How To Decrease Your Ecological Footprint While You Travel

Nowadays, there is so much written about the negative environmental impact of traveling that it almost seems impossible to buy a plane ticket without experiencing any form of guilt. Yet -being a traveler by heart- I’ll be the last person on this (still) beautiful planet to discourage you to jump on that plane towards your next new adventure. In fact, I’m telling you exactly what you do want to hear. Go explore the planet, travel the globe and visit the places of your dreams, but we’ll have to make some changes. Cause while we’re all focusing on that perfect world on our Instagram feed, the real world is slowly drowning in our love for her beauty.

sustainable travel

Sustainable travel
One of those changes is putting sustainability on your holiday checklist. It’s the new IT-word that everybody talks about, but what exactly does it mean? I’ll teach you: Sustainability / Noun / [suh-stey-nuh-bil-i-tee] – the quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance. Well, that’s what the dictionary says. To me, sustainable travel is being mindful to the economic, environmental, and cultural impact of travel. So it doesn’t necessarily mean we all have to stop traveling around the globe. By not traveling we will actually create far more severe complications. Many countries depend on tourism as a main source of income. Closing the borders will delay the spread of knowledge, economic opportunities and of course… shutting down the money flow.

It’s about making some smarter decisions that will allow earth to slowly recover to their original ecosystem. So let’s put the money where the mouth is: hereby I provide you with an easy to use guidebook to decrease your own ecological footprint.

Traveling
Choose your way of travel consciously. There are thousands of articles on how to travel cheap and comfortable, but (please) put sustainability on your check-list as well.
Paradise might be closer than you think. We go on 15 hours flights to discover the world while we haven’t even discovered our own country. Find a balance between traveling far and staying closer to home. There’s nothing wrong with being a tourist in your own country. In fact, I promise you it will be more fun than you think.
Calculate the Carbon Footprint of your Flight. Living in the Netherlands, I can understand that it’s sometimes unavoidable to travel further away. Although I love our small, flat, cow-country, it would be pretty difficult to climb mountains here… not to mention getting a tan. But if you can’t stop the urge to fly, you ca compensate by paying for your CO2. Calculate how much you use via this website or book a flight that immediately compensates your CO2 emissions. Also make sure you book your flights with an airline that recycles waste from food, beverages and paper.

At your destination
Support the community you’re visiting by purchasing products from local suppliers. It’s better for the environment, supports the economy and it’s a great way to meet locals.
Combine sightseeing with a workout: rent a bike or walk instead of hiring a car. The advantages are that you can stop whenever you want to take photo’s of the beautiful surroundings (or just a selfie cause the light is great). But moreover, you’ll work on your own health and the health of the globe.
Go for an Eco accommodation. You can choose your hotel that gives you the chance to offset your carbon footprint when you make a booking. By choosing an Eco Resort, you also contribute to the local community. Organisations like Better Places make this possible. By the way, did you know trees can be planted with your donated money for example? 
Mi casa es tu casa. Treat your hotel room like it’s your own house: turn the lights and air conditioning off while leave your room.
Eat vegetarian or vegan foods. Yes this is extremely sustainable. The production of meat and dairy causes more pollution than factories, flights and all traffic combined together. Eating vegetarian is also cheaper most of the time so it’s a win win situation!

how to decrease your ecological footprint

Just as you explore the world, explore which of these guidelines work for you. They are all small steps, but small steps in de good direction. Combine them with your own ideas on how to decrease your ecological footprint and be mindful of your journey. Cause in the end we all want the same thing: make a contribution to a better world.

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.

Visiting Bali for the first time? Here is all you need to know

Oh hello sunshine, nature, palmtrees and fresh coconuts! Are you planning (like most people we know) to visit the island of the gods, Bali? Here are some tips if you’re heading there for the first time. 

Before you leave home

Visa and passport: in addition to a valid passport (which must be valid for at least 6 months) you also need a visa. You will receive this visa free of charge on arrival at the following international airports; Jakarta, Bali, Medan and Surabaya. You can stay in Bali for up to 30 days. Please note: arrival and departure days are counted and this free visa can not be extended. So if you want to stay longer than 30 days (and believe us, this happens), then you must arrange the visa before departure and make sure you have a return ticket, because that is mandatory.

Money: the currency on Bali is the Rupiah. Since banks are not everywhere and the exchange rate can fluctuate heavily, it is useful to exchange your money at the airport. Make sure you have enough money with you when traveling to a remote area.

