8 X BOOKS THAT WILL INSPIRE YOU

Maybe you’re not a reader but you finally have the time to start picking that up. Reading will help you relax but can also feed your brain.

With more time on your hands we’ve selected a bunch of timeless books that will inspire you to become creative, dream and learn. A picture says a 1000 words so we’ve also added some amazing photography books.

1. Once in a lifetime

This book is a part 2 but even better then the first one. Once in a Lifetime Vol. 2 celebrates exceptional hotels, lodges, and other locations.
Whether readers use the book to plan their next trip or to simply enjoy a marvellous visual journey from the comfort of their own homes, it reminds us that there are a host of places out there that are worth the trip –and that our personal paradise might be closer than we might think. Buy it at Amazone for 40 euro’s or check your nearest bookstore.

2. Weg ermee by Dennis Storm

The book we all need right now. About minimalism and getting back to the source. Why do you need 12 dressed, 25 pairs of shoes in every colour, new stuff? Dennis was a successful TV presenter and was travelling a lot for his work. He discovered by staying in many, simple hotels, that he didn’t need anything else that the basic needs. Buy it here. It’s in Dutch only unfortunately.

inspiring books

3. The new Nomads

Nomads are coming back and if you feel that itch to try a nomadic lifestyle, we have just the book for you. New Nomads: Temporary Spaces and a Life On The Move, written by Robert Klanten, Sven Ehmann and Michelle Galindo, is a book about freedom, liberation and enjoyment. Sleeping in your own bed just got boring.

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We all seek that Nomadic lifestyle..

4. Before they pass away

This photography book made a lot of people talk. Positive but there is also a lot of criticism towards photographer Jimmy Nelson.
“The pictures are staged and look like a fashion shoot” Whatever you may think of it, I think the most important thing is that we respect the different culture. Every picture is beautifully taken and makes you think about, well, life and the world. Widely available from various online bookstores and online.

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Amazing but criticised, the pictures by Jimmy Nelson

5. Hide and Seek

Follow-up to the bestselling title Rock the Shack. The highly individual cabins, hideaways, and summer homes featured in Hide and Seek offer their owners exceptional, yet convenient ways to escape urban routines and embed themselves into the land. The photographs exemplify how to create remote shelters that bring calm and balance to our hectic lives. With the right concept, furniture, décor, and atmosphere, even small or basic designs become stunning sanctuaries. Although the individual cabins and hide outs are very different from each other, all of them respect nature and focus on the essentials. 

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The ultimate hiding place

6. National Geographic – The Covers

Since I can remember, I used to read the National Geographic magazine. My dad used to read it to me when I was a little girl. This is when my love for travel was born. I needed to see the whole world and I wanted to know about the people, habits, animals and cultures. National Geographic is famous for it’s realistic pictures and brings worlds together. My dream was to work for them one day. They published a lot of books but this is one of my favorites and a Photography Book that you can enjoy time after time. The Covers edition. Shop it here.

National Geographic book

7. Below sea level

I must highlight this new book because I’m from the Netherlands. Below Sea Level, The Netherlands in Photographs.  Almost one quarter of the country’s surface is made up of drained inland lakes and land reclaimed from the sea. In Ewout Huibers’ stunning photographs, the ever-present water plays a natural leading role.  For many people, it’s strange to think that we, the Dutch, live below sea level. This book represents both the simplicity yet a complicated and dangerous relationship with water. Buy it at the Amsterdam based bookstore Mendo.nl

March in Amsterdam

Turn right where everyone goes left

8. Off the Beaten Track by Wander-Lust

A little self-promo never hurt anyone right? 😉 Yes, we’ve written our first ever travel book. Actually, it’s not even in stores yet! Off the Beaten Track is for those who are curious and love adventure.  During our many years of travelling, we’ve discovered that the best places are the hidden ones. Told by a local or discovered by chance. By going off the beaten path you also avoid the ever growing mass tourism and you often support local communities. Together with 32 travel bloggers, journalists, photographers and creatives, we have bundled our best tips across the world, that you may have never heard of. Unknown islands, unique places to sleep, amazing restaurants and much more. You can pre-order of wait patiently until May 12th. Dutch only (but may be translated in the future!)

Off the beaten track by wander-lust

Enjoy reading!

