TRAVEL FOR FREE | 6 WAYS TO DO IT

It’s something we all can relate to. Your bank account looks a lot less attractive when I return home from your travels. But, there are a few ways to spend little to none cash if you do it the right way.

Be warned; it’s not always easy, but if you try and follow these tips, you might just travel the world a lot more efficiently (money wise). It’s something every frequent traveler would love to do; travel for free. 

1. Hitchhike

Oh yes, this one is old skool but ey, it works! You’ll be surprised how many people stop and take you along for a few miles. The best spots for doing this are; Petrol stations, Bus Stops and Toll Roads. Always carry a good map (yes, that’s your first investment) and wear steady shoes. The nice thing about hitchhiking is that you meet new people that can tell you where to go next and so your adventure begins. For women; I wouldn’t recommend it for when you travel alone. And if you’re bad-ass, just use your common sense. A good website for all your hitchhike information is: www.hitchwiki.org

Travel for free. Photo by Atlas Green.
The hitchhikers guide to..?

2. House sit

I’ve mentioned this trick in a previous post about 7 ways to save money whilst traveling, but I want to highlight it again because it’s such a good idea! A friend of mine recently booked her ticket to Australia and will live there for free because she is house sitting a friends house in Sydney. Talk about living the local life! There are a lot of websites that offer this service and here are my favorites: Check out mindmyhouse.com to find the best houses in the country that you seek your adventure. For travellers that love animals trustedhousesitters.com  is your best bet and look on housecarers.com. You may need to clean the house a few times and look after some pets but that’s a small price to pay for completely free accommodation. If you’re lucky, you will get a small fee, depending on the number of chores you need to do around the house.

travel for free, house sit
You may just end up here..

3. Travel & Royalty Cards

I always thought this would be something that would take a lot of hassle and I couldn’t be bothered but this is a very efficient way to save your money.
How it works: Travel rewards credit cards work on a points-based system. You basically earn one point (mile) for each dollar/euro that you spend at the most basic level. However, you can usually earn extra points for certain purchases. How much you earn, and what you earn extra points for, depends on what type of loyalty program you are enrolled in and which credit card you are using. This way you can travel for free on your points.
The best cards for this are Capital One Venture, Chase Sapphire and the Barclay Arrival+ Card.

4. Free Camping

Although it’s totally cool to book an luxurious glamping trip, it is still possible to camp around the world for free. Yes, a little investment is required but a steady tent doesn’t have to cost much. Camping is widely available and in countries like Central America, The Caribbean or Mexico, camping on beaches can be completely free. Europe is also offering free options, especially in the UK, Ireland and Portugal. To make your life easier (and that’s what we’re here for!) there a site that listed all the free camping sites in the world. www.freecampsites.net If you have a Camper Van, you can always try to park it in the street and wish for the best. Some excitement never hurt anyone!

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Camping is a great way to see the world and travel for free

5. Work

Yeah, I know, this was not the plan but let’s be real for a second. Work pays off and get’s you a long way. It doesn’t mean you’ll need to work all the time but you can earn more money overseas sometimes than in your home country. (depending on where you live of course). Countries that pay well are Australia, (landscaping for instance!), The UK (work as a nanny), or try to wwoof. Fill your pockets in Australia and continue your travels in Asia for example. (very low living cost)

Work overseas. Picture by Danurwendho Adyakusuma
Work overseas and travel for free! 

6. Eat for free!

Honestly, it should not come to this, but if you are really out of cash and you don’t want to beg on the streets, this may be an option. You need food to function so it’s the one thing you can’t do without. There are ways to solve this problem and you can do it for free! Visit markets about 15 minutes before they close. A lot of times, perfectly ripe fruits and vegetables are thrown away so if you ask nicely, they might give it to you without hesitation. The same applies for bakeries. They can’t use their bread for the next day so they will give it to the poor, the garbage or to a hungry backpacker!  

travel for free, food by Luke Michael

I hope these tips will help and if you have an extra inside tip, don’t hesitate to comment below!

Love,

Elke

For more travel tips check here.

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Discover Vilnius, the underrated gem of Europe!

Vilnius is a place with lots of amazing architecture and delicious local cuisine. This guide will tell you about the best hotspots and foods that Vilnius has to offer!

Truth be told, I didn’t know anything about Vilnius or Lithuania in general. It is quite an unknown city in Europe, but it turned out to be a great place for a city trip with a variety of hotspots, historical buildings, culture, history and especially loads of foods. 

How to get there

Lithuania is situated in the north of Europe and is part of the Baltic states. There are several flights to Vilnius from Amsterdam, however only with Air Baltic you can fly directly from Amsterdam to Vilnius in 2 hours and 15 minutes. Other airlines like Lufthansa and LOT offer flights with one transfer. The airport of Vilnius is very close to the city centre and you can easily reach the centre by bus or train for less than €2.

Lithuania – a place just a 2-hours flight away from Amsterdam– is still fairly unknown as a tourist destination.

Where to stay

Vilnius is not that big so the city’s highlights are relatively close. There are many hostels for the budget traveller and hotels are available for as little as 30 euros per night for two persons. We stayed at the Amberton hotel which had the perfect location on Cathedral Square right in the middle of the city centre. If you want to have a really luxurious stay, I would recommend design hotel Pacai, which is modern and unique with authentic details like frescoes.

