Why you should Travel Solo at least once

It’s midnight and I’m walking through the rainy streets of Koh San Road, Thailand. I’m surrounded by fried scorpions and Thai neon signs which I can’t read. With a backpack full of courage I try to connect with the already drunken tourists, but unfortunately without any success. It’s my first time out of Europe, the first time backpacking. It was the best decision I could have ever made and I’ll give you 5 reasons why I think you should Travel Solo at least once in your lifetime.

I walk alone, but I feel more powerful than ever. A sense of freedom, I can do what I want, whenever I want.

Why you should travel alone

Nobody can discover the world for you

We can get lost in the most beautiful travel documentaries, dream away with breath taking photos and listen with unbelief to the stories of others. But nothing can compare to the experience in real life. If you want to discover the world we live in, go. Cause nobody can discover it for you. Being on your own means you can decide where you want to go, which places inspire you and choose the adventures that most appeal to you. You are in charge of broadening your horizons.

There is nobody here to stop me. It was time to discover the world on my own.

Finding your own rhythm

I’m definitely not a morning person and it has always been a challenge to agree with the overenthusiastic waking-up time of my friends. It’s a great feeling waking up and start doing whatever you want. There is no boss waiting for you at the office or a friend that desperately wants to go to that trendy, hipster breakfast place four blocks away while you’re starving. You have the time and space to create your own rhythm and discover your own needs. This is a valuable lesson to learn, also regarding your daily routines back home.

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You are more in the moment when you travel alone

While traveling, I realised that the differences between all of us are insignificant compared to what connects us.

Experiences will be more intense

The autopilot of the mind will be switched off when you’re confronted with new situations, which results in a higher level of focus. You’ll have to stay alert, take care of yourself and create your own path. Because of this you’ll feel more aware of your surroundings instead of looking at it passively or getting lost in a conversation with your partner. You will experience the world around you instead of only seeing it.

Ásbyrgi North iceland

New perspectives

Not being with friends or a partner means you have to go out of your comfort zone to meet new people or talk to locals. You’ll meet travelers from different cultures, backgrounds, social environments and also different characters. While traveling I realised that the differences between all of us are insignificant compared to what connects us. Traveling alone will teach you to be flexible, open minded and less judgmental.

Trust your intuition

Being on your own in an unknown country will give you a major confidence boost. Not only will your self-esteem grow because it’s really awesome to travel solo, the trust in your own intuition will increase as well. I can be quite the control freak so I tried to avoid making too many plans for my backpacking trip. It made me really nervous in the beginning as I was constantly questioning myself if it would workout. And to be honest, not everything did work out like it was suppose to. There was one day I didn’t have any money, food or a place to sleep cause my credit card got blocked. But in the end, everything will be fine, one-way or another. There is no need to stress or worry cause if you trust on your intuition it will always work out. Are you worried about traveling alone as a female? Check these 5 safe destinations that are perfect to start from.

why-you-should-travel-alone-eva
Eva in Chiang May, 2015

So what are you waiting for?

In my opinion, Solo Travel is not just a “cool” thing to do but it also really helps you to extend your boarders and develop yourself. You will gain new insights of the places you’ll go, the people you will meet and the cultures you will learn about. Secondly, it will also deepen the perspective on your own social environment and needs.

Traveling solo is the greatest gift you can give yourself. 

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.

More travel tips? Check them here!

North Iceland | Off the beaten track

Iceland has become one of the most popular adventure destinations over the last couple of years. The Southern part however, has been getting the most attention. As a result, the infamous Blue Lagoon has become crowded and large tour busses are driving around the golden circle like there is no tomorrow. Dutch tour operator Voigt Travel thought it was time to shed some light on the often forgotten Northern part of Iceland and now offers direct flights to Akureyri with Transavia. Wander-Lust was invited to travel around North Iceland for 6 days and we’re here to tell you why this part shouldn’t be overlooked.

Good to know

  • During spring/summer, it won’t get dark. Even though the most hotels offer good curtains, we advise you to bring an sleeping mask
  • The weather can change drastically. Therefore, pack your sweater, raincoat, sunscreen and bikini (for the natural pools).
  • The people of Iceland still believe in the existence of the Huldufolk translated to, hidden people. Apparently these are like elves and wander around the island. Don’t underestimate their believe, you may find yourself in a heated discussion if you tell them otherwise.
  • Respect the vulnerable moss! Although Iceland is rocky and full of lava remains, moss grows on the rocks and takes decades to grow. Be careful when walking around, because you can easily damage it.
  • The tap water in Iceland is one of the best and widely available. Bring a flask or bottle so you avoid using plastic.

Northern Iceland
Always bring your raincoat (raincoat by Rain Couture)


The Route

Because of the new flight to Akureyri, you can start your trip from there and move around the Northern part, but we did it a little different. Starting in Reykjavik, we drove past the West coast up to North Iceland. This way, you can really see the landscape changing. Check the highlights on the map below.

North Iceland mapSource: Visit North Iceland

Tip: Drive over the Artic Coast Way, which officially opened on the 8th of June 2019 and has been voted in in the top 3 “Best in Europe” by the Lonely Planet. It highlights a less traveled route in Iceland and runs 900km long. In this guide we will show you the route we took plus we will highlight the extra options available in the area.

