All You Need to Know About Applying for a Travel Visa

When you travel to some countries, you may need to apply for a Visa in order to enter. This is not always clear, so we thought we’ll write an article about which countries you need a visa for, and some special cases. But more importantly, how can you arrange a Visa as efficient as possible!

Why & What is a Visa?
It’s an endorsement on a passport indicating that the holder is allowed to enter, leave, or stay for a specified period of time in a country. And it’s that simple. Each country has different rules, and it also depends on where you are traveling from. In the next chapters, we are going to explain what visa’s there are, for which countries you need one, cost, and how you can arrange a visa without too much hassle.

Every country has different rules

Which Countries?
Depending on where you travel or come from, we are going to to highlight the countries you need a Visa for, as if you’re traveling from the European Union. (looking at our biggest target group, this would be the best way forward in regards to the information)

  • Turkey
    Apply for a tourist or Business Visa. Your passport needs to be valid for at least 6 months upon arrival. Cost: €24,95,-. Valid for max 90 days. You can buy the Visa directly at the airport when you arrive, but you will need to stand in line for a long time, so we advise you to do this online.
  • United States
    We call this Visa an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization). The ESTA is valid for 2 years for a stay for a maximum of 90 days. Cost: €29,95. You always apply for an ESTA online.

travel

  • Canada
    Instead of applying for a normal Visa, the easiest and cheapest way to enter Canada, is to apply for eTA (electronic Travel Authorization). You need to fill in an online form, in which you are asked several questions, in order to grand you the eTA. No need to print the eTA, it will be linked to your passport and flight, so you have no problem entering. An eTA is valid for 5 years, for a stay of 90 days. Cost: €19,95.
  • India
    The electronic Visa for India can be done online and costs €109,95 per person. You do not have to go to a counter with your passport. Your Visa will be sent by e-mail within a few days. There are 3 different Visa’s to choose from; ‘eTourist visa India’, ‘eMedical visa India’ en ‘eBusiness visa India’. More info about these options here.
  • Egypt
    You can apply online for the tourist Visa. If you have other traveling reasons, you need to go to the Embassy of Egypt. Important: your passport needs to be valid for at least 8 months when entering the country. You can stay in Egypt for a maximum of 30 days with this Visa. Costs: €34,95.
  • Australia
    You can only check in online for flights to Australia, if you own a tourist Visa for Down Under. It’s not expensive, (€14,95) and valid for 3 months. Do check the rules and regulations, because some countries have other rules. Check here for all the info.

  • Vietnam
    From 2018 you can apply for the electronic Visa for Vietnam online, for a total price of €39,95. This saves you the costs of the stamping fee ($25 to $50) and the queue at the arrival airport. Your passport needs to be valid for at least 30 days. (different than in most Asian countries) This only applies to people with a Dutch passport though. Please check the rules and regulations for Vietnam here.
  • Sri Lanka
    Most people won’t stay in Sri Lanka for more than 30 days. In this case you can apply online for an ETA Sri Lanka. If you do want to extend your stay (up to 90 days) you need to visit the Immigration Services Centre in Sri Lanka to do so. Or you can go to your nearest Embassy. Cost: €49,95.
  • Cambodja
    Travelers need to apply for a tourist visa that is valid for 30 days. You can do this online and applies to all European citizens. Cost: €49,95 per person. (kids also need this visa)
  • China
    For China it’s a bit more complicated. European citizens must all apply for a visa and this Visa will need to be entered into your passport. Most people go to the Chinese Embassy, but you can also send it via courier in order to save you a trip. There are 4 different travel visa’s available, so check here which one you should get. 
  • Cuba
    This visa isn’t so expensive. It costs €39,95, and you can do it online if you stay up to 30 days. It will then arrive by post and you need to keep it in your passport, that needs to be valid for another 7 months. There are a few rules though, such as you can’t arrive via or from the USA. For more info and all the regulations check this website.
  • Thailand
    If you come as a traveler or tourist for less than 30 days, you don’t need a Visa for Thailand. If you are there for other purposes (such as voluntary work, or a business trip), you always need to apply for a visa, even if it’s for less than 30 days. For every traveler, it’s necessary to have a valid passport for at least 6 months during your stay. More info here.

passport

It’s Never Been So Easy
Looking back a few years, it wasn’t always so easy to apply for a Visa. Trips to the Embassy were almost inevitable, but times have changed my friends! For Dutch and Belgium citizens, you can visit www.visumbuitenland.nl. They offer 24/7 support, and payments can be done with ideal. Do you live in another country? Then we advise you to always check online to see what rules apply. But now you know which visa you may need, how much it costs and that you can always arrange this online! Easy peasy 🙂

Enjoy hassle free traveling!

Wander-Lust

Dreaming of a life down under? Here’s everything you need to know!

