The Antwerp City Guide by Wander-Lust

If you live in the Netherlands, Antwerp is the perfect place to escape to for a city break, especially during the wintertime! We’ve been there many times and checked out some of the best spots for you to enjoy food, drinks and more. Here’s our Antwerp City Guide!

How to get there
Well, you have 2 options and they are both as easy. You can take the train or you can go by car. Both options take around the same time (2 hours) but we prefer the train because you can chill, look out of the window and you will arrive at one of the most beautiful and impressive trains stations in Europe. A  return train ticket from Amsterdam to Antwerp will cost around 30 -40 euro. If you go by car, you might arrive earlier but if you are unlucky, you will get caught in slow traffic and your trip might take up to 3 hours plus you will have to pay for parking.

“This Antwerp City Guide is for wanderers who love food, shops and exploring”

Antwerp City Guide

Where To Eat?
The most important question of course! Well, in Antwerp you won’t be short of food choices. Especially lunch! There are so many hotspots around that we can’t mention them all, but these are our favorites!
» Tinsel, some say that you can get the best breakfast in town here. Tinsel is located near the water where you will find tons of other restaurants. www.tinsel.be
» Native Bio Bistro, This hidden pearl is by far our favorite lunch spot in Antwerp. This bistro serves fresh, original, and good quality food. It’s organic, locally produced with sustainable ingredients, this is Native! Vegan and organic food lovers will love this place! During the summer they open a very nice terrace. www.native.bio
» Bubble Waffle, located in the Mercado foodcourt, this tasty waffle stand awesome! Go here if you feel like something sweet. www.bubblewaffle.be
» Divers, a smoothie-bowl bar for your healthy cravings. Great for some Instagram worthy pics, if that’s what your after. They are located in the Volkstraat 9.
»De Broers van Julienne, when we need to grab a quick and healthy bite, we go here. In a side street of the Kammenstraat – with lots of boutiques – you will find this small cute little restaurant. You can take away the best quiches, soups,  salads and other warm healthy dishes. Besides that, they sell oil, wine, coffee, juices and other delicatessen. They  also offer catering and cook workshops.
» Raw Salad Company, unfortunately they’ve closed their doors in Antwerp but they promised to be back soon with a new location. The name gives it away. Raw salads galore. The salads are extremely tasty and fill you up enough to get on with your day. They also sell juices, wraps, cakes and other healthy snacks. We will keep you updated if they open a shop.
» Umami
, fine dining Japanese style. They restyled not long ago and you can eat amazing Dim Sum here. www.umami-antwerp.be

» Il Famosi, this is by far the best Italian restaurant in Antwerp. Go here for a romantic dinner and if you want more than just pizza.

food-antwerp
From left till right: Raw, Umamian and Il Famosi

Antwerp City Guide where-to-eat-in-antwerp
Bubble Waffle from Mecado (source) and Divers (photo’s by David Plas)

Where To Drink Coffee?
» Mirlo’s, the coffee is great and the location is cute. They also serve breakfast and lunch and it’s all homemade. www.mirlos.be
» Buchbar, surrounded by literature and stories, this coffee bar is different than others. Owned by actress Kim Hertogs, you can feel the passion for books, women empowerment and people. Find more info about this special spot on their website.
» Butchers Coffee, located in a former butcher, this trendy coffee bar takes the coffee business serious and are planning to create their own coffee blend. If the sun is out, you can sit outside on the benches. You can find it on the Kasteelstraat 57.
» Caffenation, self blended coffee and probably the oldest one in Belgium as they started more than 13 years ago. Besides the coffee it’s also a shop and a great place to hang out. www.caffenation.be
» Texas Coffee, for pink latte’s and coffee served in an ice-cream cone! 

Antwerp City Guide -mirlos
Coffee and brunch at Mirlo’s

texas-coffee-antwerp
Pink latte at Texas Coffee

Antwerp City Guide. The Buchbar
The Buchbar

Where to Shop & Stroll?
You have many options in Antwerp when it comes to shopping. No matter what type of person you are, there will be a shopping district that will suit your needs. We have selected 3 area’s that we love.
» Kammenstraat & Kloosterstraat, these 2 streets in South Antwerp offer vintage, exclusive boutiques, living and alternative shops. While most shops are closed on Sunday, the kloosterstraat is one of the only streets open from around 12pm.
» Het Eilandje, this is especially great during summer because you can find a lot of outside patio’s here. Worth mentioning is the MAS Museum where they have many exhibitions on display. The museum is set next to the little harbor and owns a large rooftop which has free entrance.
» De Volkstraat, go here for boutiques, concept stores, perfume and coffee.

» The Meir, this is Antwerp’s highstreet. Although it’s not our favorite place to shop, we need to mention it because here you will find all the shops you need. From Zara, Mango, Levi’s, it’s all here. The street is beautiful but always busy. Watch your purse and don’t stay too long!

MAS Antwerp
The MAS Museum at “Het Eilandje”. Source

Where To Sleep?
Somehow we always end up in the same hotels. Never change a winning team! These are our 3 favorite places to stay.