Artic Coast way
The Artic Coast Way

Day 1 | Drive up North:

From Reykavik drive for about 2 hours to get to North East Iceland where we started our adventure. Stop over at Gauksmýri and meet the animal that you will see loads of, Icelandic Horses. Family owned horse farm Gauksmýri lodge offers traditional horse shows and a nice lunch or dinner. If you are not into horses you can drive to Hvammstangi where you can visit the oldest wool factory in Iceland where you can also buy hats, gloves, scarfs and warm jumpers.

Icelandic Horses North Iceland

Where to stay?
We advise you to take it easy on the first day because you may need to get used to the fact that it won’t turn dark during spring/summer. We stayed in Hotel Laugarbakki, basic but fine, especially because it’s a great starting point for the next day.


Day 2 |Hvammstangi:

If you like to you can go seal watching today. Gear up warmly because it can get cold on the boat. We saw many seals playing in the water or chilling on shore. The Seal Watching Company provides you with binoculars and hot chocolate on board. We enjoyed a nutritious lunch right next door at Sjavarborg Restaurant, with a sea view. They offer burgers, vegan curry and daily fish specials.

Seal Watching North Iceland
Seals used to be hunted in Iceland, but now people let them be and enjoy them differently.

Along the way you are going to see various types of landscapes. The Fjörds, rocky mountains and fields of grass with Icelandic sheep jumping around. Tip: stop at Ánastađastapi, a rock formation less known, but just as impressive as the infamous Hvitserkur. Legend says, that Hvitserkur is in fact a troll that was turned into stone by the sunlight. Whatever the truth is, take a close look when it’s low-tide so you can walk on the black volcanic beach.

Ánastađastapi North Iceland
Ánastađastapi

Hvitserkur North Iceland
Troll or rock? Hvitserkur, North Iceland

Soon enough you’ll find yourself in Sauðárkrókur, which was once the battleground for vikings. The area has many historical sites, museums and exhibits. Tip: In town you should have dinner at KK Restaurant. Lobster pizza is one of their specialities! Be aware though, they also serve Greenland shark and foal meat (yes, this is a baby horse). If you are vegetarian, just mention it and you will be taken care of.

Dinner at KK restaurant
Dinner at KK Restaurant

Where to stay?
You have several options, but we stayed at www.siglohotel.is. This hotel is really amazing but not the most affordable! Big plus; they have great curtains that make your room really dark, so no eye mask is needed!


Day 3 | Húsavík:

You are now driving into the territory famous for Whale Watching, Húsavík! Book your tour in advance, especially during the high season and bring your camera! We booked our Whale watching tour with Whale Watching in Hauganes. Nice to know:  This company is carbon neutral and compensates their CO2 emissions by planting trees. Tip: Take a lunch break at the traditional Icelandic Baccalá Bar where you can eat the catch of the day!

Whale Watching North Iceland
We saw a Humpback Whale but even Blue Whales have been spotted here!

There are quite a few spa’s in Iceland but the one you must try is this rather unusual one: The Beer Spa – The first Beer Bath in the Nordics, linked to the first microbrewery in Iceland. The bath water contains 10 litres beer, hob and herbs. You will be surprised how extremely soft your skin and hair will feel afterwards! The best thing? You can tap your own beer while relaxing in the bath! 

Beer Spa Northern Iceland
Beer anyone?

If you are more into a natural bath, check out Geo Sea, a relatively new natural pool with a stunning view over the Fjörd of Húsavík. Thanks to the underground heat, the seawater in the baths is warm and comfortable and the mineral-rich water will caress your skin. 

Geo Sea Baths
Relaxing at the Geo Sea Baths

Not far from Goðafoss (20 min drive) you’ll find the cutest Icelandic turf houses, Grenjaðarstaður. It used to be home to several families since the 1800’s. Since 1958 they were made into a museum, so people can take a look inside and keep the traditional Icelandic housing alive.

Icelandic Turf Houses Northern Iceland
Traditional Icelandic Turf Houses

Other highlights in/near Húsavík:

  • When you continue your way, there is an option to stop over at the Kolugljúfur Waterfall, the first one we saw along this trip. (many will follow!)
  • Goðafoss waterfall is a stunning waterfall that turns into river Skjálfandafljót. It is 30 meters wide and falls 12 meters down.
  • If you like museums you have plenty of choice; the Whale Museum, the Exploration Museum, and the Culture House are all located in Húsavík.

Goðafoss waterfall North Iceland
Goðafoss waterfall

If you have time to drive up to Raufarhöfn, one of the most remote and northernmost villages in Iceland, you will find Heimskautsgerðið (The Arctic-Henge). Similar to ancient wonder Stonehenge, the Arctic Henge is like a huge sundial. For instance, the structure seems to play with shadow and light which gives it a stunning appearance. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see it because of lack in time, but if you extent your visit to 7 days you should be able to make it.

Arctic Henge, North Iceland
Arctic Henge, located in one of the most the remote areas of North Iceland. Source: Visit North Iceland


Day 4 |Vatnajökull National Park:

Drive from Húsavík towards the green valley and canyon region. On your way you can stop over at Skúlagarður for lunch with a breathtaking view. Mind you, the place is pretty basic, but if the weather is nice, you must enjoy the outside seating area with a piece of pie.

After a while you will arrive at the foot of Ásbyrgi, a natural wonder and part of the Vatnajökull National Park. The park reaches from highway 85, by Asbyrgi south to Dettifoss, covering an area of 120 km2. However, a little warning for drone fanatics; keep your drone packed because you are not allowed to fly here (they are very strict on this!). There are many beautiful  hiking trails available and you can get all the information at the information kiosk where you can also park the car. We decided to walk on top of the Canyon so we had a nice view looking down. This took us about 1,5 hours.

