How to Stay Conscious While Traveling During a Pandemic

Now that more and more destinations are re-opening their doors to tourism this summer, fall, or winter, all of you travel lovers feel it coming again. That travel bug. That little voice in your head saying, no, screaming: I want to travel!
As seen in my previous interview about the future of travel, it will look a whole lot different. Unfortunately, since we’re still in a pandemic, there are many things to be considered prior to boarding on your next flight to the first re-opened touristic destination. So not click on “confirm booking” yet, not without these travel tips and hacks.

Why Travel Now?

What Is the Real Reason?

First of all, take a look at why you want to travel now. Why do you want to leave the country? Why do you want to go on a trip? We all have deeper meanings buried under our prior motivations, so feel free to ask yourself the same questions a couple of times: Why?

For many, this can be: an escape from home. Seeking a silent, calm place. Maybe you have had enough tranquility at home and you want to spread your wings and seek adventure. Or maybe, you’ve had to endure a lot during this time and you just want to cool off and blow off some steam somewhere on a tropical location sipping margarita’s under a beach umbrella, without your screaming kids running around the place. We all have our different motives, so take a moment to decide on that.

Make Your Trip Great

Intention Is Key

Setting an intention for your next trip is key to making sure you know what your want and you will get what you want. If you just book the first destination that re-opens, but it doesn’t give you what you want, you’ll end up getting disappointed and not fulfilled.

Next, you’ll want to think abut what you want to get out of your trip. Again, is it peace? Is it adventure?

When you set an intention on what you want to get out of your trip, it’ll be much easier to stay in that frame and really have a great vacation that gives you what you need.

Choose The Right Place

Jot down a couple of destinations that come to your mind first when you think about your next trip (you know, the ones you’ve been daydreaming about and seeing daily in your Instagram-feed), and think about what activities or surroundings you want to be in.

Do you feel like hiking? Or do you want to go to the beach? If you’ve read about a destination that is re-opening their doors soon and you’re eager to visit it, you can try this in reverse: will this place fulfil my needs? Greece is opening their doors mid-July. Which island would be best for you? Since there are so many, they each have their own culture and character. It’s important to not get caught up in an impulsive deal just because you’re so excited to travel again.

Think about the consequences

For Yourself

Take health and safety measurements

Make sure to carry enough face masks, gloves, hand sanitiser, etc. You never know when you might need extra ones on your trips. And normally, yes, you should have access to them everywhere in the world by now, but you never know when these items could be sold out in the nearest pharmacies or supermarkets. I’m not saying you should bulk up – please don’t -, but just make you have enough at least make it to your hotel.

Also, think about your mental health: do you feel good about soon traveling again? Are you ready for it? Do you realise the risks, and health and safety precautions you have to take? And are you willing to do this? Seeing the world so empty and abandoned, walking around with a face mask and stepping into this new reality can feel overwhelming. Take a moment to check in with yourself and decide whether or not you’re ready for this.

For Our World

Research Your Destination

Follow any mandatory requirements 

This is super important: no matter where you go, make sure to look up the local health and safety precautions. Not only of the destination itself, but of your journey towards it, too. It most airports, it’s mandatory to wear a facemask. Make sure you’re prepared for this, even though if you’re traveling to an abandoned place and won’t need a face mask.

Tink about purchasing a travel health insurance so you’re covered in all cases. First, check with your normal health or travel insurance plans and see if they are already covering this.

For Others

Take precautions and keep yourself to the rules regulate by the local government. This starts the moment you leave your home.

Don’t be scared to talk to people: you can still have interesting connections and meetings while on holiday. Keep your distance and mask on at all times to protect not only yourself, but people you come in contact with as well.

Remind yourself it’s about the physical part of social distancing, not social distancing itself. Don’t be afraid to start a conversation with someone. Just because you’re both wearing face masks and keeping distance, doesn’t mean you can’t communicate with each other. We are still human beings who needs to connect with each other, and that’s a wonderful thing we should never stop doing.

For the Environment

Now that we stopped producing, ravelling and polluting, the earth is cleaner than ever before and is healing. Be conscious of the way you travel: can you travel by a more eco-friendly way, such as a train? Some airlines offer to recompense your ecologica footprint and with a small contribution, you can help them recover the damage of pollution.

Start Planning

Stay Up-To-Date

Take a look at what destinations have re-opened or will re-open soon. This is, of course, a crucial part of your travel planning. Grab your list of destinations you wanted to visit and see if any one of them has already communicated their opening date.

Travel Deals, Travel Deals Everywhere!

Make use of the flexible cancellations policies, waived fees and low prices before they go up again. Maybe you had a cancelled trip and you received a voucher: this is your perfect shot to get back your money’s value!

Airlines

Make use of the flight deals, hotel deals and other vacation deals while they last. A lot of travel companies. Check out this link for an overview of worldwide airline deals.

Star Alliance, which has 26 airline loyalty programs to offer, has made this page to check out all the Coronavirus updates of each airline member program.

Hotels & More

Here are some hotel chains that have updated their loyalty programs or extended their cancellation policies:

IHG (Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Intercontinental,…): extended cancellation policies, a new rate and the ability to upgrade faster to a higher teer level and keep your points valid longer than usual

Miles & More: mileage bargains, in addition to alternative ways to earn and redeem your Miles

Marriott: extended cancellation policies for all guests

Hyatt: flexible cancellation an extension of their member programs for all members globally

Tip: if you’re not sure on traveling yet, but you want to start saving loyalty points, you can always check out the credit card services of these loyalty programs. Often, you earn a monthly amount of points when you spend a certain monthly amount with the credit card. That way, you can shop from home and start saving up for your next trip.

Be Gentle With Yourself & Others

Travel is a tool we use to relax, to grow, to connect, to experience, to taste, to wonder, to go outside our comfort zones. The longing for travel is in our human nature. 

As this time is unseen, it can be very difficult for some. Keep in touch with yourself by journalling through your travels: write down everything that’s on your mind, no matter how small or how big.

Count On Your Support System

Ask someone to be your support system when things get rough 

Whenever you feel uncertain, anxious, of frightened by the situation, rely on your support system. Ask for the help of your close and loved ones to support you and guide you whenever you might feel like it.

Count On A Professional

We all need someone who motivates us, who encourages us, who supports us, no matter what.

A certified life coach, or license therapist or a type of counselor can help you with that.

In these uncertain times, it’s natural and logical we are in need of some vacation. It’s important to set your intention for this new trip and to be clear with yourself on what it really is you are looking for. That way, you make the best out of your getaway. Next, it’s always crucial to follow health and safety precautions, wherever you go. Take advantage of travel deals, waived cancellation fees, and lowered prices now that it’s still ongoing. And finally, count on a support system to be there for you when things get rough. It’s normal to feel lots of different things now, and it’s even more important to deal with them on a healthy way.

Who said travel is on hold?! There may be a pandemic, and we may not be allowed outside our houses, but that won’t stop us – travel fanatics with wanderlust running through our veins, infected by the travel bug – from discovering new places. Treat yourself to a virtual staycation this spring, right from your comfy couch. No need for waiting in line, walking all day or even a trip itinerary: with these tools, you’ll be able to discover the world from your comfy couch.

Whether you still want to experience that trip to Paris you’ve had to cancel, or you’re as curious as I am and you’re open to exploring new destinations, I will guide you through some steps to recreate that cultural treasure hunt right at your home. We’ve already figured out how to keep your travel spirit alive during this time, and I’m sure you’ve become a master of self-care with these tips and how to grow during this time of self isolation. And now, it’s time to let our wanderlust take over again.

