Author Archives: Wife with Baggage

The Traveller’s Dilemma: How to See Everything

If you have the travelling bug, you are probably already thinking about the next place – or places! – you want to visit. In fact, you probably have a whole list of countries, cities and other incredible destinations in mind that you can only hope you will manage to see within your lifetime. Your curiosity just can’t be contained and that is a fantastic personality trait to have, but isn’t it frustrating when you can’t decide where to go next or what to prioritise?

Well, traveller, there are lots of ways for you to maximise your holiday time and cram in as many sights and experiences as possible. All you need to do is get yourself organized, think it all through and then figure out how you want to get there. We tend to think of holidays as a trip to a single destination, but for a seasoned and natural explorer, it makes more sense to go to multiple destinations in one holiday and really make the most of your time. It’s a lot simpler than it sounds!

Put Pins on a Map

You might have a list of destinations in your head, but literally putting pins in a map will help you to visualise your ambitions more clearly. For example, let’s say you want to visit Milan, Naples, Rome, Florence and Venice. You might automatically think that these all have to be separate trips, but if you wanted to, you could just shuffle your destinations about and create a 2 week plan incorporating a few days in each: Milan, Venice, Florence, Rome, Naples.

Putting pins in a map always helps you to figure out the best way to pack the most into any trip and while this example is focused on Italian cities, it can also work for moving between different countries and figuring out the best method for getting to each place. Plus, by travelling locally between cities, you won’t be spending as much on your flights making your travels more affordable.

Once your pins are set, you should also look into flights and trains between them to see whether there is a cheaper route you could take, or if it might actually be more efficient to try another route. Sometimes you can be surprised by the routes that travel companies make all the time pulling the prices down and though something might appear to be right next door, the geography of the place might mean that it is actually more difficult to reach. With a thorough plan now, you can start to figure your ideal route out.

Figure Out Your Timings

The next challenge for planning a multiple-destination trip is figuring out your timings. There are a lot of different factors that come into planning the perfect trip including train and flight times, check-in times at hotels or hostels and you should factor in how much time you will need to see everything you hope to see.

This last issue is the most personal. Let’s say you are planning to go to somewhere like Bern. For a city girl, this destination might only take you 2 or 3 days to feel like you have seen everything you want as the city itself is quite compact. However, if you are an outdoorsy type, you might be inclined to stay longer in order to make more of the mountains and walks that are around the city.

There is no right or wrong way to figure out how long you will want to stay somewhere and there will always be at least one destination that you will leave thinking, “I must go back there.” This is the joy of travelling and discovering new places. However if there is one tip that will help you to plan it is this: if you have a destination with lots of activities and you are going to be very busy for a few days straight, follow it with a quieter destination where you can take a day to relax by a pool or enjoy a spa day. Essentially: give yourself some time where you can reflect on what you have experienced before you go barrelling into the next thing.

Make a Base

One of the first things you need to think about is whether you want to travel linearly, moving through different countries, or whether you would prefer to set up in an apartment and fly to and from your destinations, always returning to the same place. While travelling linearly does have its perks (and we’ll get to those) making a base is also a great way to be able to see the world.

If you live in a city like London, seeing European countries is relatively easy, you can just hop on a plane and most cities are within a few easy hours. This means that you could definitely see most of Europe as mini breaks, returning to London for a rest in between each holiday.

Since this way of life is quite easy, it’s a perfectly feasible idea to do something similar a long haul flight away. For example, you could find an apartment in, say, Surabaya in Indonesia and from there hop backwards and forwards between the other islands, taking day trips or longer stays. Apartments in Indonesia are often used like this by tourists looking for a little bit of adventure and a site like is a good place to start looking for your holiday let as they offer apartments for long and short tenancies.

Making a base like this also comes with a second advantage: you will get to live like a local in a destination that will soon come to feel like a home. We all get used to where we live so having a base to keep returning to will give you a chance to really understand the culture of that place, get to know new friends and locals and provide you with down time between trips.

Round the World Ticket

A round the world ticket is an inspired way to be able to see as many stops as possible in a short time. The ticket is essentially a flight pass that will allow you to visit countries around the world within a certain time frame. This means that whether you are squeezing everything into a month or taking a year out to go on an adventure, your round the world ticket will get you there.

