A Complete Guide To Sustainable Tourism

A Complete Guide To Sustainable Tourism

Sustainability holds huge importance in today’s current climate both at home and now when travelling. Companies and people are starting to consider their impact on the world and how they can reduce it. The travel industry is forever evolving and changing, and now the industry along with governments are starting to realise it must change to a more greener way of working, to ensure a long term sustainable future and to protect destinations so they don’t become ruined.

There are so many eco companies popping up and companies are becoming more environmentally alert. Just beware that some companies are jumping on the bandwagon and trying to greenwash everything, when in fact they are far from being sustainable! There is plenty of information out there on green travel, and just because you have decided to take an extra moment to consider your impact while travelling doesn’t mean you have to stay in a tent, cooking on a solar powered camp stove and singing and dancing barefoot around a camp fire!

The truth is that sustainable eco tourism is all about making simple choices in order to lessen your negative impact on a destination. I myself am not perfect when it comes to eco living and travelling, I work for an airline, I drive to work, I sometimes still buy items wrapped in plastic etc. However in the past few years I have really started to focus on the way I live my life and what I can change both in my day to day life, and while I’m travelling to amazing places around the world.

Like most people the thought of climate change, air pollution, deforestation, water shortages and mass waste production breaks my heart. I’m a huge people, animal and nature lover and the thought of the way I live my life having an affect on another area of the world, impacting a community or disturbing the lives of wildlife was enough for me to make a few simple changes.A Complete Guide To Sustainable TourismAgain no one will ever be perfect it is impossible in this day and age to live completely sustainably, unless you move off grid and live self sufficiently. However for us average working folk there is a lot we can do, and just making some small changes and tweaks it can have such a huge impact. As the saying goes “we don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”

I wanted to write a blog about sustainability for a while now, and want to focus this post on environmental travel, however there will be some parts of this blog that cross over into your home life too.

This blog contains lots of information on accommodation, flights, transport, wildlife, travel eco products and more. You can use these tips when travelling domestically or abroad. You don’t have to religiously stick to all of these tips and don’t put to much pressure on yourself, the fact that your even doing a little bit of research into sustainable travel is a step in the right direction. Just remember there will always be judgement with whatever you do, and all you can do is what you can and what works best for you and your lifestyle.

Accommodation

When planning your trip one of the first things you will look at is where to stay, there is whole range of things you can do to ensure you lessen your impact. Here are few main points that you can focus on when booking your accommodation and when your staying at there too.

When booking your accommodation look to see if there are any eco hotels, lodges, resorts, camping or glamping in the area. Eco accommodation isn’t always easy to track down as major booking sites don’t have an eco filter option on their search bars…yet! A good way to find eco accommodation is to google – eco accommodation followed by your destination, and see what comes up. Also Ecosia is a great search engine which plants a tree for every search, other good booking sites to use are:

However more and more pressure is being put on accommodation providers to improve their sustainability. So if you can’t find an accommodation that’s eco friendly or that fits your needs, then you have the option to book your accommodation through B’n’Tree. This site allows you to book through all major booking agents and plants a tree for every booking with just one click.

There isn’t just one governing body to certify if an accommodation provider is behaving in an eco friendly way, there is a whole range of green tourism schemes, with some being more reputable than others. If you wanted to see how environmentally friendly your sleeping arrangements are have a look to see if they are accredited by Earth Check, Green Key or Green Globe which are some of the more reliable eco tourism accreditors and labels. However take note that to gain an eco certificate the membership costs are very expensive and time consuming, and many smaller accommodation providers might be just as eco friendly but don’t have accreditation. So check their website to see if they have a sustainability section outlining the way they run.

Even if you’re not staying at an eco hotel there are still several ways you can make a difference to your environmental impact such as:

  • Avoid using the hotel miniature toiletries and take your own.
  • Conserve water – opt for a shower and don’t leave water running unnecessarily.
  • If you do have rubbish that can be recycled ask the reception if they have a recycling scheme.
  • Reuse towels and request your bedding to not be changed. Would you have fresh towels and bedding every day at home?! By doing so it saves water and reduces harsh cleaning chemicals.
  • Turn off all appliances and lights when you’re not in the room.

A Complete Guide To Sustainable Tourism - Glamping

Food

When in your destination, shop and eat local by going to local markets and restaurants, and try and avoid chain restaurants not only does it help towards the local economy but less likely produce will have been imported in. Small businesses will tend to use local food and produce that has been sourced locally. Eating locally also gives you the chance to interact with the locals providing a more authentic experience, while getting to try lots of new and different food.

Consume less meat as producing it uses far more energy and water, and creates more waste than fruit and vegetables. If you’re a meat eater I’m not saying give up meat entirely, but maybe opt for the odd plant based meal or reduce your intake of red meat, and choose a healthier meat or fish alternative for yourself and the planet. If you want to find vegetarian or vegan restaurants in your destination download the Happy Cow app for guides on vegetarian restaurants in the area.

When eating avoid throw away cutlery and single use packaging if possible, refuse straws and eat in places rather than take away, if you have the time. Take your own reusable travel cutlery and if you’re opting for take away, take your own lunch box/wax wrap and see if the restaurant can put your food in there for you. I know this isn’t always a possibility, but having your own travel cutlery is always easy to carry and pack to avoid using disposable plastic cutlery. If tight on space when packing instead of packing a lunchbox why not pack a reusable wax food wrap or some disposable paper bags. Although the paper bags are still waste it’s a much better alternative than plastic packaging.A Complete Guide To Sustainable Tourism - Local Markets

Flights

There is no denying that the aviation industry is key player in the cause of global warming and releasing carbon emissions into the atmosphere. However many airlines are slowly changing their ways, and investing in better and more fuel efficient aircraft and reducing waste onboard. When travelling overseas there isn’t always much choice but to fly, and especially when most people have limited annual leave. There are however some simple tweaks and considerations you can make to your journey to make it slightly more environmentally friendly.

When booking flights always try and opt for direct flights when and where possible, and if your budget allows for it. The take off and landing of a flight burns more fuel than when the flight is cruising at altitude. When flying direct your limiting your take offs and landings which reduces the amount of carbon going into the air.