Pink Building Vilnius

What to see in the city centre

Not surprisingly, Vilnius Old Town is full of historical buildings with impressive architectural styles. I was amazed by all the architecture; around every corner you will find a building that takes your breath away. The streets of Vilnius are not very crowded and you can enjoy the beauty of the city without being disturbed by many tourists. Furthermore, everything is walkable! Here are some of the top spots of the city.

  • Cathedral Square
    This square is the heart of the city. You can spot the Cathedral Bell Tower, where you can climb to the top to have a perfect panoramic view of the city. You can also visit the Vilnius Cathedral and right next to it you’ll find the Grand Dukes Palace. In December there’s a Christmas market with a beautifully decorated Christmas tree in the middle.
  • The Uzupis area
    Uzupis is the oldest suburb of Vilnius and has been declared as the Republic of Uzupis by Lithuanian artists. Just walk around and take a look at the street art and beautiful buildings. Make sure you go to Paupio Street where you can find special plaques with 41 rules of the Republic in various languages. Close to Uzupis you can visit the Gothic St. Anne and St. Bernardine churches from the 15th century which are very impressive and statuesque. The beautiful St. Michael the Archangel Church is also nearby.
  • The Church of St. Casimir
    This building was one of my faves, mainly because of the beautiful pink exterior with baroque architecture. Since many of the houses surrounding the churches and historical buildings are quite small, you can spot the church from many different places in town. It’s easily recognizable with a golden crown on top of one of the towers.
  • Turgus Hales
    Many locals come to this market hall to do their shopping and you’ll occasionally spot a tourist. Roots is a particularly interesting little store, because it has the largest selection of Lithuanian handcrafted cheese in the country. The lovely ladies there are happy to let you try some of the cheeses.

Street Lithuania

Vilnius Church

Things do in and around Vilnius

  • Go by bike or step or make a trip with a hot air balloon
    You can easily get bikes in the city or rent an electric step to discover the Old Town. During spring and summer, you can even take a balloon ride over the historical city centre. Breath-taking views guaranteed!
  • Visit a museum
    Vilnius has various museums. The National Museum portrays the history and culture of Lithuania, but if you are particularly interested in the Soviet period of the country, you should visit the Museum of Genocide (KGB museum). The exhibition tells more about the terror of the Soviet Union in Lithuania and you can visit the prison complex.
  • Visit historical town Trakai
    Trakai is a small town with a rich and interesting history. It’s only a half-hour drive away from Vilnius. The Trakai castle is based on an island in the middle of the lake. You can visit the museum and find out more about the medieval history of Trakai and its inhabitants. If the weather is good you can also take a boat ride across the lake to see the castle from various viewpoints.

Trakai Castle
Trakai Castle

The city of great food

If you are a food lover, Vilnius will not disappoint. The locals really value their local produce and everywhere in the city you can find shops that sell unique local products. Cheese, fruit wine, rye bread, kvass (a soft-drink) and tree cake are popular amongst locals. Going on a food tour is a must-do if you’re a foodie! Vilnius has various restaurants with local cuisine, the ones below are definitely worth a visit!

  • Queensberry
    A special product of Lithuania is wine made of fruits like rhubarb, raspberry, and cherry. Queensberry is a good place to go if you want to try the different types of wines in combination with modern Lithuanian food. Do try the fried rye bread with cheese dip, it is so yummy!
  • Ertlio Namas
    Ertlio Namas is a very special restaurant where authentic Lithuanian cuisine is mixed with modern cuisine. You can choose a 4-course or 6-course tasting menu and the enthusiastic waiters will tell you a historical background story with each course.
  • Augustas ir Barbora
    If you want to visit a cafe which is Instagram worthy, then you should go here. The interior is filled with pink chairs and flowers on the ceiling. Grab a coffee here, have breakfast or enjoy various pies and tasty pastries.

Terrace Vilnius

Vilnius is the hidden gem of Northern Europe, so go there in 2020 (find out which destinations we recommend for this year) before everyone else knows about it!

Love,

Merel

*Merel is one of our guest editors in Rotterdam. She describes herself as a daydreaming student who loves to travel. Last year she made a 5-month backpacking trip through Asia and she can’t wait to see more of the world. Check her out on Instagram: @merel_d94.

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 x Travel Trends for 2020

What’s happening in the world of travel this coming year? A lot, if we believe the experts. They are predicting 8 travel trends for 2020 and we’ve lined them up for you. 

Are these travel trends for 2020 are here to stay? You decide!

1. Sustainable Travel

Needless to say, that the biggest travel trend of 2020 is sustainable travel. This is a big subject that can be divided into separate subjects like; fighting the plastic problem, flight shame, compensating and awareness. Millennials and Gen Z search for sustainability in their destination; looking for opportunities to use less plastic and to travel more sustainable by taking the train or sleep in eco hotels for example. Travel bloggers like @chelseakauai and environmental activist Greta Thunberg, raise awareness which inspires young travellers to think different. 

Chealsea Instagram

Tip: Find out how to actually compensate your CO2 emissions!

2. Space Travel

When it comes to traveling, we continue to push our boundaries and that includes space tourism. As a result, 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 travellers 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 travellers opt for adventure below sea level. 