Step Into the Virtual Realm of Travel

Today’s technology has evolved to a point where you can bring every destination into your home by experiencing virtual tours. Here are some of the musea, parks and cities who provide these online tours. No need to wait in line, no need to buy your ticket. Just head over to their website and enjoy the scene!

Virtual Museum Tours

Frida Kahlo: Frida Kahlo’s Blue House museum, located in Mexico, Coyoacán, opened their virtual doors to the public during this pandemic – and it’s an excellent way to enrich your knowledge of Mexican art history.

The Louvre Museum in Paris, France displays several virtual tours – from The Petite Galerie to Egyptian Antiquities, indulge yourself in the richness of the art collection that’s now fully available to you in just one click.

Google Arts & Culture gives you access to virtual tours from over 2500 museums spread accross all corners of the earth. No matter your artsy preferences, you’ll find anything here – from catching penguins in the Natural History Museum in London to exploring Keith Haring’s work.

Virtual City Tours

#stayhome Is not only a trend, but a necessity these days. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t go for a walk in your favourite city – virtually, of course. Again, Google Arts & Culture and Google Maps Street View allows us to travel across all countries with not only virtual museum tours but also tours of the biggest landmarks world-wide – imagine Christ the Redeemer or the pyramids of Giza from as you close as you’d like – nothing is too big.

YouVisit’s Machu Pichu’s 360° overview is a great way of catching a glimpse of the Machu Pichu’s breathtaking sights.

AirPano shows 360° videos and photos from their VR collection of impressing spectacles from all over the world – taking you from underwater realms in Indonesia to paradisiac views of the lesser Antilles in the Caribbean, this is your source of virtual eye treats.

Release Your Inner Chef

Pop that bottle of French wine open, open up the wonderful source to all recipes – the Internet – and get cooking! By trying out foreign dishes, you get to know the culture better and you get to taste it. If you’re not into cooking, then this is the best time to support your local businesses – whether there’s a Greek restaurant nearby who still delivers, or that Hawaiian Poké place – those dishes will take you right to the country of origin. And, at the same time, you’re supporting business who are going through difficult times at the moment. It’s a great way to taste your friend’s favourite dishes and restaurants nearby is on Twisper, as you will only find true and real opinions of people without any ads or ratings.

Dust Off Those Travel Guides On Your Book Shelf

Now you’re sitting there, in your kitchen, with a virtual tour of Rome playing on the background, you popped open some fine Italian red wine and your hot pizza order just arrived. Let’s level this up: grab those old travel books or magazines where you got your inspiration from and start reading a bit about your dream location – the history of the Vatican in this case, is quite the collection. Really get into the mood by learning more about the culture, as if you were to visit it. If you’re more into online travel guides, to my opinion Lonely Planet has made the best ones available on their app Guides – insider tips, background stories and amazing visuals included.

Pick Up Some Foreign Expressions

Another great way to learn more about a culture is learning the language. Imagine if you were on your trip to Rome. You would learn some Italian, si? Refresh your multilingual skills by learning some key expressions and practice these at home. Maybe you can take it a level higher and chat with a native – Tandem offers you great ways to learn foreign languages with native speakers, face-to-face, and so are Mondly and Fluentu.

Get that Party Started

Music can change our moods in huge ways: in can motivate us, calm us, or teach us. Accompany your little Italy escape with some traditional Italian background music and change the mood to some that’s amore. On YouTube, Spotify or any music source, you will find countless playlists to spice up the mood!

Apps With View For Days

So, now you’re sitting there in your sofa, with a pizza slice in one hand and a glass of red wine in the other, some background music playing, enjoying Rome by night on your TV screen while attempting to become native in Italian. You’re probably wondering: is that it? You’ve had your magical Italian dinner, you’re learning some Italian phrases, and now what? Don’t fear, as there are some great apps to keep your wanderlust level on a normal balance.

AirPano Travel Book and AirPano City Book are apps from AirPano who take you around the world: Travel Book presents to you the world’ most gorgeous aerial panoramas while CityBook takes you on virtual travel experiences.

Keep up with your travel and memories by updating your bucket list in Photo Map – indicate where you’ve been and add pictures to your collection.

Been is for the ones who aspire to see as much as they can – this app tells you how much percentage of all countries you have already seen and it’s dangerously addicting and competitive. Not that you can improve your score now, however, so that makes it the perfect time to install it.

This one is for all the travel journalists amongst us: if you’re keen on sharing your travel tips, guides and experiences, Lonely Planet has offered this opportunity to all of us with Trips app. Simply start creating your Trip – it is really easy to add pictures, maps, and edit your travel article accordingly – offer unique insights about your country few know about, inspire others and don’t forget to let yourself be inspired too.

Blink Travel is another great source of travel guides, allowing you to learn about countless travel destinations.

And voila, you’re all ready & set to go! I sincerely hope your travel spirit has been pleased with these tips, tricks and tools to travel from your comfy couch. If you have any suggestions or you’d like to have more insights about this topic, feel free to contact me via this website or on social media. I’m here for you, salty soul!

Disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post of any kind. I am simply giving my honest opinions about services, apps and websites as tips for you.

Take care of YOU

Give yourself what you need and don’t feel guilty: in fact, be proud of it. By giving yourself what you need, you let yourself enjoy things. You take off the stress and pressure. And in ever-changing and challenging times, isn’t that what we all need?

Put one some fun music, buy some pencils or paint and a notebook and start to draw or colour or paint, begin writing a travel journal to really get into those beautiful memories you created. Stay in touch with your friends and family by sending a frequent text or video chatting with them. Organise guys/girls nights virtually and have fun on a responsible way.

Take care of your MIND

As I’ve explained before, meditations are a great way to take a break and calm down. Not only does it reduce stress levels, it also improves focus. By tuning into a guided meditation, you can focus on several subjects.

A gratitude meditation a day keeps the doctor away.

One of the best ways to instantly change your mood and switch your focus from being negative to being positive, is a gratitude meditation. The beauty of it? You remind yourself of all the things you have in your life. You remind yourself of why you love all these persons. How happy you are with your pet. You remind yourself of how good you actually have it. How #blessed you are. And we all need to be reminded of that from time to time, don’t we?

You can also use mediation to put yourself in a better mood and visualise your dream trip, for example. You can find more information about that right here.

Take care of your BODY

As much as it’s important to stay sane in your head, we must not forget the body. As comfy that sofa is, it’s goot to come out of it once in a while and get that body moving.

Whether it’s some workout session that you came up with or you’re a fan of guided lessons: the Internet is an inexhaustible source of training videos tips and guides. If you’re not into fitness, try doing some yoga or Pilates, or just some simple stretches. Your body will thank you later.

Otherwise, you can always go the old-school way and go for a run, hike or a walk around the neighbourhood- if you’re still allowed to do that. It’s always refreshing and who knows, you might run into some neighbours (from a safe distance, of course).

Not only is it important to keep that body moving, the fuel it gets is also very important. Number one is hydration: keep a bottle of water close to you and stay hydrated. But how do you stay away from those snacks? Try replacing them by healthier snacks. Plan your groceries, make a list (or, during these days, order them) and don’t buy the unhealthy snacks at all. Fear not: you can still get your daily dose of chocolate, but from pure chocolate (75% or more). Snacks snacks during movies? Sure, why not: try making healthy snacks (carrots with hummus will do!) or vegetable chips (yes, you know I’m talking about that bag of sweet potato chips. Go get it.). There are plenty of hacks to turn your favourite snack into a healthier version.

