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Hidden Gems are some of the best places you can visit in a city. These are less explored and not always known about, hence why we call them ‘Hidden’ Gems. In this travel series I hope to bring you to the attention of some Hidden Gems from all over the world. Last week, the wonderful Catriona, shared with everyone all of her favourite Hidden Gems of Edinburgh. This week, the brilliant blogger Megan shares plenty of things to do in Leicestershire that are off the radar and therefore she shares with you all of the Hidden Gems of Leicestershire…

 

 

Hello and welcome to the first post in my new series. In this travel series I plan on getting a list of Hidden Gems in as many places as possible. By Hidden Gems, I am referring to less popular places and activities that are worth exploring when you are visiting. These could be local bars, restaurants, coffee shops, museums, parks and whatever else. The first in this series is written by the wonderful Catriona from worldwidefootprintsblog. Read on to find out what all the Hidden Gems of Edinburgh are…

After living in Manchester for the best part of three years, it now feels like home. That being said, when I first moved to Manchester from Essex, I found the city very daunting. I have lived very central to the city centre and so it feels like the city never sleeps (not that I’m saying that Manchester is in anyway on the same scale as New York City). Fortunately for me, my partner is from Manchester and so when I met him, I became more familiar with what to do in Manchester. There are so many different areas in Manchester to explore. So, I’ve compiled a guide to living in Manchester for the people who are thinking of moving to the city. This way you won’t be as clueless as me on my first day in Manchester and you’ll know what to expect.

A guide to living in Manchester

Everyone is extremely friendly

When I first moved to Manchester it was to study. From the first day at looking at universities I knew I wanted to move to the North of England. Everyone knows that northerners are really friendly and so why wouldn’t I want to move to Manchester? It was only natural really. I looked at other cities such as: Newcastle, York, Leeds but chose Manchester because of the course I wanted to study. I don’t regret choosing Manchester.

Before moving to Manchester, I never thought I was that shy, but after my first week of random strangers picking up conversations with me I decided I was. Sure, in my hometown people did talk to each other but not on the same scale as Manchester. The first time I was really surprised by a Mancunians generosity was when I was going home for the Christmas holidays. I had a suitcase taller than a child and when I arrived at the train station, the escalators weren’t running. Without a second thought, this guy carried my suitcase all the way to the platform for me, despite heading in the opposite direction.

Do not travel on football days – Especially the Derby

One thing I have learned the hard way whilst living in Manchester is to never travel across the city on football days. Just don’t do it. If you try driving, the traffic will never move and if you get the tram it’s equivalent to rush hour on the London underground. Lets not forget that the city isn’t just rammed with ordinary people. The city is rammed with football hooligans.

This also means that it isn’t always safe to travel after a match – especially after the Man United vs Man City derby. Violence breaks out everywhere. You want to stay far away from any pub – even if you’re not a football fan. There is nothing worse than an angry football fan who’s had a few pints!

A guide to living in Manchester

It is rammed with students

After my second year of university I decided to stay in Manchester for the summer and it was just a much better city to live in. I don’t have a problem with students, but when there’s over four universities in one city, it’s bound to get a little crowded! So, when the semester ends and all the students go home, the city becomes a lot more peaceful.  It also means there is less traffic down Oxford Road (where UoM and MMU are).

The Northern Quarter VS Deansgate

A guide to living in Manchester would not be complete without discussing the two main nightlife areas. Personally, I’m not big on ‘nights out’ but I do not turn my nose up to a glass of wine or two after a long day. There are two different areas of the city centre that are the main areas for a night out. They are Deansgate and The Northern Quarter. For me, they are both great areas to get merry, however, the two areas have different advantages.

The Northern Quarter is the more hipster area of Manchester. It is full with Jazz bars, vintage clothing shops, tattoo parlours, vegan restaurants and amazing quirky bars. Some places have cheaper drinks compared to Deansgate, however I wouldn’t say there’s a huge difference, it just depends on where in Deansgate you visit. One of my favourite places to visit in Quarter is The Frog and Bucket Comedy Club. Every Monday and Sunday (I believe) they host stand-up comedy night for up-and-coming comedians and it’s a brilliant, affordable night.

Deansgate, on the other hand, is a bit more up-market. During the day, it’s the business central hub and there will be suited people everywhere. In the evening, it comes as no surprise that there some really nice sophisticated bars. I can’t talk to much about these as unfortunately, they are a little out of my budget and so have not been. However, Deansgate also has average priced places. One of the best places to visit in Deansgate is the Peaky Blinders Bar – that is if you’re a Peaky Blinders fan, of course.