» Hotel Franq, is a new kid on the block and super cool! Just recently opened in October, the building used to be a bank and you can still find the big safe intact which is now being converted into a gym. When you enter the impressive foyer, you almost forget you set foot in a hotel. The rooms are stylish and have a large bathroom with rain showers. When it’s nice weather, you can sit outside in the garden overlooking an old victorian house. www.hotelfranq.com

hotel-franq
Hotel Franq

» Hotel Les Nuits, we love boutique hotels and this hotel is one of the cutest ones out there! All 21 rooms are designed a bit different but have the same style and feature impressive en-suites. They have recently changed their reception area and removed their suites rooms which is a shame because I really loved those but this way the hotel is more compact and fits better together. Breakfast is great and the location is great! Book a room here!

Antwerp City Guide. Elke in Hotel Les Nuits
Breakfast in bed at Hotel Les Nuits

» Banks, another great hotel at a very central location. It’s modern and a great place to meet people downstairs. Oh, and they also have a rooftop terrace so this is a great option during the summer. Then again, you will be out exploring Antwerp..;-) Book your stay here.

So are you planning your next tip to Antwerp yet? ;-) 

Love,

Wander-Lust

More City Guides? ↓

Wanderlust Barcelona Guide

Backpacking with Children » 5 Reasons To Do It

Do you know what backpacking means? If you type the word into Google you will find about 235.00 results. According to Google, ‘backpacking’ means a lower-cost independent travel, often with a backpack that can be easily carried as the backpacker moves from location to location. Backpacking means freedom, adventure, fun (and sometimes less fun) people, new experiences and little or nothing to fall back on. In short, a journey of discovery! So when you have children, does this all change? As a mother of two, people often me and my partner how we ‘do it’ and they wonder if backpacking with children is even possible. I wasn’t always this flexible about travelling with my children so I understand where this question is coming from. It sounds exciting and adventurous but maybe it’s a bit too much? Here are 5 reasons why backpacking with children is always a good idea.

1. Create Forever Lasting Memories!
The great advantage of backpacking is that you get to travel and therefore you experience more. For children, it is often an impressive experience. They experience new things they have never seen before. We make the lives of our children richer by showing them the world. And best of all, you and your  family will create memories that will never be forgotten.

create-memories
Cheryl’s family Backpacking through Asia

I loved traveling when I was single. I love traveling with my wife. But I love it more now that I have kids. - Santorini Dave 

2. Freedom and Adventure
Backpacking means travelling around from location to location. You don’t need a fixed plan. The whole idea of backpacking is to be flexible. Arrived some place and want to stay longer? Then do! Our advice for backpacking with children is to prepare your trip. For us this means we select a view accommodations at each location (so when we arrive we can make fast decisions). Flights we book in advance, any other transport we arrange at the destination. Choose train & bus above the plane (unless your kids are very young, then travel less locations or lower the distance). Any other preparation is not necessary, you’ll handle it!

3. It’s good for your budget
Feel like exploring the world with your children but you don’t have a large budget? Backpacking is low budget travel. Sometimes you’ll find a hidden gem, sometimes you end up in a little less more pleasant environment. Don’t focus to much on what the accommodation looks like, as long as it’s clean it will be fine (and the kids will be ok). Try to select your next stay with the children. Keep their wishes in mind!

Taking care of their own backpack makes them more independent

4. They learn to be a little bit independent
It starts even before you head off on your little adventure.Give older children in your family some responsibility during traveling. It makes them grow in their self esteem because they contribute to family interests. Taking care of their own backpack makes them more independent and last year our daughter Jessie (then 11 years old) purchased and carried her own backpack. Of course you need to decide as a parent if your child is physically able to handle this. Not every eleven-year-old is the same. Our daughter liked to have her own backpack. Because she’d have to carry her own stuff she packed less! responsible!

5. You realise anything is possible
If you decide to take your children on an adventure, you are taking a leap of faith and yes, it can be scary. But how cool is it when you’ve actually done it! Backpacking is all about surprises and backpacking with children is the 3.0 version of that. A lot of people regret things in life, just because they didn’t do something. Break the rules and be different. Be that person that has no regrets. And look back at it with pride, no matter how the experience was. A fact is, that you did it and that itself, is pretty damn awesome.

Backpacking with children
Traveling by boat, Cheryl has done it all

Tip! Lower your expectations
If you are a hardcore adventurer and backpacker, you might want to lower your expectations a little bit. The truth is, backpacking with children will be a bit different from doing it by yourself. You have more responsibilities and it starts with the items you pack. This time, bring the first aid kit that you would normally leave at home, research the area you’re traveling to and the list goes on. Once you are prepared, your backpacking adventure will be a lot more relaxing.

Tip! The less you bring, the better!
A suitcase with 30 kg of clothes, shoes (and more) sounds interesting until you have to travel from one location to another (and you have to carry that large heavy thing everywhere). From my own experience: this will make you cry. The suitcase is a NO-GO, buy or borrow a backpack.

Tip! Take care of yourself and invest in a backpack!
Find an outdoor shop and try a number of different backpacks. You will see (and experience) that there’s a real difference in types. I can’t advise about which backpack you should buy. Find a store on and try several (including weights!).

Love,

Cheryl

*Cheryl is a mother of 2, with a love for travel. Having 2 kids didn’t stop her from traveling the world and she has become somewhat of an expert when it comes to traveling with children. She will write for Wander-Lust once a month where she will provide you with the best traveling tips for and with children! Find out more on her blog: travellingwithkids.extrememedia.nl

Wander-Lust now has a TRAVELING WITH KIDS section, check it out!

