As Christmas season approaches, holiday prices skyrocket, and those of us who have an undying urge to travel and get away for the winter are left in, well, crap. For my fellow budget travellers who sacrifice luxury in order for longer, cooler trips on a regular basis, these holidays can be pretty tricky to work around. Do you not go on a sojourn to India, or do you not eat for a week? Priorities, priorities. However, with this handy little guide, you should be able to flourish away from your home country on a budget, even if only for a weekend. Happy holidays!
Often considered to be the City of Love (move out of the way, Paris), Florence is a place of pure grandeur, intricate architecture and enticing romance. Each street haunts you with eerie remnants of relationships gone by, and seduces you into falling in love with new places, people, and food. Whispers of Italian, well-spoken by gorgeous women in furs and older men with a dusted look about them, drift through the streets. But the locals don't express themselves through words alone - no, they communicate with body language and smooth hand gestures. Sounds, vague and vowel-less, draw you in, with the rich history of the city ever so alluring. And me? I adored it. I adored the pretty things, and the rolls of the Italian r's that you would catch from a passerby. The city, dripping in romance and antiquity, just waiting to be explored. Who did I go with, you ask? My ex-boyfriend.
When faced with the opportunity to travel, I automatically jump to think about who I'll take with me. This made me notice that a lot of my travels are done with people, but it didn't use to be this way. A year and a half ago, whenever I wanted to go on a trip, I wouldn't waste time planning and deciding on what things I'll be doing with my travel partner, I would instead just drop everything, grab a couple bucks and head out with a backpack on my back and a tripod in my hands. But as I've grown as a person, I no longer crave the insane freedom you get from travelling solo, but instead prefer to go with someone - to share laughs, tears, and security in tight situations.
And thus, if you're feeling a bit so-so about what to do for your next trip - go solo and brave the world alone or go with someone and lose that freedom? - here's a comprehensive list complete with the pros of both solo travel and partnered travel. I hope it comes to some use!
Out of all the countries I've visited in Europe, Greece has always stayed one of my favourites. Maybe it has something to do with the climate, or maybe the language, or maybe just because Greek people are beautiful people, both inside and out. Either way, I find myself drawn to visiting whenever I get the opportunity for a trip away. Last time I went to Crete, South of the mainland, and this time I went to Corfu, which is North of the island. Other than the fact that it's slightly colder in the latter, and a tad more commercialised (because why go to Greece when you have the same experience of walking down Oxford Street in London?), Corfu is gorgeous. And so, here's a quick guide to the island - with a special focus on Sidari.
Okay so we all know the band Kodaline, right? The band I was originally meant to see last year, before they rescheduled? The band I was meant to see on their new date, but couldn't because I'd accidentally bought a holiday to Germany? The band that I decided I was going to see this year, regardless of how much tickets may cost, or where in the world they might actually be performing? We all know that band, right? So this month, I decided to fly all the way up to Dun Laoghaire, Ireland, just for one evening of Kodaline. Was it extremely tiresome to travel cross-county to hear a couple sets? Yes. But was it also extremely worth it to get to see Ireland? Also yes. Definitely, definitely, yes.
Unfortunately I was unable to leave the UK this month (unlike the UK with the EU, amirite?), mainly due to the fact that I had a bunch of exams to take and no one else could make it either. So instead I invested my time and money into exploring the parts of England that are often overlooked in travel blogs and sites, which resulted in a pretty cool month filled with having super awesome experiences with super awesome people. And so, if you're in London or plan on visiting, here's my top ten favourite low-budget, low-tourist, things to do around the city.
Last month I went to the north of England with a guy who would turn out to be a massive douche, and his family (who were all sweethearts), and I had a pretty good time. For someone who loves travel, experiencing new things, staying in a new house, and getting free food, the mini-break was perfect for me, especially as there were so many interesting things to see and do.
We stayed in Windermere in the Lake District, which is known for being an area filled with such vast natural beauty, that it's even a favourite place of my boss to travel to. We set off from Watford, a place relatively near to central London, so you can imagine what it was like spending a six/ seven hour journey in a tiny car with four other people and a dog. The outside scenery slowly changed from tarmac to tumps (no, not the US presidency candidate that we all thought entered as a joke), and made me feel more and more like I was embarking on my way to the Shire. From there, we went to Buttermere and Glenridding and Kendal, and spent a lovely eight days scouring cliffs and towns - my favourite five of which are categorised here. Warning: I took way too many photographs.
A couple of weeks back, I was feeling very restless because I hadn't flown cross-country in a while, and so I went onto my #1 flight search engine site, Skyscanner, to book some cheap flights out to, well, literally anywhere. And weirdly enough, a little German town called Dusseldorf came up, offering flights for only £15 each each way, and I just couldn't refuse (despite not knowing a single thing about the town). Honestly, I thought it'd just be full of museums and art galleries - but it turned out to be so much more. Due to the fact that I'm still only 17, and this is the first international trip I'd taken without a family member, I had a strict budget to stick to - £150. Now I knew that this budget could be pretty difficult to stick to, with hotel rooms and food out, but I managed to do so, simply by asking around and figuring out how I could save the pennies. As it turns out, it's easy to get a 5* German experience.. if you know where to look.