28 articles Tag Holiday

Getting Prepared for Your Holiday

Now that the weather is getting warmer, many of us are finally starting to wind-down and think about our yearly holiday. The problem with holidays is that all the prep can be such a stress that it’s hard to unwind once we finally get to our destination, so I thought I’d share with you a few tips that can make your life easier while you’re preparing for your trip.

Order Medications Online

From regular prescription meds that we need to take every day, to basics like paracetamol and antihistamines, most if us take a few different medications on holiday with us each year. Using an online pharmacy like UK Meds to order everything you need well ahead of time can save you the stress of picking up prescriptions as everything you order will be delivered straight to your door.

Weigh Your Bags

Is there anything more annoying than getting to the airport, realising your bags are too heavy and you’re going to need to pay a hefty fee to take excess baggage on the plain with you? We highly recommend getting a suitcase scale and weighing them yourself before you go so that you can be double sure you’re not going to get stung for fees.

Online Check-In

I’m stilled awed by this one, but the ability to check-in online means less time waiting around in airports and going through all of that aggravation. Doing online check-in means that you can spend your time in the airport enjoying a pre-flight cocktail and perusing the duty-free at your leisure!

Buy it There

Often, we spend SO much time and money shopping before a holiday, when waiting to buy things when you’re there can be beneficial in many ways. Most places you’ll go will have a supermarket nearby (we saw someone online the other day saying they did a Lidl shop in Tenerife!), so you could buy toiletries, nappies, sun cream and other items. They’ll probably be cheaper than they are in the UK, and you’ll also save space and weight in your suitcases if you aren’t lugging these heavy, bulky items along with you. Oh, and don’t forget to pack your holiday cash into a Versapak money bag, just to make sure your money is safe when abroad.

Book in Advance

If you’re planning excursions and day trips while you’re away, there will be lots of things that you can book in advance, like water parks and coach trips. This will save you the bother of doing it while you’re there, can help to navigate a language barrier and means that any money you take with you will be for luxuries and treats!

5 Family Cruise Destinations

When Husband and I were planning our wedding, one of the options was to go on a cruise and get married while we were on board. Ultimately, we chose the Maldives, but I’ve wanted to go on a cruise ever since. What we’ve recently discovered is that family cruises are a great option for a family vacation, and there are loads of amazing destinations that you can choose from. Here’s our top five destinations for a family cruise:

Scandinavia

Husband and I are both big fans of Scandinavian society and their way of life, and the countries we’d visit on a Scandinavian cruise are incredibly interesting and beautiful. Cruises are a great way to see a lot, all on one trip and being able to go from county to country is really appealing. There’s also the opportunity to see the Northern Lights on some of the cruises, which is a real bucket list item for all of us.

Caribbean 

Seriously, who wouldn’t want to go on a cruise around the Caribbean?! Sun, crystal seas and  incredible stops at some of the most beautiful islands in the world. I’ve always wanted to go to Jamaica and all four of us are HUGE Bob Marley fans, so some cultural sight-seeing around the island would be another ultimate experience for us.

Mediterranean

Although Europe is only a hop, skip and a jump away from the UK, I still feel like I’ve seen relatively little of it. I’ve been to Malta twice and really love it, but I’d love to see a lot more of the Mediterranean, like Spain, Italy and Greece. One thing we love about Mediterranean culture is the way it’s very family oriented – kids aren’t expected to be “seen and not heard” like they are in other places and it’s not unusual to see families all out together and eating a meal at 10pm!

China

A lot of people automatically think about cruises being on the open ocean, but river cruises are also an option and allow you to see the side of a country that a regular cruise wouldn’t let you see. China is a country I’ve always wanted to visit, and although the main cities seem fascinating, a river cruise would allow you to see the rural parts that you might not otherwise get to visit.

New York

America is quite a way away and when you’re not a fan of flying, going by cruise is a fantastic alternative. I’ve always wanted to visit New York and doubling it up with a cruise would be make it a really memorable trip!