7 tips to make traveling with your kids as relaxed as possible

How to make the most out of your business trip

Sarah and I have both traveled a lot for business and we are not talking about our Wander-Lust press trips. We are talking about the many business trips we’ve made before we started our travel platform. One week we would land in Berlin, the other week in Paris, Hong Kong or even Los Angeles. Endless meetings that can go on for hours, staring at a whiteboard? Maybe, but a business trip has a lot of perks you can take advantages of, if you play it right. How to make the most out of a business trip? Read on!

1. Stick with the same airline
Why? Well, for the simple reason that you will save loads of miles and with those miles you can get discounts, you can use on all your travels. Frequent flyer programs are awesome if you fly very often. Before you know it, you have thousands of points that can buy you a free ticket to your favorite holiday destination.

2. Use your credit card wisely
If you use any card during business trips, it should definitely be your credit card. This way you save points and get loads of advantages, If you pick the right one of course. The American Express Card for example, you are saving points with all your expenditures. These points can be exchanged for all sorts of things such as discount at concerts, hotels and gifts. The card also gives you standard extra’s at selected top restaurants (such as complementary aperitifs or a bottle of wine). Cards like these can provide you with a richer life without having to do much because you are using your card anyway. 

business trip tips

3. Ditch the taxi and walk
If you can, walk. In a city like Amsterdam, Barcelona, Paris, Berlin and even London, you can easily walk from one place to another if you are situated in the city center. You will find that your office is often located around this area plus your hotel is never far away. By walking you will see the city, enjoy the smell of another country and get your body working. Something you won’t experience by sitting in a taxi.


How to make the most out of your business trip
You might as well walk..

Try to convince your business partners to eat somewhere else

4. Extent your stay
We’ve done this many times. It’s perfect if a business trip starts on a Wednesday and ends of Friday. If you ask nicely, you can even let your boss pay for the flight back if it would cost the same as returning on a workday.

5. Have dinner somewhere you haven’t been before
Business trips go hand in hand with dinners. Too often, you will eat at the same places. Try to convince your business partners to eat somewhere else and surprise their taste buds! Get inspired on Instagram or food blogs. Did you know that when you own an American Express Card, you can enjoy free bottles of wine or aperitifs at 600 restaurants worldwide? That’s worth looking into!

How to make the most out of a business trip
When we get the chance, we always stay in a boutique hotel

6. Try to stay in a boutique hotel
Hotels are such an important part of a business trip. Is the bed good? Is it located in a nice area? Our advice is to go for a boutique hotel instead of a large corporate hotel. You will find, that the service will be more personal, plus it will feel less of a business trip and can even feel like home.

7. Get up early (even if you are not a morning person)
A difficult task, we know. But if you are there, you might as well get up early, and go outside to explore a little bit. Maybe have a croissant at a Parisian bakery or a traditional espresso in Italy. It’s always better than the standard hotel breakfast right?

There you have it, 7 tips to make the most out of a business trip. When is your next one due?

Love,

Elke

The real reason why every traveler needs to own a credit card? Click below!

credit card for travel advantages




The World’s Best Road Trips

The wind in your hair, the adventures with your friends and the stunning views. Road Trips are all about that. Whether it’s with a few friends or alone, it’s an experience you’ll never going to forget. Some are more adventurous than others, but ey, that doesn’t stop a real traveler right? These are by far the world’s best road trips. Ever.

1. Icefields Parkway, Canada
This has to be one of the most impressive road trips in the world. This amazing route runs through 2 national parks. Also known as highway 93, it’s a 230 km long road which takes you from North to South (or the other way around) Highlights include waterfalls, glacier skywalk, peyto lake and bow lake and more stunning views. You will need a Canadian national park permit to travel on the Icefields Parkway. For more info check: www.icefieldsparkway.com

Best roadtrips
The Valley of the Ten Peaks in Banff National Park

2. Route 66, USA
Also known as the Main Street of America or the Mother Road, route 66 was one of the original highways within the U.S. Highway System and used in a lot of movies. Lucky Sarah. She actually experienced this roadtrip! She traveled all the way from Las Vegas down to San Francisco and part of her route was the famous route 66. She rented a large RV and crossed over the famous road with 3 of her best friends. Read her full story here.

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Best road trips route 66
Pictures by Stick to the Brand for Wander-Lust

3. Great ocean road, Australia
It’s one of the highlights for all the backpackers that travel from Adelaide to Melbourne.

The absolute picture perfect part has to be the 12 apostles (pictured). Because of severe weather over the years, there are only 8 left.
There are many tours that can take you along the Great Ocean Road but if you get the chance, it’s much cooler to rent or buy a van with your friends and explore yourself. You will pass beautiful beaches, rainforest, rivers and cute coastal towns.
For more info check www.visitgreatoceanroad.org.au

15-Great-Ocean-Road-135559246--660x420
Source: Roughguides.com

4. Pacific Coast Highway, USA
Yes, the USA is a beautiful country so it made it to our list twice! I was lucky enough to experience a piece of this highway as I stayed in Los Angeles quite often. I never driven all the way to San Francisco but if you get the chance, you definitely should! The coastal line is breathtaking and the sun always shines! The only downside is the LA traffic you will need to get though (it starts around 3-4pm and last until about 10-11pm).
It’s easy to rent a car and drop it in SanFran. From LA it takes about 6-7 hours.


