How To Plan A Trip

The famous novelist Edward Streeter once said, “Travel is ninety percent anticipation and ten percent recollection”. It’s a fantastic quote and really applicable to me because I really enjoy planning any kind of trip.

For example, we’re going away tomorrow with friends – nothing fancy, just hanging out together in a forest for a weekend. But I have been making lists for months. Shopping lists, planning lists, schedules, you name it, I’ve made it. The sheer act of making a list makes me anticipate and visualise whatever trip it is I’m going on.

D on the other hand is not a planner. That showed a little in him being responsible for planning our trip to Machu Picchu. I reminded him that Inca Trail tickets would sell out months in advance, and he waited until we were actually in Cusco before he made any enquiries. In the end, we had a lovely day out, but the Inca Trail is still on our bucket list.

I like to plan trips in my bullet journal. This year, it’s in this really cute notebook someone gifted to us at our leaving party last year. The thing I like most about having a bullet journal, is that all my ideas, calendars and plans are in one book. However, your plans don’t need to be all colorful and neat. I have done this on paper, on the computer or even the back of old receipts. To help give what I’ve written a more practical example, I planned a trip to Iceland – under each heading just look for the italics writing.

Plan A Trip
1.) Decide where you want to go, when and roughly how long for

We want to go to Iceland in the summer (so I don’t get frostbite) and for probably around 10 days.

Talk to friends about recommendations or spend hours on instagram looking at gorgeous destinations. However you want to decide on a destination is up to you.

You might have a fixed time that you need to go, for example when you and your travelling mate managed to get time off together. If you’re not constrained as to when you should go, you can decide by thinking about climate and peak seasons.

Do you want to go for a weekend? 10 days? Or a month? You can make a rough guess depending on how much leave you have and how long you think your budget will last you.

Plan A Trip

Photo Credit: Canva

2.) Set your budget

I like to work off a rough £100 per day budget for Europe, but I know Iceland is more expensive than that, so I’ll say £150. £150 x 10 = £1500.

Speaking of budget – now is the time to be thinking about it, not when the credit card bill comes in 2 weeks after your trip. How much do you have available to spend? Is it realistic, and does it make sense? There’s no point spending two thirds of your budget getting somewhere if you’ll only be able to afford one night in a hostel and a sandwich before you run out of money.

3.) Research your destination

I know I want to go to Reykjavik, but mostly because it’s fun to say. D is desperate to take a dip in the Blue Lagoon and see some awesome waterfalls. The list I make from Pinterest is super long, so you don’t want me to recreate it here.

The first place I check when I’m researching a destination in Pinterest. I usually look at 5 or 6 pins that other bloggers have compiled about where to go and what to see. Write down ALL of the activites (or hotels, or restaurants – whatever) that appeal. At this stage, don’t worry about the price or the difficulty to get to – we’ll get to that later.

Plan A Trip

At this point I always draw a map or save the places on googlemaps. It helps so much to see where things are and to group different activities by location.

4.) Create a Draft Schedule

I fit in some places to go on a road trip in a circle coming out from Reykjavik, which includes a few waterfalls. Then I schedule the dive that would be super cool to do so that we have a quiet day before and at least 24 hours before our flight. Afterwards, I slot in all the smaller activities around Reykjavik. I realise that we don’t need to be away for 10 days, and that 7 days will be enough.

Make a schedule for each day you plan to be away. Each day should have an AM box and a PM box. Start assigning groups of activities to slots. The first ones should be those you absolutely HAVE to do, then put in the ones that are closest/cheapest, and keep going until you run out of days/activities.

Plan A Trip
5.) Check flight and hotel prices

On skyscanner, I check the prices of the flights for the whole of the month of June to find the flights that work best for us. I look on Hotels.com for a nice, central hotel in Reykjavik and for hotels on our road trip route. 

If the only hotels you can find are £250 a night, you might want to think about shortening your trip, which will affect what activities you can do. The other thing that might affect how long you’re away is the crazy amount that flight prices change by day.

6.) Solidify your plans

Go back to your draft schedule and check that the dates and hotels work with your plan. Make sure you have roughly costed out each activity.

7.) Decide if that fits in with your budget

Seeing as the plan is now to go for 7 days, my budget is now £1050. If you look closely at the photo in four, you’ll see that what I actually planned to do will be in the region of £2500 – more than double. If we go in the colder, off season we could save £300. Deciding against the very expensive dive would take it down another £600. Staying in hostels instead of hotels might save us another £200, and deciding on free activities instead of paid ones could bring that down another £200. Then that’s £1200, which is much closer to my original budget.