Are you regular cruisers, or a complete newbie like us?Where are your ultimate cruise destinations? Is there anywhere you’d absolutely love to visit? Do leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear from you.

A Real Girl’s Guide To Holiday Preparations

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In a utopian world, we would all be able to roll out of bed, yawn beautifully and head to the airport looking like a VS model about to head down the runway without us having to do anything. Unfortunately, though, Donald Trump is President of the United States, which is all the evidence we need to know we don’t live in utopia.

But before you give up on everything and cancel the flights you’ve just booked and all the bucket-list activities your family was looking forward to, we want you to know that, while it isn’t one-hundred percent easy, there are a few things every girl can do to look their best in time for a vacation.

So, without further ado, here is the real girl’s guide to getting vacation ready:

Step 1: Tune That Diet

Literally, the first thing you should do after booking your flights, hotels and whatever else is committing to a healthier lifestyle. Not one of those fads that say you can get shred in six minutes or slim in two days, just a nice gentle lifestyle upheaval with, let’s say, two months to go. Drink lots of water, snack on walnuts, chow down on avocado and eat oily-fish. Looking vacation-good is a matter of feeling good, and that comes from a healthy lifestyle. Simple.

Step 2: Pamper Yourself

Most men find this part of the process pretty hard to understand, but there are a bunch of appointments you deserve to make in the build-up to a vacation. We’re talking about a bit of retail therapy with one aim: find a perfect sundress. We’re talking about getting pampered at the hairdressers, nail salon, waxing parlour and all that sort of stuff. If you really want to, and there is nothing saying you can’t, book in a quick tan too, as well as some brow and lash touch-ups. It’s a girly thing.

Step 3: Photograph Everything

You may be thinking that photographs are for the holiday itself, but you’d be wrong. Photographs are just as important before and that’s because real girls lose stuff, misplace things and have forgetful memories. As such, get the camera up on the phone and snap some pictures of your passport, your prescription medicines and any paperwork you’re probably going to lose at some point. It’s just not worth the risk.

Step 4: Wintery Feet

This is one of those appointments you should have made but, surprise-surprise, forgot to make. This is bad because our feet are the most abused part of our bodies and so a lick of paint isn’t going to be enough to sort them out. Not properly anyway. The simplest way to do this is to file away the dead skin before you shower, and then let your feet soak in an intensely hydrating foot lotion. Your feet will be on show on holiday, so make sure they are beautified.

Step 4: Have A Hair Cut

Sun, salt, sand, sea and all that sort of exposure is going to wreak havoc on your hair, which is why we recommend you get your haircut before you leave and properly washed and protected. A great way to do this yourself is to use a lovely conditioner. It’s the perfect prep for an overexposure of sun.

Family Holiday Bucket List – Sicily

SicilyHusband and I spend a lot of time fantasising about where we’ll visit when we’re able to start taking holidays and one place that we definitely agree upon is Sicily. It’s considered to be a ‘wilder’ version of Italy and there are SO many things about the place that pique our curiosity. We’re planning to rent a villa in Sicily as we think it’ll provide a really good base for us as a family to explore from, and it also gives us the option to have lazy days in our accommodation, or to eat in rather than visiting restaurants for every meal. Here are just five of the reasons we’d love to visit Sicily:

Mount Etna

Obviously, one of the things which springs to mind as soon as most people mention Sicily is Mount Etna, which is an active volcano on the island. It’s possible to climb the mountain and there’s a cable car which takes you to the summit. Once you get there, the views are truly breathtaking and while it’s all very well seeing other people’s photos, it’s a view I’d like to take in with my own eyes.

The History

One of the things that a lot of people don’t realise is the huge amount of Greek history which Sicily has, including one of the best examples of a Greek temple on the planet! Husband and I love a bit of historical sightseeing and would be absolutely in our element wandering around temples for the day.

