949 from New York, and $4,999 in business class. Book before November, 19 at 11:59 pm PST.

Ryanair

The Irish low-cost carrier is launching different deals each day during Cyber Week (ending on Monday) and they are going big for Black Friday. Check their website daily to find out the newest deal.

Scandinavian Airlines

Book your cheap flight from the US to Europe with round-trip fares staring at $399, depending on your departure city and destination (New York to Copenhagen starts at $399, while New York to Paris starts at $499). Book before Cyber Monday and travel between January 8 and May 16.

South African Airways

Fly from New York or Washington to Johannesburg for $699 round-trip fare or $750 to Cape Town. You can book until Tuesday, November 27.

Thomas Cook Airlines

Book the flights for your next holiday destination with Thomas Cook Airlines as they are releasing return flights from several European airports to Cancún, New York and Mallorca with amazing discounts.

WOW air

WOW air is known for its cheap flights between Europe and the US and this weekend fares are dropping below $100 for one-way flights! Expect major discounts on routes between the US and Iceland, with one-way flights starting at $61. In addition, they are also offering one-way flights from Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt, Dublin and London to major US airports, starting at $99. Use the promo code WOWCYBERMONDAY on Cyber Monday for a 40% discount on all WOW air flights.

 

Now that you have your flights booked, contact us to plan the itinerary for your upcoming trip! Our travel planners will research accommodation, transportation and activities that are most convenient to you.

The holiday season is slowly approaching and as always, the new year comes with a bunch of new, upcoming travel destinations. We’re talking about emerging destinations or places that are often off-the-radar of the majority of travelers but that could easily and fast become the next Dubrovnik, Iceland or Cuba.

 

Palomino – Colombia

A beautiful beachside town in the Colombian Caribbean easily accessible on a short connecting flight from Bogotá. The town is surrounded by an important ecological region where you can watch wildlife so it’s perfect for an adventurous beach holiday.

Palomino has some excellent boutique hostels where you can stay at the price of a backpacker hostel. Check out Tiki Hut Hostel or The Dreamer Hostel for a chill vibe near the beach.

Pristine beach in Palomino, picture by Booking.com

Leeuwarden – The Netherlands

This small city in the province of Friesland was named European Capital of Culture for 2018 and for a good reason. You will find many similar features that characterize Amsterdam – the canals, tons of bicycles, brown bars – but at an affordable price and with less crowds.

It’s a 2h direct train ride from Amsterdam and a good way to enjoy the Dutch countryside from the comfort of your train seat. Stay like a local at this stylish apartment on the water 🙂

Leeuwarden, a charming city with reminds us of Amsterdam, picture by The Independent

Uluru – Australia

Central Australia is the heart of the outback region with Uluru being the most famous site. As of 2019 the Ayers rock will be closing to climbers aiming to preserve this spectacular monument. Despite the ban you will love this area for many other reasons; its notable color, the blue sky and the natural wonders. The Red Centre encompasses a vast area including the townships of Alice Springs, the MacDonnell Ranges and Watarrka National Park and Kings Canyon.

You can fly to Ayers Rock via Qantas or Virgin Australia from almost all Australian capital cities (around 3h to 3h30 flight from Sydney and Melbourne) or you can fly to Alice Springs, take a scenic road trip from here and fly out of Uluru.

Great capture of the Ayers Rock

Piedmont – Italy

Italy’s second largest region should be on every traveler’s radar, whether you are a food, wine or nature lover! Fly to Turin and rent a car so you can easily move between towns and vineyards. Don’t rush your visit, it’s all about slow travel in this tranquil, pastoral landscape. The region is notable for its excellent food and wine; the town Alba even hosts an international truffle fair every fall. Stay with locals on an “agriturismo” or farmstay like Cascina Meriame in Serralunga d’Alba. The hosts Luisella and Paolo are fantastic people who will give you a very warm welcome and introduce you to their wine and let you taste their homemade products.

Casciana Meriame in Serralunga d’Alba, an incredibly warm stay surrounded by vineyards

Samarkand – Uzbekistan

Samarkand is the second largest city of Uzbekistan and lies in the valley of the Zerafshan river. It’s one of the oldest cities in Central Asia and has been a major cultural centre for years. The city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a gorgeous medieval architecture. Samarkand Airport has direct flights to Moscow and Istanbul.

Stay at Antica B&B, a family-owned property surrounded by a beautiful garden.

Registan Square, Samarkand, picture by Wikipedia.

Kauai – Hawaii

Often overshadowed by its neighboring islands, Kauai is a green and adventurous paradise all nature lovers must visit. You won’t be surprised it’s also called the Green Isle 😉  The island offers some of the best hiking trails of Hawaii. The coastal Kalalau trail on the NaPali coast (north) is one of the toughest but is well worth the effort. More inland lies the Waimea Canyon, often called the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”. Head to the Hanalei Bay for a refreshing break after the hiking.

Pamper yourself at the Koa Kea Hotel & Resort or Koloa Landing Resort.

Waimea Canyon, picture by Hawaii State Parks

Kilimanjaro – Kenya

Adventure travel is on the rise as travelers, young or old, seek an unique and challenging experience to spend their holidays. Standing 5,895 metres or 19,341 feet above sea level, it’s the highest mountain in Africa. The climb takes between five to nine days to complete, depending on your pace. This is a tough hike that requires some preparation and training! Combine your climb with a tailor-made safari to get a full African experience.

View of Kilimanjaro from Amboseli National Park, Kenya.

Wadi Rum – Jordan

This stunning desert wilderness lies four hours driving from the airport but is well worth the journey. Explore the landscape on a camel ride, a 4×4 or take a hike. You can get a glimpse of the rolling sand dunes on a day trip from Wadi Musa or Aqaba but we recommend you to stay overnight and sleep under the stars, you won’t regret it! You can choose between a basic or luxury camp experience. Complete your trip with a visit to wonderful Petra, an archaeological masterpiece.

Wadi Rum desert, Jordan.

Novi Sad – Serbia

Novi Sad, the second largest city in Serbia lies about 60min north of Belgrade and is set to be the European Capital of Culture in 2021. You will love the colorful and intriguing architecture and the relaxed atmosphere of this town. Its main attraction, the Petrovaradin Fortress, lies on the other side of the river and is home to one of Europe’s best music festivals, EXIT (from Jul 4-7, 2019). There are plenty of accommodation options, from this small boutique hotel to the Sheraton Novi Sad but make sure to book well in advance if you’re traveling during EXIT festival.

Petrovaradin fortress in Nova Sad, picture by Serbia.com

Gujarat – India

Gujarat province is often overshadowed by Rajasthan (the Golden Triangle) and Mumbai but 2019 looks promising for this Western region of India. 2 October 2019 marks the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, born in Gujarat, with many celebrations but there’s more to see and do! It’s India’s most industrialized state with the country’s longest coastline boasting ancient temples, pristine beaches, forests and tribal areas. Travel to Ahmedabad airport, the only international airport in Gujarat, and get around by train or car.

The Jain Temples on top of the Shatrunjaya hill in Palitana, picture by Indiasinvitation.com

São Tomé & Príncipe

We’re closing our list with a nation you’ve probably never heard of: São Tomé & Príncipe. Now is the time to discover this African country in the Gulf of Guinea which consists of 2 volcanic islands, São Tomé and Príncipe. This tropical paradise features green, lush forests ideal for trekking and a coral reef lying just offshore which makes it a great snorkeling and diving spot. Ecotourism is growing and you will find incredibly luxury accommodation like the Sundy Praia Lodge or Bom Bom Príncipe in Príncipe or the Sweet Guest House, a budget-friendly option in São Tomé. You fly into São Tomé and from here on to its smaller sister, Príncipe.

Bom Bom Principe Hotel, picture by Booking.com

 

Contact us now for a personalized itinerary to one of these upcoming destinations and enjoy these relatively undiscovered places before the crowds arrive! Our travel consultants will research the most convenient flight connection, accommodation and activities.

Today we’re celebrating World Cities Day! The general theme – Better City, Better Life – hasn’t changed but this year’s focus is to build sustainable and resilient cities. Now more than ever we need to protect and preserve human life in our cities. But what is it that makes a city livable? Which factors increase our quality of life? What makes us happy citizens?

On our travels around the world, we’ve visited so many cities in many different cultures and unconsciously, we’ve seen ourselves evaluating all those cities in terms of quality of life. You’ve probably felt the same way while being on a city trip in an amazing city where you’ve caught yourself saying “I could live here”. Well, we’ve had that feeling more than once. We’re all into personal experiences so that’s why we’d like to share OUR list of most livable cities with you.

Cape Town

It’s no longer a secret that we’re completely in love with Cape Town. It’s where our trip around the world started and ended, altogether we’ve had the pleasure to live here for 4 months. What makes it so special?

Stunning scenery

Wherever you look across the city, you’ll always face the Table Mountain range and the Twelve Apostles. The city is set against this amazing backdrop, surrounded by white sand beaches and the view never gets old. Mountains and beaches are just the perfect combination for nature lovers like us and allow for weekend excursions in nature. Find out more about Table Mountain hikes in this post

Table Mountain Range with The Twelve Apostles

Friendly people

Capetonians are warm and expressive people who will always put a smile on their face to please strangers. Locals are proud to be called Capetonian and despite the discrimination issues, they try to work hard to build a better Cape Town.

Great lifestyle

Cape Town has a mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers (Dec-Feb) and mild, wet winters (Jun-Aug). There is little humidity which means that you won’t be sweating like in many other cities during the summer months. This climate makes you want to go outside to do exercise, invite friends for a braai (bbq in Afrikaans) or enjoy a drink on a terrace with spectacular views. Let’s not forget the world-renowned South African wines. We’ve visited many wineries around the globe and few had the infrastructure and service like the ones in Stellenbosch and Paarl.

 

Wine tasting at Constantia Glen 

Sydney

Visiting Sydney was a dream coming true and although our visit was short – 4 days – it didn’t disappoint us. Sydney is the perfect example to prove that you don’t need to spend a long time in a city to know that you could easily live there. Why Sydney?

Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera on a cloudy day 

Community

Sydney is like a network of villages where every suburb has its own character. Each village has a community centre with kid-friendly classes, child care, parks and high-quality schools. Besides, we felt that people really look after themselves. Whether it’s yoga in the park, running along the beach or surfing, there are plenty of outdoor activities going on. This makes it a great place to settle down and raise a family in a safe and healthy environment.

Nature

You can always escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and get some fresh air in one of the many large parks and nature reserves in and surrounding the city. Right in the city you have the Chinese Garden of Friendship, a green oasis to relax after work. Towards the North you have the famous Blue Mountains National Park. And of course, Sydney is famous for its beaches. Bondi Beach is the most popular one but there are many more along this coastal city. Sydney’s mild climate makes it possible to visit the beaches for almost 7-8 months a year.

Blue Mountains National Park – Pic by australia.com

People

Aussies have such a take-it-easy vibe when they’re talking that you can’t help but feel loved by them. Every morning we went out for a coffee and every day we were greeted with a “G’day mate, how ya doin’?”. It’s a direct yet very equal and warm approach. Love it!

 

San Francisco

A 1-week road trip through California with San Francisco as our first stop. Why did we love so much our city trip to say that we could live here?

Golden Gate Bridge

International environment

Silicon Valley is the tech’s international Mecca and the world’s capital for innovation. The leading high-tech companies attract talent from all around the world. More than 60 percent of the college graduates working in science and engineering fields in Silicon Valley were born outside of the United States. This international environment drives the city and goes perfectly along with the California laid-back way of life.

Surroundings

There’s always an excursion nearby; just within one or three hours there’s Yosemite National Park, Lake Tahoe, Big Sur and Napa and Sonoma wine county. California has so much to offer! Find out more in our blog post “Big Sur, Yosemite & San Francisco Road Trip“!

Wine tasting in Napa Valley

Climate

San Francisco has a constantly pleasant climate with morning and evening fog rolling into the Bay from June to August. Summer months (Jul-Aug) are warm but never too hot. It’s not surprising to see many people exercising outdoors, wherever you look, you’ll always see people running or attending a yoga or aerobics class in the park.

 

Barcelona

The next one is indispensable in our list: Barcelona, the city we’ve been living in for so many years now. Although we’ve decided to move, we’ll always enjoy coming back to this beautiful city! What made us want to come live here and what has been the best part of it?

Metropolitan city

Barcelona has it all: city, mountains and beach. There’s always something going on in, the variety of cultural events is amazing and its gastronomic scene is hard to beat. Whenever you feel the need to recharge your batteries, you can always escape to the Parc de Collserola or the beach. Also, just a 2h drive away and you’re in the Pyrenees!

Within the city it’s also very easy to get around: we don’t have a car and don’t need one! On a daily basis, we move around by bike or on foot. The city is very pedestrian friendly with wide sidewalks and lately the network of bike lanes has been heavily expanded.

Views of Barcelona – Pic by JoaquinaAranoa – Pixabay

The weather

Barcelona’s mediterranean climate, with mild winters (temperature never gets below 0) and hot summers, might be the most attractive factor for people coming from the North (including myself). We have long summers that last from May until October so for 6 months you will only wear shorts, t-shirts and flipflops. No reason to worry about your Vitamin D deficiency!

Job opportunities

In the last decennia, Barcelona has attracted many startups and entrepreneurs from all around the world. Some of the top rated business and design schools are located here, creating an interesting pool of both local and international talent. Many foreigners find region-specific jobs that require strong language skills and local knowledge so the more languages you speak, the easier you’ll find an international job!

Latest updates

Even though Barcelona has been in the spotlight given the recent news around Catalonia’s independence, the truth is that the city remains unchanged and for locals, it’s hardly even noticeable what’s going on besides the peaceful demonstrations that have taken place lately.

 

Lisbon

Beautiful city

The city centre of Lisbon is just beautiful, with its cobblestone streets, white tiled sidewalks, historic trams and colourful buildings. Being a small city, it’s easy to walk around without the need to use public transportation. Surprisingly, fewer tourists seem to make it all the way to Lisbon and those who go, are not necessarily causing the so-called “drunken tourism” like in Barcelona.

View from Alfama neighbourhood 

Climate

Weather is year-round mild and pleasant in Lisbon. It has more than 300 sunny days a year which makes people spend time outside every day, regardless of the season. Like Barcelona, summer lasts from April to October so you’ve got a 6-month frame to enjoy some of Europe’s best beaches.

Praia do Guincho, 30min West from Portugal

Cost of living

Portugal is one of the cheapest countries to live in Western Europe. Lisbon is getting more expensive but the cost of living is still much lower compared to many other cities in Europe. Generally speaking, dinner costs around €20/person, a beer €2 and a coffee €1.5.

 

 

Are you planning a short city trip but can’t decide where to go? Are you moving abroad and need practical advice? Contact one of our Personal Travel Planners who will be happy to assist you!

Traveling to Europe for the first time? Europe is a popular all-year-round destination suitable for families, honeymooners, backpackers and solo travelers. A successful Eurotrip requires prior planning and brainstorming. Our mission is to organize you an unforgettable experience in Europe, customized to your needs and budget. Here are some tips and tricks to make this initial process easier:

Pick your destination (and be realistic)

This is the first and most important step in your trip planning. It’s tempting to try to fit in as much as possible; you want to stand on top of the Eiffel tower, eat an authentic Italian pizza in Rome, learn everything about Berlin’s rich history, take a boat ride on the canals in Amsterdam and party in Ibiza. Let’s be realistic: you can’t do it all. We hate to be a party pooper but Europe isn’t as small as you imagine. It’s a very diverse continent full of bucket-list, picturesque destinations that require time to visit and to get to. You don’t want to spend most of your time on buses, trains and planes, right?

So our main advise is to choose a few countries that are a must-visit for you. Some locations or activities you’ve always dreamed of (strolling around Venice’s cobblestoned streets, tasting German beer during the Oktoberfest, visiting Gaudi’s masterpiece in Barcelona, etc). Mark those down and we will plan your itinerary around them.

Barcelona, Spain

Transport

Once we know which countries/cities to include in your itinerary, we will research the easiest way to travel around. Trains are an easy, fast and comfortable transportation method to move between cities. You can relax and watch the landscape go by. A train pass is a great choice that will save you some euros if you plan to take several train journeys! If you’re traveling on a budget, we can change a train journey for a bus ride; buses cover (almost) the same routes as trains but for less money.

For longer distances (for example Paris-Berlin) we will research flights. Budget airlines like Ryanair or easyJet make flying inexpensive and if you book well in advance, you can fly across Europe for less than $25.

If you want to focus on one or two specific countries, we can set up a road trip. Driving in Europe is easy and a perfect way to slow down the pace and explore the sights en route. Each country has its own driving regulations and speed limits so we will give you country-specific advise.

Road tripping in the Provence region, south France

Budget

What’s your total budget? As for every trip, this is one of the first questions our Travel Consultants will ask you. As a general rule, the further east and/or south you travel, the cheaper it gets. It’s no secret that Scandinavia and Switzerland are some of the most expensive countries in Europe. This doesn’t mean you have to discard them. The good news is that you don’t need to spend all your savings on a Eurotrip! Hostels offer cheap accommodation and are a great place to meet fellow like-minded travelers. We’ve mentioned before that traveling by bus can save you some euros but did you know that you can carpool around Europe?

If your budget is higher, we can spend the extra euros on a nice boutique accommodation. A room with view over Lake Como, a romantic villa overlooking the ocean in Santorini or a boutique hotel set in the vineyards in Portugal; the options to get pampered in Europe are endless!

Whatever your budget is, we will set up a tailor-made itinerary including accommodation that suits your budget and style.

Santorini, Greece

Avoid Summer

We understand that many people are tied to school holidays but if your dates are flexible, we strongly advise you to avoid the summer period (July and August). During these months, rates are much higher and the major tourist destinations tend to get overcrowded. It can also get very hot, especially in Southern Europe, which can make your travel experience unpleasant.

Shoulder season (right before and after Summer) is an excellent period to travel to Europe! You will get more value for your money and will find less tourists (and shorter or no queues) at the main touristic attractions.

Can you only take time off in Summer? No worries, we will always try to enhance your experience by suggesting you some alternative, less-known, destinations with fewer crowds or buy you skip-the-line tickets to minimize waiting lines.

Venice, Italy

 

Contact our Travel Consultants to get a customized itinerary for your next trip to Europe! Our European team has extensive knowledge of the area and will be happy to share their insider tips with you.

Ski season has started in the northern hemisphere with perfect weather conditions for skiers and snowboarders. Some people however try to escape the cold winter months and are looking for warmer areas. Whether you’re looking for a getaway with reliable winter sun or a ski break in the mountains; we’ve got you covered in this blog. You will find a summary of the best destinations to travel in December, January and February!

 

December

Where to go in Africa:

The dry season in Cape Verde, which lasts from November to July, can see some strong winds which makes it a great winter destination for kite surfers. Temperatures are around 20°C between December and March.

Calabar or Carnival in Nigeria colours the streets attracting thousands of tourists and is seen as “Africa’s biggest street party”. The Carnival begins Dec, 1 and lasts until Dec, 31.

Holiday season starts in South Africa and there are so many good reasons to travel here in December but the good weather (it’s never too hot), amazing food and wine and incredible nature, especially in Cape Town must be our top-3. Don’t miss your chance to visit Table Mountain, one of the new nature wonders of the world! Besides, if you travel from Europe, you don’t even have to worry about jet lag by the time you’re home as there’s only one hour of difference. Further up the coast lies KwaZulu-Natal which is known for its more exotic beaches as well as game reserves and mountains.  

 

Calabar Festival in Nigeria, pic by midnigeria.com

 

Where to go in Europe:

Many European cities host charming Christmas fairs, like Berlin and Aachen in Germany, Vienna in Austria, Prague in Czech Republic and Zagreb in Croatia.

If you want to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve on the slopes, then you better head to the Swiss Alps for reliable early powder, like Saas Fee and Zermatt.  

 

Christmas Market in Berlin, Germany

 

Where to go in North America:

For winter sports, head to Colorado or Vermont where you’ll already find some snow in December.

As of the end of December, San Antonio in Texas lights up in a dazzling display.