 

I could talk about the benefits to living in Manchester all day given half the chance. But, then that would turn into a novel, wouldn’t it? If you’re thinking about making the move, just do it. The worse that could happen is you want to move back to wherever you came from, which is easy enough to do. After all, you’ll only understand why Manchester is a great place to live after you’ve moved there! For more information on things to do in Manchester then check out my Valentine’s day ideas post for more inspiration!

It’s that time of year when I begin to start thinking about where I want to be this summer. After a hard year of work, there is nothing I would want more than chilling on a beach with a cocktail in hand. But, before you can be relaxing in paradise you need to consider a few things. The first thing you need to do is actually book a holiday, which sounds easy enough but when there are thousands of hotels to choose from, it can be hard to make a decision. So, I’ve decided to write a post containing all the things you need to look for in a summer holiday.

Budget

The first thing you need to consider is how far your budget will take you. There’s no point thinking of booking a holiday in Barbados for two weeks from England if the flight alone would steal half of your budget. Instead, perhaps looking at holidays within Europe would be a more realistic option. Fortunately, in this era you can get some really good deals, which is most probably why there are more people travelling the world than ever before!

You then need to consider how long your budget allows you to relax on the beach for. When you book a holiday through travel agents like Tui or Thomas Cook the standard holiday times tend to be either 7 days, 10 days or 14 days. That being said, you can go for longer so you just need to check how much money you have and how you’d like to spend it. Would you rather be abroad for longer and have to budget a bit when your on holiday or would you rather only go for 7 days but be able to splash on activities and drinks? It’s entirely up to you and what your preferences are.

What to look for in a Summer Holiday

Type of holiday

This sounds rather basic but it should be one of the first things you think about. What type of holiday do you want to go on? There are endless options here. Do you want to spend a whole week laying on a sunbed or do you want to have an action packed adventure where you are exploring every second of the day? Do you like water-sports? Are you a heavy drinker and would want to spend a week binge drinking on a strip somewhere. What about food? Do you want an all inclusive holiday or would you rather eat in a different restaurant every night?

I never stick to the same type of holiday. I’ve been on holidays where there’s been a beach full of water-sports. I’ve paraglided off a mountain in Turkey and I have also spent a week in Malia drinking way too many vodka cokes. That being said, I have never had a bad holiday and I love experiencing everything life has to offer. But, it all depends on what you want to do. Once you figure this out you can work out where exactly you want to travel to.

Location

Once you’ve figured out your budget and the type of holiday you are after, you then need to pick a location. The best way to do this is to scroll through holidays on travel agents websites. But please do not just look at a pretty picture and be sold straight away. These hotels hire professional photographers so that they look appealing. Sure the bedrooms and the pools look like a 5* hotel but where is the hotel. If you had to get a taxi everywhere when you’re there, would you want to go? Personally, I like the beach and the strip to be within walking distance so that there is always something to do during the day.

Once you find a hotel that has a great location and great facilities then find out where in the country it is. Are there really cool day trips you can go on to a different part of the island? These day trips can become the best parts of a holiday and I wouldn’t ignore researching into them. Put some money aside if you can because when you first get on your holiday you can speak to your holiday rep and they will have recommendations of things to do. These people are paid to do activities so that they can tell you all about them, use these people to your advantage!

What to look for in a Summer Holiday

Things to consider once you’ve found a hotel

  • Does the hotel have air conditioning? Believe it or not there are hotels in extremely hot countries that do not have air con. I’ve been there and it was extremely hard to get a good nights sleep in such extreme heats.
  • Is there WiFi? For obvious reasons, it is very expensive to use your phone abroad – unless you have an amazing phone contract. (In which case, how did you get it? What is your secret?)
  • Do you have to pay tourism tax? In some countries you may need to pay tourism tax for every night that you spend at the hotel. It can range in price, but is usually around 5-10 pounds a night. I’m not sure why this is a thing but it is something to look for when booking a holiday.
  • Will there be a safe in the room to keep your passports in? Whenever I travel anywhere I am always security conscious. I have an irrational fear that when I’m abroad someone is going to want to steal my passport and then I’d be stranded. Most hotel rooms will have a safe you can pay to use in your room however some may not. If you want your belongings looked away safe then this is one thing to remember.
  • Does the hotel have its own entertainment? A lot of hotels have their own entertainment at the pool and in the evening. If this is something you specifically want then make sure the hotel does this before booking.
  • How far away is it from the airport? Are transfers included? Having transfers included in your holiday is a life-saver. Otherwise you would have to worry about a taxi bill as soon as you get of the plane.
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Read Reviews

This is probably the most important thing you should do when you’re looking for your summer holiday, or booking up anything in general. Reading reviews is probably the most accurate information you will get about the hotel. After all – these people have been to the place themselves. They will be more accurate then anything the hotel wrote themselves. 

