New Hotel in Paris! Courtyard Paris Gare de Lyon

It’s time for a baby shower because the Marriot Hotel family is welcoming a new member. Her name is Courtyard Paris Gare de Lyon; a hotel created by business travelers, for business travelers. Consisting of 19 floors, 249 guestrooms and a 360° hypnotizing view. With her passionate personality, modern style and bubbly attitude she’s not only a valued addition to the Marriott chain but also to the city of l’amour & la moda; Paris

Courtyard meets Gare de Lyon
No more green, grey and white: courtyard is completely restyled. The design of the hotel is spacious and professional. No frills or overly decorated rooms. What I personally appreciate is that they manage to give the hotel a creative twist, but still very functional, by using a lots of yellow. By using Mondrian like lines as a symbol for train tracks throughout the building, the hotel integrates the surrounding, where the famous station Gare de Lyon is based. Not only the interior of the hotel is brand new. This old office building is completely renewed to match the restyling. Also on the outside you can find train track inspired details, like the lighted lines which form a rail design over the length of the building.

It’s not only the beautiful Courtyard Paris Gare de Lyon which will rejoice you looking out of the window. The hotel offers 46 rooms with Eiffel Tower view and 51 rooms where you can see the Sacré Coeur.

Courtyard Paris Gare de Lyon

Everything that you need and nothing more
By leaving out unnecessary luxury but only providing the standard necessities for a comfortable night sleep, Courtyard manage to offer quality for a lower price point. Simple and smart perfectly describes the room. The rooms have a modern design; clean and cozy at the same time which, for me, is the perfect combination. Because the strong focus on business travelers the rooms are also very suitable for catching up a few hours of work in between meetings (what I also should have done but the bed was too cozy so I took a power nap instead).

Lobby
The lobby of Courtyard Paris Gare de Lyon

In my opinion the room only had 2 downsides.
● They don’t offer room service, which is not possible for the current price point but still something you should take into account.
● The bathroom is really small. Very nicely designed, but small. This could also just be my room. And, alright, I’m 1,80m so it’s pretty easy to find something small but it took away some of the comfort 😉

Hotel view

International Food with a twist Francaise.
The menu is a combination of authentic, seasonal local specialties mixed with international dishes. The whole hotel staff is very passionate about the qualities of the kitchen which was a great thing to see. They don’t just focus on providing the guests with a meal, they aim to provide an experience. The chefs work with a lot of local produce, offer vegetarian options and even grow their own herbs on the roof. This is not only beneficial for the seasoning but also a far more sustainable way to cook which I strongly promote. Craving some good-old comfort food? No worries, you can still find the hamburg & fries on the menu.


Tip: had un croissant or plateau de fromages too many? The gym in the hotel is open 24-hours.

Re-discovering Paris
Courtyard Paris Gare de Lyon is not directly in the touristic centre of Paris but just wait with ordering your Uber right away. This area, the geographic centre of Paris, is an upcoming neighbourhood and currently attracting many millennials. Big-hitting must-see sights such a Bastille and Notre Dame de Paris are within walking distance. In addition, the area is also a transport hub so if you do want to visit the other side of the city there are many travel possibilities.

Paris
Colourful Rue Cremieux

Tip: Enjoy Paris from the water during a cruise or increase your instagram likes by taking a photo of the colorful photography hotspot Rue Cremieux.
Tip: Still got some energy left at the end of the day and want to jump into the nightlife? Wandering up towards Bastille you’ll find many bars but if you’re up for a new experiences, try LeCallbar. You’ll get your favorite drink served by a staff member only in underwear. Don’t ask me why.

Courtyard Paris Gare de Lyon

The most important question after visiting an hotel is: would I visit the Courtyard again? For me, it is a definite yes. The main reasons are the comfort of the rooms and functional but creative design of the hotel. It’s the perfect place for a business trip or even sightseeing weekend.
And let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to wake up standing eye to eye with the Eiffel Tower?

Courtyard Paris Gare de Lyon
209-211 Rue de Bercy, Paris
Website

Love,

Eva

*Eva is one of our guest bloggers from Amsterdam. She’s a city girl who only leaves her heels at home when wearing a backpack. Living by the urge to be where she’s not, to explore, experience, fall and get up. You can follow her on Instagram.

The Wanderlust of.. Instagram account @PrettyLittleLondon

After a press trip to Spain, we met London based Andrea, the co-founder of London @PrettyLittleLondon and owner of @dr_difilippo. Two amazing Instagram accounts that shows you the best of London, and the world has to offer. Want to know THE prettiest spots in London and are you curious about the story behind this amazing account, read on..

Nice to catch up with you again Andrea! Tell us a little bit about who you are and what @PrettyLittleLondon is all about.
@PrettyLittleLondon was created with the intention of showcasing the most beautiful hidden gems in London, which could be an undiscovered neighbourhood, a typical British pub, a colourful café or even a pretty door. Many Londoners tend to only explore their own neighbourhood and the main tourist attractions, but London is much much more, and we want them to get out of their comfort zone and start exploring!

