11 x Wanderlust Christmas Gift Ideas 2017

We always love writing these kind of articles because it get’s me right into the Christmas spirit! Whether you’re looking for a gift for him or her, these Wanderlust Christmas gifts are all you need if you’re a frequent traveler, or not. 

Carry-On Suitcase by Thule
We have gone through a bunch of suitcases in our lives but it wasn’t until we got this suitcase at a travel related press, when we realized we just found the best carry-on suitcase ever. It’s stylish and perfect for a business trip or weekend break. Why do we love it so much? Well, it has different compartments so you can easily pack your shoes or dirty laundry. The divided compartment can be removed or you can change it in height, which is super easy and a real plus for us. It’s also light, compact and has a piggyback strap where you can easily hang an extra bag onto. It’s not cheap but believe us, it’s worth the €259,-. Find out where you can buy yours at www.thule.com

thule carry on
It may look like nothing special but think again!

The New Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III
It’s not a secret that we stick by Olympus for the best travel content. If you are a beginning photographer that wants to take things a little more serious, this camera is going to be the Christmas present you really want to get in your stockings. Why is the new Olympus OM-D so great? These are some of the features:

  • UHD 4K video capture (3820 x 2160 resolution)
  • 16MP image sensor (same as previous OMD), but with updated processor TruePic VIII, the same processor used in E-M1 Mark II
  • Improved image stabilisation (which was already spot on)
  • New Cluster AF points selection
  • Simplified menu and shortcuts
  • Viewfinder, and tilted screen for perfect photo’s from above
  • As easy to use as a smartphone

Enough reason to tell Santa you’ve been good this year! The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III is available for €799,-.

OLYMPUS OM_D E-10 Mark III
Loving the new Olympus OM-D!

Kindred Spirits Socks
Wanna stay warm this winter and bring a bit of color in your life? These winter socks from Kindred Spirits are your musthave. Pick your favorite because the socks have various colored traditional patterns. One size fits all and every pair is handmade! Never get cold feet again. Get them for €19,95,- at www.thekindreds.com

kindred-spirits-socks

Anywhere Travel Guide
This is a funny gift for anyone that is a traveler. Perfect for that friend who is going away for a couple of months and seeking new adventure. With these card, they get assignments and set new travel goals. The Anywhere Travel Guide is a unique mix of concrete actions and whimsical prompts—from ”Ask the next person you meet where his/her favorite street is. Go there” to ”Write down what you like about this city on a small piece of paper. Leave it where someone else will find it later”—Anywhere encourages users to see things differently while discovering both new and familiar places. It’s also not too expensive, for €12,- it’s yours.

DIY Soap Scrub or Cream
Dry skin and winter go hand in hand, unfortunately. Thank god for scrubs and body cream’s! At DIY Soap you can create your own scrub with coffee, salt, or sugar. Add some almond or coconut oil and top it with the most amazing scents like lavender, roses or cinnamon. No time to pass by the store in Amsterdam? You can buy several hand-created scrubs and creams online. Another nice fact: all the ingredients are organic and natural! To learn more about DIY Soap, check this article. Order a product at the webshop until the 31st of December and receive a 10% discount if you use code: DIYCHRISTMASwww.diysoap.nl

DIY Soap

Atelier Des Femmes
If you are on Instagram, you must have seen the insta-famous velvet bandeau pass by. Ateliers des Femmes has become extremely on demand these last couple of months and we love it too! Well, new Christmas colors have arrived and 2 new item designs for the holidays; The French Beret and Le Manchons to complete your look. Shop it here or pass by the store in Amsterdam.

Wanderlust Christmas Gifts 2017
The musthaves for this season!

Noise Canceling Headphones by AGK
There are a few annoying things you can experience on planes but one of them is screaming kids or a snoring person near your seat. The AKG noise-cancelling headphones are the solution. Or you can use it for the gym, or not. Whatever, they are great and plus a great gift for your (boy)friend! www.akg.com

Vondels Christmas Decorations
Pimping your Christmas Tree 3.0? With the decorations from Vondels, your Christmas Tree is one of a kind. Vondels is actually an Amsterdam-based Christmas brand and it was founded in 2015 and now sells to more than 20 countries worldwide! Donuts, candy, pineapples, coffee cups, birds and many more sparkling options are available. A perfect gift for the holidays if you ask us! www.vondels.com

vondels
How cute are these!

Book tip: Thuisblijven is duurder by Jelmer de Boer
This book isn’t out yet but we already know it’s going to be briljant. Jelmer de Boer is a guy that doesn’t take life or himself too serious and he thinks you shouldn’t either! He wrote a book about eating cake and having a sixpack once, but this book is all about travel. In this book he’s going to tell you exactly how to score the cheapest flights. He flew to Bali for free, to Hawaï for 409 euro and the list goes on. Learn the secret and pre-order the book here for when it comes out on the 31st of January!