Christmas period in New York is truly magical but know that prices are reaching their peak! Book your accommodation well in advance. 

Southern California is mild in winter so why not relax on one of San Diego’s lovely beaches and combine it with a stay in Palm Springs.

The Alaska Railroad connecting Anchorage and Fairbanks operates year-round but winter is amazing to discover the outdoors from the warmth of the train.

December is a popular month to travel to Mexico, when the weather is generally warm and dry across the country.

Alaska Railroad, pic by Nationalgeographic.com

 

Where to go in Central America & the Caribbean:

The hurricane season in the Caribbean has officially ended which makes it a great destination to spend Christmas.

Jamaica has tropical weather all year round but the best time to visit, is from November to mid-December, when the island already has beautiful weather and hotel and flight deals are easier to find.

Beaches can get crowded in the Bahamas as of mid-December so if you’re looking for some cheaper rates, think about the beginning of the month.

Guadeloupe and Martinique (with direct flights from Paris) are great alternatives for Europeans who want to spend Christmas in the Caribbean without worrying about passport issues.

 

La Plage de la Pointe Marin, Martinique

 

Where to go in South America:

In December and January everything is green in Guatemala after the rains and the sky is clear.

December is ideal to discover the variety of Brazil. It’s the best time to visit the Amazon now that rivers are low and trails have better access. You can easily combine it with a few days on the beaches of Rio or nearby Ilha Grande or Buzios.

The start of the dry season makes Colombia an interesting destination. Weather remains warm along the Caribbean coast and in Medellin throughout the entire year but in the highlands, nights are getting warmer.

Chile is a very extensive country so weather varies according to the area but October to March is a good time to travel to Patagonia in the south of Chile. You should definitely combine it with a visit to Santiago and the Atacama desert.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Pic by Hilton.

 

Where to go in Oceania:

Summer is the peak tourist season in New Zealand. You’ll get cooler temperatures the more south you go so be prepared.

Australia is entering its summer season so it’s the ideal time to go surfing, swimming or to spot koalas. Kick off the new year in Sydney with one of the greatest firework displays in the world.

Winter season is a great time to visit the white sand beaches in Dubai. Temperatures are very pleasant and the sun shines practically all the time.

Dry season in Philippines (from November to April) makes it a perfect spot for unwinding on its many pristine beaches.

The lowlands in Laos have nice daytime temperatures and the countryside is green and lush after the rains. In the highlands, however, it remains very cold especially in the night with temperatures dropping to zero.

The cold season in Bangladesh, which spreads from October to February, is probably the best time to explore the country, when the weather is dry and fresh.

Rains have decreased in Thailand and temperatures are warming up. As long as you avoid the touristic resort areas, December is a perfect month for a holiday in Thailand.

Dry season in the Maldives (from December to April) also means the start of the peak season with good visibility and less humidity but higher rates.

 

Sydney’s New Year’s Eve Fireworks, pic by Sydney-nye.com

 

January

Where to go in Africa:

It’s dry season in East Africa and a great time to watch wildlife. Head to the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya or the Serengeti in Tanzania and enjoy the opportunity to see elephants, rhinos, lions and even wildebeests calving from late January to February.

As of mid-January school holidays in South Africa are finished resulting in lower fares and less crowds. There are so many good reasons to visit South Africa in January but the good weather (it’s never too hot), amazing food and wine and incredible nature, especially in Cape Town must be our top-3. Don’t miss your chance to visit Table Mountain, one of the new nature wonders of the world! Besides, if you travel from Europe, you don’t even have to worry about jet lag by the time you’re home as there’s only one hour of difference. Pamper yourself in this wonderful boutique hotel in Sea Point, Cape Town. 

The dry season in Cape Verde, which lasts from November to July, can see some strong winds which makes it a great winter destination for kite surfers. Temperatures are around 20°C between December and March.

Sunset at Table Mountain, Cape Town. Picture by tp.photo

 

Where to go in Europe:

Winter days in Europe can be cold, grey and short but for many people it’s the best time of the year to practice winter sports! Head to northern Europe for skiing and snowboarding and to watch the Northern Lights, especially in Scandinavia, Iceland and Greenland.

Europe’s mountain ranges (Alps, Dolomites, Pyrenees and Sierra Nevada) also offer plenty of winter activities and fun for the entire family.

Skiing in Serfaus, Austria

For an alternative city break with a fairytale character, choose Estonia’s capital, Tallinn.

Amsterdam is also great for a city trip but in January you’ll pay significantly less than in December. Looking for accommodation in Amsterdam? Check out these affordable hotels

 

Where to go in North America:

Head to Aspen or Vail in Colorado or Whistler in Canada for a great ski vacation but expect holiday crowds and higher prices. Winter also welcomes many winter sport lovers in Lake Tahoe, at the border of California and Nevada.

Southern California is mild in winter so why not relax at one of San Diego’s lovely beaches and combine it with a stay in Palm Springs.

The Alaska Railroad connecting Anchorage and Fairbanks operates year-round but winter is amazing to discover the outdoors from the warmth inside the train.

The weather on both the Atlantic and Pacific coast of Mexico is fantastic in January: hot but not too hot with barely any rainfall.

 

Where to go in Central America & the Caribbean:

The Caribbean has a pleasant climate year-round but the best time to visit is generally considered from December-April, when it’s slightly cooler, drier and less humid.

In Cuba you can expect dry and sunny days from December to March before the wet season begins in June.

Havana, Cuba at sunset

January is one of the driest months in Costa Rica (from December to about May) which makes it a great time to chill on the beach or watch and explore nature and wildlife.

Puerto Rico is a great alternative for Americans escaping the cold without the obligation of issuing a passport. It’s a popular destination for spring break so January is usually a bit calmer than February and March.

 

Where to go in South America:

Spend New Year’s Eve in Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paolo and continue your journey along Brazil’s incredible coast line. Go to Itacaré in Bahía for a surf/sun vacation with chill vibes. Buzios is only a three hours drive away from Rio and hosts some amazing luxury boutique hotels.

Isolated beach near Praia de Jeribucaçu, Itacaré, Brazil

It’s also a pleasant time to visit some of Ecuador’s colonial cities and for the more adventurous travelers, to hike the Andes. Combine it with a few days of relax on the Galapagos islands which enjoy calmer seas and warmer weather, although there’s a higher chance of rain.

Chile is a very extensive country so weather varies according to the area but October to March is a good time to travel to Patagonia in the south of Chile. You should definitely combine it with a visit to Santiago and the Atacama desert.

 

Where to go in Asia and Oceania:

This is probably the best time to visit some parts of southeast Asia as it’s dry season and still not as hot as in March-April. Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar all have pleasant temperatures. Sri Lanka is great too, but avoid traveling to the northeast where the monsoon already has started.

Dry season in Philippines (from November to April) makes it a perfect spot for unwinding on its many pristine beaches.  

After the crowds of December have disappeared, January is the perfect month to explore the Gold Coast of Australia. Its main attractions are the beaches, including the world-renowned stretch at Surfers Paradise. It’s also a great time for snorkelling or scuba-diving in the Great Barrier Reef.

 

Banteay Srey, Angkor Wat, Cambodia

February

Where to go in Africa:

It’s dry season in East Africa and a great time to watch wildlife. Head to the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya or the Serengeti in Tanzania and enjoy the opportunity to see elephants, rhinos, lions and even wildebeests calving from late January to February. Spoil yourself at the luxury Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti

While Senegal is tropical and hot all year long, February sees almost no rain and temperatures are very pleasant. Many of its beaches have turned into a surf spot and February is the best time to catch the waves.

The dry season in Cape Verde, which lasts from November to July, can see some strong winds which makes it a great winter destination for kite surfers. Temperatures are around 20°C between December and March.

As of mid-January school holidays in South Africa are over resulting in lower fares and less crowds. There are so many good reasons to visit South Africa in January but the good weather (it’s never too hot), amazing food and wine and incredible nature, especially in Cape Town must be our top-3. Don’t miss your chance to visit Table Mountain, one of the new nature wonders of the world! 

Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

Where to go in Europe:

It’s Carnival time in Venice which makes it the very best and worst time to visit. If you’re looking for the quiet charms of the city, you might end up disappointed but if you dare to join the festivities, you’ll have a great time. Make sure to book your accommodation well in advance! 

Head to Northern Europe for skiing and snowboarding and to watch the Northern Lights, especially in Scandinavia, Iceland and Greenland.

Europe’s mountain ranges (Alps, Dolomites, Pyrenees and Sierra Nevada) also offer plenty of winter activities and fun for the entire family.

 

Venice Carnival, from Feb, 16 until Mar, 5 2018

Where to go to in North America:

Take advantage of the best skiing conditions at more affordable prices in the North American ski resorts. Colorado owns several world-renowned ski areas such as Aspen and Vail while the Canadian Rocky Mountains are home to some of America’s top ski resorts like Banff and Jackson Hole.

From late January until mid February, Quebec hosts its winter carnival. It can get very cold so dress properly to bear the cold.

Carnival time in New Orleans colours the streets as Mardi Gras kicks off in February.

 

Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Canada

Where to go in Central America & the Caribbean:

February is one of the driest months in Costa Rica (from December to about May) which makes it a great time to chill on the beach or watch and explore nature and wildlife.

The Caribbean has an all-year-round pleasant climate but the best time to visit is generally considered from December-April, when it’s slightly cooler, drier and less humid.

In Cuba you can expect dry and sunny days from December to March before the wet season begins in June.

 

Wild nature in Costa Rica

Where to go in South America:

Brazil hosts its famous Carnival, an incredibly colourful event that attracts people from all over the world. If you want to experience Brazil’s biggest festival, especially in Rio de Janeiro, you should know that prices increase considerably and the earlier you start booking your accommodation, the better.

It’s also a pleasant time to visit some of Ecuador’s colonial cities and for the more adventurous travelers, hike the Andes. Combine it with a few days of relax on the Galapagos islands which enjoy calmer seas and warmer weather, although there’s a higher chance of rain.

Chile is a very extensive country so weather varies according to the area but October to March is a good time to travel to Patagonia in the south of Chile. You should definitely combine it with a visit to Santiago and the Atacama desert.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

 

Where to go in Asia and Oceania:

This is probably the best time to visit some parts of southeast Asia as it’s dry season and still not as hot as in March-April. Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar all have pleasant temperatures. Divers should head now to Koh Samui when visibility is high. Check out SALA Samui for a luxury stay at the beach. 

For a vitamin D boost, think about Goa and Kerala in India where the beaches empty out between now and the beginning of the monsoon season.

Dry season in Philippines (from November to April) makes it a perfect spot for unwinding on its many pristine beaches.  

Beaches on the south and west coast of Sri Lanka are dry, hot and sunny while the Northeastern coast is still affected by the monsoon.

It’s still a good time to explore the Gold Coast of Australia or to discover the bustling cities of Sydney and Melbourne. Its main attractions are the beaches, including the world-renowned stretch at Surfers Paradise. It’s also a great time for snorkeling or scuba-diving in the Great Barrier Reef.

 

Bondi beach, Sydney, Australia

 

Whatever your travel plans are, contact us for a personalized itinerary! Our Personal Travel Planners will assist you with their expertise and will create you a customized trip!

Anyone who has crossed multiple time zones knows the power of our biological clock. The time shift disturbs our biorhythm heavily which is known as jet lag. Our body is confused and we feel like going to bed upon arrival to our new destination or we feel extremely active and can’t get any sleep in the middle of the night.

Studies have shown that it takes approximately one full day to recover for each time zone we travel through. So, it seems like jet lag is inevitable but can we at least do something to minimize the symptoms?

In this article we have listed down several tricks that are easy to follow and that helped us to overcome our long-haul flights:

BEFORE YOUR FLIGHT

Make sure you get enough sleep before departure

Too often our weeks prior to departure are too busy; we want to get the last things done at work, schedule in some last-minute dinners or drinks with friends and family or sometimes it’s the pre-holiday excitement that tires us. Make sure you leave home well rested. Getting a good night’s sleep will leave you better prepared to cope with jet lag.

 

DURING YOUR FLIGHT

Relax and get (some) sleep

Use the on-board entertainment to relax during the flight; most airlines offer a wide selection of movies. Or take a nap, especially if you’re flying west as you’ll have to stay up longer. If you fly east, you will be going to bed earlier so there’s no special need for a siesta during the flight.

Set your watch

Reset your watch as soon as you board your plane and change your mind accordingly. Remind yourself and your body to think in the new time zone.

Use an eye mask and earplugs

You might not be used to wearing an eye mask or earplugs but try it; it can help you get some sleep on the plane. Most airlines will provide you with a kit that includes both items.

Drink (plenty of) water

It’s important to keep your body hydrated during the flight and to avoid caffeine and alcohol. We always travel with a reusable water bottle and ask the air attendants to fill it up so we always have water at hand and don’t have to disturb any (sleeping) neighbors.

Move around

Stretch your legs or go to the bathroom every hour to keep the blood flowing. Some people wear a pair of flight socks to improve blood circulation.

 

AFTER YOUR FLIGHT

Adapt to the local time zone

Change your daily routine immediately to the local time and try to avoid a nap as it will disrupt your sleep and you will feel worse. Try to keep yourself busy; go outside for some fresh air (daylight helps to reset your body clock) and go to bed near the normal bedtime.

Did we mention to drink enough water? 😉

Stay hydrated and remember that alcohol will make you feel tired which will force you to stay up. This is probably the most useful advise; keep drinking but only water. 

 

As always, do not hesitate to contact our travel consultants if you require further assistance. Safe travels! 🙂

A Californian road trip with friends, family or just the two of you. It’s fun guaranteed! And the best part is that you don’t need to spend all your savings on a holiday in California.

In this article you’ll find some tips on how to enjoy San Francisco and its surroundings based on our personal experience and we promise, you won’t end up broke!

SAN FRANCISCO

San Francisco is changing fast. Silicon Valley is the playground for many technology start-ups and the city is listed amongst the most expensive to visit. However, this shouldn’t prevent you from planning a vacation to this vibrant city in California!

If you have a limited budget, you can easily visit the main touristic attractions in San Francisco in one day. The longer you stay, the more expensive your holidays will get.

How to get there

You can fly directly to SFO airport but, if you’re on a tight budget, check out flights to Oakland International Airport. Prices are considerably lower and Oakland’s airport is well connected to San Francisco by BART (train).

Where to stay in San Francisco/Oakland?

Consider staying at a hotel in Oakland, it will save you a lot of money. Again, you can take the BART to get to downtown San Francisco or even the ferry to get awesome views of the city. We stayed at the Oakland Marriott City Center Hotel which is conveniently located near a BART station and just a few minutes walking to local restaurants and stores. Some other options are Waterfront Hotel a Joie de Vivre Hotel, a retro nautical themed hotel which lies just a few steps from the ferry to San Francisco and Best Western Plus Bayside Hotel, with free shuttle to the BART station and Jack London Square. 

What else?

Oakland has long been overshadowed by its big sister across the Bay but it has so much to offer! Make sure to stop by and taste some fresh products at the Jack London Square Farmers Market before heading on the ferry. 

Once you arrive to the city, stretch your legs out and get on a bike! It’s an eco-friendly and fast way to move through many neighbourhoods, Golden Gate Park and up to the Golden Gate Bridge.

MORE THAN JUST THE CITY

California is much more than San Francisco! It has amazing national parks and is perfect for a short road trip – even with kids. Rent a car and discover California’s breathtaking nature!

Yosemite National Park is located at 3 hours by car from San Francisco and offers hikes for all fitness levels. Big Sur is a 2 hours and a half drive from the Bay Area and will blow you away with its seaside cliffs and views of the rocky coastline. Both Yosemite and Big Sur offer many luxury accommodation options but also lots of inexpensive campgrounds for backpackers. It’s a must for nature and sport lovers!

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK:

A few days of camping in Yosemite? If you’re traveling by plane, it might be a bit more complicated to carry all necessary camping materials. No worries, LowerGear has everything you need and they can drop it off at any US postal office.

Where to stay?

Below you will find a mix of budget-friendly as well as more upscale accommodation options for you to enjoy the best of California’s nature:

If you’re looking to book a lodge or camping to stay inside Yosemite National Park, you’ll find out that many accommodation options are already fully booked months in advance, especially in peak months. But we have good news, you can still visit Yosemite without having a reservation!

Arrive early at Tamarack Flat Campground and you will definitely find a lovely camping spot! No bookings needed, the campground operates on a first-come, first-served basis. You pay $24/night (no showers or water, only basic toilets).

PS: It can be very cold in the early morning (even in high summer) so pack something warm! I absolutely love my warm and super cozy hoody from Kühl. It’s great for outdoor trips like this one! 

Near the Hetch Hetchy entrance, in the northwestern part of Yosemite National Park, you find Evergreen Lodge, a rustic mountain resort that welcomes families and couples in its charming cabins. Another great and comfortable accommodation option is Rusk Creek Lodge, very close to the west entrance. Families will love the resort facilities and tours. In the heart of the national park you can find The Majestic Yosemite Hotel, an architectural masterpiece with spectacular views of the Yosemite Valley and the Half Dome.

Remember to contact us well in advance to book your accommodation for one of the above mentioned lodging options as rooms get sold out months before the start of the peak season!

Update Apr 2022: A reservation will be required to drive into Yosemite National Park from May, 20 through September 30, 2022, for those driving into the park between 6 am and 4 pm. For more click here

What are the best hikes?

Difficult to say but we definitely loved these:

  • Another recommended day hike is the John Muir Trail to the top of the Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall.

  • The most wanted hike is definitely the Half Dome. Make sure to get an advance permit for this one.

What else?

Since we left San Francisco early we didn’t get to a supermarket to buy all food and drinks for our Yosemite stay. So we ended up visiting the supermarket located in Yosemite Village and as you can imagine, prices were twice as expensive (same for gasoline). So try to stop by a mall to make all necessary purchases before entering the park.

 

BIG SUR

Big Sur is certainly a national treasure and a must for a California vacation! Highway 1 offers stunning coastal views and is the perfect way to explore California’s coast from Carmel to San Simeon. A gentle uphill drive will take you to the first viewpoint of Big Sur – don’t forget to take a picture of the world famous Bixby Bridge.

Where to stay?

Same story as in Yosemite, you’ll find that many campgrounds are fully booked in advance. However, one of the best campgrounds in the area is on a first-come, first-served basis and has the best camp host ever! Kirk Creek Campground is conveniently located next to Highway 1 and offers amazing views. Its host, Daniel, will make sure you will find a spot to set up your tent, even if you arrive late and all spots seem to be taken. You pay $25/night (no showers or water, just a basic toilet).

Along the coast you will also find many boutique lodges and luxury properties like Ventana Big Sur, an adult-only luxury resort situated on a hillside overlooking Big Sur’s beautiful Pacific coastline. A great couples getaway! More up north, Hyatt Carmel Highlands Resort offers charming accommodation among pine groves on a cliff facing the ocean. For excellent views of Monterey Bay you need to stay at the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa.

What are the must-see beaches?

First of all, at the end of the Kirk Creek Campground there’s a small downhill path that brings you to an exclusive breathtaking beach. Only the camping visitors have access to this beach!

Pfeiffer Beach is a spectacular beach that stretches out far and is a great spot to watch sunset.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sand Dollar Beach is another relaxing beach and if you’re lucky, you might be the only one wandering around.

What are the best hikes?

We got there in summer and due to fires, many hikes were closed to public but we recommend you the following ones:

What else?

Drive along Highway 1 and when you hit San Simeon, check out on the elephant seals. Especially if you’re traveling with kids, they will love it!

Is California too expensive for a long holiday? No, but set priorities and discard any unnecessary expenses. San Francisco is a must see and will be your start or end point of the road trip but it’s a city where money easily rolls. Stay 1 night (or a few) in the city and then head to Yosemite and Big Sur to enjoy the beauty of nature at no cost.

 

Who are we?

Hey! My name is Sofie and I’m founder and travel planner at Your Way To Travel. I create tailor-made travel itineraries, based on your budget and preferences. I’ve been planning trips for more than 7 years now and would love to help you as well! 🙂 You can contact me at [email protected].

