Nowadays, there is so much written about the negative environmental impact of traveling that it almost seems impossible to buy a plane ticket without experiencing any form of guilt. Yet -being a traveler by heart- I’ll be the last person on this (still) beautiful planet to discourage you to jump on that plane towards your next new adventure. In fact, I’m telling you exactly what you do want to hear. Go explore the planet, travel the globe and visit the places of your dreams, but we’ll have to make some changes. Cause while we’re all focusing on that perfect world on our Instagram feed, the real world is slowly drowning in our love for her beauty.
One of those changes is putting sustainability on your holiday checklist. It’s the new IT-word that everybody talks about, but what exactly does it mean? I’ll teach you: Sustainability / Noun / [suh-stey-nuh-bil-i-tee] – the quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance. Well, that’s what the dictionary says. To me, sustainable travel is being mindful to the economic, environmental, and cultural impact of travel. So it doesn’t necessarily mean we all have to stop traveling around the globe. By not traveling we will actually create far more severe complications. Many countries depend on tourism as a main source of income. Closing the borders will delay the spread of knowledge, economic opportunities and of course… shutting down the money flow.
It’s about making some smarter decisions that will allow earth to slowly recover to their original ecosystem. So let’s put the money where the mouth is: hereby I provide you with an easy to use guidebook to decrease your own ecological footprint.
Choose your way of travel consciously. There are thousands of articles on how to travel cheap and comfortable, but (please) put sustainability on your check-list as well. Paradise might be closer than you think. We go on 15 hours flights to discover the world while we haven’t even discovered our own country. Find a balance between traveling far and staying closer to home. There’s nothing wrong with being a tourist in your own country. In fact, I promise you it will be more fun than you think. Calculate the Carbon Footprint of your Flight. Living in the Netherlands, I can understand that it’s sometimes unavoidable to travel further away. Although I love our small, flat, cow-country, it would be pretty difficult to climb mountains here… not to mention getting a tan. But if you can’t stop the urge to fly, you ca compensate by paying for your CO2. Calculate how much you use via this website or book a flightthat immediately compensates your CO2 emissions. Also make sure you book your flights with an airline that recycles waste from food, beverages and paper.
At your destination
Support the community you’re visiting by purchasing products from local suppliers. It’s better for the environment, supports the economy and it’s a great way to meet locals. Combine sightseeing with a workout: rent a bike or walk instead of hiring a car. The advantages are that you can stop whenever you want to take photo’s of the beautiful surroundings (or just a selfie cause the light is great). But moreover, you’ll work on your own health and the health of the globe. Go for an Eco accommodation. You can choose your hotel that gives you the chance to offset your carbon footprint when you make a booking. By choosing an Eco Resort, you also contribute to the local community. Organisations like Better Places make this possible. By the way, did you know trees can be planted with your donated money for example? Mi casa es tu casa. Treat your hotel room like it’s your own house: turn the lights and air conditioning off while leave your room. Eat vegetarian or vegan foods. Yes this is extremely sustainable. The production of meat and dairy causes more pollution than factories, flights and all traffic combined together. Eating vegetarian is also cheaper most of the time so it’s a win win situation!
Just as you explore the world, explore which of these guidelines work for you. They are all small steps, but small steps in de good direction. Combine them with your own ideas on how to decrease your ecological footprint and be mindful of your journey. Cause in the end we all want the same thing: make a contribution to a better world.
*Eva is one of our guest bloggers from Amsterdam. She’s a city girl who only leaves her heals at home when wearing a backpack. Living by the urge to be where she’s not, to explore, experience, fall and get up. You can follow her onInstagram.
Oh hello sunshine, nature, palmtrees and fresh coconuts! Are you planning (like most people we know) to visit the island of the gods, Bali? Here are some tips if you’re heading there for the first time.