Ice creams at Covent Garden Market, London, England.

We were amazed on how much London had to offer.

How did you and Sara come up with @PrettyLittleLondon, and did you guys ever expected it to be such a success?
I was working in an awful office job and was completely lacking creativity, so Sara thought it would be a good idea for us to buy a camera and start exploring the city we had lived in for over a year and knew nothing about. We started going on long walks and taking pictures, and we were amazed on how much London had to offer. We were looking for inspiration on Instagram but couldn’t really find anything a part from the obvious tourist attractions, which lead us to create an account where everyone could share anything they thought was ‘pretty’ in the city. We didn’t expect the account to grow so quickly, but we knew London needed an account like ours, it’s just such a pretty city!

Whale Natural History Museum
London’s natural history museum by Andrea

So you must know London pretty well by now. What’s your all time favourite spot and why?
There are so many, which makes it really hard to choose! But I really love Hampstead because it looks and feels like a small village within such a big city, so when I am looking to have a relaxing walk and take some nice pictures, that is my go-to spot.

Hamstead London
Hampstead, London

Elke lived in London for 7 years (near Hampstead actually!), but so much has changed over the years. What area in London do you think has stayed the most traditional?
I think the Southbank is pretty much the same as when I arrived in London and is – in my opinion – one of the best areas for a summer walk, with its stunning views and lovely atmosphere.

Our followers are loving the foodie hotspots; could you tip them 3 restaurants/café’s that are totally hot right now?
Again, there are so many! If I had to choose 3 though, it would have to be Elan Café, Mr Fogg’s and Coppa Club.


The amazing Elan Café

Coppa Club
The popular Coppa Club in London

Does this place even exist or was this just a dream?

Besides London, you guys travel a lot for Pretty Little Trips, what has been your favourite place so far?
Every place we have visited is unique in its own way, but if we had to choose our favourite so far it would have to be The Maldives. It’s one of those places that when you leave you ask yourself: ‘Does this place even exist or was this just a dream?’

What can we find in your carry-on luggage that you wouldn’t leave the house without?
The simple stuff, but necessary; my camera, power bank and laptop.

Maldives
The Maldives by Sara Helen Santini (@santinisarah)

Because you and Sara are a couple, we wonder; is it difficult to mix work with your relationship?
Not really, we are very good at separating work from our relationship, which means we can still switch off at the end of the day and enjoy our personal lives.

Andrea and Sara
Andrea and his Sara

Sounds very romantic! What can we expect of Pretty Little.. over the next few years?
We have a lot of projects and ideas we are working on, so expect a lot of surprises in the next 2-3 years!

Can’t wait! And finally; what kind of traveler would you consider yourself to be?
I am the traveller that will wake up at 6am to explore, and make the most of every second. (when I am in a new destination). Staying in the hotel to relax is not an option for me!

For London inspiration and the latest hotspots follow them on Instagram, or follow their other travel account @PrettyLittleTrips

Love,

Wander-Lust

*Header photo courtesy of @yaroslava_kirichok

 

 

 

All You Need to Know About Applying for a Travel Visa

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

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

Every country has different rules

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

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

travel

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

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

passport

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

Enjoy hassle free traveling!

Wander-Lust

The Better London – Why Manchester is the place to be

Whether you are looking for a city break in England or to settle permanently somewhere in the UK, Manchester is the place for you. How about London, I hear you ask. London is great, but there is more to England than just it’s capital. I am going to give you five reasons why you should go to Manchester on your next break, before you eventually decide to pack your bags and move there.

Experience the culture
Manchester is not only the home to two of the greatest football team (debatable but we’ll let this go for the purpose of this article), it is also the home of the longest running TV show in the UK, Coronation Street. Whilst the football fans can busy themselves at the Football Museum and enjoy tours to both Etihad Stadium and Old Trafford Stadium, the non-footballers can engage in some mind-scratchingly challenging games at the Crystal Maze LIVE Experience, just the TV show. If you’re someone who prefers a quieter and easier time, step into real life Hogwards. The John Rylands Library is a must, whether you are a Harry Potter fan or not.

Town Hall Manchester
Town Hall Manchester

From November to December, the city will be transformed into a magical German Christmas Market

As a growingly international city and with the help of both universities, University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester has attracted many internationals to reside in the city. The diverse population has also built the second largest Chinatown in the UK and the third largest in Europe! Here you’d find many authentic Asian cuisines and enjoy a festive celebration of Chinese New Year every February. From November to December, the city will be transformed into a magical German Christmas Market, with stores dotted all over the city center. Unlike London, you will not have to fight your way into the only Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park with thousands of visitors just to get your hands on a cup of overpriced mulled wine.

Manchester

Shop till you drop
Believe it or not, you don’t have to go to London to get your shopping fix. Here in Manchester, you can find three major malls one next to the other, and many more department stores and shops scattered all over the city center. Whether you are into designer brands or high street names, your needs will be satisfied either in Selfridges, Harvey Nichols or the biggest shopping mall in the city, Arndale Shopping Centre. For your convenience, the trio hurdle together in one corner of the city, only a mere 10-minute walk from Manchester Victoria train station, unlike in London where you have to walk miles or spend £2.20 each time you board the overcrowded tube.