Love,

Elke

THE BREDA CITY GUIDE 2020

Breda is a vibrant place in the southern part of the Netherlands. The city exudes cosiness and is a perfect destination to enjoy food, drinks and shopping. Hotspots such as trendy restaurants, cafés and concept stores pop-up one after another.

In other words: Breda is HOT! Therefore, it’s time to discover the pearl of the Southern Netherlands and the pride of Brabant (more on Brabant here).

How to get there?

Amsterdam and Breda are not very far apart from each other so you can easily take the train or go by car. I would recommend taking the train because it is a more sustainable way of traveling and it takes the same amount of time (1 hour) as going by car. In addition, it is only a 5-minute walk from Breda central station to the city centre. A return train ticket from Amsterdam to Breda will costs you around 45 euro.

Breda City Guide Puick
Puick

Where to eat?

Puick
This place can be best described as a living room where you can enjoy a healthy fair-trade meal between hanging plants, peaking cactuses, old Chesterfields and vintage 70’s lamps. So if you want to go for a healthy lunch with creative green dishes, this is your place to go!

Hemels 
For a delicious lunch or dinner I would recommend going to Hemels. The restaurant is very atmospheric, the service is always attentive and they have a cozy, green courtyard garden for long warm evenings.

Bobbi’s bar
Probably one of the biggest hotspots in Breda right now. The ambiance in this restaurant is great and it is beautifully decorated to the last detail (especially the bar which looks like it’s straight out some movie). So if you want to dine in an Instagram-proof restaurant with velvet chairs, neon lighting, and golden detailed interior; head your way to Bobbi’s! The restaurant is often full, so a reservation is a must.

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Bobbi’s Bar 

Chocolat
Planning a special date night or just feeling like having an elegant dinner? The culinary restaurant Chocolat serves special and creative dishes made of seasonal products. Be prepared for an explosion of flavours while sitting in a fancy chocolate brown interior.

FoodHall
This big industrial-styled open space has a big bar in the middle and is surrounded by food stalls where you can find 14 different kitchens with a wide variety of dishes and drinks from all over the world. This is the place to be if you want to eat, drink and socialize with friends, family or colleagues in an easy-going, relaxed atmosphere. The FoodHall also regularly has live music performances during the weekend and they hold game / quiz nights. Check the program here.

’t Hart van Breda
Are you strolling around the city and want to have a little break while enjoying a drink and a little snack? ‘t Hart is a cozy, easy-going café located in the middle of the city centre with a large outside terrace. They are famous for their delicious nachos.

Tiger Club
The best Asian street food restaurant in town! All their dishes are the size of an intermediate dish and are intended – according to Eastern family traditions – to share with the whole dining company. Service, interior and the quality of food: everything is right. Personally my favourite place to eat in Breda!

Breda City Guide Tiger Bar
Tiger Club


Where to drink coffee

Koffie bij Teun
Whether you order espresso or cappuccino, it is certainly a taste sensation. The owner (Teun) and his employees all have a real passion for coffee, and it will surprise you what these people get out of beans!

Yirga
They call themselves an urban espresso bar with a natural kitchen and that actually describes them in a nutshell as they serve great coffee and tea, and cook with as many organic products as possible. Everything is home-made; from cake to ketchup!

Koffiebar Sowieso
A nice, relaxed coffee bar just outside of the city’s bustle, where only delicious home-roasted coffee is served. Tip: this place is a must for vegetarians and vegans because they have many vegan cake & lunch options.

Breda City Guide Coffee
Koffiebar Sowieso


Where to go for drinks

Dok 19
A great place for a drink in the sun along the harbour of Breda. They have a cupboard filled with board games, an extensive specialty beer menu, and nice music. You won’t get bored here!

De Bommel
Café de Bommel has been a household name in Breda for more than fourty years. You can go there for a casual drink or go out during the weekend. The nice thing about this cafe is that people from all age-classes hang out here.

Beers and Barrels
An industrial looking restaurant located in the old beer brewery of Breda. Their huge range of beers (internationally and locally) make it difficult to choose! A must-go if you are a beer-lover and want to do a little beer tasting.

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Beers & Barrels

Suikerkist
From gin & tonics to fresh smoothies or a delicious specialty beer: you name it and they’ve got it. Their large outside terrace catches the sun all day and has a nice view of the big church.