Strolling down the Coastal walk from my house in Bronte towards Bondi beach while enjoying the amazing views and every little bit of sunshine! I moved to Sydney in April last year, meaning that I’m down under for almost a year now and ooh how time flies when you’re having fun! Here’s why it’s just so hard for me to leave Oz and what you need to know about moving here if you’re ever planning to!

Mandy in Australia
Overlooking Bondi Beach, Sydney

Visa’s
Yes, it’s not the easiest thing in the world, but once you decide you want to stay in Australia a bit longer, it’s important you apply for the visa that your eligible for. The tourist visa is used for backpackers and is valid for 3 months.It is possible to leave the country and re-enter for a further 3 months within the life time of the visa (12 months).You can also apply for a working holiday visa. There are many rules, such as your age, and the country you have been born. For all the details and to see what visa would be best for you, check this handy website.

Where to live…
Australia has everything you wish for! Gorgeous beaches of which I can never get enough of, incredible scenery, sunshine all over, great people (hot lifeguards!) and a coffee + food culture that is better than ever! Moving here might seem a big thing to do but it’s actually so easy! Obtaining a Working Holiday Visa for a year is mostly sorted in a couple hours, whereas another option is a student visa. Maybe you are even lucky enough to get a sponsorship with a company! The next step will be to pick an area for you to live in. Are you more of a city person or a beach person? Western Australia, Sunshine coast, Queensland, New South Wales, Tasmania…There’s not really one spot where you can go wrong!

Map Australia

Obviously my favo pick so far is Sydney. The city’s International diversity reflects lots of cultures in an extensive amount of suburbs. From artistic Newtown to the corporate CBD to the crazy party scene in Kings Cross to culinary Potts Point, buzzing Surry Hills or the hipsters in Bondi (to only mention a few)! Besides, the city is surrounded by water containing lots of beaches not only in the Eastern Suburbs but also in the North, like Manly, Freshwater, Dee why, Narrabeen, Newport, Avalon, Whale and Palm beach. I personally prefer to live beside the ocean to escape into the water for a surf and enjoy the laid-back and chilled-out vibes!

IMG_0016 (2)
Skyline of Sydney

Even though Sydney is ranked as one of the most expensive cities in the world, you will enjoy higher wages in return

Making money!
No other place in the world will bring you this great combination of a career and a lifestyle that you could only dream of! Companies invest highly in their employees and this is why you mostly make a pretty decent amount of money! (Think about an hourly wage of $25 to $30 to start with in the most casual jobs)! For the Working Holiday goers this is a perfect way to afford their next travels throughout amazing Oz, whereas others can truly try and build a career. Although Sydney is ranked as one of the most expensive cities in the world, you will enjoy higher wages in return that can make daily life very affordable! Besides, there are plenty of farmer markets to get your fruit and veggies cheaply, you can buy in season or shop at ALDI! Find out whose hiring and have a look on the next websites to catch that (dream) job! careerone.com.au, seek.com.au, mycareer.com.au, indeed.com.au or gumtree.com.au.

Australian money

Sustainable living is taken very seriously on this side of the world

Lifestyle
Aussie lifestyle is a whole different story… Thinking that Amsterdam was already up-to-date with its organic food stores and soy milk, there is still so much more to learn! Sustainable living is taken very seriously on this side of the world. Organic, cold pressed, paleo, raw, locally grown, free range and wholesome are words that describe a daily diet! Combining that with a swim, yoga, surf or an early morning run and your Aussie life is complete! A funny fact is that Australians are literally obsessed with “active wear”! Going for a run or a training with a personal coach in the park are daily activities but the purpose of the outfits changed more into a fashion statement than anything else! Shopping? “Active wear”! Going for a coffee with the girls? “Active wear”! Doing anything? “ACTIVE WEAR”! It’s kinda funny…

Bondi Swimmingpool
You live an active lifestyle when living in Australia

Aussie Slang
A thing that I had to get used to big time, Aussie slang. The way that real Aussies speak is no joke! (Or is it? I never get their jokes anyways. Thought I was sarcastic but these guys…!?) Making your words as short as possible is the way to go. Arvo (afternoon), Avo (avocado), Strong cap (strong cappuccino), the coppers (the police), Bronnie (Bronte beach), Tama (tamarama), the bra (Maroubra), undies (underwear), kindies (kindergarden)…
Watch and learn:

Food Down Under
Vegemite: not one Aussie grew up without butter and vegemite on toast and you’ll find it in every household for sure!

Pavlova: a sweet and delicious treat made out of meringue and forest fruits mostly served during Xmas
Roast: a standard Aussie dish, oven roasted veggies
Barbies: No, not the dolls you can play with but a barbeque is the main in the foodies section! On every corner, in every park and even out of the back of a truck! It’s a nice way to get together with friends and family and pop a beer.
Tim Tam slam: super addictive chocolate treat that you’re meant to eat in a certain way to get the most out of it! Bite a little piece off both ends, use the Tim Tam as a straw in your hot tea and wait till the inside melts in your mouth….I’m sure you’ll eat the whole pack now!
Flat white: little shot of coffee filled up with lots of milk and a tiny layer of foam. For good coffee look for places that use Campos or Single Origin Roasters!
Messina(!): best gelato you’ll ever taste! Can’t miss out on this one!

