My Complete guide to a City Break

Okay I am abit of a city wanderer. Honestly, I love a city break. Exploring somewhere completely new and experiencing the hustle and bustle of a completely different world. Because that is what a city is. A new world of history, new modern buildings and a mass of people from all walks of life and countries.

I even managed to turn my husband into a city break lover. With many cities packed with plenty to do, I hugely recommend everyone and anyone into doing atleast one.

Since i’m forever planning city breaks, and trying to explore as many worldwide cities I thought I’d share a complete guide for a perfect city break.

Read: Boston – A Travel Guide

When booking

Double check flight times

When heading on a city break, chances are you are only heading for a couple of days. When it comes to booking flights, really consider the time you are flying. Whilst the cheaper flights tend to be at the most inconvenient time of the day it will be well worth spending the extra dosh on early flights on your way out and late flights on your way home. This way it gives you two days either side to make the most of your trip. ,

Consider budget and location of your hotel

Understadably the more central located hotels tend to be a little pricer. But before you dismiss them, consider how much money this will save you once you’re there since you can pretty much walk everywhere.

If you do have a strict budget, do remember the costs you will incure if your hotel is out of the city, or go a little low standard – it is only a base for sleeping of course.

Pre-book airport travel

Although most cities have brilliant transport systems to and from the airport, it’s well worth pre-booking something ahead of going. It makes it easier, and stressfree. Plus there’s no worry a taxi is going to swallow lots of your cash.

Double check the luggage allocation

*Most* city breaks are short, sweet and fairly local. So handluggae cases are just enough for a fw days exploring. Double check you are content with that arrangement as hefty fees can be incured at the airport to check in extra baggage. The further afield cities offer hold luggage but still incur weight restrictions.

Before flying

Research

If you haven’t already, now is the time to research what there is to do in the city. Seach pinterest for blogger travel guides and use instagram to find hotspots. Don’t miss out on the best places for pit stop coffees and candlelit dinners. Create a board, take screen shots, print webpages. Whatever your find easier to research the city you’ll soon be exploring.

Set a itinerary

Now you’ve done the research, you can carefully set an itinerary for your trip. Don’t underestimate how long it will take you to find your bearings around a new city and pencil in plenty of breaks. Sometimes I don’t set itineraries as weather and other things can play a role in what you end up doing when. But having a good idea of what you want to visit and experience is a must. .

Book if need be

Whilst I don’t advise booking everything before you go, you can get some cracking deals online if you book ahead. Consider carefully and be sure to shop around before hand.

Pack sensibily

Any city break is going to be tiring and include a lot of walking. Be sensible in what you pack. Comfortable shoes, clothes to cover your from the elements including sun and rain, and bags that will hold everything you need for a day out and about. Whilst you will be able to buy somethings there, this can be rather expensive and time consuming when you are there.

Buy your cash before you head to the airport

I have always avoided airport currency exchange counters. They really don’t give you the best deal, and if you shop around before heading away, you can get some cracking deals online and at your local supermarket. It’s worth researching exchange rates, as it can save you some pennies in the long run!

– Pin it for later –

Travelling Light: How To Pack Efficiently & Reduce Travel Stress!*

No matter where you’re going next, travelling light ensures you reduce the pre-holiday stress. Make the most of your trip with these simple tips!

Packing for a trip can be very stressful indeed. You’re constantly worrying about what’s in your suitcase and what you’ve left out. Then, there’s the panic of weighing your case and realising it’s heavier than what your airline allows. Oh, and don’t forget the money, passport and boarding passes! To prevent all these worries, you need a plan in place. Travelling light may seem impossible for a week away, but it’s actually easier than you might think.

Make a list!

Each time you book a trip, whether it’s two weeks in the Canaries or a weekend in the Lake District, it’s a great habit to have a plan of action. Start with a packing list for your trip. This way, you can write down what you need for each day you’re away. If you’re really into making lists, you can split these into categories, listing different items under headings such as ‘daywear’, ‘nightwear’ or ‘toiletries’.

When you’ve made your lists and you’re certain you’ve got everything nailed on the head, the realisation sets in. You need to take how much?! Save your panic – there’s a way to reduce these lists further; you just need to know some simple tricks.

Change up your clothing.

There’s a shirt or dress that would be perfect for your trip in your wardrobe, but it’s not really the best fit. You don’t have to neglect it – think about making some changes to it to make it more wearable. Clothing alterations by Alterations Boutique make it so much easier to use those old favourites again and again, meaning you don’t have to keep investing in new items each time you travel.

Altering your clothing is not the only way to save a little bit of space. Using the same outfit or items of clothing for more than one outfit is sure to free up a whole lot of space in your suitcase. Think about using a pair of sandals for multiple outfits or a shirt that can work for both day and night. Be adventurous and see what you can come up with while also saving space in the case!

Vacuum and roll!