Vaccinations: against Hepatitis A and DTP are recommended when you go to Indonesia on vacation. Fortunately, you do not have to take malaria pills in many areas; Bali and East and West Java are mostly malaria free. Check the map of malaria areas. And then you still have those annoying mosquitos. You do not hear them, but you do feel them! So it is handy to bring an anti-mosquito that contains DEET.

Bali with Kids

Suitcase or Backpack?
Do you travel around for a long time and do you travel from place to place? Then we advise you to bring a backpack. There is often heavy-handed handling of your stuff and we have already experienced a few cases that go wrong. The disadvantage is of course that you can take less, but on the other hand you often take too much clothing, which is not necessary on Bali. Will it be a beach holiday and will you stay in a resort? Then a backpack is not necessary and a suitcase is very nice.

Packing tips
In Bali you enjoy a tropical climate and the humidity can be high in some places. Some handy packing tips:
1. Pack as many light and cotton clothing as possible.
2. Bring along a long skirt and Sarong for when you visit one of the many temples.
3. Bring that hat! The sun is lovely, but nobody wants a sunstroke.
4. A one-suit is useful if you want to surf, it keeps your belly from getting scraped on the board.
5. If you are planning to go to Bali from December, then a thin rain jacket is useful.

Bali surfbabe
Ready to surf? 

Go check out
» Dreamland Beach – the name says it all
» Ubud – Rice Terraces, Healthy hotspots like Sari Organic and the Ubud Hanging Gardens resort (must see)
» Canggu – Crate Café, Canggu-Desa Seni Yoga, The Chillhouse
» Uluwatu – Rock Bar & Single Fin
» Tanah Lot (just to take that one beautiful picture)
» Nusa Lembongan, 30 min by boat – top for surfing

Dreamland beach bali
Dreamland Beach Source

Bali best hangouts 2019

Better to avoid
» Water from the tap. Buy your water in bottles and check if the cap is unopened. Drinking water safely? Then this thing is a godsend. Be careful with salads and peel the fruit well. Otherwise you might be more in the toilet than on the beach.
» Petting dogs, especially when Although they look cute, their have been reports of rabies and Sarah got bitten last year and needed several injections.
» Kuta. If you do not like mass tourism, avoid busy Kuta. Prices are higher, the food is not very tasty and the beach is a bit disappointing, mostly covered in plastic. However, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but we know that there are better places on Bali than Kuta.

shopping in Bali
Make a good deal whilst shopping for goodies

In Bali it’s normal to..
» Have your own ‘driver‘. This is a tip that you can certainly save money if you want to see the whole island. Learn a few words Balinese and make a clear arrangement with your taxi driver. If you do it right, he will drive you around for a fixed price. Use your good old intuition, but pay attention that he does not take you to all kinds of shops or tourist places where they might receive commission from.
» Make some deals. It is a game between tourist and salesman, especially in the market you can play with the price.
» Give tips. The friendly people in Bali are not very broad. Do they wear your suitcase or are you well helped? Give a nice tip.
» Rent a scooter and explore the island. Make sure you always wear a helmet!

Bali on a scooter

Ready? So pack your bags and fly to paradise!

Wander-Lust

5 Beautiful Destinations for Safe Female Solo Travel

As a woman, it’s important to feel save when you travel abroad. In some countries is better than others, but with my personal experience and lot’s of stories from fellow female travelers, we found that these 5 countries deserve to be mentioned when it comes to Safe Female Solo Travel.

Canada

A beautiful destination which, funny enough, is yet to be discovered by backpackers. Because of this fact, it’s not packed with tourists and even more reason to visit! The roads are well maintained so perfect for renting a van and cruise through the beautiful nature. There are many campings in the middle of nature and near cities that are very secured. Canada is perfect for women that love a little adventure; from kayaking with orca’s and watching humpback whales, to stunning hikes, it’s all possible and easily arranged. The only resident you should be wary off, is the grizzly bear! But if that’s all?

Australia
Perhaps is no surprise but Australia is really one of the best places to start as a solo traveler. Everything is well arranged for the backpacker. I speak from experience, because I did it for 4 months and had the best time! Public transport, travel cards, discounts for backpackers, it’s all available in Australia. Downsider: Australia can be quite expensive so my TIP is to eat as much vegetarian food in order to save some cash, and stay away from the booze. For more money saving tips, check our 6 tips to travel for free.