Aussie food
Breakfast, lunch and dinner down under is always a feast

The Rocks Sydney

Hope that I gave you a little bit of an inside in the Aussie way of life and trust me, you will never regret being here!

G’day mates!

Love,

Mandy

*Header photo is courtesy of Mandy. You can follow her on Instagram as @littletravelbookofficial

More Australia? Check here on how to plan your backpack adventure:
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The Best in Travel List 2019 according to the Lonely Planet

With so many people traveling nowadays, it’s almost impossible to choose between the many destinations on offer. How do you decide where to go next? The Lonely Planet has just published their Best in Travel List 2019, that may just help you decide.

Top 10 Countries:

  1. Sri Lanka
  2. Germany
  3. Zimbabwe
  4. Panama
  5. Kyrgyzstan
  6. Jordan
  7. Indonesia
  8. Russia
  9. Sāo Tomé & Principe
  10. Belize

Sri Lanka

The Best in Travel List 2019 can take you all over the world

Germany Castle

Sri Lanka is topping the list this year because the island’s infrastructure is better than ever before. Plus new activities give people the opportunity to discover the jungle, beaches and the local culture. It may come as a surprise, but Germany got the 2nd position. They are celebrating several jubilee’s this year, such as the fall of the Berlin wall 30 years ago. In at number 5 is Kyrgyzstan. This Asian country is known for it’s stunning landscape full of hills and lake Issyk Kul.

Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan

Top 10 Cities:

  1. Copenhagen, Denmark
  2. Shēnzèn, China
  3. Novi Sad, Serbia
  4. Miami, USA
  5. Kathmandu, Nepal
  6. Mexico-City, Mexico
  7. Dakar, Senegal
  8. Seattle, USA
  9. Zadar, Croatia
  10. Meknès, Morocco

Plenty of cities to choose from, but which one is your favorite?

Copenhagen
Copenhagen

Best Value Destinations:

  1. Southern Nile Region, Egypt
  2. Łódź, Polen
  3. Great Smoky Mountains, USA
  4. Maldives
  5. Houston, USA
  6. Argentina
  7. Bangladesh, India
  8. Albania
  9. Equador
  10. Slovenia

If you’re looking for a first class destination, without the first class ticket price, these 10 destinations are tipped to be the best in value. Even the Maldives that is normally only home to exclusive resorts, is going through a transition and has more accommodations to suit every budget. We are not talking Asian prices, but the change is there, and that’s a great thing!

Egypt
Egypt 

For the whole list check Lonely Planet. So where will you go in 2019?

Love,

Elke

 

All you need to know about the TAO Expedition in The Philippines.

Are you a Adventurous Traveller? Do you need a break from modern society? If so, this 5-day Boat tour in the Philippines is the escape for you! Sail into paradise and explore the most remote islands between Coron and El Nido in the North of Palawan! This is everything you need to know before booking the Tao Expedition.

You live like the local people during this expedition! Wi-Fi? Not on the TAO sailing boats! Sometimes there is a possibility to use power, but that’s it! This is a good way to take time for yourself and get away from all those Social Media Notifications popping-up all the time!
While you are on the boat with 15 to 20 other explorers, you are completely free in the things you want to do! Try to catch some tuna while fishing from the back of the boat, help the chef preparing a meal, get behind the wheel like a real sailor or share your travel stories with the crew while you enjoy your jungle-Juice! It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you have the time of your life!

Philippines

The days on the tour are packed with adventure! The great thing about this trip is that you are never sure where you end up! Because of the climate in the Philippines the weather isn’t always your best friend! That’s why they change routes all the time and you are never sure what you see/do and where you will be sleeping. However there are some highlights you are definitely NOT going to miss while exploring the islands and waters between Coron and El Nido!

Tao tour Philippines

Jump in the turquoise blue waters and Snorkel in the most amazing spots of this tropical archipelago! Enjoy the Beautiful sunsets and after a long day on the boat, chill on the beach and watch the milky way sparkle in the sky! The Tao expedition brings you back to basics, it disconnects you from the modern world and re-connects you with nature! The crew exists of local people who know everything about the area you are sailing in, they have respect for nature and everything you can find there! This is what they try to learn to the people who came and joined them on the tour!

Beach Philippines

The best time for the TAO Expedition
The best time to take this tour in the Philippines is between October and May, this is the dry season. There is also the possibility to ​book an expedition​ during the rainy season from June till September, but expect some rainy days! It is not possible book during the month September.

