Weekend Getaways - top tips!

As I described last week, this post is a summary of all of the places Boy and I have been to since we moved to London, and a few extra travel tips we've picked up along the way. As I was recounting the different places we have been to, it made me realise that we don't spend many of our weekends in the city - they tend to take us somewhere else! 

Since living here, we have travelled to quite a few different places. I have been to Cologne (Germany) and Paris (France) – both on weekend trips, and to Liverpool for a day trip. Boy has been to Bulgaria for a week-long ski trip (I didn’t go because I don’t have an interest in skiing so decided to skip that one out). Together, Boy and I have been to Hamburg (Germany), Larnaka (Cyprus), Athens/the Cyclades/Delphi (Greece) and to lots of different places all over the U.K. including Woodbridge, Leeds, Brighton, Bristol, Manchester, Oxford and Edinburgh.

me with our walking tour guide, sonny: we went on a walking tour run by invisible cities while in edinburgh - highly recommend!

me with our walking tour guide, sonny: we went on a walking tour run by invisible cities while in edinburgh - highly recommend!

We have a couple of trips planned for the near future; our next trip is up to Edinburgh for four nights to visit our friends, and to go to the Fringe Festival!

We haven’t done a great deal of travel around Europe, but from what we have done, Boy and I have realised that there are a few things that improve our trips, whatever the destination may be! 

1.     Using a backpack for our luggage, rather than a wheeled suitcase: The exceptions to this are when Boy used a large duffel bag for his trip to Bulgaria, and we borrowed a wheeled suitcase for our trip to Greece. Besides those trips, we have each used our 15L daypacks for our luggage when going away for weekend trips. We’ve found that they're easier to handle when you're negotiating a busy airport or train station and you're in a bit of a rush, or when you're on a plane with no overhead locker space remaining - you can just keep your bag under the seat in front and always have your stuff without needing to bother anyone else or have the crew put your bags in the hold (a bit of a kerfuffle and very common on Ryanair and easyJet flights). To be honest, the real benefit that comes with using a smaller backpack is that I pack far lighter now because there’s less space. Because there's less space, you have less stuff to worry about!

2.     Having the app of the company you’re flying/train-ing/bus-ing with downloaded on your phone: I have the Ryanair, easyJet, Eurowings, Virgin Trains, LNER, and Greater Anglia apps on my phone and use them for our boarding passes wherever we go. When we use a different provider, I'll be sure to download their app as well. It saves the hassle (and paper) of printing things off. Caveat here: be careful with Ryanair – I have a British passport so travelling with them is slightly easier because of this. I’ve heard of people being required to have their boarding passes printed at the check in desk for a fee of £50! Make sure to triple check when it comes to Ryanair...

3.     Venturing away from the main strip for food: For example, in Athens, we stayed in an Airbnb for our last two nights which was about a fifteen minute walk from the main part of town. We went out for dinner and, rather than heading back to the main street with the typical overpriced, tourist-trap restaurants, we ate a small taverna near our Airbnb. The food was so delicious, half the cost of a typical meal in the main part of town, and it was run by a super friendly chef - he even made a small vegetarian dish especially for me! Boy and I think that it's best to walk away from the main street to find good food – things to look for are menus with little to no English on them, prices for roughly half the cost, and - of course - no tourists! Boy and I think that you'll gain a better experience of what people actually eat in the country you’re visiting.

capturing the sunset at famagusta, cyprus

capturing the sunset at famagusta, cyprus

If you would like some top-notch ideas for saving money, then I would check out this excellent post by Next Stop, NZ: https://nextstopnz.com/2018/07/09/20-tips-for-saving-money-whilst-travelling/ It includes useful tips like downloading audio walking tours on your phone, and carrying a thermos of hot water so you can have a cuppa wherever you like – things I hadn’t considered before but certainly will now!

Please feel free to ask me any questions about travelling not just in the UK and Europe, but about Nepal and India as well! Also, leave any tips that you find useful when you travel to a new place - whether it be to save money, save time, to better your experience of a place; I'm always eager to learn new ways to improve travelling!

A slightly shorter post from me this time; the next post will be about our week in Greece, about which I have loads to share!

Bye for now,

Kat.