Luxury Sheets by JOARZ
Eco-friendly, honest, luxurious and yet very affordable, that’s what JOARZ stands for. New on the market but already taking it by storm. What makes JOARZ extra special? While most luxury cotton is created with a thread density of 200 per inch: a softer and finer cotton product than “normal” cotton, their products are made of eco-friendly cotton with a wire density of 300 per inch! The difference between standard cotton and JOARZ cotton is very tangible: more ‘crisp’ and softer like sleeping in a luxury hotel bed. www.joarz.com

Joarz sheets

Personalized Sweater by Believe the Hype
It’s one of the coolest jumpers to wear right now. Even Doutzen Kroes has been spotted wearing one! We’ve had 2 Wander-Lust jumpers made and we’ll be snuggling in front of the fireplace with these :-) Also check out their Christmas sweaters, now online! Shop

Believe the hype
Merry Fu*king Christmas y’all

Love,

Wander-Lust

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.

IMG_3673-1024x682

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.

12036412_886866584683613_7022815488293497899_n
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.

 

12 signs telling you that you’re a backpacker

You might think you’re not a backpacker. You know, that person that shares a dorm with 10 other people they’ve never met before? That person who can never remember what their actual home address is and can live on pasta and rice for a week if they have to. But maybe you do have it in you and you just don’t know about it yet. Time to put it to the test. If you recognize at least 6 of the statements below, you may want to consider yourself as a true backpacker! 

1. You can say hello and goodbye in at least 8 different languages

backbackers

2. Love it or hate it, you know what Khao San road is

3. You have a flip flop tan-line on your feet

12 signs telling you, you're a backpacker

4. You don’t mind taking a cold shower as long as they have WIFI

Did you know that 40% of backpackers choose Europe for shorter trips?

5. You can sleep anywhere. At the airport, in the bus, on a plane and on a boat.

backpacker or not, a bed is always good
Backpackers sleep everywhere!

6. Your passport has never looked so colorful and you run out of pages.

passport

7. You boycott the Lonely Planet. You create your own route by trusting the locals!

8. You wear a lucky travel bracelet (yes, also if you’re a man)

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Fellow backpackers give each other lucky bracelets

9. Finding a half empty shampoo bottle is like finding gold.

10. You’ve surfed and caught a wave once, and now you’re addicted.

6b7a62a4
Once caught in the virus..

11. You spent most of your Christmases on a beach.

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Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas!

12. You start to wear those comfortable wide pants that you swore you would never wear. (guilty!)

So, are you true a backpacker at heart?

Love,

Elke

Want more travel tips? Check here!

 

Cheating on Bali with the Nusa’s

Dear Bali,

I love you, and I always will. But… you’ve changed. Just a bit. You grew up and saw more and more people liking you, wanting to see you. Who can blame them, you are amazing. But, it felt as if we had too little ‘just you and me time’. So, I cheated on you with the Nusa’s. Sorry, not sorry.

So what are the Nusa’s?
The Nusa’s are 3 islands just south of Bali. Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan have been on the tourist roadmap for quite some time, but still feel like tropical bounty islands with not too much western interference. Nusa Penida is the biggest island and was only opened up to tourists two years ago. All of them are pure heaven and have their own personalities. All worth exploring for some days, some weeks or forever (I can dream, right?).

Getting there
Most boats sail from Sanur, Bali to Jungut Batu on Nusa Lembongan. But it is also possible to grab a boat to Mushroom Bay (where all the fancier hotels are) or directly to Nusa Penida. Going to Nusa Penida is also possible from Padangbai. The cheapest option is going to the harbour in Sanur and negotiate about the price. If you like to book in advance, don’t worry, there are lots of little tour agencies on Bali that sell tickets as well. We paid 500.000 IDR for a return ticket with the fast boat, including pick up in Canggu and drop off in Ubud. A pretty comfortable deal! Going to Nusa Penida from Lembongan is easy to arrange. Head over to the iconic yellow bridge. Here are a ton of people wanting to bring you. Around 50.000 IDR is a normal price, be sure to haggle if they are aiming high.