Many airlines are now paying into carbon offsetting, it’s by no means a perfect solution, but it’s a step in the right direction and still better than doing nothing at all. Carbon offsetting helps fund projects and schemes all around the world to help balance out the effects of carbon emissions from the aviation industry. Carbon offsetting is a good way to help reduce your impact, and as a passenger when booking your flight most airlines will now give you the choice to pay into carbon offsetting. You don’t have to pay a lot in, just as much as you can afford or think is reasonable, even if it’s just a few extra quid – every little helps.

When packing try and pack as light as you can, as the heavier an aircraft is – the more fuel it burns. Lighter aircrafts produce less carbon emissions, so really have a think about what it is your packing and plan your day to day outfits to avoid over packing, and anything that isn’t necessary leave it at home.

Local Customs

Always try and support locals and their businesses as it’s better to contribute to locals and their economy rather than huge international chains. When visiting a place always respect their local customs and traditions, and read up about a place before travelling there so you’re aware of their customs. There are so many pros and cons to the tourism industry and the affects it can have on a place. In one way it’s great as local communities can make a living from the industry, but also it can have a negative impact of diluting the culture of a place. My best bit of advice is to be culturally aware and respectful and dress in an appropriate way, and be aware of where you are visiting and the people around.

When visiting developing countries sometimes low income families will send their children out to beg on the streets, as hard as it is the best thing to do is not give children any money as it encourages the families to not send them to school. Instead if you want to help take some books and pencils instead and keep them in your bag and if you come across any children then you can give them stationary or stuff to learn and create with which will help them more in the long run.

If you really want to feel like you’re making a difference in a place then why not have a look into volunteering or working along side an NGO (non-governmental organisation) there are a whole range of volunteering schemes all around the world, so do your research and see which would suit you best.A Complete Guide To Sustainable TourismNature & Wildlife

In all destinations a huge factor when visiting anywhere should be consideration for its nature and wildlife. Always respect nature and wildlife and take care when visiting somewhere of natural beauty. Ensure you take any rubbish with you and find somewhere to dispose of it, and if possible find somewhere that recycles it (if it’s a recyclable product). Some hotels recycle so take any rubbish back with you and put into their recycling. Try and avoid making waste if you can by taking your own cutlery, refusing carrier bags and straws etc.

If you spot some litter pick it up and dispose of it into a bin, whenever I visit a beach I always try and make a conscious effort to pick up at least 5 pieces of rubbish and dispose of them. In some places and especially in developing countries where there is little to no waste management, and there is so much rubbish it’s an impossible task for one individual. If that’s the case make more of a conscious effort to not add to an already huge existing problem in that place.

When visiting a beach and swimming in the sea always choose a suncream that is ocean and reef friendly and not full of harmful chemicals that will harm coral and marine life. Take all rubbish and waste with you because if it is left on the beach it can easily blow into the ocean or be dragged into it with the tide. Rubbish and plastic pollution is already causing so many issues for marine life, wildlife and seabirds and it can be fatal for them. When snorkelling or scuba diving always refrain from touching or standing on any coral reef as it can cause huge damage to their fragile ecosystem.

One of the most important sustainable tips I could give is to avoid animal tourism such as elephant riding, selfies with tigers, dolphin shows and cuddling a monkey – the list goes on…I am guilty that in the past I have contributed to negative wildlife tourism, I was naive and didn’t do my research and assumed because somewhere had added sanctuary to the end of its name that it must be a great and caring place for the animals, how wrong I was?!

Most places that are offering a hands on experience with wild animals are more than likely out for personal financial gain, rather than providing what’s best for the animals. If your visiting a destination because you want to experience wildlife then do your homework before hand.

I had always wanted to swim with dolphins, but I didn’t want to swim with them in captivity. When I visited Kaikoura in New Zealand I found a tour that offered a small number of visitors to swim with wild dolphins, and some of the profits went back into the local marine conservation. They took us on a small boat and we just got into the water and it was completely on the dolphins terms if they swam near us. It was a once in a lifetime experience and we’re so lucky that the dolphins were inquisitive and came swimming up to us, that in my opinion is a far better experience than swimming with them in a tank, where they are more than likely mistreated and forced to do tricks and swim with you.

Researching into wildlife tourism is always a must before visiting anywhere and always avoid purchasing any animal product souvenirs such as coral, fur, feathers, reptile skin, turtle shells and ivory etc. Some animal items are illegal and if they’re not, they should be. Morally it is wrong to harvest animals for their body parts to make decorative items out of. Sometimes endangered species are exploited in this awful trade which has a huge effect on their numbers in the wild, and can bring some species to the brink of extinction.A Complete Guide To Sustainable Tourism - Wildlife

Shopping

I love shopping and I’ll admit I’m a bit of a shopaholic, however when travelling I always keep my eye out for locally produced souvenirs over mass produced ones. Not only are handmade souvenirs normally of better quality, but also have more meaning and more care gone into them. By purchasing them you are contributing back into the economy or helping a family make ends meet. Remember when travelling to always pack a light reusable shopping bag, or if you’re walking around and have a bag or backpack then refuse a carrier bag and pop the item you purchased into your bag.

Tours

When booking onto tours and activities check the sustainability of a tour or activity, and ensure it’s not having a negative impact on the destination. There are some tours that contribute a donation for every booking back to a charity or environmental scheme. A good example of this is when I visited the Cook Islands there were two tour companies offering a boat trip out on the lagoon, however I swayed towards booking the one that donated a percentage of their sales to local marine conservation. There are plenty of eco tour operators, google eco tours followed by your destination to see if there’s any available for your trip. If in doubt or not sure on where to find eco tours then go to Trip Advisors Eco Tourism Forum and ask a question.A Complete Guide To Sustainable Tourism

Transport

If you aren’t time constraint, then have a look at other modes of transport alternatives to reach your destination, such as Eurostar or ferry to get to mainland Europe from the UK. If your travelling around in a country or continent then there’s plenty of options for trains, boats or buses instead of an internal flight or short flights. If crossing over borders triple check visa details and read up on anything you may need to know about, like you would when flying into somewhere.