Another important factor is skin-and haircare. Treat yourself to some facial masks, hair masks or organise a spa-at-home-day. Give yourself a nice pedicure, manicure, or make some masks yourself – it’s easier than it looks like. There are plenty of stuff in your pantry and fridge you can use to make you skin and hair glow: Greek yoghurt does wonders for your skin ( and honey as well!), whereas avocado does great as a hair mask, and so on.

Take care of your SPACE

One of the key elements to feel good in quarantine is to feel good in your little (or big) space. It’s time for some re-decoration: buy some nice plants, candles, maybe some art. It will brighten up your space in no-time. As I’ve mentioned in my post about growing during your self-quarantine time, it’s time to release your inner Maria Kondo and start de-cluttering your closet spaces. Or enhance your mood instantly by installing a diffuser or a scented candle and putting on some relaxing background music.

Get those green thumbs out! If you have some space left in your garden or balcony, start planting some new fruits, vegetables, flowers or any kind of plants, as it’s the perfect timing to do so. And seeing your little babies grow and grow will be the most fulfilling and rewarding thing.

If you’re working from home nowadays, remember to set some boundaries for yourself. Change out of your pyjamas into comfy homewear, take time for breaks by walking away from a project every two hours. It’s important to check-in with yourself throughout the day and take it easy. Remember it’s no use to be productive when you’re super tired; then, the “productive thing” to do for you would be to re-energise. Read more about reframing productivity here.

I hope these tips will enhance your daily quarantine-life as it did for me and many others. Remember

Here we all are. Separated from each other, but somehow united in a special way: in quarantine. All under lockdown. A pandemic has taken 2020 under its control and, as Beyoncé said: world stop. The only travel I am doing recently is from my fridge to my bed. It makes you realise how fragile this world is and how fragile we are: even when we think we can have control over everything, we never really can. Nature is a great force that kindly said to us all: stop traveling. Stop rushing. Stop running. Stop producing. Stop polluting. Stop for a while and take some time. Take time to appreciate me. Take time for yourself, your close and loved ones, your health and most of all, time for others. But, until Beyoncé’s pause is disrupted by the legendary words carry on, we are safely trapped in our homes with an endless amount of time in our hands.

So let’s dive in and see how we can use this giant pool of time to grow. To be calm, creative and caring. So that when this is all over, you can look back and be proud for giving yourself what you needed.

Whether it’s giving yourself that Netflix bingewatching session, trying a yoga session or trying new healthy cooking recipes: try to figure out what you really need in this time and don’t be afraid to give it to yourself.

Find your inner balance

The first thing you can to do is to listen to your body. What does your body tell you? Are you tired? Are you having pain or stress that gives you a headache, for example? It’s quite difficult to just analyse your body without stopping for a moment. To do that, give your body a time-out. I recommend trying a bodyscan meditation. By doing this, you can tune into your body and come to a relaxation. Just by being aware of your whole body and the process of a bodyscan, you are able to unwind and let go for a while.

Now that you’ve relaxed your body and released all tension, let’s focus on the mind. It’s much more difficult to make decisions, especially important ones, when you’re not thinking clear. Another thing you can do is a meditation practice on clearing your mind and practice being present in this moment.

Meditation has proven to reduce stress and anxiety, increase your focus, improve your creativity and ability to make decisions, and much more. And since we want to figure out ways on how to use this amount of time to our best, it can surely help us in doing that.

Reframe what productivity means to you

Now that you’re more focused, let’s get to work. Let’s start filling in your days with productive things that you love to do. Productive is the key word here.

Let’s reframe “productive”: it doesn’t mean being busy. It doesn’t mean getting as much things done as possible. It doesn’t mean any of those things. Your goal is to be productive in a way that you give yourself everything you need at that moment and you use things for your greater good. Whether it’s am afternoon of reading a book, taking a hot bath, bingewatching your favourite show, cleaning or de-cluttering your home, or working on a creative project: you can define what productivity means to you. That’s the goal of being productive: so that you, by the end of the day, can say: I’ve done exactly what I needed to do today and I feel good.

With that reframe of “productivity”, let’s see what you can learn during this quarantine time. Write down the following sentences on a piece of paper and try to complete them:

After this quarantine, I am able to …

After this quarantine, I have mastered the skill of …

After this quarantine, I know more about …

After this quarantine, I have gotten familiar with …

This can be anything. It can be learning a new language, reading more about mythology (yup, right here!), becoming familiar with yoga or meditation, etc. Don’t overthink it, just fill in the first thing that pops up in your head.

Write down a plan to make it happen

Now that you have written down your goals, how big or small they might be, you need steps to get there. As we don’t know how long the current situation might last, and with some who are working and other who are free, let’s say the time limit is one you can setup. Is it indefinite? A month? Two weeks? This is completely up to you, but make it realistic. Don’t put yourself up with learning a new language in a week.

Then, write down l the reason why you want to do this. Write a “because” after each goal. I want to learn Spanish because I want to be able to speak with my international friends.

By writing your “because” behind every goal, you remind yourself of the reason why you want to achieve this. It boosts your motivation.

Next up is creating a step-by-step plan, for example: your goal is: becoming familiar with meditation. Let’s say at the end, becoming familiar with is something you would define as doing a meditation of 10 min everyday. Let’s build up to that. Some steps would be: download a mediation app, read a book about it, try out your first meditation, put daily reminders, do first daily meditation of 1 min. Next day, 2 min., third day, 3 min., etc. Create small steps along the way that will help you get there.

Re-ignite your inner fire of wanderlust

This wouldn’t be a travel blog if this wasn’t an important message to you all: keep that travel spirit alive! Keep dreaming. Keep planning. Keep looking forward to discovering more of this beautiful planet, diverse cultures and magnificent people making it all come true. Don’t lose your passion of discovery. In fact, use this time to be well prepared for future travels. Save money. Make travel bucket lists. Go through old souvenirs. Find these and many more tips in my previous blog post on how to keep your travel spirit alive at home.

What is also a great thing to do is to dig up old photo albums, whether it be on-or offline, and relive those beautiful moments captured.

Make a list of movies and series you want to watch

Let’s not deny it: we are all facing a lot of screen time the following period. Netflix, Disney, whatever it is that you’re glued to these days, enjoy it. I’m not here to tell you it’s “unproductive”, it does’t serve you, or anything. In fact, I urge you to make a list of movies or documentaries you really want to watch (again) so you can look forward to doing so. You will remind yourself of how fun these movies were, how they made you laugh or cry, and it will give you some inspo for the next time you’re scrolling endlessly through Netflix.

Make a list of books you would love to read (but never had the time for)

Let’s feed our brains. Besides movies and documentaries, another way to absorb information or stories are books. I have to admit I’ve been weak: late in the evening, my ever-lasting interest in mythology suddenly sparked and I felt the urge to order a mythology book because I wanted to know everything about it and (apparently, 6 years of studying Latin still wasn’t enough), I ordered myself a 400-paged mythology book. So go on, treat yourself and fill up that Kindle or bookshelf with your favourite genres or writers. Note: don’t give into the temptation of late night book cravings like I did.

To all my travel lovers, and especially the females ones who travel solo (shout out to my ladies!), there’s an exciting new book coming out by Dame Traveler, which you probably know by now from her amazing travel photography Instagram account. She’s releasing a book filled with gorgeous travel inspo from #Dametravelers all around the world.

To all my spiritual beings: Jay Shetty, a former monk and motivational speaker, is releasing his book as well upcoming month. It’s about how to think like a monk. And for anyone who already knows him, you all know it’s going to be probably one of the best books to ever exist.