De Botanist
This spot is known for its inviting terrace along the water. The prices are affordable, and they have tasty cocktails.


Where to Shop?

Ginnekenweg & Wilhelminastraat
These two streets are connected to each other and are full of historic buildings and contain an extensive range of different independent boutiques and restaurants. From clothing stores to book stores and from interior stores to places where you can find the most beautiful bouquet, it’s all here. The concept boutique PALMA is definitely worth a visit, here you can find cool lifestyle products, trendy and extraordinary clothing and beautiful jewellery. Exclusive fashion / beauty chains such as Skins cosmetics, IKKS and Pauw are also located in this street.

Palma Breda
Palma

Veemarktstraat
This is a broad restaurant and shopping street in the centre of Breda. The stores consist mainly of specialised boutiques in clothing and lifestyle areas. Halfway the street is a little square (Veemarktplein) where an organic market is held every Tuesday morning.

Ginnekenstraat & Eindstraat
These two combined are the main shopping streets in the centre of Breda. The big retail chains such as Zara, Scotch & Soda, Mango, Bershka and Levi’s are settled here.


What to visit?

Valkenberg park
When walking from the train station to the city centre you pass through Valkenberg Park. This park was until 1812 the garden of the Breda castle which still stands next to the park. Valkenberg has also been voted in 2019 as the most beautiful park in the Netherlands. It is a wonderful place to relax among the green trees.

Club solo
This artist initiative club offers Dutch and Belgian mid-career artists the opportunity to create and show their work in solo presentations. Club Solo is also a platform for discussions, lectures and music. A ticket is only a few euro’s. It is an inspiring place to walk around! Check out what exhibition is on now here.

STEK & PIER 15 Skatepark
STEK is a breeding ground for creative and artistic entrepreneurs who are committed to sustainability. There are studios, office units, workshops, flexible workplaces, shops and various types of little restaurants and bars. Next to STEK lies the PIER 15 Skatepark. On Saturday (during summer) an event called “Haveneiland” is organised there and you can expect great soul, jazz, disco and funk tunes. Get ready to dance!

Markdal
Just on the outskirts of Breda is a beautiful piece of nature: Markdal. This area is rich in nature and cultural history and is popular by walkers, hikers and cyclists.

Markdal Breda
Markdal Breda

Whether you want to shop, go out for lunch / dinner or do something cultural; Breda has it. They don’t call Breda “the pearl of the south” for nothing! Planning your next trip yet? 🙂

Curious about our favourite LUNCH SPOTS IN AMSTERDAM? Or check out all our CITY GUIDES!

Love,

Iris

*Iris is one of our guest editors from The Netherlands. She’s got a big interest in photography, fashion, spirituality and traveling. She was 3 months old when she was on the plane for the first time and has been to every continent in the meantime. You can follow iris on Instagram.

 

 

 

What to do in Kuching, Borneo

Borneo is one of the favorite destinations of many travelers who visit Malaysia. I totally agree! I’ve been to many places in Asia, but Borneo will always have a special place in my heart. From food, friendly local people to music, nightlife, culture, wildlife and jungle – Kuching has a lot more to offer than many other countries in Asia.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to hear the sounds of the sea and the splashing waves, read a book under palm trees, relax and then jump into a swimming pool, but after a week I’m craving for some adventure. Kuching, and Borneo for that matter, has something for everyone!

When I decided to stay in Kuching for 3 days, the the owner of my hostel convinced me to stay at least 5 days since there’s so much more to discover than jungle/wildlife only. He was totally right! I eventually stayed for almost 1 week. I’ve spent four days outside the city and three days inside the city of Kuching. You probably won’t expect it – neither did I – but Kuching has a lot of trendy restaurants where they serve top notch food and wines and cafes that come alive at night where locals play the guitar and sing oldies like the Beatles. Definitely my cup of tea:)

Let me take you along a journey you will never forget!

The city of Kuching

Kuching is the Capital of the Sararawak province. The city is well know for it’s style, culture and natural habitat. It might be a small city but it it’s big in it’s venues. You will see statues of cats everywhere – the city’s name is derived from the Malay word for cat — Kucing. A bit weird in the beginning but you will get used to it. It’s a vibrant and dynamic city with beautiful new and historic buildings with impressive architecture. The locals are very friendly and warm, you feel at home right away.