Best road trips LA
On the way you can stop for amazing stops like these (ignore the somewhat awkward pose..)

“On these road trips you never know what you’re going to see next”

5. Cabot Trail, Canada
It almost looks like the pacific coast highway, but then a lot greener! This beautiful route, runs passed the coast of Canada at Nova Scotia.

The northern section of the Cabot Trail passes through Cape Breton Highlands National Park. The western and eastern sections follow the rugged coastline, providing spectacular views of the ocean. The road trip will run for 300km. More info about this route: www.cabottrail.com

Canada's best roadtrips
Source: Hikebikecanada.com

6. Causeway Coastal Route, Ireland
You might recognize the picture below, as it was used in the popular series Games of Thrones. The road is 120 miles / 190km long and takes you through the Northern parts of Ireland. You can drive all the way from Derry to Belfast. On the way you will pass all sorts of scenery. From castles to coastlines, forest and waterfalls. You will find the most beautiful parts of Ireland right here on this amazing route. More info: www.causewaycoastalroute.com

world's best road trips, Ireland
Like a fairytale..

7. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
Being the largest salt flat in the world, this place seems a bit creepy, yet beautiful. The whole area is 11,000-sq.-km long and accessible by car. Photographers love to shoot at this place because you get the most amazing mirror-like images. It used to be a lake but over millions of years it went dry and left a few meters of salt crust on top. If you decide to take this road, be aware that you are well prepared by taking enough water, cloths and camping equipment. For more about this about this trip, check our blogpost.

The Salt Flats of Bolivia

Salt Flats

8. Road Trip though Ethiopia
One of the most dangerous road trips and recently featured on Dutch television, this is a trip that will leave you with an experience richer.
Beautiful views of a landscape that not many people have seen or heard of. You will pass vilages, dirt and unpaved roads and narrow parts, so this is one for the brave ones! Expect animals on the road and light? No no one has heard of lights at night. Just drive through the day. The BBC made a documentary about this road once, calling it bone-shaking but amazingly beautiful.

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Source: Facebook Victoria Koblenko

9. Hana Highway, Hawaï
For a feel of the tropics, you should drive though this Hawaiian route. The road is 109 km long and connects Kahului with Hana on the island of Maui.
Take a sickness tablet with you because the road has a lot of hairpins that go deep into the tropical jungle, though valleys and rocky formations along the coast. This certainly deserves a spot in the world’s best road trips!

World's best road trips, Hawai
Photo by @hawaiisblue

What is one of the best road trips you’ve ever made?

Love,

Elke

A Quick Guide To Marrakech

The heat embraces me. I feel the sun burning on my skin and a small sweat drop sneaks away between my shoulder blades. The smell of fresh herbs, oils and food are seducing me to keep on walking towards the centre of the square. I stop, look around, and try to take it all in. Millions of colours, voices and people are surrounding me and stealing my attention. I’m standing in the heart of Marrakech, the structured chaos of Djemaa el Fna.

Marrakech

Marrakech can be overwhelming, breathtaking and confusing. It’s a city with many different faces and possibilities. I’m going to take you on a small (camel) ride to help you choose and plan your travels. These are my must-see tips for a short trip to Marrakech:

Shopping in the souks
I know, not the most original advice, but there’s no way you can miss out on this. The most famous souk of Marrakech is Djemaa el Fna and for a good reason, it’s huge! I got lost a million times even though I was only there for a few days. Not that it’s a bad thing. I found a really nice bag made of an old carpet and got some delicious Moroccan food while finding my way out.Djemaa el Fna is the biggest Souk but also the most touristic. For a more traditional experience I would recommend Marché el Mellah. But be warned if you’re an animal lover, you’re going to see a lot of animals (especially chickens)., and unfortunately, they’re not there for the cosiness.

The blues of Marrakech

Tip » Whilst Marrakech isn’t as conservative as many Arab countries, it is still a Muslim country and you should respect the culture. Leave your mini skirt and tank tops at home or just wear it in the Riad/hotel. Keep it cool on the streets in floaty clothing, it saves you a lot of sunscreen as well.

Jumping back in history at the ruins of El Badi Palace
There is not much left of El Badi Palace but the peace and space it gives you is unique in the centre of Marrakech. The palace took twenty-five year to build and was an excessive display of the best craftsmanship of the Saadian period. You can still see some of the expensive materials they used. Next to the beauty of the ruins, it’s a good place to catch your breath in the middle of the overly crowded city.

Tip » Don’t have enough time to travel to the Sahara? Dry your tears because I got a solution. Within a 20-minute car ride and with a spark of imagination it will feel like you’re in the Sahara while being just outside the city centre of Marrakech. Oke, you’re going to need a lot of imagination and a camel as well. But, when it’s all there you will feel like a true nomad. Note: a camel ride is a lot of fun and great holiday activity but please be aware that you book your trip at certified tour operations. We don’t want the camels to suffer for someone else’s enjoyment.

kameel

Looking for that perfect Instagram spot? Bahia Palace is it.

Feeling like a princess at the Bahia Palace
Looking for that perfect Instagram spot? Think of mosaic floors, enchanting lighting and fairy-tale gardens. Bahia Palace is probably one of the most charming places in Marrakech. I do hope you’re more of a morning person then I am. You’ll have to get up early if you don’t want hundred of tourists taking photos of your own selfie.

bahia-palace_1

Tip » Getting hungry? Le Jardin in the centre of Marrakech is your solution. They serve amazing food, it’s stunningly decorated and, the best part, there are tiny tortoises just walking around. Too cute to be true.