Thailand

South East Asia is pretty safe to travel around but Thailand is taking the lead. 4 years ago I traveled to Thailand on my own and I was a little worried that I would feel alone. The worry was for no reason, because I met some lovely people in no-time that I am still in contact with! TIP: The hygiene in Asia is not always of the highest standard so always bring some disinfectant wipes, diarrhoea pills and antihistamine for allergies. Thinking about traveling to Thailand? Check out our Thailand section for all the best tips!

Iceland
This country is topping the charts of the Global Peace Index for years. There is relatively little crime and the country is doing pretty well economically. Because of this, the infrastructure is well arranged. Start your trip in Reykjavik and visit the picture perfect Blue Lagoon or the Northern light. Bring your camera girls, instagram is going to love it where you are! Guest editor Jolien took a trip and has some inside tips on where to go!


Guest editor Jolien in Iceland

Portugal

Sun, sea, delicious food and friendly people. Portugal has it all! From vibrant cities to the cliffs of the Algarve, you can go anywhere. Life isn’t too expensive and there are a lot of amazing eco-lodges, campings and resorts where you can totally relax. Inside Tip: Visit Eco Resort Into The Wild Algarve, where you can sleep in a tipi or a luxurious treehouse! 


Sleep in a bohemian tipi in Portugal

But to sum it up, I think the most important weapon a woman has, is her intuition. Does it feel off? Don’t go with it but just enjoy your trip of a lifetime!

Love,

Elke

7 ways to save money whilst traveling

Traveling is great, but it’s even better when you can save money whilst doing it! So what are the best ways to save some cash? We’ve got 7 tips and tricks lined up for you!

1. Find a job overseas 
The possibilities are endless! Find yourself a job abroad and work for a few weeks or months. For example; if you work in Australia as a landscaper for 3 months, 6 days a week, you can earn about 25.000 dollars! That’s more then enough to last you a full year of travel in south east Asia!
These are some jobs that you could look into:

  • Au pair (I worked as an Au-Pair in London)
  • Bartender
  • Hostel worker
  • Landscaper/farmworker
  • Waitress/Waiter
  • Farm worker (Very popular in Australia and New Zealand)
  • Dive instructor (Some certification required)
  • Tour guide
  • Cruise ship worker
  • Casino worker
  • Seasonal worker at ski resorts (if you got a talent, use it!)
  • Yacht Worker

Extra tip » You can also start wwoofing. Meaning, you will work on a farm and get a bed and food. This is great if your passing through.

Saving money while sleeping
Saving money while you sleep.. (pic by David Stegenga)

2. Couchsurfing
It’s free and you meet new people! If you’re a little hesitant about sleeping on someones couch, here’s a success story; I know this couple that did this in Perth, Australia and they ended up in a huge house, had a private room and the owner took them to the most amazing places! The best thing was, that they didn’t need a pay a thing for their stay. (just their food) Check www.couchsurfing.com

Always keep an eye out for those travel deals. This will save you a lot of Money

3. Always look out for those travel deals (because they are there)
Flight deals, Boat deals, Hotel deals. It doesn’t really matter what kind of deal it is, just keep an eye out. Check airline websites and sign yourself up for their loyalty program. Flying to Australia once can give you up to 70.000 miles which you can use to buy other flights!

4. Prepare your own meals
This is something I learned whilst backpacking through Australia. Food can be expensive and if you’re going to sleep in hostels, the’re always kitchens you can use. When I stayed in Sydney, I met a group of backpackers and we always use to cook together. I was lucky to have a chef in the group that prepared the most amazing dishes which cost us about 4 Australian dollars per person. You can also buy a bag of rice which last you for at least 2 weeks and skip the meat and fish for a few days. Veggies aren’t so expensive and you can buy them cheaper on the markets. In Australia you will see BBQ’s alongside the beaches and parks where you can prepare your meals. Just make sure you clean up after yourself. Extra tip » Cut down on the alcohol. Yes, alcohol can cost you more money than food will and let’s be honest, a headache isn’t so nice either.

lunch box
Preparing your own meals is healthy and saves you money!

5. Hitchhike
Now don’t get me wrong, this is not something I advise you to do in all countries or as a solo female traveler. BUT, I’ve done it in European countries and it has taken me the extra mile to the village or town I needed to go. Besides that, I’ve listened to the most amazing life stories in the car of strangers and always got to my destination safely. Just use your common sense and get in a car with a couple, families or older people.