The best advantage of a round the world ticket is that you will save a lot of time that would otherwise be lost to trains or buses. Since flying is so efficient as a method for travel, it makes sense that the less time you have, the more flights you will take. However, the ticket does take into account that you might like to travel by other means so you won’t be tied to travelling from the same airport you landed in when you are on your way to your next destination.

So, if your ultimate travel list includes countries in several different continents, the round the world ticket might just be the best way for you to pack it all into a single trip.


Though Brexit is casting a bit of doubt on the future of interrailing, this is still an incredibly popular way to see a lot of Europe and many students embark on their journey right after uni. Interrailing is essentially the European train equivalent of the round the world ticket. Because the train lines are so well connected throughout the European mainland, it makes perfect sense that this is the best way to travel around and see as much as possible.

There is no set route and, like the round the world ticket, there is no reason that you can’t fly or bus to other locations during your holiday. In fact, interrailing is one of the most liberating experiences because you don’t even need to plan where you are going in advance or how long you will stay there. This means that if you suddenly have a fancy for staying 3 nights in Vienna to catch an opera or hear about a fantastic party being held in Budapest with people you have met along the way, you can change up your trip and get there.

While everyone has a lifetime to spend travelling and seeing the world, giving yourself the opportunity to see as much as humanly possible is the best gift you can ever receive. However you choose to experience the world, and wherever you go, having a plan in mind will ensure that you check off the places that are most important to you. This will give you a kind of fulfilment you won’t get anywhere else and lead you to things you might never have discovered about yourself and your surroundings.

Travelling should be a chance to take in the atmosphere, see new and incredible things and experience everything there is on offer. Though the occasional pool holiday will always be good for relaxation, the discovery that comes with dedicated travel is good for the soul. Set yourself free.

The U.S. Cities That All Music Lovers Should Flock To

If you’re a music lover and if you’re a lover of travelling, then you should be heading to as many of the great musical cities that the U.S. has to offer as you can. Why? Well, because you’ll have the time of your life! To find some of the best cities in America that are famous for their musical links, make sure to read on.

Nashville, Tennessee – Is there any better place to start than the ‘Music City’ itself, Nashville? The answer is, no, there isn’t! Upon a trip here you will find the Musicians Hall of Fame, something that is an absolute must for people that appreciate the rich history that American music holds. And, if you’re lucky enough, you may even be able to attend the CMA Music Festival that is held in Nashville annually, too, which is something you should be doing if you appreciate modern music. Basically, no matter what period of music you appreciate, get yourself booked in at the Days Inn Nashville Saint Thomas West Hospital hotel and get yourself down to Nashville!

And, if you’re not done with the state of Tennessee after that, then head to Memphis and visit the iconic home of ‘The King’ Elvis Presley, Graceland.

Seattle, Washington – Yes, New York and LA are great places to visit for music lovers and general travellers alike, but there’s just something about Seattle that makes it, probably, America’s best place to visit. And, specifically if you are a music lover, there are plenty of things to keep you entertained. One such thing is the EMP Museum where plenty of information and history on one of the world’s most famous bands in the whole world, let alone just in Seattle, can be found: Nirvana. And, as well as this, exhibitions on another great musically inclined Seattleite, Jimi Hendrix, can be found in this museum, too. So, get up north and get to Seattle!

Detroit, Michigan – Detroit has offered up plenty of music giants over the years, such as Eminem and Madonna, and upon a visit here you will be able to get a real feel to the place that made them and their songs. And, upon a visit here, you’ll also be able to get a real feel for one of America’s great musical institutions: Motown. Yes, in the Motown Museum found in Detroit you will find information on all the things that made that genre what it is today, and you’d even be able to following in the footsteps of musicians like Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross and Stevie Wonder by stepping foot in the world famous Studio A.

If you are music lover who is also fond of a bit of travelling, then why not go on the adventure of a lifetime by road tripping your way around all of the U.S’s great music cities?