Prices
The 5-day Tao Expedition will cost you $545,- (Php26.900,-) in low season and $655,- (Php32.400,-) in peak season! Of course this is a lot of money, but if you look to it in a different way it is not that bad.
This price includes:
● 5 days of travel
● 4 nights of TAO style camping
● the wild open nature and island living
● Freshly prepared meals, snacks and drinks (drinking water, tea, coffee, sunset
cocktails)
● mask and snorkels (no fins)

TIP: Bring extra cash upon checking in for Alcoholic drinks and Merchandise. Recommended amount: $60,- (Php3.000,-) – $100,- (Php5.000,-) per person

Filipino fresh fish
Fresh food at the TAO Expedition

Everyday you have an activity, from snorkeling to fishing! You have the transport covered from A to B, Coron to El Nido or the other way around! All meals are included and you get the most amazing beaches to sleep on every night! If you see it this way, $109,- (Php5.380,-) / $131,- (Php6.480,-) for a day is a good price for a unforgettable trip in the Philippines!

Other Experiences
TAO offers way more then just this tour. The following tours are available at the moment:
● Boat Expeditions (5 day, 3 day, sailing or private)
● Island Stay
● Combo Experience
● Mountain Treks & Retreat
Have a look ​here​ for more information about the different tours.

Sleeping on the beach, Philippines
Not a 5-star hotel, but a priceless view (photo by @wanderlust.nl)

How to get there?
You can book this tour from either Coron to El Nido or the other way around. To get to Coron you can take a Domestic Flight with a 40 minute transfer to the town. When you are in Manilla there is also the possibility to take a Ferry to Coron which leaves once a week and will take you 12 to 14 hours. For price details and time schedules visit the 2GO​ website. When you start your Boat tour from El Nido there are two options. Fly direct to El Nido, or fly to Puerto Princesa and take a 6 hour bus ride to El Nido.

Good To Know
This is not everyone’s idea of a holiday! It might be bad weather, it might be rough waves, limited privacy, barking dogs, crowing roosters, mosquito bites, jellyfish stings, sunburns. But that is all part of the experience: the unexpected, the unknown, stepping outside of your comfort zone. Still interested? Book early to avoid disappointment. (and early is months in advance, especially during the high season)

Keep on exploring!

John

*John is one of our guest bloggers from Nijverdal. He’s a guy from the Country with a desire to travel, a passion for sports and a love for food. “Never try, Never know!” Follow him on Instagram!

For more Tips & Recommendations for the Philippines check out the ​previous posts:

 

These are the Top 10 Countries to Live in According to Expats

Expats are everywhere nowadays. Businesses expand abroad more than ever and like to bring in clever, hardworking foreigners who seek adventure and a change of scene. Expat Insider did some extensive research and looked at several topics such as; Quality of Life, easy to settle, personal finance, family life, cost of living etc. We also did some research ourselves by asking around in several Expat groups on Facebook, and these are the combined results!

10. Oman
This country may not come to mind immediately, but according to many expats around the world, it’s a good place to live. Oman is a safe country with a low crime rate, so it’s a particularly good environment to raise young children. Accommodation is usually included within an employment contract, which is also a big plus. Downside; it can be very very hot, so hard to move around.

oman

9. New Zealand
If you scoop around the internet, you see mixed results for New Zealand, and sometimes you don’t even find it in the top ten anymore, but we did a little of research on our own and discovered that many of you actually enjoy working in New Zealand. Yes, it’s expensive, but wages are good, the quality of life is (stunning nature for one!), and friendly people.

Expat Syndrome’ is a condition whereby many expatriates see mostly either the best of their own nationality and the worst of the locals, or see the opposite.

8. Netherlands (Amsterdam)
Everybody speaks English, there is a comfortable way of living and settling in is (fairly) easy. Those were some of the reasons why Amsterdam made it to the top ten. Downside; The Netherlands has one of the highest tax rates of Europe, but on the flipside, The country has also been ranked as one of the places where people are the happiest.


Amsterdam, still popular with expats

7. Costa Rica
It’s sunny, the people are friendly and life is easy according to expats around the world. Costa Rica is popular amongst expats, but they didn’t make it further up the list because they didn’t score very high when it comes to personal finance. If you live there it’s fine, but is it a place to make future plans? Many expats didn’t think so.

Costa Rica
We can see why people like Costa Rica

6. Denmark
No surprise that yet another Scandinavian country tops off a good-place-to-live list. Expats voted Denmark in the top three last year, and after talking to

5. Czech Republic (Prague)
Surprisingly, Prague scored poorly on settling in (such as making new friends, speaking the language), but scored really high on work-living and urban-living. Prague seems to be a great place to make a career, or at least use it as a stepping stone.

Bahrainis are very friendly and welcoming. Everyone speaks English.

Prague
Pretty Prague is doing pretty well

4. Mexico
It’s funny, because we keep hearing more and more people in our direct circle of friends, talking about moving to Mexico. Why? More than half of the people asked, give friendliness of locals highest rating. Cancún is the most popular city to live in, with Playa del Carmen and Tulum close behind. Mexico may not be the safest place, so people tend to be extra careful.