Hitchhiking
Always trust your intuition when you go hitchhiking

6. Get a discount card
If you’re a student a teacher or under 26 years old? Use it! It’s the best status you can have when you travel. It gives you a lot of discounts on food, activities and more. The same applies for a tourist card. Like you, I don’t really like the “tourist” term but if it opens doors, it’s always a good thing right?
Tourist cards especially help if you are visiting a city. It gives you discounts on museums and big attractions and for public transport. Check the nearest tourist office for more information on how to get one.

HWijjF7RwOPGEJ1nb4Zb_IMG_3773
Cities like New York offer great discounts!

7. Housesit
This is probably the best tip if you know you’re going to stay in one place for a while. If you can’t afford a hotel, this is a very good option to look into. It’s simple; just watch someones house while they’re on vacation. You’ll be surprised about how many people do this as it makes their house unattractive for burglars. Check these sites for more info about house sitting:

» House Carers
» Mind My House
» 
The Caretaker Gazette

They say that travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer… I guess it can be true..literally! Have fun saving money!

Love,

Elke

More travel tips here:

Top 10 most affordable destinations for 2019

New year, new plans right? But that doesn’t always mean you need to spend all of your savings. These affordable destinations are your best pick for a perfect holiday in 2019.

Equador
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. Did you know that 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). It’s also a great country for backpacking and full of friendly locals.

Albania
Never though of Albania? Well, time to change that! Albania is a underrated country with many mountains, canyons and the Ionian coastline. Albania isn’t full of tourists and therefore prices are very good! Be the first to discover hidden beaches and coves, or walk around in the Albanian Alpes. Discover Albania.

Affordable destinations can be surprisingly good

Maldives
Now, this may seem like a surprise, but the Maldives is changing in a way that we like! Yes, the super deluxe resorts are still there, but the island 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! The most expensive thing would be your flight. It’s in our top 10 because it’s a destination that you should visit once in your lifetime.

Maldives

Czech Republic
We’ve been to Prague and for the countries capital, we were pleasantly surprise how affordable everything was. From the food, to shops and taxi’s. Other destinations in Czech are even cheaper, and getting around. Many low cost airlines fly to Prague, so all in all, you can say that this is a great pick for affordable travel. Why go? Because of the stunning nature, mountains, lakes and let’s forget about the dreamy castles! 

Hungary
This country has an amazing capital that should be visited during summer. Budapest hosts amazing festivals and it’s a city full of history and culture. Best of all, it’s very very affordable!

Sri Lanka
We just came back from Sri Lanka and traveled around so we know you can make it as expensive as you want. Find reasonable flight in low season, and you’ve got yourself an amazing destination. Sri Lanka is also on the number 1 list when it comes to destinations overall. And we know why. Jungle (including many elephants!), safari, beaches, good food and lovely locals. Yes, Sri Lanka belongs on the affordable destinations list.

Sri Lanka train
Sarah in Sri Lanka

Laos
If you think Thailand is cheap, try Laos as your new SouthEast Asian destination. It’s a great option for backpackers and there are plenty hostels to choose from. You won’t find large cities here but full of farmlands, which keeps it authentic. Go tubing in Vang Vieng, walk along the ricefields, or rent a scooter and explore. Vietnam and Thailand are around the corner if you want to continue your affordable travel.

Mexico
Maybe it’s the vibe, the food or the music. Mexico has been on best travel lists all over the place and for good reason. If you’re coming from the USA, this would be your best pick because it’s only a short flight. Check out these affordable beach towns; Playa del Carmen, Loreto or even Cancun. 

Georgia
It’s one of those countries that is often overlooked, but Georgia is finally getting the credit it deserves. Lucky for us, it’s a great place for affordable travel. It’s natural (and stunning) landscape and green hills keeps attracting more tourists than ever. The most affordable has to be the food. Buy yourself a loaf of bread for just 40 cents and score some groceries on the local market for fruit and veggies. If you want to spoil yourself, consider staying at the top notch Stamba hotel. 

Georgia
Stunning Georgia

Argentina
This destination economy has been like a Yo-Yo diet. A few years ago we heard stories from travelers that were taken by surprise on how much they were spending on meals and accommodations, but the economy has changed again and things are looking up for travelers. Hotel prices are available for as little as €30,- per night if you’re staying in the city.

Love,

Wander-Lust

Have you ever wondered how to score the cheapest flights? We broke it down:

cheapest flights

The Koh Lipe Island Guide

Walk on white sandy beaches with a fresh coconut in your hand. You will arrive at a picture-perfect tropical island where you want to stay forever! An unbelievable exotic destination that has everything you need to have the perfect holiday. This is Koh Lipe, Thailand.