In your destination, explore as much as possible by foot or by cycling, and use public transport when and where you can such as trains, subways and buses etc.

Travel Accessories & Products

Go prepared when travelling the world and take some key items with you to help you reduce the waste you leave behind in a destination. Here are some great accessories and products to take with you on your next trip;

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this blog helpful, if so give it a share or pin it for later. Tula xx

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Tips On How To Reduce Jet Lag

Tips On How To Reduce Jet Lag

Jet Lag is also referred to as flight fatigue and is the result of air travel across multiple time zones. Jet Lag is a temporary disorder and symptoms are exhaustion, insomnia, poor sleep quality, concentration loss, mood changes and it can cause stomach issues such as bloating, constipation and diarrhoea and just a general feeling of being run down. Most people that travel on long haul flights will at some point experience some form of jet lag.

Working as cabin crew I have experienced jet lag and fatigue frequently and sometimes on a weekly basis, no the job isn’t all glamour! Working on long haul flights and having short layovers definitely takes its toll on your body, both physically and mentally. I can honestly say before becoming crew I had never experienced such tiredness like it in my life! Over the years I’ve learnt a few tips and tricks on how to look after myself, and reduce my jet lag from flying all around the world all the time.

I wanted to write this blog with all my tips and what I personally do to help with my sleep pattern while travelling both as a passenger and when I’m working flights. Sometimes it’s impossible to avoid jet lag, but you can definitely help minimise the affects that it has on you and prepare yourself for your long journey.

Before Your Flight

Booking Your Flight

When booking your flight have a look at all options available and focus on your arrival time. Try and land in the late afternoon or evening if possible, as it means less time for you to wait before you can get a full nights sleep and recharge. If your planning an extremely long flight to somewhere like Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific or to a destination that’s more than a 15 hour flight time away, then maybe consider a stopover. Stopovers a great way to break up a long journey, they can help adjust your body clock, and also it’s another good excuse to explore a new destination!

Day Of Your Flight

The night before you flight go to bed early and get a good nights sleep. The day of your flight and the time leading up to it – drink plenty of water and stay hydrated to prepare your body ready for the flight. Try and eat healthy before your flight such as fruit, vegetables and nutrient rich foods. Plane food isn’t always the healthiest and is saturated in excessive oils and salts, to ensure the food keeps its taste, because low pressure and dry air reduces the sensitivity of your taste buds. Purchase something fresh at the airport to take on with you if your not a fan of plane food.

Jet Leg Calculator

A few days before your flight have a look at Jet Lag Rooster which is a jet lag calculator, there are lots available on the internet, however this is a popular one people tend to use. You input your flight details and it will provide you with tips and a guide on how best to deal with your jet lag, even covering a few days prior to your trip to help you prepare your sleep pattern and body for travelling through various time zones.

Seat Selection

Even if your sat in economy choosing the right seat for you can make a huge difference to how well you rest on a flight, if your tall I would always recommend paying extra for the extra leg room seat or opting for an aisle seat, just make sure to tuck your legs in when trolleys are coming past. All airlines have a variety of aircrafts and each one has a different layout configuration, so to choose the best seats in your cabin use Seat Guru which gives you all the information on each seat on the aircraft your flying on, and gives each seat a ranking depending on its legroom, seat size, and distance to the toilet etc.

During Your Flight

Carry On Essentials

When going on a flight always go prepared, especially on long flights as there’s nothing worse than stepping off a plane feeling like you have been dug up. Always take a few essentials with you so that you can freshen up during the flight and prior to landing. A quick freshen up will always make you feel so much more refreshed after a long journey. Here is a list of essentials to take on any long haul flight:

  • Face Moisturiser
  • Hair Brush (compact travel brush)
  • Hair Ties / Slides
  • Hand Sanitiser Gel / Hand Cream
  • Lip Balm
  • Mini Deodorant
  • Mini Face Spritz (decant some toner water into a small 10/20ml spray bottle)
  • Mini Perfume (take a perfume sample or use a perfume atomiser)
  • Mini Wipes (great to freshen up with during a flight)
  • Toothbrush / Toothpaste
  • 1 Pair of Knickers (can change into before landing)

Get Comfortable

Getting comfortable on a flight is essential to ensuring your as well rested as possible for when you arrive at your destination. Take some ear plugs or noise cancelling headphones to cancel out any noise during the flight especially if you want to get some sleep, also take an eye mask, flight socks and travel neck pillow.

If your feet and legs swell on flights it might be worth investing in some flight socks or tights which help to improve circulation. I would definitely recommend trying to sleep on a flight if you can, not only does it make the flight go quicker but definitely helps to fight jet lag.

If your someone that gets cold easily make sure to take an extra jumper or pashmina and a small hot water bottle with you, and ask the crew to fill it for you. Plane blankets always tend to be quite thin and with outside temperatures dropping down to an average of -50°C at 35,000 feet, and air conditioning blasting planes can feel quite cold.

If your on a long flight take something comfortable to change into to help you rest better. When sleeping always make sure to put your seatbelt on over the top of your blanket or loose clothes and make sure it’s easily visible, so that if the seatbelt sign goes on cabin crew don’t have to disturb you or wake you to check.

Limit Alcohol, Sugar & Caffeine

When flying try to make more of a conscious effort about what you are eating and drinking, this is probably one of the hardest things to stick to. Personally I’m terrible at sticking to this, especially when I’m working a flight. My body always craves something sugary in the early hours of the morning for a burst of energy when I’m tired and trying to stay awake.

If you do have some self control then try and avoid or limit the amount of alcohol and caffeine you drink. Opt for one alcoholic beverage of for a decaf drink instead and try and drink plenty of water.

Most long haul carriers provide snacks during the flight, but I always take some snacks of my own, and if your health conscious take some nutritional snacks. Try and refrain from snacking on sugary and salty snacks all flight, as it will dehydrate you even more. When flying it can really mess with your digestive system and you also become bloated, which sometimes people confuse dehydration and bloating with hunger when actual fact your just thirsty. So take a swig of water instead and see if your still feeling hungry after that.