Ásbyrgi North iceland

Ásbyrgi, North Iceland
Ásbyrgi Canyon

Other highlights near Ásbyrgi:

  • Visit Dettifoss – the most powerful waterfall in Europe and This results in a natural shower if you stand close enough! The sun was shining at the time of our visit, which created a beautiful rainbow. Tip: Make sure you wear your raincoat if you walk down to see it!
  • Hljóðaklettar rock formations  a cluster of columnar rock formations standing at the entrance to Vesturdalur, down by the Jökulsá á Fjöllum River. The columns lie at all angles, and it could be an entertaining exercise for one’s imagination, to interpret their patterns in as many different ways as possible.
  • Dimmuborgir rock formations – also named Dark Fortress has several hiking trails. After a volcanic eruption, this area became as it now stands, lava that has turned to stone and many deep cracks into the ground.

Detifoss waterfall
The most powerful waterfall in Europe; Detifoss

Hljóðaklettar, North Iceland
The landscape in North Iceland keeps you guessing 

Hljóðaklettar
Dimmuborgir. Photo by Henk Boltof.

After a full day of hiking, it’s time to make your way up to Myvatn, a volcanic area with craters, boiling mud holes and natural pools. From Ásbyrgi, it will take you about 1,5 hours to drive there. Myvatn, famous for its large lake and volcanic activity, actually translates to Mosquito lake and is one of the few places where mosquito’s live in Iceland.

End the evening at the Mývatn Nature Baths. These natural water pools are like the Blue Lagoon, but like most of North Iceland, less crowded and it has a better view. There is a steam room and you can order beers while relaxing in the warm water which can rise up to 41°C. Visit their website for more info on pricing and opening times.

Myvatn Nature Baths, North Iceland

Where to stay?
If you can afford it, stay at the stunning and relatively new Foss hotel. It was build from wood features low-environmental impact materials. And boy, the view is priceless as you can see the craters from the dining room! We also enjoyed dinner at the Foss Hotel as there are not many restaurants around.

Foss Hotel Myvatn
Foss Hotel, Myvatn


Day 5 | Mývatn:

Use this day to explore Lake Mývatn and the surroundings. Everything is close by in North Iceland so you can pick and choose.

  • Namaskard Geothermal Area You probably haven’t seen a landscape like this one before. It feels like you have anded on Mars. Prepare for the smell of sulphur which you can compare to rotten eggs.
  • Hverfell Crater Mountain although we didn’t get a chance to see it up close, its said to be well worth going up here for a full circle hike.
  • Skutustadagigar Pseudocraters cool places attract tourists, and this is exactly what you will see here. Nevertheless, if you drive past, get out and try to take a picture of the row of bizarre and beautiful pseudo craters.
  • Grjotagja Hot Spring Cave  this hidden natural cave pool has become somewhat famous after a love scene in Game of Thrones. I was used as a natural pool by locals up until an earthquake made the water too hot and dangerous. Entering the cave is at your own risk.
  • Enjoy a healthy and organic lunch at the Cowshed Restaurant – which is set next to the stables of the cows. They produce their own milk, cheese and meat, and they serve an amazing vegetarian plate too!

Námaskarð Pass, North iceland
Namaskard Geothermal Area

And last but not least, take a little detour and go visit Aldeyjarfoss. This stunning waterfall is not easy to get to because you need to drive over dusty and unpaved roads. However, this is why touring busses and many other tourists skip this sight. We were there all by ourselves and it was truly amazing.

Aldeyjarfoss North Iceland
Off the beaten track: Aldeyjarfoss Waterfall


Day 6 |Akureyri:

After Reykjavik, Akureyri is the largest city of Iceland. If you decide to start your trip here and you can make a circle through North Iceland and fly back to the Netherlands. Here you will find coffee bars, lunchrooms and even sushi restaurants. A nice details; the traffic lights contain heart shaped lights, spreading love throughout the city. The airport is only 5 to 10 minutes away from the city centre which makes it easy to get in and out of town compared to other cities in Europe. For more info about Akureyri, check www.visitakureyri.is

Akureyri North Iceland
Akureyri street art

In short, if you are ready to go off the beaten track and see a different Iceland, visit the North. You won’t be disappointed. 

Voigt Travel offers flights, excursions and routes in 8 different countries and has recently included Iceland in their portfolio. Like us, they believe that every trip should be a new experience, enriching your life. Therefore, they try avoid the usual touristic routes and focus on those hidden gems in the world. 

Happy Travels,

Elke

8 Facts & Tips about Travel Vaccinations

Vaccinations, it’s something any frequent traveler has to deal with at least once in their lifetime. But do you know all the facts? We have combined the most important facts and tips for you.

Did you know?