That being said, most people will only write a review when there is something bad to say. I’ve learnt this by working at places like a zoo. You’d find that upset customers are few and far between but then there would be so many bad reviews online and hardly any good ones. Not many people take the time to write nice things, which is a shame. However, the reviews could be accurate. That is a risk you would have to take for yourself.

 

Anyway, I have come to the end of my advice for looking for a summer holiday. Have I left anything out? Comment below any advice you would give when booking up for holiday through a travel agents.

What do we think about when we think of spring? Daffodils, sunshine and longer days? Poets write about the spring time for many reasons; it is a beautiful time of the year. A cold and gruesome winter has just ended, and festival season is just around the corner. There are endless reasons to be excited for the Spring time, but for some reason Summer is the season that people get most excited about. Sure, if you’re still in education then you get freedom for month or more but, lets not forget the summer days where the heat is too unbearable to do anything. Summer is the season for everyone to jump on the plane and go on holiday, however, I thought I’d share my thoughts on why Spring is the best time of year to travel.

The Weather

One of the main reasons I think Spring is the best time of year to travel is because of the gorgeous weather. Unlike in Summer, you can actually carry your backpack on your back down the street without passing out from dehydration. You don’t have to worry as much about sunburn and finding a seat in the shade. Most importantly, you can take more than two steps onto the beach without the sand burning a layer of your skin off.

Travelling with a dog means there’s even more reason to travel in the spring time. You should always be cautious about walking your dog along concrete when it is very hot outside. A good way to test if it’s too hot is by placing the back of your hand against the concrete in the sun. If you can’t keep your hand there for more than two seconds then do not walk your dog along the concrete. Think of their poor paws! Of course, travelling with your dog during the Spring means you don’t have to worry about this so much. What is more enjoyable than bringing man’s best friend along on your travels with you?

Less People

If you’re obsessed with crowds and screaming children, then by all means book that all inclusive holiday in the middle of August. For me, I find you can experience a culture more when there are less tourists. This is why spring is the best time of year to travel. Think about it, when there are thousands of tourists wandering around, how often do you get to talk to a local? The other good thing about there being less tourists is that you never have to wait for a table or queue for a drink.

Less Expensive

Popularity means that prices rise. This goes for many things in life. So, when all the families get their kids off school and want to go away, the summer holidays become peak season. Because hotels and Airlines know that this is the only period of time a lot of people can go on holiday they know they can get away with raising their prices. People will pay it. So, if you’re in the position where you can travel another time of year then it will be a lot cheaper. It isn’t just airlines and hotels that raise their prices in the summer, you will find that activities and tourist attractions will also have peak prices. For example, if you wanted to visit a museum or a zoo, you will see on their website that they will have different prices depending on what time of the year it is. This isn’t always the case – although it is very common!

Spring is the second warmest season of the year and this is why spring is the best time of year to travel!

 

Before you go…

This post was a Spring collaboration with some amazing bloggers all using the beginning of spring as inspiration for their blog. If you would like to read more Spring inspired content, then follow the links below…

www.avidreaderdiary.wordpress.com

www.Spiceandnice.blog

www.meganelizabethlifestyle.com

www.peerlessprose.com/blog

www.kapowfit.blogspot.com

www.maybemissmolly.co.uk

www.bookmarkingstories.wordpress.com

www.countingbluebirds.com

www.lifestylesteps.video.blog

www.smartmoneygreenplanet.com

www.watchaguru.com

 

Valentines Day brings romance and joy to people all over the world. For some reason, there is a whole day out of the year dedicated to couples which part of me thinks it’s cute. However, the more rational side of me believes that Valentines day is a big marketing strategy for restaurants and bars to get more money out of people (but that’s a post for another day). That being said, I can speak from experience that when it comes to this time of year, my mind begins to become blank of Valentine date ideas. This will be my second Valentines day with my partner and as we live in central Manchester, there are endless things to do. Sometimes it’s when there are too many options that my mind begins to not function. Do you live in the Manchester area and are lost for ideas of how to spend Valentines day? No worries, dating in Manchester does not need to be difficult – as there are so many things to do. I have compiled a few Valentine Date Ideas in Manchester, U.K.

An Activity of Sorts

If you and your partner consider yourself to be adventurous and love fun activities then there is plenty of things to do on Valentines day in Manchester. Fortunate enough to have the whole day to celebrate Valentines day? The perfect start to the day would be to get stuck in with something fun.