Before you leave home
Visa and passport: in addition to a valid passport (which must be valid for at least 6 months) you also need a visa. You will receive this visa free of charge on arrival at the following international airports; Jakarta, Bali, Medan and Surabaya. You can stay in Bali for up to 30 days. Please note: arrival and departure days are counted and this free visa can not be extended. So if you want to stay longer than 30 days (and believe us, this happens), then you must arrange the visa before departure and make sure you have a return ticket, because that is mandatory.
Money: the currency on Bali is the Rupiah. Since banks are not everywhere and the exchange rate can fluctuate heavily, it is useful to exchange your money at the airport. Make sure you have enough money with you when traveling to a remote area.
Vaccinations: against Hepatitis A and DTP are recommended when you go to Indonesia on vacation. Fortunately, you do not have to take malaria pills in many areas; Bali and East and West Java are mostly malaria free. Check the map of malaria areas. And then you still have those annoying mosquitos. You do not hear them, but you do feel them! So it is handy to bring an anti-mosquito that contains DEET.
Kids Bali is a great place for those traveling with kids. Find out what you can do and what kids activitiesthere are with young children.
Suitcase or Backpack? Do you travel around for a long time and do you travel from place to place? Then we advise you to bring a backpack. There is often heavy-handed handling of your stuff and we have already experienced a few cases that go wrong. The disadvantage is of course that you can take less, but on the other hand you often take too much clothing, which is not necessary on Bali. Will it be a beach holiday and will you stay in a resort? Then a backpack is not necessary and a suitcase is very nice.
Packing tips In Bali you enjoy a tropical climate and the humidity can be high in some places. Some handy packing tips: 1. Pack as many light and cotton clothing as possible. 2. Bring along a long skirt and Sarong for when you visit one of the many temples. 3. Bring that hat! The sun is lovely, but nobody wants a sunstroke. 4. A one-suit is useful if you want to surf, it keeps your belly from getting scraped on the board. 5. If you are planning to go to Bali from December, then a thin rain jacket is useful.
Ready to surf?
Go check out » Dreamland Beach – the name says it all » Ubud – Rice Terraces, Healthy hotspots like Sari Organic and the Ubud Hanging Gardens resort (must see) » Canggu –Crate Café, Canggu-Desa Seni Yoga, The Chillhouse » Uluwatu – Rock Bar & Single Fin » Tanah Lot (just to take that one beautiful picture) » Nusa Lembongan, 30 min by boat – top for surfing
Better to avoid » Water from the tap. Buy your water in bottles and check if the cap is unopened. Drinking water safely? Then this thing is a godsend. Be careful with salads and peel the fruit well. Otherwise you might be more in the toilet than on the beach. » Petting dogs, especially when Although they look cute, their have been reports of rabies and Sarah got bitten last year and needed several injections. » Kuta. If you do not like mass tourism, avoid busy Kuta. Prices are higher, the food is not very tasty and the beach is a bit disappointing, mostly covered in plastic. However, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but we know that there are better places on Bali than Kuta.
Make a good deal whilst shopping for goodies
In Bali it’s normal to.. » Have your own ‘driver‘. This is a tip that you can certainly save money if you want to see the whole island. Learn a few words Balinese and make a clear arrangement with your taxi driver. If you do it right, he will drive you around for a fixed price. Use your good old intuition, but pay attention that he does not take you to all kinds of shops or tourist places where they might receive commission from. » Make some deals. It is a game between tourist and salesman, especially in the market you can play with the price. » Give tips. The friendly people in Bali are not very broad. Do they wear your suitcase or are you well helped? Give a nice tip. » Rent a scooter and explore the island. Make sure you always wear a helmet!
I flew from Cebu City to Puerto Princessa, the capital of Palawan. This is a town with a cute name but be warned; it’s not a place to chill in my opinion. The center is full of cars and tricycles and you need to get out of the center to find a place to chill. I stayed in a wonderful boutique hotel called Balay Tuko Garden. They have a swimming pool and a nice garden for about 40 euro’s per night during high season. Most people travel straight up to El Nido but I wanted to see some places in between. You have a few options: Sebang (the underground river), Port Barton and TayTay.