The end of summer in the northern hemisphere marks the start of one of the best seasons to travel. It’s back-to-school season which means less crowds at many touristic destinations and temperatures are milder than in the hot summer months. Whether you’re looking for a mountain escape, a city break or a beach holiday, we’ve got you covered with the best places to travel during September, October and November!

September

Where to go in Africa:

September is one of the best months to visit Zimbabwe as the temperatures are not too extreme and malaria risk is low. Also, this is when the wildlife gathers around the waterholes.

The best wildlife viewing months in the Masai Mara in Kenya and Serengeti in Tanzania are during the dry season from late June to October. Spoil yourself at the luxury Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti

From May until October conditions are optimal in Zambia and Botswana to watch animals gathering around rivers and waterholes.

The best time to visit Mauritius is from May to December when the weather is cool, dry and sunny.

Le Morne Brabant, a peninsula at the extreme southwestern tip of Mauritius.

June to October is the dry season in Mozambique, with often perfect tropical weather: clear skies, plenty of sun and almost no rain.

 

Where to go in Europe:

Why not head to one of Southern Europe’s islands which are much calmer now and still have warm temperatures. The Balearic Islands and Sicily are very sunny, even in autumn, and receive less visitors than in the busy summer months. Enjoy our beautiful island, Menorca, without the crowds at the incredible Agroturismo Son Vives.

The coast line at Zingaro National Reserve in northwest Sicily.

Turkey and Crete are also excellent destinations where temperatures are still nice at the end of summer.

 

Where to go in North America:

A city trip to New York never disappoints but traveling in autumn will make it even more pleasant. The fresh air and new season bring an excellent vibe to the city.

Get a car in San Francisco and head to Napa Valley. This is a great time to visit California’s wine regions during grape harvest time.

Autumn across Napa Valley, California.

From September to November is also perfect to visit Washington DC. In autumn, temperatures have dropped and the scorching heat has gone as well as the many tourists.

The high prices from the summer months have dropped and many tourists have gone home which makes September ideal for a holiday in Canada. Weather is still nice although nights can get colder. It’s that time of the year to experience the so-called Indian Summer.

 

Where to go in South America:

Peru is entering its winter season which is always dry and sunny with the coast enjoying warm temperatures. In midsummer, the weather is dry and the light is perfect. Beat the tour groups by getting up early to see the sunrise.

Playas de la Costa Verde, Lima, Peru

Where to go in Asia:

The monsoon season is coming to an end although it’s still not the best period to travel to Asia. China and Japan start to cool down pleasantly. The north east of China for example is very attractive in autumn.

Autumn view of the Great Wall, China.

Get your chance to win a free stay (Sep, 4-8) at a custom-designed house on the Great Wall of China via this Airbnb contest.

As of late September, weather is clear and dry in India. The monsoon rains have washed away the pollution and dust and the mountains have a high visibility now, ideal for trekking.

While the southern states of Australia are cold, Darwin in North Australia is getting warm with pleasant temperatures that are more enjoyable than other, hotter months in the year.

 

October

Where to go in Africa:

From May until October conditions are optimal in Zambia and Botswana to watch animals gathering around rivers and waterholes.

In North Africa, the scorching temperatures have disappeared and it’s a perfect time to visit Morocco and Tunisia and maybe go on a desert safari. In the Delta Nile region of Egypt, winter season (from October to February) is much cooler so a good time if you want to avoid the heat.

Summer is approaching South Africa. Daytime temperatures are rising and the springtime is bursting Cape Town with colour. Accommodation rates are starting to increase in preparation for the summer months but are still much lower than in high season. Don’t miss your chance to visit Table Mountain, one of the new nature wonders of the world! Besides, if you travel from Europe, you don’t even have to worry about a jet lag by the time you’re home as there’s only one hour of difference.

Sunset at Table Mountain, Cape Town.

Where to go in Europe:

The beginning of autumn makes the Mediterranean countries popular destinations with sunny weather. Temperatures are very pleasant in southern Spain, Italy, the Greek Islands and Cyprus.

Tip: Stay at this gorgeous glamping site in Mirano, for a relaxing experience with easy access into the hustle of Venice. 

Indulge in the beauty of the Scottish Highlands where you can enjoy an amazing scenery with a wide array of autumn colours.

This is also a great time for a romantic city break to some of Europe’s most beautiful cities in fall: the colours reflected in the canals of Bruges, the view of the Prague castle from the banks of the river or the sunset from the City Walls of Dubrovnik. These are just the perfect excuse for a romantic getaway in autumn.

Bruges, Belgium.

Where to go in North America:

While the ski resort town of Aspen in Colorado is the place to be in winter, it also very enjoyable during the autumn months.

The Great Smoky Mountains – US’s most popular national park – offer plenty of scenic roads and hiking trails, which is great to spend a few days exploring these stunning forests and even better in fall.

The dramatic New England fall foliage starts in the northern New England states typically in late September and moves down to the southern New England states around late October.

Fall is the best time to visit New Mexico when the hot summer gets to an end and school holidays are over.

If you want to avoid the crowds and save on accommodation, then October and November are the perfect months for a relaxed holiday in Cancún.

 

Where to go in South America:

Spring is a good time to travel to Argentina and to avoid the crowds during the busy summer months (from December to January).

Chile is a very extensive country so weathers varies according to the area but October to March is a good time to travel to Patagonia in the south of Chile. You should definitely combine it with a visit to Santiago and the Atacama desert in this month.

 

Where to go in Asia:

Autumn as well as spring is the best time to visit Jordan as it’s not too hot for hiking in the nature reserves and both flora and fauna are abundant.

Wadi Rum protected area in southern Jordan.

Northern Vietnam is generally warm and sunny from October to December, after which cold winter weather sets in, accompanied by a fine mist which can last for several days.

Between October and December is the best time to visit Nepal as the skies are generally clear and the views are spectacular. Stay at the stunning Baber Mahal Villas to start or end your trip in Kathmandu. 

Autumn (October and November) is great to visit Hong Kong too: nice breeze and a perfect amount of sunshine.

The best time to visit Fiji is from late October to early November before the peak of the high season. The weather is dry and warm and the beaches and resorts are less crowded as kids are still at school at this time of the year.

 

November

Where to go in Africa:

In North Africa, the scorching temperatures have disappeared and it’s a perfect time to visit Morocco and Tunisia and maybe go on a desert safari.

In the Delta Nile region of Egypt, winter season (from October to February) is much cooler so a good time if you want to avoid the heat.

Summer is approaching South Africa. Daytime temperatures are rising and the springtime is bursting Cape Town with colour. Accommodation rates are starting to increase in preparation for the summer months but are still much lower than in high season. Don’t miss your chance to visit Table Mountain, one of the new nature wonders of the world! Besides, if you travel from Europe, you don’t even have to worry about a jet lag by the time you’re home as there’s only one hour of difference.

 

Where to go in Europe:

Winter is about to set in in many European countries so if you still want to take in some vitamin D before the cold and grey winter months arrive, you should head to the Canary Islands or south Spain for some sunny and warm days.

Italy is not only a paradise for foodies but also for art lovers. November is a little bit more chilly and wet but you can expect less crowds in cities like Rome and Florence and no cueing at the entrance of some world-renowned museums.

Florence in Autumn

Where to go in North America:

New York, is wonderful in November, but especially when it’s getting ready for Christmas and it’s not as cold as in December.

November in Florida might be a bit too cold to head to the beaches but it makes it ideal for more inland activities like theme parks.

Shoulder season makes Texas also a great destination as weather is not as intense as in the summer months while many attractions remain open.

If you want to avoid the crowds and save on accommodation, then October and November are the perfect months for a relaxed holiday in Cancún.

White sand beach at Cancún, Riviera Maya, Mexico.

Where to go in Central America & the Caribbean:

Hawaii has great weather, year-round, and while November through March is Hawaii’s so-called rainy season, showers only last for a few hours which makes Hawaii a great vacation spot for visitors who want to escape the cold in Northern US.

November is the last month of the official hurricane season in the Caribbean but late-season hurricanes are rare at this time of the year. This being said, expect to find some great deals on flights and accommodation before the holiday season kicks in.  

 

Where to go in South America:

Spring is a good time to travel to Argentina and to avoid the crowds during the busy summer months (December and January).

Nicaragua‘s dry season starts in November, when the majority of places enjoy dry, sunny days and mild temperatures.

A lovely month to visit Uruguay. Montevideo is pleasantly warm and the beaches are quieter than in December.

Chile is a very extensive country so weathers varies according to the area but October to March is a good time to travel to Patagonia in the south of Chile. You should definitely combine it with a visit to Santiago and the Atacama desert.

 

Where to go in Asia:

Northern Vietnam is generally warm and sunny from October to December, after which cold winter weather sets in, accompanied by a fine mist which can last for several days

November is probably the best month for trekking in the Himalayas in Nepal: it’s not too hot, the sky is clear enough to see where you’re going and the peaks and high passes are clear enough for trekking. Stay at the stunning Baber Mahal Villas in Kathmandu right before or after your trek. 

Trekking to the base of the Mount Annapurna, Nepal.

Autumn is great to visit Hong Kong too: nice breeze and a perfect amount of sunshine.

The best time to visit Bangkok is from late October to March, when the heat and humidity are at their lowest.

 

 

Contact us for a tailor-made travel itinerary! Our Personal Travel Planners will assist you with their expertise and will create you a customized trip!

Summer is on its way and we can’t wait for the long, warm days. It’s by far our favourite season of the year and you don’t have to travel too far to feel the summer vibes. Europe is bursting with music and art festivals, cultural activities and historic events. The options are endless so we have shortlisted some of the best picks for this summer.

Contact us to help you book accommodation and to plan an itinerary to one of these top destinations! 

 

Montreux, Switzerland: Montreux Jazz Festival
Jun 29 – Jul 14

Montreux attracts every year top names in jazz and blues, but also in rock and pop to the shores of Lake Geneva. Few locations compete with this scenic setting.

Photo by Joseph Carlucci – Montreuxjazzfestival.com

 

Trentino, Italy: Sounds of the Dolomites
Jun, 30 – Aug, 31

Music and nature lovers; hold tight because you’re gonna love this! Sounds of the Dolomites is an open-air music festival at a unique and incredibly stunning background in the Italian Dolomites. The concerts take place at various locations in the province of Trentino, in the far north of Italy. For some concerts, you even have to walk quite a bit or take the cable car.

Photo by isuonidelledolomiti.it

 

Barcelona, Spain: Grec Festival
Jul, 1 – 31

The Catalan capital hosts a wide array of music, dance, art and circus performances during the Grec festival or “the Greek”. The family-friendly activities take place in several locations in the city centre of Barcelona and in the Grec theatre in Montjuïc.

Photo by Josep Aznar – lameva.barcelona.cat

 

Avignon, France: Avignon Festival
Jul, 6 – 24

The courtyard of the Palais des Papes or “the Popes’ Palace” is the main stage for this annual art & theatre festival along with some other locations in the city. This beautiful historic backdrop is a magnificent venue for Avignon’s open-air theatre.

Photo by Christophe Raynaud de Lage – festival-avignon.com

 

Ghent, Belgium: Gentse Feesten
Jul 13 – 22

During this 10-day festival, the charming streets of the historic centre of Ghent host a vibrant music and art festival with day and night performances. Gentse Feesten or “Ghent Festivities” also coincides with the Ghent Jazz Festival.

Photo by gentsefeesten.stad.gent

 

Siena, Italy: Il Palio di Siena
Jul, 2 & Aug, 16

Each year on Jul, 2 and Aug, 16 the Piazza del Campo in the heart of Siena attracts thousands of locals and tourists trying to get a glimpse of the annual Palio. During this passionate horse race, the different “contradas” or districts in which the city is divided, compete against each other.

Photo by telegraph.co.uk

 

London, UK: Notting Hill Carnival
Aug 26 – 27

Caribbean vibes in the British capital? Yes, Notting Hill Carnival is a festival that was born out of the African-Caribbean community in West London and is now Europe’s biggest street festival. A weekend full of Caribbean music, food and parades during the bank holiday weekend.

Photo by thelondonnottinghillcarnival.com

 

 

 

 

We came across this great marketing campaign called “Places of Intimacy” who sent real couples around the world to find the best places to enjoy each other. Who doesn’t love to get away with their partner and get pampered in a romantic background?

Take a look at this exclusive selection of the best hotels to enjoy a steamy night on this special date.

Australia

Atlantic – Byron Bay: A “lifestyle hotel” as they call themselves, surrounded by palm trees and beautiful gardens. A quiet oasis in the middle of Byron Bay.

VDL Stanley – Stanley, Tasmania: A stylish and cosy boutique hotel featuring original artworks such as paintings, photography and sculptures.

Paperbark Camp – Jervis Bay: For those looking for a lovely and unique glamping experience!

Thala Beach Nature Reserve – Oak Beach: This eco-friendly retreat set on a private stretch of beach in the rainforest, is a dream getaway for nature lovers.

Ovolo Laneways – Melbourne: This trendy boutique hotel, inspired by the street art of Melbourne, is a wonderful place to stay and to easily discover Melbourne.

Empire Spa Retreat – Perth: Its lovely setting, amongst vineyards and gardens, makes it a great spot to unwind and get pampered by the amazing staff.

QT Melbourne – Melbourne: This stylish hotel offers an oasis of peace right in the centre of the city. The rooftop bar is definitely a plus!

Brazil

La Suite by Dussol – Rio de Janeiro: This luxury guesthouse provides great comfort with incredible, picturesque views.

Hotel Estalagem St Hubertus – Gramado: This charming hotel is located a few minutes from the Black Lake Park. The charming suites are provided with wooden floors for extra coziness!

Pousada Camurim Grande – Maragogi: This Inn, located on a 300m peninsula parallel to the sea, is the perfect spot for couples looking for a luxury, relax getaway in a tropical setting.

Casa Marques Santa Teresa – Rio De Janeiro: Located in the Santa Teresa neighborhood, an artistic and urban place in Rio, Casa Marques is a contemporary hotel which offers great artwork and even better views.

Kembali Hotel – Porto de Galinhas: Rooms of this design hotel feature a different style: Bali, Balneary, Music or Retro; overlooking the beach of Porto de Galinhas.

Boutique hotel Ilha de Toque Toque – São Sebastião: This charming boutique hotel is only a 10min walk from the beach and offers cosy suites with private terraces and panoramic views.

Estalagem e Restaurante La Hacienda – Gramado: This lovely farm house lies in a green oasis outside the centre of Gramado and offers several outdoor activities like fishing, horseback riding and hiking.

France

Hotel Edgar – Paris: Nice, small boutique hotel located in the centre of the city of love, Paris. Travelers love their unique design and contemporary décor.

Le Pigalle Hotel – Paris: They describe themselves as an “authentic neighborhood hotel”; the food, the music and even the furniture in the rooms come from suppliers around the hotel.

L’Appartement – Marseille: Located at 200m from the Old Port, this spacious apartment has been carefully decorated converting into an art gallery.

9 Hotel Montparnasse – Paris: This elegant hotels provides great comfort in a warm atmosphere featuring a nice terrace and garden.

Amboise Troglodyte – Amboise: Your place to stay to explore the Loire Valley! This cave B&B is definitely a charming experience.

Portugal

L’AND Vineyards – Montemor-o-Novo: An exclusive retreat with only 25 suites integrating modern architecture into nature, providing an atmosphere of sober luxury, natural beauty and tranquility.

Vila Monte Farm House – Moncarapacho: A spectacular property in the Algarve region with a chic-boho design.

Sintra Marmoris Palace – Sintra: A 19th century manor house which has been completely refurbished, nicely located at walking distance from the city centre of Sintra.

Memmo Alfama Hotel – Lisbon – Design hotel in a refurbished 19th century building with excellent views on the river.

Bela Vista Hotel & Spa – Portimão: This boutique hotel lying on the cliffs of the Praia da Rocha, has three separate housings, each with its own style but all decorated in a marine theme.

United States

Rush Creek Lodge – Yosemite: From deluxe Lodge Rooms or Suites in the Main Lodge to Hillside Villas that are spread throughout the 20 forested acres; all rooms offer a contemporary, rustic sensibility with a nice design.

Ace Hotel and Swim Club – Palm Springs: This spa and resort is the ideal spot for a relaxing break including a massage or natural treatment.

The Hollywood Roosevelt – Los Angeles: Stunning hotel with a retro vibe featuring an Olympic sized outdoor pool. Located on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Gramercy Park Hotel – New York: Fancy hotel located at a few blocks from Madison Square Park, offering a great Italian on-site restaurant.

 

So, what do you think? … Hello? Don’t tell me you just …. never mind, contact us if you need our help (no, not with that!).

Many of you have asked us what platforms we use to plan our trips so we decided to list down the top companies/resources we use to make your bookings (and ours) as efficient as possible. We believe that each one of them makes our life (and work) easier but mostly, they continually offer the best deals.

Flights

Google Flights – Honestly, this is our favourite search engine: it does all the work you assume it would and even more. Some special features we love:

  • The “tip bar” on top of the listed flights, suggests you alternative, cheaper travel dates + airports.

Google Flights is suggesting me to take another flight that departs and returns 2 days earlier so I can save €306!

  • You don’t know where to go? Just type in your departure city and leave the destination box blank.  You’ll get a list of suggestions along with the cost of the flight and you can even filter by dates, places and interests.

Some suggestions by Google Flights, along with the flight cost

  • Now, the best part is the calendar view. It allows you to check prices within a specific time frame. The cheapest travel dates are highlighted in green whereas the most expensive ones in red. This is a powerful tool if you have flexible dates.

Click on the date search box and go to flexible dates where you’ll find the cheapest travel dates for a selected period

Skyscanner – The “Everywhere” option in the destination search box is the main reason why we use Skyscanner. This search provides you travel inspiration when you don’t know where to go but want to travel anyway. The result is a list of destinations with flights from/to your departure airport, sorted by price. Note that you can also select nearby airports which might result in cheaper flights.

Type in “Everywhere” in the Skyscanner search box if you don’t know where to go

Accommodation

Booking.com – Their database is huge! Besides hotels it also includes hostels, apartments, villas and b&b’s. The platform is easy-to-use and allows you to select multiple filters at the same time to narrow down your search.

Hotels.com – It’s always good to compare prices on different platforms. Rates on Hotels.com can slightly differ from Booking.com (we’re talking about a difference of €0.99).

Airbnb – The best alternative for traditional accommodation out there, specially for medium- to long-term rentals. You’ll pay a fraction of the cost of a hotel room. Some airbnb’s are real gems! Pro tip: you’ll get a €25 discount if you’re a first-time user.

Others

World Nomads – Make sure to have travel insurance before you leave home! We buy ours via World Nomads and strongly recommend them to our fellow travelers for their excellent service and fast and easy claim process.

Kananga – We’ve partnered with Kananga to offer you the best experience for your travels in Africa! Their expertise and local knowledge make them the number 1 in Africa.

Travefy – All our itineraries are presented online, in a nicely structured day-to-day itinerary provided by Travefy.

 

Do you need help planning your next getaway? Contact us today and let us do the work!

You haven’t planned your summer vacation yet? You can’t decide where to go? No worries, we’ve got something for everyone in this list of best places to visit during the summer months (June-September).

June

Where to go in Africa:

The best wildlife viewing months in the Masai Mara in Kenya and Serengeti in Tanzania are during the dry season from late June to October.

Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

From May until October conditions are optimal in Zambia and Botswana to watch animals gathering around rivers and waterholes.

May and June are the best time to enjoy your holidays in Réunion Island as you avoid the tourist crowds and the wet season.

The best time to visit Mauritius is from May to December when the weather is cool, dry and sunny.

June to October is the dry season in Mozambique, with often perfect tropical weather: clear skies, plenty of sun and almost no rain.

Where to go in Europe:

Ireland experiences a lovely climate during June with less rain than in summer and temperatures varying between warm to hot.

Enjoy endless daylight in northern Sweden, Finland or Norway; ideal for walking, cycling, kayaking in the lakes and even enjoying the beaches.

June is also the best month to go for a beach vacation in Southern Europe before summer holidays kick off.