Five Dos And Five Don’ts For Your Ultimate Road Trip

When heading out on your road trip, you can easily get bogged down thinking about all the little details to make it the best road trip ever. But the ultimate road trip really depends on who you are going with and the experiences you have along the way. Everything to do with the car is all just an extra component that you can use to make those times better and easier. So here are our top Dos and Don’ts for the ultimate road trip – focusing on the simple, little things.

Do invest in a decent vehicle – When setting out, ou will probably need to rent a car or van of some sort. Think about the cost of fuel and miles to the gallon the vehicle gives you, as well as the comfort of your passengers. It might be worth the extra cost in fuel to rent a VW camper van, that way you save on hotels.

Don’t fret about the language barrier – When travelling around a new country, so many people fret about the language barrier and so miss stops and sights because they’re sure they wouldn’t be able to communicate with anyone. And that might be true,but you’ll find that the majority of locals are more than welcoming anyway. Learn a few simple phrases, and there is always voice-activated google translate if you really need it.

Do invest in a satellite navigation – Maps aren’t always reliable. And in a lot of third world countries, road signs are minimal outside of main cities. And most countries don’t translate their signs to English anyway – unless you’re road tripping in Wales. So take a cheap sat nav and download the appropriate country for more accurate directions.

Don’t just wing it – You’re going to get lost. And sometimes that is the best way to find new places, but in countries like the US and Australia, there are huge expanses of dessert that you really don’t want to be lost in. And what if you run out of fuel in the middle of the African plains? Not really a safe place to be.

Do look at extra storage – When travelling anywhere you will have some luggage with you, and if there’s four of you in the car then you might need to rethink your storage options. And even if you’re in the camper van, can you fit your bags, food supplies and camping supplies in with you and still be comfortable? Pmx campers are a leading supplier of camper trailers of various sizes and needs.

Don’t overload on driving snacks – Keep your snacks minimal and nutritional. You’re not fourteen and able to run off sugar and more sugar. And also remember that you’re sitting still in a car for hours at a time. Trying local cuisine is a huge part of travelling, so don’t miss out on that purely because you have filled up on candy.

Do create a range of playlists for everyone – You want everyone to enjoy their trip, so share the DJ responsibility with everyone. Create multiple playlists – you might have to go old school and burn a bunch of CDs for the road.

Don’t expect everyone to drive like they do at home – You’re in a different country and need to realise that your home road rules don’t always apply – and we’re not just talking about driving on the other side of the road. In India and Malaysia roads are notoriously bad with minimal signage, no worry about dedicated crossings, and no one way to drive down the road.

Do take it in turns driving – You’re going to get tired, and that’s just dangerous, so make sure that you split up the driving time with as many of you as possible.

Don’t forget to enjoy the journey as well as the destination – This one is more of a bonus ‘Do’ really, but you have to love the symmetry. No matter where you are going, or the stops you make, some of the best memories you will make will be of the actual journey there, so enjoy it.  

Romance In New York State? Saratoga Springs To Mind

Whether it’s a belated Valentine’s treat or just an excuse to get away with boo, you can’t beat a romantic adventure for two.

For many couples, New York City stands out as the perfect destination for an action-packed vacation. But if you want to combine those joys with a few days of relaxation or want a new place to visit in this part of the world, Saratoga Springs is a great choice. Here’s why it’s a fantastic location.

Saratoga Springs is home to a long list of places of natural beauty. Romantic walks by stunning backdrops provide magical moments that no couple will forget. From Congress Park to Saratoga Spa State Park and Yaddo Gardens, you’ll never run out of areas. Whether it’s the summer sun or crisp winter snow, those moments provide the perfect platform for a wonderfully romantic vacation. With a little bit of luck, you’ll spot some wildlife too.

Despite a small population of around 30,000, the area is very accommodating to guests. Luxury rooms and relaxed spa facilities at the Pavilion Grand Hotel are suitable for all guests. Nonetheless, they are particularly welcoming for couples. When combined with the friendly nature of the locals, the happy vibes will be flowing from start to finish. To feel loved and recharge the batteries, there is no better destination on the east side.