Hippie side of live in Essaouira
If you’re looking for some fresh (sea) air, Essaouira is one of the nearby beaches. It only takes 3 hours by bus, which will cost you about 8 euros. Don’t expect a luxurious, seaside resort. They call it the hippy city of Morocco and that reflects in the low-key way of living in this city. Surfing all day and listening to live reggae music all night is the normal routine.

small-street Marrakech

Tip » You can make some great horse riding trips in Essaouria if you rather wouldn’t jump in the sea. Enjoy the sea, dunes and weather while getting your adrenaline pumped up by the speed of the horse.  Book your trip at Equi Evasion, they treat the horses very well. Howdy ho, cowboy!

riding horses at Essaouira

Marrakech was everything I imagined and nothing like it at the same time. Start your trip open minded. Savour the smell of spices, follow the colours and dive into little alleys and see where it takes you. A lot of Marrakech’s true beauty is hidden behind walls and crowded streets.

And before you go… don’t forget to practice your bargain skills! Prices are more then doubled and shop owners are ready for a tough negotiation.

Love,

Eva

*Eva is one of our guest bloggers from Amsterdam. She’s a city girl who only leaves her heals at home when wearing a backpack. Living by the urge to be where she’s not, to explore, experience, fall and get up. You can follow her on Instagram.

 

These are the Travel Trends for 2018

Trends. You either love them or you couldn’t care less about them. One thing is for sure, you are going to hear about these “trends” sooner or later. The same applies to the travel industry. Every year, we see a shift and it has a lot to do with our changing behaviour. The way we travel is important for travel agencies and brands, so that they can play into this and give the “consumer” want he or she wants. Booking.com recently researched 19.000 people on their platform to find out what the travel needs and trends are for the coming year. We had a look and picked the travel trends for 2018, that stood out in the report.

1. Experiences are more important
Booking.com found out that 45% of their travelers are planning to travel to a destination that is written on their bucket list. The majority of these, (82%) want to cross one or more destinations from their list in the coming year. People attach more value to experiences rather than material matters, giving them more opportunity to make unforgettable trips in 2018.

travel trends of 2018

2. Going back to the past
In addition to new experiences, 2018 also marks the past. People want to experience their most precious childhood memories and return to destinations that have always remained in the heart. A third of all travelers (34%) are considering returning to a place where they went as a kid in order to see the destination from a new perspective. The popularity of these nostalgic vacations comes from the sense of happiness that calls on these places. Travelers enjoy beautiful and precious memories of these family vacations. Funny enough, the millennials are the most sentimental. For example, 44% of 18- to 34-year-olds want to return to a favorite family destination from their childhood. 

3. Travel with friends
2018 will become THE year of traveling with friends. To the question; of what kind of traveler would you like to travel in 2018, 25% answered “with a group of friends”. In 2018, it’s no longer just about the destination, but also about the people we create beautiful memories with. A vacation with friends is the ultimate opportunity to spend more time with them! A holiday with friends also has financial benefits: four out of ten participants (42%) indicate that they can stay in a lodging with friends, something they could not afford alone during a holiday.

Travel trends of 2018

4. Wellness & healthy travel
This is not a new trend but it’s a trend that will continue thoughout 2018. Compared to 2017, almost twice as many people plan to travel for health and wellness (one in ten in 2017 vs. almost one in five in 2018!). 

5. Travel like a local
We have been traveling like this since we can remember but more people are now loving this way of traveling. If you learn from a local, you see a destination in the purest form. Instead of staying in a large hotel, people also try to stay at a guesthouse where they are in close contact with their host. A quarter of travelers say it’s important to find a host that has local knowledge and can share tips about nice restaurants and spots. At the same time, a host should be available, but not in a way that feels too invading (30%). 

locals-only

What do we think?
If we look at our own opinion when it comes to the travel trends for 2018, we think that 2 others should be added to the list. Sustainable Travel and Traveling for a Cause. Over the the last couple of years we’ve seen many travel brands evolving and growing because they focus on sustainability, local produce or good causes. Travelers love collection good karma points and want to come back home with a satisfactory feeling. The same applies to us. It’s not just about those Instagram photo’s by the pool. Traveling is also about learning gaining a greater understanding of what is going on in the world and making it a better place.

Do you think something else deserves a mention in the travel trends list of 2018? Comment below!

Love,

Elke

More travel tips? Check them all in our Travel Tips segment!

5 x Winter Chalets and Lodges you want to book right now

When it’s cold you just want to snuggle in front of the fireplace and enjoy a glass of mulled wine (or hot chocolate!) But it can get even better. Just imagine staying in these a-ma-zing winter chalets and lodges. Find out where you can book them!