Along Market Street where the entrance to Arndale is, you can find at least five different sneakers stores, a three-story big Urban Outfitters, WHSmith, Aldi (the cheapest supermarket), TKMaxx (for the off-season designer goods) and a four-story high Primark. You are most guaranteed to find whatever you are looking for. What’s more, there is a House of Fraser and a Debenhams opposite Primark, if you haven’t already bought enough as you wiggle your way through the crowd and up the street.

Should you prefer a quieter and more ‘sophisticated’ shopping experience, I’d suggest you head to King Street, where you will find various local boutiques, branded stores and pop ups. Although usually quieter than the main street, you will not be disappointed by the range and the number of shops you find here.

Manchester

If you find yourself constantly revisiting Brick Lane or Camden Town in London, Northern Quarter is just the place for you. Small enough not to tire you out but big enough to cater for your needs, whether that is a desire to treasure hunt in vintage stores or to look for your next Halloween outfit, Pop Boutique has you covered. Cow Vintage and Blue Rinse are just a few of the many vintage shops you can find in this uber cool quarter.

Manchester Food heaven
Unlike London, where you cannot enjoy the dining experience fully because you often have to keep track on how much you are spending, restaurants in Manchester are kinder to your purse without making you compromise on the variety or quality of food. Fancy some Italian? There are the sleek, high end Italian restaurant chain, San Carlo, dotted all over the city center for those who like to enjoy the finest Italian dining experience. There’s also Don Marco, which does an amazing lunch deal for £7 a course or £12 for two. Salvi’s Cucina is also an authentic option to go for! Fancy something cheaper? We have also your classic Carluccio’s, Pizza Express and Va Piano!

food in manchester

After that intense shopping spree, you need to refuel before you head home or do it all over again!

Just opposite Selfridges, Corn Exchange houses some of the most popular restaurants in the city. There you can find Vietnamese food, Indian, burgers and again, Italian. Across the street to Printswork, there are Mexican, Japanese and several pubs for those who’d rather enjoy their meal with a side of football. For those who enjoy a more authentic Asian dining experience, head to Chinatown to satisfy your cravings. Wasabi (not the London chain) is a more affordable and authentic alternative to Yo! Sushi and Try Thai does an amazing lunch deal. Its ground floor interior is also very grammable, which is always a bonus. Near but not in Chinatown, you can find the best Chinese restaurant in the city at The Rice Bowl – the perfect place to visit with a group of friends in order to taste as much as the menu as possible.

Whether you are coming from Manchester Piccadilly or not, I highly recommend you head to the Northern Quarter, where you will find the quirkiest and hippiest restaurants and cafes. There you will find the vegan legend – V Rev, where they serve the tastiest mac and cheese and vegan burgers! You also must not leave without stuffing your face with the BEST BURGER IN TOWN at Almost Famous. Get a grill-cheese sandwich to go from the Northern Grill. (I love it so much I’ve been featured in their insta!)

vegan burger

Save your pennies
One of the best thing about Manchester is that, although it is one of the major cities in the UK, it is much more affordable than London. It has basically everything that London has to offer: theatre – checked, Michelin star restaurants – checked, endless shops – checked, international community – checked… even employment opportunity is on par with the City, as many offices have set up their headquarters in Manchester because of the cheaper rents and lower expenses. International and national enterprises are shifting their attention from the capital city to this Northern capital because they realise that this is the place to be! Did you know that Tescos are more expensive in London than it is in Manchester?

The world is your oyster and Manchester is the ideal starting point

coffee spot in Manchester
Quirky but affordable coffee spots in Manchester

Gateway to your getaway
Should you ever run out of things to do in Manchester (impossible!), there are four train stations in the city, all fairly close to one another, to take you away to a town nearby or a city for away. Venture out to the Greater Manchester on a weekend and take a tram to Chorlton for an edgy brunch, or Alderly Edge to potentially bump into the Manchester footballers who live in one of the many mansions up the hill. Sheffield, Leeds, Liverpool or York are just an hour or so away by train and so much cheaper to get to than from London, which is only two hours away from Manchester! If you fancy escaping further and out of England, the Manchester Airport is easily accessed to by train, tram and taxi.

Even though the city is 90% rain, your mood will never be dampened by the weather because of the surrounding people.

Manchester is friendly
Because you have made it this far, I thought I’d give you something special. The final and most important reason of all, people in Manchester are much more friendly! You are more likely be greeted by a stranger with a smile on the tram than you would down south, where the image of miserable looking commuters on the London tube is no stranger to all. Even though the city is 90% rain, your mood will never be dampened by the weather because of the surrounding people. On top of that, the tragedy after an Ariana Grande’s concert a few years ago has brought Mancunians closer and the sense of community is so great it’s infectious.

Honestly, give it a go, get a train or book a flight there for your next trip, Manchester will leave you inspired and wanting more.