At the time, it was raining and I was told that most tours around the area got canceled as well as the underground river tour I wanted to do. If you do want to go, you should book this in advance at Puerto Princessa instead of booking it at the spot. No idea why, but that’s the way it works. It’s 1500 peso’s and it includes transportation, lunch and entrance fees. The Underground River is one of the longest navigable underground rivers in the world, with a total length of 8.2 Kilometers and you’ll go in a boat with about 5-6 people which will take you into a cave. Yes, it’s a tourist attraction but if you pass it on your way to El Nido, you might as well right?
Busy Puerto Princessa
I decided to take a van up to Port Barton. 3 hours from Puerto Princessa. After a very bumpy ride with our friendly driver, we arrived in the cute Port Barton. (yes, this town is cute!) At arrival, you are guided to the tourist office where you pay a small environmental fee of 50 peso’s (1 euro) and you are given a few options on where to stay. A young man (called David) offered us a room and although we were a bit skeptical, he took us to a nice place where we met more travelers (lot’s of hippies!) and we only paid 600 peso’s a night. The place is called Pisces and although the rooms are simple, it’s clean and the owners are extremely helpful and friendly.
Eating coconuts at White Beach, Port Barton
Port Barton is a place for the traveler that wants to chill, save money and enjoys the simple things in life. You can go snorkeling, visit the Pamuayan waterfall (1,5 walk and make sure you ask the way) or check out the amazing white beach. (1 hour walk, no restaurant, bring water) We booked a snorkeling tour for 700 peso’s with David and his crew and I can highly recommend this! You depart at 9am and return around 5pm. You eat a freshly prepared lunch on a beautiful beach and visit some snorkeling spots.
Fresh fish and veggies at the snorkel tour, Port Barton
Tip » Bring enough cash to El Nido! Do this in Puerto Princessa or even Cebu if you’re there beforehand. There are no ATM’s in Port Barton and El Nido only has one. If it’s empty, you have a problem. If you do get into money troubles, check the western union which is now situated inside the First Consolidated Bank.
Where to eat
Port Barton isn’t that large but has quite a nice variety of nice places to eat. » Ausan Beachhouse Restaurant –along the beach Eat in a treehouse! » Evergreen –in the villagegreat breakfast and dinner. (my evening meal took a loooong time, but it was delicious) » Barton Bistro –I haven’t tried it but I’ve heard great stories! » Greenview –beach view and live music on several days in this popular hotel Warning: Jambalaya Cajun Cafe, (recognisable of a big smiley face on the front) the Lonely Planet describes this as one of the best places to drink coffee but I had a glass of warm milk that they called a latte. It’s also extremely expensive and they are too overconfident.
Where to sleep
» Ausan beachhouse cottages – sleep in a treehouse for about 1200 peso’s » Pisces – this is where I slept. Good vibes and only 600 peso’s a night. Mind you, it’s very basic, but perfect for the backpacker that wants to save some money. The locals are very nice here.
Eat in a treehouse at Ausan Beachhouse cottages. Source
Nearby Port Barton
It’s a long drive from Port Barton to El Nido, so if you have time break up the long trip with a stop at the gorgeous white sand Lumambong Beach halfway between the two.
»Lumambong Beach – This undiscovered gem is closer down by San Vicente, has a sparkling white sand beach and is completely undeveloped so you’ll have the whole beach to yourself. We’re excited to check out the Binga Beach Resort opening there soon with big glamping cabins right by the beach. It’s currently under construction and they are planning to open in April/May 2019.
After 3 days it was time to move on and travel to El Nido. Another 4 hours in a van. Make sure to book it at least one day in advance and ask to sit in the front if you get car sick. You can describe El Nido as a vibrant little town with a lot of underdevelopment. Like most of the Philippines, the houses and shops are self build and nothing seems to be finished. But thats the charm of El Nido. It’s a fishers town overrun by tourist that come for one thing only; El Nido’s many islands. Once at sea, your mouth will fall open when you see the beautiful rock formations and lagoons.
Which Palawan tour to pick?