Menorca, Balearic Islands, Spain

Where to go in North America:

America’s National Parks are at its best in June: parks and trails are fully open to the public and the hordes of tourists haven’t arrived yet. Yellowstone in Wyoming, where June is the best month to spot wildlife, is a perfect family destination.

June is probably the best time to plan a holiday to Canada. It’s right before the high season starts so you’ll find less people and prices are more reasonable. The days are getting longer and warmer and hiking trails and parks are open.

Joffre Lakes, British Columbia, Canada

Where to go in Central America & the Caribbean:

June is the official start of the hurricane season in the Caribbean and summer humidity levels begin to pick up in many islands. On the other hand, rates are very low.  

Where to go in South America:

Peru is entering its winter season which is always dry and sunny with the coast enjoying warm temperatures. Beat the tour groups by getting up early to see the sunrise.

June and July are good months to visit Bolivia as weather is dry and sunny but the nights can be very cold so pack well.

Machu Picchu, Cusco, Peru

Where to go in Oceania:

In Asia, only Indonesia escapes the highly unpleasant weather during the monsoon period, as well as Japan.

 

July

Where to go in Africa:

The best wildlife viewing months in the Masai Mara in Kenya and Serengeti in Tanzania are during the dry season from late June to October. July is when the wildebeest make the great migration from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara.

From May until October conditions are optimal in Zambia and Botswana to watch animals gathering around rivers and waterholes.

The best time to visit Mauritius is from May to December when the weather is cool, dry and sunny.

June to October is the dry season in Mozambique, with often perfect tropical weather: clear skies, plenty of sun and almost no rain.

Where to go in Europe:

July marks the start of the summer holidays in Europe which means long and sunny days but this also results in massive crowds and a general price increase.

Expect some rainfall and cloudy days in Iceland during July but know that the long days will give you more time to explore the amazing scenery. Northern Iceland, Greenland and Sweden are experiencing the midnight sun which means that the sun is visible at midnight.

Corsica is perfect right now for those looking for paradisiacal beaches with turquoise water.

Fjaðrárgljúfur, Iceland

Where to go in North America:

The 4th of July celebrations in cities like New York, Washington and Philadelphia are fun guaranteed!

1st of July is Canada Day so many cities across the country celebrate their national day with spectacular festivities.

Summer is perfect for a road trip to one of the many national parks in the US, especially if you plan to camp. Be prepared however for the long queues and plan your trip well in advance.

Head to Alaska in July which is generally warmer and has less rainfall than in August.

Grand Canyon, Arizona, US

Where to go in Central America & the Caribbean:

July is officially the second month of the hurricane season in the Caribbean but the likelihood of a storm is still lower than in August and September. It’s definitely the best time to enjoy the beaches without crowds.

Where to go in South America:

Peru is entering its winter season which is always dry and sunny with the coast enjoying warm temperatures. Beat the tour groups by getting up early to see the sunrise.

June and July are good months to visit Bolivia as weather is dry and sunny but the nights can be very cold so pack well.

Where to go in Oceania:

Indonesia is one of the best destinations in Southeast Asia at this time with an equatorial climate tempered by the sea breezes. There’s lots of sunshine here during July although there might fall some rain during the evening or night.

Now that winter has arrived to the southern hemisphere, it’s a perfect time for winter sport lovers to head to New Zealand where the ski season has started. Since it’s winter here, you are likely to find very cheap flights too.

Uluwatu Temple, Bali, Indonesia

August

Where to go in Africa:

The best wildlife viewing months in the Masai Mara in Kenya and Serengeti in Tanzania are during the dry season from late June to October.

From May until October conditions are optimal in Zambia and Botswana to watch animals gathering around rivers and waterholes.

The best time to visit Mauritius is from May to December when the weather is cool, dry and sunny.

June to October is the dry season in Mozambique, with often perfect tropical weather: clear skies, plenty of sun and almost no rain.

Where to go in Europe:

August is the peak season in Europe. Prices are considerably higher than any other month and cities and beaches are packed with tourists. Nevertheless, it’s that time of the year when many cities host (street) festivals and many people want to get the most out of their last (long) vacation before heading back to work in September.

The Basque country with its great natural scenery or Tarifa where wind is generally strong, offer good alternatives to the rest of Spain where many regions are facing extreme heat.

August is perfect to visit those countries that are generally considered a little cold, like Ireland, Scotland or the Netherlands.

Eilean Donan Castle, Dornie, Scotland

Where to go in North America:

North America is generally hot and dry with sometimes extreme temperatures close to the deserts. The summer months are very nice to discover Chicago where the atmosphere is lovely. Kansas City, with its many summer street festivals and renowned barbecue scene is great too.

Willis Tower Skydeck, Chicago, US

Where to go in Central America & the Caribbean:

If you can handle the summer thunderstorms and hot and humid climate in the Caribbean during August, then you can expect warm air and sea temperatures, low to no crowds and great prices on flights and accommodations.

Where to go in South America:

Peru is entering its winter season which is always dry and sunny with the coast enjoying warm temperatures. Beat the tour groups by getting up early to see the sunrise.

Where to go in Oceania:

In Asia, monsoon season is at its height. Indonesia is one of the best destinations in Southeast Asia at this time with an equatorial climate tempered by the sea breezes.

While the southern states of Australia are still cold, Darwin in North Australia is getting warm with pleasant temperatures that are more enjoyable than other, hotter months in the year.  

Sunset at Mindil Beach, Darwin, Australia. Pic by Experienceoz.com

September

Where to go in Africa:

September is one of the best months to visit Zimbabwe as the temperatures are not too extreme and malaria risk is low. Also, this is when the wildlife gathers around the waterholes.

The best wildlife viewing months in the Masai Mara in Kenya and Serengeti in Tanzania are during the dry season from late June to October.

From May until October conditions are optimal in Zambia and Botswana to watch animals gathering around rivers and waterholes.

The best time to visit Mauritius is from May to December when the weather is cool, dry and sunny.

June to October is the dry season in Mozambique, with often perfect tropical weather: clear skies, plenty of sun and almost no rain.

Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

Where to go in Europe:

Why not head to one of Southern Europe’s islands which are much calmer now and still have warm temperatures. The Balearic Islands and Sicily are very sunny, even in autumn, and receive less visitors than in the busy summer months.  

Turkey and Crete are also excellent destinations where temperatures are still nice at the end of summer.

Where to go in North America:

A city trip to New York never disappoints but traveling in autumn will make it even more pleasant. The fresh air and new season bring an excellent vibe to the city.

This is a great time to visit California’s wine regions during grape harvest time.

From September to November is also perfect to visit Washington DC. In autumn, temperatures have dropped and the scorching heat has gone as well as the many tourists.

The high prices from the summer months have dropped and many tourists have gone home which makes September ideal for a holiday in Canada. Weather is still nice although nights can get colder. It’s that time of the year to experience the so-called Indian Summer.

Silver Oak Cellars, Napa, California, US

Where to go in South America:

Peru is entering its winter season which is always dry and sunny with the coast enjoying warm temperatures. In midsummer, the weather is dry and the light is perfect. Beat the tour groups by getting up early to see the sunrise.

Where to go in Oceania:

The monsoon season is coming to an end although it’s still not the best period to travel to Asia. China and Japan start to cool down pleasantly. The northeast of China for example is very attractive in autumn.

As of late September, weather is clear and dry in India. The monsoon rains have washed away the pollution and dust and the mountains have a high visibility now, ideal for trekking. While the southern states of Australia are cold, Darwin in North Australia is getting warm with pleasant temperatures that are more enjoyable than other, hotter months in the year.

 

Feel free to contact us if you need further advise on a specific destination or to start planning your trip!

Cuba had been on our travel list for a long time and we wanted to explore the country before the crowds arrive. Cuban tourism is booming; in 2016 it welcomed 4 million visitors which is a 13% increase compared to 2015. After spending 12 days in Cuba, we’re back home with many fun memories and interesting tips and tricks that we want to share with you!

 

Important things to know before traveling to Cuba:

  • Visa

Most countries require a visa to travel to Cuba, called a Cuba Tourist card. See a list of countries that require visa. The good news is that you can buy it beforehand, at the check-in desk at your departure airport or via a partner travel agency (contact us for more info). 

  • Travel Insurance

A travel insurance is required to travel to Cuba. Check with your local insurance if you’re covered for Cuba and ask for a certificate. In our case, they didn’t check this upon arrival but they might pick you randomly and if you don’t have a travel insurance, they make you buy it there.

  • Cash

Take cash with you! You will need it everywhere. Make a quick estimation of how much you want to spend per day and get your CUCs in the exchange office right outside the airport. All tourist destinations have an ATM so you can always withdraw more cash if needed.

Note: check with your local bank if there are any withdraw limitations for Cuba, especially for American citizens.

  • Currency

Cuba has two legal currencies: the Cuban convertible peso (CUC) and the Cuban peso (CUP). You will encounter both but as a tourist, you will only use CUC. The latter is paired with the US dollar and 1 CUC equals 24 CUP.

Note: a 10% tax rate will be applied if you exchange USD. This is not the case for EUR and other currencies.

  • Distance & Transport

Don’t underestimate the size of the island: it’s huge! To give you an idea: Havana to Viñales takes about 2h30 in car, Havana to Varadero 2h and Havana to Trinidad up to 4h. This is when you opt for the fastest option: private transfer or a shared taxi, called “colectivo”. You can also travel by bus (Viazul) but make sure to buy your tickets in advance as they get sold out quickly! Traveling by bus is definitely cheaper but much slower as well. We went from Havana to Trinidad by bus and it took us 7h to get there. The driver stopped several times along the route – for what was supposed to be “a quick 35min lunch” which turned out to be 1h! – and drove via Playa Larga and Playa Girón instead of going via Cienfuegos. On our way back, we shared a colectivo with another couple and it took us only 4h.

  • Internet

There is internet connection in Cuba although it’s not free as we’re used to. First of all, to gain access you need to buy an ETECSA card which will grant you one hour of internet access. One card costs 1.5 CUC if you buy it at the official ETECSA shop. You will find locals selling the same cards on the streets as well, but at a much higher rate. You won’t be able to access internet anywhere you want, you need to go to a WiFi hotspot, usually at the main square. Here’s an extensive list of the WiFi hotspots all around Cuba.

Time saver tip: Buy several cards at Hotel Rancho San Vicente in Viñales and avoid the long cues at the ETECSA office in the centre of the village!

  • Plan your trip in advance

This might be the most important advice, yet many people arrive to Cuba without prior booking or research. Prime places such as Viñales and Trinidad have limited good hotels and the private homestays fill up fast, especially if you’re traveling in high season like we did (January). Also, internet is limited and slow so it’s not that easy to look up a nice hotel or a fancy restaurant on Foursquare.

If you already know your itinerary in advance, then we recommend you to book your accommodation accordingly before leaving. Some people, however, prefer to be able to decide on the road. In this case, you might ask the owner of your casa particular to recommend you a place to stay at your next destination.

 

Accommodation in Cuba

You will find some overrated and expensive hotels – most of them owned by the government – and even cheap hostels but for a real, local experience we recommend you to stay at a “casa particular”. Theses “casas” are private homestays with one or two private bedrooms, run by a Cuban family. You will pay around 25 CUC per night + 5 CUC for breakfast. Staying at a casa is an excellent opportunity to get to know the people, their culture and to savour the Cuban food ! Here’s a list of the casas we stayed at and which we definitely recommend you:

Hostal El Ceramista – Trinidad

This casa was by far our best experience in Cuba! Alexey and his family are the most lovely hosts – not to forget their cute dog Scooby! – who did their utmost to make us feel at home.

Their house is a very cosy place, with a small courtyard full with ceramic pots (made by Alexey) and plants. 

The rooms are above the standard of a normal casa particular. They are quite big with a large private bathroom and a shared terrace where breakfast is served.

It’s great to find a spot away from the touristic centre to unwind and relax with a cool beer or piña colada (they prepare the best we’ve tasted in Cuba and believe us, we’ve tried a lot ;)).

Make sure to stay at least one night for dinner, it’s the best you’ll have during your trip! The pumpkin soup and fresh lobster are delicious!

On our last day, we joined Alexey for a really fun pottery class!

We stayed here for 4 nights and had the most amazing time! Their house is listed on Airbnb and Booking.com but you better book directly via email: [email protected] or [email protected].

See Tripadvisor reviews.

See Facebook reviews.

 

Villa El Ranchón – Viñales

This was the first casa we stayed at as we went straight to Viñales upon arrival in Havana airport. Ignacio and Raiza, the owners, gave us a warm welcome and drove us on their scooter to a local restaurant nearby since we were starving. The location of the house couldn’t have been better; it’s a 5 min walk from the touristic centre, in an oasis of peace and tranquility.

Views from the patio

The rooms are small yet clean and have their own bathroom. We definitely loved Raiza’s cooking! Breakfast and dinner is abundant and delicious.

Unfortunately we couldn’t enjoy the terrace upstairs due to the bad weather but it’s the perfect spot to watch sunset or stare at a sky full of stars at night.

One of the best experiences during our stay in Viñales was the birthday party of Carlos, Ignacio’s neighbor and dear friend. We had a lovely evening with both families and the other tourists and were amazed by the hospitality of Carlos and his family.

Ignacio and Carlos with their guests

 Their house is listed on Airbnb but you better book directly via email: [email protected].

See Tripadvisor reviews.

Carlos III Palace Room – Havana

Our arrival in Havana was a bit disappointing since we didn’t have the right address of the casa and we hadn’t informed Cari, the owner, about our estimated arrival time so the room wasn’t ready yet. Completely our fault! However, our impression changed when we met Cari later in the evening. A strong, warm hearted woman who treats her guests as her own children. She drove us twice to the bus station and even went buying our bus tickets a couple days in advance.

We had a classy dinner at Porto Habana, an elegant restaurant where Cari booked us a table and took us by car.

Definitely a must when you’re around!

 

The house is located in the Vedado neighborhood, an urban district that borders to Central Havana. Many tourists try the find accommodation in Havana Vieja or Old Havana but if you choose comfort and a quiet sleep at night, then we 100% recommend you to stay in Vedado. Don’t get us wrong, Old Havana is definitely charming but you’ll find it hard to find a decent place as many houses are old and very small. Cari’s house is a typical colonial building with several rooms that share a bathroom. Don’t expect any luxury, rooms are basic with few natural daylight but clean and large.

Cari’s casa is listed on airbnb.

Recommended accommodation if you’re looking for a more fancy place to stay:

 

Twelve day Itinerary

We decided to split our itinerary in 3 parts: 4 nights Viñales, 4 night Havana and 4 nights Varadero. Finally, we exchanged one night in Havana for Varadero. Below you can find a detailed description of our itinerary with personal suggestions: 

Viñales

Upon arrival at Havana airport, we had a (prearranged) private taxi waiting for us that took us directly to Viñales, 2h30 west from Havana. Many people visit the Valley of Viñales as a day trip from Havana but it’s definitely worth staying for a couple of days! Weather during our  4-day stay wasn’t as expected; it was relatively cold (around 20ºC) and rainy with sunny spells. On our first day we got on the hop-on hop-off bus; a very convenient and cheap (5 CUC/pers) bus service with stops at all the tourist attractions. The bus runs every 1h30 which gives you plenty of time to visit each of them:

View from the terrace of Hotel Los Jazmines

We even learned how to roll a cigar … and smoked our first one of the trip!

Mural de la Prehistoria

If you haven’t seen or visited any cave yet, then you can stop by the Cueva del Indio but it definitely wasn’t the highlight of the day. We arrived after lunch time and had to cue inside the cave to get on the boat for a short ride.

On our second day we took a 4h horse riding trip. The horses were easy to handle and the scenery was great although we found the entire experience a bit overrated. We were expecting to ride inside the valley but instead, only got to see the valley from the top of the hills. We rode through a tobacco farm where they explained how to roll cigars, produce coffee and honey. Next we went to a top hill restaurant with a nice view. It was entertaining and fun, but a bit disappointing as well as we returned via the same track. Also, the visits along the route do feel a bit as a tourist trap as literally every horse riding trip stops by the same tobacco farm and restaurant.

Horseback ride

During our last night we went to explore the nightlife in Viñales and had a blast at Centro Cultural Polo Montañez. This popular night spot is located right at the main square and kicks into action as of 9pm when locals and tourists show their best dance moves. Don’t worry if your not an expert, you can practice and learn from them!

Cayo Jutías

Despite the cold and cloudy weather, we took a day trip to Cayo Jutías for a relaxing beach day. Cayo Jutías is located 60 km northwest of Viñales. However, road conditions are very bad so after a 2h long and bumpy ride, we arrived to the beach around noun. The beach itself is very quiet and has all facilities you need (restaurant, bar, toilet with shower) without feeling like a resort. Keep on walking along the beach to find a more secluded spot.

Cayo Jutías

Cayo Jutías vies with Cayo Levisa, to the east of Viñales, for the title of most stunning beach. We decided to only visit Cayo Jutías as there are no accommodation options, unlike Cayo Levisa, thus felt more tranquil and isolated.

Havana

After spending 4 days on the countryside, we were anxious to discover the vibrant and exotic city life of Havana. First of all, in order to understand Havana you need to know that the city can be broken down in three areas:

Havana Vieja or Old Havana: Havana’s tourist area. A charming neighborhood full of history, beautiful (and restored) buildings and great art galleries.

Central Havana: Located between Havana Vieja and Vedado. The area has some interesting buildings but unfortunately, many of them are completely destroyed or are slowly eroding. In our humble opinion it felt as walking through a war zone.  

Vedado: The most modern area. This area has large, colonial buildings that are well-maintained and has nice restaurants and bars.

On our first day, we started walking from our casa particular towards el Malecón, the seafront promenade, a long stretch of coast that goes from Vedado, along Central Havana and ending at the harbour in Havana Vieja. We made a quick pit stop at the Hotel Nacional and continued strolling along the Malecón watching locals fishing. It felt like being inside an epic movie with the strong wind and the water splashing all over the malecón.

El Malecón

We made our way into Central Havana and were surprised to see the poor condition of the neighborhood. Many buildings are falling apart or are under scaffolding.

When entering Havana Vieja, you get a completely different image. This is the “postcard Havana”; lovely cobblestoned streets, salsa bars with live music and exotic vibes.

View of El Capitolio at sunset

Charming Havana Vieja

You can’t miss out to sip a mojito at La Bodeguita del Medio or a daiquiri at El Floridita; famous because of Ernest Hemingway who frequented both bars.

Being a popular tourist attraction, be prepared for long lines and crowds inside.

If you’re traveling on a tight schedule or don’t want to walk that much, then you can rent a classic car with driver to guide you along the main sightseeing points.

Make sure to visit the Museum of the Revolution; it’s well-worth a visit but be aware that this is just one angle of the story. Avoid the Havana Rum Museum however, it’s a total rip off for a very short and crowded tour, not to mention the ridiculously small rum taste they give us at the end.

Overall, we felt that Havana is a must-see but also a lot to take in at the same time. Although there’s not that much traffic, the car exhaust of the old cars is pretty bad and annoying. It was a strong difference with the clean air and peacefulness on the countryside in Viñales.

Note for families traveling with kids and buggies: You can’t call Havana stroller-friendly, it will be a hassle because of the cobblestones and potholes as well as for the lack of sidewalks.

Varadero

Initially Varadero wasn’t on our list as we’re not keen on large, overcrowded, all-inclusive beach resorts. It’s not really our style of vacation. However, we changed our mind in the middle of our trip as we wanted a break from the hassle and pollution of Havana. We left early in the morning and after some trouble getting a colectivo, we finally arrived to Varadero around 11h. During our taxi ride, we had decided to stay overnight to get the most out of our beach day. We went to a bar with internet connection – quite rare in Cuba – and started looking for options. Finally, we ended up with no luggage or passport at the Royalton Hicacos. This is one of the most sophisticated beach resorts in the area so our expectations were high. While the room was nice and large, the bathroom was a bit outdated. There was a large selection of items at the buffet, with several live cooking stands. There were several on-site restaurants as well with prior reservation and a dress code  – to which we didn’t comply – but the buffet and free mojitos were already more than enough for us!