De-clutter and clean your home environment

It’s time to release your inner Maria Kondo and give your space a little make-over. Nothing big, in contrary: less is more. Throw out anything that you no longer need or you have a bad vibe with: sweater from an ex-boyfriend, clothes you never wear, beauty stuff you never use anymore. Be honest with yourself and get rid of anything that you no longer need. You will feel so much better afterwards and your closets will too! And of course, keep things tidy and clean. It will give you a nice feeling of begin in your room or apartment or wherever you may be living. You can even do some decoration if you have some stuff you wanted to put up in your room. You can support local business and buy online: plants, home decoration, bedroom amenities etc. By supporting them, you’re doing something in return for your community and sustaining your local economy.

Plan your next grocery shopping based on healthy food

As much as fun bingewatching, meditating or writing is: don’t forget to take care of your body. Especially during a pandemic, it’s important to get your vitamins and food that your body will thank you for. What works best is to make a grocery list – a lot of lists going on here, sorry about that – and hit your local supermarket. Get your fruits, get your veggies. If you’re not sure about the whole healthy lifestyle thing, look up some yummy recipes you would like to try out and start with that. I’m not saying you have to go full Nigella Lawson in one week, but try to make small steps to nurture your body with healthy foods & drinks.

If you don’t trust yourself in the kitchen, you can also order healthy dishes from local restaurants that offer delivery or take-out.

Remember: if possible, support your local stores and pay them a visit when you’re in need of essential products. It’s your way of giving back to your community and supporting them.

Wherever you might be, whatever you might be going through: I am there for you. We are all here for you. By giving yourself what you need, whether that’s learning something new, eating healthy or having a day of total Netflix-stalking: give it to yourself. You owe it to yourself. These are difficult times. It’s hard enough nobody can travel now, so let’s be gentle with ourselves. Continue dreaming about your trips and never leave that sense of wanderlust inside you unguarded. Dream big, salty soul!

You just said bye-bye to your travel plans for the upcoming weeks, months even. You threw away that Lonely Planet guide to Colombia, because that’s for the bin now too. But even if hotels are closed, flight companies suspend their flights and you have to stay inside, you can always keep on dreaming. Don’t lose that fire inside you!

I’ve listed 7 ways on how to spend time at home and keep your travel spirit alive. Just because there are hard times outside, doesn’t mean we have to make it hard for us inside.

Cherish your previous travels

This is not a time of being sad and nostalgic: this is a time to be grateful and appreciative. Leaf through your travel journal, grabble through old tickets, scroll through your camera roll and relive your past trips. It will bring you immense joy and make you realize how lucky you are to have seen those beautiful places, conquered those courageous adventures and met those wonderful people. So smile, and be proud of yourself for how much you’ve seen and how much you’ve traveled.

Go through your souvenirs

Another way to relive those past moments and give yourself a pat on the shoulder is to open that big box of souvenirs. Whether it’s your fridge’s magnets, postcards, pictures or just random souvenirs: now is the time to look at them. This is that moment that you had in your head when you bought them. This is the time to reflect and let those memories flow. So sit down, grab your big box of souvenirs and think about the moment when you bought them. What were you doing that day? What were the highlights of that trip? What did you really enjoy?

Make photo albums for fun

These days, it’s hard not to take pictures when you’re on a trip. Whether you’re a professional photographer or a rookie who takes pictures just for fun, we all do it. Gather all your photos, on- or offline, and start making a photo album of every trip you made. You can do it by country, by city, how ever you like to order it.

Now is a great time to be creative, so let yourself really enjoy this. Go with the flow and make a fun photo book, or release your digital design skills and make one online, on MyAlbum, SnapFish, PhotoBox, etc. If you’d rather let someone else make it for you, support (local and) small artists who offer to make your projects online. During these times, it can be hard for small or local entrepreneurs to keep their businesses running. If they still offer online services such as a web-shop or on-demand orders and you want to make a contribution, you can do so in this way.

Write down your ultimate travel bucket-list

Let’s start dreaming! Now that you’ve relived your past travels, you actually gained something out of this: you got to know yourself better. Ask yourself: where do I really want to go next? What did I like about my past trips, and why did I enjoy that? Where can I find more of that? For example, I really liked my trip to Iguaçu Waterfalls in Argentina. because I love being into nature because it calms me and makes me appreciate our planet. So I know this know and I can start looking for more waterfalls or natural parks to go ti.

If you’re into diving, and you’ve had a great time in Curaçao while diving, good news: there are so much more beautiful diving sites! Think about what places you dream of visiting one day and write them down into a bucket list. It can be as long as you want it to be: the world is big enough.

Plan out your next trip to the detail

Now let’s shorten that list. Pick one destination out of your travel bucket list. Now start planning that trip. From activities to accommodation, try to look up all that you need for your next adventure. Don’t be afraid to feel pressured, you cannot really book anything now due to the current situation. Just pretend as if you’re planning this trip and think about the activities, tours, and adventures you want to go on while you’re there. Design your perfect voyage.

Discuss travel plans with your friends

We’ve all done a trip with a friend, family member or lover. And if you’re a core-hard solo traveler, I’m sure yo have met people along the way. Contact them, catch up with them, and let them know you were thinking about those great memories. Maybe you’re still active in a travel chat, Facebook group or other online community. Say hi to your (ex) travel companions, and who knows what nice conversations might follow. Maybe there’s even talks about future travels together.

Try meditation and visualisations to manifest your next trip

Let’s try something new: meditation. During these times, when many of us are at home, are great to relax, to be at peace, to return inward. Whether you’re already familiar with meditation or you’re totally new to it, I encourage you to try out a visualization meditation to manifest your upcoming trip. It works like this:

Picture your next dream trip. Really imagine what it feels like to be laying on that pearly-white beach. Feel the sun burning on your skin while sipping your cocktail on the beach. How does that cocktail tastes? How does the sand feel like? What do you see?

By imagining everything about this trip, you will feel like you are already there. It’s an amazing feeling, who doesn’t want that? By doing this frequently, the feeling of being on that trip will get closer and closer and your brain is a huge fan of visual stimuli. You will familiarize yourself with the picture and tricking your brain into believing you are already there. Until one day, you are. Visualization (meditation) has proven to boost your confidence, your immunity, to decrease levels of stress, anxiety and depression, and much more.

If you’re unsure about how to start this, then don’t worry: there are a lot of free meditations online. Whether on apps such as Insight Timer, Headspace, Calm, YouTube, or other websites; you’ll be sure to find a visualization exercise.

There are many ways to keep your travel spirit alive: whether you share it with others or keep your solo adventures cherished in your own heart, take this time to not only look back on past travels, but dream about future travels. Because this too will pass. It’s a time to take a break and just be – wherever you are.

Welcome to another triple travel guide, dear salty souls. In this guide, I list the top three recommendations to visit, taste and to stay at. This time, it’s the turn of Barcelona. You might have already read my insider’s guide to Barcelona. After living in Barcelona for a while and discovering all the amazing things about this world famous city, I decided to share my tips with you so you can make the most out of a visit to Catalunya’s capital.

This guide is a shorter version and is a perfect pocket guide if you’re planning to travel to Catalunya’s capital.

What to visit

La Sagrada Familia €€

This iconic masterpiece of Gaudí earns its worldwide fame to its unique architectural style, however the inside of the cathedral is often not visited by the majority of tourists – but its interior beauty exceeds, like the previous works, the exterior beauty. So make sure you buy your tickets early in advance and save time and money.

Entrance: online ticket prices start at €22.60

Montjuïc

Montjuïc is a magical place an sich. Hike uphill towards the magical fountain that lights up occasionally for a spectacular light show, and continue your road with stunning view of the iconic castle of Montjuïc. Walk further and run into the stretched, green park, accompanied by the Olympic stadium and further lays the botanical garden. What is a better way to enjoy a city then to come to rest in its nature, right in the city centre?