  • That there is no vaccine (yet) against malaria, you need to take pills to prevent the infection?
    Malaria is one of the most widespread diseases in tropical and subtropical countries. Symptoms look a lot like a heavy flu but don’t be fooled, The disease is very dangerous and can be fatal if not treated quickly. Make sure you use strong mosquito repellent in Malaria area’s. Check the complete malaria map to find out where you need to get your pills for.
  • That most people don’t know that it’s preferable to get a vaccine more than 3 weeks in advance?
    It totally depends on the vaccination you’re getting. Some vaccinations even need to be taken twice within a space of a few months. It is preferably to get your vaccines at least 3 weeks in advance. However, it always helps to get vaccinated, even if you think you are too late. Better safe than sorrow!
  • That prices may vary between different providers that offer travel vaccinations?
    Nowadays you can get home vaccine kits send to your home, but they often come with a price that is not always standard. Also, different district can offer different prices. You can always get a Cholera stamp for free.
  • One out of ten travellers will have diarrhoea when traveling?
    Good personal hygiene and adequate sanitary conditions will lower your chances of suffering from diarrhoea. It is also important to be careful what you eat and drink! Certain foods are unsafe to eat, especially raw food and food that has been standing at room temperature in warm environments for a while. Avoid raw fruits and vegetables, unless you have washed and peeled them yourself. Not all water is fi t for drinking. In countries with poor sanitation, tap water can be unsafe to drink, even in luxury hotels. 

Bali surfbabe
Sarah had a few rabies injections because of a dog bite on Bali

Tips & Tricks

  • Try to avoid close contact with dogs, cats, bats and other pets if you are in a foreign country. They can contain the rabies virus, something you really don’t want to get. 2 years ago, Sarah got bitten by a dog in Bali and she needed to get rabies injections immediately. This also meant; no swimming for a few days and heavy antibiotics.
  • If you are planning a longer trip, say for 6 months or longer, it’s always a good idea to visit your dentist before you go. This way you do not have to deal with dentist cost and hassle abroad. Did you know that hepatitis B can be contracted from non-sterile medical instruments, for example at a dentist’s office. Infection can also occur through non-sterile instruments used for body piercing, tattooing or shaving. 
  • If you are on medication, always pack these into your hand luggage.For some medications, such as strong pain killers, ADHD-medication and medicinal cannabis, a declaration signed by your doctor is necessary.
  • When we travel we always bring the following remedies:
    Paracetamol
    Diaree stopper (you do not want this mess while you are on a 6 hour bus ride)
    Antihistamine for allergic reactions

coconut at Koh Adang resort

Vaccinations may be the last thing you want to think about when planning a trip but it is always necessary.

Hopefully, these tips will help you prepare for your next trip.

Safe travels!

Wander-Lust

SRPRS.me | Brings Spontaneity Back Into Travel

Are you the adventurous type, or do you like to plan everything ahead? Whatever you prefer, we think you should try SRPRS.me at least once. A few months ago Wander-Lust took the plunge. We booked ourselves a trip without knowing where we would end up. Find out where we went!

What is SRPRS.me?

Travel organisation srprs.me, founded in 2014, is a travel organization where you can book yourself a mystery holiday or city break. Only to find out  at the airport where you are going. You can book your surprise trip in several themes like: Summer Holiday, Solo Together, City Tripping, Honeymoon & Luxury, In Control (where you are able to eliminate 15 destinations), Road Tripping,  and the ever changing theme of the Month. A week in advance, you will discover what the temperature is at your mystery destination and what time you should be at the airport or at your car checkpoint. Here you enter a scratch-code into your smartphone and your destination will be revealed. Pretty cool right?

Love in the plane

Srprs.me believes it’s time to bring some spontaneity back into travel, make your own memories and no longer google your way into a vacation.

Not Scary, But Exiting!

We understand that booking a surprise trip can be a little daunting, because you don’t want to end up somewhere you’re not going to like. Luckily, SRPRS.me has many options, so that you can select your own needs. For example; if you are looking for that ultimate holiday feeling and you want to soak up the sun, go for the Summer Holiday package where a beach and comfortable hotel is guaranteed. If you are the type that likes to explore and loves to shop and discover tasty hotspots, pick a city trip. You can also set your budget and see the cost in the calendar. A trip with sprps.me always includes the flight and accommodation.

Nice Russian Cathedral
You never know where you will end up

At Wander-Lust we also believe that the most beautiful things will happen if you have no expectations. 

The Destination

Sarah and I actually booked one of their surprise trips 2 years ago and ended up in sunny Valencia! It was awesome to say the least. This time around I decided to take my man, so I was hoping for a destination where the food would be great and the sun would shine. A week in advance we received our destination’s weather forecast and things were looking good, 21º degrees with sunshine! This resulted in packing light and bringing our sunglasses. 

Valencia
Valencia

We needed to arrive at the airport at 12pm and this was also our cue to scratch the srprs.me code and reveal our destination. 3, 2, 1..we were flying to Nice, France! I was very exited because it was a destination I was hoping to visit in the next coming years. Upon arrival everything was well arranged. The airport was just 15 minutes by bus or taxi, and we stayed in a charming boutique hotel which included breakfast. 

The Jay Hotel, Nice

Check our Valencia video and see how surprised we were!

Are you ready for the unexpected? Book your tailor-made srprs.me trip and take a leap of faith. You won’t regret it.

Love,

Elke

Camptoo, the Airbnb for Campers!

As a traveler, you always have a few things on your bucketlist that NEED to be done. These could be destinations, but also experiences. Most people would agree if I said that taking a camping roadtrip with an old Volkswagen Van would be one of them. 2 years ago I was so lucky to cross it off my bucketlist! Camptoo, the Airbnb for campers and mobile homes, asked me to take an oldtimer Volkswagen T2 for a little roadtrip.

What is Camptoo?