3. Ecuador
Surprise surprise, this country made a huuuuge comeback. We did hear that Equador was doing well a few years back, but dropped back in the list. Four out of five expats say that there is a good financial balance and that the way of living is good. (I’m sure the good weather also helps)


Pink walls in Ecuador

My favorite place to work and live would be on the Moon, coz humans are the worst living parasites. -Unknown Expat

2. Taiwan
Coming in at number 2 is Taiwan! Most expats asked, rated this country as having good healthcare, job security and quality of life.

Taiwan City
Taiwan from Elephant Mountain

1. Bahrain (Manama)
It’s a clear winner! In case you don’t have a clue; Bahrain is located just above Quatar and part of the Arabian Gulf. It’s capital, Manama, scores really good on urban work life. The city shows generally good results in both the Job & Career and the Work-Life Balance subcategories of Expat Insider. It’s also a popular place to live for expat families.

So there you have it, the Expat top 10! What’s your favorite place to work and live, and why?

Love,

Wander-Lust

 

5 x Tips to keep your Hair Healthy whilst on Holiday

Poor hair. We keep putting it through the toughest conditions, and as full time travellers, our hair has to deal with different weather conditions, salt water and a lot of sunshine. But even if you’re not such a frequent traveler, everyone can relate to dull, dry and damaged hair after a holiday. Time for some hair tips that could leave your hair shiny and healthy!

hair treatment
We recently coloured our hair.. how did we maintain it?

1. Get yourself a good hair mask and take it with you!
We recently went on a surfing trip and really tested our hair by swimming in the salty sea every day! After 3 days, it was time for that extra care. Hair masks are easy to bring along and small enough to add into your carry-on. We brought the 60 Seconds Miracle Creator hair mask from Matrix which also helps to maintain color treated hair. You’ll be surprised how shiny and soft your hair looks after this one! 

2. Try to avoid swimming pools
Oh boy, swimming pools are great for cooling off, but the chemicals used in most pools, are quite damaging to your hair. Solution: tie up your hair in a knot! Easy peasy, but very important during a holiday. If you like to swim with your hair loose, make sure your shower after your swim, so most of the chemicals can be washed out.

Hair swimming pool
Avoid chlorine

3. Protect your hair from the sun
There are many spray’s available nowadays to protect your hair against heat or UVA and UVB light. You can see it as sunglasses for your hair! Just spray the product onto your hair about 15 to 20 minutes before you go outside and repeat after a few hours. Check for the ingredients before you decide to buy it. Not all sprays are good. 

healthy hair

4. Get creative with braids & buns
If you create braids & buns, your hair will be more protected against the wind and it’s a great way to stay cool. Oh, and if you haven’t noticed, braids are ON trend! 😉

braids

5. Avoid free products and invest in a good one
Yes we love the free shampoo’s and conditioners at our hotels, but free usually means budget and bad quality. From a personal perspective; we brought travel size shampoo and conditioner from Biolage R.A.W. This product is free of parabens, sulfates, silicons, artificial colorants and it’s totally vegan. The shampoo bottles are 95% recycled, so therefore we (extra) love sharing this tip with you. It also contains natural ingredients like coconut milk and meadow foam, which gives it the nice smell. Whatever your favorite product is; bring it to make sure your hair keeps it’s healthy shine.

Biolage RAW
The travel size Biolage R.A.W. bottles we brought

Love,

Wander-Lust

The Ultimate Surf Camp? Zarautz Surf Village

Once you have experienced the surf culture, you will be hooked. Whether you’ve tried it in Bali, Australia, Portugal, France or Spain, surfing is something we highly recommend. There are many surfing spots around the world, but if you’re a first timer, we have a wonderful tip for you; Zarautz Surf Village.

Zarautz
A secluded beach at Zarautz

Zarautz Surf Village
Never taking them off again

Become part of the surfer community

Zarautz is located between the 2 Spanish cities Bilbao and San Sebastian. It’s surfing culture started a long time ago, and it’s one of the best European surf locations, with several surfing competitions held yearly. Zarautz beach is long stretched and very wide, so also very popular for sunbathing.

The Surf Village
The camping area is located on top of the hill, overlooking Zarautz coastline. Waking up with this view is priceless. At Zarautz Surf Village you have a few accommodation options; You can sleep in a tent, a camp-inn, a tipi dorm, a deluxe tipi, or you can bring your own camper van. Being the glampackers that we are, we opted for the deluxe tipi. You’ll find all different nationalities at the camp. From Belgium to Greek, they all seem to find out about this place.

Zarautz Surf Village

Tipt Zarautz Surf Village
Our amazing Deluxe Tipi

Basic or luxury; you can decide

When you book your stay at Zarautz Surf Village, breakfast (9 – 11) and dinner (7 – 9) are included and the food changes everyday. There is even a champagne breakfast if you’re up for it. Don’t miss out on the BBQ or burger night, as they are pretty good! Drinks at the bar are bought with a drink card, that you can purchase for €15,- and you’ll get a plastic cup that you need to keep until you depart. Thinking about the environment!