Okay, this one is probably the best trick in the book to save more space and avoid creasing your clothes before you get to your destination. Instead of folding up your clothes into nice neat piles and placing them carefully into your suitcase, roll them up. This will stop any creases from forming and save a ton of space. For even more wiggle room, use vacuum compression bags to get rid of all the air – you’ll be very pleasantly surprised at more space and fewer creases.

Tablets and eBooks.

We all love a good read by the side of the pool but packing multiple books in your suitcase really takes up space and uses a lot of weight. If you’ve not yet done so, investing in a tablet or eBook to view all your books in one place is more than worth it. They’re small and lightweight too, so you can get all your reads in without compromising on space.

Travel bottles and containers.

Instead of taking new, full bottles of shampoo or shower gel, think realistically; you’re really not going to use a full bottle when you’re only away for a few days. Use a smaller bottle and separate a smaller amount of your liquid into each one. These are much easier to fit in your suitcase and will take up a lot less weight than the original sizes and shapes of your bottles.

Lightweight suitcases.

It may be something you’ve not really thought about before, but the weight of a suitcase can be a problem. Instead of going for what looks nice, try and seek out lightweight suitcases made from lighter materials. Yep, you guessed it – the weight you save from opting for a more efficient suitcase can be used to pack even more clothes! Don’t forget – make sure you can tell it apart from other cases by adding a snazzy ribbon or luggage tag.

Travelling light is the key to a stress-free trip!

We know that most of the stress we feel before we go on a trip is due to the fact that we panic about not having everything we need. With these tips on how to travel lighter but more efficiently, we can make sure we skip that stressful stage and concentrate on enjoying ourselves to the max!

Do you have any travelling tips?

Share your thoughts in the comments!

*This post was in collaboration with Alterations Boutique, dress and suit alterations specialists in the UK. For more information about their services or to make an enquiry, visit their website: https://www.alterationsboutique.co.uk.

What to know before Visiting Barbados

Barbados offers sunshine, beaches and exclusivity. The little Caribbean island-nation allures over a million annual tourists, many of which stay in the ultra-luxurious beachfront villas in Barbados. With an impressive tourist infrastructure and a diverse range of activities, there’s little wonder why it’s such a popular place for a holiday. But before you book the ticket and hop on the flight, check out these things every tourist should know before travelling to Barbados.  

Expect to pay, pay, pay

First and foremost, Barbados isn’t a cheap destination. It doesn’t matter whether you’re planning to stay in a beachfront villa or a Bridgetown guesthouse, you can expect an expensive vacation. Taking tours and embracing the opportunities to explore more of this nation will keep the credit card bill rising. But don’t let this deter you. World-class accommodation combined with the ultimate beach retreat promises an unforgettable trip. Research the costs beforehand and anticipate high prices, but you’re sure to come away feeling it was all worthwhile.  

Know where you want to stay 

If you’re looking for exclusivity on your trip to Barbados, consider getting one of the vacation rentals. Popular with honeymooners and families, dozens of bungalows line the shores on the south and east coasts. You can book a few nights and wake to the gentle waves and open the curtains to pristine beaches. However, these tend to sell out months in advance, and it pays to start doing your research now. The exclusivity and luxury will be on another level and worth the costs. Just be prepared to rent a car for easy access to and from the property.  

But if convenience is what you’re looking for, you should stay at one of many all-inclusive resorts. Despite their relatively high price tag, most guests consider them to be good value for money. You’ll have access to high-quality food on demand and usually an open bar. Huge swimming pools, health centres and massage services are available too. Families travelling with younger children might also benefit from the kid’s clubs offered at some of the resorts. Mom and Dad can sit around the pool enjoying their slice of paradise while the little ones have the time of their lives in the clubs. And to add an extra layer of convenience, many of the resorts have the facilities to arrange day tours and side trips.  

Getting better value for money 

Barbados’s high season corresponds to the North American winter. Christmas and New Year tend to see thousands of tourists descending onto the island. During this time, expect the accommodation costs to soar often costing thousands of dollars compared to other times of the year. However, if you’re flexible and savvy, you might decide to wait a few months and visit during low season. The dry season usually lasts until early May, and the prices in late April are generally significantly less compared to the likes of Christmas. For the best value, book a trip during the low season. Tourists travelling during this period can often find their dream accommodation for a fraction of what it was a few months earlier. And don’t neglect the wet season (May until October) entirely. While storms and rainfall are frequent, the morning usually receives unbroken sunshine.  

Learn more about the island’s rich history and colonial past 

Few tourists make an effort to learn anything about this fascinating island paradise. With an intriguing history dating back centuries and more than 300 years of British colonial influence, Barbados isn’t just about beaches. Taking the time to read up on their past and legacy can transform your holiday into an enlightening experience. Join a tour passing around the former colonial estates and mansions. Or encourage the older kids to read up before they visit.  