The Food

Every time I see a plate of Sicilian food, my mouth starts to water involuntarily! From the fresh fish to the cured meats, the pasta, the gelato, the cannoli and other pastries – I could go on, but I don’t want to start drooling on my keyboard! I guarantee I will come back from Sicily having gained a LOT of weight (fortunately there’s a lot of villas in Sicily with a pool, so I could keep some of the weight at bay while I’m there!). 

The Architecture

From what I can gather, the architecture in Sicily is something to take notice of, not least of all because the island has a long history of different cultures using the island as a travelling way-point. Years ago, I read in a book that whenever you’re in a new city, you should look UP at the tops of the buildings because there are often little hidden treasures than so many people miss because they simply never look up, and I reckon Sicily has a lot of these treasures to find.

The Coast

Coming from the South East of England means that I’ve always been fairly close to the coast wherever I’ve lived, and it’s given me a real love of the sea and beach. Sicily’s coastline looks absolutely stunning in every single image I’ve ever seen and I’d love to spend time both on the beaches and travelling the coastline.

Have you ever been to Sicily? Is it a favourite location for holidays for you and your family? Do you have any tips for hidden gems? Do leave me a comment below.

How To Pack for a Cruise

Packing for a cruise might seem like packing for any other type of holiday, but actually there are things that you might want to remember which aren’t things you’d usually take away with you. Today, i thought I’d put together a little list to help you if you’re packing for a cruise so that hopefully you get everything in before you set sail!

Formalwear

Many ships have strict dress codes for certain nights or certain areas and there’s nothing worse than boarding and realising you don’t have appropriate attire. Most ships have evenings where formalwear will be required (that’s men’s suits and cocktail dresses for women – take a look at Suits Men), or smart casual which is basically what you’d wear for date night, with no jackets required for men. Take a look at the ship’s dress code ahead of your holiday.

Over the Counter Meds

Things like paracetamol, ibuprofen or aspirin are usually available to buy on board but usually at a much higher price than you’d pay at home. Take a stash with you to avoid paying a huge premium for basics like this, and they usually take up minimal space in your bag anyway.

Chargers

Taking chargers for all of your devices is imperative if you don’t want your batteries to run out, and although most of the main brands will be available on board, again, the prices will probably be very high and you don’t want to spend your holiday cash on things that you could have just as easily taken from home.

Hangers

If you plan to pack a lot of easily-creased items then there’s a good chance you’ll want to hang them up but cruise ship wardrobes are notorious for being scant in the hanger department. If you’ve a bit of space in your case, chuck in a few extra plastic hangers so that you don’t look crumpled or have to spend the entirety of your cruise ironing things!

Think About What You DON’T Need to Pack

You’ll still have a baggage limit on a cruise, so thinking about what you don’t need to pack is just as important. On many ships, the bathrooms will already have basics like soap, shower gel, shampoo and toothpaste, which will save weight in your case. You’ll also probably have a hairdryer in your room, too.

10 fun outdoor activities to do along the Surf Coast

After a long winter, Victorians are busting to get outdoors to enjoy the sunshine. Thankfully, the Surf Coast offers a plethora of experiences that allows you to enjoy the best of the outdoors in this picturesque part of the world.

From family friendly activities in Geelong to adventures for adrenal junkies, we’ve got 10 fun outdoor experiences that will allow you to make the most of your time exploring the Surf Coast.

  1. Take a dive

Geelong’s waterfront is a thrive of activity on a sunny day especially the Eastern Beach Swimming Enclosure. Paddle with the young ones in the kiddy pool or make a splash from the top of the historic tower.

  1. Ride a wave

From beginner to pros, the Surf Coast is the ideal spot to explore if you want to catch a wave or two. After all, its plays host of one the world’s best surfing competitions, Rip Curl Pro! If you are yet to stand up, try a lesson at Ocean Grove or Anglesea with the crew from Go Ride a Wave. Serious surfers are best off heading to Bells Beach, Fairhaven or Thirteenth Beach for some big swells and epic breaks.