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is so important when flying, your body can loose up to 2 litres of water during an average 10 hour flight. With humidity levels low, a mix of recycled oxygen, altitude and pressure, flying can really take its toll on your body so make sure to take extra care of yourself.  

Take a reusable water bottle on every flight, once through security fill it up at one of the airport refill water stations, or when onboard ask one of the cabin crew if they can fill it for you. Staying hydrated is so important when flying, your body can loose up to 2 litres of water during an average 10 hour flight. With humidity levels low, a mix of recycled oxygen, altitude and pressure, flying can really take its toll on your body so make sure to take extra care of yourself.

If you find you suffer quite badly with jet lag try adding a hydration tablet to your water during the flight to help boost your electrolytes, minerals and vitamins. Dehydration can lead to headaches and fatigue, so drink regularly during a flight and mist your face with a face mist or spray water.

Stretch

Remember to stretch before, during and after the flight. Even if just every time you go to the toilet you do a few stretches before go back to your seat. While your seated there are several leg and foot exercises you can do as well, and remember to stretch after the flight. Have a look online for plenty of exercise tips, many airlines that have inflight entertainment sometimes have a well being section that shows you what stretches you can do in your seat.

After Your Flight

Drink Plenty

I know I keep saying this but keeping hydrated before flying, during flying and after you land is so important to help with reducing jet lag. When you land ensure you drink plenty of water to top up all of the water you would have lost during the flight. Try and also eat something healthy or some watery fruits such as water melon, strawberries etc as these are great for getting you rehydrated. Coconut water is another great source of nutrients and antioxidants during or after a flight.

Sleep Well

For your first night in your destination, it’s absolutely key that you get a good nights rest, as this will help your body to recharge and to help you get into the time zone of your destination. The first few nights can be hard especially if jet lag kicks in, to help get the best nights sleep try and avoid alcohol or caffeine again.

Before bed if possible have a hot bath to help you relax, and limit your light exposure, close the curtains turn down the lights and avoid looking at your phone on bright mode. Drink a Horlicks (malted milk) or camomile tea before bed. Again go prepared before travelling you can take a few camomile teabags with you and you can purchase small sachets of Horlicks too.

Also take some of the following with you such as essential oils, lavender body lotion or a sleep pillow mist and use before bed. I personally always use Lush Sleepy Body Lotion and decant into a small travel pot, and rub into my temples and wrists before going to sleep. I have in the past also decanted some lavender sleep pillow mist into a small spray bottle before and taken it away with me.

I personally use sleeping pills when I go away and normally take one on my first night in a place to ensure I go to sleep and stay asleep until a reasonable time. However sleeping pills aren’t for everyone some people rave about them and other people can’t stand them. I always use Nytol one a night tablets as their the strongest ones they do, however they also have two a night tablets which are less dosage so you could always take just one of them or opt for their herbal range. I would recommend speaking to your pharmacist before travelling and maybe try one a few weeks prior to you travels to make sure you get on ok with them.

Download the Calm App which has a variety of features to help you get to sleep such as breathing exercises, meditation, relaxing music and reads and much more. I personally haven’t got around to using this app yet, but I always see and hear amazing reviews about it. Prior to travelling also purchase a Space Mask these are great to pack, they are self heating eye masks with a light relaxing scent which help you get settled for a good nights sleep. The only thing with the Space Masks is that they are single use which isn’t great for the environment, however if you only use them occasionally and for your first night in a destination it’s not to bad, and they do work really well.

Always set yourself an alarm for the next morning, even if you hit snooze a few times it’s better to get up in the morning of your destinations time zone, and this will avoid you accidentally sleeping all day and messing up your body clock even more.

Time Zone

Travelling east tends to cause more problems than travelling west, because the body clock has to be advanced, which is more difficult for the majority of people than delaying it. Most people have an internal circadian rhythm that is longer than 24 hours, so lengthening a day is less hard than shortening it.

No matter what time you land into your destination, always go by the destinations time! If you land in the morning try and power through the day and stay awake, or if your really craving sleep have a power nap when your arrive, and limit yourself to no more than two hours to have a quick sleep. Make sure to set loads of alarms as when you do this it is normally the hardest sleep to force yourself up from. I normally set 3 alarms and make sure my alarm is on loud so I don’t sleep though.

When having a power nap when you first get up sometimes you can feel worse than what you did before you had the nap, have a shower and drink plenty that will help make you feel better. If you land in the afternoon or evening try and stay awake until at least 9pm, and have a good nights sleep so your ready and refreshed for the next day.

Ultimate Kit To Fight Jet Lag

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this blog helpful, if so give it a share or pin it for later. Tula ♡ xx

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How To Enhance Your Flying Experience

How To Enhance Your Flying Experience

Flying all around the world doesn’t have to be a stressful task, in fact when I’m not working flights I absolutely love being a passenger getting comfy, snoozing, watching films and being fed and watered. I thought I would write this blog to share a few tips on how to make your next flight more relaxed and enjoyable.

Airline Loyalty Programme

If you haven’t already sign up to an airlines loyalty programme, these are a must! Even if you don’t fly often there is a whole range of ways to earn points. You can save your points and either put them towards flights or upgrades, and gain perks for being part of the programme. Many airlines have loyalty schemes and you can earn points not just on flights, but also by having their credit card, or by shopping through their app and collecting points on online purchases. It really is as simple as a few clicks, so even when your not flying don’t miss out on points from doing your day to day shopping or filling up your car. Plus when your part of a loyalty programme your more likely to be considered for any potential upgrades at check in!

You can also earn points by flying with airline partners, many airlines partner up to form alliances, the three main alliances are One World, Sky Team and Star Alliance. Have a browse at which airlines you fly with the most, and next time your flying with another airline check to see if their an alliance partner of you airlines loyalty programme. When flying with an alliance partner your points will be combined and added to your points account. Make sure your not missing out on air miles and tier points, which get you different statuses on the loyalty programmes, the higher up you go the more perks and benefits your earn.