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Cruise along the majestic Sarawak River

Explore the city by boat along the Sarawak River. The Sarawak River, separating the north and the south called, is the best way to view the city. Relax and take a moment to see the city from another angle. Normally you will pay around RM60 (13 euros) per person when you do a tour via an agency where you share a big boat with at least 15 people. Tip » I took a small taxi boat where the locals travel with. A lot cheaper – RM 30 (6 euro) for two people – you will get a lot more inside info and you will have the boat all for yourself! You will have to negotiate, but my trip took 1.5 hours and the local guy I had was so lovely. Take a breath and enjoy the calm river while sipping a cold refreshing beer.

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Walk along the waterfront

Kuching’s Waterfront Boulevard is great for a walk during the whole day. During the day you see the daily activity on the river where local people using the small ferry boats to travel to and from their homes across the river. There are food with beverages and snacks to eat as you stroll along. In the afternoon/beginning of the evening when the sun sets you will enjoy the beautiful view of the waterfront where locals preform almost every night. There’s not only a harmonious vibe on the streets but also in different bars and restaurants!

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Visit China Town

Kuching’s Chinatown is Carpenter Street, marked on its western end by the large Chinese gate officially called the “Harmony Arch”. While there are a few guest houses and lots of restaurants along the road, the area is not very ‘touristy’ at all. Somewhat surprisingly, Carpenter Street still has a few carpenter shops, along with bicycle shops, printers and other small businesses.

DRINKS | Drunk Monkey Old street Bar
Drunk Monkey Old Street Bar brings a taste of the urban hipster scene to Kuching. Nice ambiance, great beers and music.
TIP! Check out the other side of the bar/terrace – Beautiful street art!

FOOD | Saigon Fusion
If you’re hungry you should definitely check out the authentic Vietnamese restaurant Saigon Fusion. Try the PORK PHO, amazing! The owner Allan Goh know how to surprise people with his excellent food and service!
You can also ask the staff of Drunk Monkey Old Street Bar for the food menu, they can get the order for you from this amazing Vietnamese restaurant. 

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Check out the Street Art in Kuching

Next to the open air market and India street you will see beautiful street art of the talented Lithuanian painter Ernest Zacharovic, famous for his interactive street art in different countries. This was the first time that I’ve ever heard of him and immediately I became a huge fan. He brings his street art to life and interact with local people by letting them participating in his work. His work is widely shared on social media and I understand why!
More of him to come in my next blogpost about George town Penang, Malaysia, where I have seen a lot more of this impressive work.

Ernest Zacharevic

Ernest Zacharevic

5. Hip Hang outs
Kuching is a hip and happening place. I never expected Kuching to be so trendy, but it is!
Kuching has a great bar and restaurant scene, where many

DRINKS & FOOD | The Barber
Before an old barber shop with mirrors and barber chairs, became a trendy and chic venue to dine and have cocktails. They serve American style food, like burgers.

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FOOD & DRINKS | The Junk
After a jungle trekking and some street food dinner we wanted to have a few drinks before going to bed. We found this place – a few doors away from The Barber – The Junk. It’s quit a unique and impressive place, it’s divided into 4 areas which named as Backstage, Red room, Junk bar and restaurant area. Every room is different and if full with great decor pieces like red lanterns. At night this restaurant turn into one of the hottest clubs in town! Oh what a night…

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I hope I have inspired you a bit… More of Malaysia and Borneo down here!

Love,

Sarah

Where to stay in Pai, Thailand

Ok, so you’ve arrived into Pai. (If you want to know how, check this article about getting to Pai) After hours on a motorcycle or sitting in a van, it’s time to look for a bed to rest your head. Pai is not very big but there is lot’s of accommodation that you can choose from.

Sure it’s hostel galore here but there are also some pretty amazing luxury resorts around. Most resorts are a little further out of town but the the nice walk is worth it.

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The map of Pai city

Where I stayed

When I was traveling to Pai, I travelled alone so I was happy that I received a recommendation from a friend as I wouldn’t know where to start searching! I ended up staying at Jan’s GuesthouseIt’s a fairly simple budget hostel but the bungalows are equipped with a bathroom,tv and I had my own porch. It’s tucked away in a quiet side street so its perfect for relaxing but it’s also very close to the main district of Pai. (3 min walk)
You can sit in the nice garden where, if you are lucky, you can find the signal for free wifi. (whoopwhoop!) It will cost you about 250 bath per night which is about 7 euro’s. (I know right?!) Make sure that you are packing something warm, because Pai can get very cold at night. (I was freezing!)