  1. Round of golf

Breath in the fresh salty air and take in the coastal views as you navigate the 18-hole championship golf course, The Sands in Torquay. Boasting of high-class facilities, it’s one of the best places you can play a round of golf in Australia.

  1. Picturesque trek

Take the picturesque trek along the Great Ocean Road to experience dramatic cliff views, local flora and fauna and the region’s rich heritage. Stretching more than 100Kms, the walk is a one-way long-distance trek that runs between Apollo Bay and the famous twelve Apostles.

  1. Make a splash

For a family friendly day out, head to Adventure Park to make a splash. With Victoria’s longest water slide, it’s guaranteed there will be some spills and thrills and plenty of laughs along the way.

  1. Reel in a fish

Set up and enjoy some quiet time while you wait for a fish to bite on one of the many piers of the Surf Coast. At Portarlington you’ll find snapper, flathead and whiting or some squid at Point Lonsdale. Alternatively, you could take a charter boat out of Queenscliff to tour Port Phillip Bay.

  1. Tear it up

Strap on your helmet and dust off the mountain bike for an adventure in the You Yangs Regional Park. With its purpose-built downhill and XC trails, there’s plenty of diverse and challenging terrain to tear up.

  1. Take a leap of faith

Adrenaline junkies rejoice, the Surf Coast is one of the best places to test your bravery threshold and experience an unbeatable rush with a skydive. During your tandem dive, you’ll get the best view of the famous Bells Beach and the region’s rugged coastal bushland.

  1. Sail the open waters

Take to the open waters on a voyage aboard Melbourne’s Tall Ship Enterprize. Enjoy a leisurely one hour sail from Geelong’s Steampacket Quay during the day or a romantic 1.5 hour evening tour.

  1. Pitch a tent

The Surf Coast is bustling with great places to pitch a tent and camp out. Along the Great Ocean Road there are plenty of free and paid campsites for tents or caravans. For those who prefer a little more luxury, there are some great camping grounds that offer comfortable cabins too.

Three Irish Holidays To Make Your Friends Green With Envy

Ireland has so much going for it as a holiday destination, and it’s easy to forget that considering it’s just a short hop across the sea. If you’re looking for a relaxing holiday somewhere beautiful, though, there’s a lot of charm to a place that doesn’t cost the earth, is quick to get to and doesn’t require you to dust off your A-Level French or German.

In fact, that’s damning Ireland with faint praise. The whole island is filled with spots that grab you by the wrist and demand your attention. The greenery, the small towns and the buzzing cities all have a real pull and once you come back, you’ll be aching to return there. Interested? Then have a look at some possible destinations and get planning.

Belfast

Wikipedia

First up, a place where you won’t even need to calculate exchange rates. Belfast is in Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK — but it’s got a character that mixes the best of British and Irish to make it one of the finest cities in Europe for a family holiday.

The shopping is excellent – get yourself to Victoria Square and Castle Court and pick up a few bargains. For some culture, pick one of the many museums here — the Titanic Museum is well worth the visit, and the area around it has been regenerated into the Titanic Quarter, a thriving slice of the city filled with attractions. Then head back to the city and experience fine dining Irish style. Irish stew, Ulster Fry, or something a bit more esoteric? The choice is yours.

Cork

Wikipedia

The people of Cork have a saying: “Irish by birth, Cork by the grace of God”. This irritates people from elsewhere in Ireland, and might seem arrogant to you until you visit Cork. It really is a gem. Like many of Ireland’s cities, it’s on the coast, and the waterfront areas are beautiful. Nearby, you’ll find Blarney Castle, home to the stone of the same name. Legend has it that if you kiss the stone, you’ll be blessed with the “Gift of the Gab” — which given that most of Ireland’s history has been passed down orally, may be true!

Head back to the city for the night time, which is a special experience. Take your choice from some fine lodgings, including two of the best Maldron Hotels in Ireland, and check out Main Street’s great pubs. There’s live ceilidh music most nights, which is a thing you must experience if you’re on the Emerald Isle.