3. Under Tourism

It’s the opposite of Mass or Over-Tourism. People are more into discovering less visited places, where, consequently, you’ll find less tourists. Mass tourism is also taking it’s toll on nature, that resulted in popular beaches like Maya Bay being closed to the public. By finding alternatives, you’ll gain a more local experience and you have more unique tales to tell. Firstly, two-thirds of travellers (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. Find out more than 150 less known places in the world in our new book Off the Beaten Track which is available from May 12th!

Off the beaten track by wander-lust

4. Travel to learn

For travellers, making meaningful trips is becoming increasingly important. More than half (56%) of travellers 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. For instance, we can totally relate and traveled to Bolivia 3 years ago to report about women rights. It was incredible, tough and we learned so much.

5. As easy as possible

In 2020, convenience will become the standard when it comes to technological innovations in the field of travel. The innovations that, according to travellers, 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 travellers 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 2020, a lot is going to happen in the travel world

6. The more personal, the better

The generic travel guides are history and make way for shorter but personally relevant content. One third of travellers (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. By the same token, personal is becoming increasingly important; individual recommendations are increasingly giving direction to each journey.

travel trends 2019
Be the travel trend

7. Awareness Travel

In 2020, the social, political and environmental problems of a possible travel destination will be examined before travellers actually book: 48% of travellers think that social problems in a travel destination are taken into account when deciding on a visit. In addition, travellers 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 travellers to see how LGBT + are friendly. 19% of travellers plan to visit a Pride festival in 2020, of which almost a third (30%) is between 18 and 34 years old.

8. Small is good

More than half of the travellers worldwide (53%) say they plan to make more weekend trips in 2020. 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. This also results in more train travel, which is better for the environment of course.


Take a city trip to Budapest!

Happy traveling in the year 2020!

Wander-Lust

Best destinations for 2020

According to Travel & Leisure, these destinations are the place to be in the new year.

We’ve compiled the top 10 to let you know why these destinations are hot and happening in 2020. Where are you going to be next year?

1. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Maybe you haven’t heard of this destination, but it’s the capital of Ethiopia. The reason it tops the list, is because of the expansion of the airport, the newly opened Zoma Museum, many galleries and the Addis Foto fest, held in December.

Addis Ethiopia

2. Arequipa, Peru

It seems like this Peruvian destination is finally getting some recognition. 

3. Asheville, North Carolina

The place that is well renowned for it’s musicians, artists and the vibrant food & wine culture. The region has many festivals, new bars and restaurants and a few quirky hotels to look forward to in the new year.

4. Austria

Obviously, we have heard of Austria, especially during wintertime. But what many forget, is that Austria is amazing during summer time! 

5. Baja Sur’s East Cape, Mexico

After years of development, Baja Sur’s East Cape is finally home to 1000 new luxury accommodations, new hotels and docks for expensive yachts. Yes, this one is for the jetsetters amongst us!

6. Barbados

In reality, Barbados became on the radar due to one famous resident, Rihanna. The carnival is the highlight of the year, but the beaches are worth something to travel for! In 2020 Barbados will host a year long festival, starting this January named ‘We Gatherin.

7. Beijing, China

Last year, the largest airport in the world opened in Beijing, designed by star architect Zaha Hadid. Next to that the “Forbidden City”, a wonderful palace-like complex in central Beijing, will open in 2020.

8. Big Island, Hawaii

On the contrary, Hawaii is totally different from Beijing, and focusses on nature in the year 2020. But also new development plans are well on their way with stunning hotels to keep an eye on.

Big Island Hawai

9. Botswana

Adventure seekers can be accommodated in the most fantastic safari lodges in 2020 when new eco-friendly places are opening in 2019/2020. The time to visit is now.

10. Boston

Notwithstanding New York, Boston is a great contender of being the new hotel capital of the USA in 2020. 5 new hotels (Four Seasons, Langham, Juliet, The Withney and Mirror Infinity Rooms) will open.


Our personal top five destinations for 2020 are:

1. Kazakstan

This underrated country is becoming more and more popular and we think you should visit it before it getting too busy. Most airlines fly to Almaty and from there you can travel to the Kolsai Lake Park where you’ll also find Lake Kaindy and the Sunken Forest.

2. Touradant, Morocco

Sarah just came back from this less known destination in Morocco. Find out why it’s worth a visit and where you can find the true culture of Morocco.

Taroudant region Morocco

3. Georgia

By far one of our favourite trips from 2019. Georgia has so much to offer, from mountains to green hills, amazing cuisine and even a buzzy nightlife! Read about the 12 must sees in Georgia of you only have a few days to explore!

4. Kirigzstan

Unfortunately, we haven’t been yet, but hopefully this will chance in the future. In our upcoming book Off the Beaten Track, we will talk about this amazing destination that will make you feel like you’re in 4 different countries at the same time. 

5. Doha

This luxury capital is located in Qatar and really surprised us in 2019. It is also home to the most amazing museum we’ve ever seen and the restaurants and hotels are amazing. Mind you, Doha isn’t cheap, but it’s a great option for a stopover!