Go Karting

With two perfect locations in Manchester, Go Karting is really accessible to get to. There is a track in both Trafford Park and in Deansgate. Just recently, me and my partner visited the Team Sport Go Karting in Trafford and we had the most amazing time!

Valentines Day in Manchester

If you’re a student and you’re looking for Valentines Day Date Ideas on a budget then look no further. You can Go Kart from just £15 and if you’re not a student, then don’t worry as they also have other offers available.

When you arrive you are given a suit to wear over your clothes and you will have to purchase either a 50p disposable balaclava (to wear under your helmet) or a £3.50 cotton balaclava. Once changed and your bags are packed away in lockers you wait to be called into the briefing room. This is where you will watch a fifteen minute safety video which tells you what all the flags mean. For example, if there is a yellow flag, you need to slow down to a walking pace.

Valentines Date Ideas in Manchester

The whole aim of Go Karting is to try and get the fastest lap time and so if you and your partner are the competitive type, then Go Karting would be the perfect place to spend Valentines Day in Manchester.

Roxy Ball Room

Roxy Ball Room in Deansgate, Manchester will always have a special place in my heart. This was where me and my partner went on one of our first dates and so I just think it’s perfect for Valentines Day.

Inside this bar you can play ping pong and/or pool and I just think it’s the perfect place to go on a date to get to know someone. The music isn’t too loud and if you wanted an activity that wasn’t too expensive then this would be perfect!

Valentines Day Manchester

Inflatanation

Dating in Manchester does not have to be boring when Manchester is home to one of the biggest indoor bouncy castles in the country. That’s right I did say bouncy castle! Call me a big kid but there’s nothing more fun then jousting someone on top of a giant inflatable pillar.

In terms of whether or not this place is suitable for a Valentine’s day date then it will all depend on what you do next. If you plan on heading for a nice meal (that requires you to dress up) afterwards then I wouldn’t recommend going to this place first. You only get an hour on the inflatable park but I promise you after half an hour running around and rock climbing, you will be red in the face and sweating. Take plenty of water!

Places to Drink in Manchester

Peaky Blinders Bar

If you’re a Peaky Blinder’s fan then Manchester is the place to be on Valentine’s day! It has a bar themed around the whole t.v. show. I mean, how cool is that! Although I have never watched Peaky Blinders, I have however visited the bar out of curiosity.

My initial impressions was that it wasn’t that different to an ordinary bar. Yes, it’s beautiful outside and it does have themed drinks and characters from the show plastered on the walls, but a bar is a bar. My impression of the place changed when about fifteen lads came in dressed in waistcoats and tweed caps. This made the place feel really authentic.

So, if you are a Peaky Blinders fan then I would definitely recommend visiting. Having watched the show, you may be able to see more from the experience.

Cloud 23

If you only had one day to spend in Manchester, then I would completely recommend visiting Cloud 23 for a cocktail. With a stunning view over the whole of Manchester, It is a perfect place to sit with your loved one for Valentines day. Or, if you’re looking for date ideas in Manchester in general then I would still recommend this.

Cloud 23 - Valentines Day Date

If you fancy climbing 23 floors for the view, make sure you dress up smart as there is a dress code. Also, remember that because this is a unique bar to drink in in Manchester, the drinks come with a heavy price tag. I think I paid around £12 for a cocktail that fit inside a champagne glass. Oh well, seeing sunset over the city makes it all worth it.

Revolucion De Cuba

With regular entertainment and 2 for 1 cocktails, Revolution De Cuba is one of my favourite bars in Manchester. Having only drank in here, I can only tell you how amazing the cocktails are. However, I have heard from many people that there is a brilliant Vegan menu. So, if you eat a plant based diet I would recommend this restaurant/bar for Valentine’s Day.

Revs De Cuba, Manchester - Date Night in Manchester

Places to Eat in Manchester

Chain Restaurants

Just like in every city, there will be plenty of chain restaurants to choose from and most of these will tend to be fair in price. These will include, but are not limited to: Bella Italia, Ask Italian, Bem Brazil, Nando’s, Chiquitos and many many more. Excluding Bem Brazil these meals tend to not be that expensive, especially if you have a discount code that you found online. However, if you are planning to use a discount code then make sure to check the terms and conditions of the voucher. Many promotions will not be valid on Valentine’s Day.