The most popular thing to do in El Nido is to take a tour around the islands. You can choose from tours A, B, C and some have tour D (whatever that may be) Usually, it includes lunch and snorkeling gear. To make your life easier I’ve made a shortlist of the ones I can recommend: » Kraken Tour not the cheapest but highly recommended. Music, lunch, drinks, WiFi, kayaks, paddle board, snorkel materials are included. Check here for more info » The Artcafe tours. with Kayak 1900 peso’s. (recommended if you take tour A) no snorkling gear included. Accepts credit card. » Northern Hope Tours. Professional and recommended by various sites. Book here All tours are best booked in El Nido. (via the website you may need to pay an extra fee)
Furthermore, you can also book the famous Tao Expedition from El Nido.
Tour A takes you to the picture perfect Big Lagoon
Diving & more
Another popular activity is diving. There are also plenty dive shops to choose from but I chose Adventurous Scuba. Smaller than some of the flashy expensive dive shops but more personal and professional. 3400 peso’s for 3 dives after a bit of deal making. We had a lovely scuba instructor called Bernie who was really nice to talk with. I can definitely recommend him! They are located in the same street as the Art Cafe, right at the end on the left side.
Massages are also widely available in El Nido. Expect nothing more than a few curtains to divide the guest but hey, this is Asia and you’ll only pay 400 peso’s for one hour. Above all, they are based in El Nido town. Just follow the “massaaaaaaage” voices and you’re good.
Beautiful diving spots
Where to shop
To clarify, El Nido is not a place to get the best fashion items but there are some nice shops if you walk around. The best shop in town is without doubt Little Corner of Paradise. They sell tops, shirts, bikini’s, summer dresses and jewellery. Run by a French girl, it’s right across from a cute muffin/coffee store that shares the same owner. Another good place for shopping is BAZAAR. Just 2 minutes out of the centre, you will find a nice place where you will find 3 stores (bags, flip-flops, clothes) food and drinks. Also, you can also book a massage upstairs which is definitely worth the 100 peso’s extra from what you pay in town. On Sunday’s they throw a small electro party with DJ’s and cocktails. Bazaar feels like a little European community in the middle of El Nido.
Food & Drink
Someone has to say it so I guess it will be me; the food in El Nido isn’t great. It’s OK if you eat meat but as a vegetarian you’ve got a bit of a problem. There are a few places that serve good food and these were exactly the places I would eat day after day. » Art Cafe – great curries, fish and breakfast » BAZAAR asian kitchen – just opened!Amazing Japanese dishes » Deli Nido Café – the best Frappuchino in town hands down » Bagel V & V – the girls who work there are a bit moody but the homemade bagels are nice enough to go there
Small but great coffee
Where to stay
There are many accommodations to choose from but don’t expect anything top of the range. Even if you pay a bit more, you will get a basic room. You can always opt for the expensive El Nido Resorts but you just don’t want to to that (unless you want to eat nothing else but plain rice for the rest of your holiday) » Sei Nazioni Cottages – Cute cottages in the middle of town with en-suite options and air-con. » The Resort Bayview Hotel – Nice view. Book here »Anywhere along Marimegmeg Beach – I’ve seen some nice cottages there you should check out.
Sei Nazioni Cottages, El Nido town
Thankfully, it’s not like Koh PhiPhi in Thailand were the beach turns into a place full of drunk teenagers. Well, El Nido does it a bit different. After dinner people go to the beachbars and the Pukka Bar is everyones favorite. That is to say, they play cool reggae music with a pretty sick live band that gets the crowd dancing until about 3am. Other beachbars are more chilled and close a bit earlier (around midnight) Bazaar throws a party on Sundays and it nice for drinks, ping pong and the occasional darts. La Place is a lively beachbar situated alongside Corong Corong beach and they host a few parties a week. With a small pool in the middle and the DJ booth high up, they come closest to a real club in El Nido. Expect deep/techhouse music.