Koh Lipe is a paradise island in the southern of Thailand’s Satun Province near the Thailand/Malaysia border. The three main beaches of Koh Lipe are Sunset Beach (west), Sunrise Beach (east), and Pattaya Beach (south), all beautiful. Koh Lipe is famous for it’s white sandy beaches, turquoise blue waters, coconut trees, snorkeling and scuba diving and it’s relaxed atmosphere!

koh-lipe-map
Map of Koh Lipe: Source: http://www.thailand-guide.com/koh-lipe

How to get there
There are several options, but we arrived from Langkawi by boat which takes around 1.5 hours. Tip: bring something warm to wear, because sometimes the air-condition is turn up high which makes it freezing. Also, bring some travel sickness tablets, you may need it when the sea is rough. Book your boat ticket in advance, there is no need to print the ticket, as long as you have your QR code on your phone. You need to register before entering the boat and you should do this at the departure gate at least 1,5 hours before departure from Langkawi. Upon arrival, you need to pay 200 bath per person as an island fee, this is normal and you need to pay in cash. It’s a bit of a hassle to get there, but once you have arrived, it will be worth your time.


Where to Stay
Koh Lipe has become very popular over the years, so therefore we advise you to book your accommodation in advance to avoid disappointment, especially during the high season (nov – feb). Unfortunately, prices are quite expensive compared to other destinations in Thailand. A hut on the beach for €20,- a night? Forget it. During Christmas we paid at least 100 euro per night. But we don’t want to discourage you, Koh Lipe offers a variety in accommodations, with  not many big resorts, yet. Here are some of our recommendations:

  • Cast Away Beach Resort (sunrise beach, mid range)
  • Andaman Resort (sunrise beach, midrange)
  • Serendipity Resort (sunrise beach, high end)
  • Bundahya Beach Resort (pattaya beach, mid range)
  • The Box Resort (walking street, mid range)

Tip: Also check on Airbnb, a lot of guesthouses and hotels also sell their rooms on there.

Koh Lipe resort
Bundahya Beach Resort


Sea la Vie beach bar at Sunrise Beach

Things to do
Koh lipe is famous for snorkeling and diving! The incredibly clear water and excellent visibility makes snorkeling very famous on this island. There are many shops on the island that offer snorkeling trips and a full range of PADI and SSI courses.Koh Lipe is surrounded by over 30 islands and hundreds of reefs. You will find a lot of small colorful fish at Koh Lipe, but keep in mind that the coral isn’t what it used to be. Most of the coral is dead because of global warming and the suncreams people use. Ingredients like oxybenzone can harm the oceans. Tip: We use Dermalogica or Badger Sunscreens.

Koh Lipe


Where to eat & drink
From Thai green curry, Phad Thai, Tom kha kai (spicy soup) to Som Tam (Papaya salad), it’s all so delicious, healthy and fresh! They always use fresh herbs and lots of greens. There’s something for everyone, it’s doesn’t matter if you are vegetarian or vegan, enough options. There’s s a great variety in food on the island: From tasty Thai street food to fresh fish you will find right at the beach.
Tip! Learn these words to save you from a chilli pepper disaster! Spicy = mai pet, A little bit spicy = pet noi, Very spicy = pet mak

Best Breakfast & Coffee

  • Elephant Koh Lipe
  • Bloom cafe (amazing coffee!)
  • Tropicana (healthy/vegan options)

Elephant cafe Koh Lipe
Great coffee at Elephant Café

Best cocktails

  • Maya Bar (walking street, great music and cocktails!)
  • Sea la Vie beach bar (Sunrise beach, the food is not so good, but at night the music and vibe is amazing)
  • Reggae bar (Pattaya beach)

Street food Koh Lipe
Street food at the Koh Lipe Walking Street

Best Western food

  • The Box (walking street)
  • La Luna Italian Restaurant

Best Thai Food

  • On The Rocks Restaurant at Serendipity Resort (perfect for a romantic dinner!)
  • Cast Away Restaurant (great for lunch!)
  • Elephant Beach Bar (Sunrise beach, great Pad Thai!)

Koh Lipe Beaches
Koh Lipe has three beaches and because the weather doesn’t change much throughout the year, it’s p
erfect to lay on the beach..but which one is the best?