 The special attractions are also very suited for couples. The city’s broadway area is home to a number of fantastic shows throughout the year. Book the best seats at Ticketmaster, and the magic of the theatre will bring your trip to life. Meanwhile, the boat tours, balloon rides and winery are all great places for couples to visit. Essentially, you’ll gain the perfect blend of pleasant daily activities and magical standout moments. Alternative, you could head to the racecourse.    

Saratoga also has some wonderful places to eat. The small city does have a few of the national franchises too, but the real beauty comes from the independent restaurants and cafes. A romantic meal is one of the best ways to complete the perfect evening while foodies can also enjoy the food tours. Alternatively, you can always combine food with those romantic walks by going for a picnic. Sometimes, those simple gestures are what make the trip so memorable.

It’s still only 180 miles north of NYC, and just 35 from Albany. So, if you’re eager to combine the relaxed vibes with a little city adventure, Saratoga Springs is the ideal platform. With Enterprise car rental, completing a romantic tour is easy and comfortable. Then again, most guests find that the time spent in one of New York State’s top 10 places to live is all that’s needed for the perfect trip. Whichever way you want it, Saratoga Springs is an amazing solution.

Saratoga Springs is one of New York State’s hidden gems and is sure to provide the ultimate romantic break at any time of year. Every loving couple should aim to visit at some stage.

The Duoro River Valley in Winter

Portugal in December is cool and crisp and less-crowded. In one word, it was perfect! We saw the glistening beaches of Lagos, the twinkling Christmas lights in Lisbon and sipped Port in Porto. So, when we made the uneducated and un-researched decision to go inland to see where this famous Port wine, the travel spirits revealed just how naïve we could be when it came to what the Douro River Wine Region would actually offer in the middle of December.

The drive from Porto to Barrios is gorgeous. The highways are well paved and twist and turn through mountains and valleys. The sun shines and reflects off of the river below as you wind your way out of the city and through small map dots. One specific turn took us over a ridge, down into a valley and out of the sunshine. We’d arrived in foggy, cold and desolate, Barrios, Portugal.

Our well-maintained hotel was a home built in 1492. It’s historic charm faded a bit as we walked the drafty (Ok, no. Who am I kidding? COLD) hallways. We checked in and the owner told us we were the only guests. We thrilled at the idea of having the entire “house” to ourselves, even if it was “drafty.” However, it was not as romantic as we originally thought it would be. While a sold-out resort is not our ideal venue, cabin fever set in faster than we’d expected.

“Cabin fever”, you might ask? Diane, you were in wine country, how could you get cabin fever? Oh, that’s right. I haven’t told you yet….

You see, as we soon found out, the Port we so excitedly tasted in a tasting room overlooking the river in downtown Porto is, indeed, grown in this region. However, unlike every single other wine region we’ve ever visited, the wine made here is shipped to the tasting rooms in the city and stored there, in the caves. In fact, very few wineries have tasting rooms on site. Hmmm, oopsie!

Secondly, winter in wine country typically means that harvest is complete and the vintner and farmers work shorter days. But, in the Douro Valley, the work days are not shorter, they are non-existent. OK, that might be in correct. A more accurate account would be that any of the very limited tasting rooms in this area are closed. Not opened. Well crud!

Enter, cabin fever.

Let me clear. The leafless vines of a winter vineyard that hug wires with knobbly arms that look like an old witches slender fingers offer an eerie beauty that is unrivaled. But! Do you want to know what makes these views even better? A glass of wine in my hand!

We spent one of the two planned nights, in Barrios. We forfeited our second night and returned to Porto in search of a busy metropolitan café, honking car horns and tasting rooms. We ate an amazing dinner in Porto and laughed at our poor planning. Travel “oopsies” are just that, an oopsie. The Douro River Wine region did not live up to our hopes and expectations, but that is a wonderful life lesson that we pondered that night …. while drinking a bottle of wine!

How To Plan For Your First Camping Trip With The Kids

When you’re someone that’s well prepared, you may have spent some time getting to know all things wilderness and survival. So much so, that you may have even developed a bit of a passion for it. And there’s always worse interests and hobbies to have. Because the great outdoors is both beautiful and interesting in one go. So much so, that you may want to share this love with your children. But you may be aware that doing something like this with your children is very much on a whole other level. Because kids can get excitable. So you may need to take your experiences and change them slightly to match what you may need to do for your children.