. The Kala Bar is part of the Bazaar
Around El Nido
Rent a scooter for a day or 2 and explore! A few places you can visit: » Duli beach – If you get there before 1pm, you might be the only person on the beach. There is one resort called Duli Beach resort and it’s run by a Dutch couple. Rooms are around 1000 peso’s a night and you’ll wake up on an amazing long stretched beach. Warning »You might be asked for a fee before entering the bumpy road up to the beach. » Nacpan Beach – This is the most touristic beach around El Nido. It’s part of Twin beach and you can eat tasty mussels here. » Marimegmeg Beach – Just a short tricycle ride from El Nido town you’ll find this beach with one of the best views you’ll ever see. There are a few beach restaurants and resorts where you can eat.
Swing at the Duli Beach Resort (the beach is empty!)
Nice food at Nacpan Beach, Palawan
Walk on Marimegmeg Beach and watch the sunset
To summarise, Palawan’s beauty is truly breathtaking but be prepared to go back in time a little bit. Less tourist (positive), less tasty food than you might be used to in Asia, beautiful nature, but not a lot of beautiful architecture. Beaches enough though! Drop me a line in the comments if you need any other tips!
Newcastle is one of those forgotten cities in Europe that should get a little more deserved attention. It’s certainly not full of Geordie Shore stereo types as you might expect. Actually, the people are far more friendlier and open than you will find in London.
This city has a lot of history and you can find many old industrial buildings around Newcastle that make it look really cool. Wander-Lust was invited to experience a mini cruise trip to the city.
Book a Mini Cruise with DFDS
The perception that cruises are just for old couples is long gone but that a cruise can be booked for just a weekend wasn’t something I knew much about. Last weekend I went on a 4-day mini cruise with DFDS. This Danish ship company has been around for 150 years and I booked a route that has been traveled for over 21 years now. Route IJmuiden to Newcastle and back. It takes about 15 hours to get across to England so the ship is equipped with shops, bars, restaurants, a cinema and even a casino area! The ships fits around 1400 passengers on board and you can book different accommodations from standard to deluxe suits. You don’t have to look far for food because there are about 4 different restaurants on board and a few cafe’s! Try the breakfast buffet at the Little Italy restaurant where you can get pancakes, fresh fruit and more. Tip » turn off your roaming as the data cost at sea are extremely high!
Dinner at one of the many restaurants, titanic moment and my cozy room
There is even a Wildlife Info Center on the ship and there is a guide available during the whale spotting season which runs from March to the end of September. There are several options when it comes to sleeping. You can book a standard room which fits 4 people or you can book a deluxe suite on the 10th deck which gives you a nice double bed and all rooms have a sea view. Such a Titanic moment! Bring some seasick pills just in case you can’t handle the rocking of the boat. On arrival you don’t have to wait for your suitcases or long lines for the passport control as you do at airports.
WHAT TO SEE & DO
Once you’ve arrived in Newcastle, you will notice the old buildings and friendly faces. People grab their breakfast and chat to each other, the vibe here is good. The ship arrives in the morning so you have a full day to explore! » Ouseburn Valley is an old industrial area which is now full of arts and craftsmen. Many old buildings remain which makes it a cool area to walk around in. It’s really up and coming. Pay a visit to the Organic Urban Garden and cuddle with the cows, pigs or bunnies. » Check out the Baltic Museum for contemporary art and see works from the likes of Damien Hirst. All museums in Newcastle are free of charge. » Walk over the many bridges of Newcastle, The Tyne bridge is the most famous one and was designed by the same company that build the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Although the Tyne bridge was actually finished 5 years earlier. The Millennium bridge is the newest one and won several designer prices for it being so energy efficiënt. When we bridge opens, it tilts and takes around 4 min. The bridge is only open for bicycles and pedestrians. » Go for a bicycle tour, we booked ours at The Cycle Hub which I can really recommend! (the place is also nice for grabbing a coffee.
There are so many monumental buildings in Newcastle, it sometimes reminded me of New York!