Chill & Party
The village is not so big, but very cozy. There is a chill out area with 2 hammocks, several cushions and a skate ramp. Beer pong is played at night, and there is always room for a themed evening with fun & games. Remember, it’s a camping area, so the noise has to stop at midnight. Not ready for bed yet? No worries, Zarautz has a few bars to enjoy yourself and San Sebastian is only a 25 minute taxi ride. 

Chill
The chill zone

Surfing & Yoga
Most people book at least one week at the camp, but we had only 3,5 days. For this reason we only managed to take one surf lesson and one yoga class. Surf lessons are held in the morning and is perfect for beginners. As the day passes, the waves become bigger, so the afternoon is better for the more advanced. There are 2 free yoga lessons included within a basic package, and the classes are great for stretching your body before you get ready to surf.

Surfing
Trying to look like pro’s. All wearing Protest Women

The Surroundings
Zarautz has a stunning scenery, with cliffs, green open hills and turquoise water. Take a morning off to walk around before heading to the beach where you can eat a healthy açai bowl at the Shelter Surf Bar. They also serve coffee, wraps, salads and a few pincho’s. Zarautz beach is quite long and you will find several café’s and eateries where you can have breakfast or lunch.  

Zarautz
Stunning backdrops. Wearing Protest Women. Fanny pack is from Eastpak

walking in Zarautz
Walking down to the beach (wearing Havaianas)

Zarautz
Endless hills in Zarautz. Backpack is from Eastpak

Shelter
Salad at Shelter

Because San Sebastian is very close by, we recommend you go here for half a day at least. It’s great for shopping, eating out, and it’s easy accesible by train, which takes only 30 minutes and costs around €2,50 per person. Ask the staff for details.

Zarautz Surf Village is open until the 3rd week of September and the new season starts in June 2019. Bookings are available from €259,- (drive-inn) which includes a full week camping and breakfast and activities. (Dinner can be bought extra for €95,- per person for a week). A Tipi Dorm: € 379 and the Tipi Deluxe is only available per week from: € 895

Tip: Bring a warm sweater and pants with you, as it can get quite chilly at night

Zarautz Surf Village
Calle Monte Talai Mendi, Zarautz
Website / Instagram

Love,

Wander-Lust

How to Plan Your Perfect Surf Trip

It’s time to get active! If you want to get the most out of your beach holiday, surfing is the thing for you. The benefits are endless, it’s not only a fun thing to do but also boosts your confidence, let’s you appreciate nature even more, comes with a great culture and is the perfect stress release. On top of that it’s a full body workout. Getting a beach body on the beach, how beneficial is that? After all, the great outdoors is the best fitness center you can have and the waves will soon be your favourite fitness instructor. Enthusiastic but no idea were to start? Let me help you.

Picking a destination
There are thousands of perfect spots to surf, from beginner locations till waves that can reach the height of a house. One of the most famous places to go in Europe is Biarritz. I personally really like the coast of Portugal, for example Ericeira or Valadares. You can let your inner surfer all over the world. Maxico, Bali, South Africa, Hawaii.. literally everywhere. So depending on your holiday wishes, timing and days, pick a location and google will guide you to the best coast spots. Tip: When exploring a destination, keep an eye out for the locals. You can learn a lot about the place by observing people. Where do they surf, where do they eat, what do they wear. All those little things will help you getting the most out of your holiday.

how to plan the perfect surftrip

Choosing The Right Accommodation
Especially if you’re a beginner and don’t have your own surf gear I recommend going to a surf guesthouse or hostel. They will provide you with transport to the nearby beach, the correct equipment, lessons and great company. Although it’s a hostel or guesthouse, that doesn’t mean you have to share a dorm. There are plenty of luxurious accommodations out there where you can have your own room or even bungalow. Concerning my favourite spots in Europe, I recommend Surf Yoga in Eiriceira and Salt Days Lodge in Valadares.

The Preparation
Whether you live near the beach, in the middle of the city or in a country where the water is always frozen: there is always a possibility to practice. Of course the best preperation is on the water, let’s make that clear. But there are multiple other options. If you’re not already blessed with a surfer body and top notch physical condition, it’s probably a good thing to dust off that gym membership. I asked my personal trainer (http://lottept.nl/) to create some surf-minded exercises and honestly, afterwards was the first time I ever surfed for 4 hours a day and didn’t have any muscle strain. Focus on your physical condition and strengthen your arms, shoulders and back muscles. Also balance exercises, for example with a Bosu Trainer, will help you come forward as a natural talent.

