Having just returned from my trip to Lisbon, I wanted to put pen to paper right away to share all the things I learned when travelling to Portugal for the first time! Lisbon is just as wonderful as you hear it is, the streets are as vibrant as the personalities, and it’s a tremendously laid back and yet bustling city all at the same time. I was so busy leading up to this trip, so I felt more unprepared than usual and as such made a few blunders which I felt like needed to be shared for other, just as unknowing travellers, to learn from.
As much as we might feel young at heart forever, there are apparent differences between travelling in your 20s and travelling in your 30s. While many of these changes aren't necessarily bad ones, if anything I've met travellers in the 60s who endlessly inspired and excite me, everyone grows old. And how your travelling experiences change are interesting to document and think about as you grow. I love learning from other travellers, especially those who are older than me. When I turned 30, it was a like a switch got flicked. Things took me longer, I was more tired and suddenly didn't feel like I could do everything. Other travellers who went through a similar change were super helpful to me in setting clear new goals and changing my expectations. So I wanted to document this for myself here so others can learn from me and my experiences with travel as I got older.
Travelling to Japan as a first timer is a daunting experience. Going to a city where they don't use the Roman alphabet, let alone speak the language, is just one more hurdle which can make those first few hours in the city all that more confusing and intimidating. But trust me, Japan is one of the most incredible cities in the world and the kind people you'll find there are always more than happy to help you out with any pickle you might find yourself in. That being said, after many "first times" in Japan, I've plotted my top tips to ensure your first few hours there go as smoothly as possible, and you've set yourself up for success for the rest of your trip to Japan!
Fraser Island is one of the magical places you can only find in Australia. It's one of the most unique landscapes in the world and a must-see for any traveller visiting Australia. Located on the southeast coast of Queensland, stretching over 120km, you'll discover towering rainforest trees hundreds of years old, deep pools of crystal clear water in the middle of a sandy dune stretching hundreds of yards, breathtaking wildlife and, if you're lucky, you might even spot one of the island's most camera-shy residents, the infamous dingo.
Barcelona is one of the most artful and vibrant cities I've ever visited. Every corner you turn feels like stepping into a colourful daydream. And it's no coincidence that this picturesque city cultivated so many different world-famous artists and artistic movements. Getting to explore the museums and art galleries of Barcelona is something I feel that everyone should do when travelling to this city. It's a world-class place when it comes to these institutions and there is truly something for everyone!
In my ‘11 Things to Know Before Travelling to Japan’, I tackled how the country has an amazing public transport system, that gourmet-level meals are available at convenience stores, and that their toilets are indeed as amazing as you think. What I didn’t tell you about Japan is how important the cherry blossoms are to the nation’s culture.
Over the years, I stopped trying to see all the "top attractions" and instead started to explore smaller areas of the city. I stayed in one spot and dug in deep there. I stopped paying attention to the things that bothered me and instead focused on the beauty of what was around me. While I'm never a fan of avoiding certain touristy things just because they "popular", there are definitely some things over-hyped parts of town. I've learned from exploring New York so many times what's worth avoiding and what's worth your attention, time and money.
Venice is a city which seems to dazzle everyone who enters. It glows. It sparkles. It surprises. But behind all that shimmer and shine, there are all those same dark corners and less than perfect experiences to be had. Avoid all the following things to ensure you have the best vacation in this magical floating city.
If it's the first time you're all visiting or even if it's just your first time going with kids the best thing to do is change your expectations. Kids need to move at their own pace. I saw so many kids having meltdowns and every time it seemed to be over them being pushed too far. Don't expect everything to go to plan, or to ride every single ride, or stay from opening till close. While there might be some unexpected mishaps, remember that there will be a million more incredible memories.
When you are travelling, a little can go a long way. Although you may think a simple $10 won’t get you much more than a few postcards from a gift shop, you’d be surprised just what you can get with a little know-how and tips from seasoned travelers.
There is so much to see and do in Tokyo, and unless you're armed with a month or two to explore it, chances are you might have to be more careful with how you spend your time to ensure you see and do everything on your bucket list! While Tokyo is devoid of "scams" which plague some other cities in Asia, there are some overrated attractions which aren't worth your time or money. Hopefully, this list will help you make the most of this magical city!
Confession time? I'm an over-packer. There's no way around that. Mainly because I'm probably overly cautious. I used to always want to prepare for the worst and every eventuality. But years and years of hauling extremely heavy bags across long distances has taught me that bringing way too much stuff just isn't worth the exhaustion and stress.
When it comes to taking long-haul flights in economy (which let's face it, almost 99.9% of us fly economy), there is no real way to be completely at ease BUT there is plenty you can do to make it as enjoyable as possible. The number one tip I have is to be prepared long in advance. There's nothing like stress to set off your trip on the wrong foot. I tend to pack a full few weeks in advance, and while I don't recommend this necessarily, it is good to have all your ducks in a row a few days before your flight.