So whether your flying regularly, long haul, mid haul, short haul or just fly once a year for your annual holiday, make sure your signed up to a loyalty programme. Honestly it’s so simple to earn points, you won’t believe how many points you have missed out on over the years by not being part of one!

Airport Lounges

If airports and travelling stress you out like many people, then why not upgrade your experience and book into a lounge. There are two types of lounges which are airport lounges and airline lounges. Airport lounges are accessible to everyone and normally range from £25 – £50 per person. The airport lounges are quiet spaces with comfortable lounge chairs, private WiFi, showers, food and drink, they can vary slightly so have a look through what’s included before booking. Airport lounges might seem quite steep in price, but if you work out how much you normally spend on food and drink while sitting around waiting for your flight, then there’s probably not much difference in the cost.

Airline lounges are generally far more superior to airport lounges, and tend to have many of the same features as airport lounges but a much fancier atmosphere, and some airline lounges have open bars, spa rooms and beds etc, these can vary between airlines and destinations though. Normally airline lounges are only accessible if your flying first or business class or if your part of their frequent flyer programme, but you have to have gained a certain status before being allowed into their lounges. Some airlines around the world do allow you to pay to enter their lounges so it’s worth asking at check in.

If your travelling for a special occasion then I would definitely recommend booking a lounge, as it really is a lovely way to start your trip off. There are plenty of places to book airport lounges before you arrive at the airport such as Holiday Extras, Lounge Pass and Lounge Buddy. Try and pre-book your lounge rather than turning up as it’s normally a couple of quid cheaper to book in advance. If your are a frequent flyer it might be worth signing up to an airport lounge members club, where you pay a one off annual fee and get access to airport lounges worldwide. Some credit cards also gain you access to some lounges as one of their perks for being their customer.

Go Prepared

When catching a flight always arrive as prepared as possible, and arrive in plenty of time to avoid any stress and panic. To make your flight more comfortable there are a few items you can take such as your reusable water bottle. Once through security fill it up at one of the airport refill water stations, or when onboard ask one of the cabin crew if they can fill it for you. Staying hydrated is so important when flying, your body can loose up to 2 litres of water during an average 10 hour flight. With humidity levels low, a mix of recycled oxygen, altitude and pressure, flying can really take its toll on your body so make sure to take extra care of yourself.

If you find you suffer quite badly with jet lag try adding a hydration tablet to your water during the flight to help boost your electrolytes, minerals and vitamins. Dehydration can lead to headaches and fatigue, so drink regularly during a flight and mist your face with a face mist or spray water.

Take some ear plugs or noise cancelling headphones to cancel out any noise during the flight especially if you want to get some sleep, also take an eye mask, flight socks, travel neck pillow and if you get cold onboard take a small hot water bottle, and ask the crew to fill it for you. If your on a long flight take something comfortable to change into to help you rest better. Most long haul carriers provide snacks during the flight, but I always take some snacks of my own, and if your health conscious take some nutritional snacks.

My biggest recommendation is to take plenty of your own entertainment for flights such as books, magazines, tablets with downloaded films and series on and a power bank, just in case of any major delays or the inflight entertainment doesn’t work or isn’t to your liking.

Seat Selection

Even if your sat in economy choosing the right seat for you can make a huge difference to your inflight experience, if your tall I would always recommend paying extra for the extra leg room seat or opting for an aisle seat, just make sure to tuck your legs in when trolleys are coming past. All airlines have a variety of aircrafts and each one has a different layout configuration, so to choose the best seats in your cabin use Seat Guru which gives you all the information on each seat on the aircraft your flying on, and gives each seat a ranking depending on its legroom, seat size, and distance to the toilet etc.

If your travelling as a couple and want to try and get a row to yourselves use the sandwich booking method, you book the window seat, and your travel companion books the aisle seat, which leaves the middle seat between you empty. Someone else looking for a seat will most likely try and find any other seat other than a centre seat. If it is a full flight and someone is sat in between you, just politely ask if they would mind swapping, which most people would be more than happy to do.

Upgrades

Some airlines now offer their economy passengers the chance to bid for cheap upgrades, however they may only be on specific routes and you normally have to bid per sector and per person. Ensure your signed up to the airlines loyalty programme as the airlines tend to email passengers a few weeks prior to the departure date, so by being part of the loyalty scheme means your more likely to get the email, so keep an eye on your mailbox and don’t miss your chance. Check the airlines website too to see if your booking is eligible for a bid upgrade.

When you bid don’t bid too low, or you won’t stand a chance against other bidders, and they will normally only have a set number of seats available. A good tip I read online from a flight expert was to workout the regular cost of a business class seat for your flight, subtract what you paid for the economy fare, and aim for around 20% – 40% of the remaining price, and bid slightly above the minimum, try and beat the crowd as the majority of people will bid at the lower end.

Have a look at Expert Flyer to see how many premium seats are remaining on your flight, and have a look at the website PlusGrade which many of the airlines that offer these bidding programmes use as an auction site. The Points Guy is also great for lots of tips on perks, upgrades, air miles and how to get the most for your money when flying.

If you want to try your luck at blagging a free upgrade then I would say it’s always worth a try. However in most cases it’s highly unlikely you will manage it. It’s very rare for an airline to upgrade passengers as it devalues their premium product, and passengers that have paid full fare might be slightly annoyed if they get wind that people have been upgraded free of charge. If you are going to try you luck then always dress to look the part, by that I don’t mean turning up in a three piece suite or formal dress, but turning up in a tracksuit and travel pillow around your neck is definitely not going to get you upgraded, always look smart and presentable so you look the part for a premium cabin.

Be polite and kind to the airline staff both on and off the ground, the more someone warms to you the more likely they are going to go out of their way for you. When checking in, try making conversation with the check in staff, and ask politely if there are any upgrades or discounted last minute upgrades, it’s always worth an ask, the worst they can say is no!