Dublin

Wikipedia

Finally, the capital city. Dublin has everything that a city needs: it’s soaked in history, some of it tragic and some more uplifting; it’s beautiful, with busy streets lining the banks of the Liffey; most of all, it’s one of Europe’s most vibrant capitals. There’s shopping to be done, and plenty of places to give your credit card a workout. Of course, there are also pubs — a pint of Guinness in Temple Bar is more or less a rite of passage for holidaymakers here.

On top of all that, if you want culture, Dublin has it in spades. Once home to Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw and W.B. Yeats, there’s a poetry and a linguistic charm to Dublin reflected in museums to all of those names. In short, it’s a perfect place to round off a trip to a part of the world that will leave you wanting more.

Clear The Decks! Getting Ready For Guests

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There’s a funny site which lists all of the things that British people do, say or hear that represent the essence of this country. Quotes, phrases and odd quirks are all listed, and most are totally relatable to our own lives. Recently, it has published a list of the top terrifying 2 words that we hate to hear, that chill us to our very core. The one that topped that list?

“They’re here!”

Making room for guests, no matter how expected, and providing them with a safe space to stay, entertainment during their visit, food and drink to keep them going throughout the duration and hopefully being good enough hosts to ensure a positive review amongst peers, is daunting. It feels like no matter how much you prepare, you’ll still be making excuses as you pass through every room in your house, apologising for menial things like paint choices, dust that exists only in your mind and clutter which they thought was an art project …or at the very least, intended to be there. With children around, no matter how much you clean, it’s going to get undone very quickly.

Stay Elsewhere … If You Want …

The easiest thing to do is put your guests up in another location, like Homestay Accommodation or, if they’re family members, passing on to another relative. Obviously this isn’t really a doable choice if they’ve come to see you specifically, but it’s an option to think about. It saves panicking about bedspace and where they’re going to sleep. Investing in a couple of inflatable mattresses to use is definitely not a bad idea; they can be packed away quite tightly and fold down slim enough to store without really realising that they’re there until they’re needed. They definitely provide a more grown-up alternative to sleeping on the floor

Chef For The Weekend

Another thing that makes us unnecessarily anxious as Brits is having to cook for people outside of our immediate family. We either love the challenge and try to exceed ourselves in our culinary presentation, or shy away from it and mumble something about restaurants being good around the area and the takeaways not being too shabby.  Whatever you do, find out what your visitors like and if they have any allergies or intolerances. It’s best to be in the know beforehand than to spend a load on ingredients that you’ll never be able to use.

Plan Their Visit Well

Don’t leave anything to chance. Getting guests to decide what they want to do throws stuff into the air and wastes time. The best thing that you can do is get a list of activities, three at the most, and give them the option of picking one that they’d enjoy above all of the others. If they can’t choose, save some for another day if they’re staying that long. Especially if they are bringing children with them, you need to make sure that this is a family-orientated activity list. If you think that kids are indecisive, try getting an adult to make a simple decision once you’ve presented them with choice. Narrowing it down definitely helps.

Travelling With Kids: All-Inclusive And Stress-Free

For many parents, going on a holiday with the kids that doesn’t involve any stress at all is the ultimate dream. But that is often it, though – it is only ever a dream and never actually occurs in reality. Having a stress-free time abroad with kids doesn’t have to be a completely impossible goal. I think I have found the answer! You just need to go all-inclusive with your accommodation. There are loads of resorts and accommodation around the globe that offer all-inclusive deals. And, trust me, whenever you visit them with your family, you will feel like a huge weight has been lifted off your shoulders. Here are some brill reasons why you need to book all-inclusive for your next family trip.

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Wish You Were Here

Where do you wish you could travel to? For some parents, their dream destination seems too much hard work with kids. For example, long-haul flights might put families off the idea of travelling out of Europe. But when you go all-inclusive, these worries shouldn’t put you off anymore. After all, the benefits of going all-inclusive will greatly outweigh these potential negatives! Not only that, though, but pretty much every travel destination will have an all-inclusive resort, or you could take an all-inclusive cruise from the likes of www.bolsovercruiseclub.com. Once you start posting your holiday pics to Instagram, your friends will certainly wish they were here!