If you want flexibility, get a car 

Tourists who want to explore Barbados need to have their own set of wheels. The island offers endless hiking opportunities, hidden coves and viewing platforms. Many of these are challenging to reach without your own transport. While some tours do take visitors to the main attractions, they often overlook some of the more off-the-beaten-path sights. If you rent a car, you can have your own mini-adventure. The main road passes around the perimeter of the island, and you can drive around comfortably in a single day. It’s almost impossible to get lost, and regardless of what the rental company tells you, GPS isn’t necessary. Just be prepared for a lower standard of driving, bumpy roads and little-observed traffic laws. But if you drive carefully, you’re unlikely to have any problems.  

Barbados is safe, but… 

Despite the island’s reputation as one of the safest in the Caribbean, it doesn’t give you the excuse to let your guards down. Most Barbadians lack the affluent lifestyle of the thousands of daily cruise shipping tourists. And this gives them the incentive to try to scam or steal. Use your common sense and leave anything valuable in the hotel. Or even better, don’t bring it at all. Ask a trusted local to give you up-to-date advice on any no-go areas on the island. This might include certain neighbourhoods in Bridgetown, stretches of beach or potentially dangerous nightclubs. But with a little effort, you’re almost guaranteed to face no problems or complications what so ever. 

Things every first-time visitor should know   

A trip to Barbados will be a dream come true. Just expect the high-prices, know the type of accommodation you want and get a car for flexibility. And don’t forget to leave any designer clothes or expensive jewellery in the hotel safe or at home.  

Being safe, your Holiday Vaccines and Zika Virus.

You may well know, we are heading off in a couple of months to our honeymoon in Koh Samui and Singapore. As we get closer to the trip, we get more and more excited as is expected. Like any new destination visit, we have taken to our doctors for advice on the health risks we could face, and any precautions we should embark on before we hit the sand.

I hate vaccinations, but with visiting rather a tropical destination, we wanted to be safe. Thankfully, we didn’t have to have anything nasty, but we were advised on a lot that we wouldn’t have known unless we looked or asked.

And it got me thinking, how many people actually ask these questions or research into risks when heading off on holiday? Are we being over the top? Do we protect ourselves effectively against health risks?

Here’s some of the risks we all should consider before boarding the plane.

Read : Our Honeymoon details and booking. 

Insurance

When booking any holiday, insurance should be purchased too. You may not intend to do any dangerous sports or activities, but health insurance may be needed for the most mundane of reasons, or unexpected! Lacking in travel insurance could leave you penniless if needing medical attention out of the EU.

Vaccines

Many locations impose risk to virus’ and infections, some of which can be avoided with vaccines. Many of the countries we visit need no vaccines, however, some of the more exotic locations do carry risk and so vaccines are advised.

For advice on the immunisations you may need for your upcoming trip, visit Fit for travel or Travel Health Pro for advice on your destination and possible outbreaks.

Zika Virus – Location dependant 

We have all heard of the Zika virus since a large outbreak back in 2015. And despite it no longer making headline news or the news at 10, it is still active and effective, even today.

Whilst the Zika virus is no killer, and many of those infected neither know it, or suffer from just a quick bout of flu like symptoms, it can have a knock on effect months after being to an affected country.

The main concerns with the Zika Virus is the complications it can cause to pregnant women, and couples looking to conceive up to 6 months after visiting an affected area. If you are unsure if your upcoming destination carries risk of the Zika Virus, check out the Gov website. It regularly updates the risk of Zika in multiple countries and offers advice to those travelling.

If you are looking to try for a baby after visiting an effected country, seek medical advice. The NHS website does advise against couples trying for a baby within 6 months after visiting a moderate to high risk country. Up to 6 months, there is a risk of the Zika virus within your male partner, possibly causing complications to a baby, including abnormally small heads (microcephaly).

If you are visiting an affected area, reduce the risk of Zika Virus but using inset repellent, and wearing loose clothing to cover your arms and legs.

Repellent

Even if the risk of Zika is not present, it’s well worth repelling mosquitoes as much as you can. It may be a pain in the bum, but try and cover yourself nightly. It’s much better than the pesky bites they leave you with, and the germs and / or infection they might carry with it.

Medicine

With any holiday, there is a chance you will get a headache, eat something your tummy doesn’t agree with, or suffer from something inconvenient. It’s well worth packing a supply of pain killers, paracetamol and diarrhoea tablets just encase, as many countries lack in basic pain relief, or charge the earth for it .

Sun cream

Do not go on holiday without sufficient sun cream. And don’t believe that burning is part of the tanning process. It is not. Protect you and your skin effectively from the sun with high factor sun cream lotion. Be sure to re-apply every couple of hours, and try an avoid the midday day rays, as this is when the sun is at its highest.

I really hope this post of mine will help some of you out there. This post isn’t to scare you from visiting far away places, just rather open your eyes to the risks you could be open to. Without really looking, or speaking to a health advisor, many tourists can be oblivious to the health risks and virus that are active. Always seem medical advice if you are concerned, and be sure to check your immunisations are up to date. The NHS can offer boosters for many vaccinations, so be sure to speak to your doctor 8-10 weeks before you travel.

Are you heading anywhere exotic this summer? 

Have you sought medical advise? 

As always, share your thoughts and comments in the section below.

Charlotte x