NMOQ in Doha

5. Switzerland

We can’t praise Switzerland enough! Comparatively with Austria, it has lush mountains and nature, but Switzerland takes the award for being the most divers. We felt like being in Canada, and yet it’s so close to home. Are you thinking about driving to Switzerland in 2020, take a look at our full Swiss Guide.

Our best travel moments of 2019

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 2019.

Georgia

Individual press trip, February 2019
This is by far Elke’s most memorable press trip of 2019. We wanted to travel to Georgia for a while now, but with the release of our upcoming book Off the Beaten Track, we wanted to visit the countries less visited places. Unfortunately, Elke only had 4 days in total to explore, while there was so much more to see. Nevertheless, it was unforgettable! Read our article about Georgia.

Gergeti Church, Georgia

Sri Lanka

Holiday Sarah, Januari 2019
Sarah travelled to Sri Lanka with her boyfriend and was pleasantly surprised by the people, culture and amazing food. She felt safe and can highly recommend a trip here. If you are looking for a safari, read this first. Plus you can find detailed info in our 2,5 weeks Sri Lanka itinerary

Train ride Sri Lanka


Northern Iceland

National press trip, June 2019
To be honest, Iceland was always on our bucketlist, but became less urgent to visit due to the immens popularity (we always prefer to visit less mass tourism destinations). But fortunately, we received an invite for Northern Iceland which was absolutely amazing. Best of all, we hardly saw other tourists on the road! Our favourite spot? Check it in our article about Northern Iceland that is totally Off the Beaten Track.

Aldeyjarfoss, North Iceland

Oman

National press trip, March 2019
In like manner, this was also a destination we wanted to visit dearly. You can imagine Elke’s joy when Wander-Lust was invited by Visit Oman to explore the unknown country Oman. It was a week filled with adventure, dune bashing, culture, and we even saw sea turtles! It may not be your usual holiday destination, it’s more than worth it to explore! Read all about Elke’s adventure and tips for Oman.

Oman Desert
Wahabi Sands, Oman

Madeira Island, Portugal

National press trip, June 2019
We won’t blame you if you need to look up where Madeira is located on the world map. It belongs to Portugal and is located in the middle of the sea. Some people call it Europe’s Hawaï and we totally get why. Don’t come here for the beaches, but for the amazing nature, natural pools, dolphins, walking trails and their infamous Poncha drink. Read more on Madeira.

Madeira Guide

Thailand & Malaysia 2018/2019

Holiday Elke, Januari 2019
Elke’s first far away destination with her son, who was 1,5 years old at the time. It was the perfect destination to travel around and she made tons of new memories. Starting in Kuala Lumpur, they then traveled to Thailand’s Koh Lipe (pictured), Koh Adang and celebrated new years eve in Penang.

Koh Lipe Island Guide

Doha

Press trip, November 2019
Equally, the city of Doha really surprised us. Elke was invited by Qatar Airways (where she flew in the best business class ever!) to explore the capital of Qatar. It was 4 days filled with luxury, great food, loads of free time and wonderful people. Additionally, the Museum of Qatar is truly the most amazing museum we’ve seen.

NMOQ Doha
The amazing Museum of Qatar in Doha

Essaouira & Taroudant Morocco

Individual press trip, November 2019
Recently, Sarah travelled to a part of Morocco we weren’t familiar with, yet. For our book, we wanted to travel to places that weren’t overrun by mass tourism, like for example, Marrakech. Especially Taroudant surprised us. It was a truly local experience that we would highly recommend to anyone that wants to steer away from the usual travel experiences. The photo below was taken in hotel Jardin des Douars near Essaouira, one of the best hotels we’ve stayed in.

Hotel Jardin des Douars in Essaouira, Morocco

How about that for some of our best travel moments of 2019! And we are not finished yet.. 

Happy 2020!

Wander-Lust

A WINTER CITY TRIP TO ZURICH

Do you know a heavenly feeling? I had that sensation when I got the sympathetic invitation from airline SWISS to discover Zurich.

OK to be honest, I’ve seen a lot of our beautiful world, but I ‘used’ Switzerland only as a handy transit country. Why did I never go there for a holiday? Maybe because of my prejudices: ‘Oh boy, it’s far too expensive, too quiet for me and perhaps more fun for the elderly.’ I grabbed the opportunity to uncover if those ideas were real and flew to Switzerland for a city trip to Zurich (and if the chocolate is that yummy!)

Zurich in a nutshell

Where Amsterdam is full of hipsters, clumsy tourists on bikes and busy city sounds, Zurich is a bit of the opposite. It’s as big as our intimate Utrecht. When I arrived in the afternoon I was surprised by the calmness in the picturesque downtown streets. But when it became dusky and when the festive Christmas lights went on, Zurich seemed to awaken. One moment I thought I stepped into a scene, loved it! Not even to mention the cute Christmas stalls with the mulled wine and raclette smells throughout the city. Add the majestic buildings to that and you’ll get a very nice winter holiday feeling.

The town of Zurich
The cutest streets

Where to sleep?

