When planning a longer than average trip or perhaps a gap year it’s really important to make sure you take not only the right things with you but also the right amount of things. Trust me – you really, really don’t want to take the kitchen sink with you and you will regret lugging around tons of stuff you won’t need. Equally, you don’t want to under pack either. When I was planning my gap year I was at a loss as to what I’d actually need and how much of everything to take. How can you possibly pack everything you would need for several months in one 70litre backpack? Here’s a few tips for anyone in the same position:

❤️ Think carefully about where you are going. This is number one on the list because it’s the most important. There is no generic formula for what to take because the world is such a diverse place and what you may need could vary a lot. In my experience, places like south east Asia are hot, sticky and very casual – pack your shorts and crop tops and leave your heels and hair straighteners at home. You probably won’t need a jumper but you will need a shawl to cover up when visiting the temples. In Australia, however, you might need an extra layer in Melbourne (it’s not always baking hot). Think about where you’re going, the climate, the culture and pack accordingly.

NB I would never recommend taking hair dryers/ straighteners or any of that sort of thing because they are so heavy and take up a lot of room. Having beachy, natural hair is all part of it right?!

❤️ Also – think about what you’ll be doing. New Zealand – high chance you’ll be trekking through those mountains (walking shoes recommended). Singapore – gents, if you want to hit the clubs you’ll need some closed in shoes and a shirt, those baggy vests won’t cut it! In Mauritius you may need a bikini, in Antarctica you may not. You get the idea. There are some things that just require certain equipment or clothing so it’s worth pre-planning a little bit so you make sure you have what you need.

❤️ Get everything out, lay it on the bed, then halve it. TRUST ME you will thank me later. You will only need half of what you anticipate; probably less. Something I always over pack is shoes; taking several pairs of cute sandals for different outfits. When I get there I only ever wear my trusty pair of flipflops, so this year that’s all I’m taking! I know it’s tempting to take all your beachwear but realistically you just don’t need it and you’ll regret it when all your worldly belongings are on your back.

❤️ Pack clothes last. Because you will underestimate how much space other, more essential things, will take up first. Shampoo, for example, is bulky. Same with sunscreen, hiking boots, camera equipment etc. Clothes can be squashed in at the top and can be rolled or folded to fit any gaps.

❤️ Don’t take anything that requires ironing. Just don’t.

❤️ Keep the valuables to a mimimum but, if you can’t live without something then take it. If your life is going to be miserable without your iPhone/ tablet / beats headphones etc then take them; just be careful with them. Don’t force yourself to leave all technology or material possessions behind if that’s just not you. I’m just saying maybe its sensible to leave your Rolex at home in this occasion.

❤️ Remember – they will have stuff there! Unless you are going to the wilderness or perhaps space then you will be able to pick up essentials like toiletries and clothing in the places you’re going. If yo are going away for 6 months please don’t take 6 months worth of your favourite shampoo from the UK. In some places the local shops may even sell items cheaper than what the would cost at home, so do your research. Heads up – this is not the case for Australia, they’re branded goods are super expensive.

I hope these tips will be helpful to anyone packing for a long trip. I will be heeding my own advice next week when Paul and I pack everything for a 3 week holiday in one 60 litre pack between us!

Let me know what you think!

Love,

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♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Star Recommendation

One of my hero products of Summer 2016 – Bed Head’s Beach Bound hair protection spray. I have had quite an extended summer holiday this year, what with a week for the wedding and then Portugal for our holiday, so I was very lucky to spend a few weeks in sun, sea and sand.

I’m a low maintenance girl on holiday (no makeup, natural dried hair etc) so it’s not really the norm for me to stock up on ‘holiday products’ but this time I decided to invest in something to protect my hair from all the damage.

I bought the Beach Bound spray because I wanted something that would protect my hair from sun damage and salt water but also something that I could leave in all day and evening and it would give my hair a nice beachy, wavy look. This product delivered on all levels and it lived up to my expectations entirely. It’s also super convenient and portable for travelling due to it’s compact size and smells yummy. I haven’t much experience with leave-in sprays so I can’t really compare it, but for me, it worked amazingly. My hair maintained good condition and I really  liked the way it looked when I had the spray in. It really made my holiday a lot easier and saved my killing my hair by dragging a brush through it every night!

BED HEAD Beach Bound Spray on Feel Unique – £8.40.

xox

I like to think of myself as a bit of a holiday booking expert. I’ve been ‘in charge’ of bookings for several years because I organised my whole gap year myself (as I travelled alone) and since Paul and I have been together I seem to have taken the lead on the organising front! I love booking trips myself; I’m not really a fan of using travel agents or holiday companies. For me, there is a real thrill in searching, researching and planning elements of a trip. Whether it be a simple flight and apartment holiday or a multi-destination trip like our honeymoon to Thailand (coming soon!) I find it’s more satisfying to self-organise and you are more likely to find hidden, off the beaten track gems that way.

Plus, booking an entire trip yourself now is so easy. Truly. I now do most of it from my phone! There are some amazing apps on the market which you can use to help you book the best holiday ever. Here are six of my must-haves for making the process stress free and fun- and they’re all free!

LONELY PLANET GUIDES

I love the lonely planet guide books and still have a few of the paper versions at home, but who needs a guide book when you can have the same information at your fingertips! No, I agree, there is still magic in thumbing through a guidebook when your exploring, but to get quick access to advice and must-sees, as well as the off-the-tourist-trail recommendations and ‘Top 10’s’ that Lonely Planet are so famous for, the this app is really helpful.