Love,

Chantelle

*Chantelle is one of our guest editor from Hong Kong. She has lived in three different countries and have travelled across many continents. Having been in England for the past nine years and graduated with a Law degree, she is now taking a break in Paris for the year as she figures out her next step in life. Always passport ready, she is an expert at traveling light and on a budget, although she still enjoys the occasional indulgence in a luxurious holiday. You can follow her on Instagram.

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

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

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

Philippines

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

Tao tour Philippines

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

Beach Philippines

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

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

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

Filipino fresh fish
Fresh food at the TAO Expedition

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

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

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

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

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

Keep on exploring!

John

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

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

 

7 x Weirdest Travel Foods Around the World

When you travel far and wide, you come across the strangest foods. I’ve been to a lot of countries and even though I’m a vegetarian, I see some weird stuff passing around the table. Let’s check out 7 of the weirdest travel foods around the world.

1. Chicken Feet in Hong Kong, China
The first day I arrived in Hong Kong, these lovely..eh Chicken Feet were served at my table of DimSum. The guy next to me dared and ate a few. He told me the next day that he spent most of the night on the toilet. In China this is an absolute delicacy. They are fried and served hot or cold as a snack before dinner. To me it was one of the most disgusting things I had ever seen..

Chicken Feet Hong Kong
Chinese chicken feet, served on my table…awesome. (Bleh)

2. Shirouo no odorigui (dancing ice fish) in Japan
A friend of mine traveled through Japan and came across the most amazing restaurants. The Sushi is overflowing and taste fresher than ever. He was willing to try everything and usually he let the chef surprise him. 
It was when he stayed at a traditional guesthouse when he was served one of the weirdest travel foods he had ever tried. Shirouo no odorigui. Small, almost transparent, fish that swam in a bowl of water. The idea is that you dip them into soya sauce and then eat them alive. (yes, alive!) The fish “dance” in your mouth, which explains the name! My friend tried it, but told me he wouldn’t do this again anytime soon..

Dancing Fish Japan
Dancing fish

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset
My friends traditional Japanese meal with the dancing fish top right

3. Witchetty grub, Australia
When I backpacked through Australia, I was offered this nutritious travel food that the aboriginals eat as a snack. Witchetty Grubs are basically fatty larvae who you may recognize from The Lion King, when Simba meets Timon and Pumba. (I love that movie!) Anyway, I was walking though the outback and my tour guide dared me to eat one if we found them. I said yes. Thank god we didn’t find any.


Juicy Witchetty Grubs..

4. Balut, Philippines
I’m off to the Philippines in a couple of weeks and I am really curious about the food they serve there. I’ve been told that I will have a hard time coping as a vegetarian-going vegan, because they serve a lot of meat. But one of their infamous delicacy’s is Balut. So what is it? It’s an egg. Not bad right? Wait for it.. Balut is a fertilized duck embryo boiled in the shell. So you’re basically eating a baby duck. Enjoy! :-s

Philippines-042013002(pp_w900_h599)
Not for me!  (source: http://dustincolephotos.com/)

Did you know that insects contain more protein then beef, pork or chicken?

5. Snake wine, South East Asia
What about some wine tasting in Southeast Asia? Not common right? Well, they do have a very special wine on offer. Snake wine. This popular alcoholic beverage is believed to have important restorative properties in countries including China and Vietnam. They sometimes mix the alcohol with the snakes bodily fluids, such as blood. Salut!

red wine
You want some Sssssssnake with that?

6. Haggis, Scotland
You may think that all the weird stuff come from the Asian countries. Not quite. In Scotland they eat something rather…disgusting if I may say so.
his mixture includes sheep’s heart, liver and lungs, onion, oatmeal, spices, and stock. This traditionally stuffed-into-a-sheep’s-stomach-dish, dates back to the 1400’s and is served as a main course on Robert Burns Day.

7. Fried Insects, Asia + Worldwide
When you walk around Khao San Road in Bangkok, you will see a dozen hotdog-like-stands, selling fried insects. Scorpions, Crickets, Larvae, Cockroaches and in some cases even Spiders (God help me). A few years back, people were shocked to see these disappear into someones mouth but times have changed. They now sell insects at trendy food markets and in some supermarkets all over the western world. I tried a worm croquet and a fried cricket once before, and believe it or not, it actually tasted pretty good. Good to know that insects contain more protein and less calories as beef or pork. If we would eat more insects and less meat, we could help mother earth a great bunch actually. This could well be the food of the future. Try it!

Food stall
Crickets for dinner? Not so weird after all

Are you brave enough to try these weird travel foods? I rest my case.
Enjoy your meal!

Love,

Elke

Hungry? Check out our travel inspired recipes!

The Wanderlust of.. Travel Couple Sebatical!

This next travel couple first caught our eye a couple of months ago when they appeared on our Instagram timeline. Besides their incredible good looks (yes, they both work as models), they took some time off to chase the adventure of a lifetime. Their amazing content and positive spirit, is something we love to share with you, so we asked them for an interview. This is the Wanderlust of.. Travel Couple SebBatical!