It’s too easy to compare Camptoo with Airbnb but it’s really the best comparison to make. It Basically works like this; most mobile-home owners only use their ride half the time so it just sits there, in front of their garage. Camptoo makes it possible for those owners, to rent out their camper. Take a look on their website and select the camper you want, for how long and for which date. As a result you get several options and all you need to do is to pick your favorite and send the owner a message. Finally you will see which camper is available and if they’ll accept your request.

After a quick check up, we were handed over the keys and headed on our little adventure.

Once accepted you will receive a confirmation email plus a text message. I picked a beautiful Volkswagen T2. Not really knowing what to expect, me and my family drove down to her house where Nicole explained everything we needed to know about her precious ride. Camptoo makes sure that you are all-risk insured and you pay a deposit to cover yourself for any damages along the way. Just make sure to have your travel insurance sorted. After a quick check up on damages and details, we were handed over the keys and headed on our little adventure.

On an adventure with Camptoo

I was worried about the cold,  would the rain drip inside? What if the van breaks down?! 

Volkswagen dreams. Camptoo

The Route

The first thing I noticed is that driving a car like this get’s a lot of attention. A lot. People waving, throwing up peace signs or giving you a thumbs up out of respect. Pretty cool. We decided to drive to The Ardennes, an area with hills and greenery and lot’s of adventurous roads. From Limburg we had about 2 more hours to go and we found this amazing camping online called Les Cabanes De Rensiwez. Here you can camp but also rent the most amazing lodges such as treehouses, Norwegian style cabins and hobbit-like-houses. Our campervan included a little kitchen with a stove so we could prepare dinner and make some tea. No camping adventure is complete without a little thunder storm and boy did we have one on the first night! It rained and rumbled for about 3 hours but it just made the whole experience even more special and cozy. TIP: Bring your own pillows for comfort and a (extra) warm sleeping bag as it get’s very cold at night even during summer. Many camper owners have blankets available but they can be too thin for your liking.

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Bohemian dream
Yep, this is soo me!

Breakfast at the camping
A breakfast basket brought to our camper

The next we drove down to a special place called the Jan Foppen Forest. This is a small forest on top of a hill where you can do crazy survival stuff like abseiling, climbing, paragliding, horse riding and much more. Definitely check out this spot if you’re heading to the Ardennes. 

Camptoo at The Foppen Bos
Our VolkswagenT2 at the Foppen Forest

On our last and final day we really got to drive through small towns where we stopped if we saw something nice such as a little Sunday market or a beautiful viewing point. The Van had to be brought back to its owner in the early afternoon so we decided to sleep at a camping in Limburg, near the Belgian border. This camping was very modern and even had a swimming pool, restaurant and beautiful forest nearby to walk in.

La Roche
We stopped at La Roche, a town visited by many cyclist 

My Verdict

A dream come true. honestly. Ok, I didn’t have a lot of sleep like I would have in a 5 star hotel but that’s not what camping is about. Camping and especially, camping in an oldtimer, is about the magic of it. The adventure without knowing where you will sleep the next day and to follow your own path. I felt like a true nomad and besides that, the whole thing was so well organized from beginning to the end.

Me and the VolkswagenT2, Camptoo

Do you want to go on the same adventure? Visit Camptoo’s website, Facebook & Instagram for inspiration!

Check out my video to get a good impression!

Love,

Elke

Best countries to visit for when you’re on a budget

If you have the wanderlust virus , you know you feel need to travel as much as possible. However, your bank account doesn’t always agree. If you still want to enjoy the beauty of a long stretched beaches, feel the sun glowing on your skin and discover new cultures, we are happy to tell you that you can do this on a small budget. These are 8 countries you should visit if you don’t want to break the bank.

1. Cambodia, Asia

Daily budget: 15 euro or less

Cambodia is a very cheap destination, even by Southeast Asian standards. If you’re really on a budget and you keep your daily spending to a minimum, you can live on an amount of 10 to 15 euro’s per day. Firstly, accommodation can be found for as little as 4-5 euro’s per night (for a simple hut or hostel) and even the alcohol is cheap here. Secondly, if you eat the local food, you won’t spend more than 4 euros on a 2 course meal. Flights cost about 500 euro’s if you book ahead of time.

Angkor Wat. travel on a budget
One of the cheapest countries for travel

2. Thailand, Asia

Daily budget: 20 euro or less

If you’ve been to Thailand, you know you can live there as a King or a Queen. When I was there I had a massage almost every day and it only cost me about 5 to 10 euro’s. Thailand has one of the finest cuisines in the world but you can dine here for about 5-10 euro’s per person. (this includes your drinks!) It’s the ultimate backpacking country with a lot of cheap accommodation available. Thailand also has many options, you can make it as expensive as you want.

Koh Lipe. best countries to visit when you're on a budget
It’s never boring in Thailand

3. Georgia

Daily Budget: 27 euro

This destination is high on demand and made it on many top destination lists for 2019. Why? Adventure seekers have discovered the stunning nature of this country, plus it’s very affordable! Because Georgia isn’t rampaged by tourists, prices remain low, also for accommodations. If you decide to go backpacking for 14 days, you can do it with a budget of 400 euro per person. This is unheard of in western European countries. Time to out Georgia on your bucketlist? 

georgia
Stunning Georgia

4. Albania

Daily Budget: 28 euro

Never though of Albania? Well, time to change that! Albania is an 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. 