Nusa's

surfers won’t be disappointed here

Lembongan and Ceningan chillings
Two small beauties, connected by a picture perfect yellow hanging bridge, dotted with bumpy roads, deep blue waters and sky-high waves. With surfbreaks named ‘playgrounds’ and ‘shipwreck’ surfers won’t be disappointed here. Happier under the surface? Gear up in your wetsuit to spend some time with the massive manta-rays that cruise the shores of nearby Nusa Penida. Sounds scary, swimming with creatures that are much bigger than you? It’s not! They are so gracious and elegant. Oh and they only eat plankton. Don’t underestimate the currents here though. Dive trips are easily arranged with one of the many dive shops on Lembongan. French Kiss Divers recently opened a shop here and is full of brand new gear and offers very reasonable prices. As they say ‘the more depth, the more pleasure’. ;-)

Diving in Nusa
Diving with rays is a highlight!

If all of the above sounds like too much work, don’t worry for a second. Lounging on a massive Fatboy while sipping a healthy smoothie, gazing at the ocean, is just as easy. The best place to do so is definitely Ginger & Jamu on Jungut Batu beach. Caring about the environment, they don’t do plastic. Paper straws, cotton napkins and glass water bottles. Oh right and amazing smoothies, sandwiches, smoothie-bowls and salads. Combined with the yoga school above the cafe this place oozes the ultimate zen and friendly vibe. I admit, I’ve spend days full of relaxing, drinking, eating and plunging in to the sea for some refreshment at Ginger & Jamu.

Another amazing spot is Sea breeze Ceningan. Their catchy latino tunes, hammocks and perfect vanilla ice coffees cannot do anything else but make you happy. Overlooking the azure seaweed-farms with your toes in the sand, beach life as it should be. Also, their wifi is really good, thus digital nomad proof!

For dinner the choices are endless.

Sea breeze Ceningan
Sea breeze Ceningan 

For dinner the choices are endless. There are a ton of nice warungs for local dishes. Not so local are the nanchos and burritos at Ginger Moon (whats in a name), but they cannot be missed! Getting around Lembongan and Ceningan is best done by motorbike. The roads are generally okay and even the bumpy ones are do-able. Nice places to scooter to include dream beach, devil’s tears, mahana point and the blue lagoon.

Island friendly prices
Now, are these two islands going to break your wallet? Hell no! There are tons of affordable homestays. Your own little bungalow -some even with a swimming pool and breakfast- usually comes with a price tag of between 13 and 20 euro a night. Although more luxurious places are also widely available. I highly recommend Jiva Bungalows: basic but clean bungalows, super sweet people and a nice breakfast included!

Adventurous Penida
Now if you are up for a little less relaxing and a bit more adventure, Nusa Penida is the perfect pick. It’s possible to do day trips from Lembongan, but staying on the island for a few days is definitely better. Penida is much more quiet, less developed and wilder then little sisters Lembongan and Ceningan. That’s great for adventure, but also a bit more dangerous. They are working on the roads, but a lot of them are still treacherous. Going for a daytrip? Then seriously consider hiring a car with a driver as the highlights are further apart and driving hastily really isn’t a good idea. Still rather have a scooter to drive around yourself? Then make sure to check it before renting. Good brakes are a must on the steep and rocky roads that are home to Penida! As this island isn’t open to tourists for that long, it’s not filled with restaurants and bars yet. But every village has a couple of gems. Whatever you do, don’t miss breakfast/brunch/lunch at Penida Espresso. The smells from their kitchen are heaven and the rock butter smoothie bowl is to die for.

Penida Espresso
Penida Espresso

Penida, Nusa. Broken Beach
Broken Beach, Penida

Penida beauties
The island has an amazing coastline, high cliffs, hidden beaches and views that go on forever. Take a day to drive the beautiful road to Atuh beach, take the steep stairs down and chill on one of the loungers to watch the change of the tide.

Nusa's, Indonesia

Another great place is broken beach. The name is a bit confusing as there is absolutely no beach but it’s a sight to behold. Next to broken beach is Angels Billabong. It seems as if the pictures you find online are massively photoshopped and don’t depict the real thing. I dare to say Angels Billabong was the disappointment of my trip through Asia so far. But hey, go see for yourself! The ultimate highlight of Nusa Penida has got to be Kelingking beach. A massive cliff looking down onto the purest of beaches with the bluest of waters. It’s impossible to describe this beauty in words. There is a way down to that perfect beach, but it is quite dangerous so be careful!

Crystal clear
Of course you can also relax at Nusa Penida. Crystal Bay is your bae! Although it has some real steep hills, the road to Crystal is perfect and very Instagram worthy, lined with picture perfect palm trees. You can rent two sun-beds and an umbrella to protect you from the sun for just 50.000 IDR a day. The little warung at the western end of the beach makes you a great mie goreng! Don’t forget your snorkeling gear, the underwater life really is crystal clear and includes many curious, colorful fishes and even the occasional turtle. Do check the current as it can be strong here! End your day with a cocktail or a beer at Penida Colada while looking at the Agung volcano, just across the sea on Bali. Life is pretty damn perfect here.