Tell our readers who you are and what do you guys do?
Hi Guys, we’re Sebastien and Marloes, together for 5 years, and currently on a sabbatical year around the world. We have been traveling for 11 months now and are already down to the last one. Furthermore, we are insane coffee lovers! Having coffee together somewhere beautiful is the best moment every day. Luckily, we’re in Australia now; coffee heaven. Oh, and we are incredibly fond of the ocean! We’re both kite-surfers, so that’s no big surprise. During this trip, we came to realise that the ocean makes us feel at home and we like to stay close to it. We are big road trip fanatics!!Our favorite way to explore the world would be by campervan.  We’re both very sporty and just love being outdoors.

Sebatical

We’re not typical backpackers; although we travel on a budget, we do like some comfort every now and then.

Where have you been so far, and what has been your favorite destination on this trip?
We started our trip in South East Asia where we traveled for two months. Just before our departure to Asia we were really exhausted. The final weeks felt like madness, filled with work obligations and last minute travel preps. We had been looking forward to our departure for as long as we had been planning the trip (2,5 years), but we just couldn’t get into the travel mode, not when we arrived in Kuala Lumpur and later on the Krabi coast of Thailand. We totally lost our balance there. While we were in need of some peace and quietness we went into tourist mode and rushed our way through the first couple of weeks. Funny how that happens to more people! We spend 6 weeks in Indonesia, visited Lombok and Bali, and finally calmed down a bit. Our favorite spot were definitely the Nusa Islands, next to Bali. Most travellers only spend a day or two here, but we stayed on Nusa Penida for three weeks! People say it is the Bali of 20 years ago. To us it was perfect: little tourists, away from the crowd, unpaved roads, untamed nature, super friendly and welcoming locals, Balinese culture to the max.


The Devils Tears, Bali

Sebatical

After two months in Asia we flew to our second destination: Cape Town – South Africa. Our happy place! We had been longing to go back there ever since we got there for the first time five years ago. Number 1 on our bucket list ever since: living in Cape Town for a while. That’s why we stayed for five months, and combined it with modeling jobs. We fell in love with the place all over again; the people, the nature, the climate, table mountain, the surfer lifestyle, the great kitesurfing wind, the ocean.. the food and wine!! After those months we made a huge life changing decision: we were going to extend our sabbatical year. Marloes quit her job in the Netherlands, meaning that we would both go freelance.

NZ Sebatical

From Capetown we flew to Melbourne, which was the last flight that we pre-booked in our ‘around the world ticket’. We arrived in Australia totally unprepared for the next couple of months, which led to some bumps on the road but also great adventure: the ultimate feeling of freedom. We flew to the South Island of New Zealand a few days later where we did a road trip for two months. Such an amazing country with beautiful nature. Untouched, pure, and very photogenic surroundings. Not much later we flew back to Melbourne, caught a flight to Cairns a week later and picked up our campervan. Now, we’ve been driving down the east coast for a month already. We want to stay longer at every place we pass by, and are already making plans to return to Australia in the future.

Marloes, you recently quit your job completely to continue traveling with Sebastien. What advice do you have for people that aren’t sure about taking the leap and doing the same?
Well, I still have to get used to the ‘recently completely quit your job to continue traveling’, part;) In my opinion, most people make it seem easier then it actually is. It’s nice to meet travelers who made the same choice, because although everybody has different backgrounds, they all have an interesting story to tell. I found out that the difficulty of it depends mostly on your mindset. To give you an example: I’m one of those who can make it very hard on myself. I have a tendency to overthink and see bumps on the road. It led me through lots of bumps and in the end to a state in which I just wasn’t afraid to fail anymore. This made me feel much more at ease. I changed my mindset and started looking for opportunities instead of failures. 

Marloes

I also changed my situation by taking a sabbatical year from work. Although my mind told me that I was far from ready for such a big adventure, I went anyway. That’s when things started coming my way. The successes I experienced during this year were a big motivator to keep going. They gave me courage to quit my job completely. And really guys, new doors will open when you take the leap. Don’t look back, commit to your choice. It probably sounds very cliché but it’s so true: what you believe, you attract. So believe in the road, embrace the uncertainty and trust on the magic of new beginnings. Things will come your way for sure. Oh, and in case you think that I got this all under control now, I have not. Still learning 😉

We need good vibes and natural beauty around us, something we’ve learnt during this year of traveling.

Sebatical couple

Have you guys always been so adventurous or did you start seeking more adventure when you two got together?
That’s a good one! Marloes; I’ve always had the dream to travel the world, but started working full time instead and never dared to really do it. Sebastien did the opposite, he had been traveling and working as a kitesurf instructor ever since he finished his studies. He even planned to emigrate to Australia before we started dating. After being apart for a few months, he changed his mind and decided to stay in the Netherlands for a little longer. We learnt a lot from each other since then: Sebastien learnt to commit and I learnt to let go. The adventure lust has always been there, we just implemented it differently. When combining it, the outcome is pretty amazing though:) Because besides the big worldtrip adventure that we started planning years ago, we like to put little adventures in every day. We don’t mind driving all the way to the coast for a quick sunset kitesurf session, or to wake up early on a busy day to have coffee together. We make sure to always have something to look forward to! Weekends are for road trips and small getaways, sunny days are for the beach and those moments in between are for coffee and adventure planning.