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Panoramic view over the Pai river, where you can find many budget hostels

Other options in Pai

Walking around Pai, you come across many hostels and resorts. All top recommended resorts include Montis Resort, Phu Pai Art Resort and Pai Hotspring Resort and Spa. My favourite resort has to be the Oia Resort & Spa. I discovered this place when I was on a stroll towards the white Buddha. I simply walked in and ordered a glass of water and I just sat there for an hour staring at the beauty of this place.. Overlooking the mountains, the resort is fairly new and cost about 100 euro’s per night if you go for the room with the best view. It’s expensive if you’re a backpacker, but ey, you can always walk in and ask for a glass of water like I did 😉

Where to stay in Pai, Thailand
The amazing Oia resort in Pai

For best value for money accommodation, check these out:

» Baan Pai Riverside Sleep in cute bamboo huts on the Pai river bank where you are bound to relax. 600-800 bath.
» Rim Pai Cottage Great for couples! Clean, comfy rooms and breakfast is included from Oct. until Feb. Available from 400 bath.
» Darling view point resort Gorgeous views overlooking the river & mountains with a restaurant, swimming pool, and hot showers. 400-500 bath.
» Spicypai Backpackers This place is well known for the great atmosfeer rather than the comfy beds but nothing beats making new friends! 150 bath for a dorm.

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The infamous Spicypai Backpackers Hostel in Pai

So wherever you might stay when getting to Pai, it’s bound to be fun, relaxing and special. Let me know if you’re heading up there!

Looking for an island that looks like paradise? Check out our free Koh Lipe Guide 2020!

Love,

Elke

TRAVELLING TO PAI, THAILAND | ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW

Ok, where do I start.. This place is very special for the both of us. Pai is a small hippie town tucked away in the most northern part of Thailand. Once you get there, you don’t want to leave. 

But travelling to Pai is a small adventure on its own. Taking in account, Pai is not a Thai tropical island, but a mountain village so the scenery is completely different than anywhere else in Thailand. In this article I will talk about the means of transportation and the costs.

How to get to Pai

First of all, you need to travel to Chiang Mai, the largest city of Northern Thailand. I advise you to stay in Chiang Mai for a couple of days so you can get used to the climate difference depending on where you’ve started your trip. After all, you are in the mountains of Northern Thailand. Depending on where you’re staying, you can often book your trip to Pai via the hostel or hotel you’re staying in. If not, make sure you book an air-conditioned minibus because it’s a long drive. Another option would be by motorcycle or scooter. A lot of people do this because the scenery along the way is pretty amazing. The downside of this option is that there is only one gas station along the way and the road has quite a few bumps so it’s not the safest option. But traveling is all about risks right? 😉

getting to Pai

Scooter or Minivan?

I recommend you to hire your scooter here. This company is well known and you can leave rent your scooter in Chiang Mai and leave it in Pai if you like. When I traveled through Thailand, I was alone and without a licence so I didn’t want to take the risk. So I took the minibus. The trip takes about 3 hours and you have one stop to use the toilet and to buy a drink. (don’t expect a fancy toilet, and don’t look back is my advice) You will notice that the landscape will change the more you drive away from Chiang Mai and up the mountain.

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Tip » is to take a carsickness tablet because the road doesn’t have many straight paths!

Along the way I saw a lot of people selling warm colourful hats, which I love, but didn’t quite understand.. This became clear to me later (it get’s freezing at night!). When you finally arrive, it feels like you’ve entered a new world. The van will drop you off in the main street where you will see cute shops and bars on each side. The air is clean and the valley in the distance is amazing. Welcome hippy town!

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Sipping on herbal tea in Pai

Cost to get to Pai, Thailand?

» By minivan: from 150 bath (one way)
» By Scooter: From 100 bath per day inclusive of insurance (yes, it’s that cheap!)

Love,

Elke

Do you want to know where to stay in Pai? Check it here!
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The USA Roadtrip | This is all you need to know

It’s probably everyones dream; a USA Road trip West Coast! In 2015 I finally made the dream a reality. I rented an RV and hit the road in what would become a 1600-mile journey from LA to San Francisco via Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Death Valley & High Way 1.