Chalet Zermat Peak, Switserland
In at number 1 is this amazing chalet that sleeps up to 10-12 people and has a full staff catering (with a personal chef!), a large hottub and like every good chalet, it has a fireplace. This luxury chalet, located just minutes away from the centre of Zermatt, enjoys breath-taking panoramic views across the entire village and mountain ranges. If you sleep here you’ll be welcomed with champagne and you get a laptop for you to use. Prices are not available on the website, so that says enough.
www.mountainexposure.com

ski-resortes10
Zermatt Peak chalets
Source:mountainexposure.com

2. W Snowtop Court, Heber City UT, USA
This 14,000 sq.ft. of interior living space includes 8 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms (yes, each bedroom has an en-suite bathroom) and is for sale!
It’s yours for $11,300,000. Ok, maybe we should just dream on but seriously, this place is pretty amazing!
It kinda feels like you own private ski resort for you and all of your friends. Every room has spectacular views and the house is designed and build with natural materials.
www.skihomesinutah.com

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Source: skihomesinutah.com

3. Lake Placid Lodge NY, USA
If you want to get away from the big city and relax, then you should go here. You can find this amazing lodge not far from New York City.
Overlooking the Placid Lake, you completely forget about the stress that you may have. Each room features wood-burning fireplaces, private porches and traditional interior that fits the surroundings perfectly. The ground has several lodges/winter chalets to choose from. Big, small, cosy and for families. You can also host amazing dinners here and in the winter you can ice-skate or go ice-fishing.
www.lakeplacidlodge.com

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Source: lakeplacidlodge.com

4. Wrangell St. Elias National Park Lodge, Alaska
Voted as one of the best places to stay in Alaska, this lodge is surrounded by the most amazing nature and wildlife parks.
You can hear bears roam, wild moose graze and birds tweet. It’s the ultimate lodging experience for the adventurous traveler.
To get here, you must travel by a small plane and it’s not an easy destination to book. This needs to be planned. But the reward is one of a kind. The best wilderness experience you will get.
www.ultimathulelodge.com

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Source: ultimathulelodge.com

5. Wintersport resort Courchevel, French Alpes
This winter resort is known as one of the best credited winter chalets around France.

The interior is warm and cosy with everything made out of wood. The resort is popular with rich Russian and film stars such as George Clooney, Uma Thurman and Bruce Willis. I wonder why…!

courchevel chalet
courchevel chalet
Source: http://theaddressmagazine.com

For the best treehouses in the world check here!

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Love,

Elke

*Source featured image: Chalet Zermat Peak, Switserland

5 Misconceptions About Being A Flight Attendant

Ever since I was a little kid my dream was to travel the world as a flight attendant. It’s a job that provides the possibility to travel frequently and meet new people from all over the world. When the opportunity arose, applying for this job was the only right thing to do. So I took the plunge and made a 180 degree life change. After a long and exciting selection process, a ‘new way of life’ was born. Different than you may think, the life of a flight attendant is not only about adventure, glamour, luxury or a romance with the captain. There are plenty of misconceptions and a lot of things you might not know. It’s time to bring you back to reality!

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1. You need to be fit and ready
Passenger safety is the most important role for a flight attendant. Rule number one is to be fit to work, so no alcohol is allowed 10 hours prior to our duty. We have to go trough 4 weeks of training and a re-qualification every year. The exams are extremely stressful and concerns flight safety, self-defense and first aid. Floating trough the aisle serving coffee and tea is much further down the list of the responsibilities of a flight attendant.

Let’s get one thing out in the open, I have never dated a pilot.

2. We are not all dating a pilot
A typical day starts with packing my suitcase, applying basic make-up, putting my hair up and wearing my clean and shiny blue uniform with pride. There’s only one thing to add: a brilliant smile! When scheduled on early flights I meet my colleagues at the airport around 6am. On standard European flights the crew consist of a captain, first officer and two flight attendants. Once I’ve met my colleagues for the day it’s time to head to the briefing room to prepare and discuss the flights for the next few days. It’s always magical to experience how four strangers become such a strong and reliable team within a few minutes after getting to know each other. I really appreciate the colleagues I have to work with but let’s get one thing out in the open, I have never dated a pilot. To be honest.. Since the day I started working as a flight attendant, I’ve never witnessed any love bloom between any of the crew. Of course this is an illusion and I’m pretty sure there will be colleagues who secretly hook up during a layover. It’s really not all that different from other jobs.

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3. Being a flight attendant can be far from glamorous
A lot of passengers think flight attendants are responsible for everything om board. They do have a point. Unfortunately lifting hand luggage in the overhead bin is not part of our job. We are not all cross fit athletes. When passengers assume that their trolley is way to heavy to lift, they call the flight attendant to stow it. I’ll give them a friendly smile and i’m begging them to stop traveling with carry-on bags they can’t handle. I quietly whisper: “If you can’t sling it, don’t bring it.” The average duration of a flight is less then one hour. Within this time we have to offer a full service to a maximum of one-hundred passengers. There is not much time left for chatting in the galley or hanging out in the cockpit. The job is far from glamorous and the workload can be very high some days. As a flight attendant you’re working your ‘but off’ whilst being patient, putting effort in your work and providing a smile from ear to ear.

4. Layovers are often short
After three or four flights we arrive on our final destination for that day, somewhere in Europe. We quickly grab our suitcases and catch the taxi to bring us to our temporary ‘home’ for the night. The hotels are brilliant and often located close to the city and equipped with a gym and sauna. We receive a daily allowance to spend on food and other sundries. The company is doing their best to create the optimum conditions. Most layovers are short, and you barely have time to spend the money. After a 10-hour shift most of the crew will decide to go for a nap or chill out at the hotel. If there’s some energy and time left, we’ll go on a local excursion, have a few drinks in town or visiting some other places of interest. Luckily I am an high-energy person! I like wandering on my own and visit places I haven’t seen before. Hiking trough the beautiful nature of Norway was one of my best experiences. The moments I’m making unforgettable memories it is hard to believe this is actually part of the job. The wake-up call at 4am quickly brings me back to reality as a new day of work is ahead with an early flight back to Amsterdam!

