The Ultimate Guide To Planning Your Far Flung Adventure

It doesn’t matter how settled you should feel, sometimes the urge to change up your lifestyle, pack a bag and escape the monotony of your home life can become too intense to resist. You may crave the sandy white beaches of Thailand, the Oriental splendour of China or you might want to go off the beaten track in Costa Rica. Wherever it is that you have a yearning to explore, you need to consider how you will plan for your far flung adventure.

Some people may state that you are too old or that you have too many commitments or that you’d be a fool for giving up such a well paid job or that you cannot hot foot it halfway across the world with hardly any disposable cash. While they may have a point, this doesn’t mean that you can’t sort out your finances, job, and commitments prior to leaving. You need to consider why it is that you want to leave town for a little while. The world is massive and is craving to be explored. You only live once, and it’s vital that you can venture to distant shores to get your wanderlust kicks. Take a look at this ultimate guide to planning your incredible trip of a lifetime.

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Finances

Before you even think about booking flights, you need to sort out your finances. You may head online to your bank account to see that you are in the red, using your overdraft every month and that you have very little savings to speak of. Don’t throw in the wanderlust towel. You simply have to knuckle down and make your finances healthier. In two months, you can be back in the black, overdraft-free and more comfortable.

One viable option is to look into borrowing responsibly. You can even apply for personal loans with bad credit. Don’t assume you are simply taking on more debt. You will be borrowing to consolidate your debt into a manageable monthly payment. This means when you are abroad, you don’t have to worry about checking your bank account every day to make sure random and sporadic debt repayments have been taken out.

Make yourself a budget that you can stick to and cut out the unnecessary luxuries that you have partaken in recently. You don’t need to pick up that almond croissant and caramel latte on the way to work every Friday and drinks after work don’t need to consist of three rounds. Shave your expenditure and put any amount that you can save into a travel nest egg or towards paying off some of your debts.

If you are venturing overseas, you want to make sure that your finances are well managed. This doesn’t necessarily mean being debt free, but it does mean that your repayments are covered so that you are more free to enjoy your travel experiences.

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Itinerary

While you like the thought of being spontaneous, heading to the airport and hot footing it onto the next plane out of the country, it may be more effective in the long run to spend some time planning your trip. For many countries, you need to look into vaccinations, visas, and documentation. There’s nothing worse than hot footing it to China, only to discover that you don’t have the correct visa and that you have to return to good old Blighty. Spend the time researching your destination of choice and construct at least a skeleton itinerary. It can be difficult to strike the perfect balance between a comprehensive plan and a shoddy itinerary. Aim for something in between, that gives you time to wander off the beaten track a little. Venturing abroad should be exciting, but this exhilaration can slip if you don’t have accommodation sorted. Head online and book your hostels or hotels for every night you are away. This way, you can be sure of a safe place to rest your weary bones every night.

Check out the destinations you want to hit and make a flight plan. Don’t try and head to too many cities in a short space of time. You want to enjoy the places you visit, immerse yourself in the culture and enjoy meeting new people. If you are only ever in one place for two days, you’ll never learn what the destination is really like. Spend a week or two somewhere, get to know the locals, maybe pick up some work and enjoy living like a native.

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Learn The Lingo

Even if you are only heading abroad for three months, it still pays to learn the language of the destination you plan to visit. If you are heading to Japan, the locals will appreciate the fact that you have learned the basics of the language before you set foot in a temple or when you are trying to order sushi at a restaurant. Being able to converse on a more meaningful level, rather than trying to shout or speak more slowly in English, shows that you value their culture and customs, and can result in you forming more meaningful relationships with the people that you meet.

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Source Deals

While you don’t want to scrimp when enjoying your trip of a lifetime, there are some simple ways that you can ensure that you are sourcing the best deals. Venture onto comparison websites for flights and accommodation. If your willing to head to hostels and share a dorm, the cost of keeping a roof over your head can be minimal.

When checking out flights, consider flying at awkward times to save hundreds on your tickets. Sure, you might be jet lagged for an extra day, but you will have an extra wad of cash in your pocket to enjoy on an excursion, a foodie experience or to spend an extra night in a destination.

Trying to scratch that wanderlust itch can be frustrating. However, with excellent planning, thorough preparation and a willingness to save money where you can, you could end up hot footing it on the trip of a lifetime.

