How to Turn up at the Airport and Take the Next Flight Out

airport departure board in europe

It’s a fantasy for many people, myself included, to pack a bag, turn up at the airport and take the next flight out, and after three months in the UK I’ve been itching more than ever to pack a bag and go. However, after giving some thought to such a whimsical way of jetting off I have come to realise it’s a bit more difficult in practice than you might think. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible – if there’s even the remotest possibility that your flighty feet might one day put you in the exciting position of turning up at … Read more

Things To Do In Montsoreau in the Loire Valley, France

Turreted chateau of montsoreau before the loire valley river France

It seems a little premature, but as I saw blossom sprouting on the trees this weekend I couldn’t help but feel that spring is in the air and if, like me, that prompts thoughts of travel, perhaps for a short break, I have just the place in mind: Montsoreau in France’s beautiful Val d’Loire (Loire Valley). This time last year Montsoreau was the place I called home. For three months from early January to early April I lived in the tiny French village of Montsoreau and although I’ve had smarter ideas than living in a Troglodyte cave in the depths … Read more

Is it Safe for Women to Travel Alone?

Is it safe for women to travel alone? As a girl who wanders the world by herself I get asked this question a lot. However, the subject has received even more attention in recent weeks following media coverage of the rape and death of a young woman in India, the tragic murder last month of an America woman in Turkey and most recently the rape of a group of six Spanish women in Mexico. (Incidentally the six women were travelling with men.) With these tragic attacks at the forefront of our news it is no surprise to me that the issue … Read more

No Hotels – No Worries: What to do When your Room Plan Falls Through

no hotels

‘Homeless in Hawaii’ was my Facebook status more than once during my extended stay on the islands at the end of last year. Whether your travel plans have failed or, like me, you’ve failed to make any plans at all, there are times when you might find yourself in a place with no hotels or rooms available, especially if you are on a long-term trip. Based on my experience, here are a few alternative ways to spend the night. The ‘No Hotels = No Sleep’ Options First the reality sinks in that you’re going to be homeless for the night, but … Read more

Best Budget Accommodation Websites

Infinity pools, butlers serving afternoon tea complete with those little finger sandwiches I do love so much (crust cut off, of course). That is how I like to travel, with sites like Small Luxury Hotels winning hands down over any budget accommodation website out there. However, there is a reality I can’t escape – I like to travel for more than your average two-week vacation and absent a limitless budget (which I sadly don’t have), it’s important to focus on this very simple travel math rule: the cheaper you sleep, the longer you can stay on the road. The good news … Read more

When to Book Rooms in Advance

Book hotel to get availability

I’ve recently been playing around with Hotel Tonight. It’s a whizzy little app that allows you to book rooms…as the name suggests…that night. Forget Laterooms and the like, this is real last minute deal stuff and although it’s currently only available for the big cities, it certainly has the potential to expand. This app appeals to me not just because of the deal possibilities but also the impulsiveness it promotes and I wonder if it will get people to change their booking behavior and allow more randomness into their lives. But all of that said, it doesn’t always pay to … Read more

The Best Hostels in Southeast Asia

Phi Phi Hostel

Far too long ago I promised a list of my recommended hostels in Southeast Asia. In order of my route, not preference, here are my recommended hostels in Southeast Asia: Singapore: Beary Best Although it’s definitely aimed at girls (the place is filled with teddy bears), even the boys can’t knock the cleanliness and homely feel of this hostel (and, boys, the place is filled with girls so that can’t be a bad thing!). In a country where you’re asked to remove your footwear inside, this is one of the few places I felt confident padding into the bathrooms barefoot. The lady running … Read more

The 10 Travel Essentials I Wouldn’t Travel Without

    As I pack my backpack for the last time this year, wondering why I’ve bought so much fresh coffee to take home, and what on earth I need to throw away in order to fit it into my bag, it occurs to me that after two years of travelling, there is very little in my backpack that isn’t a travel essential…which only serves to make my packing predicament more difficult. While I sit contemplating taking all 15kg (33lb) of my belongings on a boozy night out (experience tells me that’s how I’m best able to part company with … Read more

How To Tell if Online Reviews are Fake

To Trust Travel Reviews

I get asked regularly which travel websites I use for recommendations on where to stay, where to eat, where’s good for wi-fi, the best place for breathing. If there’s an activity out there, then you can place money on the likelihood of there being a website capturing people’s opinions on whether the thing in question is good, bad or downright ugly. Trip Advisor, Yelp, Four Square, Hostel World  and Hostel Bookers, an entire market has sprung up for review sites telling you not only where to go, but what to eat, drink or do when you get there. I’ve even … Read more

Best Hostels in Latin America

Whenever I meet travelers en route to South or Central America, I’m always quick to pass on my list of recommended hostels in Latin America, not least because I know what it’s like to turn up at a place and wonder if Hell might have any vacancies as a better alternative.    A hostel, the facilities, the kind of travellers it attracts, the location and the cost can all have a huge impact on your travel experience. Equally, repeatedly trawling my tiny brain for the name of that place in that town, that is just on the tip of my … Read more