  • Sunrise Beach
    This is the best beach, hands down. The water is crystal clear, the sand is white and you can find a lot of quiet spots. All parts of this beach are good, but we relaxed in the middle a lot, next to the Elephant Beach Bar. There is some shade from the trees so great if you have small children. If you walk to the left side of Sunrise beach, you will find yourself a zandbank in the water, great for taking those tropical photo’s! And if you walk towards the right end of the beach (towards Ten Moons Resort), you have a small beach cove, that not everybody knows about. Here you can chill in hammocks and drink fresh coconuts.

Koh Lipe with baby
In front of 10 Moons Resort, Sunrise Beach

  • Sunset Beach
    This beach has the sunset (hence the name) but it’s smaller doesn’t have many beach bars to chill. Because of this, the beach is more quiet and popular with the older crowd. Worth taking a look at!
  • Pattaya Beach
    This is the beach where all the boats arrive and depart to/from, which makes it the busiest and less attractive beach. At night you can find some bars here with loud(er) music, but there are some restaurants at the end that are nice enough to eat.

Sunrise Beach, Koh Lipe
At the sand bank Sunrise Beach

Our advise is to stay on Koh Lipe for at least 4 to 6 days in order to enjoy the island to the fullest. Take in account that tt rains and storms more from April through September, but that doesn’t mean you should skip this magical island. Apparently the average temperature is always around 26 degrees, so no matter what time you visit Koh Lipe, the weather will typically be the same. Yes, it takes some time to get there, but once you step on the white sand, you will feel right at home.

Love,

Wander-Lust

5 Hidden Gems to add to your travel list for 2019

January is the perfect month for booking your next trip. It’s great to let your mind wander off during these cold winter months and to look forward to a sunny destination. A ‘hidden gems’ city trip should therefore not be missing on your travel list for 2019.

1. The cozy Zagreb and a day trip to Plitvice, Croatia
Zagreb has grown from a stopover destination into a real travel destination. The charming city has is located on the Sava river. This combination gives a special vibe. With cobblestone streets, boutiques, workshops and cafes that are full of music, Zagreb is a perfect destination for a pleasant and surprising city trip. This city trip can be combined with a day trip to the national park Plitvice. This is a beautiful nature park with azure blue lakes and more than 400 waterfalls. (see photo)

Plitvice Croatia
Plitvice Croatia

2. Go back in the time of knights in Valetta, Malta
Valetta is the ideal destination for a longer city trip and can be combined with a day at the beach. The capital of Malta is full of sights that come from the time of the hospital knights. In the relatively small city you will find no fewer than 320 monuments, such as church domes and forts. A nice side note; Check out Popeye Village which was once used as a filmset, but now looks like a fishing village that is too cute not to post on the gram!

Malta
The Streets of Malta

Beautiful cities like London or Paris often have an impressive history and plenty to admire, but unfortunately you have to share these cities with hundreds of other tourists.

3. Authentic Italian atmosphere and sea urchins in Bari, Puglia Italy
After all the bustle in Rome, Pisa and Venice, the cozy Bari located in the Puglia region is a real relief. The old center, called Bari Vecchia, is a photogenic labyrinth full of small alleys and churches. Real daredevils taste the raw sea urchins in the port of Bari with a view of the beautiful sea.

Puglia Italy

4. Boutiques and ice creams in Braga, Portugal
Braga is also called ‘the Rome of Portugal’. This is because the city is full of historic cathedrals and elegant architecture. All perfectly maintained squares and alleyways that are only accessible for pedestrians. Because of this, Braga forms an excellent alternative to, for example, the city of Lisbon. From the large number of boutiques and cafés you can clearly see that Braga is a real student city. For a delicious dinner and cocktails, head to the popular Brac Restaurante. Then enjoy coffee and an ice cream at Spiritio.

5. Look for the ‘hidden gem’ at a surprise destination
Every city, big or small, has its own ‘hidden gems’. With a surprise trip you are guaranteed to discover new special places during the city trip, because preparation is not possible. You will not know where the trip is going until the last minute before you board the plane. That is why a surprise trip with srprs.me is the ideal way to experience a special city trip in 2019. Moreover, chances are that you will end up in a place that you might never have thought of yourself. But also on the popular destinations you will discover new places in this way that will surprise you and will never forget you.

Valencia
We traveled to Valencia on our first srprs trip!

Love,

Elke

Shoot Amazing Drone Photo’s Without Experience!

Recently we travelled through Malaysia & Thailand and wanted to shoot extraordinary photo’s. Because we don’t own a drone we hired one without needing a flying course. So did we manage to shoot some good footage? You’ll be the judge.