All You Can Eat

Do you worry that your kids won’t like the local cuisine? This can be a problem, even if you visit the most child-friendliest of places. However, that won’t be a worry when you go all-inclusive. And that is because most of the accommodation and resort put on huge buffets with a fantastic choice of international foods. So, if you travel to Germany but your children aren’t too keen on sausages, I’m sure the resort you pick will also offer familiar foods from home on the buffet. Get ready to dig into a delicious feast from around the world, no matter where you are!

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Kids Activities

Want to spend some time sunbathing on the beach in peace and quiet? Well, you can when you go all-inclusive! The majority of resorts and cruises have kids clubs which arrange lots of different activities for kids to do. And these clubs let parents leave their children with the professional club leaders so that they can enjoy some child-free time on their holiday. So you won’t need to research babysitter websites for your destination like www.kidminder.com/AboutUs.aspx. Instead, just drop your kids off at the activities club, and they will have a great time while you top up your tan!

Deals And Discounts

Lots of all-inclusive resorts and cruises appeal to many families because they offer various deals and discounts through the year. So to make sure your holiday doesn’t cost you the world, be sure to look out for these special deals. You can often find these in newsletters and directly on the company’s website.

Have fun going all-inclusive!

Thanks To The Southern Hemisphere, It’s Always Summer Somewhere

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere  – the US, Europe, Russia – then you’re used to things getting cold in the winter, especially if you live in Canada. But while we suffer through the winter blues up north, there are a bunch of people having barbecues and partying down south.

The great news is that people who live in the north can put this fact to good use. Why spend months wallowing in misery in freezing temperatures, while half the planet is literally bathed in sunshine and enjoying warm, tropical weather?

Here are some southern hemisphere locations, from Australia to Brazil, that will get you and your kids craving a vacation before the end of March.

Check Out The Sunshine Coast, Australia

For the Australians, Christmas and New Year are a time to put on the sunscreen and head to some of the country’s magnificent beaches. Among them is the Sunshine Coast, an idyllic stretch of coastline running along Australia’s Eastern seaboard. Here, you’ll find big Pacific surf that’s had the chance to build up a lot of energy during its journey from the coast of South America.

Wikimedia Commons

Pro tip: don’t go during the holiday season as the beaches will be full.

Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

If you’re fed up with the cold weather, consider packing your family’s bags and jetting off to the Ipanema Beach in Rio for one of the best winter sun holidays you can imagine. Here, the average temperature during December and January hovers around 38 C, making it one of the warmest places in the southern hemisphere (you might need to find somewhere that sells tower fans!). Carnivals run from February to March, and the streets are crammed full of party goers and people looking to have a good time.

Wikimedia Commons

There’s plenty for the kids to do along the Ipanema beach too, with regular soccer games, barbecues and ice cream vendors. Beach access is free, and the vendors along the promenade sell everything you might need.

Easter Island, Chile

Easter Island might be claimed by Chile, but it’s also one of the most desolate places on Earth. Temperatures here during December to March usually start in the low 20s and rise from there.

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One of the most fascinating things about Easter Island is the human presence, despite its enormous distance from the coast of South America. Here there are more than 20,000 archaeological sites to explore, the most famous of which are the moai statues built by migrants who traveled from the mainland more than 2,200 years ago.

The island, though small, is also prime real estate for people who love adventure. The majority of the island is covered by the Parque Nacional Rapa Nui which has ample opportunity for family-friendly activities like cycling and horseback riding. There’s also a chance to go hiking up to the island’s main volcano as well as snorkeling in its fertile shores.

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Access to the park is currently around $10. The only airline with service to the island is LAN Chile, which flies from the Mataveri International Airport. Staying on the island costs between $100 and $200 per person per night.