A few years ago, my roomie exchanged Amsterdam for LA and last year two other dear friends moved to the US. Together with my close friends we decided to visit and it became one of the best trips ever. Here you will find the preparations for the ultimate USA roadtrip.

Transport

Many people travel from San Francisco via High Way One to Los Angeles, but we did it the other way around by RV. The reason why we’ve chosen an RV is that your home goes with you, you can cook, you have transportation, no need to rent a car, no packing and unpacking every day. And more importantly, it was so much fun to do it with my dear friends that I’ve known for over 10 years..

Road trips are one of the best ways to really get to know a country!

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The USA roadtrip checklist:

1. Check which period is the best to travel around
2. Check which period in the cheapest/most convenient for you
3. Write down which states you don’t want to miss
4. Set your route » From San Fran to LA or the other way around
5. Check which stops you want to visit in between
6. Check how to get from A-B
7. See how you would like to travel
8. Determine Motel – Hotel – RV
9. See if you need extra transport
10.Download Hotel Tonight AppHand-selected hotels at great prices on your mobile device. Rent unique accommodations from local hosts for great prices

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Our Route

Together with my two friends we flew from Amsterdam to Los Angeles. My lovely friend from Pittsburgh – that we didn’t see for a few months – traveled with us. We rented a car and stayed for two days where we did some great things together with my Dutch friend that lives in LA. After two lovely days, we picked up our RV – that we’ve booked online – and drove to Las Vegas. After 2 nights of gambling and partying we went via route66 & Death Valley to Salines & San Jose – High Way 1. From there we went up to San Francisco. We dropped off the RV in San Francisco and rented an apartment via Air BNB. After 4 unforgettable days we flew to Pittsburgh where we dropped off my friend and stayed for a few days. Ended our trip for 5 days in the best of the best; New York – where we visited my last Dutch friend.

What do you need?

» Car Rental in LA & San Francisco
» Tom Tom for the RV
» Camper Rental – Tip! Take the one of 6 persons and listen carefully to the instructions.
» Campsite availability »  www.recreation.gov
» (I phone) string for your play list
» USB cable for mobile phone > also acts as charger
» Apartment in LA, San Francisco, Pittsburgh & New York – Tip! Air BNB

The costs:

Budgeting goes hand-in-hand with planning, as the budget is probably the most important part of any road trip. Do plan to spend more than you budgeted. Hereby what I’ve spent: (keep in mind that we shared RV, Hotels etc with 4 persons)

» 1100 euro tickets
» 360 euro RV
» 300 euro Apartments
» 900 euro Food
» 300 euro Drinks
» 200 euro Car Rental
» 200 euro Other (festivals, places of interest)
Total cost: 3369 euro’s for 3 weeks

Can you do it for less? sure! You can always spent less, depending on how much you want to spend on food, drinks & shopping.

Love,

Sarah

Read all our articles about the USA!

5 Oscar movies that will give you Wanderlust

The big night in Hollywood is coming up. The night that the best movies in the world are crowned with a little statue named Oscar.

Let’s look back a a few Oscar nominated blockbusters that make you want to travel.

1. Lord of the Rings

This movie has to be in this list. It has inspired so many people to pack their bags and travel to the land of hobbits, elf’s and orcs.
Lucky for us, you can book several “Lord of the Rings” tours that will take you through the most beautiful landscapes in New Zealand where the scenes were shot.

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Oscar winning locations, The Lord of the Rings

2. The English Patient

Shot within the beautiful Italian scenery with key parts of the story taking place against a stunning Tuscan backdrop. Director Anthony Minghella spent weeks in Tuscany searching for the perfect monastery to film in.

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Beautiful Italy, where The English Patient was filmed

3. Slumdog millionaire

This amazing Oscar winning movie makes you dislike India or make you extremely curious. It portraits the heavy slums of Mumbai in all its glory. You’ll be surprised that tourism picked up immensely after the success of this film.


Culture shock; India

4. Forrest Gump

This movie isn’t just about the locations but about the feeling this movie is giving you. It inspires and tells you that you can do anything and go anywhere you want in life. No limits. And that is a beautiful thing. This is the northern route through Utah to Monument Valley and was used as the location in the movie “Forrest Gump” were Forrest (played by Best Actor Oscar winner Tom Hanks) ended his cross-country run in the USA.