Albania, countries to visit when you are on a budget

5. Nicaragua

Daily Budget: 28 euro

We do not understand why we haven’t been here yet, because this place has it all. Untouched beaches, cute towns, rough nature, volcano’s and it’s extremely cheap to trek around. Above all, the country is relatively tourist free, which is also a big plus for many amongst us. Hotel rooms are an average of 15 euro per night. On average, a couple can live comfortably in Nicaragua for 1200 euro per month, not bad!

beer in Nicaragua
Have another beer in Nicaragua!

6. Greece, Europe

Daily budget: 30 euro or less

I’m speaking out of experience because as you might know because I have been to Greece many times. Firstly, food is one of the cheapest in Europe. For instance, you can feast on a large main course for only 6-9 euro’s. A beer will cost you about 2 euro’s. You will pay double the price in places like Mykonos and Santorini but if you visit the main land or Islands like : Folegandros, Lefkas or Naxos, you can definitely add Greece to your budget destination list.

Greece is great if you're on a budget
Lefkas (Lefkada) is great for budget travel

7. Philippines, Asia

Daily budget: 25 euro or less

It’s not the cheapest of the Asian countries we’ve mentioned but it certainly deserves a place in our top 8 and the reason it’s at number 7 is because of the long flight. The flight is by far the most expensive part of your trip but if you’re lucky you can get a cheap flight at around 600 euro’s per person. On the other hand, the Philippines are pretty untouched by mass tourism (unlike Thailand for example), as a result it can be more difficult to get around sometimes. That’s way you tend to spent more on boats, domestic flights etc. Read more about The Philippines.

Philippines Bohol
Relaxing in the Philippines

8. Bolivia, South America

Daily budget: 25 euro or less

Bolivia is a very popular destination for backpackers, simply because it’s very affordable to travel. There is something for every budget. Even the good hotels offer reasonable prices. (a 4 star hotel is available for as little as 80 USD) 

9E975C5901
Chill.. cuz your money isn’t going anywhere

In short, budget travel is possible, it just depends on the country you want to visit. And let’s be honest, the above options aren’t so bad right?

Love,

Wander-Lust

More tips?

The Oman Travel Guide 2019

 Oman was voted as one of the top destinations for 2018 and since then we knew we had to visit. Oman is extremely divers and has many route possibilities. We’ve created the ultimate Oman Travel Guide for 2019 so you can get off the beaten track.

There are a few things that you need know about the Sultanate of Oman.

  • Oman is a safe country
    Yes, there are still some misconceptions about this. Oman is in fact one of the safest countries is the middle east and the crime rate is low. We advise you to check your local travel advise agency, but there wasn’t a moment that I felt unsafe. The people of Oman are extremely generous and welcoming.
  • You need to apply for a visa
    A 10 day visa will cost you about 12 Euro, and is available online. Print it and bring it with you. Your passport needs to be valid for at least 6 months. Other visa’s are also available.
  • Warm weather is guaranteed
    Oman is warm throughout the year with the hottest season between June and August. October up to April are the most pleasant.
  • Respect the Omani culture
    Oman is an islamic country, therefore it’s wise to bring a kaftan and head scarf when visiting the Grand Mosque and some public area’s. In most hotels and Wadi’s, you can wear summer clothes, but bikini’s are not always accepted everywhere. Bring a shirt and long trousers just in case.
  • Oman is a rich country
    For this reason is also not the most affordable one, and you can compare prices with western Europe.
  • Rent a car, or get someone to drive you around
    Because Oman is so widely spread open, that the distances between the highlights are far. Sometimes you need to drive for 2 hours to get somewhere. Public transport and taxi’s are used in the capital.

Where to start and stay
The capital of Oman is Muscat and the perfect place to start your trip from. You can choose between different hotels, both luxury and the more standard ones. We stayed in the Chedi Muscat, which is top range, but well worth it if you want to go all out for your first night. Hotel rooms vary between 300 and 1000 euro per night.

The Chedi Muscat in Oman
The longest pool in the middle east

Chedi Muscat Oman
My condo in the Chedi Muscat

From Muscat you’ll start your trip though Oman. Along the way we tip you the best accommodations with links and details. 


The Route
Oman is widely spread out so the best way to get around is by car. If you are with a group of friends you can hire a 4×4 car, but you can also book a tour guide that will show the the best of Oman. We were driven around by Desert Flower Tours which we highly recommend. It’s run by locals who know Oman like the back of their hand. They have previously worked with magazines, photographers and travel TV crews, so they know what they’re doing :-). Different routes and tours are available and they can be tailor-made. The route we took took 5 days and looks like this:

Get ready to go off the beaten track

Day 1: Muscat
Muscat is full of beautiful architecture and culture. Don’t miss the Grand Mosque which is very impressive. TIP: dress accordingly; Pants or an abaya that cover all body parts. They do have traditional clothing for rent before you enter, and we advise you to bring your own head scarf. The Grand Mosque is home to the second largest carpet in the world (until Abu Dhabi’s Grand Mosque stole that title). It took 600 women, 4 years to wave!

Grand Mosque Oman
The impressive Grand Mosque of Muscat

The Mosque can hold up to 20.000 people praying, and there are tours available. We prefer just to walk around and discover the many photogenic corners of the all white Mosque. Prayers are held 5 times a day, which makes the experience even more special. 

Grand Mosque Muscat

Visit the Royal Opera House for a quick look around and take a look at their impressive instrument collection. If you can, visit the Al Alam Palace of the Sultan. It’s a modern and colourful building, overlooking the waters of Oman. If you like to buy a souvenir you can make a stop at the Souq van Mutrah here you can buy spices, jewellery and clothes. This market is a bit touristic, but nevertheless nice to walk around.