I had never flown a drone before, or even held one. But damn, you can take the most amazing shots with them and drone photography inspires the hell out of me, so it was time to put my skills to the test. I was planning a trip to Asia, which meant tons of drone photo opportunities with beaches, palmtrees and crystal clear water.

Things you should know before flying a drone:

  • No flying after dark or within 5 miles of an airport (unless you can get authorization)
  • Near people’s heads, moving cars, a sports stadium.
  • If you travel abroad, you should check the rules that apply for that country. For some you are required to register your drone and pay a small fee in order to bring it through customs. However, Thailand officially required such a document, but because I was traveling per boat to Koh Lipe, I took my chances and didn’t apply. Getting the document can take up to a few months and I was too late with that. It’s a small risk I was willing to take. Rules about drones change fast and regularly so always check what rules may apply to your country of choice.

Rent a drone
Because I didn’t own a drone, I came across a business in the Netherlands that hires drones without a pilot. You rent the drone per day and you pay a small deposit for safety reasons. The drone includes 2 batteries, charger and extra propellors. Me and my boyfriend opted for the DJ1 Mavic Pro, which is compact enough to fold up and pack. 

First Flight
Our first opportunity and go was at Koh Adang, a Thai island across from the more popular Koh Lipe. In the beginning it’s a bit scary to fly because you are scared your drone will crash in the water, or the wind will take it down. This is the result of our first ever drone shot, not bad right? My boyfriend Jesse flew most of the time because I wanted to be in the picture. (such a diva!)


Our first ever drone shot!

After that more followed. We also shot some video.


Maybe I should work on my heart drawing skills a bit more though..?

This next shot was taken on Koh Lipe where we found a sandbank that was free of people, in order to take that perfect shot!

Koh Lipe


Pretending that I was on a deserted island in Malaysia. Truth is that 2 meters away there was a beach bar 😉

Verdict; Hiring a drone is such a good idea! As you can see, the images turned out pretty good (if you don’t mind us saying so ;-)). We hired our drone at www.dronehurenzonderpiloot.nl in the Netherlands and we can really recommend it. You just pick up your drone, and you will get an explanation how to use your drone. You need to figure out your color and ISO settings yourself so we advise you to watch a couple of YouTube video’s in order to get the best results. For all cost per drone check their cost sheet.

Are you ready to take your travel photography to the next level?

Love,

Elke

This is how you score the cheapest flights!

We all want it; score the cheapest flights. Did you know that there are several tricks you can use in order to do so? Here are 6 tips on how you do it.

1. Identify the cheapest day to fly
Yes, flying on Saturday can be way more expensive than flying on a Monday for example. This also varies per destination, so do your research and you’ll save money on flights

32% of individuals prefers to spend their money on travel

2. Frequent Flyer Miles
You may not even realize that you have saved aviator points on your flights. I fly with KLM a lot, so I tend to look for flights with them for far distance flights. Every time you fly, you save up points and you can use them to reduce cost or to upgrade yourself into business class. Also check which airlines your credit card company is connected to before you make your decision. If you live in The States, your airline preference will be a lot different than if you live in Europe. One rule always applies; the higher your ticket price, the more miles you save. 

hand infront of window seat plane

3. Do the Math
Sometimes is cheaper to buy 2 one-way tickets instead of one return. This is rarely the case, but it does happen sometimes. I did this for my trip to Australia once. I arrived in November and departed early February so I left just after the high season, which made it a better deal.

4. Consider a different airport
Amsterdam Schiphol isn’t the only airport in The Netherlands right? You have Rotterdam and Eindhoven, plus you can take a peek at the neighbours in Düsseldorf. A different airport can save you a lot of money. However, you need to travel there first, so check how much extra time and cash it will cost you, so that it’s worth the fuss.


You in a couple of months?

5. Set a fare alert
We understand you can’t be on your laptop forever trying to look for the cheapest flight. Therefore you can set a fare alert which will notify you when there is a good deal for your favourite destination. You get the alert right into your mailbox, super easy!

But now the biggest tip of them all:

6. Use a travel metasearch website
There are websites that researches all the above mentioned points so you don’t have to do the work. Our favourite website to do so is called momondo. Based on billions of data from searches at momondo, it tells you how to find the best flight tickets from Amsterdam to Europe and the rest of the world. It compares all the different airlines, so that you don’t have to. What is more:

1. Their flight forecast in flight search results tells you how many days in advance to book for specific destination, which day of the week is the cheapest to fly and what time of a day is your best bet.