For this, planning and preparations are key. But by now, you should be great at both. As long as you have the time to put into making the plans, you should find that camping with your children can be a lot of fun. And here, we’re talking about out in the wilderness. You may like to choose to go to a specific campsite, but this may not provide you with the kind of experience you want to share with your children. But if you are going to go into a woodland area, you will need to make sure that you’re all safe. When you do, you’ll all be able to enjoy the experience. So let’s take a look at what you’ll need to plan for to make this happen.

Research Locations – To get your plans underway, you’re going to want to make sure that you’re able to find the right spot to camp in. Getting this right is essential. You may not want it to be too far away from where you live, or from different amenities. So you need to research what kind of spots are available. You may find this free camping resource useful for that. When you’ve located the best spot, you can then start to prepare for the trip itself.

Check For Warnings – The best start for your preparations is always going to be to check for any warnings that you may need to know about. Whether this is a warning on weather or even on dangerous animals, it’s always best to be prepared. You may then choose to delay your trip if there are warnings, or choose an appropriate time to go based on your research.

Prepare Your Tent – From here, you’re then going to want to start getting bits and pieces ready. When you’re camping, you’re going to need somewhere to sleep. So one of your first steps is going to be to get your tent together. If you already have one, then you should look to check it over to make sure there aren’t any issues with it since it was last used. If not, then you should look into lightweight tent options that you could get for trips with the family.

Prepare Your Equipment – Next, you need to get your equipment together. Not only will this include things like your sleeping bags and dinnerware, but also things like the everstryke pro or some kind of stove. You’ll want to be able to cook meals for you and your family, so you need to get the right equipment in place for this. Although you need to keep things to a minimum, this stuff is essential.

Shop For Groceries – With most of your equipment together, you then need to think about what food you will need for the trip. With camping, you need to meal plan in advance. This is so you know what to buy, but also that you can make meals stretch out of what you buy to avoid waste. There’s always set camping food that you might like to stick to for this. Stuff that’s easy to prepare and eat, like oatmeal, bagels, pasta, and eggs. You should also make sure you have enough bottled water for the trip too.

Prepare The Food – Then, you may find that it will be handy to prepare some of the food too. If you’re taking bagels or sandwiches, make these beforehand if you can. You can also want to put some of the food in containers to make preparations easier.

Get Your Safety Gear Together – From here, you then need to think about what you need to stay safe. From windbreakers, the right clothing and footwear, lights, and even a first aid kit, this can often be a lot to take in. To help you, you may also find that this video on safety equipment is useful to watch. Then you can work out what you need to prepare in order to be safe on your camping trip.

Pack Your Bags – Next up, it’s time to pack. And you really are going to want to make sure that you get this right. Because you’re only going to have so much room, and you may have a lot of stuff that you need to take. So be sure to take a look at the best way to pack a bag for camping. This may even mean that you need to be strict with your children, as they won’t be able to bring all of their toys even though they may want to.

Load The Car – Then you’re going to want to pack up the car. Ideally, you’ll do this the evening before or the morning of travel. And again, you’re not always going to have a ton of space. With your packs in, the tent, and your sleeping bags, you’ll start to run out of room. So you really will need to get this process right.

Take Your Time – And now that it’s time to go, make sure that you take your time. Yes, you’re all going to be excited to get going and reach your destination, but there’s no real rush. You need to make sure that you’ll get there safely, so take your time. Also be sure to take your time setting up too, as it can take awhile but don’t be tempted to rush as you may not get it right.

Plan Your Paris Trip Right and You Won’t Have to Miss a Thing

The City of Lights is a tourist destination that many people want to head to more than any other. There is a certain romance to Paris, and you don’t really get that anywhere else. But as well as being a romantic and beautiful city, it’s also a massive city. You need to be prepared for just how big it is because if you’re not, you’re almost certainly going to miss out some of the things that make it so special, and that’s not what you want. Here’s how to plan your Paris trip the right way so you don’t miss a thing.