*this is a collaborative post

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#BEDN Day 2: Travel

#BEDN Day 2: Travel

Travel is a big part of my life and I consider myself very lucky to have visited over 30 countries in my 30 years on this planet. One of the places I’ve visited the most over the years is Amman, Jordan. I’m half Arab and have a rather large family that resides there so every year I go to visit.

This year was a bit different. Topher was doing all the touristy things for the first time (his third trip to Amman itself) and also his sister Emma was coming for the very first time. We had a blast and I wrote about all our touristy travel adventures here:

The Dead Sea

Wadi Rum

Petra

So this is the final instalment of our general wanderings in the city of Amman itself. Jordan may not be at the top of your travel bucket list but it’s definitely somewhere you should consider visiting once in your life.

The Boulevard

Arabs love their shopping malls. So we tend to go to a lot of the ones Amman has to offer. I remember when the first one was built when I was a teen. My cousin and I loved shopping and used to go all the time when I visited. The Boulevard is an outdoor shopping street which is very pretty and always has something going on. Plus this time I noticed loads of street art has popped up since I was last here.

amman - the boulevard

Taj Mall

This is our local mall and has everything we need including a cinema. How cool is this back to school display?

amman - city mall

Amman Citadel

When you think of the Middle East, you don’t tend to think about the Romans but they were definitely here!

amman - citadel

amman - city view

Somewhere downtown

amman - street art

Definitely downtown

amman - greenery

I’m seeing more and more tourists in the past few years and it’s pretty cool to see. I don’t tend to venture downtown much as I spend a lot of time with my family but it was nice to have a wander this year.

amman - alley

amman - bunting

The instagrammer in me was very excited to see these colourful steps!

amman - steps

On our first night we went to a concert in the Roman amphitheatre which was really awesome. Literally sitting in history.

ampitheatre

concert

Next year will be the first year I won’t be able to go so bring on 2020!

Where’s your favourite place to travel?

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Petra, Jordan

Petra, Jordan

Last stop on our tourist jaunt down south in Jordan; Petra. I’ve done a photo diary of Petra the last time I went which you can check out here. To be honest the quality of the photos is a hell of a lot better in that one. Probably because I wasn’t slowly melting in the August sunshine that time. I mean, I actually wore jeans back then. So top tip: go in April or at least avoid the summer unless you enjoy finding out the temperature when you start cooking.

If you can only go in the summer then at least go in the morning. We finished about lunchtime and to my horror I saw loads of American tour groups just starting their trek. Good luck guys.

So we arrived at Petra around midday where we took full advantage of the hotel. We stayed at the Petra Marriott and had a swim and a sleep before having a traditional bedouin dinner and watching the sunset.

Petra - dinner

Petra - sunset

So you may be thinking the evening was over but it was then time to head out again. Petra now offers a chance to see The treasury portion of this wonder of the world at night. It’s ticket only and they are limited. You gather at the entry gate and all then follow a guide to get to the treasury.

Petra - lanterns

We were advised to hang back and let the initial crowd go first by someone at the entrance but we disregarded it and stayed very near the front of it. And I’m glad we did because we got a chance to take photos before there were too many people. Plus large groups of tourists have an annoying habit of never turning the flash off on their cameras. So much flash photography!

Anyway, the photo above is before the swarms arrived and the ones below are when they ran out of room and had to seat people between the lanterns in front of us.

Petra - night time

We were waiting for awhile and I’m not sure exactly what we were waiting for – we thought a show? Turned out it wasn’t much of a show. A man played a flute and then told a very short story about the history of Petra. We did get some bedouin tea though. I think the whole thing could have been organised a lot better. And the £17 aprox price tag per person is pretty steep for what you got as it’s not included in your regular Petra ticket price. If you want to see the treasury at night then it’s worth it – just make sure you have a good camera and stay near the front of the crowd!

Petra - purple night

Anyway it was a fun little outing and we had to head to bed so we could wake up refreshed to see all of Petra in the daylight hours.

After a very filling hotel breakfast we checked out of our hotel and set off to the Petra welcome centre. As I said in my previous post about Petra, the main trail is about a 3 mile walk so we came prepared. Comfy shoes, giant obnoxious sunhats for Emma and I, while the others opted for something a little more local. If you buy a headscarf from one of the stalls in the welcome centre, they will help you put it on in the traditional way. It made spotting Topher and my family easy in a crowd.

Petra - headscarves

I didn’t take many photos in the canyon because my camera crapped out despite having charged it the night before. Lesson learned: always bring extra batteries! I just used my phone for the rest of the day.