Parque Guëll & Museu Gaudí

Parque Guëll is often described as “Gaudi’s playground”, the place where he let all his fantasy run wild and create the most unique and gorgeous works. There is a free area as well, however to access the famous mosaic bench and Gaudi’s house, you must enter the paying area, which has a price of €10.

What to taste

Bar Jaica

If you’re craving delicious, traditional tapas, then Bar Jaica is the place to be. Located in the Barceloneta area, close to the beach and port of Barcelona, this spot is ideal for a lunch break during your day. Every dish is prepared with love, especially combined with the iconic beer Estrella (or try a local type of beer named Clara). Salada russa, berenjenas con miel, tortilla are some of the most typical dishes your belly will thank you for.

La Barca del Salamanca €€

In this huge restaurant located near the casino of Barcelona, you’ll find all kinds of fresh seafood dishes such as paella, grilled fish, pasta, etc. However, what makes la Barca del Salamanca so special, is their service and atmosphere. You’ll be guaranteed to receive a welcome drink, free entrees, dessert and liquor on the house, as well as musical entertainment and photography services. Visiting this restaurant is an experience I have introduced to every guest in Barcelona.

La pepita €€€

A balanced combination between traditional tapas and high-end, creative cuisine is the perfect remedy for your appetite while in Barcelona. Try some of the iconic tapas with an extra touch of la Pepita’s style and taste. Their entire menu cart consists out of unique and imaginative Spanish “pepitas”.

Where to stay at

Urbany Hostel BCN GO & Urbany Hostel Barcelona

At the Urbany Hostels, you will be welcomed warmly by the friendly staff who will do anything in their power to make your stay a memorable adventure. With hostel activities, free entries to the biggest nightclubs in Barcelona and a cozy bar open every day, you will not be bored one second of your stay and by meeting people from all over the world you will experience the true feeling of traveling: connecting with others.

Ayre Hotel Caspe €€

Ayre Hotel Caspe is a modern, luxurious hotel with a perfect location. Their friendly staff will happily help you with all your requests. Each one of their rooms are spacious, beautiful and comfortable. The price range differs from season to season, but in general you receive a good price-quality for what you get.

W Hotel €€€

The iconic W Hotel is a must-visit if your budget can handle it. One of the trademarks of Barcelona is this five star hotel which guarantees you to experience an elite and enriching stay at la Barceloneta, the most famous beach of Catalunya’s capital. Bear in mind the exclusive rooftop parties this hotel hosts, as non-guests can enter as well. If you’re craving a luxurious stay in Barcelona, and are looking for the top notch when it comes to stunning rooftop parties, this is your place to be.

Lately, solo travel is hot. Fierce, independent and courageous women and men have been all over social media sharing their solo voyages. It makes you wonder: is solo travel something I should try? We are all different interests, experiences and priorities. It might seem difficult to make that jump into solo travel. There are lots of benefits of solo travel, and you deserve those too.

Although there are many advantages about heading out there all by yourself, to clear things up, I’ve listed some easy ways to get into solo traveling. I think everyone should have the opportunity to travel around and try out solo traveling. But it’s easier said than done. In this post, you will find six small steps towards solo travel to help you become more comfortable with being out all by yourself!

1. Go to the Movies By Yourself

« The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. » – Lao Tzu

And yours is a trip to the movies. It’s a perfect way to get out there and do a solo activity in a comfortable environment (read: snacks, sofa’s and your favorite actor included), so why not give it a try?

2. Go to a Restaurant/ Bar By Yourself

This second step is a bit more challenging. When I first started solo traveling, heading out to eat in a restaurant solo was a bit weird- not for me, but for other people. Apparently, asking for a table for one isn’t something they hear everyday, but why should that stop you from doing it?

Eating out by yourself is great because you can treat yourself to a nice dinner so you’re instantly rewarding yourself for gathering all that courage! Plus, you can enjoy a dinner in peace by yourself and fully focus on the delicious food – extra advantage: you don’t have to share side dishes and that break basket? All yours!

Pick out a nice table, maybe close to others who are also out solo. Or you could go to a cool bar and sit at the bar! You can start a chat with the bar tender and everyone who passes. This is a great way to get to know people yet be remained at your own cool spot.

3. Travel in Your Own City

Now let’s go on a real trip. A lot of people don’t see their domestic cities as fun or cool or vibrant. Often, this exciting feeling of going out in your own city gets lost after living there for a while. Try to open your eyes: what are some cool places you haven’t visited yet? What attracts foreigners to your city? An exposition, a museum, a park? Try to find attractions in your city that match your interests and this time, skip asking a friend to join you and head out solo.

4. Travel in Your Own Country

Let’s move to a bigger scale! Now that you’ve been exposed to being outdoors by 2 and you might have been on a little trip (depending on how big your city is), try to think about your home country.

It’s the perfect time to wander around a place without a plan and to just get lost in a destination. I find that one of the many advantages of solo trips: you have the freedom and peace to discover things on your own and wander around on your pace.

I’m positive that all countries have their specialties and uniqueness to offer. So think about what makes your country so special or what is a cool place you haven’t been to yet. Often, the capital is full of life and cultural sights, so why not go for that one? Or, if you’re more into peaceful vibes, head out to the coast side of your country, or ( if there is none), the mountains or any other natural sight!

If you’re not sure what you’d like to do or see, make a bucket list. You can answer questions like: What do I love to do in my free time? What makes me smile? What gives me excitement when I think about it? What is my dream destination? Why?

5. Go on A Solo Trip

Now let’s take it to another level! If you’re feeling confident enough to head out solo on a trip, go for it! Choose a country that matches your bucket list and get to know your perfect destination. This is a hard one, because we all have so many. So the next best things to do is to book your trip on the right timing. Get those offers and best prices and make that jump!

It’s important to think about what destination suits you. For more tips on how to do that and make that big decision, check out my previous article with tips on how to choose your perfect destination. Further on, another thing you might struggle with is finding time to travel and actually go on a trip. Again, finding time is all about making priorities: read this on how to make time to travel.

6. Go on A Group Trip

If you’re not so confident about traveling solo yet, you can opt for a group holiday. That way, you don’t have to worry too much about arranging everything about your trip and you get to know so many new people instantly! Remember you are a part of a group, a team, and you’re all there to make unforgettable memories and to discover amazing destinations.

If you’re in between a group trip and a solo trip, check out special formulas companies like the variety of Contiki offers: you have the freedom to head out yourself yet you are a part of the group whenever you want to.

There are many ways to start travelling solo, close or far away from home. We’re all different and the fun part of solo travel is that you can do it completely on your own way. No obligations, no rules. Only pure freedom and adventure! So if you’re still doubting if solo travel is your thing: start with small steps and begin your journey of a thousand steps.

Travel? I would love to! But I don’t have the money… Going somewhere during the upcoming holiday? Sounds great, but I don’t have the time…

Unfortunately, we often lose the motivation of going on a trip because it looks like such a big deal, like an enourmous monster is ahead of us and we can only travel by plane, stay in an all-in hotel and go on a spend-it-all-vacay mood. There are other alternatives, too. Short trips make you get the best out of a destination while maximizing your time and not digging too deep into your wallet. Whether you’re strugglng with finding time to travel or travelling on a budget, this article features five tested ways to travel cheap and maximize your time.

After applying these tips, you will be able to travel cheap, gain more out of a destination and utilise your time to the maximum.