Varadero beach, in front of hotel Royalton Hicacos

If you’re a first-time traveler to Cuba and you want to immerse yourself in the Cuban culture, then this is definitely not a good way to do so. There’s zero culture exposure. Now, if you’re traveling with kids or as a couple, then it’s a good break from busy Havana. We enjoyed every single minute of our stay but wouldn’t go back to Varadero. If you’re looking for a beach vacation, then there are many places in the Riviera Maya in Mexico that beat Varadero on price, service and quality.

Trinidad

Trinidad is a charming colonial town, 4h southeast of Havana, with the old part being a UNESCO heritage site.

Charming centre of Trinidad

The colourful buildings, cobblestoned streets and many salsa bars make it a much desirable tourist destination. We noted this from the moment our bus pulled into town; locals were standing in line and trying to sell us tours and taxi rides. Watch out for tourist traps and ask the owner of your casa for reliable transport options and good dining spots!

During the day the tourist centre is quite calm as many travelers go for an excursion outside Trinidad (see below) but once sun sets, locals and tourists gather around Plaza Mayor to soak up the night scene. Head for dinner to La Botija, a rustique restaurant with live music which is open 24h. Get there early as the lines get long. Portions are big; we had the grilled meat platter and shrimps and ended up full.

After dinner, we headed to Casa de la Música (see left pic), one of the main life performing stages in Trinidad and a magnet for salsa lovers. You pay a small entrance fee (CUC 1) and can sit on the steps to enjoy several bands playing throughout the evening.

You can dance all night long and even explore other venues like Palenque de los Congos Reales for some Afro Cuban music or Casa de la Trova, for some Trova music as of 23h.

What makes Trinidad even more interesting is the diversity of activities around the city. It offers you the perfect mix of city, beach and nature:

Playa María Aguilar and Playa Ancón

On our first day in Trinidad, we rented bikes (via a friend of Alexey, the owner of our casa particular) for 5 CUC/day and started an early bike ride while enjoying a great scenery.

Scenery during our bike ride

After 8km, we stopped at Playa María Aguilar which you pass on your way to Playa Ancón. María Aguilar beach is a beautiful and peaceful white sand beach with nice views of the mountains towards the right. Our early arrival (at 9am) made it feel as a private beach. We rented snorkeling equipment for 3 CUC and stayed another 2 hours until it got busier.

Playa María Aguilar

Two km further away lies Playa Ancón, a lovely long stretch of beach with calm water. There are several small beach bars for snacks and drinks although you should try the homemade pizzas that some locals are selling.

Playa Ancón

Alternatively, you can also take a taxi from Trinidad which will cost you between 6 and 8 CUC (one way) but try to look for other tourists to share the ride (and costs).

Parque Nacional Topes de Collantes

The Sierra del Escambray is home to Cuba’s second largest national park, el Parque Nacional de Topes de Collantes. It’s the ideal background for hiking, mountain biking or horse riding. It’s a 20 min ride; but make sure to stop at this incredible viewpoint!

We did the “Sendero Salto del Caburní”, a 3.5km long hike trail to the Salto del Caburní waterfall. You start on a concrete path and work your way down via a steep, jungly descent with slippery rocks! Once you get to the bottom, you can go left to get a good view of the waterfall or right to jump in the natural swimming pool:

Left: Waterfall, Right: Hiking trail

Natural swimming pool

 

Twelve days in Cuba didn’t allow us to discover more places but staying for a while in each of them gave us a good idea of the culture, the people and the system. The best memories from our trip are definitely from the conversations we’ve had with the locals. It’s useful and almost necessary to speak Spanish in order to understand their history, to learn about their day-to-day struggles and to feel the real Cuban vibe. We’ve been hosted by the most lovely people and have received such a warm welcome in every place and it’s their love, hospitality and positive energy that has inspired us.

Are you traveling to Cuba in the near future? Are you curious to hear more stories? Contact us without obligation and we will be happy to help you!

Spring is approaching fast and this is the ideal time to travel to some popular destinations before the peak season kicks in. We’ve listed down some of the best places to visit during Spring this year!

 

March

Where to go in Africa:

Enjoy some early spring sunshine in Morocco while it’s not too hot or get a tan on the beaches of Djerba in Tunisia.

It’s the right time to visit the south of Egypt, from Luxor on, where it’s much nicer now than in the busy summer months.

The dry season in Cape Verde, which lasts from November to July, can see some strong winds which makes it a great winter destination for kite surfers. Temperatures are around 20°C between December and March.

Tamnougalt, Morocco

Where to go in Europe:

Days are getting longer and sunnier in early spring. It’s the perfect time of the year to head to the Mediterranean before the high peak of Eastern increases the rates considerably.

Maybe you want to enjoy the late-season offers in the ski resorts of the French and Austrian Alps and the Pyrenees? You can still catch the last of the winter snow and accommodation is easier to find.

During the spring months, Canaries continue to enjoy the same pleasant weather as the peak seasons (winter and summer months), only without the tourist crowds.

Where to go in North America:

Spring (from March to May) is the best time to visit Los Angeles. The smog is at its lowest levels, the air is breathable, hotels will offer lower rates and there are significantly less crowds.

In Miami the temperatures are much more comfortable than in the hot summer months and the city is less crowded.

March is a fantastic time to visit Baja California in Mexico. Conditions for whale-watching are optimal, almost no rain and temperatures are rising.

Venice Beach, Los Angeles, California, US

Where to go in Central America & The Caribbean:

The Caribbean has an all-year-round pleasant climate but the best time to visit is generally considered from December-April, when it’s slightly cooler, drier and less humid.

In Cuba you can expect dry and sunny days from December to March before the wet season begins in June.

Havana, Cuba

Where to go in South America:

Patagonia, in Argentina and Chile, has very pleasant weather during March. However, be careful of some very high winds at altitude. You will avoid the tourist hordes of the summer and will be able to capture the autumn colours.  

Where to go in Oceania:

There’s no better time to visit Vietnam than in March which has the lowest rainfall across all destinations and temperatures are pleasant, although it can still be cool in the north (Hanoi and Halong Bay).

Beaches on the south and west coast of Sri Lanka are dry, hot and sunny while the Northeast coast is still affected by the monsoon.

Dry season in Philippines (from November to April) makes it a perfect spot for unwinding on its many pristine beaches.  

As of March, cherry blossoms start to bloom in Japan and the entire nation is filled with beautiful pink blossoms.

Mount Fuji, Japan

April

Where to go in Africa:

April and especially May are lovely months in Namibia. It’s getting drier, the air is fresh and clear and the landscape has turned green.

April and May (as well as November-December) are ideal to discover the pristine beaches of the Seychelles and the warm and wind-free conditions are perfect for snorkeling and diving.

Enjoy some early spring sunshine in Morocco while it’s not too hot or get a tan on the beaches of Djerba in Tunisia.

Where to go in Europe:

Europe is warming up for summer and it’s the perfect time for a city trip (as long as you avoid Eastern break) before it starts getting too hot. Portugal has a pleasant mediterranean climate and is very affordable. It’s also a good time to explore the cities in Southern Spain where it’s usually too hot in summer.

Berlin, Amsterdam, Bruges and London are great destinations for a long weekend, right before the summer kicks off.

Towards the end of the month you want to take a dip in the Mediterranean at the beaches of the Balearic Islands, Malta, Cyprus, Greece or Crete.

Cabo do Roca, Portugal

Where to go in North America:

Now it’s an excellent time to plan a city trip to New York after the winter cold and before the summer that can be scorching.

Florida is one of the best places to go on holiday in April for beach breaks or outdoor adventures, with long sunny days and warm but not hot weather.

Skyline Manhattan, New York, US

Where to go in Central America & the Caribbean:

Cuba is still a great destination in Central America; days are long and sunny before the wet season arrives.

You can find great deals in the Caribbean, especially if you book towards the end of the month.

Where to go in South America:

Much of Patagonia is still accessible in early April and the penguins are starting to arrive. You’ll avoid the crowds and the high prices, while still enjoying some pleasant weather.

Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia, Chile

Where to go in Oceania:

In Asia, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand can still be explored comfortably but the majority of Asian countries are unpleasantly hot at this time.

However, the Philippines are a great choice as the climate here is excellent at this time of the year if you want to travel from one island to another without having to worry about typhoons.

If you don’t mind crowds it is also the perfect time to see the flowering cherry trees in Japan.

 

May

Where to go in Africa:

April and especially May are lovely months in Namibia. It’s getting drier, the air is fresh and clear and the landscape has turned green.

April and May (as well as November-December) are ideal to discover the pristine beaches of the Seychelles and the warm and wind-free conditions are perfect for snorkeling and diving.

May is the start of the dry season in Zambia and Botswana, lasting until October, when conditions are optimal to watch animals gathering around rivers and waterholes.

The central highlands of Madagascar are cold and wet from May till October, but these months are the best time to visit Madagascar’s dry southwest, where temperatures in the summer (Nov-Jan) are unbearably hot.

May and June are the best time to enjoy your holidays in Réunion Island as you avoid the tourist crowds and the wet season.

The best time to visit Mauritius is from May to December when the weather is cool, dry and sunny.

Sossuvlei, Namibia

Where to go in Europe:

It’s pleasantly warm in Malta, Crete, Cyprus and Greece. Tuscany and Florence in particular is great for a long weekend to stroll along the cobbled streets without the tourist hordes overwhelming the region.

Scotland benefits from its maximum level of sunshine this month and the countryside is even more beautiful with the blossoming flowers.

Head to Sweden, Finland or Norway for long days, warmer weather (than usual) and lower prices, this is a great time for activities such as walking, cycling or kayaking.

Croatia is a perfect destination for a road trip before high season starts.

Where to go in North America:

Spring is by far the best time to visit Yosemite Valley in California. In May the waterfalls are at their peak, the wildflowers are blooming, and the summer crowds have not arrived yet. Daytime temperatures are nice but be prepared for chilly temperatures at night.

Visiting Grand Canyon in Arizona is also very pleasant during this time of the year. Temperatures are mild, precipitation is light and the crowds are manageable.

Tenaya Lake, Yosemite, California, US

Where to go in Central America & the Caribbean:

Guadeloupe, Martinique (with direct flights from Paris) and also the Bahamas are still very welcoming for a tropical vacation before the rain season starts.

Plage de la Pointe Martin, Martinique

Where to go in South America:

Winter in Peru (from May to September) is the driest season and therefore the best time of year to travel, especially if you are planning to visit the Cusco area or to trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu, Cusco, Peru

Where to go in Oceania:

In Asia, few destinations are recommended during monsoon season that has just started in May. However, it’s a great time to visit Beijing when winds blow away the pollution.

For budget-minded travelers that want to travel to the Maldives, this is a great time to save on accommodation. Expect some rain during the monsoon season but if that doesn’t scare you off, you will have the least company and best prices at the resorts. Also, surfers will catch good waves, and divers will see many colourful fishes.

Chinese Wall, Beijing, China

 

Feel free to contact us if you need further advise on a specific destination or to start planning your trip!

It’s GIVEAWAY time!

The holidays are a time filled with memories we have made with family and friends. Share your favorite holiday memory with us and enter for a chance to win a €150 voucher to be used at a hotel of your choice.

 

How to participate?

  1. Like our Facebook page (in case you haven’t done yet).
  2. Leave a comment on our Facebook giveaway post describing your best holiday memory. Feel free to include a picture as well!
  3. Include the hashtag #yourway2travel in your comment.

What is the deadline?

The contest starts on Dec, 13 (12h CET) and ends on Dec, 20 (12h CET). The winner will be announced on this page upon completion of the contest.

Conditions

  1. One entry per person. Participation is limited to individuals from eighteen (18) years old or older.
  2. Valid for a trip organized by Your Way To Travel. The entrant can redeem the voucher only when booking a trip with Your Way To Travel.
  3. Valid from Jan, 1st to Dec, 31st 2018. The trip must be booked within this time frame.

By entering the Sweepstake, you accept and agree to be bound by these official rules, including the interpretation of these, which shall be final and binding in all respects.

Update Nov 2018:
We’ve written a new post for 2019 following the latests trends and events of last year. Social media is reshaping the way we look to travel and our Travel Planners are responding to the growing demand of personalized travel. Read the latest blog post to be on top of the latest changes in the travel industry.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Online booking websites are more popular than ever and have made it easier for travelers to book directly instead of using a Travel Agent/Planner. Unfortunately, many people do not understand how a Travel Agent works and how we can help. Some will even ask: “Do they still exist?” Well, here we are! We truly believe that our added value is what makes us useful. So, why should you use a professional Travel Planner?

Save time

We’ve heard it often but many people ask us why someone would need a travel planner when nowadays it’s so easy to set up your own travel itinerary with all the info available on the internet? It’s true that there’s a huge amount of valuable information available but the more options there are, the more confusing for the consumer to figure out what is relevant. There’s an information overload which makes planning your own trip a very time-consuming job! Here’s where your Travel Planner comes in and saves you so much time and stress prior to your departure. We will do the research for you! You can sit back and relax while we make the necessary arrangements for you.

Save money

Unlike many other travel agencies, we do not get paid by commission but charge a small service fee instead. Consider the fee that you’ll pay us as an investment in your holiday. We actually help you to save money on your upcoming trip. How so? Well, hotels for example have a bigger incentive to grant a travel agent a discount or an upgrade than a random customer. By leveraging our relationships, we can get you extra amenities where you can’t.

Professional knowledge

As a frequent traveler, your Travel Planner knows what she’s talking about. We’re here to give you advise where you get stuck. Should I drive Highway 1 from North to South or the other way? Is a visa necessary for a 2-month stay in Cape Town? How should I be dressed to visit the temples in Chiang Mai? We share our expertise with you and even if we don’t have an in-house expert, we make sure to collaborate with other professionals to get you the best service.

Personal touch

Many people are under strong pressure at work and your time off is more valuable than ever. You’ve worked long and hard for that well-deserved break and you want it to be exactly as you’ve hoped for. We will listen to your specific needs, suggest options that are most convenient to you and adjust your trip to achieve the vacation you have in mind. We’re all about creating happy travelers. We add a human touch that search engines, as powerful as they might be, can’t replace.

Changing world

The world is constantly changing and we have up-to-date information about your desired destination. Is this a good time to travel to the Caribbean after the hurricane? Should I delay my trip to Portugal after the wildfires? Is this a good time to travel to Europe given the latest terrorist attacks? Whatever the current situation is, your Travel Planner will give you the right update.

All we want, is to help you explore new places and create life lasting memories with your beloved ones. We care about you, every trip is unique for us and go the extra mile for you. Are you traveling in the near future and do you want to use our professional service? Contact us today and we will get back to you asap.

Black Friday is around the corner and if you’re looking to save some money for your upcoming trip, you better be prepared for some incredible deals. As a general rule, you have to act fast and be flexible with your dates. We’ve made a list of some of the best flight deals you’ll find online.

WOW Air

The Icelandic low-cost carrier has announced one-way tickets from the US to Europe for only $99.99, departing from Boston, Chicago and Pittsburgh to Reykjavik, Amsterdam, London and Dublin. Flying from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami starts as of $129.99 each way. There are only 1250 seats available at $99 and 250 seats at $129.99.

Ryanair

Ryanair has launched a promotion during 7 days in a row with 100.000 seats starting at €4.99. Check out their new deals each morning and bear in mind that the offer expires on Nov, 27.

Iberia

Save big on your long haul flights from Europe to Latin America or the US. Iberia’s Black Friday offer includes flights to New York starting from €224, Mexico as of €400 and Buenos Aires as of €410.

Vueling

Vueling is offering one million tickets at €14.99 from Friday, 24 until Monday, 27. This exclusive discount is limited to flights from Dec, 11 until Jun, 20.

Air New Zealand

This might be your opportunity to discover New Zealand! There are limited return flights available, departing from London to Auckland, for only £399!

British Airways

Book your flights during this weekend, starting on Black Friday until midnight on Cyber Monday, and save up to 49% with British Airways to many US destinations, including New York, Boston, Chicago and Atlanta as well as to the Middle East, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. In addition to these long haul flights, they also offer great discounts on European flights!

AirEuropa

Use the promo code BLACKFRIDAY20 to get a 20% off on short haul flights and BLACKFRIDAY30 for a 30% off on long haul flights, both applicable to all destinations.

Norwegian

Fly between Dec, 4 and Mar, 18 and save up to 30% on certain routes between the US and Europe. The offer stands until next Saturday (Dec, 2), 01:00. Make sure to include the promo code BLACKFRIDAY17!

 

Furthermore, Delta, American, Alaska and United Airlines haven’t announced their deals yet but they will start releasing their offers on Thanksgiving night so check out their website!

 

Contact us today to find out more irresistible deals on accommodation and activities as well and we will be happy to set up your itinerary!

Looking to spend Christmas abroad? Do you need some December sun? We’ve summed up some top destinations around the globe to celebrate Christmas and to kick off the new year in style.

 

Where to go in Africa:

The dry season in Cape Verde, which lasts from November to July, can see some strong winds which makes it a great winter destination for kite surfers. Temperatures are around 20°C between December and March.

Calabar or Carnival in Nigeria colours the streets attracting thousands of tourists and is seen as “Africa’s biggest street party”. The Carnival begins Dec, 1 and lasts until Dec, 31.

Holiday season starts in South Africa and there are so many good reasons to travel here in December but the good weather (it’s never too hot), amazing food and wine and incredible nature, especially in Cape Town must be our top-3. Don’t miss your chance to visit Table Mountain, one of the new nature wonders of the world! Besides, if you travel from Europe, you don’t even have to worry about a jet lag by the time you’re home as there’s only one hour of difference. Further up the coast lies KwaZulu-Natal which is known for its more exotic beaches as well as game reserves and mountains.  

 

Calabar Festival in Nigeria, pic by midnigeria.com

 

Where to go in Europe:

Many European cities host charming Christmas fairs, like Berlin and Aachen in Germany, Vienna in Austria, Prague in Czech Republic and Zagreb in Croatia.

If you want to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve on the slopes, then you better head to the Swiss Alps for reliable early powder, like Saas Fee and Zermatt.  

 

Christmas Market in Berlin, Germany. 

 

Where to go in North America:

For winter sports, head to Colorado or Vermont where you’ll already find some snow in December.

As of the end of December, San Antonio in Texas lights up in a dazzling display.

Christmas period in New York is truly magical but know that prices are reaching their peak!

Southern California is mild in winter so why not relax on one of San Diego’s lovely beaches and combine it with a stay in Palm Springs.

The Alaska Railroad connecting Anchorage and Fairbanks operates year-round but winter is amazing to discover the outdoors from the warmth of the train.

December is a popular month to travel to Mexico, when the weather is generally warm and dry across the country.

Alaska Railroad, pic by Nationalgeographic.com

 

Where to go in Central America & the Caribbean:

The hurricane season in the Caribbean has officially ended which makes it a great destination to spend Christmas.

Jamaica has tropical weather all year round but the best time to visit, is from November to mid-December, when the island already has beautiful weather and hotel and flight deals are easier to find.

Beaches can get crowded in the Bahamas as of mid-December so if you’re looking for some cheaper rates, think about the beginning of the month.

Guadeloupe and Martinique (with direct flights from Paris) are great alternatives for Europeans who want to spend Christmas in the Caribbean without having to think about passport issues.

 

La Plage de la Pointe Marin, Martinique

 

Where to go in South America:

In December and January everything is green in Guatemala after the rains and the sky is clear.

December is ideal to discover the variety of Brazil. It’s the best time to visit the Amazon now that rivers are low and trails have better access. You can easily combine it with a few days on the beaches of Rio or nearby Ilha Grande or Buzios.

The start of the dry season makes Colombia an interesting destination. Weather remains warm along the Caribbean coast and in Medellin throughout the entire year but in the highlands, nights are getting warmer.

Chile is a very extensive country so weathers varies according to the area but October to March is a good time to travel to Patagonia in the south of Chile. You should definitely combine it with a visit to Santiago and the Atacama desert.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Pic by Hilton

 

Where to go in Oceania:

Summer is the peak tourist season in New Zealand. You’ll get cooler temperatures the more south you go so be prepared.

Australia is entering its summer season so it’s the ideal time to go surfing, swimming or to spot koalas. Kick off the new year in Sydney with one of the greatest firework displays in the world.