Start putting money aside, you can fill in all the details later

Something all of us are curious about, how do you guys fund your travels?
We get that question a lot! Well, we definitely don’t travel for free. We’ve been doing a lot of collaborations lately, we take photos and edit videos in return for a complimentary stay or tour. A great way to fund some extras. But regarding our world trip, we saved up money like normal human beings;) We had been planning this trip for 2,5 years before departure. One day we decided to take this dream to the next level and made a plan. We opened a saving account and started putting money aside monthly. The amount was based on how much we could miss and how much we would need for a whole year of traveling. We found tons of information on the web that made those calculations a lot easier. That information let to a to do list that was spread over the next 2,5 years. The list included monthly goals, like narrowing down the bucket list and brainstorming about our jobs and appartement. We also set a date: august 2017. We didn’t really get into details until months before departure. In the meantime we watched our savings grow and bought our around the world ticket. That was just amazing. The account was ‘holy’ to us, so we couldn’t mess with our world trip money even though it would mean that we had to watch our expenses. The best advice we can give to people who would like to do the same: just start!! 

Jumping

Traveling with a partner can be the best thing ever, but we can imagine that there are some off days? How do you cope with that?
It really is the best thing ever!! Looking back at this year, we’ve grown so much!! Individually and as a couple. Off course there are tons of struggles, but those moments are 100 percent worth it because you will come out so much better. When you both are lucky enough to find yourself while traveling, you will find each other after that. And as a bonus, you get to create some incredible memories together, memories that you won’t be able to share with anyone else. Saying all this doesn’t mean that we are perfectly happy all the time. The biggest challenge are indeed those off days, when being exhausted from moving around, feeling sick, dirty or just having an off day for no reason. It takes a lot of energy to like each other all the time, so hating each other is definitely part of the journey;) For us, a lot comes down to communication. No matter where you are in the world or what you’re doing, there is always a way to implement some alone-time in your travel life.


5 years and going strong..

You recently teamed up with Kilroy Travel (that’s how we found you!), are you planning to do more collaborations like that?
We absolutely love to work with Kilroy as they are travel enthusiasts themselves and know what they are talking about. We chose to book our around-the-world-ticket with Kilroy as it perfectly fitted our needs: providing the comfort of planning ahead, leaving enough flexibility for spontaneous adventures. With just a phone call away, they helped us out with some very stressful situations that we got ourselves into. As for the collaboration, we took over their Instagram twice now. We showed their followers what a road trip through New Zealand and Australia can be like. We got lots of interaction and exposure out of it. Last week they arranged a 5 day Fraser Island tour for us. We took pictures, shot a little video and had such a good time. We are doing more collabs lately and are planning to do more in the future. The ultimate dream of course would be to make a living out of photo- and videography. To be able to work from anywhere in the world, with just a laptop, camera and – kitesurf gear. Goals!!

We can tell you are pretty good with a camera and drone equipment, what’s the story there?
Sebastien; photography always had my interest. Once you are hooked you start seeing beautiful shots everywhere. Having a feeling for both sides of the camera helped me a lot during modeling jobs. A few months before departing on our trip, I jumped. I quit my job, sold my old gear and bought some new including a drone. Having a drone with you while traveling really is a big plus! There is a lot to consider though, as you need to check the local rules and regulations everywhere you go. You need full control of the drone, in every situation, so practice is a must! I hope to turn this passion for photo and videography into a paid hobby one day.

And finally, where are you two heading next and what is the plan? (if you have one)
Haha, we are happy to tell you that we have a plan indeed. At least for the next couple of months. We’re flying back home to the Netherlands halfway July, to see our friends and family again and to get our work going as well. Save up, and head back to Cape Town during winter for another modeling season. We would love to start a little business together, so we will be getting more into that while being on the road. After Cape Town.. not sure yet. We stil have a bucket list full of travel adventures and destinations. So, when everything turns out the way we believe it will, we definitely won’t get bored. As we said before, believe in the road.

Follow Marloes and Sebastien on Instagram @Seb_Batical or visit their YouTube Channel.

Love,

Wander-Lust

 

 

Shop all your favorite (travel) bags here!

We all know, that any traveler is in need of a travel bag, suitcases or just something pretty to walk around with and put all your stuff in. There are plenty of options and brands, but wouldn’t it be great if you could find everything into one place?

Duifhuizen Tassen & Koffers is a store and webshop from The Netherlands where you can find the best brands when it comes to bags and suitcases. The company was founded back in 1953 and has 26 locations around the country. Not having experienced the online platform before, it was time to purchase our first “online” suitcase.

Duifhuizentassen en koffers
Whatever your pick.. Duifhuizen has it!

