Travel · Uncategorized

Fast Facts: Solo Travel

Traveling solo changed my life. It allowed me to get to know a different side of myself.  It made me find ways to have fun – often times without anyone else around. Taking that step can be hard – below are some fast facts on the actualities of solo travel for anyone thinking of trying it out.

  • Yes, you may get lonely.  My trips are usually around 10-15 days. I usually start to feel a little wink of loneliness toward the end of the trip. I think it may just be because I know I’m going home soon. Whenever I feel a little lonely, I usually try and go somewhere with a more social setting. Like a local bar or maybe a hostel restaurant. Sometimes facetiming a friend or family member can help.
  • You will get lost. It’s inevitable. I pride myself in being really good with directions and remembering how I got places. I still get lost. It’s fine. You can save maps from Google offline and use it as a directional tool to get you back to where you need to go. Or, ask someone!
  • You can go somewhere where you don’t speak the language. English is one of the most common languages in the world. I haven’t been any place where someone can’t speak English. HOWEVER, I would definitely recommend learning basic words and phrases for wherever you’re going. At least give it a try – don’t be “that” person.
  • If you’re smart, you’ll be safe. This is especially for women. We have to be more conscious of our surroundings no matter where we are. More than likely, you’ll be traveling to a touristy area and there will be plenty of people around. The trick is to just be smart. Don’t flash your valuables, be aware and let people know where you’re heading. My first solo trip, I would make sure to be home before it got really late. I still do this – depending on where I am. It’s okay to be over protective of yourself.

Now, get out there and go see the world! It’s an amazing one! As always – email me with any questions or if you’re looking for any advice!

 

Travel · Uncategorized

But I Don’t Want To Plan…

Going on holiday is fun.

cropped-18403649_10155261077437603_6105232140527381478_n.jpg
Amsterdam Canal

Planning a holiday is not fun.

Don’t get me wrong. Some parts can be very enjoyable. Looking at a map and discovering cool places to go, scoping out pubs and restaurants, going through different Airbnb’s, etc. However, a lot of holiday planning involves stress, calculations and lots of notes.

I’m going to take you through a couple of things that help me not lose my mind while plotting my adventures!

Let’s start with my favorite thing: My Bucket List!

My list a little bit weird. I keep it in an email thread and it includes a list of all the places I want to go. It also has random links to some of my favorite travel articles. While planning my upcoming trip to Spain, I dug through my bucket list thread and found an AMAZING article from Buzzfeed on Spanish towns. It really helped me finalize where I wanted to go.

Second on the list is: Google Maps

One thing I’ve had to realize in my times of traveling is that as much as I’d like to explore entire countries in two weeks – it’s probably best that I narrow my list down a bit.

I love to explore at least two or three cities during a trip. Google Maps really helps me figure out which cities are more feasible. With the addition of transit directions, it’s great to plan ahead. Maps even links out to the specific travel companies to book rail/bus tickets.

I also use Google Maps to look at the different tourist attractions in whatever city I’m going to. I make sure to take a look at the “street view” option to help me see what’s around that specific attraction. This way, I’ll know I’m close to wherever I’m going by recognizing the area.

(Sidenote: Google Maps also lets you save maps offline that you can use when you’re out of the country / off your data)

16938501_10155016323957603_380964758758766233_n
Gent, Belgium

Third on the list is: A Notebook

Write. Things. Down. I don’t know where I’d be without my travel notebook. I always write down attractions I want to go to, how far they are from my accommodations and how far they are from each other.

I’m really big on taking public transportation when I go somewhere new. I always feel like I stumble upon places I would’ve never seen riding in a car. Right before trips, I write down how to get to my accommodation. If I’m taking the train from the airport, which line am I on? Do I have to transfer? What stop am I getting off at?

Writing things down has helped me so much. I tend to remember things a lot better. This way when I arrive – I’m not scrambling to figure out where I’m going.  I recommend purchasing a small notebook and keeping it with you at all times!