Hop on a overnight bus

In Europe, it has gotten quite easy and cheap to travel around. Crossing borders with major bus companies such as Flixbus, Busbud or Rede Expressos have more advantages than you think. Reduce your carbon footprint and enjoy less stricter luggage rules by choosing a bus or coach for your next trip. Also, there are almost always free Wi-Fi, plugs, aircon and a bathroom available.

A trip on a overnight bus is the easiest, since you sleep all night and arrive at your destination in the morning. I took a bus from Lisbon to Porto (and saved more than €100), Lisbon to the North and South of Portugal for €9 one-way and I even went from Lisbon to Malaga twice for a price of €60 return in high season (august).

Opt for a green train ride

Trains are great, eco-friendly options for long-distance travels. If you plan to visit a further destination, you can even get a private cabin to catch a good night’s rest. Trains often offer dining carts, free Wi-Fi and it’s a fast and reliable method of travel. From Lisbon, there is an overnight train to Madrid. From Brussels, you can get easily to Amsterdam, Paris or London, etc. Omio gives you the best option for bus, train or plane rides.

If you’re really low on time and budget, opt for a trip inside your country. Trust me, you’d be surprised where a train trip might take you! Often, we focus too much on big destinations or big cities. Remember how unique and beautiful unknown destinations can be. Don’t be afraid to let yourself wander off the beaten path. I’ve often travelled by train, especially in Belgium.

Don’t ditch the plane, step up your game

Airplane tickets can be expensive, but they can also be ridicously cheap. You have to know when to look for them and how to look for them. Last year, I went to Seville for €9.99, from Seville to Barcelona for €30 and two year ago, I went from Barcelona to Mallorca for just €5.99 one- way, makin a total of €11.98 return tickets. There are crazy deals ot there, you just have to look for them.

Start by looking for plane tickets on incognito mode (private mode) on your mobile phone or laptop. Aso, look for flights on calm hours: don’t look for them on a Friday night, but start your search on a Tuesday or Wednesday, or during unpopular hours such as in the middle of the night.

However, planning a trip by airplane all depends on what you already know. There are many websites who offer you good prices, but on some flights you’rebette off with one supplier than the other. So, to explore the best options, you need the best search engines. I’ve listed them right here, depending on your situation.

  • If you don’t know the date or destination
    • Skyscanner lists the cheapest flight for all dates per destination from your preferred airport
    • Google Flights has a tool to look up flights for a weekend, one week or two weeks. Underneath the search bar, scroll down and enter the world map. Move your mouse onto where in the world you would like to go and zoom in to explore more options!
  • If you know your available dates, but you don’t know where to go
    • Fly Me Anywhere: just enter your location and the dates and this website will give you the cheapest flights to any place.
    • Google Flights: enter the dates or the length of your trip and your leaving point, hit search and explore your options. Handy tool: you can add the option of hand luggage an it calculates the extra cost for you.
    • Skyscanner: again, enter your location and preferred travel data and Skyscanner will give you the cheapest options.
  • If you know the destination, but you don’t know the date
    • Google Flights: click on the world map and look for the cheapest flight to a certain destination in the next 6 months. You can adjust the length of the trip and decide on which month you would like to go (but it’s not necessary). Another option is to go to the search bar, choose a day span on a random date and then scroll further to see the prices of the other months.

There are so many websites that offer you great deals, but it’s easier and less time consuming if you use the biggest search engines who lead you to the best deals.

Choose your accomodation wisely

Holiday time = treat yourself. I agree 100%. But it doesn’t neccesarily mean that you have to book a fancy hotel room or all-in resort. Why not book an Airbnb room or apartment or even better, a hostel. This a great way to socialize, keep your budget low and do new experiences.

If you do want to stay in a hotel, you can find the best prices directly in their webite. Yes, I said it. Booking.com or Expedia only have better deals in case they “buy” a hotel room on advance at a lower rate or in case of exclusive member rates. But in most cases, the hotel offers the best price, also for their members, and even some extras such as romantic packages etc.

When I went to Porto by bus, I stayed in the most gorgeous hostel – a gallery – where I had a comfortable bed with everythin I needed: plugs, sockets, light, a locker to keep my stuff secure, a modern and big bathroom and breakfast included for not even €20 a night.

Even during my trips to Cape Town and Buenos Aires, I stayed in hostels. It saved me so much money and allowed me to meet so many interesting people from all over the world.

Seas the day!

Traveling by ferry or boat is a great way to start your next adventure. In Argentina, I took a ferry from Buenos Aires to Colonia, Uruguay. It wasn’t only better for the environment, it was also a fun experience and qute easy and fast.

When I was a kid, my family vacation used to be a roadtrip to Italy and from Italy we took the boat to Greece. It was a small adventure. And it was fast and easy to do, we could even take our car with us and we had our own cabin. If you want to make your whole trip an adventure and you love being on the sea, opt for a ferry trip or a boat ride!

Even in Malta, you can take a ferry to the nearest isand. The same is for Corfu, Croatia, Venice and many more destinations. Often, these ferries cost only a few euros. Think about it: where would you head out if you took the nearest ferry or boat?

No matter where you live, there are always great alternative and cheap ways to travel around. If you have weekend off and you feel that wanderlust coming up, look what your best options are.

Travel is forever worthwhile the journey and adventure, whether you’re alone, with friends, family or your lover. That last option may be even better since Valentine’s Day coming up. If you have something to celebrate or not, treating your loved one to a shared adventure abroad is the best way to bond and enjoy your time together to the max.

I’ve listed a countdown of Europe’s secret & most romantic destinations – the anti-stereotypes, the destinations you have yet to discover. This blog is available in three languages: English, Dutch and French. Simply click on the language you wish to read in and you will be redirected to the blog.

5. Sevilla, Spain

There’s a good reason Sevilla, the birthplace of flamenco, is the capital of Andalusia: its charming city centre, welcoming locals and delightful cuisine will make your romantic stay a great one. Come to relaxation during an evening stroll through plaza de Espana accompanied by the sparkling city lights and enjoy homemade paella or Spanish tapas in the heart of this seductive city.

Get to know Sevilla inside and out with my travel article covering the main attractions of this southern Spanish city. Use my triple travel guide as a tool to plan your next romantic getaway to Seville, including the best recommendations on cuisine, accomodation and attractions.

4. Bruges, Belgium

There are a few romantic spots in Belgium, but the combination of the medieval styled centre, the cobblestoned squares and the city lights reflecting this view on the calm waters of Bruges makes this town top them all. With its endless amount of medieval castles (50 in total), opt for a night in one of the many special Airbnb’s or hotels in this UNESCO World Heritage sight. Stroll through the city and capture the swans swimming in the canals, the many bridges and waterlanes, and stop at a local beer pub to taste some of the best beer in the world, accompanied by a worthy dessert – Belgian chocolate of course!

To learn more about Bruges, you can check out my post here which features Bruges as one of the safest cities to travel to.

3. Crikvenica, Croatia

Croatia is one of the many pearls at the Mediterranean Sea and it conquered many hearts these last few years with its lagoon blue waters, stunning scenery of mountain landscapes and delicious local cuisine. However, if you feel like choosing an off the beaten path this Valentine’s Day, opt for a stay in Crikvenica, a small village located at the Eastern coast of Croatia.

This undiscovered coastal gem enchants you with its sunset views over the harbour and the impressive mountains in the background make this scenery worth a visit. Hop on a boat tour to spend be the perfect romantic Valentine’s night together with your lover. Afterwards, treat yourselves on a budget friendly and tasty Mediterranean meal at one of the many restaurants in the picturesque town hub. The currency is kuna, which equals to €0.13.

To discover Croatia to the fullest, check out my full guide on Croatia, featuring Crikvenica as central destination.

2. Valletta, Malta

Malta’s capital Valletta has been marked as Europe’s capital of culture of 2018, the same year I first set foot on this island. The marks many colonists and foreigner immigrants left in this country since 5900 BC, shaped it to be one of the most diverse islands and countries in the European continent.

What makes Valletta in particular so romantic and a perfect choice for a Valentine’s Day visit is the hilly construction of the city, which leaves you to bump into beautiful decors and stylish restaurants with a harbor seaview. The style of the city is a mixture between ancient roman architecture and British influences, topped of with a hint of Arabic architectural (and linguistic) traces. The friendly inhabitants will welcome you in English, Italian or Malti.

Head out to my travel blog about Malta to learn more about this upcoming European destination.

1. Guimaraes, Portugal

At the very top of our list of Europe’s most romantic secret destinations, we have Guimaraes. This lowkey Portuguese medieval town takes you back in time with its well preserved, iconic X-th century architecture. The enriched history goes back to the foundation of Portugal’s first capital, and as such, some UNESCO World Heritage sites are to be discovered on your visit to this charming city. What makes Guimaraes so romantic is the all-year-round christmas lights brighten up the cozy and historic Gothic city centre.

Check out my triple travel guide to Guimaraes, perfect for a romantic weekend getaway to Portugal’s most romantic city.

The vivid capital of Catalunya is known for its mouthwatering tapas, extraordinary art collections and one-of-a-kind architecture. With Gaudí’s spirit present in every barceloní and barcelonina, it’s not hard to understand why many tourists come to admire the many attractions of the global city in all its defined glory. And for that, it might be confusing to know where to start – not only has Gaudí left outstanding artworks in the city, the football club Barcelona also has many fanatics from all over the world and keeps the fire burning in the modern, spicy cosmopolitan.

If you’ve been reading my blog, then you know I lived in Barcelona for a while. After exploring the city with locals and visiting the best spots, I came to the conclusion that Barcelona has it all: mountains, beaches, parks, malls, castles, viewpoints; whatever it is that you are looking for in a city. To guide you during your next trip to Barcelona, I created an insider’s guide so you can fully immerse yourself in the Catalonian spirit and, like a local, devour delicious tapas, visit gorgeous architectural wonders and come to a relaxation at the most stunning and highest viewpoints.

Your Arrival

Aerobus

The Aerobus is the most convenient way to transport yourself from the airport to the city. It has several stops throughout the city center, free wifi and luggage storage space.

Cost: €5.90

Golden Gaudí

Parque Guëll

Parque Guëll is often described as “Gaudi’s playground”, the place where he let all his fantasy run wild and create the most unique and gorgeous works. There is a free area as well, however to access the famous mosaic bench and Gaudi’s house, you must enter the paying area, which has a price of €10.

Casa Battló

Entering casa Battló is like immersing yourself in the deep, enchanting blue ocean. With a decor that takes you to your wildest fantasies, a visit to this house is often one skipped by many tourists, however very much worth a visit. Its location on Passeig de Gracia, in the middle of high-end fashion boutiques, represents the spirit of Barcelona very well, mixing the modern shopping street with an authentic showpiece, brought to you by the famous Gaudí.

Entrance: online ticket prices start at €25

Casa Milá

Casa Milá is the next Gaudí-made piece of art on Passeig de Gracia, however its themes are distinctively different. Casa Milá serves many as a natural wonder, a place for exhibitions and at the same time a foundation for disabled people. Go all the way up to this casa to enjoy the beautifully shaped chimneys, ventilation towers and stairwells.

Entrance: online ticket prices start at €22

Casa Vicens

Casa Vicens was Gaudí’s first gem in Barcelona, built between 1883 and 1885, served as a summer house for the Vicens family. Gaudí started his series of masterpieces with a contrasting styled, extremely detailed and in every way mesmerizing jewel.

Entrance: online ticket prices start at €16

Sagrada Familia

This iconic masterpiece of Gaudí earns its worldwide fame to its unique architectural style, however the inside of the cathedral is often not visited by the majority of tourists – but its interior beauty exceeds, like the previous works, the exterior beauty. So make sure you buy your tickets early in advance and save time and money.

Entrance: online ticket prices start at €22.60

The Hidden Gems

Bunkers del Carmel

Higher above Park Guëll, there is a non-touristic part of the city that, in my experience, gives you the most breathtaking view in town: Bunkers del Carmel. Many locals, mostly youngsters, join on this secret spot to enjoy the passing of sunset. Bring some snacks, a good camera and nice company and prepare yourself for sweeping sunset views.

Botanical Garden

Montjuïc is a magical place an sich. Hike uphill towards the magical fountain that lights up occasionally for a spectacular light show, and continue your road with stunning view of the iconic castle of Montjuïc. When you walk further, you run into a stretched, green park, accompanied by the Olympic stadium and further lays the botanical garden. What is a better way to enjoy a city then to come to rest in its nature, right in the city centre?

Horta Labyrinth

This park makes you feel like you’re in that Harry Potter movie – the one with the deadly labyrinth and the goblet of fire. Just one thing: this maze is not deadly. And smaller. But nevertheless worth the visit and the getting lost-part (especially while losing from toddlers that find the exit sooner than you). The ancient architectural gems and gigantic park surrounding the laybrinth make up for the €2.23 entrance fee.

Taste Catalunya

La Boqueria

It is hard to miss this food market in the middle of the Rambla, the most visited street in Barcelona. From fresh fruits to southern seafood, nothing lacks this tasteful food heaven. You’ll walk out of it satisfied, with in one hand holding a cup filled with watermelon and in the other one some candy – yes, there’s candy as well.

La Pepita

A balanced combination between traditional tapas and high-end, creative cuisine is the perfect remedy for your appetite while in Barcelona. Try some of the iconic tapas with an extra touch of la Pepita’s style and taste. Their entire menu cart consists out of unique and imaginative Spanish “pepitas”.

Bar Jaica

If you’re craving delicious, traditional tapas, then Bar Jaica is the place to be. Located in the Barceloneta area, close to the beach and port of Barcelona, this spot is ideal for a lunch break during your day. Every dish is prepared with love, especially combined with the iconic beer Estrella (or try a local type of beer named Clara).

Dazzling Disco

La Taverna de Barcelona

La Taverna de Barcelona takes you to a place where music is only played live and acoustically, while its wooden interior decorated with international flags focuses on welcoming people from all corners of the world. While bringing forth this international spirit, the pub breathes in life from the authentic Catalan fuego, making it very hard for you to sit still during an evening spent here.

Jamboree Jazz

Somewhere in the middle of La Rambla, you find Placa Reial, an exotic square filled with restaurants and bars, connecting the most popular street in Barcelona with the old neighbourhood: the Gothic Quarter. In the corner of Placa Reial, you find Jamboree. However, don’t enter the first level of the club, but descend until you find yourself in a Rnb/Jazz/Hip Hop heaven, with the finest selection of DJ’s playing your favourite and most soulful tracks from the 80’s until now. Pay attention to their Facebook page, as they often give away tickets or offer a possibility to put you and your friends on the guestlist in advance.

Pacha Club Barcelona

The world-wide famous Pacha Club has a franchise in Barcelona as well. The all-white themed luxurious night club offers various theme parties with a variety of music genres, such as: techno, hip hop, rnb, disco, etc. Be sure to buy your tickets online in advance to avoid lines, waiting times and more expensive tickets.