The view from the King Edward VII bridge, looking at the Tyne Bridge
WHERE TO EAT/DRINK
» Let’s start with some good coffee and check out Laneway & Co for specialty coffee espresso. » Visit The Botanist for cocktails and very innovating food with a garden theme. Your starters are served in a flower pot and your mains in a small garden shovel. Crazy. It used to be a shopping center that never really did it for the crowd but The Botanist, now 2 years old, is always full of people and offers live music during the weekend. The interior is somewhat special with a large treehouse that also functions as a bar. Worth paying a visit! www.thebotanist.uk.com » Grab some tea and cake at Violets, a cute little cafe on Quayside. www.instagram.com/violetscafe » Go to The Tyneside Cafe when it rains, grab a movie and some all day breakfast and lunch in this cinema cafe.Website » The Herb Garden is a great place with an awesome decor on the ceiling plus great for healthy options. Their homemade pizzas with a crunchy thin crust are famous. www.theherbgardenuk.com
The botanist, The Herb Garden and poached eggs at Tyneside Cafe
WHERE TO SHOP
Newcastle is also known for shopping. There are several shopping malls that have a lot on offer like Topshop and other big names. » Grainger Market is a inside market hall which dates back to 1835. People come here for food, small lunches, clothes, dairy and meat. You can find the smallest Marks & Spencers here. When you get the chance, look for the Pet Lamb patisserie for cakes and tarts. » On Sundays there is a market alongside the Tyne river, starting at the Tyne bridge right over to the millennium bridge where you can find local treats, handcrafted goods and clothes. Watch out for the old man at the end of the market as he sells everything with a sweet little lie and it’s hilarious to watch!
Sunday market alongside the Tyne
Cakes, Cakes and more Cakes at the Pet Lamb Patisserie inside Grainger Market
I think we probably slept at one of the trendiest hotels in Newcastle
I think we probably slept at one of the trendiest hotels in Newcastle and I really loved the look of it. The building has a historic feel to it with the bricks featured in the entrance. Although Motel One is a hotel group widely spread all over the world, this hotel felt cozy and boutique like. Rooms go for as little ad £59 which isn’t much for British standards. The breakfast buffet is good and the rooms are very comfortable. Book your stay here.
My tip on where to stay: Motel One
My verdict is that Newcastle is a city that’s perfect for a weekend with friends or your partner. You can go crazy if you like but if you’re a foodie and explorer like me, Newcastle won’t disappoint! Book your own minicruise at www.dfdsseaways.nl(select your language) and visit this vibrant city!
As the year comes to an end, it’s time for one of those lists that reminds us, that we are blessed to do this thing we call our job. We travelled far and wide, met new people along the way, and left with a suitcase full of new memories. Here are our best travel moments of 2018.
ISAN, Thailand International press trip, February 2018 This is by far Elke’s most memorable press trip of 2018. Because we were the first ever international media that had been sent to this region, it was even more special. Elke travelled side-by-side with people from Vienna, UK, Dubai, Romania, Germany and more. The trip took us across the North East region of Thailand, a less explored area, which means less to none tourists, a lot of culture, local food, and stunning nature. We visited several national parks, which included a canyon (San Phan Bok) that consist of thousands of holes, some filled with rainwater. To read the whole story check https://www.wander-lust.nl/off-the-beaten-track-isan-northeast-thailand/.
Our first trip as Wander-Lust Agency, Zarautz Wander-Lust Agency, September 2018 This summer, we launched our Wander-Lust Agency. Here we connect influencers to brands at a beautiful location. For our first trip, we took influencers @bentheliem and @elisebak. 2 lovely girls with a great style, which we connected to Loreal Biolage, Protest Women, Eastpak and Havaianas. We stayed at Zarautz Surfing Village and slept in deluxe tipi tents. During the day we surfed, explored the area and practised yoga. San Sebastian was only a short train ride away, so great for pincho’s, good coffee and shopping! Are you a brand or influencer that wants to collaborate? Send us an email: info@wander-Lust.nl.