Crystel Bay Beach, nusa's
The tropical Cystel Bay Beach

Now, don’t skip Bali just yet. But consider spending some time with the Nusa’s to fill up one some peace, quiet and happiness. Maybe I see you there as I might never leave again.

Life is better at the beach,

Jill

*Our guest editor Jill is currently traveling through Asia and will monthly update us about her Asian adventures. 

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!

The Wander-Lust of..Travel Blogger & Videographer João Cajuda

Born in Portugal, he is a professional videographer with a degree in Marketing & PR that decided to turn traveling into a full time job a few years ago. He was on a job that made him fall in love with the world of travel and since then he has produced content for some of the biggest brands such as the Travel Channel, Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental and our favorite airline, Emirates. We finally managed to interview this inspirational guy! This is the Wanderlust of.. João Cajuda.

Hi João! Could you please tell our readers who you are what you do?
Well, I’m a travel blogger and videographer, I also have a travel agency where I take people in adventurous trips to some destinations I love like Thailand, Morocco, Indonesia… So when i’m not traveling with people I’m exploring the world by my own, shooting videos and writing articles.

You travel the world for your job but it seems like you caught the wanderlust virus way before that, how come?
My father is a football coach, so since I was a young kid I was moving from city to city almost every year. I think I got used to it. Nowadays I can’t stay in only one place. I always need to meet new cultures, food and people!

I’m a huge fan of Morocco, but I must confess that I hated the first time.

João Cajuda

It’s a boring question but nevertheless important. What’s your favorite destination and why?
It’s not a boring question, it’s a very hard question to answer actually… I love Asia, can it be like this? haha. I love Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia… I’m also a huge fan of Morocco, but I must confess that I hated the first time. Then I spent one month there and I started to understand their culture, it’s such an incredible and diverse country. I’ve been there more than 30 times, I can´t stop going to the desert, is one of my favorite places ever!

joão cajuda-in-marrakech
Morocco, a place close to his heart

So we will hire you as our tour-guide next time we are in Morocco then! Have you ever experienced a big drama whilst traveling?
Oh so many! Like running from floods in India, getting into Typhoons in the Philippines, my drone falling into a Volcano in Indonesia, many flat tires in weird places such as the Serengeti. I even got surrounded by Lions in Tanzania and I crashed with a scooter in Thailand, do you have all day?

Wow, I guess we were lucky all these times! What about your best travel hack/tip?
To be honest I don’t have many… But I would definitely recommend people only to book the first night when going on a trip, don’t book too many things ahead like flights, hotels, etc… just go with the flow!

Traveling the world means tasting a lot of different cuisines. Name 3 restaurants in the world you think our readers should visit. Best dinner I had: Cottocrudo in Four Season Prague (I will never forget that delicious night), Any restaurant in Favignana in Sicily, is impossible you go wrong here, food is incredible everywhere. Buenos Aires in Lisbon… is near my home, I go there very often, I love the place and the food.

cottocrudo-joao-cajuda
Voted as a favorite by João Cajuda, Cottocrudo in Prague

Good tips, we must check these out then! Let’s look ahead, how do you think we travel in the year 2025?
I hope airplanes can go a bit faster eheh and not with so many turbulence. With all the apps and electronic systems we have nowadays I think it will be much easier, cheap and secure to travel, but I don’t think the transportation will change a lot in the next 7 years.

Do you prefer to travel solo or with friends?
With friends, however, it depend of the friends eheh. Sometimes it can go wrong!

joa%cc%83o-cajuda-in-thailand
In Khao Sok, Thailand

 

What song can we definitely find on your travel playlist?
Arcade Fire – The suburbs, for example. But I have like 5000 songs on my Ipod, i’m always adding new ones.

What can we expect from you in 2017/2018?
I still don’t know where I’m going on vacation, but maybe Japan, maybe Seychelles or perhaps Myanmar. I have work in Morocco, Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines, but the rest of the year is still unwritten :-)

The last question we always ask everybody in this segment; what kind of traveler are you? 
I can be all at the same time. Usually I do some weeks of backpacking into remote places, so I could be explorer, I love camping… but I never say no to luxury hotels, eheh, I’m not gonna lie, I love a big bed, a big bathtub and a big breakfast!

João loves a bit of luxury

Watch João’s amazing video about Thailand here! 

Follow João Cajuda on Instagram & Facebook or check out his inspirational blog.

Love,

Wander-Lust