Winter season is a great time to visit the white sand beaches in Dubai. Temperatures are very pleasant and the sun shines practically all the time.

Dry season in Philippines (from November to April) makes it a perfect spot for unwinding on its many pristine beaches.

The lowlands in Laos have nice daytime temperatures and the countryside is green and lush after the rains. In the highlands, however, it remains very cold especially in the night with temperatures dropping to zero.

The cold season in Bangladesh, which spreads from October to February, is probably the best time to explore the country, when the weather is dry and fresh.

Rains have decreased in Thailand and temperatures are warming up. As long as you avoid the touristic resort areas, December is a perfect month for a holiday in Thailand.

Dry season in the Maldives (from December to April) also means the start of the peak season with good visibility and less humidity but higher rates.

 

Syney’s New Year’s Eve Fireworks, pic by Sydney-nye.com

 

Whatever your travel plans are, contact us for a personalized itinerary! Our Personal Travel Planners will assist you with their expertise and will create you a customized trip!

Nowadays Internet has made it easier than ever to book your flights but it can still be a painful and stressful experience. You don’t want to pay a high price to see the same ticket at a lower price just a few days later. In this article we will teach you how and when to find the best flight deals. 

 

How far in advance should I book my flight?

First of all, it all depends if you’re booking a domestic (flights within the US and EU) or an international flight. According to a study conducted by Expedia and the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC), you should start booking your domestic flights as of 50 to 100 days before departure. If you’re flying overseas, then you should plan even further ahead, ideally between 150 and 225 days in advance. Note that the best deals for international routes were found around day 171.

Needless to say that the closer you get to your scheduled departure date, the higher the rates. As of 3 weeks prior to departure, flight rates start to peak. Why is it so hard to find some cheap, last-minute flights? The answer is simple: Selling 5 seats at €500 is much more profitable for an airline than selling the last 20 seats at only €100.

The below table clearly indicates us that flights booked more than 3 weeks in advance represent a significant cost saving:

Source: “New Heights for Air Travel”, a study by Expedia and the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC)

 

What are the best days of the week to book my flight?

Generally speaking, weekends are the best time to book your tickets with Sunday being by far the best day of the week and Friday the worst. This is largely influenced by business travelers, who tend to buy their tickets at the end of the week. Sunday savings is a global trend that can be found whatever your departure city might be. 

Let’s have a look at the below graph and table: The lowest rate for travelers departing from Europe and traveling to other destinations in Europe were found on Sunday, with savings up to 30%. Sunday bookings from Europe can save you up to 13% for flights to Asia and up to 22% for flights to the US.

Please note that although the percentages slightly vary, the same trend was found for other regions.

Source: “New Heights for Air Travel”, a study by Expedia and the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC)

 

Traveling has never been more easy and cheaper than the past years. Prices of tickets continue to drop due to the increased competition between airlines. However, it’s a tricky system and we hope that these guidelines help you to better understand the fluctuation of prices. Contact us today and we will be happy to assist you and to save you money on your upcoming trip!

 

 

Winter is about to set in and you’ve got a wide range of possibilities to go for a last break before the holiday season starts. Whether you’re looking for a week off to soak up some sunshine or just a short city trip nearby; we’ve summed up the top travel destinations for November.

Where to go in Africa:

In North Africa, the scorching temperatures have disappeared and it’s a perfect time to visit Morocco and Tunisia and maybe go on a desert safari.

In the Delta Nile region of Egypt, winter season (from October to February) is much cooler so a good time if you want to avoid the heat.

Summer is approaching South Africa. Daytime temperatures are rising and the springtime is bursting Cape Town with colour. Accommodation rates are starting to increase in preparation for the summer months but are still much lower than in high season. Don’t miss your chance to visit Table Mountain, one of the new nature wonders of the world! Besides, if you travel from Europe, you don’t even have to worry about a jet lag by the time you’re home as there’s only one hour of difference.

View on Table Mountain from Lion’s Head, Cape Town.

 

Where to go in Europe:

Winter is about to set in in many European countries so if you still want to take in some vitamin D before the cold and grey winter months arrive, you should head to the Canary Islands or south Spain for some sunny and warm days.

Italy is not only a paradise for foodies but also for art lovers. November is a little bit more chilly and wet but you can expect less crowds in cities like Rome and Florence and no cueing at the entrance of some world-renowned museums.

Florence in Autumn, pic by todayupfeed.com

 

Where to go in North America:

New York, is wonderful in November, but especially when it’s getting ready for Christmas and it’s not as cold as in December.

November in Florida might be a bit too cold to head to the beaches but it makes it ideal for more inland activities like theme parks.

Shoulder season makes Texas also a great destination as weather is not as intense as in the summer months while many attractions remain open.

If you want to avoid the crowds and save on accommodation, then October and November are the perfect months for a relaxed holiday in Cancún.

 

Sun sets over Manhattan, New York. View from Brooklyn. 

 

Where to go in Central America & the Caribbean:

Hawaii has great weather, year-round, and while November through March is Hawaii’s so-called rainy season, showers only last for a few hours which makes Hawaii a great vacation spot for visitors who want to escape the cold in Northern US.

November is the last month of the official hurricane season in the Caribbean but late-season hurricanes are rare at this time of the year. This being said, expect to find some great deals on flights and accommodation before the holiday season kicks in.  

Anse Dufour beach, Martinique. 

 

Where to go in South America:

Spring is a good time to travel to Argentina and to avoid the crowds during the busy summer months (December and January).

Nicaragua‘s dry season starts in November, when the majority of places enjoy dry, sunny days and mild temperatures.

A lovely month to visit Uruguay. Montevideo is pleasantly warm and the beaches are quieter than in December.

Chile is a very extensive country so weathers varies according to the area but October to March is a good time to travel to Patagonia in the south of Chile. You should definitely combine it with a visit to Santiago and the Atacama desert.

Pic from the Atacama crossing, a 4 Deserts race that takes places in the Atacama desert. 

 

Where to go in Oceania:

Northern Vietnam is generally warm and sunny from October to December, after which cold winter weather sets in, accompanied by a fine mist which can last for several days

November is probably the best month for trekking in the Himalayas in Nepal: it’s not too hot, the sky is clear enough to see where you’re going and the peaks and high passes are clear enough for trekking.

Autumn (October and November) is great to visit Hong Kong too: nice breeze and a perfect amount of sunshine.

The best time to visit Bangkok is from late October to March, when the heat and humidity are at their lowest.

Grand Palace, Bangkok. 

 

Whatever your travel plans are, contact us for a personalized itinerary! Our Personal Travel Planners will assist you with their expertise and will create you a customized trip!

Let’s celebrate the beginning of autumn, when temperatures are mild and rates are lower (than in summer)!

Where should you go on holiday in October? We’ve summed up the best travel destinations so you get the most out of your trip, including some special offers! 

Where to go in Africa:

From May until October conditions are optimal in Zambia and Botswana to watch animals gathering around rivers and waterholes.

In North Africa, the scorching temperatures have disappeared and it’s a perfect time to visit Morocco and Tunisia and maybe go on a desert safari. In the Delta Nile region of Egypt, winter season (from October to February) is much cooler so a good time if you want to avoid the heat.

Summer is approaching South Africa. Daytime temperatures are rising and the springtime is bursting Cape Town with colour. Accommodation rates are starting to increase in preparation for the summer months but are still much lower than in high season. Don’t miss your chance to visit Table Mountain, one of the new nature wonders of the world! Besides, if you travel from Europe, you don’t even have to worry about a jet lag by the time you’re home as there’s only one hour of difference.

Sunset on Table Mountain, Cape Town. Pic by tp.photo

 

Where to go in Europe:

The beginning of autumn makes the Mediterranean countries popular destinations with sunny weather. Temperatures are very pleasant in southern Spain, Italy, the Greek Islands and Cyprus.

Indulge in the beauty of the Scottish Highlands where you can enjoy an amazing scenery with a wide array of autumn colours.

This is also a great time for a romantic city break to some of Europe’s most beautiful cities in fall: the colours reflected in the canals of Bruges, the view of the Prague castle from the banks of the river or the sunset from the City Walls of Dubrovnik. These are just the perfect excuse for a romantic getaway in autumn.

Don’t miss: British Airways currently offers some last minute holiday deals for flights within Europe (depending on your airport of departure).

Autumn in Mykonos, Greece. Pic by Kivotosmykonos.com

 

Where to go in North America:

While the ski resort town of Aspen in Colorado is the place to be in winter, it also very enjoyable during the autumn months.

The Great Smoky Mountains – US’s most popular national park – offer plenty of scenic roads and hiking trails, which is great to spend a few days exploring these stunning forests and even better in fall.

The dramatic New England fall foliage starts in the northern New England states typically in late September and moves down to the southern New England states around late October.

Fall is the best time to visit New Mexico when the hot summer gets to an end and school holidays are over.

If you want to avoid the crowds and save on accommodation, then October and November are the perfect months for a relaxed holiday in Cancún.

Don’t miss: The special flight offers from United – available until Oct, 12th – for selected domestic flights and the special fares on return flights between Europe and the US & Canada, offered by Brussels Airlines. 

 

Mt.Cammerer sunrise in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Pic by lovethesepics.com 

 

Where to go in South America:

Spring is a good time to travel to Argentina and to avoid the crowds during the busy summer months (from December to January).

Chile is a very extensive country so weathers varies according to the area but October to March is a good time to travel to Patagonia in the south of Chile. You should definitely combine it with a visit to Santiago and the Atacama desert.

Pic from the Atacama crossing, a 4 Deserts race that takes place in the Atacama desert in October. 

 

Where to go in Oceania:

Autumn as well as spring is the best time to visit Jordan as it’s not too hot for hiking in the nature reserves and both flora and fauna are abundant.

Northern Vietnam is generally warm and sunny from October to December, after which cold winter weather sets in, accompanied by a fine mist which can last for several days.

Between October and December is the best time to visit Nepal as the skies are generally clear and the views are spectacular.

Autumn (October and November) is great to visit Hong Kong too: nice breeze and a perfect amount of sunshine.

The best time to visit Fiji is from late October to early November before the peak of the high season. The weather is dry and warm and the beaches and resorts are less crowded as kids are still at school at this time of the year.

Don’t miss: Take advantage of the last days of Air France’s cheap rates on return flights to many top destinations in Asia.

 

The Yasawa Islands, Fiji. Pic by Planetware.com

 

Whatever your travel plans are, contact us for a personalized itinerary! Our Personal Travel Planners will assist you with their expertise and will create you a customized trip!

Those of you who already have been in Cape Town will certainly understand the impact Table Mountain has on the city, its residents and visitors. It reminds us how wonderful nature is! Table Mountain is one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature and we hiked several times to the top of this iconic landmark overlooking the Mother City. We absolutely enjoyed every single hike and loved the views! In this article we will recommend you some routes and give you some useful advise!

Recommend routes


Platteklip Gorge

  • Start point: Head towards the aerial cableway on Tafelberg Road. Once you pass the main building, continue driving for about 1,5k until you see cars parked at the side of the road. At the right side you’ll find a small path. That’s the starting point for the hike.
  • Views: You will be rewarded with amazing views of the city of Cape Town, including Lions head. When you get to the top and you continue walking towards the restaurant, you’ll even see the 12 Apostles.
  • Difficulty level: Let’s make things clear: it’s not an easy walk in the park. It’s a heavy uphill hike! At the last stage, you’ll have to use your hands to literally climb. If you’re in a good shape, it will be challenging yet fun.
  • Duration: It all depends on your fitness level. We hiked to the top in 1h30 but we’re sure that some of you will do much better! Normal duration varies between 1-3 hours.
  • Be aware! The top of Table Mountain is (very) often covered by thick clouds, also called the “tablecloth”. So it can be quite cold and misty at the top, be prepared and carry a jacket or sweater.
  • Going down: Buy a ticket for the cable car in the souvenir shop. But remember that if it’s too windy, the cable car isn’t operating so you’ll have to hike your way down.

Kasteelspoort

  • Start point: Head towards Camps Bay. On Camps Bay Dr, right before descending towards Camps Bay, turn left at Fiskaal Rd. Continue driving until Theresa Rd. You will probably see some cars parked close to the entrance. You will begin walking along the Pipe Track.
  • Views: Kasteelspoort hike offers spectacular views on Camps Bay and Lions head.

At the top you’ll arrive at a T junction. Turn right and at the next junction, turn right again. You’ll get to the old winch and a great lookout point. 

If you continue straight at the first junction, you will pass the Hely-Hutchinson reservoir.

  • Difficulty level: Same as the Table Mountain hike via Platteklip Gorge. You will have to climb over some rocks at certain points.
  • Duration: It depends on your fitness level but it’s definitely not an easy hike. It will take you about 1h30 to 2h30 to get to the top.
  • Be aware! There’s a strong and chilly wind at the top so bring a sweater.
  • Going down: The only option is hiking down. Alternatively, you could continue walking/running towards the flat part of Table Mountain where you can take the cable car down but that will take another 2 hours (if you came by car, remember you still have to get back to where you parked).

India Venster

The views over the city of Cape Town, Camps Bay and the Twelve Apostles are breathtaking!

  • Difficulty level: This is definitely the most difficult way to climb up Table Mountain. There is a lot of scrambling involved and if you’re afraid of heights (like me), you’ll have to get out of your comfort zone.
  • Be aware! Despite the warning signs, it’s easy to get off the path and to find yourself on some steep cliffs that are difficult to traverse.
  • Going down: Take the cable car. We do not advise you to hike India Venster down unless you’re a professional climber.

 

 

If hiking, adventure and nature is your cup of tea, then you’ll absolutely enjoy these Table Mountain hikes. And if not, no worries! Remember that there’s the cable car that goes right to the top of Table Mountain with spectacular views as well.

Feeling in awe with nature, enjoying incredibly delicious food and meeting fellow hikers/bikers who are all heading to the same destination, Santiago de Compostela. A short summary of our holiday as we’re back home from a great experience, the Camino de Santiago or Saint James Way. There’s so much information available so we will stick to some personal notes and recommendations that we hope might help you when preparing for this.

What is the Camino?

Let’s start by making clear that the Camino is not one single route but a large network of pilgrim routes across Europe that converge at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. What began as a pilgrimage to the tomb of the apostle St James is nowadays a true experience that thousands of people, from all over the world, complete with different kinds of motivation. Everybody walks their own Camino.

The most popular route however is the Camino francés or the French route which starts from St Jean Pied de Port, nestled at the foot of the French Pyrenees. The first part is probably the most difficult stage of the journey as you cross the mountains. An alternative is to start at Roncesvalles, the first town across the border in Spain where you leave the Pyrenees behind you. If you start at St Jean Pied de Port, you will walk 780km over 30-35 days.

Many people will find it difficult to take one month off or are looking for a less challenging experience. That’s exactly why Sarria, at 118 km from Santiago, is the most popular starting point. You can easily divide this route into 5 or 6 stages with an average of 20km per day and it earns you the well-deserved Compostela as you will have walked over 100km to Santiago.

This is exactly what we did: we divided the 118km in 6 stages of respectively 22.75, 25, 15.2, 14.5, 19.2 and 19.9km. Some pilgrims take stage 3 and 4 as one stage but end up exhausted. The only advice here is to know yourself.

In addition to the French route, there are 7 other “caminos” to follow across Spain. Worth mentioning is the Camino portugués or the Portuguese route which starts in Lisbon and heads north towards Porto. The last stretch – Porto to Santiago – is a popular route as well in terms of number of pilgrims and is “only” 240km long.

Note that all routes can also be finished by bike or even on horseback. Bear in mind however that a large part of the camino is via unpaved paths, there’s a lot of up and downhill as well so we only recommend you to cycle the Camino if you have some experience as a cyclist and know how to change a tyre at least.

 

Personal notes and recommendations

 

Getting your Pilgrim’s Credencial or Accreditation

The only document you need along the Camino is the Credencial or Pilgrim’s Credential. It’s your official passport that will record all places that you have passed. You need to stamp it at least twice a day for the last 100km (for pilgrims on foot or horseback) or 200km (for cyclists). You can buy it for only €2 at many hostels and cathedrals along the Camino (we bought ours at the Cathedral of Oviedo) or associations of the Camino in Spain or abroad.

 

Left: Pilgrim’s Credential – Right: One page with all stamps of that day

Eating along the Camino

We’ve done many long, multi-day hikes in the past and always carry some energy bars, dried fruit and water with us. What we didn’t know, is that you will find many bars and restaurants or even self-providing stands along the route. Some locals just leave a table with food & beverages in front of their house, unattended, and you grab whatever you want upon donation.

Also, all villages where you will sleep overnight have some small supermarkets and several restaurants where you will be able to recharge your batteries.

Don’t miss:

  • Restaurant at Hotel Casa Blanco in Palas de Rei, see below.
  • Casa Nené in Arzúa: The best dinner along the Camino. Traditional Galician cuisine with a modern touch. Recommendable to book a table in advance.
  • Taste The Way in O Pedrouzo: Trendy, little spot with a large shared table.They have a small menu with local, fresh products and a great wine list.
  • Con Culler in Santiago de Compostela: Small restaurant in one of Santiago’s most frequented streets, great quality at a fair price.
  • Viñoteca Ventosela in Santiago de Compostela: Traditional, charming wine bar.

 

Staying overnight along the Camino

You can choose how much you want to spend on accommodation. The “albergues” or hostels with a shared dormitory and bathroom, start from as less as €8/bed/night. We were traveling with my parents-in-law so we chose a little bit more comfort and privacy. We highly suggest you to book your accommodation in advance, especially if you travel during high season (Jul-Aug).

Don’t miss:

  • Hostal El Padrino in Portomarín: Recently opened hotel with a solarium and jacuzzi on rooftop terrace.
  • Casa Blanco in Palas de Rei: A lovely landhouse, situated 5km off track but with complimentary taxi service. On-site restaurant with delicious food (including breakfast).
  • Casa de los Somoza in O Coto: Nice landhouse situated in between Palas de Rei and Melide. You need to take a taxi from Melide to get back or take this as your end point of the day.
  • Pensión Boutique La Casona de Nené in Arzúa: Charming boutique hotel in the centre of Arzúa. A wonderful breakfast – the best we’ve had along the Camino – is served at their restaurant at only 2min walking from the hotel (see above: Casa Nené).
  • Pensión Rua Nova in Santiago de Compostela: Centrally located hotel (right behind the Cathedral) with small yet comfortable rooms. Price-quality definitely good.

 

How to pack?

Packing right will make your journey more enjoyable and above all, can save you some important kilos. Note however that there’s a huge offer of luggage transfer services that can make the Camino easy for you by taking your luggage or backpack to your next hotel.

Nevertheless, we decided to carry our backpacks so had to pack wisely:

  • Many hotels/hostels offer laundry service so there’s no need to carry clothes for each day. Take some tweezers with to hang your clothes to dry.
  • If you walk the Camino during Spring/Autumn, bear in mind that the mornings and nights can be chilly so take at least one warm sweater/jacket with you.
  • Avoid blisters by taping your most vulnerable areas (around the toes and heels) with Compeed patches.

 

Getting your Compostela

When arriving at Santiago de Compostela, many people will head immediately to the Pilgrim’s Reception Office, at 250m from the Cathedral, to get their “Compostela” or accreditation of pilgrimage. Remember that you need at least two stamps per day for the last 100km (for pilgrims on foot or horseback) or 200km (for cyclists).

Now, the best advice we got from a fellow pilgrim was to identify ourselves as a group (of four) in order to avoid the long cue. After filling out some paperwork, we were assigned an exact hour (3 hours later) to come back to pick up our Compostela.

Important note: All of the group members need to have the same start day and start point in order to enjoy this benefit.

If you’ve met some awesome new friends along your route who started the exact same day as you and from the same village as well, then we highly recommend you to do the same as we did to skip the lines (in summer cueing can take up to 4h!).

All roads lead to Santiago

Whatever your start point, motivation or story is, you’re part of a unique journey that will take you to Santiago de Compostela. Would you like to walk the Camino but you have some questions or doubts? Do you need help booking your trip? Our Personal Travel Planners are happy to assist you! Contact us today and we will get back to you asap.

