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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.

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.

Want to read more from me? Make sure you subscribe to my blog for all the latest posts! Want to write for me? Head over to my contact page for more information!

 

 

 

Nan and her maid

Welcome back to my new series, “This one time…” If you are new to the series then you can read the first episode here, which is all about the most embarrassing moment of my life that took place at Yosemite National Park, California. Or you could read all about my trip to San Fransisco here which featured one of the most bizarre moments of my life. In this series, I hope to write as many comical and/or inspirational travel stories as I can. If you are interested in me writing up one of your stories then please, be sure to contact me and I can give you further details on the plans I have for this series.

Today’s story is inspired by my amazing and inspirational nan who – when she was just nineteen – travelled all the way from rainy England to the other side of the world with her husband. She stayed for two years because her husband was in the army and in that time it sounds like she was living the dream. Swimming in the morning and the beach in the afternoon – what more could you ask for?

Back in the day, it was custom that once you had found your man and got married than a baby would usually follow. Pamela was 19 years old living in Paradise, what a better time to ask for a baby? Living in army quarters she had an amazing housewife who took care of everything. The heat was unbearable for an English girl living in George Town and so Pam spent the majority of her time swimming and taking trips to the beach.

The other side of the world from her family, she soon began to become friendly with the maid, whom everyone called Nora although Pam suspect that was an English name they assigned her. Unfortunately, this friendship was challenging due to the fact that Nora’s English was limited and English was the only language that Pam spoke. Pam tried to show her gratitude by attempting to help her with the housework but she was pulled away all too often.

One of the unique quirky behaviours that the maid adopted was that every day she would always hand Pam a banana to eat throughout the day. When this first happened she was amazed at just how tiny the fruit was, they didn’t get them like that back in England. She thought nothing of it, perhaps it was what was grown out here.

In 1966 England won the football World Cup for the first time. It was a joyous occasion and all the Brits living out in Malaysia were over the moon. Everyone had a spring in their step. Not long after this triumph Pam happened to grab her neighbour who spoke both languages to ask her maid why the bananas were so small. It turns out it is an old wives tale for the locals that eating a tiny banana a day will help a woman fall pregnant.

Pam laughed at this and found it the sweetest of gestures. Of course, she was in no rush to have a baby but she was happy regardless. From then on, every time the maid would hand Pam a banana she would express that it was for the baby, usually by rubbing her tummy and articulating ‘baby’.

With no success, Pam left the Borneo jungle with only her husband. She came back to living a life full of housework and little money. Being back in England wasn’t quite the two year holiday like it was in Penang. It was just then, when she was drowning underneath a pile of laundry, that she discovered she was expecting.

“I guess the banana’s worked after all”, she smiled.

My beautiful Nan

 

 

As I approach the end of university, I am surprised as to how I have managed to see the final days of my degree. For some people university is the best years of their life, but for others it can be soul-destroying. I sit firmly in between the two. So, I thought I’d give my top advice on how to survive university. Some of my advice may sound like the most obvious thing you’ve read today, but believe me, when you’re thousands of words behind on an assignment it can be easy to loose sight of the simple ideas.

Gain Perspective

My first piece of advice, to anyone who is wondering how anyone ever survived this nightmare of a degree before you, is to gain perspective. If you fail your degree, get a third, or drop out – you will still have air in your lungs and a life to be lived. I know university can be stressful and everyone wants to do well, however I find that having the perspective that you don’t have to have a degree makes it suddenly less stressful. It’s easy for me to say I guess, I was the first person out of family to attend university and so I’ve never had any academic pressure from my family. But, I do know that if you do have a family that expect you to get a first, there can be a lot of pressure put on you. Just remember that it’s your life – not theirs and being proud of yourself is the only thing that matters anyway.

Most of the time, when I’ve done bad on an assignment, I can almost always put it down to overthinking and stressing before the deadline. This just proves that stressing about something is pretty pointless. I read a quote the other day and it said that if you stress about something you essentially go through it twice. This enlightened me and from now on, I’m going to try and live by this. Although I always find it difficult to follow my own advice.

Get involved

I’m a strong believer that you only get one life and so there is absolutely no point in sitting around doing nothing. Yes, university is hard work. But – if we’re being honest at times it’s not that time consuming and so you can get up and do something productive. Volunteering? Part-time job? Gym? A benefit to all of this is that it will make you stand out on your C.V. after university. There are plenty of people who have a degree, but even less who have a degree and ran a society, for example.

In my experience, I also find that having a job has helped me with my studies. Before, I would procrastinate so much because I was worried about the assignment. Now, I have no time to procrastinate and it just makes me get on with it. I’m also earning money too, which is never a bad thing.

Just do it and worry later

If you’re like me, and you’re a complete stress head who will defend their procrastinating until the day they die, you may struggle the most with starting the essay you’ve been dreading. Once I have a flow of words going on a page I tend to just get on with it, however I always worry that It will not be perfect and so I delay starting the work. Sound like you? The biggest thing I’ve learnt is to just get anything onto the page – even if it’s just a few words. You can always come back to editing it later!

Another thing to remember is that just because you are a poor university student, it doesn’t mean you should put a pause on your personal life. If there’s a big party coming up and you’re worried about getting your work done, just go to the party and worry later. Chances are you would only be procrastinating doing the work anyway. Honestly, when you’re old and you’re looking back on your life I think you’d much prefer having memories than a first class degree.

Anyway, that’s just my advice. I’ve never been the perfect student and so I’ve always struggled. Now, I just do what I can to get by and thats all what matters to me now – seeing the end of it. But if you are struggling with university and it’s all getting a bit too much or you, please contact someone. I did, and it did me the world of good. Contact your university counselling service, your academic advisor or (if you’re in the U.K.) contact the Samaritans. From my own experience, they are brilliant at making me feel a lot better in myself! I have also written a post about how university isn’t for everyone and this may shred some light as to why you’re not enjoying it as much as everybody else.

 

 

Hello, and welcome to my first ever blogging series called, “This one time”. In this series, I plan to write a collection of posts full of different travel related stories. I promise you these will all be real accounts of my adventures, however, what I can not promise you is that they will be published once a week. It’s me. As extremely sarcastic and annoying I am, I do not hold the talent of being organised, and so, this time next week I’ll probably be munching away at some popcorn at the cinema forgetting I had even starting this series. I promise you I’m a good blogger sometimes.

Anyway, this weeks story is all about this one time I was at Yosemite National Park and I had a close encounter with a bear. That’s right, a bear! My inner Bear Grylls was summoned and if you would like to find out just how much I embarrassed myself then read on…