HOMEAWAY

The ultimate villa booking app and my new favourite.. They only deal in villas and apartments so if you are looking for an all inclusive then this isn’t for you. I, however, love having the ‘whole place’ for my holidays and staying in a villa with no one else about is dreamy.  The app is user friendly and easy to book and converse with villa owners. They have literally every type of villa rental you can imagine ranging from budget, studio beach huts to luxury cribs in Ibiza. Even if your not planning a holiday, its fun to look up what you might rent one day when that lottery win comes in…

TRIP ADVISER

The old favourite. But you can’t beat it! I am an avid reviewer and I’m always amazed by how many people read them (I wish my blog got that many hits!).  Written by travellers for other travellers based on first hand experience. I love the idea that customers took things into their own hands and want to give their genuine honest opinion in order to help and advise others. Take it with  pinch of salt, one mans trash is another’s treasure, but I always use Trip Adviser to check hotels and trips before booking.

BOOKING.COM

BOOKING.YEAH. I literally can’t help it. I love this app! It’s so easy, virtually every hotel, motel, hostel and apartment complex in the world is on here. They have budget, luxury, boutique, half board, self catering, all inclusive, adults only, child friendly, sporty, relaxing literally EVERYTHING you can possibly imagine. And the best thing is you can filter all the results by any of these parameters and more or any combination to find exactly what you want. Also, quite often you don’t have to pay until you arrive just putting card details as a deposit which is awesome if you are waiting for payday. Which I am most of the time.

 

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CHEAPFLIGHTS/EASYJET/AIRLINE APP

I’ve bunched these because I prefer the overall comparison apps like cheap flights, to view all the different airlines on offer for your dates, but having the apps for the specific airlines is helpful too , particularly if you know which ones you use. I personally usually fly with easyjet and their app is great because you can view your upcoming flights, check in and even get your boarding pass on your phone. I know ryan air and other airlines have the same.

AIR BNB

I don’t have loads of experience with Air BnB and have never used it abroad but I have friends who totally love it so I plan to use it for my next trip. It basically involves renting someones home for a few nights, whenever they are out of town and therefore it’s available. There are various security, deposit and checks in place to protect both parties and I know lots of people who have used it successfully. Very successfully in fact, several of them have ended up paying very reasonable prices for gorgeous apartments in the middle of cities or in fantastic locations. if you know what you’re looking for and you fancy something a bit different, this is the one for you.

For posts about my previous trips and adventures you can click here.

xox

 

It’s no secret that I absolutely love my holidays. I spend an ungodly amount of my wages on squeezing in breaks here and there and it’s not an exaggeration to say that holidays is what Paul and I live for. This post is about THE BEST holiday we ever had, staying in this stunning villa on the Greek island of Zakynthos.

I mean.. look at it..

There is something truly special about not sharing your vacation. Having a pool all to yourself, waking up in the morning and doing yoga on the terrace, cooking and having your own space and peace and quiet was total bliss.

Artina Villa, Zakynthos is a stunning new build luxury villa on top of a cliff with panoramic views of the turquoise waters of Keri bay. It has 3 bedrooms, a large garden and this amazing infinity pool.  The interior is super stylish and they have truly thought of everything, the comfiest mattresses; a Bluetooth sound system; posh coffee machine; kitchen gadgets and even a hammock all to make you feel totally spoilt.  The owners even leave a welcome basket and fill the fridge up with generous supplies and some of their home grown and made produce. True Greek hospitality at it’s best.

We spent a week in this paradise. Venturing down to the small village of Keri occasionally to sample the local restaurants or small shops, however most of the time we stayed in the villa. It was a fair distance uphill from the town and beach which was walk-able (for the reasonably fit) but I would definitely advise a hiring a car for a hidden gem like this one!

For  a little slice of holiday heaven I cannot recommend this place enough. If, like me, you find villa holidays a bit extra special then it is the perfect place. And if you have a group then the price can be devided and is often not as bad as you think. Villa vacations are where it’s at!

I love using the Home Away app to see what other amazing villas there are in beautiful Mediterranean locations. 

xox

We arrived in the beautiful island of Zakynthos (Zante) on 21st June to prepare and organise the final details of our wedding on the 25th.

Having not been to Zakynthos on holiday before (only in October last year for a whirlwind 2 days to look at venues) I wasn’t sure what to expect from it as a destination. It’s most famous as a party paradise for 16 year old Brits post GCSE but this is only a tiny section of the island. I can confirm that Zakynthos is absolutely STUNNING and if you get outside of the main tourist resorts by car or bike the vast majority of it is unspoilt, rugged and green. We didn’t get a chance to see too much scenery but many of our friends and family took drives up to the Keri lighthouse and the mountains beyond and raved about it.


We were staying in the stunning Artina Villa in Keri Lake, where the wedding reception was to be held. I literally can’t rave about this villa enough. It’s pure luxury. Everything from the interiors, the rain showers, the attentive owners who oudlnt do enough for us, the stocked fridge when we arrived and (of course) the infinity pool was perfect! We enjoyed an extremely relaxing 4 days prior to our big day by the pool, trying to avoid getting sunburnt of course!

We arrived on the Tuesday morning and we had groups of friends and family arriving every day leading up to the wedding. The village Keri is tiny too with not much of a tourist scene so with 50 guests staying in and around the village we bumped into people every day!  I can thoroughly recommend a wedding week as opposed to just a day! Our days in the lead up were packed with meeting up with our loved ones, hugs, meals out and general love and happiness had by all. What could be better than a giant holiday with everyone you love?! It was perfect.

xox