We all love a well-deserved summer holiday but not everyone plans in advance. Did you leave the organisation of your trip for a little late this year and you’re still looking for a summer getaway without breaking the bank? What are the prospects of still finding a decent break at a reasonable price? In this article we will list some ideas and offers that will help you save some money on your last-minute holidays.

Planning last-minute holidays can be frustrating. Let us help you!

Get the timing right

As a general rule, the last week or two of the school holidays offer the best availability and best value whereas the last two weeks of July are generally the most heavily booked already. Also, the price of flights varies considerably depending on the day and even time of travel. Avoiding the weekends can make a huge impact on the price of flights.

Pro tip: Compare traveling from Wednesday to Wednesday rather than Friday to Friday.

 

The above graph shows us that a flight from Brussels to Ibiza is considerably cheaper if you fly during the week instead of the weekend. Source used: Google Flights. 

Know where to go

Many European destinations are better to be avoided during the summer months. However, there are always alternatives!

For the budget-minded adventure traveler amongst us, we recommend you walking the Camino de Santiago trail. Accommodation and restaurants along the route offer cheap options and you get to enjoy the amazing scenery, just for free.

Further away, you can find some excellent budget destinations that will even compensate the cost of your flights. Traveling through Asian countries like Thailand, Vietnam or even Bali is so cheap that it will offer you more value for your money than any destination in Europe.

Those who prefer to escape the heat can head to the southern hemisphere and spend their vacation in a cooler destination. South Africa is known for its very mild winter with day temperatures between 15 and 20 degrees. Winter months (Jun-Sep) are low season and hotel and flight rates are considerably lower than in summer months.


In case you still don’t know where to go; holiday comparison site Skyscanner has an “everywhere” destinations option. Use this tool to find out the cheapest destinations to visit around your desired dated.

 

 

Special offers

British Airways has launched a brilliant offer where kids can fly for free on selected routes from June 1st to October 31st. Children can travel for absolutely free, no taxes, surcharges or fees as long as you’re booking a fully paid adult ticket at the same time. One of their selected destinations is Billund in Denmark, home of Legoland. Your kids will love it!

Legoland in Denmark

Ask for expert advice

Last but not least, we’re here to assist you with our professional support and expertise. We will look for options that match your budget to secure you a holiday-of-a-lifetime, whether it’s a last-minute or not.

Contact us and let us plan your next trip!

La llegada del verano a Barcelona nos ha inspirado a ampliar la oferta de nuestros servicios. A partir de ahora, organizamos, de la mano de Thevinos, catas de vinos y cervezas para empresas y grupos en general.

Qué incluye?
Cata de 5 vinos/cervezas con un poco de pica-pica.

Precio?
A partir de 40€/persona pero depende de la cantidad de bebidas y personas.

Dónde?
En vuestra oficina, casa, terraza, donde sea. O nosotros te llevamos a un sitio!

Sin duda, una actividad diferente para salir de la rutina laboral.

El evento dura unas dos horas y lo solemos organizar en vuestras propias oficinas. Es una gran oportunidad para que tu equipo pase un buen rato fuera de la rutina y qué mejor que una buena cerveza o una copa de vino entre colegas!

Si quieres conocer la experiencia de una de nuestro felices clientes, hemos escrito un blog post específico sobre la cata de cervezas que organizamos para Mobile Jazz.

Por qué un nuevo servicio?

Sabéis que hasta ahora siempre nos hemos dedicado con mucho cariño y esfuerzo a la creación de vuestros viajes para que fueran experiencias inolvidables. Como Personal Travel Planners que somos, nos ponemos en vuestros zapatos y os organizamos vuestras vacaciones para que vosotros no tengáis que preocuparos por nada.

Después de nuestro viaje por el mundo hemos vuelto a nuestra querida ciudad Barcelona. Es este regreso el que nos ha inspirado a posicionarnos también en el mercado barcelonés.  Vivimos en una ciudad con una altísima demanda turística, cuyo aeropuerto recibió 44 millones de pasajeros en el año 2016, un 11% más respecto al año anterior (fuente: infotur).

Sin embargo, Barcelona no sólo es la cuarta ciudad más visitada de Europa (y la más visitada de España), sino que también es el quinto hub de startups más potente de Europa. La ciudad condal genera y atrae emprendedores locales y extranjeros y se está consolidando como un centro europeo para la creación de empresas.

Queremos dirigirnos también a este mercado local y por eso hemos creado un nuevo servicio, en adición a los viajes personalizados. A partir de ahora, también vamos a ofrecer degustaciones de vinos y de cervezas. En colaboración con la sommelier Chus Brion de The Vinos, queremos ofrecer una actividad innovadora a las empresas de Barcelona. Son catas de vinos o cervezas con algo de maridaje dirigidas por un sommelier experto que os explica, de manera breve, la historia y cultura de la cerveza o el vino y que os ayuda a descubrir sabores y aromas que nunca os hubierais imaginado encontrar en una copa.

Por qué nos lanzamos al mercado gastronómico? Algunos de vosotros ya sabéis que hace 2 años Fran tomó un curso profesional de enología y cata en la ESHOB (Escola superior d’hostaleria de Barcelona). No somos expertos pero somos apasionados. En los quince meses que estuvimos viajando, hemos disfrutado de varias degustaciones de vino en Sudáfrica, California, México, Argentina y Uruguay y hemos probado la cerveza local de cada país o isla adonde hemos viajado. El paladar se entrena!

Tienes más preguntas? Ponte ahora en contacto con nosotros!

 

Como sabéis ahora ofrecemos un nuevo servicio de cata de vinos y cervezas y el jueves pasado (22 de junio) nos hemos estrenado con una cata de cervezas para Mobile Jazz, una empresa de desarrollo de software con base en Barcelona. Sus empleados trabajan de manera remota, aunque muchos de ellos vivan en Barcelona. Suelen organizar varias actividades al año para reunir a su equipo lo que resulta en un ambiente muy colegial y abierto entre los compañeros del trabajo.

Chus, nuestro partner de Thevinos, llegó temprano a la oficina de Mobile Jazz para prepararlo todo y así quedó:

Como podéis ver, no sólo se trata de tomar cerveza. Es una experiencia completa que empieza con una historia breve del origen de la cerveza y su cultura. Durante esta explicación, aprendimos cuáles son los ingredientes claves para hacer cerveza y también pudimos oler e incluso probar las semillas de distintas maltas.

Después empezamos con la parte que todos estuvimos esperando con mucha ansiedad: la cata. Chus nos enseñó cómo probar diferentes tipos de cervezas y cómo encontrar las diferencias entre ellas. Es increíble cómo se puede descubrir un olor a plátano, miel o castaña en la cerveza sin haberla probado!

Chus nos explicó con mucha dedicación y paciencia el origen y el proceso de elaboración de cada cerveza que probamos. Éstas son todas las cervezas que entraron en la cata de esa noche. Como podéis ver, había 7 distintas: 2 belgas, 1 gallega, 1 de New York, 1 alemana, 1 checa y 1 danesa.

Fue sin duda una experiencia de la que Mobile Jazz se acordará. Una noche de amistad y buena cerveza entre compañeros del trabajo!

Sin duda, una actividad diferente para salir de la rutina laboral.

Aún estás buscando una actividad innovadora y original para fomentar el ambiente de tu equipo fuera de la rutina del trabajo? El evento dura unas dos horas y lo solemos organizar en vuestras propias oficinas. Es una gran oportunidad de que tu equipo se conozca mejor fuera de la rutina y qué mejor que una buena cerveza o una copa de vino entre colegas!

Ponte ahora en contacto con nosotros y te haremos una oferta a medida!

En colaboración con Moksha Yoga Barcelona

FECHAS

Del jueves 13 al domingo 16 de julio del 2017

LUGAR DEL RETIRO

Mas d’Alerany, una masía típica catalana del siglo XV completamente reformada de 350 m². Desde todas las estancias de la casa se puede gozar de unas vistas impresionantes a las montañas, el bosque y a los campos de olivos y cerezos. La masía está situada en Serra d’Almos, en el corazón del Montsant, a 2h de Barcelona.

Qué tipo de habitaciones hay?

Todas las habitaciones son para dos personas con camas individuales, cada habitación tiene baño privado con ducha. Las sábanas y toallas vienen incluidas.

Cómo llegar?

La casa se encuentra en Serra d’Almos en la comarca del Priorat.
Haz click aquí para ver la localización en Google Maps.

  • En coche: Dos horas desde el centro de Barcelona.
  • En tren: Directo desde Barcelona a Mora La Nova donde os podemos recoger en la estación.
  • Tenemos plazas limitadas en coche compartido, ponte en contacto con nosotros para reservar.

PRECIOS (sin IVA)

  • 3 noches €390/persona del 13-16/07 (jueves a domingo)
  • 2 noches €320/persona del 14-16/07 (viernes a domingo)
  • 1 noche €180/persona del 15-16/07 (sábado a domingo)
  • €80/persona para un día (sin alojamiento)

QUÉ INCLUYE?

  • Taller diario de asanas, pranayama y meditación: Practicaremos posturas que nos recargan de energía acompañadas de una respiración controlada y meditaremos para asegurar un mejor control mental

  • Alojamiento (3 noches) en habitación doble (camas individuales) con baño privado, sábanas y toallas incluidas
  • Pensión completa con comida vegetariana
  • Buffet de infusiones y fruta disponible todo el día.
  • Kayaking en el lago de Els Guiamets
  • Si vienes en tren: Transporte de la estación de tren de Mora la Nova a la casa

ACTIVIDADES OPCIONALES

Estaremos en plena naturaleza y en el tiempo libre se podrán hacer actividades muy variadas:

  • Caminatas saliendo desde la casa, entre campos de cerezos y viñedos
  • Hiking con vistas espectaculares de todo el valle
  • Paddle Surf en el río Ebro y el meandro de Flix
  • Kayak en el río Ebro
  • Visita a los viñedos del Montsant y Priorat

HORARIO APROXIMADO (sujeto a cambios)

Descárgate la programación del retiro en PDF haciendo click aquí.

JUEVES 13/07

A partir de las 18h: Llegada
20h30 – Cena
21h30 – Yoga nidra bajo las estrellas

VIERNES 14/07

8:00 – Café o té con fruta
8:30-10:30 – Vinyasa dinámico con meditación
10:30 – Desayuno (buffet)
Tiempo libre para leer, descansar, estar en la piscina, caminar, paddle surf, etc.
17:30-19:00 – Taller de yin yoga
20:00 – Cena
21:00 – Meditación con mantra en la puesta de sol

SÁBADO 15/07

8:00 – Café o té con fruta
8:30 – Caminata en silencio hacia el lago de Els Guiamets con sesión de yoga
11:00 – Brunch/picnic en el lago
12:00 – Kayak en el lago
18:30-20:00 – Clase de yoga con música electrónica
21:00 – Barbacoa veggie con música en la piscina

DOMINGO 16/07

8:30 – Café o té con fruta
9:00-10:00 – Taller de masaje ayurvédico
10:00-11:00 – Yoga restaurativo
12:00 – Brunch
Salida

Organizadores

Carmen Caleya, fundadora de Moksha Yoga en Barcelona impartirá todas las clases de yoga para todos los niveles. Su estilo cálido y personal te cautivará!

“Abrí las puertas del primer Moksha Yoga en 2010, con la voluntad de crear un espacio de conexión y tranquilidad para que los alumnos pudieran acceder a la maravillosa técnica del yoga. Actualmente, doy clases en este espacio sencillo, dónde puedo establecer una relación personal con los alumnos y entender mejor su fuerza y sus necesidades, donde poder experimentar y crear un tipo de yoga adaptado a cada persona. ”

Fran y Sofie, fundadores de Your Way To Travel, viajeros y amantes del yoga se harán cargo de que no te falte nada durante todo el evento.

“Empezamos a hacer yoga con Carmen hace varios años. El año pasado estuvimos viajando por el mundo y durante este viaje el yoga siempre nos ha guiado. Volvimos con mucha ilusión a las clases de Carmen. El ambiente íntimo, su atención dedicada y continua y su energía nos encantan!”

 

During our 4 month stay in Cape Town we visited several wineries and tasted as much wine as possible rating more than 114 different wines (all rated in Fran’s Vivino profile). It has been quite a pleasure to be able to taste so many excellent wines in such a short amount of time and we want to share this experience with you.

We were able to visit as many wine farms as our schedule allowed us to and we decided to put together a list of our favourite wine estates in and near Cape Town, considering not only the quality of the wine but also the overall experience, i.e. service, views, wine estate.

Constantia Glen

The closest wine farm to Cape Town deserves, in our humble opinion, the first place on this list. Not only is it very convenient to get there given its location (30 min from the city center) but the service is excellent too, the views are unsurpassable and their wine is just awesome. Go for their inexpensive premium tasting, which is the 7 wine voyage. You won’t regret it. Their white Constantia Glen Two was elected best South African white wine of 2014 and their red Constantia Glen Five is simply fabulous.

Note: Make sure to book in advance, they get booked up very quickly during the weekends!

Combine your wine tasting with a cheese/meat platter while enjoying this great scenery

Marianne Wine Estate

Not only do they have our favorite wines of all South Africa but they also offer a “biltong and wine pairing” to die for. Biltong is the typical South African dried meat. Try Floreal and Desirade and you’ll fall in love immediately 😉

Jordan Wine Estate

Go for the 360º tour through the vineyards to sip a glass of wine on top of the hill overlooking the wine farm. Make sure to book in advance!

View from the top of Jordan’s hills

Annandale Wines

Situated on the slopes of the Helderberg Mountains in Stellenbosch, this family boutique wine farm produces some of the best wines you will taste.

Annandale Wines

Most of their wines (if not all of them) are aged for 92 months before being released to the public. That’s more than 7 years before they can actually sell a bottle! If you’re into aged and strong wines, this is where you need to be. We had the chance to buy and enjoy a bottle of their very special Nostalgia edition which is not sold anywhere else but in the farm.

Uva Mira Mountain Vineyards

Close to Annandale but much higher in the same slopes, you’ll find this extraordinary place. Enjoy the views while you have a nice degustation combined with a cheese platter. From their terrace you’ll be able to catch a view that goes from Cape Town down to Simon’s Town.

Helderberg Mountains in Stellenbosch

Fairview Wine and Cheese

This is a very big factory and they have a huge variety of wines for all tastes and budgets, but what made us include Fairview in this list is their cheese & wine pairing. Very amusing experience in a cozy tasting room.

Wine and cheese pairing in Fairview

Villiera Wines

This was the first wine farm that we visited and also the first time we got to taste a South African Sparkling MCC (Methode Cap Classique, aka “champagne”). We couldn’t find any other MCC that was better than their Monro Brut 2008. Their location is very nice and captures the sense of “tropicalness” that we find really nice in most SA wines.

Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery

Probably the most commercial winery of this list but it has earned a place here due to the delicious picnic baskets they offer which can be enjoyed chilling in the grass with views on their lake. We find their red blends quite good, especially the Trilogy. Note: Make sure to book in advance, they get booked up very quickly during the weekends!

This is a limited list, but it includes some of the best wine estate in Stellenbosch and Cape Town. Are you traveling to the Western Cape soon and need some recommendations? Contact us today and our Personal Travel Planners will be happy to help you!

What are the ingredients for a great summer vacation? Some people feel like breathing fresh air in the mountains while others prefer relaxing on the beach. Well, if you’re a beach type, then you better be warned because after reading this article, you might have found your next holiday destination!

 

Why Itacaré?

Itacaré, a small town in the state of Bahía, Brazil, has a peaceful, bohemian vibe that brings you to a different dimension. Tourism here targets backpackers, surfers and people who look for an eco-friendly escape from the bustling city life. Don’t expect any 5 star hotels but choose one of the many cosy pousadas or guesthouses. It’s a great surf spot for surfers including many locals. After sunset they mingle with the tourists in the dynamic nightlife of the city.

 

How to get there?

But first things first; it’s not an easy place to get to. It’s a five hour drive from Salvador de Bahía including a ferry. You can shorten the drive and take a break at the Tijuipe Waterfalls. Alternatively, you can fly to Ilheus which is only 70 km away. In both scenarios, however, renting a car is a must to discover the remote beaches in the area.

 

What are the best beaches?

There are 5 beaches at walking distance from the city centre: the first one, Concha, is the most popular and crowded one. The next 4 beaches, Resende, Tiririca, Costa and Ribeira are right next to each other. You can walk the easy way via the street or take the more adventurous way (including the views) via the beach side.

Beautiful beaches, but we invite you to compare these with the more deserted ones. Beware because you can’t just park in front of these beaches. The path to Jeribucaçu in particular is strongly downhill (it takes more than half-an-hour to get there) but it’s worth the effort. First you’ll arrive at the largest part of the beach with some beach bars. If you keep on walking, you will discover some beautiful, private beaches.

An almost private beach in Jeribucaçu

Engenhoca and Havaizinho are two other beaches definitely worth mentioning. You can park at the side of the road, but again, you’ll first have to walk half-an-hour. Both can be accessed via the same path. Engenhoca is the large beach at the very end of the path, a beautiful stretch of white sand, and Havaizinho or “Little Hawaï” lies on the right side of the path.

Engenhoca

Food and drinks

After sunset, the main street in the centre turns into a dynamic pedestrian area frequented by locals and tourists looking to finish their day on the beats of Bahía. Many pubs serve from behind their self-made outdoor bar and we bet you cannot resist their delicious drinks mixed with fresh tropical fruit. The variety of fruit is just incredible.

There are lots of dining options but we’re fan of the vegetarian dishes at Naturalmente, the crêpes of Tio Gu and the nice seafood at Manga Rosa. For a more casual dinner, get some delicious tapioca at one of the many street stands.

Adventure

Those who are seeking for a little bit more adventure to compensate the lazy days at the beach, will definitely get an adrenaline shot in Taboquinhas. A small town at 30 minutes from Itacaré where you can sign up for rafting. A very cool and recommended activity!

What else do you need to relax? Beach, surf and caipirinhas are definitely some of the ingredients that help you get in the right mood. The chill vibe that reigns over the city is just so contagious.

So, that being said, where are you heading to for your next holidays?

 

Yoga was kind of a guidance through our one year travel. We have been practicing yoga for several years now and during our trip, we were actively looking for the best yoga classes in each city or country we visited.

It might seem as an easy job since nowadays you can find yoga everywhere. However, some locations are natural yoga gems and allow you to go back to the roots of the practice whereas others are more a western copy of what yoga intends to be.

After practicing more than 150 hours of yoga, in 13 countries and with +30 different teachers, we listed down some of our best yoga experiences around the globe:

  • Ubud – Bali: 

The Yoga Barn: As Bali’s most famous yoga centre, The Yoga Barn is quite controversial with many yoguis saying it’s some of the best yoga they’ve ever had while for others classes are too packed with no room for correction of the poses. With more than 140 classes per week, there’s something for every taste. During our 1.5 month stay in Ubud in 2019 we went daily to The Yoga Barn (mostly power vinyasa) and for us it was a great experience. Teachers are highly qualified and the barn itself is pure magic.

  • Barcelona – Spain:

Moksha Yoga: After one year of traveling, we’re still happy to get back to our weekly yoga routine in Barcelona with Carmen. Her yoga is not just a mere copy of what yoga once was. No, it’s exactly what yoga stands for. Her classes last 1h15 and are quite challenging. She’s a master in yoga, adjusts you all the time and takes you to a higher level.

  • Bangkok – Thailand:

Yoga Elements: Some of the toughest (and best) yoga classes we’ve had on the road! Classes last 1h30 and teachers are true experts. There are different yoga practices, for beginners to advanced levels. Very recommendable!

  • Sanur – Bali:

Power of Now Oasis: The most beautiful yoga venue we visited! It’s located right on the beach in Sanur and is completely made of bamboo. Wonderful yoga teachers, they bring you back to what yoga really stands for. Their vinyasa and hatha yoga classes last 1h30 and are quite tough!

  • Mexico City:

Bikram Yoga San Ángel: Not our favourite yoga style but if you like to sweat and practise yoga at 40º with strict guidelines, then we do recommend this yoga centre.