Does this fit your budget? If not, you’ll need to make some adjustments. Think about what is more important to you. For example, do you want to sacrifice having a private room, so you can afford to eat out every night? This is a very personal thing. It’s up to you to decide whether what you are planning to do is worth the money you will be paying for it.

Plan a Trip

Photo Credit: Canva

8.) Book it!

That’s it! You’ve planned a trip.  I hope you enjoy it.

What are your tips for planning trips? Do you love planning, or hate it? Let us know in the comments below!

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The Best Bits of Great Britain in Two Weeks

Great Britain is on almost all international travellers wish lists. And no, wonder! It is pretty amazing here. Though, when most people say they’re been to England, they really mean London. Although London is a must-visit, it isn’t the be-all-and-end-all of this wonderful little island we live on. If your time is short, then this is the way to see the best of Great Britain in two weeks.

London – 3 days

Great Britain In Two Weeks

Chances are you’ll be arriving into London, so it makes sense to start our whirlwind fortnight there. Just like New York, people spend years living in London without seeing everything, so you’ll never get bored. But unless you’re a natural city-dweller, three days is a perfect amount of time to stay there. Between the crowds, pollution and sky-high prices, it will be time to leave by then. Go and visit all of the world-famous highlights of the capital plus take pictures of red phone boxes and beefeaters. Once you’ve got that out of your system, there’s still loads to do depending on what you fancy. Shopping, history or art – London’s got it all.

Highlights: Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London.

Brighton – 1 Day

A bustling city by the sea, Brighton drips with hipster cool. Hearing seagulls and feeling the cool sea breeze on your face will feel a million miles away from London, despite being less than 60 miles away. Choose you favourite things to do out of our 48 hour guide, or keep an eye on the purse strings with the top ten free things to do.

Highlights: Royal Pavilion, Victorian Pier and Shopping in the North Laines.

Stonehenge

On your way through, pay a visit to this world heritage site. The oldest parts of this circle are over 5000 years old, but no one really knows who constructed it or why.

Fowey – 2 days

Great Britain In Two Weeks

A gorgeous and typically Cornish town, Fowey is the complete opposite of London and Brighton.  We actually spent our honeymoon here, and absolutely fell in love with the place. It has narrow, cobblestone streets and friendly people that actually say good morning to each other. You can either spend a few days in Fowey seeing country life and relaxing or using it as a base to explore the area. The favourite being the Eden Project, in nearby St Austell.

Highlights: Eden Project, Lost Gardens of Heligan and Cornish Cream Teas.

Liverpool – 1 day

Known for its two Premier League football clubs and as the stomping ground of the Beatles, Liverpool definitely has its name big and bold on the England map. If you’re particularly passionate about either of those, you could easily spend two weeks here alone. Watch out for the two Liver Birds who watch over the city from the top of the Liver Building.

Highlights: Liver building, the Museum of Liverpool and the two Cathedrals.

Blackpool- 1 day

A favourite for English stag and hen parties, Blackpool is like England’s Las Vegas. Ok, maybe not, though there are rollercoasters, illuminations and shows nightly! It’s a great contrast from Brighton down south to see how the North do their seaside towns.

Highlights: Blackpool Tower, Blackpool Pleasure Beach and the Blackpool Illuminations

LOCH NESS – 1 DAY

Great Britain In Two Weeks

You can either take a day tour from Edinburgh, or self-drive – both will take all day. Visit the famous lake, take a boat tour and see if you can spot Nessie. She’s not a monster, she’s just misunderstood. On the way, you’ll be driving through the Scottish Highlands, with beautiful views. You may even bump into a bagpipes player!

Edinburgh – 2 days

Scotland’s capital bustles by day and by night. Tourists stream down the Royal Mile in the daylight (including visiting all of the souvenir shops). And you might meet some of the more ghostly inhabitants of Edinburgh if you choose to do a City of the Dead graveyard tour.

Highlights: Edinburgh Castle, National Museum of Scotland and Arthur’s Seat

Cambridge – 1 day

Great Britain In Two Weeks

Home of the prestigious University, Cambridge’s main attractions revolve around the University buildings, dating back to the 13th century. Punting along the river Cam, a little like gondola riding in Venice, is very common. It’s a brilliant activity, especially when it’s sunny. In fact, Cambridge has a Bridge of Sighs named after the one in Venice despite them having very little in common.

Highlights: Trinity College, Fitzwilliam Museum and the Bridge of Sighs.

London

Whether you’re only hopping over to Ireland or France, or heading down under to Australia, the cheapest and easiest place to fly from will be from one of the London Airports. Wherever you are heading to next on your adventure, or even if you’re heading home, we hope you have had a great time visiting!

Where have you visited in Britain? What was your favourite? Did it rain all the time you were there? Let us know in the comments below!

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Restaurant Review | Terre A Terre | Brighton

I grew up in a “Meat and two veg” kind of family. When I chose to become a vegetarian as a teenager, dinner mainly consisted of the meat-free sausages of fifteen years ago that tasted vaguely of cardboard… and two veg. Somehow, this happened less than 30 miles away from the centre of Brighton – vegetarian Mecca. Back in the day there were two prominent vegetarian restaurants. One of which, Terre A Terre, it took fifteen years for me to get to try.

Terre A Terre Review | Outside Continue reading

Top 10 Free Things To Do in Brighton

Whilst travelling, we love discovering all the free things there are to do. Especially in places that can be expensive such as Brisbane or Las Vegas. However, whilst there are amazing places to see around the globe, the UK is home to some sweet spots too.  Brighton, or ‘London-by-the-sea’ as it’s known, is the most popular seaside location for overseas tourists in the UK. There is so much to see and tons to do; what’s even better is there are loads of free things to do in Brighton!

The only way to really appreciate just how many free things to do in Brighton there are, is to visit. But in the meantime here are our top 10:- Continue reading

48 hours in Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh, or the City of Four Faces, is the capital of Cambodia. However, many travellers believe that the only sight worth seeing here is the infamous killing fields. As a result it gets missed off many itineraries which is such a shame. There is so much to do and see in and around this growing city that you should definitely consider including it on your Cambodian, or South East Asian trip.

We thoroughly enjoyed our few days here and you will too. Our luxury accommodation at the Frangipani Hotel totally helped (I mean who doesn’t love a roof top pool and buffet breakfasts?!). But the culture, the cuisine and the general atmosphere of this place will attest to it’s nickname, the Charming City. Continue reading

Buying a car in Australia (and then selling it)

So, you’re planning on heading ‘Down Under’; or you’re already there and thinking about the best way to get around. Are you planning a trip up the East Coast and dreaming of the open road? If yes, you may consider buying a car in Australia. We did and it was great…mostly.

There are plenty of ways to travel around Australia; if you’ve got the money and want to rack up the air-miles you can fly. If you’re a backpacker, you’re probably thinking of using the Greyhound. Or maybe hiring a camper van/caravan is more your thing; but if you get it right, buying a car in Australia could be the most cost effective way to travel. However there are a number of pitfalls to avoid and things you should know.

buying a car in australia
buying a car in australia - bruce

The initial process of buying a car in Australia is the same as anywhere else. For the purposes of this post I’m going to assume you won’t be buying a new one (I mean, if you’re just travelling why would you?!). So you find a car, you agree a price and you pay for it. Considerations at this point:-

  • How many seats do you need?
  • Do you need to be able to sleep in it?
  • How long will you need the car for? (relevant for REGO – see below)
  • Has the car been serviced recently?
  • Does it come with a road safety certificate?
  • Does it test drive OK?

If you are in Sydney we suggest you check out the Sydney Travellers Car Market. This is where we found our car. It’s a place for travellers to buy and sell their cars so it’s handy at both ends of the journey.

REGO

Rego is the car registration, effectively equivalent to car tax in the UK. The difference in Australia is that the remaining, unexpired registration transfers across to the new owner when a vehicle is sold. Renewing the registration can be quite expensive. Therefore it’s worth buying a car with a long time left on the REGO and avoiding those with little or no time left. If it will have some time on it when you’re ready to sell, even better!

insurancebuying a car in australia - RMS

When buying a car In Australia, the only mandatory insurance is called CTP – ‘compulsory third party’. This only covers other people involved in an accident. It does not cover the driver or any damage to vehicles etc. It is entirely voluntary whether you decide to opt for further insurance cover.

Different states deal with the CTP differently. It can be included with the REGO transfer (i.e. you pay for both at the same time) or as in NSW you have the option of finding your own CTP to ensure you get the best rate. Note: You will not be able to transfer the REGO without having CTP in place.

post purchase admin

Congratulations, you’ve bought a car in Australia! Now there is some admin to be sorted out. The REGO needs to be transferred into your name within 14 days of the purchase. You need to find a Roads & Maritime Service Centre to do this. These are everywhere, so it shouldn’t be too hard. Make sure you have the following with you:-

  • Vehicle details i.e. registration plate number.
  • Details of the purchase –  date & price
  • Evidence of the sale (invoice/sales contract)
  • Completed forms – they will provide these.
  • Money to pay the transfer fee.

You will also need a ‘MyService’ account for the state you are in (i.e. MyServiceNSW). You can do this at the same time as the transfer. However you will need to provide proof of identity such as a passport and proof of your Australian address.

If you’re staying in a hotel or hostel, even if just for a few days, you can use a invoice from them. However if you’re House-sitting or staying in an Air BnB for example,  you can open a bank account with Commonwealth Bank using just your passport (yes a bank will let you have an account with no proof of address, but you can’t register a car!). You can then use the opening account certificate as evidence of your address.

buying a car in australia - open road

Now you’re all sorted. Go and explore the open road! Check out our other posts for ideas on where to go in your new motor:-

Melbourne to Sydney | Sydney to Brisbane | Brisbane to Cairns

Note: It’s a great idea to get the car serviced after each 10,000km of driving. That might sound like a lot but before you know it, the time comes round at it’s servicing time.

Selling your car

You’ve done all the driving you can take. Or you’d love to carry on, but unfortunately the workplace is calling you back home. So now it’s time to try and sell your car.

Photo Credit: AbsolutelyAustralia.com.au

As we mentioned above, if you’re finishing up in Sydney, consider taking it to the Sydney Travellers Car Supermarket. Bear in mind there is a cost to this. If you bought it from a dealer they may offer a guaranteed buy-back option although it will likely be at a substantial reduction of the price (ours was just 40%!). Finally, Gumtree is also a great site to place an advert; it may be worth adding it as soon as you’ve bought it with an ‘available from’ date so it has lots of time to be seen. Other options include placing ads in hostels or on other online forums like lonely planet.

what you need

Road Safety Certificate – In the UK cars need to be MOT’d regularly to ensure that there are no dodgy cars on the road. In Australia there is an equivalent however they differ between states. In Queensland for example, prior to offering a vehicle for sale, you have to obtain and display a Safety Certificate (previsouly called a blue slip). It is valid for 2 months or 2,000km. However as there are no periodic safety checks required in QLD, it is likely to be more difficult for a vehicle to pass. Another thing to note is only authorised garages can provide one.

In NSW however, it is more similar to the UK annual car service. When you renew the annual REGO detailed above, any cars over 5 years old need to have safety certificate first. So it will
probably be easier to get one there and if you’re REGO hasn’t run out yet, you don’t need to worry about it!

buying a car in Australia - notice of disposalNotice of Disposal – Once you’ve sold your car, make sure you let the Service centre know.  You do this by submitting a Notice of Disposal. This confirms the details of the sale, the new purchaser and acts as Proof of Sale in place of an invoice in a private sale.

Submitting the notice of disposal is very important. If you don’t advise that you have transferred ownership you could be held liable for the new owner’s parking fines or road tolls.


Have you thought about buying a car in Australia? Or have you already done it and successfully sold it? Get in touch below, we’d love to hear from you.

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The Whitsundays – A 1 Day Sailing Tour

When we decided we were going to travel up the east coast of Australia there were some things that we just HAD to do. Sailing the Whitsunday Islands was one of those things. As any keen ‘Googler’ will discover there are simply hundreds of different options available.

sailing the whitsunday islands

We like a bargain and often struggle to click the ‘book’ button when looking at doing the most popular activities. This time round we knew exactly what we were looking for. We wanted to go sailing the Whitsunday islands, we wanted to see Whitehaven Beach and we wanted a water based activity ie kayaking or snorkelling. We therefore opted for the ‘1 Day Whitehaven Beach Camira Sailing Adventure – Awesome Whitsundays’.

the basics

Cost: AUD$159 per person, total cost $318. We booked our tour through Backpackers World, which resulted in decent a discount.The Tour is operated by Cruise Whitsundays and the full price should be AUD$189 per person.

Included:-sailing the whitsunday islands - camira front view

– A full days sailing on board a bright purple catamaran called Camira
– On board commentary providing information about the islands and wildlife
– All you can drink soft drinks and alcohol (beer and wine)
– Hot drinks and biscuits in the morning
– An amazing all you can eat BBQ for lunch
– Mask, fins and stinger suit for snorkelling
– A couple of hours to relax on Whitehaven Beach (and sports equipment)
– Sun cream

overview of the tour

We arrived at the Port of Airlie cruise terminal at around 7:45am. Just before 8:00 am the tannoy sounded to announce that it was our time to board. So we strolled down the ramp and were welcomed on board by the enthusiastic and friendly crew.

sailing the whitsunday islands - camira

The catamaran Camira looked amazing. It was bright purple and even the customers not coming on our tour were stopping to take photos. Before long the fairly small group of people were all on board and the tour could begin!

Teas, coffees and biscuits were ready almost immediately and naturally we helped ourselves. For the first hour or so we simply enjoyed the wind in our hair, as the boat powered away from the Port towards our first destination. We made a brief stop off at Day Dream Island to pick up a couple more passengers and were swiftly off again.

snorkelling

We carried on sailing round the headland of Whitsunday Island, through the relatively narrow gap between it and Hook Island. Before we knew it, it was time for our first proper activity – Snorkelling! As it was stinger season we donned stinger suits, masks and fins and climbed into the tender. A James Bond style reverse roll out of the smaller boat followed into the water, just off of Dumbell Island. The beautifully clear water meant we got to see loads of awesome fish and coral, there was even a turtle sighting. Sadly not by us!

sailing the whitsunday islands - whitehaven

After about half an hour or so it was time to get back on the boat. We sailed towards the glistening white sands of Whitehaven Beach. We stayed here for a couple of hours; there was time for a stroll along the beach, some swimming, sun bathing and getting those all important photos. The sand is so soft and due its incredibly high silica content, doesn’t absorb the heart of the sun! As we’re basically big kids we spent some of the time building sand castles.

the food

Whilst we had be sunning ourselves on the beach, the crew had been busy cooking lunch. Everyone was excited for the food especially me! The offering for meat-eaters was mouth watering with kangaroo steaks, chicken, mackerel, and huge sausages which I think were Goanna (a big Australia lizard). In addition there were salads and pasta dishes galore all of which were vegetarian friendly. There were also  yummy veggie burgers. It was an absolute feast.

sailing the whitsunday islands - view from camira

Once the food was done, all that remained was to sit back and enjoy the sailing. With an ice cold beer from the Esky in my hand, I was in heaven.

Summarysailing the whitsunday islands - prizes

We had an absolute whale of a time! We couldn’t really have asked for a better day out, in spite of the few spots of rain we got caught in. The on-board staff were all super friendly and enthusiastic. To top it all off we won some prizes (See pic) for successfully completing a game involving untying ourselves from a knot.

Our only disappointment was that the trip didn’t go the Hill Inlet lookout point to get the classic postcard photos of the wavy sands. However, we knew that going in and there are other tours that do go there.

conclusion

Overall I think it was excellent value in context with other tours available and would highly recommend it to anyone thinking of going sailing in the Whitsunday Islands. I would give it a score of 9 out of 10.

Have you experienced sailing the Whitsunday Islands? Did you opt for a single or multi-day trip? What was your favourite part? Get in touch in the comments below.

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48 Hours in Sydney

Backpackers, holiday makers and adventure seekers have been heading down under for years. With some of the most iconic sights in the world on offer, no trip to Australia would be complete without seeing Sydney. Even if you’re just passing through at the beginning of your East coast road trip, you have to spend at least 48 hours in Sydney!

48 hours in Sydney - Title

Check out this awesome itinerary for your three days in the Harbour City. Continue reading

Least favourite things about travelling for 350 days

Our amazing adventure of traversing the globe for a whole year is almost at an end. As our previous post indicated we have been on the road for over 350 days. We’ve seen loads of different countries, witnessed awesome spectacles, eaten exotic food and met some brilliant people. But it hasn’t all been roses and kittens; On request from one our readers here are some of our least favourite things about travelling for 350 days.

least favourite things about travelling - sad C & D

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Travel experiences – our favourites after 350 days on the road

It’s almost over; our year long round the world trip is almost over *wipes tear from eye*. That means we’ve been on the road over 350 days, That’s 350 days of travel experiences. (Not all of them favourable, but our next post will talk about that).

We’re sad that it’s over, but happy to be going back to the UK and seeing friends and family. It means we can share our travel experiences with them in person over a beer. This will be our last ‘favourite things’ post for this trip and possibly ever. So make sure you check out the previous posts and see our favourite things from our whole year of travelling:-

300 Days | 150 Days | 100 Days | 50 Days

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