2. In the end this will save you some cash to spend more on cocktails! 😉

3. They also offer hotels and car hire, always handy!

And best of all, using this website is completely free of charge. Their prices won’t go up because of the saved cookies on your desktop (that you see with different airline websites) so it’s always a Win-Win! Check here to find the cheapest flights on momondo.

Did you know that January, February, March are the best months to book your European summer holiday? What are you waiting for, get booking for the cheapest flights!

Love,

Elke

More travel tips?

8 x Travel Trends for 2019

What’s happening in the world of travel this coming year? A lot, if we believe Booking.com. They are predicting 8 travel trends for 2019 and we’ve lined them up for you. 

1. Travel to learn
For travelers, making meaningful trips is becoming increasingly important. More than half (56%) of travelers say that traveling has taught them new skills and insights. 68% of respondents want to participate in a cultural exchange and learn new skills, 54% indicate that they want to volunteer and 53% opt for international work placements. We can totally relate and traveled to Bolivia 2 years ago to report about women rights. It was incredible, tough and we learned so much.

2. As easy as possible
In 2019, convenience will become the standard when it comes to technological innovations in the field of travel. The innovations that, according to travelers, will strike the most, are those who offer practical solutions for traveling with artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR) and speech recognition. Think of opening your hotel room with your smartphone or a robotic concierge who speaks the language of the guests. Crazy? Well, 57% of travelers are interested in solutions such as an app for real-time baggage tracking or one app that has everything for planning and booking their trip. In addition, 31% are interested in the idea of ​​a ‘virtual travel agency’ in their living room, with for example virtual assistants with speech recognition who answer travel questions. 

travel trends 2019

In 2019, a lot is going to happen in the travel world

3. Discover the unknown
When it comes to traveling, we continue to push our boundaries and that includes space tourism. The travel industry and other companies will invest in tests with space travel on earth to make space travel possible. They meet the growing demand of consumers who want to take the big leap. 40% of travelers confirm that they think the prospect of space travel is fantastic, and would also consider this experience themselves (38%). Until space travel becomes reality, 60% of travelers opt for adventure below sea level.

4. The more personal, the better
The generic travel guides are history and make way for shorter but personally relevant content. One third of travelers (34%) want “something” or someone to take the difficult work off their hands and provide them with travel recommendations: 41% would like companies in the travel industry to use technologies such as AI to provide travel suggestions based on on previous travel experiences. The personal is becoming increasingly important; individual recommendations are increasingly giving direction to each journey.

travel trends 2019

5. Awareness Travel
In 2019, the social, political and environmental problems of a possible travel destination will be examined before travelers actually book: 48% of travelers think that social problems in a travel destination are taken into account when deciding on a visit. In addition, travelers are increasingly looking for new and authentic adventures, and want to be sure that they can travel safely – regardless of gender, race or sexual orientation. Platforms such as Destination Pride provide destinations with a score that allows travelers to see how LGBT + are friendly. 19% of travelers plan to visit a Pride festival in 2019, of which almost a third (30%) is between 18 and 34 years old.

6. Fight the plastic problem
Millennials and Gen Z search for sustainability in their destination; looking for opportunities to use less plastic and to work more sustainably. More than a third (37%) is prepared to clean up plastic and other waste on a beach or other tourist attraction.

Julia van Rooij
Surfer Julia van Rooij is fighting the plastic soup

Investing in sustainable start-ups is becoming increasingly important in 2019, because travelers who want to travel responsibly increasingly ask more critical questions about the sustainability of their destination and accommodations. This will lead to a number of new start-ups in the travel industry. 

Tip: Compensate your CO2? check out GreenSeat

7. On the hunt for new experiences
Two-thirds of travelers (60%) value experiences more than equipment. That is why ‘Doing’ when traveling becomes just as important as ‘going’, and perhaps even more important. There is no less pressure on life, and therefore experiences can help to strive for a less stressful existence. In 2019, two-fifths of travelers (42%) plan to visit a destination where they can feel carefree again.

8. Small is good
More than half of the travelers worldwide (53%) say they plan to make more weekend trips in 2019. These small trips are characterised by the fact that more activities are planned in shorter times. ‘Less is more’ is the motto, and consumers swear by custom on these trips. Think of weekend trips, city trips or road trips.


Take a city trip to Budapest!

Pepijn Rijvers, Chief Marketing Officer at Booking.com says: “In 2019 a lot is going to happen in the travel world. Technological innovation continues, the world is increasingly connected and consumer demand for the best travel experiences is constantly growing. 

Happy traveling!

Wander-Lust