1. Machu Picchu, Peru
If I had a pie chart of how I spend my day it would go something like this...
As such, I thought it was only fitting to share my current 'must see' list with you via said travel photos (although if you want to avoid the same affliction as me, you may want to re-think reading the list). All the photos link to the original posts, just incase you want to find out a little more about your next adventure.
1. Machu Picchu, Peru
2. Tianzi Mountains, China.
3. Uyuni Salt Flat, Bolivia - by day.
4. Uyuni Salt Flat, Bolivia - by night.
5. The Wave, Utah/Arizona.
6. Yap, Micronesia.
Christmas is a rather special time of the year no matter where you spend it, but there are some locations where it just packs a little extra punch.
6. London, England.
Carols, lights, shows and skating - London is the perfect mix of quintessential Christmas charm meets modern, bustling city. Hyde Park beneath the snowfall is simply delightful.
5. Boston, USA
Get lost amongst the winding cobblestone streets as the snow starts falling and you'll think you've been transported to some other-worldy Christmas land. Skate on the Boston Commons, sip hot drinks at Faneuil Hall and take in the Boston Ballet's production of Nutcracker.
4. Zurich, Switzerland
How could Switzerland not make it on to the list. I think this one goes without saying.
Want to spend Christmas in a reindeer pulled sled? How about camp under the stairs in your very own igloo? Then go no further.
2. New York City, USA
My favourite non-European destination for some Christmas cheer. Skate at Rockefeller Centre, visit the Bryant Park Christmas Markets or walk amongst the Christmas displays on Fifth Avenue. Even Central Park becomes a winter wonderland as the snow dances across the paths, and the lakes turn to an icy field. (I'm also not going to lie - I am extremely addicted to Starbucks' Christmas drinks).
1. Trømso, Norway
Pretty much as close a holiday as you'll get to Santa's workshop. Trømso is located in the Arctic Circle, and boasts amazing views of the Northern Lights, as well as dog sledding and pristine lakes against a never ending view of white, powdery snow.
Whether you're a student taking on the world, or simply trying to stretch your budget, buffet breakfasts can be used to your distinct advantage while travelling as an at your fingertips, free, daily grocery store.
While I 100% advocate having a more traditional breakfast at your destination at least once (bakeries in France, a big American breakfast at a diner in New York....) and also don't recommend adding the buffet option to your stay, when it's included in your bed price (as it often is in hostels) I figure, make the most of it!
But this is no mere skill, but rather an art form - and I am here to guide your way, with my top tips for buffet living:
1. Be Prepared: Zip lock bags are one of the most versatile travel accessories - whether as a packing aid, to store small items, or as a waterproof or soundproof phone holder - and are a must when hitting up a buffet. They'll ensure a) that you'll actually have somewhere to put the salvaged food and b) that said food won't end up all over the inside of your day pack.
2. Know Your Foodgroups: I don't mean the food groups you learnt back at school, I mean the groups of 'easy to transport', 'won't stink out your bag', 'needs to be consumed fairly soon' and 'don't even think about it' (yes, I once had a friend that thought a doggy bag of scrambled eggs was a good idea).
3. Sandwiches: Probably the easiest way to make it through the day is with the help of the trusty sandwich - almost every buffet I've ever been to has at least had the basics: bread, butter, some sort of meat, and your typical filling such as tomatoes and cheese. Don't be surprised to see groups of backpacker's in what appear to be neatly formed production lines.
4. Think Outside the Box: Sometimes you might have to be creative with your stash. Those teeny, tiny little plastic pots of Nutella and peanut butter for your toast? A bagful of these nut-filled goodies make the perfect snacks for tiding hunger whilst waiting in long, long queues. Muesli? Forget the milk and this becomes the perfect trail mix.
What other tips do you all have - I'd love to hear from you!
With the abundance of beautiful travel snaps perfectly cropped and filtered to perfection on all of your friend's Instagram's, and the constant tales of wonderful and exotic places visited, it's hard not to think of travel as something magical, super-dooper and oh-so-all-the-time-Insta-worthy. But the problem with is that these images and tales of perfection can create sometimes damaging expectations - especially when heading off on your first adventure.
So I'm here to set the truth straight. Travelling (at times) absolutely sucks. Here are several of the not-so-glam parts of travelling that us travel bloggers generally *forgot* to mention while we're snapping that last photo of our Starbucks as we *relaxingly* wait to board our *totally on time* plane.
First up is the mad dash to the airport, with the fear of having left something behind, to ensure that you don't miss check-in/boarding/departure for your flight. Next up is having arrived in plenty of time only to find out that your check-in/boarding/departure has been delayed. Then, once checked-in, comes the 'airport ritual'. This consists of trying to avoid buying overpriced airport coffees (and failing miserably), reading the same page of your novel five times before realising it just isn't going to happen and walking the length of the terminal about thirteen hundred times before realising there is nothing exciting to see. The fun of this 'airport ritual' increases exponentially depending on how sleep deprived you are.
Unless you're travelling first class or in your own private jet, flying is never going to be glamourous. I don't even think I need to explain what I mean by this - whether it's the fact that seats in economy class keep shrinking the longer you've been in the air, or the dread of trying to freshen up in the teeny, tiny bathrooms. Let's just face it - you'll never get off a long-haul flight looking anything more than a sleep-deprived zombie.
Trust me, for every blogged-about beautiful hotel or hostel we bloggers have stayed in, there an equally disgusting/horrible/not even going to mention room in which we've also done our time. I've even had trouble with some of the fancier hotels I've had the *pleasure* to stay in - so trust me, cost isn't always an indicator of quality.
3. Sickness and general "I feel gross/like death/like I want a hug from my mum"
The grim reality of being unwell is magnified when travelling abroad, particularly in a non-Western country or one in which you have almost no grasp of the tongue. Sometimes even the simplest health-related issues - I once had a horrible reaction of a mosquito bite while in France (cue red, golf ball sized, itchy, oozing sore) - become hard to deal with when you're travelling as you might not have access to your go-to remedies, or be able to explain to those around you what exactly you need.
I can't name the amount of people who have told me that they aren't fit for travel because they sometimes feel homesick while abroad. This is totally normal! No matter how much you're loving life in 'insert amazing place here', it's human nature to sometimes miss the familiar.
So while there isn't much of a way to remedy these unglamorous aspects of travel, accepting that they're part and parcel of the experience will help you get through when they do occur. And trust me - all of these things are completely outweighed by all of the super amazing experiences you'll also have!