Royal Opera House Muscat
In front of the Royal Opera House


Day 2: Hajar Mountains
From Muscat you can drive towards the mountains of Hajar. Stop for lunch at  the Muscat Hills Resort, which is a wonderful beach club/boutique hotel with an Ibiza kinda vibe. They offer a Mediterranean menu, overlooking the private bay of Al Jissah . If you can, stay the night in one of their beach houses with outdoor showers!

Muscat Hills resort
Relaxing at Muscat Hills Resort

You can decide to relax at the beach club a little bit longer (bikini’s allowed), or head into the mountains before evening falls. Anyhow, there is so much more waiting for you along the way..

Oman Mountains

Nature in Oman is not to be compared to anything else. 

Oman Mountains

Driving through the mountains is something special. You see the landscape changing as you go up. Stop at several viewing points and local eateries like Bimah Guesthouse where you can enjoy a local Omani style buffet. TIP: bring some travel sickness tablets, the hairpins in the mountains can make you feel a bit nauseous.

Driving though the mountains on Oman

One of the highlights is Jebel Shams, the grand canyon of Oman. The view is stunning! To get here, you drive past local villages like Balad Sayt and Al Hamra. If you like to hike, this is the place for you. There are short or longer hikes available (W4 and W6 pathways) that will take you past waterfalls and local villages such as the ancient village of Al Khateem.

Lunch break in Oman
Having a break at Bimah Guesthouse

Jebel Shams Oman
The amazing view over Jebel Shams

We slept at mountain eco camp Sama Heights, located in Jebel Shams.This fully-fledged eco resort is the first of its kind in the Sultanate. They offer mountain view private villas made from Omani stone and recycled materials and you can also sleep in Bedouin style tents. When you wake up, the sunrise behind the mountains make it worth your while. We also enjoyed the dinner buffet, with lot’s of vegetarian options!

Sama Heights Resort, Oman
Sama Heights


Day 3: Nizwa & Wahabi Sands
Nizwa one of Oman’s ancient cities and used to be Oman’s capital city. It remains a popular stop for shopping. You can visit the traditional goat market where they auction livestock. It may be a bit daunting at first, but to be fair, I prefer the traditional way compared to the livestock factories back home. Nizwa is also known for the ancient fort, that overlooks the old city.

Nizwa Fort
Nizwa Fort

Nizwa Oman
Nizwa Market

If you have time, grab lunch at Al Aqr Traditional Restaurant and order a mint/lime juice to cool off on their rooftop. They serve delicious homemade humus and baba ganoush, plus other traditional Omani dishes.

Mint juice Nizwa, Oman

Wahabi Sands
After a stroll around Nizwa, you drive towards the Omani desert named Wahabi Sands. As you drive towards the red sand, turn up the Arabian radio to get the real desert vibe! If your tour guide drives a good 4×4 car, he will drift across the sand, and slide sidewards off the sand dunes. Pretty awesome!

Sand driting 4x4 in Oman
Dune bashing

Oryx Arabian Camp Oman from above
Overlooking the camp

Wahabi Sands Oman
Photo by @inhetvliegtuig

In the desert are several camps where you can spend the night. We stayed at the Arabian Oryx Camp, with cute stone houses, and a perfect location. From here you can book several activities such as sand boarding, quad or camel riding, and safari’s though the desert. We advise you to stay for one night.

Oryx Arabian camp

Oryx desert camp Oman
How cute is my room!


Day 4: Wadi Bani Khalid
Take your time and enjoy the morning sun in the desert before heading towards the next adventure. Wadi Bani Khalid is not from the desert and the perfect spot to cool off when it’s hot. Mind you, during the weekend a lot of locals will also come here, so it can get quite busy. If you want to swim in this valley, you need to dress accordingly, No bikini’s allowed!

Wadi Bani Khalid Oman

Wadi bani Khalid

You can also have lunch here, but reserve a table as soon as you arrive during lunchtime. This way you’ll get the best view and saves you waiting for a table. From the restaurant you can walk all the way past the water stream and you can also find the ropes in the water if you feel like playing around.

Oman’s lush northern coast lies between the sea and inland mountains.


Day 4/5: Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve
From Wadi Bani Khalid, you need to drive for about 2 to 3 hours until you reach this special place. If you have never seen sea turtles before, it’s a must do! This turtle reserve is located next to the … coast where many sea turtles lay their eggs during a certain period. Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve protects the turtles by organising controlled tourists visits that are done with professional guides.

It’s so magical to see these animals walk into the water, knowing they will return to the same beach in a few years

If you book the night here you have 2 options to see the turtles. One in the evening around 9pm, and one at 5am, when the sun comes up. I opted for the evening watch and it didn’t disappoint! We saw at least 8 turtles coming out of the water, returning, and we saw one female laying her eggs! Turtles are deaf, so they don’t hear you, but they can be sensitive to light. Therefore, the guide provides a special torch so you can watch the turtle without interfering them. It was stunning!

Luxury Tent Oman

Luxury view from tent Oman
Not a bad way to wake up!

We advise you to book one of the luxury tents to make your experience even better. Tents are equipped with a bathroom, airconditioning, TV and a comfortable bed. Book your visit here.