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5. The life of a flight attendant can be very lonely
The life of a flight attendant is not only about glitter and glamour. It’s way more then that. The long shifts, delays and difficulties on board with demanding passengers can be a real challenge. Beside this it is not easy to organize your social life when you’re abroad 4 nights in a row. The life of a flight attendant can be very lonely. You basically live out of a suitcase, miss your best friends birthday, skip your favorite festival and spend less quality time with your family.

Let me end this story by saying that I do love my job and I am very proud to live the ‘dream’ of a flight attendant! Especially when you realize only a few of those who applied actually got hired. The lovely colleagues, friendly passengers and the wonderful destinations are the reason this job is given me so much energy. Since I started as a flight attendant I experienced the amazing continent we live in. Instead of watching television or doing the laundry at home, I spend my spare time having diner outdoors and enjoying the facilities and luxury of a 5 star hotel.

If you focus on the load of experiences you get trough this way of life, it’s a real privilege to be a flight attendant!

Love,

Amber

*Amber is one of our new guest editors from the Netherlands who loves her job as a flight attendant! She’s always on the run searching for the best hotspots in Europe. In her spare time she likes to discover the best hotspots of Utrecht. You can expect an article from her once a month! You can follow her adventures on Instagram or visit her dutch blog on www.amberontdekt.nl!

Always wondered how turbulence works? Check out this video!

Airbnb Experiences, now also available in Amsterdam!

Most travelers I know, have slept in or rented out an apartment via Airbnb once or twice. Airbnb has basically become part of our travel experience and they’ve recently added another feature to make your travel experience that extra bit special. Airbnb Experiences. Amsterdam follows cities like San Francisco, Paris, Rome, New York and launched Airbnb Experiences and is now one of the 12 cities that offers this latest feature.

Airbnb Experiences, how does it work?
Do you want to experience or host? That choice makes a big difference. On the Airbnb website you can select both. And while joining an experience is really easy, (just select and book) hosting one is another piece of the pie. You need to have an experience on offer that meets the Airbnb guidelines. So think about what you have to offer because not everyone is making the cut. For example; do you work at an aquarium? Maybe you can talk about the marine life and what people can do to save it. Do you have a talent like drawing or do you know everthing about cheese? Sign up! You might host an Airbnb Experience in your hometown. Besides the normal experiences, you can also offer an experience that help local non-profit organisations. This is called the Social Impact Experience. You can help fish plastic out of the canals in Amsterdam or offer cooking lessons for refugees, the options are endless.

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Together with a small group of journalists, I was able to test some of these cool experiences at a special Airbnb event in Amsterdam last week. We could choose between 3 different experiences that are currently offered on Airbnb. I decided to join the perfume workshop where I could create my own personal fragrance from scratch. The workshop was given by Frank Bloem from The Snifferoo who teaches you everything you need to know about making a perfume. I’m not sure if I created the best smelling fragrance in the world, but it was certainly fun doing it!

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The Snifferoo giving a perfume experience

One of the the most booked Experience in Amsterdam at the moment, is the Motorcycle Tour with a sidecar which takes you along unseen country roads outside the city in the side-car of a vintage motorcycle. Airbnb Experiences gives people a chance to really get to know a city in a unique and local way, meet new people and give something back.

Have you booked your first Airbnb Experience yet?

Love,

Elke

The many faces of Central and Southern Vietnam

Vietnam is just one country, but it sure feels as many different ones. If you are heading out to this Asian pearl, the north part should be (in my opinion) your main priority. I still long for those emerald karst mountains. However, if you have a bit more travel time, central and southern Vietnam are parts of Vietnam that cannot not be overlooked. Well, most parts of them anyway.

Ancient emperors in Hue
Hue, the capital of the Nguyen emperors, really is the middle of Vietnam. It is a city most people only pass for a day while on their way to Danang or Hoi An. But it is worth it to linger for a few days in this small, cozy city. The main reason is the Citadel. A walled city within the city, showcasing how the emperors of old days lived. It’s impressive and pretty big, you can easily get lost there for half a day. If you can stand the burning sun, going during mid-day will give you the most alone time with the temples. The ancient city is not the only thing that has been abandoned. A half an hour motorbike ride takes you to an empty amusement park. Water slides and swimming pools that havent heard a child’s laughter for ages, now overgrown with trees and bushes. A bit creepy i might add. Its also possible to do a tour to the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone), an area that played a big part in the Vietnam war (or American war, as the Viets call it). Next to sightseeing, Hue offers lots of nice little cafe’s, eateries and rooftop bars for some lounging around. A great little budget hotel is Glenda guesthouse, friendly people, great location and a nice breakfast included!