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Utah to Monument Valley

5. Vicky Christina Barcelona

The title gives it away but this film shows the romantic and vibrant city Barcelona. Filmed during spring/summer, this movie takes makes you fall in love with the characters and scenery. Drinking wine and eating all day and still look as good as Scarlet Johansen and Penelopé Cruz? Miss Cruz won a best supporting Oscar for her performance.

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Sexy and beautiful in Barcelona

What’s your favorite Oscar winning movie?

Love,

Elke

TRAVEL FOR FREE | 6 WAYS TO DO IT

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

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

1. Hitchhike

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

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

2. House sit

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

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

3. Travel & Royalty Cards

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

4. Free Camping

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

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

5. Work

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

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

6. Eat for free!

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

travel for free, food by Luke Michael

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

Love,

Elke

For more travel tips check here.

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Discover Vilnius, the underrated gem of Europe!

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

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

How to get there

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

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

Where to stay

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

Pink Building Vilnius

What to see in the city centre

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

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

Street Lithuania

Vilnius Church

Things do in and around Vilnius

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

Trakai Castle
Trakai Castle

The city of great food

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

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

Terrace Vilnius

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

Love,

Merel

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 x Travel Trends for 2020

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

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

1. Sustainable Travel

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

Chealsea Instagram

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

2. Space Travel

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

3. Under Tourism

It’s the opposite of Mass or Over-Tourism. People are more into discovering less visited places, where, consequently, you’ll find less tourists. Mass tourism is also taking it’s toll on nature, that resulted in popular beaches like Maya Bay being closed to the public. By finding alternatives, you’ll gain a more local experience and you have more unique tales to tell. Firstly, two-thirds of travellers (60%) value experiences more than equipment. That is why ‘Doing’ when traveling becomes just as important as ‘going’, and perhaps even more important. There is no less pressure on life, and therefore experiences can help to strive for a less stressful existence. Find out more than 150 less known places in the world in our new book Off the Beaten Track which is available from May 12th!

Off the beaten track by wander-lust

4. Travel to learn

For travellers, making meaningful trips is becoming increasingly important. More than half (56%) of travellers say that traveling has taught them new skills and insights. 68% of respondents want to participate in a cultural exchange and learn new skills, 54% indicate that they want to volunteer and 53% opt for international work placements. For instance, we can totally relate and traveled to Bolivia 3 years ago to report about women rights. It was incredible, tough and we learned so much.

5. As easy as possible

In 2020, convenience will become the standard when it comes to technological innovations in the field of travel. The innovations that, according to travellers, will strike the most, are those who offer practical solutions for traveling with artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR) and speech recognition. Think of opening your hotel room with your smartphone or a robotic concierge who speaks the language of the guests. Crazy? Well, 57% of travellers are interested in solutions such as an app for real-time baggage tracking or one app that has everything for planning and booking their trip. In addition, 31% are interested in the idea of ​​a ‘virtual travel agency’ in their living room, with for example virtual assistants with speech recognition who answer travel questions. 

travel trends 2019

In 2020, a lot is going to happen in the travel world

6. The more personal, the better

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

travel trends 2019
Be the travel trend

7. Awareness Travel

In 2020, the social, political and environmental problems of a possible travel destination will be examined before travellers actually book: 48% of travellers think that social problems in a travel destination are taken into account when deciding on a visit. In addition, travellers are increasingly looking for new and authentic adventures, and want to be sure that they can travel safely – regardless of gender, race or sexual orientation. Platforms such as Destination Pride provide destinations with a score that allows travellers to see how LGBT + are friendly. 19% of travellers plan to visit a Pride festival in 2020, of which almost a third (30%) is between 18 and 34 years old.

8. Small is good

More than half of the travellers worldwide (53%) say they plan to make more weekend trips in 2020. These small trips are characterised by the fact that more activities are planned in shorter times. ‘Less is more’ is the motto, and consumers swear by custom on these trips. Think of weekend trips, city trips or road trips. This also results in more train travel, which is better for the environment of course.


Take a city trip to Budapest!

Happy traveling in the year 2020!

Wander-Lust