Below are some of the Apps and Websites that help me the most when planning a trip:

Apps: Hopper, Booking, HotelTonight, Expedia, Google Translate, Google Maps

Websites: Buzzfeed Travel, CN Traveler, Google Flights, SkipLagged

As I previously mentioned, I’m currently in the middle of planning my next holiday. Follow my progress here or on my Instagram!

 

Travel

London Calling – Too Expensive to Pick Up?

16711887_10155016323532603_811160939347105440_n
Tower Bridge

London is my home away from home. My favorite place in the world. My muse. If cities could be soulmates – this would be mine.

It is also very expensive.

The question is – how do I get to this place 2-3 times a year without breaking the bank?

Gofundme.

Just kidding! Planning!

First – it’s all about when you go and where you stay. I love to go to London in September and February. The weather isn’t bad and the crowds are much thinner around the city. I typically leave from the States and I fly Norwegian. The flights are a reasonable price and the aircrafts are great!

As far as places to stay. Let me start by saying: I’m a creature of habit. I find a place. I love it. I stay there forever. Best Western Plus Delmere is that place for me. It is located in Paddington – steps from the Paddington rail station and the Paddington Tube station. It is so easy to get there from anywhere and very easy to get to and from the airport.

The rooms at this hotel are so comfortable, modern and spacious. The staff is so welcoming and helpful. The hotel is also a short walk from Hyde Park, where I love to go and read and pretend like I’m a London local.

Sticking with the theme of being a creature of habit. I’ve also stayed at the Generator Hostel near Russell Square. Definitely, a cheaper option if you’re willing to room-share. The hostel is a short walk from Kings Cross St. Pancras where you can catch the Eurostar or many other tube lines and buses. Or you can go and look for Platform 9 3/4.

The hostel has a restaurant/bar and the rooms are really nice. The hostel is very safe. Security was always present.

(Sidenote: There is also a Nando’s within walking distance so I see nothing but wins)

IMG_8745.JPG

Some other great areas to stay in London are: Queen’s Park, Marylebone, Soho and Mayfair

Alright – we’ve figured out where to stay and when to go. Now, let’s talk about the most important thing. FOOD.

STAY AWAY FROM THE EXPENSIVE FISH AND CHIPS.

This will be hard. You will want the fish and chips to show off on the ‘gram. I understand. But do your research.

As soon as I figure out where I’m going to stay, I search for restaurants near there and I read all of its reviews. I look up the place on Instagram and try and get a feel for the ambiance.

Another tip is to try out London Cheap Eats.

This website is my life.

I love going to different places and trying all kinds of foods. I have never been disappointed.

So we’ve got down when to go, where to stay and what to eat. What is there to see, you say? Below are some of my favorite places to go while I’m in town.

During the day: St. Paul’s Cathedral, London Eye (if you want to get on it), Borough Market, Padella, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square, National Portrait Gallery, Kensington Palace, Hyde Park

At Night: Westminster Bridge, Big Ben, London Eye (if you don’t want to get on it), Fabric, Egg Ldn, Printworks, Tower Bridge, Palace of Westminster

londoneye
View from London Eye

I could go on and on about London. But I will keep it at this. Plan ahead and enjoy it. London is full of history. Make your memories!

If you have any questions about places to stay or things to do. Please feel free to reach out to me at: miamovess@gmail.com!

 

Travel

Sainte-Chapelle, You Have My Heart

I want to start out by being completely honest. Paris is not my favorite place. For me, it is one of those places that everyone should go to at least once and that’s it.  Of course, I love seeing the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, etc but I’d rather spend my time in Nice (see below).

Nice
View from Chateau de Nice

However, the last time I was in Europe I had some free time (about 30 hours) in between traveling from Brussels to London.  So as I’m scrolling through Instagram, wondering what to do I come across one of the most beautiful photos I’ve ever seen.  Continue reading “Sainte-Chapelle, You Have My Heart”