  • Puerto Escondido – Mexico:

One Love Yoga: Located in One Love Hostal with great ocean views (you even hear the ocean’s waves during class). They offer daily classes, mostly power vinyasa/hatha.

  • Antwerp – Belgium:

Surya Yoga: We only took one class here but it was very promising and worth mentioning! The vinyasa classes last 1h30 and are taught in English. It’s a very inspiring yoga studio, a big open space with just a few lights that make it cosy.

  • Cape Town – South Africa:

Prabha Raja Yoga Shala: Hatha & Vinyasa with Aidan. Very small classes, not too physical but Adrian makes adjustments if necessary and he even gives healing massages if you are injured.

  • Buenos Aires – Argentina:

Urban Lotus: Not only a yoga studio since they also offer pilates. We tried the hatha and ashtanga classes and liked the ashtanga with Delfina. Classes are very small (max 5 persons) so she takes time to adjust everyone.

 

 

 

It’s easy to practice yoga on the road but you won’t experience high-level yoga everywhere you go. In general, we enjoyed a lot our yoga practice in Asia, especially in Bali and in Thailand. Both teachers and students seem to adopt a more advanced level. In Western countries yoga has very often developed into a physical exercise and students don’t care so much about the lifestyle that goes along with the yoga experience. So take time to investigate and try out several classes before you buy monthly passes. Namaste!

It was in November 2015 when my husband and I decided to leave our hometown Barcelona to start a new adventure. After spending some really good quality time with family and friends in Belgium during the Christmas holidays, we moved to Cape Town, South Africa, as our first destination of a one year trip around the world while working remotely.

Table Mountain Sight

Now, two months have passed since we arrived here and it’s my pleasure to share our story of Cape Town with you. I would like to highlight that it’s all about ‘our’ experiences during this 2-months’ stay in the Mother City, so take this as a guideline of our tips and tricks to get the most out of this wonderful city but please know that there is a lot more to explore!

I must say that I hadn’t done any homework before settling down in Cape Town. Shame on me because South Africa in general has such a rich history one must read about before arriving here. If you are like me and you prefer to find out more about the history of Cape Town while you’re here, then you should definitely join one of the free walking tours through the city. You can choose whether you want to stay in the city centre or go to Bo-Kaap, District Six or discover some other neighborhoods. It’s a great way to learn more about the city from a local expert. Did you know that there’s a piece of the Berlin Wall in the city centre? I didn’t know either but this is just one of the secrets that you discover during this tour. It’s a free walking tour so they don’t charge you anything but at the end of the tour, a well-deserved tip is a nice way to recognize their job.

Long Street, at the right you can see the facade of Mama Africa

Once you know more about the city, you are ready to immerse yourself in the colorful streets of the city centre. Long Street is the most famous one (and the longest) but Loop Street has some fancy places as well. Start your evening with a drink in one of the many bars that have a balcony overlooking the dynamic life in these streets, you will feel the vibe of the city. For dining, there are so many options that it’s impossible to name some but as a tourist Mama Africa is worth a visit. Go for a drink and enjoy the life African music or try the wild game platter (a mix of kudu, crocodile, springbok, ostrich and venison). For the non-meat lovers, there are plenty of other nice dishes as well! Fork, also on Loop Street, is a delicious tapas place with a South African twist you can’t miss either!

You’re lucky if you’re in Cape Town on a first Thursday of the month so you can go to one of the many art galleries that stay open until late on the First Thursdays. Make sure you book a table in advance if you want to dine out that night as all bars and restaurants are quite crowded. More in general, always try to book a table in advance if you want to go out for dinner in Cape Town. Especially during summer months, you will be surprised how fast a restaurant can be fully booked.

For the romantic people amongst us, there are several very cool places to enjoy the sunset (and have a drink or dinner at the same time). Dolphin beach is one of them. You can also go to Blowfish restaurant which is at Dolphin beach and order some sushi (half price on Sundays and Wednesdays) while watching the sunset.

Sunset at Dolphin beach

Potjie of seafood at Ons Huisie

On Small Bay beach, you will find Ons Huisie, a very casual but lovely place to have some good South African dishes like potjie, bobotie or malva pudding. Another great spot to enjoy the sunset!

Small Bay

A very fancy place in Cliffton, near Camps Bay, is The Bungalow. Have a drink in the lounge area (make sure you arrive early as place is limited and you cannot reserve) and overlook the Twelve Apostles Mountain Range while the sun goes down. The perfect way to relax after a stressful working day!

Twelve Apostles Mountain Range, view from Cliffton

Sunset at Table Mountain

Or, why don’t you take the cable car up to Table Mountain with the sunset promotion tickets? Only if the wind is not too strong, of course. Book your tickets in advance to avoid cueing and if the cable car is closed, you will get your tickets reimbursed.

If you are wondering how to get the most out of your weekend in Cape Town, then you’ll just have to choose some of the many activities in Cape Town or its surroundings.

A good way to start your Saturday morning is to hike to the top of Lion`s head or Table Mountain, one of the new 7 wonders of the world. If you’re visiting Cape Town in the summer months (Dec-Jan-Feb), then it’s recommendable to start early in the morning to avoid the heat.

View from the top of Lion´s head

The Lion’s head hike takes about 1 hour and gives you a breathtaking view of the Mother City, absolutely stunning! Table Mountain hike is more intensive and you will need between 1h30 to 3h (depending on your shape) to reach the top. The good news is that you can take the cable car down (as long as the wind is not too strong) to stretch your legs while enjoying some amazing views of the city.

Now that you’ve started your weekend with some sports, you definitely deserve a nice breakfast and I would recommend you to go to Camps Bay, just about 15 minutes drive from Lion’s head or Table Mountain. It’s one of my favorite beaches (and one of the few beaches in Cape Town where you can take a sunbath without feeling the wind blowing the sand in your face) although you’ll have to bear the water, it’s freezing! Go to La Belle Bistro & Bakery and get some eggs Benedict, flapjacks or grab a light lunch. Food is great and the views are amazing!

For a lighter run you can go to Blouberg beach where you can run along the beach with a spectacular view of Table Mountain. Go there for a morning run and you will feel blessed by its beauty! It’s one of the preferred beaches for kite surfers as well, besides Big Bay beach. The latter one is the annual venue for the Red Bull King of The Air where the 24 best kite surfers of the world gather together to impress the public with their high jumps.

Blouberg beach, with a view of Table Mountain

If you are not a sporty type, then Cape Town still has so many other activities to offer you! Why not starting you’re weekend at the Old Biscuit Mill Market in Woodstock? It’s an indoor hipster market with a huge variety of food, too much to choose! It’s similar to the Palo Alto Market in Barcelona for those of you who have been there. Just take a coffee or a smoothie and grab some food so you get energy for the rest of your day.

Boulders beach

You can continue your trip by driving to Boulders beach to watch the penguins on the beach (but don’t get overwhelmed by the amount of tourists).

Follow the route until you get to Cape Point, a nature reserve at the most south western point of the African continent and declared Natural World Heritage Site. Pay the entrance fee and drive all the way until you reach Cape of Good Hope. Climb to the top and you will have some amazing views!

Cape of Good Hope

Now, if you prefer to chill out a little bit during the weekend and you are a wine lover (like us) then you’re in heaven! Go and taste some South African wine! You can choose whether you want to go to a wine estate in Paarl, Stellenbosch, Franschhoek or Constantia or just combine several of them and go on a wine trip. It’s worth a visit, not only for its wine but also for its beautiful landscape. Our first wine trip brought us to Paarl and Stellenbosch and was organized by WineFlies. In just one day we visited 5 different wine estates. Villiera Wine Estate and Annandale Wine Estate are worth mentioning due to their lovely setting and their great wines.

Constantia Glen Wine Estate

Closer to Cape Town, I would definitely recommend you to go to Constantia Glen Wine Estate. As it lies next to Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden where you have concerts every Sunday during summer, it’s nice to start with a picnic at Constantia Glen and then go to the concerts but make sure to book your ticket in advance as the concert is sold out quite fast.

Jordan Wine Estate

You can also organize a wine tour by yourself and choose the wine estates you want to visit. That was our second visit to the wine estates. I would definitely recommend you Jordan Wine Estate! You get a safari-style drive through the vineyards and enjoy some great wine with an amazing scenery.

For lunch you have a lot of options as many wine estates offer you a picnic basket. We stopped at Warwick Wine Estate for a nice lunch break. In the afternoon we visited Marianne Wine Estate where we got a biltong-wine pairing. Some of you probably have never heard of biltong and I hadn’t either before arriving here. It’s the typical South African dried meat. Tastes good but with wine it tastes even better! To get a complete overview of the wine estates in South Africa, I refer to Fran’s article.

All these wine estates are quite close to each other so we decided to share an Uber with some friends and got a super friendly old driver that even took us back to Cape Town.

Not only this taxi driver was nice, no, in general, people here are very friendly. I would say that they are more relaxed than in Europe and they know how to enjoy life. A typical Sunday here is braai day (Afrikaans for BBQ) with family and/or friends and of course, with some wine as well. A good example of the Capetonian hedonism is the Cape Farmhouse Festival we went to during our first weekend here. It’s all about hanging out with family and friends while shaking your body on the vibes of the music and having a fresh beer or a gin-tonic. And yes, kids and pets are more than welcome as well, it’s family time.

In those events you would sometimes forget you’re in Africa. Same for the Gin and Tonic Festival we went to. The hard reality is that South Africa is much more complicated than that and unfortunately you still see and feel the difference in race and colour. Remember that Apartheid was only abolished in 1994.

But what differences us also brings us together. That’s why South Africa is such an interesting country. Did you know that South Africa has 3 different capitals and 11 official languages? Again, you start to discover so many things about this country while you’re living here.

Now, if you’re coming to South Africa as a European, either for leisure or for work, you will definitely notice that the cost of living is much cheaper than in Europe. According to this article, South Africa is the cheapest country in the world to live and retire. I would rather say that it’s cheap to live as a foreigner but not for a South African.

Anyway, if you were still doubting if South Africa could be your next travel destination, then this might have convinced you!

If you only have a couple of weeks of holiday to spend in South Africa, then you should definitely add the Garden Route to your trip. A must for nature lovers! It’s a beautiful stretch along the coast which extends from Mossel bay to Storms River. We did the entire trip with our car but alternatively, you can also take the plane to George, in the middle of the Garden Route. If you like hiking, then you have plenty of options. We’ve done an incredible hike of about 3 hours and a half in Robberg Nature Reserve. It’s one of my favorite hikes ever, I don’t have words enough to describe how beautiful it is!

Robberg Nature Reserve

Top of Pig’s head with a view on the beach of Natures Valley

Close to Robberg, you have another beach, Natures Valley, situated in the Tsitsikamma National Park. The famous Otter Trail, a walk of 43 km ends here. Try to get early to Natures Valley. We arrived there around 10h and there was no one on the beach. We climbed up to Pig’s Head, a very short hike of 30 minutes but absolutely amazing. It brings you to the perfect spot where you can overlook this wonderful beach. Robberg and Natures valley is an ideal combination for a one day activity, especially because we were staying in T´Niqua Stable Inn, a unique guesthouse close to Plettenberg and just 5 minutes driving from Robberg. If you want to end your day with a great Italian dinner with sunset view, then Enrico restaurant in Keurboomstrand is very recommendable.

Guesthouse T´Niqua Stable Inn at Plettenberg

Bloukrans River Bridge

For the daredevils amongst us, take a stop at Bloukrans River Bridge, between Plettenberg and Storms River, which is the world’s highest bungee bridge if you need a shot of adrenaline. If you prefer the safer option, you can also watch the bungee jumpers, it’s great to see as well.

Once you arrive at Storms River, head down to the bungalow park to start the Waterfall trail. It’s not as steep as the Robberg hike but the scenery is pretty amazing as well! It varies all the time, from bushes to a white stone beach until you reach the waterfall. If we would have had more time, we would definitely have visited the Storms River suspension bridge as well but you always have to leave some activities for a next visit, isn’t it?

Waterfall Trail, Storms River

Wilderness, Knysna and Plettenberg are undoubtedly the most visited places along the Garden Route. That’s why we decided to take another route on our way back to Cape Town, through the inland with an overnight stay at Oudtshoorn. It’s famous for its ostrich farms and the Cango caves but we just wanted to relax a little bit after a long drive from Jeffreys Bay so we went immediately to our tented camp, Africamps Klein Karoo. It’s about 4 hours and a half from Cape Town but it’s absolutely worth visiting! The property opened a couple months ago, in October 2015 so everything is still new. If you like to go camping but you rather prefer the commodity of a hotel, then glamping — glamorous camping — is what you are looking for and Africamps is the place to be. We were offered the braai package, including ostrich and venison, which you can prepare by yourselves while having a glass of wine.

View of our tent at Africamps Klein Karoo, Oudtshoorn

On our way back to Cape Town, we drove along Route 62. It’s a tourist route in the Western and the Eastern Cape that will take you through Klein Karoo, a semi-desert natural region, to the wine regions of Montagu, Robertson, Wellington and Paarl.

The city of Cape Town and the Garden Route are just some of the many travel options in South Africa. Apart of my suggestions, I would also add Kruger National Park to my to-do list. It’s a great place to see the big 5.

I could keep on going but this is just our 2 months in a nutshell. There’s so much more to explore but I feel lucky that we’ve taken this opportunity to discover some places of this amazing country. Feel free to contact me or Fran in case you have any practical issues or doubts if you’re planning a trip to Cape Town, we will be more than happy to help you out!

Bye bye Cape Town, tot siens!

I still remember the moment we decided to start our new adventure, to leave the routine in Barcelona, to quit my job and to begin a new life as digital nomad. Didn’t we have a good life in Barcelona? Why would anyone give up a nice and stable job? Did we have some kind of wake-up call that pushed us into this trip? Let us take you back to where it all started for us!

 

In 2014 my husband Fran proposed to me after completing the Gobi March, a hell of a race in the Gobi desert in China. A once-in-a-lifetime experience that took us on a roller coaster of emotions.

Our wedding one year later was the icing on the cake. Finally, we could let go the adrenaline during a wonderful honeymoon in Africa.

When we got back home we started realizing it was all over. We had been walking on air for the past two years and felt strange to limit our young and free spirit to a sedentary life and job. Fran already enjoyed a flexible work/lifestyle in his remote-friendly job and that was the one thing I was missing. We always had to find a way to please our families and friends with short visits and still save some holidays (and money) for a vacation with just the two of us.

I like to plan things in advance – my friends and family will read this as an understatement – so I realized that I needed a more flexible job to match our future plans with our current situation.

It was a long process but with a clear outcome: I had to become location-independent to achieve a better work-life balance. Decision made. However, that wasn’t the only obstacle to overcome.

Fran is a dreamer and I like challenges. We believe that getting out of your routine is what makes you move as a couple. When he first came up with the idea of traveling around the world, I laughed it away. I loved traveling, it had always been my passion (that’s why I love my job) but traveling around the world for one year was a big step! However, it became a recurrent topic and we motivated each other. Challenge accepted.

 

Fourteen months later, I’m writing this article from my office-with-a-view in Cape Town. We’re heading home in 2 weeks, so it’s a good time to reflect on our life-changing decision. Maybe one of the best we’ve taken. One that led us to all corners of the world. Despite what most people think or tell us, we believe that it’s a decision we all can make as long as you believe in it. Just sort your priorities and decide on what will make you happy now.

Belgium is, by far, the best country in the world when it comes to premium beer. There’s no possible argument. For such a small country, it’s amazing the amount of extraordinary beers that are produced in so many different towns, villages or abbeys. But there is much more to Belgium than beer and this is just a summary of all the things that I was able to experience while living for 5 weeks in this awesome country.

Koksijde

It’s been already more than one month since we started travelling and it’s been so fast! We flew from Barcelona to Brussels and immediately went by car to Koksijde where we would stay for the first week of our trip.

Koksijde’s beach during December

Koksijde is one of the cities along the Belgian coast, close to the French border, and it offers mostly calm and peace in this time of the year. My parents in law were kind enough to let us stay at their apartment with a nice internet connection and a comfortable place to spend our first week adapting ourselves to this new nomad style of living. We took small breaks to go for a run along the coast, or a bicycle ride to the supermarket.

The views from our apartment in Koksijde

The city is well connected to other towns near the coast by tram but also to other cities in Belgium by train. This allowed us, for example, to go to Kortrijk for a nice Thai dinner with friends and get back home with little effort. One thing that I have always noted when coming to Belgium over the years, is that Belgians are used to travel across cities multiple times per week. Some of them work in one city and live in a different one but others simply go for short visits to friends and family very often. In just five weeks I visited more than 10 different cities and never for touristic purposes!

Ghent

After our first week in the coast we moved to Ghent where both my brothers in law live. One of them and his girlfriend kindly let us stay with them and I really felt at home thanks to all the nice things they did for us. In repay we cooked dinner for them some of the nights we shared.

Ghent is one of the most vibrant cities of Belgium. It’s full of eclectic bars and restaurants. To give you an idea, in our first night there, we started the evening with a Turkish Hamam (haircut included), followed by a Turkish dinner. We then went to the Velootje Bar, one of the most jaw-opening bars I’ve ever been (not necessarily the cleanest!), and finished in the famous Dreupelkot drinking all kinds of jenever.

The Famous Dreupelkot Bar

During the course of the week our highlights included rock-climbing (it looks way easier than it actually is), a yoga class, party with friends and an amazing cheese & wine dinner with the family of my wife. Remember, all this happened while working full time.

After one week, we headed towards Antwerp, my favourite city in Belgium.

Antwerp

Much of my feelings for this city are based in how welcome I feel whenever I go to Antwerp. I’ve been there so many times in the past and there is always a good story to tell about all those times and, of course, this was no exception. Big thanks to Janne and Maxime for letting us crash in their cozy house for so many days. You’re the best hosts I could’ve asked for ❤!

Our vintage and very cozy home at Antwerp

Antwerp has so much to offer. From the moment I stepped out of the train and admire its majestic central station some years ago, I was caught in its spell. There are so many restaurants, shops, bars, galleries, etc. that it’s difficult for me to name just a few. I drank glühwein at the Christmas market next to the castle by the river with nice views, had a wonderful experience tasting beers in a connoisseur bar called Billie’s Kafetaria, went for a trendy dinner at the nice Zuid district, had brunch in the Cafe Imperial, went to the movies to see the new Star Wars movie, went for Yoga classes and even took part in an escape room experience. All in ten days.

A long walk for a good cause

During our stay in Antwerp an event called De Warmste Week (the warmest week) took place. The event is organized yearly by Studio Brussel, the most popular radio station amongst the young crowd in Belgium, and its goal is to help raising funds for many different good causes across the country. Each night during this week, thousands of people would gather in a festival venue (the one that is used for Tomorrowland!) in the city of Boom to listen to concerts but also to present some of the good initiatives that had taken place during the week and to announce the amount of funds raised by each cause.

A good friend of mine, who works as a volunteer for Mobile School, had invited us to participate in a 40km march from Leuven to Boom arriving directly at the concert. The idea was to encourage the volunteers from this organization -and walk besides them- while they were pushing one of their portable school devices. The result was spectacular. They raised a very decent amount of funds but more over they flooded the scene with enthusiasm and selfless love for others. I must admit I was deeply moved when, in the end of the walk, the volunteers went on the stage to perform a rehearsed “haka” in front of thousands of people to promote Mobile School.

Some of the volunteers pushing the Mobile School across the 40km of the walk.

Family time

Heuvelland means “the hilly region” and is where Sofie’s parents live. More specifically in the small village of Nieuwkerke. It’s a lovely countryside region filled with farms and nice landscapes where time slows down and let us relax and catch up our breath after four intense weeks of diverse experiences. The last days in Belgium were spent amongst family, surrounded by a Christmas atmosphere with lots of food, hugs and gifts.

Days went by and the time to say goodbye arrived faster than expected. When looking back, it seemed incredible that 5 weeks had passed so fast and that so many things had happened. It was time to move and continue our journey. South Africa awaits us with sunny beaches and new experiences but there will always be a special place for Belgium as the starting point of this wonderful adventure.