Day 5: Wadi Tiwi & Wadi Shab & Bimmah Sinkhole
On this last day you’ll slowly make your way back to Muscat. There is no time for sleeping in the car, because the landscape you are about to see is out of this world, really.

Lighthouse Sur, Oman
The Sur lighthouse

You can stop at various locations such as coastal town Sur, where they still make the traditional wooden ships that Oman used up until the early 70’s. Here you can also find the lighthouse overlooking Sur and the water which is also full of sea turtles!

The Bimmah Sinkhole will be the highlight of this day. I expected it to be extremely busy, but funny enough, I didn’t see that many tourists. I even got a great photo opportunity 😉

Sinkhole Oman

Oman Sinkhole
Bimmah Sinkhole

Oman
The roadtrip of a lifetime

Verdict: Oman is safe, welcoming and for those who like adventure. Oman even has beaches, but it’s not the Mediterranean of course. If you decide to visit Oman, it’s more likely to be an active holiday, with long (stunning) car rides, great food, interesting culture and nature you cannot compare to anything else. If you want to bring your kids I say, do it, but from the age of 5 years or older.

In one sentence; Oman should be on your bucketlist!

Love,

Elke

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

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?

Our best travel moments of 2018

As the year comes to an end, it’s time for one of those lists that reminds us, that we are blessed to do this thing we call our job. We travelled far and wide, met new people along the way, and left with a suitcase full of new memories. Here are our best travel moments of 2018.

ISAN, Thailand
International press trip, February 2018
This is by far Elke’s most memorable press trip of 2018. Because we were the first ever international media that had been sent to this region, it was even more special. Elke travelled side-by-side with people from Vienna, UK, Dubai, Romania, Germany and more. The trip took us across the North East region of Thailand, a less explored area, which means less to none tourists, a lot of culture, local food, and stunning nature. We visited several national parks, which included a canyon (San Phan Bok) that consist of thousands of holes, some filled with rainwater. To read the whole story check https://www.wander-lust.nl/off-the-beaten-track-isan-northeast-thailand/.

Our first trip as Wander-Lust Agency, Zarautz
Wander-Lust Agency, September 2018
This summer, we launched our Wander-Lust Agency. Here we connect influencers to brands at a beautiful location. For our first trip, we took influencers @bentheliem and @elisebak. 2 lovely girls with a great style, which we connected to Loreal Biolage, Protest Women, Eastpak and Havaianas. We stayed at Zarautz Surfing Village and slept in deluxe tipi tents. During the day we surfed, explored the area and practised yoga. San Sebastian was only a short train ride away, so great for pincho’s, good coffee and shopping! Are you a brand or influencer that wants to collaborate? Send us an email: info@wander-Lust.nl.


 

Cruising across the French rivers, without a permit
Testing Nicols Boats on the Saône river, July 2018
It was something we had never heard of before, but when Elke got the chance to cruise over the French rivers, and there was no sailing permit needed, she said yes immediately. “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”. Good news if you want to try this in Holland, Nicols is offering a Dutch route this year! More on that soon..Read the full experience here: https://www.wander-lust.nl/cruising-the-rivers-of-france-with-nicols-without-a-license/

sailing with Nicols
A must try!

Coachella Festival
Palm Springs, CA, April 2018
The festival of festivals. Coachella is everything you would expect it to be and more. It was Sarah’s 2nd time at Coachella, and it didn’t disappoint. With performances from Beyoncé (including Destiny’s Child!!), Dr Dré, Eminem, and many more, it was a week to remember. Will you go next year?

coachella

Greece
Perdika, August 2018
As you guys know, we are big fans of Greece. It’s so stunning, the weather is perfect, the food is yummie and the people are warm and welcoming. Therefore we visit Greece at least every two years to recharge our batteries. Last summer, Elke visited Perdika for the 32nd time (yes, not a lie) to be at her best friend’s Big Fat Greek wedding. Do you want to know more about this part of Greece? Check https://www.wander-lust.nl/greece-explore-the-ionian-islands/


Perdika, Greece

Wine Tasting with Campo Viejo
North Spain, San Sebastian, September 2018
Campo Viejo is a Spanish wine brand that specializes in red wine that comes from the La Rioja region. If you live in The Netherlands, you may have seen their bottles in the Albert Heijn supermarket. Sarah and I are both winelovers, so you we said yes immediately. La Rioja is region located in North Spain and is renowned for it’s local wine industry. The climate is very different than that from Southern Spain, so therefore the wines also taste different. You can fly to Bilbao with KLM and it’s only a 2 hour flight. From there you’ll need to continue by car or bus, as it’s in the middle of the mountains. It was a great trip with lovely people and so much fun! 

Campo Viejo Winery
Picking grapes

Club Med Cefalu
Sicily, October 2018
We experienced the newly opened Club Med Cefalu in Sicily for 6 whole days! The all-inclusive members club is giving their guests the opportunity to relax in this 4 star coastal resort. Several pools, a gym, tennis court and three different restaurants. This place was heaven. Yes, it’s for the traveler that has a little more money to spend, but every dime is worth it. Sometimes you need to treat yourself a little bit, and Club Med is making sure you are treated just fine! (ok, maybe a lot more than fine). Elke also had the chance to explore Sicily which was awesome.

Club Med Cafalu

How about that for some of our best travel moments of 2018! And we are not finished yet.. Elke is flying to Malaysia and Koh Lipe this month, so stay tuned on Instagram.

Happy 2019!

Elke & Sarah