Cruising across the French rivers, without a permit Testing Nicols Boats on the Saône river, July 2018 It was something we had never heard of before, but when Elke got the chance to cruise over the French rivers, and there was no sailing permit needed, she said yes immediately. “Nicols invite me to try it for one week. Cruising from Dole, all the way up to Port Sur Saône by boat. Or may I say yacht. It was huge! The boat they provided for us, was the Estivale Sixto. It had 3 bedrooms, 2 toilets, 2 bathrooms, a kitchen and a living area. Oh, and I forgot to mention the large sundeck big enough for 8 people. Instead of 8 people, me, my hubby and our child Caiden opted for the challenge”. Good news if you want to try this in Holland, Nicols is offering a Dutch route this year! More on that soon..Read the full experience here: https://www.wander-lust.nl/cruising-the-rivers-of-france-with-nicols-without-a-license/
A must try!
Coachella Festival Palm Springs, CA, April 2018 The festival of festivals. Coachella is everything you would expect it to be and more. It was Sarah’s 2nd time at Coachella, and it didn’t disappoint. With performances from Beyoncé (including Destiny’s Child!!), Dr Dré, Eminem, and many more, it was a week to remember. Will you go next year?
Greece Perdika, August 2018 As you guys know, we are big fans of Greece. It’s so stunning, the weather is perfect, the food is yummie and the people are warm and welcoming. Therefore we visit Greece at least every two years to recharge our batteries. Last summer, Elke visited Perdika for the 32nd time (yes, not a lie) to be at her best friend’s Big Fat Greek wedding. Do you want to know more about this part of Greece? Check https://www.wander-lust.nl/greece-explore-the-ionian-islands/
Wine Tasting with Campo Viejo North Spain, San Sebastian, September 2018 Campo Viejo is a Spanish wine brand that specializes in red wine that comes from the La Rioja region. If you live in The Netherlands, you may have seen their bottles in the Albert Heijn supermarket. Sarah and I are both winelovers, so you we said yes immediately. La Rioja is region located in North Spain and is renowned for it’s local wine industry. The climate is very different than that from Southern Spain, so therefore the wines also taste different. You can fly to Bilbao with KLM and it’s only a 2 hour flight. From there you’ll need to continue by car or bus, as it’s in the middle of the mountains. It was a great trip with lovely people and so much fun!
Club Med Cefalu Sicily, October 2018 We experienced the newly opened Club Med Cefalu in Sicily for 6 whole days! The all-inclusive members club is giving their guests the opportunity to relax in this 4 star coastal resort. Several pools, a gym, tennis court and three different restaurants. This place was heaven. Yes, it’s for the traveler that has a little more money to spend, but every dime is worth it. Sometimes you need to treat yourself a little bit, and Club Med is making sure you are treated just fine! (ok, maybe a lot more than fine). Elke also had the chance to explore Sicily which was awesome.
How about that for some of our best travel moments of 2018! And we are not finished yet.. Elke is flying to Malaysia and Koh Lipe this month, so stay tuned on Instagram.
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 2019 and we’ve lined them up for you.
Are these travel trends to stay? You decide!
1. 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. We can totally relate and traveled to Bolivia 2 years ago to report about women rights. It was incredible, tough and we learned so much.
2. As easy as possible
In 2019, convenience will become the standard when it comes to technological innovations in the field of travel. The innovations that, according to 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.
In 2019, a lot is going to happen in the travel world
3. Discover the unknown
When it comes to traveling, we continue to push our boundaries and that includes space tourism. 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.
4. 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.
Be the travel trend
5. Awareness Travel
In 2019, 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 2019, of which almost a third (30%) is between 18 and 34 years old.
6. Fight the plastic problem
One massive travel trend of 2019 is fighting the plastic problem. Millennials and Gen Z search for sustainability in their destination; looking for opportunities to use less plastic and to work more sustainably. Travel bloggers like @chelseakauai raise awareness which inspires young travellers to clean up beaches. More than a third (37%) is prepared to clean up plastic and other waste on a beach or other tourist attraction.
Also, investing in sustainable start-ups is becoming increasingly important in 2019, because travellers who want to travel responsibly increasingly ask more critical questions about the sustainability of their destination and accommodations. This will lead to a number of new start-ups in the travel industry.