After an active day full of impressions there’s nothing as good as ‘coming home’ in a nice boutique hotel room. My amazing, stylish room in the Marktgasse hotel did it for a 100 procent. I don’t know what it is, but I’m in love with boutique hotels and this great, tad upscale place from the 15th century has captured my heart. Nice to know: try the handsome cocktail bar on the ground floor. Tell the cocktail shaker what you prefer and he’ll blow you away with a custom made mix, just do it! www.marktgassehotel.ch/en

eten-drinken-en-slapen-in-zurich-6

What to do

So just so you know, I had less then 24 hours discovery time, but I can tell you that Zurich is very suitable for short city trips. Recommended is to do the traditional culinary Gourmet Tour or learn more about the interesting stories of the old city with the Old Town Tour, like I did. For sure they also have a lot of cool shops, like grocery shop Schwarzenback or taste the best sausages of Zurich at Sternen Grill.

Where to eat

I know it’s not my best kept secret that I’m a food lover, sweet tooth and gourmet to the max. Not so surprisingly I was so excited to discover if the Swiss had a good flavor…no doubt they have! I had my lunch break at Baltho Restaurant & Bar – it’s part of the Marktgasse hotel. My gosh, it was a food walhalla to share that opened in front of me: falafel with homemade baba ganoush, juicy Boeuf Bourguinon, bang-bang chicken and so on. You name it, we had it. Mouth watering, right?

Food at the Marktgasse Hotel
Typical Swiss food at the Marktgasse Hotel

Another food tip:

HILTL. According to the Guinness Book of World Records they are the first registered vegetarian restaurant in the world and nowadays they’re even the supplier of the vegetarian meals on SWISS flights, how cool. HILTL started more than one century ago with this very trendy and successful concept. In addition to their à la carte, they also have a buffet. Although ‘buffets’ often haven’t the best associations for Dutchies, I gave it a try. Wow, I’ve never seen something like that before – fresh, veggie food all over. Funny fact: they let you weight your food on a large scale as you know it from the supermarket. You pay a certain amount per 100 grams, as they want to avoid food waste. Good thinking!

Breakfast tip

Delish is the other restaurant of Marktgasse Hotel. The crew is so enormously hospitable – Amsterdam can learn a lot of this welcoming, pure people – plus my poached eggs with avocado where very tasty. Give it definitely a spot on your food bucket list!

delish-salad-selection_print
Salads at Delish

My Verdict

So this was exploring a city trip to Zurich through the eyes of a 26-year-old ‘wanderlust’ enthusiast. It’s a city that I would visit once in about five years again. For this it’s perfect. Big pluses were the fresh food and the hospitality in every shop, restaurant and bar. But one side note for your wallet: please be aware of the enormously high prices. I paid almost 11 euros for a healthy, takeaway shake at Juicery21 << hotspot alert >> So my prejudice about it’s far too expensive became a harsh reality, but the yummy Swiss chocolate made me forget it for a sec.

Juicery 21 Zurich
Juicery 21

wander-lust-friends-in-zurich
The blogger crew in Zurich (Sharmaine 3rd from left)

Love,

Sharmaine

*Sharmaine is one of our guest bloggers from the Netherlands with a sweet tooth. The sweeter, the better! She’s no kitchen princess but always in search for the best hotspots in Amsterdam! You can expect an article from her once a month! Check her out on @sharriefromsandmountains!

Sharmaine flew to Zurich in style! Check her review here:
Swiss in the sky

12 x Jobs that will take you around the World

If you love to travel, you’re probably keen to find a job that will take you around the world. You’ll be surprised how many jobs are out there, that may just be the perfect fit for you, and your travel ambitions.

We’ve lined up 12 cool jobs that will feed your wanderlust and take you around the world.

Flight Attendant

No surprise here right? This job literally takes you around the world. Sometimes you will fly to 6 different countries in one month! Do you want to know about the misconceptions of a flight attendant, check out this article where our guest editor Amber explains what it’s like!


Guest editor Amber is a flight attendant

PR/Marketing manager for an International brand

Sarah can tell you all about it. She works for a large fashion brand and flies around the world for PR events and meetings. If you work for an international company or brand, you are likely to fly to the head or sister office, once or twice a year. I used to work for a company that had offices in Hong Kong, Los Angeles, London and Sao Paolo. I saw a new destination every 2-3 months. Even though you are there to do your job, you always have some time to explore.

Au-Pair / Nanny 

It’s the perfect way to start a new life abroad because Au-Pairs live at someones house, plus you earn money and get to know the language. I did it when I was seventeen and started my nanny adventure in London. I ended up staying for seven years (!), and even though I quit my job as an Au-Pair, I learned a great deal and was ready to take on the world. Tip: Make sure you earn to the minimum standard. I got paid 50 pounds per week while most Au-pairs got 80 or 100 pounds. I didn’t know any better so check your resources before making the decision.

Cruiseline Worker

If you can sing, dance, entertain, serve drinks or clean, you are perfect for a cruise liner! It’s a great job right after your studies and it can pay quite well. You stop at some of the most amazing destinations like the Caribbean or Miami. Downside is that you won’t see your family for while and you might get bored with the ship after a few months. Still though, it’s a great option to see the world!


Cruise your way around the world

Tour Guide

Are you good in telling stories? Well, this might be the job for you! Bus tours, bicycle tours, hiking tours, boat tours, and the list can go on and on. Work for a company or start your own tour guide business! We met a great Dutch guy in Prague who set up his own bicycle tour guide company, which we booked a tour with.