What to Pack
I’m not diving into what surf gear you need, there are so many possibilities and it really depends on your own preferences, experience and places you go to. If you’re in doubt, your surf accommodation is happy to give you advice about the must needs for their locations. But besides your surf gear, there are some extra gadgets that can come in handy:

  1. Sunscreen. And I really mean good sunscreen and not the oil-kind-of-I’m-tanning-type cause you going to be half tomato half human. A firm waterproof type will do, but there is a chance it will irritate you eyes when you’re trying to rub the salt water out. I swear by the zink sticks, especially if you burn as fast as I do. Most of the time you only need to use it on your hands, head and feet.
  2. Comfy clothing. Besides your beach towel it’s recommended to take some comfortable clothing with you. If you’re taking multiple courses a day, you’re probably going to change locations. Although I know you would love to wear that cute bohemian beach-outfit, you’re going to want a soft t-shirt/sweater when you’re whole body is sticky from the salt water.
  3. For the long hair hero’s: hair ties! You don’t want to have your hair stick to your face like seaweed all the time. A surf cap is also a possibility.
  4. Don’t forget to take loads of water and some food with you to the beach, you going to thank yourself later.


Packing for your first surf trip can be a thing

Your First Waves
You surf instructor will tell you everything you need to know to be a top surfer in no-time. How to paddle, when to stand and most important; how to jump up without making a massive nosedive. But maybe even more important are the surf etiquettes. Waves can have a lot of power and you don’t want to be guilty of hitting another surfer with your board. Good thing you can already read about the surf etiquettes before your trip, so you will be physically and mentally prepared. You can find a complete list of the rules here.

how to plan your surftrip

Checked all the boxes? It’s time to practice, practice and practice. Remember to stay positive, surfing can look easy but not everybody is born with a natural talent to jump on a floating board (me neither). It took me 3 holidays and 90 always-drown-I’m-done-with-it moments to finally master the basics. And actually, that’s the beauty of it. It’s such a amazing reward if you manage to catch just that perfect wave after some exhausting minutes of paddling.

Every time you go surfing, every wave you surf, you will get a little more addicted, and you’ll book your next surf trip. Head up, smile on your face and ride those waves!

Love,

Eva

*Eva is one of our guest bloggers from Amsterdam. She’s a city girl who only leaves her heels 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.

Need accommodation in Europe? Use our booking.com code and get €25,- back on your booking!

 

Luxury camping in Europe!

If you ever been out camping as a child, you know that it’s something special. The outdoor sounds of birds and crickets, and the cozy evening by the fire. However, the damp floor, cold nights and wet socks was perhaps something you would rather forget. As I got older, I realised that I was becoming a glampacker instead of a backpacker. And lucky for me..Luxury Camping (glamping) is hot!

There are plenty of glamping options in Europe and sometimes it’s difficult to choose one. Yelloh! Village, is a network for different campsites-villages that has became THE luxury outdoor hotels reference in France, Spain and Portugal. Yelloh! Village is particularity good if you’re traveling with kids, because of the many options for children.

Yelloh! village

Whether you want to camp near the sea, rivers, mountains or stay in the countryside, it’s all possible. We’ve picked some of our favorite accommodations that Yelloh! Village has on offer.

The Yurt in France
Feel like a nomad is this traditional Mongolian stay. This yurt sleeps 4 people (one double bed and 2 single beds), and is located in France. Outside the yurt is a shower and toilet, plus you can relax in the lounge chairs on the terrace. And it’s not expensive at all! You can book this yurt from 156 Euro for 4 nights!

Yurt
Magical and unique!

Yurt

Experience the traveling nomadic lifestyle, with all the luxury you want


Cabane sur la plage, in Spain
This cabin on the beach is a dream! It’s not the largest stay that Yelloh! Villages has on offer, but the location totally makes up for it. The 15²m cabin/tent has 2 bedrooms and a small terrace overlooking the beach. Waking up here, is the best part! The camping itself offers a swimmingpool, bar, minimarket, restaurant, children activities and sports. Nearby towns are Creixell, Barcelona, Calafell, El Vendrell, Reus, Salou, Tarragona, and Torredembarra. Book it here from just 560 euro for 7 nights!

Cabin on the beach Yelloh! Village
Cabin on the beach!

Beach view


Chalet s’Agaró in Costa Brava
If you are looking for more facilities, like the luxury camping of having your own kitchen and living room, you should check out this chalet in the Costa Brava. There are 3 bedrooms and fits 5 people easily. You have a lot of space, in and outside (and a BBQ!). Wifi, breakfast and sheets/towels are included within the price. You can book this chalet here.

Chalet

Luxury chalet


All campsites have restaurants, swimming pools and things to do.

Yelloh! Village glamping
Luxury Breakfast instead of a burned sausage 

River
Adventurous?

Are you ready for your camping 3.0 experience?

Yelloh! Village
Facebook / Instagram
Website

Love,

Elke

Cruising the rivers of France with Nicols (without a license!)

Sailing alongside the Great Barrier reef? Yes, I’ve done it, but with help of an experienced captain of course. Cruising across a river in France WITHOUT any navigation experience or having a boat license? Yep, done that too! How? Read on..