Gusto

My favourite Italian restaurant in Manchester has to be Gusto. It feels more classy than say Ask Italia and I wouldn’t say it is much more expensive. If you sign up to be a member of their dining club then you can often get up to 50% off your meal on certain days. Again check the terms and conditions as any promotions aren’t likely to be valid on Valentine’s Day.

Gusto Manchester - Valentines Day Date

Surrounded by fairy lights and candles, Gusto is one of the most romantic restaurant to dine at on Valentine’s Day.

Valentines Day 2019 in Manchester

Are you fully prepared for Valentine’s Day?

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading plenty of date ideas in the Manchester area. I hope you all have an amazing Valentine’s Day. However, before you go, there is something you should know. This post was a collaboration with 13 other amazing bloggers who have been preparing advice for Valentine’s day. I strongly recommend that follow their blogs so that you can read more valentine’s day advice over the next fortnight. Below is the schedule of posts for the next two weeks, with links to the blogs so you know where to find them!


Day 2 – Deanna is writing about, Valentine’s Day Makeup & Outfit inspiration
Day 3 – Lavrax is writing about, Edible and personalised gift ideas/valentines day baking
Day 4 – Megan is writing about, Valentine’s Day Ideas for Singles
Day 5 – Macey  is writing about, The Origin story of Valentine’s Day
Day 6 – Rach is writing about, Valentine’s Day ideas for the family
Day 7 – Molly has some Valentines cupcake recipes to share with you
Day 8 – Shealea is writing about, Sapphic romances that’ll make your heart soft on Valentine’s Day
Day 9 – Kerry is recommending some Valentines gifts for travellers
Day 10 – Vicky is writing all about Mindful Date Ideas
Day 11 – Divine is writing all about, The Perks of Dating a Mood Reader
Day 12 – Soph is giving advice on, Valentines Day gifts on a budget / for students
Day 13 – Koral is writing all about, Valentines Day and Mental Health
Day 14 – Lastly, Taiwo is writing a piece on, How to enjoy Valentine’s Day alone

I have been writing a blog for less than a year and somehow I feel like I have had it much longer. It has become a huge part of my life and I love everything about it. I have met so many people through the blogging community and have learnt so much about: online marketing, graphic design, web design and social media. However I am yet to figure out HOW ON EARTH people use Pinterest! To all of you people out there who are getting millions of views on your Pinterest page each day, how? Are you magic? Anyway, as I’ve decided that 2019 is the year I take blogging more seriously, I thought I’d write a post all about why I started a blog and why I love it so much.

My love for writing

Ever since I can remember I have kept a diary of some sorts. I do this for two reasons. Firstly, I find it extremely therapeutic and good for my mental health just to get everything down onto a page, whatever I’m feeling. Secondly, I love reading my diaries back and laughing at all the fun times I’ve had. If I don’t write it down, I will forget it and I have some stories that are too funny to be forgotten.

Anyway, growing up I always knew I would be a writer of some sorts but it wasn’t until I visited my university’s career adviser in second year that I decided to create a blog. I was advised to start one so that I would create a portfolio of work to show future employers if I wanted to go down the journalism route. With help from my partner who knows absolutely everything about the internet and websites, I began blogging.

My love for travel

I hope for my blog to become more travel focused as my bank account begins to grow and I travel to many more places. One of my favourite things to do is read travel blogs on the internet and so, when I was deciding what my blogs niche would be, I decided travel. Although currently I write about anything that comes to mind, I plan on going on many adventures soon and so my blog will become a lot more travel orientated.

Although my goal is to give my blog a travel niche, I cannot stress how unimportant having a niche really is. When I read blogs, I tend to invest in the person writing. I will admit to being an extremely nosy person and I love reading about what everyone is up to. So, if you’re reading this and would love to start a blog, my advice would be to stop worrying about have a niche. They are unimportant. Start writing and you might find you naturally have a niche later on. But for now, just start something. You learn things as you go along.

Overcoming my fears

Starting a blog can be scary to some people. It was for me, I felt so embarrassed and paranoid that people I knew would read it and laugh. However this doesn’t bother me anymore because writing on my small section of the internet makes me happy and whoever is laughing can just stay behind the screen and out of my life. Anyway, I overcame this fear just by ignoring them and worrying about them later – now that I’ve started, I never think about what I was worried about. Plus, now I have this hobby that has brought me to some amazing people. I have found new blogs to read and it’s amazing the new stuff you can learn. One second I’m reading a blog all about the gym and then the next I’m learning about what to do in Belgium for a weekend away.

This is why I started blogging and why I love it so much! If you’re a blogger, comment below all the reasons why you love having a blog. If you’re not and you would like to start a blog, then comment below all the reasons why you haven’t started yet!