Teacher

Preferably an English teacher. But teachers are wanted. Period. In Hawaii, they were so short on teachers, that they were offering housing and free flights! 

Snowboard / Ski Instructor

My boyfriend is a great example. After his studies he learned how to snowboard and left for Austria where he did taught people how to board off the snowy mountains. Once you finish the intensive instructor course, you can teach anywhere in the world as long as there is snow. Tip: know your languages! English, German and French are a big plus!


Jobs that will take you around the world? Snowboarding!

Who wouldn’t want to live in a tropical climate?

Diving Instructor

Australia, Thailand, The Bahamas, they all need diving instructors! Get you Padi licence and teach tourist and travelers how to dive. You can move from place to place but many instructors stay in the same place for a few months. I can’t blame them, who wouldn’t want to live in a tropical climate with sunshine and beautiful marina!

Aid Worker (international)

Do something great for the world and start to work for a good cause. Downside is that you won’t get paid a lot of money. Sometimes is even completely voluntary. However, you get a place to stay, food & drinks, plus you are part of something amazing.

This job takes me around the world, and I get paid to do it!

Truck Driver

This may not seem like the job you had in mind, but if you can drive trucks or you like driving in general, this job is for grabs. No need to speak a certain language fluently, no need for a bachelor degree. Just great driving skills!

Photographer

Now, this one is a little more difficult because there are so many good photographers out there. If you really want to start earning money with it, you need the skills, the contact and some luck. Start to work for local newspapers and work your way up to the travel magazines. Sent your best pictures to worldwide competitions and make a name for yourself. Nature and culture photographers travel the world and see the most unique places.

Travel Writer/Journalist

That’s me! I never had the ambition to become a travel writer but it happened and boy, did I made a good choice. This job takes me around the world, and I get paid to do it! It’s hard work but after a little investment in time, you can do it too! To find out how I became a full time travel blogger.


My job takes me around the world

Do you have a job that takes you around the world? Tell us!

Love,

Elke

More travel tips here!

Backpacking with Children » 5 Reasons To Do It

Do you know what backpacking means? If you type the word into Google you will find about 235.00 results. To many, backpacking means freedom, adventure, fun, meeting new people, and having little or nothing to fall back on. In short, a journey of discovery!

So when you have children, does this all change? As a mother of two, people often me and my partner how we ‘do it’ and they wonder if backpacking with children is even possible. I wasn’t always this flexible about travelling with my children so I understand where this question is coming from. It sounds exciting and adventurous but maybe it’s a bit too much? Here are 5 reasons why backpacking with children is always a good idea.

1. Create Forever Lasting Memories!

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

create-memories
Cheryl’s family Backpacking through Asia

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

2. Freedom and Adventure

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

3. It’s good for your budget

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

Taking care of their own backpack makes them more independent

4. They learn to be a little bit independent

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

5. You realise anything is possible

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

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

Tip! Lower your expectations

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

Tip! The less you bring, the better!

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

Tip! Take care of yourself and invest in a backpack!

Find an outdoor shop and try a number of different backpacks. You will see (and experience) that there’s a real difference in types. Find a store on and try several (including weights!), but we love this backpack for kids.

Love,

Cheryl

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

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

THE BEST OF DOHA, QATAR

Doha is considered the pearl of the middle east that set itself on the map after being elected for the 2022 World Cup. Time to find out why it’s good to travel to Doha now, before it’s becoming the next Dubai.

The city of Doha has many amazing sky scrapers, entertainment, shopping, glitch and glamour, yet it still offers an authentic culture and history. We were invited by Qatar Airways to see the best of Doha.

HOW TO GET THERE

Given that Qatar Airways is officially the best airline in the world, I was happy to fly with them for the first time. Luckily, I was upgraded into their QSuite (O Em Gee), which has been voted as the best business class by the Yearly World Airlines Awards, the oscars of aviation. For someone with a fear of flying, this was the most relaxing flight I had ever experienced. A direct flight to Doha takes about 6 hours, so that’s pretty reasonable. Qatar Airways for that matter, is offering Doha as a stopover, which you can add to your booking. As a matter of fact, if you fly with QR, you can get a discount on hotel prices. 4-star hotels are available for as little as 23USD! Nice to know: Qatar Airways offers all passengers 1 hour free wifi!


Business Class Qatar Airways
Enjoying the QSuite

THE STORY ABOUT QATAR & DOHA

First thing to remember is that Qatar is a reasonably small country which makes it fairly easy to travel around if you want to. You can actually drive from North to South Qatar in approximately 3 hours. As you may have heard, Qatar is one of the richest countries in the world due to their gas & oil, but it wasn’t always like this. For centuries, pearl harvesting used to be the main source of income for Qatari people. But due to the great depression and competition, pearls lost their value and the country needed to find other ways to earn a living. The pearl however, remains an important symbol of Qatar until this day.

Baskets at Souq Waqif

Doha on the other hand, is only 40 years old, which explains the modern vibe and ongoing construction. People often compare it to Dubai, but the people who live here, find Doha to be very different. For one, Dubai is all about entertainment, luxury and shopping. While Doha is certainly up there when it comes to luxury hotels, restaurants and bars, but also offers culture, sports and traditions.