Last week I sailed across the Saône river in France with a huge boat by Nicols, a boating company that offers a variation of boats that you can rent at different locations across Europe. The cool thing is, that you don’t need a boat or sailing license to cruise along the rivers. Boating holidays like these are well known by the French, the English and the Germans, but Funny enough, many Dutch still haven’t heard of it.

Nicols invite me to try it for one week. Cruising from Dole, all the way up to Port Sur Saône by boat. Or may I say yacht. It was huge! The boat they provided for us, was the Estivale Sixto. It had 3 bedrooms, 2 toilets, 2 bathrooms, a kitchen and a living area. Oh, and I forgot to mention the large sundeck big enough for 8 people. Instead of 8 people, me, my hubby and our child Caiden opted for the challenge.


The Estivale Sixto

Which Route is right for you?
We cruised along the Saône river, which is located in North East France, but Nicols has 19 other route options in France, 2 in Germany and 1 in Portugal. All river cruises have one thing in common; it’s quiet, relaxing and peaceful. Don’t expect to visit big cities, with many bars or restaurants. Some villages are so tiny, they only count 82 inhabitants! (as long as they have a bakery right?)

Your confidence will grow after a few locks

154 km with a total of 23 locks. Locks?! I hear you think. Yes, that was a first for me too. When you cruise the rivers, you have locks to account for, and for this, you need your full attention. I must admit, the locks gave me some nerves a view times. You need to toss a rope, hope someone on shore will catch it, or otherwise you need to climb up a very steep stairs, while the boat manoeuvres it’s way into the lock. It was my job to do it right. The boyfriend would steer, while our little boy sat in in high chair, watching the spectacle with his lifejacket on.

Nicols boot cruising

nicols boat
AiAi Captain!

Tunnel
Tunnel vision!

ROUTE 3 : DOLE – PORT-SUR-SAÔNE
(Some of the towns & villages we passed)

  • Dole: starting point and such a cute town! I advise you to stay the night here and enjoy the small streets, and smell of fresh baguettes.
  • Auxonne: Church, castle, museum, a few small restaurants near the water
  • Pontallier-sur-Saône: Square de la Vierge (plantsoen), kasteel van Talmay, wasplaatsen
  • Heuilley-sur-Saône: La maison de l’eau, de la pêche et de la nature (museum over water, visserij en natuur)
  • Essertenne-et-Cecey: Very small village
  • Mantoche: Caste & Chruch
  • Gray: A bigger town with a tourist office, a nice outside terrace, some restaurants and shops. TIP: I advise you to dock the boat one lock further where you have a camping with a nice restaurant, swimming pool and BBQ’s.
  • Ray-sur-Saône: A big castle, other than that, not much to see
  • Scey-sur-Saône: Navigate your boat through a 640 meters long tunnel, very cool!
  • Port-sur-Saône: The final destination, park your boat in the harbour, visit the deer park, swimming pool

If you want a little more buzz, you should check out the south route from Port Lauragais or Le Somail where you pass Carcasonne.

Nicols Boat
Dole, France

In The Middle of Nowhere
You can stop whenever you want and dock almost everywhere you want. At first we docked at small harbors, located at villages, but as our confidence grew, we docked in the middle of nature a few times. Tip: buy enough water and food, because there might not be a supermarket nearby for a few miles. We took our bicycles and explored a few villages where we could only find cows, cornfields and farms. I really felt like I was in the middle of nowhere, and where wifi didn’t matter. Sometimes we stayed at campings, other times next to a cornfield, drinking vino underneath the stars. In order to get to your final docking place on time, you need to cruise about 20km a day. We did around 25 – 30 km a day, so you’ll easily make it.


Docking in the middle of nature (spiders also loved it!)

Cows in France
Landscapes and cows is what you are going to see a lot of

Nicols boat
Some of the cute houses we passed

Add Some Extra’s
At Nicols you have a few add on’s you can go for. You can hire bicycles for example, which are super handy if you decide to dock in the middle of nowhere and you need to get some fresh croissants for breakfast. You can also hire an inflatable pool, which is nice for those hot days. Some boats even have a small pool on board! (see photo)

Nicols
Pool on board, why not! (source: Nicols)

Breakfast on board
Le Petit Dejeunér on board

Verdict:
Such a unique experience! Mind you, cruising a river, isn’t like cruising the open sea, with the opportunity to visit (busy) jetset islands, with many restaurants, shops or bars. If you decide to rent a boat with Nicols, you will relax, appreciate nature, and add some navigation skills to your resumé. (I learned something new everyday!) It’s perfect for couples, a group of friends or families. Dogs are allowed on deck! Cost: The boat that I had with all the add on’s and Diesel, cost around €3570,-. It was big enough to share with 3 couples.

Nicols Boats
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Wesbite

Love,

Elke

More travel tips?