Sometimes when an airline over books a flight there are involuntary upgrades so you can always ask about that too at check in. Time your arrival just right and get there early as when check in opens the staff may already know about some involuntary upgrades, see if you can put your name forward. Ask at check in and also at the boarding gate, as passenger numbers always change right up until the gate closes.

Even if you don’t manage to get upgraded, always be nice to your cabin crew and make conversation. They will always look after you regardless, but in economy when there are hundreds of people they always remember the friendly passengers, and normally go that extra mile for them, such as an extra drink or your first meal choice or just doing something nice to make your flight that bit more special.

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this blog helpful, if so give it a share or pin it for later. Tula xx

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The Best Travel Apps

The Best Travel Apps

Technology has made travelling so much easier, cheaper and more efficient, and there are so many amazing apps out there to download to help you along with your travels. On this blog I want to share with you some of my favourite travel apps that I use to help plan my trips, and ones that I also use while I’m away exploring.

Accommodation

Agoda: Agoda is my absolute favourite accommodation app, I always find them to be the cheapest booking agent in my opinion, and as I book regularly I always earn cash back which I can put towards future bookings. The app is user friendly and the filters are great for narrowing down your search. Book through the BA Avios app to collect air miles, same for Airbnb and Booking.com as all those points add up overtime.

Airbnb: Airbnb is a booking app to use if you want a home away from home, or want to live with a local, there’s so many people now offering their homes out to rent to tourists for some great prices, and there are so many amazing options to choose from.

Booking.com: Booking.com is another app I use regularly I normally always check their prices to compare with the Agoda prices, and both their apps are really similar and have a really good filter options to help you narrow down your decision on where to stay. Have a look at Booking.coms genius loyalty program, especially if your planning on making several bookings.

Hostelworld: Hostelworld I don’t use a lot however in the past when I have gone to expensive cities or been on a tight budget, I normally have a look on the Hostelworld app. In the past I managed to get a cheap hostel in Singapore. This app is easy to use and great for budget or solo travellers as it gives you the price per person for dorm rooms, private rooms and some guest houses.

Roomer: Roomer isn’t an app I have personally used before however it’s a good one to know about, if you are ever stuck with a non refundable hotel room because your plans have changed, download roomer and sell on your room to other travellers, or if your looking for a great deal yourself maybe in an a expensive part of the world it might be worth having a look on the app to see if you can grab yourself a bargain!

Budgeting

Smart Receipts: Smart Receipts is a really helpful app to have especially if you travel a lot with work, or your just one of those people that like to keep hold of receipts. The app allows you take a photo of a receipt and upload it straight away and you can add dates, notes, prices and exchange rate, it’s so much better than carrying round old tatty pieces of paper.

Trail Wallet: If your on a tight travel budget or just like to keep track of how much you spend while your away, then Trail Wallet is the app for you! You can enter daily budgets and if your visiting several destinations on one trip you can make several wallets, and set the local currency and give yourself a trip budget which it will then break down into your daily budget. You can add what you spend and organise into categories, and the app will even make you a pie chart to show what you have mostly spent money on.

XE Currency: XE Currency app is one I use all the time when I’m away, I always have it on my phone and when I’m out and about exploring and I need to work out the cost of something, it converts for me and you can convert every currency into another so it’s a great app for everyone to use.

Flights

EasyJet, Jet2, Ryanair & Wizz: All of these airline apps are great and anytime I fancy a cheap trip around Europe, I always have a play with these apps, and see where I can get a good flight deal to. Sometimes their flights don’t always show up on flight comparison sites and apps, so always have a look at their apps to make sure you’re getting the best option available.

Hopper: Hopper is great if your seeking out a flight bargain as it uses data driven research and predicts prices for flights and hotels up to one year in advance. You can watch a trip on the app, and Hopper will send you a notification of when the best time to book is or advise you if you should wait a little longer. The app is also great at finding the cheapest dates to travel on their calendar.

Kayak, Kiwi & Momondo: All three of these apps are pretty similar they are all flight comparison apps, however each one of them has some pretty good features. Kayak has a watchlist, travel planner, flight tracker and the explore section on the app is good for finding cheap flights. The Kiwi app has airport and aircraft maps and destination guides. Momondo has similar elements to the other apps but also has a hotel comparison section. There are so many flight booking apps out there, download a few have a play and see which one you prefer.

Skyscanner: Skyscanner is one of the most popular flight apps out there, it’s an independent flight comparison website and app. The app has some really good features such as price alerts which is amazing if you hate missing out on the best price, set up a flight alert with the app where you can input a range of dates, and Skyscanner will email you when the best time to book is. There is also an option for month view, which shows you the cheapest times to fly and compares the prices for the month your planning to travel, which can save you money if your flexible. If you want to go away and your on a tight budget type in everywhere in the search box along with your travel dates or month of travel and the app will bring up the options, and you can see where to jet off to for a bargain. Take note when booking a flight on skyscanner sometimes the airlines have extra fees for baggage and other services, so check out their airlines fee page on the website.

Food

Happy Cow: Happy Cow is a must have app if your vegan, vegetarian or just health conscious, the app lists vegan friendly restaurants all around the world. You just type in the destination your going to and it will bring up a choice of restaurants in that area that are either fully vegan restaurants or places that have vegan and vegetarian options, there’s also a display map so you can see where restaurants are located with ease.

Holidays

Lucky Trip: Lucky Trip is a really fun travel app and if your open minded to where you go and just fancy an inexpensive trip somewhere, all you have to do is set your maximum budget, departing airport and dates, and Lucky Trip will do the rest and show you a variety of trips you can take, and you can just tap through all the options until you get to one you like the look of. Give this app a try to see how far your money will take you and for some inspiration if your struggling to decide on somewhere.

Travelzoo: Travelzoo is an app for anyone that doesn’t like planning their holidays and prefers packages or just really good deals. Travelzoo lists thousands of deals for package holidays, twin centre breaks, city breaks, tours, spa days, UK breaks and much more, there’s some excellent savings to be had on the app and if your quite flexible or just not too sure where you fancy going just browse through all their deals there’s bound to be something on there that catches your eye.