Make Use of the Metro Trains to Get Around – Paris has a fantastic network of metro trains, and if you want to make the most of your trip, you definitely need it use them. It’s simply not an option to travel by car rental or taxi if you want to get around fast and affordably. Trying to drive in central Paris can be frustrating at best, so use the affordable public transport options.

Move Around Key Attractions by Each Arrondissement – The great thing about Paris is that it’s split into many arrondissements. These are simple districts that are numbered, and you can use them to organise your days out in the city. You can choose to do all the key things in arrondissements 5 to 8 on one day and 9 to 11 on the next. It’s a good way to compartmentalized your long list of plans.

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Plot a Tour of All the Big Museums and Galleries – If you’re the kind of person who’s heading to Paris for the art and culture it offers you, it’s definitely worth setting aside some time just for the museums and galleries because there’s a lot of them. Louvre tours are vital, and you’ll want to look around the Picasso gallery, among many others. Spend a couple of days touring them all.

Dedicate Plenty of Time to the Eiffel Tower – The Eiffel Tower is another thing that you’re going to want to dedicate plenty of time to. It’s perhaps the most iconic landmark on the face of the earth, so you want to give yourself enough time to appreciate it fully. You don’t want to rush this aspect of the trip because it’s so much better when you savour it properly.

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Research the Best Parisian Restaurants and Cafes – If there’s one thing that the Parisians do well it’s cafe culture. There are so many fantastic cafes that you can sit around in and watch Parisian life pass by in front of you. On top of that, there are plenty of fantastic restaurants that you should try to eat in. Do some research and make time for all this.

We all know that Paris is a vast and sprawling city with so much to offer visitors like you. But that doesn’t mean that you should allow yourself to miss out on things that you really want to do and see. If you follow all the guidance laid out above, you will have a much more enjoyable and action-packed trip to the French capital.

Travel Thoughts: How Different Are Australia and New Zealand?

When considering where to go for your next travel experience, you are likely to look for somewhere different. Most of us want our traveling to be varied, taking us to a variety of different countries so we can learn about the hundreds of different cultures that are found throughout the world.

As a result of this, many people who have visited one of New Zealand or Australia don’t particularly feel the need to visit the other. The countries are inextricably linked in our minds. Both are British colonies; the accents are indistinguishable from one another to the untrained ear; their flags are virtually identical; and both offer a mix of large cosmopolitan cities and rural ruggedness. Given all of these facts, it’s easy to see why those who have visited one might not feel a pressing need to try the other.

If you are of this mind, then it’s worth reading on to see just how different these countries are– and why they are both, individually, worth a trip.

Consider the type of holiday that you want – New Zealand and Australia may sound like they offer the same kind of holidays, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.  As a general rule, you can split the two countries as follows:

  • New Zealand is best for extreme sports and adventurers
  • Australia is best for those who like urban environments, cityscapes, and beaches

The above is a general guide, of course. It’s as easy to find exciting, interesting things to do in Auckland as it is to find the same stimulating things to do in Sydney, while trekking to Uluru is just as much of a physical challenge as visiting the New Zealand glaciers. However, the general rule can usually be applied.


Consider the climate – Although New Zealand and Australia aren’t that far from one another, they have very different climates. Due to its size, Australia has pretty much every kind of climate there is; you will find extreme heat in the ACT as well as cooler weather further to the north of the country. However, Australia is generally warmer and drier than New Zealand, especially in tourist hotspots like Sydney and Melbourne.

In contrast, New Zealand is primarily considered to be a maritime climate nation, closer in terms of weather to the UK than Australia. Nowhere in New Zealand is more than 80 miles from the sea, so expect stronger winds, more rainfall, and cooler temperatures than you may expect in Australia.

The variety available – New Zealand is far smaller than Australia, so there is less variation in terms of culture and climate than there is with Australia. Australia has very different regions that offer very contrasting experiences, so if you want plenty of variety in one holiday, it may be the better choice.

In conclusion – While Australia and New Zealand may have a number of factors in common, they still offer very unique experiences to any traveler. So, even if you have visited one of the two, it’s still worth visiting the other– you won’t be disappointed that you did.