GOOD TO KNOW

The best time to visit Doha is from October until the end of April. It must be remembered that the weather is undoubtedly less hot during those months with temperatures between 25 and 35 degrees. While this still seems quite warm, during summer period it can get up to 50ºC! It also has to be considered that Qatar is a muslim country, so dress accordingly. This means long dresses or trousers and try to cover your upper arms. On the contrary, you can wear pretty much whatever you want in most hotels. Alcohol is not served in public spaces, but only inside some restaurants and bars. That being said, I never heard a police siren while I was there, something I haven’t experienced in a city before.

Skyline

WHERE TO STAY

In general, there is enough choice when it comes to accommodation in Doha. For the most part, there are many big hotels, but the city also offers boutique style hotels and homestays. The best place to stay in Doha is in the West Bay area. Here you are near the airport, museums, and Souq Waqif. During my three-day trip I stayed in the following hotels.

  • Mandarin Oriental

    Brand new in Doha so modern and stylish. The rooms are truly exquisite and spacious. The hotel has an outdoor pool, 3 restaurants and a spa. Their latest gastronomic addition is Mosaic, an international kitchen with an Arabic twist. The location of the hotel is recently build, so taxi drivers may not find it that easily. On the positive side, Mandarin Oriental is located at walking distance of Souq Waqif!

Hotel pool

  • Marsa Malaz Kempinski

    In contrast to the Mandarin Oriental, Kempinski is more classical and larger. The entrance is quite impressive and the hotel offers a large pool area and a beach. They have a very cool must visit rooftop bar named Secret Garden and club that is only accessible via the parking lot. Bare in mind that the dresscode is smart/casual and visitors must bring their passports. Ask the reception for all the details.

Hotel bed

Kempinski Hotel Doha

The above mentioned hotels are both amazing but understandably not for every budget, so you are best to compare the best rated hotels online.

WHERE TO EAT

Luckily, Doha offers a wide range of cuisines and flavours. Even vegetarians have plenty of options! Here is a list of some must try restaurants.

  • Al Mourjan Restaurant offers some of the best Lebanese food in Doha. From the outside terrace you have an amazing view. Try the lemon/mint juice, amazing!
  • Nobu Doha is famous for sushi, but the same goes for their good service. The Japanese chefs welcome every new customer with a traditional greeting while working their magic behind the counter. Upstairs you can enjoy a drink at the bar, which overlooks part of Doha’s skyline. Nobu is part of the Four Seasons Hotel, due to open in early 2020.

Mezza in Doha

  • Apparently, Spicemarket is the best rated Asian restaurant in Doha. The restaurant which is located in the W-hotel, takes you on a journey across South East Asia and brings the authentic flavours to the table.
  • If you are a brunch person, go to Arc Brunch Eatery! Apparently they serve a killer coconut latte.
  • As previously mentioned, Mosaic is the newest restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental hotel. They offer a variety of Arabic food with a twist!
  • Spots like Soul Bowl and Evergreen Organics are made for those that crave something healthy and vegan. Plus both locations look cute!

Mosiac

Nice to know: Little did I know, but coffee is a thing in Doha! You’ll find many trendy coffee bars around the city and our favourites café’s are Flat White, Cue Café, Fleurs at Café, 20 Grams Coffee Bar, MIA Café and Tea Garden.

Coffee bar Doha
Cue café, in the Pearl (source)

CULTURE & TRADITIONS

You may not expect it, but Doha is full of culture and traditions. For example, the falcon, Qatars symbol and bird, is still as important as centuries ago. Some falcons even travel first class with their owners! At Souq Waqif you can find a falcon market where the birds are sold and traded. There is even a falcon hospital to keep them in good shape. The traditional Souq itself is also worth a visit. During the evening it gets more crowded but if you come between 7:30 – 12:00, you can take photo’s without hardly any people. They sell everything from handmade baskets, colourful carpets, spices, sweets and tools. The souq is also the best place for traditionally Arabic food, but you can also find Indian, Lebanese and Iranian food here.

Souq Waqif
Souq Waqif during the day

Doha Falcon

Museums

I never expected to find the best museum I have ever visited in Doha, but I did. The National Museum of Qatar is truly impressive. The design – inspired by a desert rose, is incredible. But once inside, NMOQ is curated beautifully. It takes you through the ancient times, including the amazing displays of  different species that live in Qatar. How pearls came and went, war and traditions. Not to mention that kids will love the interactive and playful set ups, while adults enjoy the beautiful indoor architecture and information.

NMOQ in Doha
The stunning National Museum of Qatar

But this is not the only museum Doha has on offer. MIA (Museum of Islamic Art) is also one of the city’s pride and joy. The building portraits a Qatari woman wearing a bourqa. From here you have a stunning view of Doha’s skyline. If you like modern art, check out Mathaf, Arab Museum of Modern Art. With new exhibitions each month, Doha also has many galleries. Find out more here.

MIA Museum in Doha
MIA Museum

THINGS TO DO IN DOHA

Equally important are the activities Doha has on offer. A unique selling point has to be the desert with one of the world’s natural wonders; the inland sea. Next to Namibia, Qatar is the only place on earth where the sea reaches the desert. You can book several tours that will take you dune bashing. If you come in the beginning or end of the month, the sea will reach the sand dunes completely, otherwise the sight of it may be a bit disappointing.

Desert Qatar
Me, in the desert. Photo by Roel van der Krabben

Desert and sea
Camels standing at the inland sea

Visit Banana Island

Besides the thrilling desert of Qatar, you can also spend an afternoon at the luxurious Banana Island Resort. From Doha City you can take a ferry in just 35 minutes that will take you to the man-build island. There are a few restaurants, pools and beach area for visitors to enjoy the day. If you want to stay the night, you need to bring your credit card, because it ain’t cheap! Even so, it’s perfect for honeymooners or to escape the city.

Banana Island entrace
The entrance of Banana Island Resort

Katara Cultural Village

What’s more, a whole village was build to bring different cultures together through art and creativity. There are shops, restaurants, theatre, exhibition area’s and festive events. Doha is full of expats and they love to come here to listen to familiar sounds and meet friends. There is also a stunning mosque which was designed by a woman, which is quite special.

Mosque
The Mosque at Cultural Village

MY VERDICT

Having experienced Doha for a few days, and can say that it’s the perfect city for a stopover before heading home or continuing your trip. With this intention you can truly enjoy the best of Doha. In short, the capital of Qatar can be quite expensive indeed, but if you if you want, you can go all out here and treat yourself to great food, sunshine, glitch and glamour. Hop from hotel bar to beautiful restaurants or experience rich culture the sand dunes and meet some of the nicest people as a bonus, both expats and locals.

And remember that Dubai once started out as Doha. Quietly and full ambition. I think it’s time to visit this relatively unknown destination and enjoy it before it becomes a place where you’ll become just another tourist.

Love,

Elke

 

 

 

 

10 X MOVIES THAT WILL TRIGGER YOUR WANDERLUST

toDo you need some inspiration for your travel bucket list? Or can you use a good dose of wanderlust on a rainy afternoon? Travel movies offer the solution! So sit back and dream for an hour or two with visuals of beautiful places which you can hopefully visit someday afterwards.

In my opinion, these are 10 of the most beautiful travel movies that you must see.

Into the wild (Alaska)

A wonderful movie about traveling solo. The main character, Christopher McCandless, gives away everything he has to prove that he does not need material to live. A special film about freedom, solitude and nature.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Hawaii)

The devastated Peter is going to Hawaii so he can relax and deal with the recent break-up with his ex-girlfriend. Once he is there, he finds out that his ex is staying at the same resort and she’s bringing along her new boyfriend. A hilarious film that is perfect for getting into the tropical Hawaiian atmosphere.

Hawaii | travel movies

The secret life of Walter Mitty (Greenland, Iceland, Afghanistan)

Who doesn’t want a great and compelling life, full of adventure and beautiful journeys? That is exactly what the protagonist Walter Mitty wants. He is a man who dreams of a new life, far away from his office. A recommendation if you want to see a feel-good travel movie that takes you to the most stunning places.

Midnight in Paris (Paris)

The movie Midnight in Paris is about a harmless yet clumsy American (Gil Pender) who is tired of his wife’s lack in interests. He decides to spend his time in Paris exploring its artistic and literary history. After watching this movie, I can assure you that you will fall in love with the French! Have you read our brand new Paris Guide yet?

Paris Guide 2020

Slumdog Millionaire (India)

In contrast to Paris, Slumdog Millionaire takes mostly place in the slums of India and shows a whole new side of the country. The film follows the 18-year-old Jamal who participates in the game program “Who wants to be a millionaire?” Let the movie take you on a fairy-tale journey through hectic India.

Eat pray love (Italy, India, Indonesia)

In the film adaptation of the book Eat Pray Love we follow Liz (Julia Roberts) on her journey of self-discovery through 3 countries. The first time I watched the movie I fell in love with all three locations where she ate (Italy) prayed (India) and found love (Bali).

Wander-Lust in Bali

Lost in Translation (Japan)

In the same fashion, this movie is also about love and friendship, set in Tokyo. The overwhelming metropolis is fairly truthfully portrayed. It is a must see for anyone traveling to Japan, but even without specific travel plans you can dream away due all the beautiful images that pass by.

Chef (U.S.)

This movie follows Chef Carl Casper as he tries to find meaning in his life and work by traveling from Miami to Los Angeles in his food truck. It’s an entertaining and very lovable feel good movie that makes you want to road trip through the U.S. and try out all kinds of food.

Wild (West America)

Unquestionably, Wild is appreciated by backpackers across the globe. Cheryl (Reese Witherspoon) decides to abandon her normal life and goes on a journey on her own. She has put set her sights on the Pacific Crest Trail, which is a long path that runs from the border with Canada in the north of America to the border with Mexico in the south of America.

Gift ideas for backpackers | Wander-Lust

Lord of the Rings (New Zealand)

From time to time, a travel movie like the Lord of the Rings captivates millions of fans all around the world. The fictional Middle-earth, where the story take place, seems to be a completely different world, although all scenes were shot in New Zealand (of course with editing, but still). It may be a fantasy adventure film; it remains one of my favourites. After watching, I always feel like planning a trip to beautiful New Zealand.

New Zealand travel movies

Happy watching!

Iris