Maps

Google Maps: Google Maps is every travellers go to map app, it’s great for working out how to get from one place to another, and allows you to pin places on your map. There’s also an explore feature which is great if you have just arrived somewhere without doing much research and a want to see what’s nearby such as restaurants, cafes, attractions and anything else you could want. To use the map offline you need to download the map prior to loosing your WiFi.

Maps.me: Maps.me is my favourite maps app and has helped me so many times, you need to download the destination map prior to venturing out and loosing WiFi, but I use this app regularly, it’s great for pinning places and while your out and about you can search for places too. It works just like a sat nav and also provides ways to get to a place by giving driving, walking, metro and cycling options. You can also search places by categories such as where to eat, hotel, WiFi and shopping etc. If you download one app today make sure it’s this one, thanks to this app I have managed to explore so many places on my own without getting lost.

Miscellaneous

Been & Visited: These two apps are completely separate but both do the same thing which is keeping track of how many countries you have travelled to. The Been app also has a USA map so you can input all the states you have been to. Whereas the Visited app has a few more features where you can customise your travel map with different colours and keep lists on experiences you have had.

Holiday Extras: The holiday extras app lets you book all those little extras to go along with any trip such as travel insurance, airport parking, airport hotels, car hire, airport lounges and more. It compares all the options and prices of what’s available, I always use them to book my airport parking and have always had a good experience with them, and it saves all your details so makes future bookings easy and quick to do.

Tipster: Tipping can become a nightmare when travelling never knowing who to tip, when to tip or not to tip. Tipster takes the stress out of trying to figure it out, just input the destination and it will give you all the tip advice you need for that country, and saves you any embarrassment.

TouchNote: If your travelling for a while and want to send loved ones a postcard, rather than traipsing around trying to find a postcard, stamp and letterbox, download the TouchNote app. You can create your own postcard with photos, prints and stickers and design your own layout, once you have designed it you can then get it sent off, it’s a really lovely gesture if your loved ones are missing you, and a nice surprise for them to receive.

Tripit: If you have several confirmations and itineraries, Tripit helps organise all your travel documents all in one place, and you can share your travel itinerary and documents with your travel partner too.

Translation

Duolingo: Travelling or not?! Duolingo is a great app to help you learn a new language or even if you just want to learn some basic words or phrases prior to a trip. If your travelling long term and want to learn a certain language this is a great app, and you can fit it around your lifestyle.

Google Translate: Google Translate has helped so many travellers and as the world is becoming smaller this app is helping with language barriers, the app offers voice translation so you can have conversations with locals when neither of you speak the same language. It has the option for text or speaking so if your trying to talk to someone that can’t read it has both options available. There is also text translation where you take a photo of the text and the app will translate for you so it can help translate menus, ingredients, signs and much more.

Transport

Rome2Rio: Rome2Rio is one of the best travel apps I’ve discovered, it helps you route and map out your trip. If you want to know what routes are available from getting from A to B, then this is the app to use. Just input where your going from and where you want to get to, and the app does the rest and will list all options available to you such as flights, ferries, trains, buses and more and gives you cost and time breakdowns. It even seems to pick up other available routes that other map apps don’t. This is an absolute must download!

Travel Guides

Culture Trip: Culture Trip have an amazing app and if your looking for lots of travel guides and blogs all in one place then this app is brilliant just type in the destination and lots of travel blogs appear and you can narrow them down by food, attractions, accommodation, guides and tips etc. You can also save any helpful blog posts to your planner page on the app so you can refer back to them. You can also book guides, tours and experiences too.

Get Your Guide: Download the Get Your Guide app to help compare and book tour guides, excursions and experiences. This company tend to have very competitive prices and allow free cancellation if your plans change.

Klook: Klook is an app where you can book local tours, guides and experiences and they are competitively priced and work with lots of local tour operators worldwide.

Lonely Planet Guides: Lonely Planet Guides app is good if you haven’t purchased one of their books, but still want to find all of the must dos in a particular place, you have to download the destination first. Once downloaded the guide displays lists of top attractions and tours you can book, as well as having a section for categorised attractions for example architecture, museums, religious sites, parks, the list goes on depending on which guide you have downloaded.

Triposo: Triposo provides guidebook apps, just download your destination guide and it provides lots of information for local restaurants, activities and events, and you can use the app offline.

Viator: Viator is a huge tour booking agent, there are thousands of tours, excursions and experiences to purchase worldwide, even if your not wanting to book a tour it’s a good app to go on, to have a browse of what there is to do in a destination.

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this blog helpful, if so give it a share or pin it for later. Tula xx

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5 Tips For Planning Your Trip

5 Tips For Planning Your Trip

When organising a trip one of the most fun parts is planning the trip and piecing it all together, and finding out what there is to see and do in the destination you have chosen. Personally I’m a bit of an organising freak and find the part of planning a trip really enjoyable and exciting. When I was a travel agent many years ago I used to love helping people plan their dream trips, so in this little blog I wanted to share with you a few tips of what I normally do when putting together my own trips.

Guidebooks & Travel Blogs

My best bit of advise before planning any trip is to invest in a decent guide book. My favourite guide book go to is Lonely Planet (obvious I know, but they’re great) they do great pocket city guides with pull out maps and suggested walking routes. Lonely Planet Pocket Guides are great for city breaks as they break down the different areas of the city into small sections, so it’s easy and quick to look up information.

Lonely Planet also do huge country guide books too, which are great if your planning on stopping off at several places in one country. You can purchase their e-books and download it instantly so you don’t have to wait to receive a hard copy in the post. I normally find flicking through a guidebook helps me to plan the rest of my trip, and helps me work out how much time I need in a destination and which area is best to stay in.

If you haven’t already, download the Pinterest app and search through tons of travel guides, blogs and pictures and discover lots of travel inspiration and ideas about your chosen destination.