We love the pastel colours and 50’s retro feel of SUITSUIT, and because Sarah was traveling to Coachella, we decided to purchase one of their suitcases. Mind you, there is plenty of choice, so don’t limit yourself! From Fjälraven, Eastpak and The North Face, to Samsonite or Delsey. They have it all! Ordering was easy peasy, and there were no shipping costs involved. Sarah’s suitcase was delivered the next day, which was awesome because it was a last minute thing. (Last-Minute-Girl is Sarah’s nickname). They can even deliver your purchase in the evening slot for free! Want to send it as a gift? Wrapping it, is also free. Ok! This saves you a lot of hassle, let me tell you.

SuitSuit by Duifhuizen tassen en koffers
Sarah in LA with her SUITSUIT suitcase

Not traveling and still in need of a quirky handbag of some sort? What about this must have festival pouch! The good thing about buying your travel essentials here, is because you know the quality is solid and you always have a great return policy. Shopping online for travel bags has never been so easy!


The musthave for this festival season! (source: Duifhuizen)

We’re curious if you have ever shopped online for your travel purchases, what was your experience?

Happy travels!

Elke

Duifhuizen Koffers & Tassen
Website / Facebook

*This article was written in collaboration with Duifhuizen. We only collaborate with brands and organisations that we believe in and offer a good product, so we can tip it to you, our readers in an honest way.

Why you should live abroad at least once in your lifetime

When I just turned seventeen years old, I moved to London. Why? Simply because I wanted to see what it was like. My plan was to live there for one year, and then explore the rest of the world. I ended up staying for 7 years.. I also lived in Los Angeles on and off for about 2 years. It was a great experience. It taught me so many life lessons. I came to London young and pretty naive when I look back at it but living abroad has made me into the women that I am today.

So, do you have any plans to live abroad? And is it for you? If so, these few lessons and tips may prepare you for one of the best decisions of your life. 

1. Stand on your own 2 feet
It’s about letting go of the save harbor and sailing away to a new experience. Yes, it might seem scary but taking that first step and just GO feels great.
You’ll be surprised how quickly you will become that independent person.

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Living abroad made me stand on my own 2 feet and gain my independence.

2. Learn a new language and culture
Ok, I probably picked one of the easiest countries to live in because in The Netherlands we all speak a fair bit of English. 
But I must say, every city speaks it’s own language and with it, it’s own culture. I learned to speak “the London way” and even understood it when people told me they were “Lee Marvin”. (which means Starvin’  in cockney English.) If you learn about different cultures and habits you will also become more open minded, which I think is a good thing. If you don’t know the language at all, take a course. It will make everything 10 times easier.

3. Meet new people (from all over the world)
If you’re going to move to a big city, you’re probably going to meet new friends with different nationalities. I’m still in contact with people from Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Mexico, England, Australia and the States. Some of these contacts have visited me back home and the other way around. This way you broaden your network.


Meet new friends for life.

4. You will get to know yourself (really really well)
There’s no better way of getting to know yourself whilst traveling or living abroad. Learn from your mistakes and get back up. Always listen to your intuition if you’re unsure.

5. Make a plan before you go
So, what will you do when you get there? Don’t go there with empty pockets. Save enough money to last you a few months or even better, find a job or course before you go. 
Depending on which country you may fly to, you may need to arrange a visa and working permits. When I moved over to London, I worked as an Au-Pair. This meant that I needed to look after the kids, clean the house and cook dinner. Is a good starting job when you are young and you want to integrate quickly. For this you need some experience and it’s always a good idea to get some sort of a diploma. 
For more information on how to start to work as an Au-Pair, check this website.

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Make a plan before you decide to leave your mark 

Let it happen and enjoy it

6. Fall in love
Whether it’s with a person or a city, you’re probably going to fall in love. Let it happen and enjoy it. It happened to me twice (I dated an English man for 5 years and a guy in LA for about 2,5 years) and although it didn’t work out, it helped me grow and taught me the life lessons we all need to know. Falling in love with a country, city or small town is a beautiful thing. Because you can always return and you will never forget the experience!

Falling in love abroad
Don’t be afraid to fall in love abroad..

7. You can make a new start
You may have fucked up a few times in your life. Or you may have done really good. It doesn’t matter because when you move to another country, you can start all over again! This is great. New friends, new habits, new food, new adventures. 

8. You will appreciate your home country
Homesickness. If you are a frequent traveler, you may have experienced this feeling before. Yes, I have called my mum up a few times, crying my eyes out because I didn’t like my job, didn’t have a lot of friends in the beginning or felt lonely. But I never gave up. At the end, you know you can always return. Nowadays we have so many channels that help us to get in touch with the home front that it is almost impossible to miss home! Living abroad makes you appreciate where you came from. Maybe you shouldn’t complain about the rain so much (sunshine everyday of the year can also get a bit boring believe it or not!) or you may appreciate your mothers home cooked dinners a lot more.

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When I stayed in sunny LA, I loved it when it rained now and then.

So whether you want to move to England, Miami or Australia. Prepare yourself for the best ride of your life and always stay true to yourself.
You’ll be fine!