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. In 2019, two-fifths of travellers (42%) plan to visit a destination where they can feel carefree again. In our upcoming book Off the Beaten Track we will tip many hidden gems to make your travel experience extra better.
8. Small is good
More than half of the travellers worldwide (53%) say they plan to make more weekend trips in 2019. These small trips are characterised by the fact that more activities are planned in shorter times. ‘Less is more’ is the motto, and consumers swear by custom on these trips. Think of weekend trips, city trips or road trips.
Take a city trip to Budapest!
Pepijn Rijvers, Chief Marketing Officer at Booking.com says: “In 2019 a lot is going to happen in the travel world. Technological innovation continues, the world is increasingly connected and consumer demand for the best travel experiences is constantly growing.
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.
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).
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 😉
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.
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.
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
*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.
Pretty sure you’ve ever heard of the offshore radio station Radio Veronica, which was settled on the eponymous ship back in the 60’s and 70’s. After a huge makeover and many wanderings later, since five years the pirate ship is docked in the NDSM wharf of Amsterdam. What started with Club Noorderschip, is from now on extended with a promising café-restaurant, Veronicaschip.
Aye Aye Captain Even though I mostly associate Amsterdam North side, considered as one of the hippest neighbourhoods in the world, with a lot of travel time, Veronicaschip is just an one-minute walk from the NDSM ferry. From Thursday till Saturday you can enjoy a local and organic ‘fish, veggies, wine and cocktails combi’ dinner with a so-called circular movement in mind. They want to do the best for the guests, farmers and environment. Every product is used from top to bottom, thumbs up. Fine portions to share are in the lead.
Eat & Dance Close your evening out with a drink and swing at the dancefloor which sits underwater at the boat’s hull. On weekends they’re even up and running for a (hangover-busting) brunch and lunch. What kind of food they’ve in store for you? For example daydream about sea bass as a ceviche with kiwi berry and a sweet touch of white chocolate or wild kingfish served on stew of Jerusalem artichokes, salsify and Chinese radish. And also the glimpse I’ve got of the dessert department doesn’t lie: vegan cake soaked in syrup and with a fresh pear compote. I’ve had a bit of a few things, and it tastes for more, chef Bryce Steba!
A spot for a lot of chitchat, food, drinks, beats and dance moves, but it doesn’t stop there. During the week you can drop by for inspiring, cultural (evening) programs. So keep an eye on Veronicaschip, a perfect place if you’d love to escape the urban chaos.
Don’t be afraid for sea-sickness, Veronicaschip won’t float away. Brunch, lunch and dinner with a beautiful view, it’s definitely worth the ferry trip!
*Sharmaine is one of our guest bloggers from the Netherlands with a sweet tooth. The sweeter, the better! She no kitchen princess so she’s always in search for the best hotspots in Amsterdam! You can expect an article from her once a month! Check her out on Instagram!
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!
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!
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.
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
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.
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 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!
Are you an 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 in the Philippines.
You will experience the local way of living during this expedition. Wi-Fi? Not on the TAO Expedition sailing boats! Sometimes there is a possibility to use power, but that’s it. Consequently, this is a good way to take time for yourself and get away from all those Social Media Notifications popping-up all the time, right? 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.
Tao Expedition is all about adventure
Your days on the tour are packed with adventure! First of all, 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. Therefore 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.
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. This Tao expedition brings you back to basics, it disconnects you from the modern world and re-connects you with nature! In fact, 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.
What is the best time for the TAO Expedition?
Generally, 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.
A 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 ● 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 some extra cash upon checking in for Alcoholic drinks and Merchandise. Recommended amount: $60,- (Php3.000,-) – $100,- (Php5.000,-) per person
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 an unforgettable trip in the Philippines!
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 Take a look here for more information about the different tours.
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. Start your Boat tour from El Nido and 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
All things considered, 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) Also, always check if you need any vaccinations.
Keep on exploring!
For more Tips & Recommendations for the Philippines check out the previous posts: