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Saturday, 19 December 2015

Planning A Last Minute Trip Away This New Year?

The holidays are here, and it's the happiest time of year! I love that a week after Christmas, it's the new year, so there is so much celebrating, good food and parties. I would love to celebrate the new year in a different country, but I'm just not sure it will happen this time. If you are lucky enough to go on a last minute trip, here are the best tips for planning one. If you can go, why not?

Look for a Hotel Online

There are a variety of websites such as Agoda or that do last minute hotel deals. Often there are a certain number of rooms in big hotels, which are reserved for these kinds of sites. The hotels would rather have the room be used so if it is close enough to the time, you can grab a great deal. Hotels will usually be cheaper if you look slightly further out of the city or popular destinations. It often just means sitting on the train for a few more stops, but that can save you a great deal.

If this isn’t particularly your thing, though, maybe look at a house swap website. These tend to be quite cheap, or even free! A lot of people do travel during the holidays so there are likely to be a lot of vacancies. Try out couchsurfing, or AirBnB.

Research Your Destination

There may be one specific place that you have in mind, there may not. In December and January, you should consider the climate of the place you are visiting. Would you mind getting all wrapped up to spend time in Times Square in New York? Or would you rather party in warmer climates at a festival like Sunburn Goa? As you can tell by the name, it is going to be warm there!

You'll want to choose a destination that will have a lot going on, to make it a new year to remember. This does tend to be big cities. You could go for more unusual options, though, like choosing Chicago over New York, or Madrid instead of Paris.


Fly Off-Peak

Unless you want to be at your destination a few days before new year’s eve, consider flying on the actual new year’s eve or even new year’s day. As with flying on Christmas day, it is not the most popular time, so you can usually get a pretty good deal on a flight. You’d be amazed at the difference flying on 1st January compared to 2nd January can make.

Pack Light

As with any last minute trip, it is best to pack light. Sometimes the best thing to do is just go and see what happens. If you find that hard to do, then make a small list of what you think you’ll need to take. Just take the essentials, though. Remember to account for things like travel insurance. Something like that is a must!

Sometimes it is nice to avoid all of the crowds during a busy time like new year’s eve. It can make for a pretty memorable occasion though, if you spent it in Vegas or London. Sometimes I think if you can’t beat them, join them! 

Good luck and enjoy your trip,
Calista xx

*This post was contributed by a guest blogger

Thursday, 17 December 2015

What You Wish You Knew Before Visiting France

There is no doubt about it – France is amazing! For anyone that wants to experience a country that is full of unique attractions and glamor, France is the place. From the hotels and food to the sights and sounds, there are not too many countries that can boast a resume like France. Visiting the country should be on everyone’s bucket list, but before you book the plane tickets, there are a few things to consider first. Travelling is not easy, which is why you should take a look at the tips below.

Learn The Language

Okay, so maybe you won’t be able to learn the language before you jet off, but it is important that you learn a few words and phrases. The French are not enamoured with people who turn up and only speak English, so you might annoy a few people if you don’t put in the effort. There are even accounts of French people who speak English refusing because they think everyone should speak French! Whether that is true or not is not the point, the point is that they appreciate the effort, which will make your life a lot easier when you land.

There Is More To See Than Paris!

Yes, Paris is amazing, and yes you should head to Paris as soon as possible. Still, it is important to remember there is more than one city in the whole of France. In fact, there are a variety of cities and regions that are just as amazing. For example, there is the infamous Provence region that is home to Cannes and Nice. Or, there is the Pays-de-la-Loire region that boasts places such as Vendee and neighbouring Nantes. The best resorts in Vendee and Provence are among the highlights of the entire trip, so make sure you don’t miss out.

Rent A Car

If you are travelling around the entirety of the country, you should consider alternative forms of transport. The public transport facilities are good, and the trains will get you from one end of the country to the other. Plus, when you are there, the buses and the metro system will get you around town, too. However, driving a car is much more comfortable, for lots of reasons. For starters, you get to decide when you want to travel and don’t have to wait for a lift. Plus, you get lots more room, and you don’t have to share the car with one hundred strangers! Yes, driving in Paris and the bigger cities is frightening, but on the whole, it is quite easy and a much better option.

Hold Onto Your Personal Items

Unfortunately, there is a darker side of France that you need to be aware of before you start your journey. As it is a big place with lots of visitors each year, there are thieves that will target tourists. One light-fingered crook could ruin your entire holiday by clearing out your bank account and leaving you with no money. To prevent this from happening, always be aware of your personal items such as your wallet, credit cards and cash. If you have to, take a travel bag with locks and zips.

So pack your bags, get your camera ready, and set off to the City of Love!

Eiffel tower a-calling,
Calista xx