Plan & Prepare

When starting to plan and organise any trip or holiday do not book the first thing you see, do some research first. I always search several different sites that I use all the time and that I trust. When looking for flights I tend to look at my preferred airlines direct website, and also search for cheapest flights on a variety of comparison websites and apps, and then compare the costs and what’s included, some great sights for searching flight deals are:

I like to see what flights are available and which ones are direct and non direct as sometimes the non direct ones are great too. If you can get a long layover in places, you can go off exploring somewhere completely new, and it helps break up a long journey. We did this when flying to Melbourne my husband and I stopped in Abu Dhabi for 24 hours, we just paid for a hotel and went exploring the city and it really helped break the long trip to Australia up.

It’s always good idea before booking any flights to check out accommodation and to get an idea of what’s available and the cost. I like to stay in a variety of places, literally from one extreme to another. I’ve roughed it in some pretty grim hostels and guest houses but also some amazing and quirky hostels and guest houses too and stayed in luxury hotels.

Sometimes it’s good to mix it up, if your staying in cities I think it’s better to stick to cheaper accommodation as normally you will be out sightseeing all day, so all you need is a bed and shower. When you want more of a relaxing and chilled out trip make a splurge for some nicer accommodation. Personally I normally don’t like spending too much on accommodation as I would rather have more money to spend on the destination itself like eating out, tours and experiences, saying that you don’t have to completely slum it, in certain destinations you can get so much for your money. Some great accommodation providers to use are:

Once you have your flights and accommodation booked, then it’s time to start adding the extras such as travel insurance, airport parking, car hire etc. I always use Holiday Extras for these types of add ons. Always make sure you take out adequate travel insurance it’s an absolute must when travelling! If your a frequent traveller purchase a worldwide annual policy, this is normally what I do and if I’m taking a long trip I call up once it’s booked and check I’m covered and pay any additional charges.

Another way to help with planning your dream trip is to check out things to do in the area your staying in. There is so much information now available on destinations and you can find some pretty quirky stuff to see and do just by doing a bit of research before hand, have a look at the following for ideas and inspiration:

Before going on your trip I would suggest downloading maps.me, it’s an app that I absolutely swear by, it works offline and kind of works like a sat nav so it’s easy to find your way around places. You can pin places on your map so it’s good for planning itineraries, and if your short on time ensuring your not going out of your way to places and missing things to see and do along the way.

Travel Checklist

When planning your holiday or trip write up a quick list of things you need to research. I always do this as there is always something to be missed such as forgetting a visa or booking that popular limited excursion. Go over a travel checklist to take the stress out of travelling and so you know prior to going you can just relax and enjoy yourself when you get there.

  • Flights
  • Accommodation
  • Transfers & Transport
  • Visas
  • Holiday Extras (parking, insurance, car hire etc)
  • Experiences & Tours
  • Check Passports in date
  • Vaccinations

Even if you don’t book everything in advance or all at once it’s still a good thought to get an idea of costs for accommodation, transfers, taxis, excursions, entrance fees etc so you don’t get any nasty surprises when your away, and have to worry about money.

So your fully prepared and not forgetting anything also make a packing list, I have one permanently saved on my phone, being cabin crew I am forever living out of a bag, so it’s handy to have it ready to glance over when packing.

Read more about packing: Ultimate Guide To Packing

Money & Budgeting

Once you have done all your research and worked out the cost of everything, you will have a better idea of how much your going to need when you get there. Keep a note on your phone of how much local transport may cost, as many locals especially in developing countries may see you coming and try to overcharge you. It’s better to have a rough idea of the cost so your prepared. In a lot of travel guidebooks they tend to give you a breakdown of an average cost of things such as taxis, food and accommodation. If you are on a tight budget download the Trail Wallet App and keep track of your spending that way.

Travel Itinerary

Once I’ve worked out all the logistics and budget of my trip I then like to come up with a rough travel itinerary for each day I’m away, if your backpacking or travelling long term, then I would recommend just typing some notes on your phone, and when you see places that you fancy visiting just add them to a list so you don’t forget about them.

When planning a break or layover with work I normally have a search on Google, Pinterest, Instagram, Culture Trip, Lonely Planet, Viator and Klook and see what there is to see and do, and then I pin the places on my maps.me app. Once I’ve pinned everything on my map I’ll make an itinerary on the notes on my phone for example here’s one I made for a day in Seoul that I had with work:

Day 1: Brunch at Egg Drop Cafe / Bukchon Hanok Village / Unhyeongung Palace / Tapgol Park / Cheonggyecheon Stream / Ihwa Mural Villave & Naksan Park / Grab some street food for dinner Namdaemun Market / Night Markets in Hongdae

This is a great way to make the most out of you trip, I don’t religiously stick to my itineraries it’s just more of a guide so that I can see everything that I want to see, and don’t waste time trying to decide where to go next, or miss something that I wanted to see entirely. It saves time as your not having to go back on yourself, and if your in a certain area it’s worth making the most of your time there and seeing everything that you want to see. There’s nothing more annoying than discovering something after your have returned home and thinking to yourself “wish I had gone there!” So just by having a rough guide saved on your phone really helps you make the most of your trip.

Bonus Tip – For When Your On Your Trip

When your away on your the trip best thing to remember is to be yourself and relax. It’s always best to keep an open mind when travelling as you will meet some of the most amazing people along the way. Try to take part in as many amazing experiences as possible.

Remember to have a laugh and don’t take life too seriously, have a laugh with the locals and don’t be afraid to chat with them. Theres always a common ground where ever you are in the world. Basic English is spoken widely around most parts of the world, so don’t be afraid to get stuck in making new friends and sharing a joke. In many places locals like to practice their English and you to can have a practise at the local language or learning a few new words.

Wake up early and make the most of the day and to avoid the crowds in popular attractions. Take in the daily life of a destination by sitting outside and watching the world go by, you really get a feel for the area when just stopping for a little while and taking in the local life, sights, smells and sounds. Take tons of pictures when your away, they’re always great to look back on and reminisce when you return home. Always try and back up your photos too, just incase you loose your camera/phone or it gets stolen.

Most importantly just let go and have fun and enjoy yourself, life is far too short, cliche as it sounds live the life you love.

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this blog helpful if so give it a share or pin it for later. Tula ♡ xx

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