After a short but scenic tour of Northern Ireland this past weekend, I thought I would write a review of one of the many things I got up to. Before heading to the airport on our last day in Northern Ireland, we decided to pass through Belfast to visit the Titanic Museum which tells you everything you need to know about the building of the ship and -of course – the sinking of the ship. Visiting the Titanic Museum in Belfast was incredibly interesting and the attraction even includes the opportunity to go aboard the SS. Nomadic – the last surviving White Star Line ship which was a sister ship to Titanic. For me, I have been a huge fan of the movie Titanic for as long as I can remember and I even did a school project on the tragedy at school. So, visiting the titanic museum in Belfast was well suited for me.

Lifeboat on board the Titanic
Replica of a Lifeboat on board the Titanic
Lower Class rooms aboard the Titanic

 

Cost and travel

Comparing the price to visit the Titanic museum against other museums I have visited, I would say the admission price was average or slightly above average. I purchased a student ticket for £15 however for an adult ticket the price goes up to £18.50. I would not say the ticket was overpriced however, for the price I would have liked the audio guide to have been included – rather than paying an extra £3. I didn’t opt for the audio guide however I wish I had. Having someone speak to you I find is a lot more entertaining that just walking around reading signs with lots of information on them.

In terms of travelling to the Titanic museum in Belfast, I simply got in an Uber from Belfast Lanyon Place train station. This was a lot cheaper than I had thought however Belfast is a city which you can easily walk around and have a little mooch. However, this wasn’t an option for me as I was on a time constraint. I was not sure how long walking round the Titanic Museum would take so I didn’t want to risk it. As a quick and selective reader, it took me around two hours to explore both the Titanic Museum and SS Nomadic.

The History of Titanic

If you love history then you will love the Titanic Museum in Belfast, it’s as simple as that. No detail is left out including but not limited to: the engineering logistics of the ship; the industrial city of Belfast and why the ship was made in this city; the working conditions for the men; and of course, the sinking of the ship. It also has a section on the myths surrounding Titanic and whether the movies were accurate in their depictions -which I found rather entertaining. Did you know that although Jack Dawson was a figment of James Cameron’s imagination, there was actually a passenger aboard the titanic named J. Dawson who unfortunately did not survive.

Although I love history I was expecting the Titanic Museum to revolve more around the sinking of the ship and not the industrial revolution. The museum could have had less information about this stuff and more interactive sections. It has a small ride and an interactive cinema exploring the wreckage on Titanic, however I could imagine children would easily get bored here.

SS Nomadic

SS Nomadic – the last White Star Line

Overall, I found climbing on board the SS Nomadic to be slightly underwhelming. If you weren’t interested in the Titanic Museum but would love to step aboard the ship then I would not recommend paying almost £20 for it. You could just get a nice photo in front of it and see it from the outside. When you step aboard the ship, it is empty and you can not go downstairs to where the men would shovel coal into furnaces. Perhaps this is due to health and safety but there is nothing interactive on the ship. Also, the information you are given by the tour guide on the ship is limited. He/she essentially tells you that the different patterned floor is allocated to different classes and that it was used during ww1.

Where Titanic was built
The huge space where Titanic was built.

Overall thoughts

If you are visiting Belfast then the Titanic Museum is something you should go check out if you are even slightly curious about the history behind the ship. It is an integral part of the history of Belfast. However in terms of how entertaining the Titanic Museum is compared to other Museums I’ve visited, I wouldn’t rank it. Perhaps this is because I didn’t pay extra for the audio tour? If I was a child I would quickly be bored and so there could be a lot more interactive activities about boats and ships in general to occupy children.

If you would like to read more travel related reviews from me, be sure to subscribe to my blog for updates on my new content. There will be more content about my tour of Northern Ireland very soon!

 

As an avid watcher of travel vloggers and reader of travel bloggers, it seems that nowadays everyone is picking up their passport and travelling the world. In the world of social media, pool parties are captured on Instagram and everyone on Facebook is checking into an airport somewhere. This got me thinking, why are more people travelling the world than ever before? I decided to think about why travel wasn’t as common decades ago and how this has changed. It goes without saying that more people travelling the world and broadcasting it on social media is making me extremely jealous, hence the motivation to write this post.

The economy

When I asked my family about there travel experiences growing up, it seems that they travel a lot more now than they did years ago. I got the sense that years ago people were a lot worse off financially. Growing up in a working class family, my Nan told me stories of a time where if you needed financial help from the government it was really hard. Someone would come out and if they saw you had one too many chairs for the people living in the house you were told to sell one. Times have changed since then, and even the poorest people do not get told to sell things when they are asking for help (I hope anyway).