Love,

Elke

Brides-Les-Bains » Wellness and Ski

Wellness combined with an active lifestyle. That’s how I can describe Brides-Les-Bains, a town in the middle of the French Alps. I was invited to explore the area so you can make the decision whether this town is the best option for you.

While Méribel is more high end and can be quite expensive, Brides-Les-Bains is more affordable

Brides-Les-Bains is the first town you will find when you visit the Three Valleys ski domain and consists of several towns; Courchevel, Val Thorens, Méribel, Les Menuires, Saint-Martin-de Belleville, La Tania, Orelle and Brides-Les-Bains. While Méribel is more high end and can be quite expensive, Brides-Les-Bains is more affordable and also very suitable for families and couples. The town’s name was named after the many thermal baths in the area, hence the name “Les Bains”. Back in the day, the town was mainly used by people that wanted to get their bodies back into shape but the Olympic Games back in 1992, gave Brides-Les-Bains a big boost and people from all over the world started to show interest in both wellness and skiing.

Brides Les Bains, France
Stunning views in the Valley

How to get there
Always a good way to start an article because if you can’t find it..;-) Brides-Les-Bains is about a 2 hour drive from Genève airport, which is only a 1 hour flight from Amsterdam. I prefer flying to a skiing destination because it saves you so much time! (I remember the days when I sat in the car for 13 hours, feeling pretty exhausted and having no energy left to go skiing the next morning). Flights cost around 180 euro’s return and if you book early, you might get a better deal!

Accommodation
Staying in Brides-Les-Bains is for those who are clever enough to spend less money but still enjoy the same slopes and activities as the people that like to stay closer to the mountain top. The “Olympe” cable car will take you right on top of the mountain and makes 2 stops which takes around 20 minutes in total. If you want to stay in Brides-Les-Bains, you have many options but one of the nicest hotels in town is the Mercure Grand Hotel Les Thermes. Why? Well, it has a spa for one (including a sauna and steam room!) and offers spa treatments such as facials and massages. There is a large restaurant that offers typical French food with a healthy twist, and the rooms are spacious and clean. Oh, and the bed sleeps magnificent! (I know because I slept like a baby) A double room will cost around 150 euro’s but if you book well in advance you..well, you catch my drift.

Relaxing the the spa


Lunch on the piste is healthy and nutritious! 

To Do’s
Ok, there will be skiing involved, (I promise you), but hear me out. Brides-Les-Bains actually has a lot more to offer than meets the eye. I tried a couple of different activities and I really loved them all. Whether it’s winter, or summertime, the area is a healthy destination 365 days a year. Let’s take a look:

» Skiing & Snowboarding. During the winter you can discover about 600 km of slopes. Insane! It’s suitable for beginners or pro’s and you can even take the chairlift to ski in Val Thorens.
» Après Ski. La Folie Douce is the place to be if you’re looking for a great party on the pistes. With a panoramic view of the mountains, you can have a lavish lunch here (expect high end prices), and enjoy a show of dance, singing and fireworks. People end up dancing on the tables and champagne is flowing in the VIP. Don’t forget that you still need to make it down in one piece! 😉

Brides Les Bains

» Biathlon. You know the winter Olympics, where they cross-country ski in between the trees and then take out a big gun and manage to shoot at a tiny bullseye? Well, I did just that, minus the 20km cross country skiing. Laying down on the snow, I hit all the targets, but standing up was soooo difficult. Imagine doing that after an intensive ski course. I really gained respect for this sport, that was originally used as a military exercise!
» Snowshoeing. Yep, this is an activity that might seem a bit dull at first, but it’s basically hiking through the snow and enjoying some of the best views in the valley! I personally love that kind of stuff because we walked through the trees and discovered an igloo, animal tracks and a restaurant where they served freshly made gluhwein!

Biathlon shooting

Gluhwein
The perfect stop after some snowshoeing

»Paragliding, for the daredevils, this is a wonderful activity. For me? Not so much.
» Helicopter Rides. There is a tiny airport at Méribel that is mainly used for hobbyist that own their own (small) planes but you can also book helicopter rides, with magnificent views over the valley.

Heli ride in maribel
Trying to look cool next to the Helicopter


Snowshoeing. Photo by Chris Konig

During the summer you can go hiking or mountain biking and most travelers come here to combine their active lifestyle with a chance to completely relax in the thermal baths.

Wellness
This topic needs a separate section because Brides-Les-Bains is really known for its spa life. Most decent hotels will have one and if they don’t you MUST visit the thermal baths just around the corner. It’s used all year round and the town is especially welcoming to those trying to lose a few pounds. Thermal baths are known for helping people with their weight loss because of the warm and cold water which helps circulate the blood. Weight loss treatments are actually covered by the French health insurance and doctors send overweight people to the spa’s in Brides-Les-Bains to get them back into a healthy shape. Most hotels within the area also offer low fat meals such as the Mercure Grand Hotel Les Thermes.

To find out more about Brides-Les-Bains, visit their website
For more info about the French Alpes check here.
 
Love,
 
Elke