Seville’s charms put a spell on me – read all about the magic of Andalusia’s ancient capital here – and who would I be to keep this charming and seducing city unknown to my dear readers? After my recent travel blog about Seville, this is a more practical guide to the blossoming Andalusian capital, sharing with you the three best places to visit, the three best dishes to try (and where to try it), and the best accomodations – whichever kind of traveler you might be. Because whether you rest you eyes on a king size bed or a bunk bed in a hostel: travel is for everyone, and the sightseeings and local dishes still stay the same. And that is why I have created yet another Triple Travel Guide. Enjoy, or, as the Spanish say, disfruta-lo!

What to visit

Real Alcazares €€

Feeling like a true king isn’t difficult in this Moorish decorative and ornate collection of beautiful royal rooms, immense and fresh green gardens, also known as the Real Alcazares. It served as a set location for the serie Game of Thrones, which made this location immensely popular – more than it already was. The general entrance costs €11.50 and you pay extra for other add-ons, such as the royal bedroom, which is €4.50. Buy the tickets in advance on the official website and avoid queues of +2 hours.

Plaza de España €

One of the most iconic plazas in Spain is undoubtedly Plaza de España, built for the Ibero-American exposition in 1929. A visit to this monument won’t leave you without a grand history lesson: this plaza surrounds four bridges, each representing the ancient kingdoms of Spain. Furthermore, the brilliant Alcoves of the different Spanish regions shine beautifully in their ornate of colourful tiles, each telling their own story about the history of Spain’s different provinces.

Entrance is free.

Metrosol Parasol

Las Setas de Sevilla (the mushrooms of Seville) are a unique landmark, visited abundantly by curious tourists and locals too. As largest wooden structure in the world, built on Roman ruins, now serving as an archeological museum – included in the ticket price -, these “mushrooms” are worth paying a visit to. Since Seville is relatively flat, you can enjoy stretched views all over town, providing you with a splendid oversight of all the city’s churches, cathedrals and other iconic buildings of matter.

Entrance is €3

What to taste

Cervecería Puerto Plata

Pan con tomate y jamón is a must-try when in Seville, usually eaten around 11a.m. as a late breakfast. If you like to sleep out (as I do), wake up slowly with a aromatic cup of coffee and taste a crunchy, warm pan con tomate y jamón and enjoy splendid views in front of you on the Plaza Ministro Indalecio Prieto, with in the background the sound of horses galloping rhythmically, transporting carriages throughout the old city centre.

Taberna Coloniales €€

This restaurant is known for its famous, traditional secreto Iberico (Iberian secret), a piece of meat originated from Iberian pigs, keeping the meat tasty and juicy inside, covered by a crusty layer on the outside.

Mama Bistro €€

Carrillada de Cerdo, braised pork cheeks in a variety of different sauces, is another typical Sevillian speciality and a must try-out when visiting Seville. The best one? Available at Mama Bistro.

Bonus: place not to miss

Estraperlo €€

An ecological restaurant with nothing but fresh, tasteful biological products, where the friendly and helpful staff’s only intention is to meet your needs as good as possible and treats you like family – and not to mention the wine collection is deliciously tantalizing.

Where to stay

For You Hostel

For You Hostel is a hostel of the hotel group Zenit Hotels. The benefit of a hotel group launching its first hostel? An experience that makes you feel the ease and luxury of a hotel, yet gives you the low rates of a hostel, and a comfortable and fully furnished bunk bed, inclusive of bathroom amenities, a reading light, curtains, international plugs and a soft pillow. Equipped with a bar, patio, kitchen, and other communal areas, feel free to socialize in this modern hostel, as the staff will be happy to help you if you have any needs.

Hotel Adriano Sevilla (&Café Pompeia) €€

My quest to a paella con pollo for one person led me to Café Pompeia. This modern and delightful bistro offers a wide range of classic Spanish dishes at a reasonable price, a warm smile from the staff and, above the fact you can have paella per person here, cozy uptown vibes with a location on the vivid calle Adriano. Above this bistro, you’ll find the charming hotel Adriano Sevilla, a chic, sophisticated, luxurious hotel with small prices for the quality you receive.

Hotel Casa del Poeta €€€

As multiple times winner of the Trivago National Awards, earning its title as best hotel in Spain, this lovely boutique hotel combines both relaxation and luxury while immersing you in the ancient history of Seville and at the same time being located in the heart of the Andalusia’s capital.

Seville. A magical gateway to the early Middle Ages inspired by the fairytale marriage of the Moorish architectural style palaces, castles and buildings, together with the Spanish, traditional flamenco-infused spirit, interrupted by the modern, vivid city centre and balanced out evenly by the flourishing green city gardens with its stunning statues, dreamy views and in the background accompanied by subtle strumming on the Spanish streets artists’ guitars.

Spending only two days in this city was a bare minimum – I crossed off the top items on my bucket list, such as visiting the Real Alcazares, Plaza España , las Setas, Parque Maria Luisa, and in the meanwhile, my trip didn’t lack some occasional, mind-clearing peaceful strolls through the city.

When visiting Seville, make a clear planning of what you want to visit. As popular attractions are rapidly sold out and waiting lines tend to lengthen quite easily, you might want to be sure to not miss out on any precious sightseeing time and book your tickets in advance.

Entering the Real Alcazares of Seville is a true journey in time and a taste of different cultures coming together in one ode to history, coherency and the royal class. As there are many royal rooms, tranquil baths and decorative patios, an organized map of your itinerary will help you visit the seeings you want to see most. Don’t forget to look up, down, to your left and your right, as the designers have spared no effort of creating effortless symmetry, detailed decorations and mesmerizing patterns.

Pass a stroll through Parque Maria Luisa to discover a tranquil assembly of gorgeous green gardens, orange trees and fountains, and find yourself in the midst of traditional horse carriages passing through the park. Make you way through the park and end up at Plaza España, of one Spain’s most iconic plaza’s, mixing up different styles of Spanish architecture, in a way an ode built for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. Hard to miss are the alcoves against the walls, each representing a different province and designed in colourful details, bounded by the pair of a book cover, holding information about each province.

The Metropol Parasol, also known as las Setas de Sevilla (the mushrooms of Seville), is the world’s largest wooden structure built on ancient roman ruins – also interesting to visit the archeological museum during your visit to this attraction in the capital of Andalusia. To fully enjoy Seville and its countless churches, squares and cathedrals, make your way to the top of las Setas and enjoy the stretched city views.

Let’s talk food. Seville’s mouthwatering tapas include berenjenas con miel (fried eggplant with honey), fried ansjovis, and the classic bites such as patatas bravas, salada russa, pan con tomate y jamon – which is also a typical dish to eat for late breakfast around 11 a.m. together with a coffee and splendid views on a patio or terrace, surrounded by sky-high palm trees and the subtle sound of flamenco dancers on the background. Be sure to stop by the ecological restaurant Estraperlo, where I had a tasteful and all-biological lunch, just outside the crowded Maria Luisa park, in the quiet, local neighbourhood el Platinar.

Getting around Seville is pretty simple: it is very walkable, I did not use public transport – except for the handy aerobus that brings you direction aeropuerto for only €4, and occasionally a requested Uber or city taxi, whose prices often combat each other. Furthermore, be sure to beat the crowds by getting up early and buying entrance tickets online – even for Metrosol Parasol, an entrance ticket is needed, so a little preparation in advance will save you a lot of time.

Visiting the charming city of Seville will capture you quickly in its magic, ancient Moorish history and architecture, while at the same time being the modern capital of Andalusia, a touristic hotspot for discoverers and Spain lovers. Taste the Spanish flavours, watch a flamenco show and lose yourself in the many attractions of this southern city.