Ultimately, the economy has gotten a lot better off and people have more money then they did a few decades ago. People are buying new pairs of socks rather than sewing them up when they got holes in. The more money you have, the more you have to spend on new adventures. At least that’s how I believe money should be spent anyway.

Super cheap flights

To this day, I continued to be amazed at how cheap flights have become. With budget airlines constantly advertising flights for as low as £9.99, it’s no wonder that more people are booking up and jetting abroad. Although there are added costs of accommodation, food etc. with more money saved on transportation, people are finding less excuses to invest in a trip of a lifetime. Let’s hope it all stays this way; between Brexit threatening life as we know it and airlines beginning to introduce carry-on bag charges, we all have to pray that our super cheap flights remain, well… cheap!

 

Social Media

A couple of decades ago, social media didn’t exist. How anyone knew anything about anyone is beyond me. How would you know what people were having to eat? When did you find out that someone was back with that guy that they shouldn’t be with for the millionth time? My mind is baffled. Anyway, social media does exist now and we can all spy on each others lives from the comfort of our own home, without ending up on a restraining order. That being said, we get a good glimpse into peoples lives. When they go on holiday or are drinking their first holiday cocktail at the airport we are all the first to know. There are disadvantages to this, but that’s another post in it’s self.

The point I’m trying to make is that deep down, we all become slightly envious when we see the girls we went to school with sunning it up in Ibiza or we see our work colleague head of backpacking down under. Jealousy is completely normal, no wonder seeing people jet off everywhere makes us think that maybe we should also book something up. I remember seeing people on my Facebook news feed take part in the Camp America programme years ago. Low and behold, I was soon jetting off to work as a camp counsellor on a summer camp not long after.

YouTube

A huge influence on my burning desire to drop everything and hop on a plane are all the travel vloggers I watched growing up. Yes, this can be linked to being influenced by social media, but there’s something extra tempting about watching a fellow traveller sit in front of a camera and tell you all the reasons why you should hop on a plane. Also, travel vloggers don’t just sit there explaining why their lifestyle is just the greatest in the world. They also give advise that teaches you how you can turn your travel dreams into a reality. For example, how you can save money for travel, or scam companies to avoid booking through.

FaceTime

Travelling abroad is not just about week long holidays in the sun anymore. More people than ever are embarking on backpacking trips for a year or more. But why were such long trips not common in the past? Homesickness. Back in the good old the days the only way to communicate was by telephone or pen and paper. Now with inventions like Facetime it can feel like you’re right at home from thousands of miles away. At least when I’m away I can still see my dogs whenever I call home. I try to Facetime my mum every day and I swear I tend to speak to her more now than I did when I lived with her. I can talk to her for hours about work, house chores and what I made for dinner. Without the luxury of Facetime, the thought of spending so long without seeing your loved ones would deter many people from hopping on a plane. Thank god for modern technology!

So these are the thoughts that swim around in my head when I see so many people on adventures. Why is everyone on holiday but me?! I’m sure I’ll be on my next adventure soon, after all; good things come to those who wait. Do you want to read more Travel related content from me? Read all about why Spring is the best time to travel here.

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I came to the realisation not long ago that the travel content on my blog was rather limited and there is a reason for this. I have not travelled anywhere in far too long. University commitments and lack of funds just keep getting in the way. None the less, I thought I’d create some travel advice content whilst I wait for that day when someone will just pay me to travel the world and not look back. Any takers? I’m PR friendly… I promise! Anyway I thought I’d start the advice with 10 things you should never do when staying in a hostel. I haven’t seen all of these happen but you’ll soon gather why I don’t see them to be hostel appropriate!

Number 1 – Do NOT leave the lights on

Do not be that annoying somebody who is the last one in at night and then forgets to turn the lights off before getting into bed. No one wants to have to get up and turn it off, especially when you’re half asleep and laying on the top bunk! This also goes for turning the lights on in the middle of the night. FUN FACT: in most dorm rooms you will have a personal light that is more than enough for when you decide to stay up all night reading a book. This also goes for turning the lights on at an appropriate time. If you have to be up at 5 am to catch a flight, how about having your stuff ready the night before so you can go change in the bathroom, gather your stuff and leave? That’s a smart idea you heard first from EarthtoConnie. Believe me, this is revolutionary to some!