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Feeling at home in Hoi An
An absolute must in Vietnam is taking a tour on the back of a motorcycle with an easy rider. These drivers take you from one place to another, while you enjoy the road and the scenery (perfect if navigating yourself through the Vietnam traffic chaos really isn’t your thing). There are lots of options to do these tours, but the route from Hue to Hoi An is a famous one. The reason? The Hai Van Pass (a.k.a top gear mountain since Jeremy Clarkson cruised this road for his tv show). Winding roads up and down the mountain, combined with stunning vista’s of the sea and the mountains. There is no camera that has the ability to capture these pretty pictures. Go see for yourself!

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On the way to Hoi An you’ll pass Danang. If you are looking for anonymous 5 star resorts, lots of Russian tourists and a beach, this is the place to be. Otherwise, skip this boring city and spend your time in Hoi An. And time is what you need in this cute little town. Yes, there are tons of tourists here, but that doesn’t dull the little lights coming from the lampions that hover above the narrow streets. There is lot’s to look at in Hoi An and even more to buy. Get your tailor made clothes for a dime (i recommend Maya) and pretty leather bags for even less. Have dinner at the waterfront and sip on a brightly colored smoothie while you watch all the people passing by. Most hotels won’t be in the ancient city centre so opt for one that includes (free) bicycles. It’s the perfect way to explore ánd to head to An Bang beach for some time in the sand and water. Lots of beach bars offer free loungers if you take lunch with them, a fair deal! The Hoi An Rose Garden Hotel is in between the city and the beach and offers a nice swimming pool to cool down after a day of strolling/biking around. A word of advise: don’t go with one of those snorkling trips to the Cham Islands. The underwater scenery is meh and much worse: you’ll be surrounded by tourists in life jackets who are stepping on (and thus damaging) the corals. The trip you should take is to My Son. These ruins will take your breath away.

Adventurous Dalat
Further down the coast lies Nha Trang. The beaches are nice, but that is about it. This town has been attacked by many tourists. If beach is what you want, just stick around Hoi An a little longer. If adventure is what you seek, head to Dalat. This is one unique city, as it lies up in the mountains and carries a much cooler climate. There are waterfalls, there is wine and a lot of adventure sports. The true adrenaline junkies have to sign up for canyoning. Abseiling from waterfalls, sliding through rock pools and jumping of a 11 meter cliff (if you dare). After a day like this, you’ll be pumped for the rest of your travels. You can book a tour at Vietchallenge.com

Lie down in Mui Ne
In need of some chill time now? On the southern coast between Dalat and Ho Chi Minh City, quiet Mui Ne will give you just that. It has a beach which is okay and some nice restaurants. Hire a beach lounger at coco beach resort and you’ll find relaxing here is pretty easy (they have some very nice massages there too). If you are an avid wind or kite surfer, Mui Ne offers it all. But be aware, the prices for lessons and gear hire are extremely high. There are many places to spend the night in Mui Ne, but the Xin chao hotel offers the best bang for your buck. Spacious rooms, a pool table ánd a refreshing swimming pool. Near Mui Ne are the white sand dunes. All little piece of desert in Vietnam. Pretty cool to run up and down those sand mountains. Lots of excursions to these dunes are organised in Mui Ne. However, most of them are package deals, also tacking you to other (tourist trap) sights. Oh and they mostly forget to mention that you have to pay an extra fee when you want to go up the dunes. So be extra aware on what you book and if it is what you are looking for.

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Mui Ne

Smoggy Ho Chi Minh City
You either love it or hate it, the second big city of Vietnam is Ho Chi Minh City. It’s a smoggy and crowded metropole, with lots of bars, shoppingmalls and street food. Try to find a local or a tour that takes you out of the centre to experience true Vietnam city life. A city full of skyscrapers asks for a drink in a rooftop bar. The best one: the View rooftop bar. It is not the highest one, but you’ll find a great informal vibe and an amazing cocktail list.

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The View Rooftop Bar Source

Ho Chi Minh City also is the gateway to the Mekong Delta. Multiple or one-day tours are on offer throughout the city (or just take a bus and organize everything by yourself). If you take a one-day tour its worth it to spend a bit more money. That will get you smaller groups and more time to experience life in the river delta. Little boats will guide you on small canals through fields. Learn how to make coconut candy and down a fermented-snake-shot. It all is a bit touristy, but still a lot of fun.

The ‘once was’ paradise: Phu Quoc
Surely, before the tourist boom hit Vietnam, the Southern island of Phu Quoc was a real beauty. But the white sandy beaches now are full of rubbish and troubled by fumes from all the boats. But there are still a few nice places left to end your Vietnam trip in pure relaxation. Ong Lang Beach is quite far from the nearest town and therefore very peaceful. The beach here is a bit rough, but clean. Phu Quoc Dragon Resort & Spa will give you all you need for ultimate relaxation (at very reasonable rates). While you’re in the area, grab a chicken sandwich at Sakura restaurant. Not a very Vietnamese lunch, but you’ll be craving this sandwich for weeks afterwards! And if you are on the island in the dry season, hop on a boat for some underwater life. Be aware that the diving schools offer snorkel tours for a slightly higher price than regular tour operators, but that is probably worth it. The regular tours are, again, full of Tourists (you know who) who have no respect for the aquatic life.

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Still lovely; Phu Quoc Dragon Resort & Spa Source

Central and Southern Vietnam has some flaws, but most definitely it’s beauty. There is only one way to find out if you love it or not: go see for yourself.

Love,

Jill

Jill is currently traveling through Vietnam and Thailand and will monthly update us about her Asian adventures