Number 2 – Pack your bags the night before

Following on from my last point, if you know you have to be up at a ridiculous time in the morning to leave the hostel -please, please, please pack the night before. Being woken up with the rustling of bags in the morning is not fun for anyone. I will curse under my breathe if you do this to me. You are allowed a reasonable amount of rustling in the morning however if I roll over and spot you with your whole case unzipped and you’re reorganising the contents, then you may also get some eye rolls too!  You probably are thinking I must be a nightmare to share a dorm room with, but I promise I’m not. I’m only passive aggressive, you’ll barely know I’m there.

Number 3 – Keep the music to a minimal

Travelling and staying in hostels are so much fun. You will meet so many people and to some extent it’s perfectly acceptable to play music in a hostel. The social area is perfect for this and perhaps during the day in your dorm room too. But… you do need to be considerate of other people when you decide to play music. Are they sleeping? Reading a book and minding their own business? Remember they may be staying in a hostel and visiting the city for different reasons to you. They’ve probably paid the same amount of money as you and so just be respectful.

Number 4 – Do not demand anything

This is a bit of a weird one, but I’ll explain. I’ve stayed in a hostel and was sleeping on a bottom bunk (because who really enjoys sleeping top bunk?) It was possibly my third night in the hostel and so I was settled and had a place for all my stuff. We had a new roomy that day and within five minutes of entering the room and introducing herself she essentially demanded that she have my bed and I take the top. I felt so uncomfortable and avoiding confrontation I just agreed to it. I know every culture can be different but with no please and thank yous, this is particularly rude and inconsiderate. We didn’t speak since this incident and what annoyed me the most was that she was only there for one night only. Could she not have roughed it on top bunk for one night?

Number 5 – Find an appropriate place to leave your stuff

There is an unwritten rule as to where you leave your stuff when you’re staying in a hostel. For the most part, it is common sense. Top bunkers have the priority of the space underneath their ladder, there is a reason for this. If they’re going to accidentally jump down then at least it’s only their stuff there that might get damaged. Also, it makes sense for the bottom bunkers to have their stuff laid next to them on the floor. When you sleep it will be right next to them, I dunno about you but I wouldn’t want to be climbing over someone else’s stuff to get out of the bed in the morning. I hope this makes sense, I’m far too lazy to draw a diagram of what I mean for you.

Number 6 – Do not leave your laundry in the washing machine

If you are travelling for extensive periods of time, you will have to do laundry. Most hostels have laundry facilities however chances are they will only have one or two machines. Therefore, when you do your laundry you need to know when it’s ending so you can get it out of the machine asap. There’s nothing worse than an overly polite person avoiding doing their laundry because there’s some wet clothes left in there. No one wants to leave the clean clothes to smell damp on top of the washer, but no one wants to be waiting for your return. If you’re travelling the last thing you want to do is wait by a washing machine all day.

Number 7 – Have some personal boundaries!

This shouldn’t need to be a thing that is written in this post but unfortunately it needs saying. This hasn’t happened to me but it’s happened to people I know. It’s been the middle of the night and they’ve been woken up by two people having sex in the same room. I mean, why would anyone do this is beyond me. So yeah, I think there’s nothing more to be said on this…

Number 8 – Do wear clothes… Please?

Again, another odd one but there are people out there who aren’t ashamed to sleep naked. I’ve not experienced sharing a room with someone like this, but yet again I’ve heard these people are out there. I’m all for embracing the human body, but there are just some things you do not want to see first thing in the morning – or ever at all!

Number 9 – Sleep on the floor and then scare someone

Okay, this one is from a personal experience and I cannot explain just how odd waking up to this experience was. I have actually written a separate blog post all about this bizarre experience which you can read here. It is the second episode in my travel seriesThis one time…‘ and I can honestly say it was one of the most bizarre things to have happened to me… This is probably not a common occurrence (I hope anyway) but I thought I would include it just in case you feel the urge to do this.

Number 10 – Be the know it all

We’ve all met that person in a hostel who proceeds to tell you how they left there home town decades ago to find themselves and has no intention on returning anytime soon. They know everything about everything, and even though you didn’t ask them too they decide to give you a complete history lesson of the city you’re currently staying in. Did you just find all that on Wikipedia? Honestly, everyone is just going about their travels and no one needs their trip judged to be a holiday and not ‘real’ travelling. These people are the worst. Do not be these people!

Apologies that this post has become rather long – I didn’t know just how passionate about this topic. Perhaps I have a lot of built up aggression to all these annoying people I’ve experienced in hostels. I promise you I will write something more positive about hostels soon, I didn’t realise how pessimistic I was being. Staying in hostels are fun above everything else and I hope this hasn’t discouraged you from budget travel. Comment below if you have had any horrible hostel experiences that are actually quite comical! 

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