Petra - almost there

I love getting that first glimpse of the treasury through the gorge walls – makes you feel like you’re on an adventure!

Petra - first sight

Petra - treasury

People tend to think Petra is just the treasury section above but actually it’s massive. All the photos below are everything else you can find.

Petra - big rocks

You tend to also forget about all the Roman influence in the Middle East but here stands living proof that they were here so many years ago.

Petra - ampitheatre

It’s crazy to think that people used to live in these caves below up until the 1980s.

Petra - caves

It was so cool to walk along this Roman road.

Petra - roman road

We actually made it all the way to the end of the main trail this time. If you have more time on your hands (and less sunshine!) there are plenty of hikes you can do on this site.

Petra - temple

Absolutely shattered we made it back to the car and headed back to Amman.

Stay tuned for the next chapter in my Jordan blogs: Back in Amman: Downtown.

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An Anniversary Trip to Anglesey

An Anniversary Trip to Anglesey

If you read my last post then you’ll know that I recently had a weekend away to Anglesey with Topher for our 1 year wedding anniversary. We stayed in an awesome treehouse which you can read all about here and spent Saturday driving around the island. Here’s what we got up to.

Friday

Since Topher finished work at 3 and myself at 5, Topher would meet me at my work and we would drive over. It usually takes about 2 hours from Manchester but with the Friday rush hour traffic, it took us just under three. We arrived at 8pm and were greeted by our Airbnb hosts.

Anglesey - chinese

After getting a tour and dropping off our stuff, we headed to the Tesco Extra we’d seen back on the mainland to get supplies. We had planned to get fish and chips from the local but unfortunately discovered that they close early. No harm done as the local Chinese was still open. Beef chow mein please. We enjoyed our meal in the grounds that surround the treehouse, watching out for the local wildlife.

Saturday

Starting the day with pastries we’d got from Tesco, along with a big mug of coffee we set off to explore Anglesey.

South Stack was our first port of call as it was the furthest away from the treehouse. Only half an hour though! Everything is easily drivable on the island. South Stack is a lighthouse which is the furthest west you can go on Anglesey. If it was a clearer day maybe we could have even seen Ireland.

Anglesey - south stack

You can actually pay to go inside the lighthouse but we had plenty of other places to go. So we took a few selfies before hopping back in the car.

Anglesey - selfie

The next place we tried to visit was Borth Wen beach. Word of warning – not a place to just randomly show up to late in the morning on a sunny Saturday in the summer. It was rammed. There was nowhere to park and the single lane windy road to get to it almost left us trapped in the car park. If you’ve got your heart set on it, definitely get there early!

By this point we were hungry for some lunch. Fancying some afternoon tea, I’d read about Giddy Aunt Tea Room which is south east on the island.

Anglesey - giddy aunt's tearoom

A pretty cottage in the middle of nowhere which had another cat (yay!), Topher and I wandered inside to be greeted by the owners who were lovely. The afternoon tea was delicious but I had my usual problem of being finished off by the scone and unable to eat the cakes. Of course I’m not one to waste cake so the owners were kind enough to box them up for me. Treehouse snack!

Anglesey - afternoon tea

How cute is this tea cozy?

Anglesey - tea cosy

Our next stop was the point that I realised I had in fact been to Anglesey before. Around the time I started this blog actually! It was a flying visit but I remembered it well. Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch definitely has the longest name I’ve ever seen. Just typing that was a challenge let alone trying to say it.

Anglesey - train station

We also managed to find a scenic spot to pull the car over and get some photos of the Menai bridge. How lucky were we with this weather?!

Anglesey - Menai Bridge

Finally we arrived at Beaumaris, a pretty village full of pastel houses and cute shops as well as a castle.

Anglesey - beaumaris

Anglesey - colourful houses

Though neither of us are beach people, Topher and I really enjoyed walking along the boardwalk and the pier. The weather definitely helped.

Anglesey - more beach

Anglesey - sea

Anglesey - pier

After our walk, we had a wander around the shops before heading back to the car and setting off to find dinner. We tried a place called Dylan’s but it’s definitely not a just show up kind of place. At least not on a Saturday. We ended up at the Anglesey Arms where Topher had fish and chips and I had a delicious haddock chowder. Nom.

Anglesey - beach

We finished the day playing Scrabble that we’d brought from home in the treehouse. Guess who won?

Anglesey - scrabble

Sunday

As this was our actual anniversary, we exchanged gifts and cards as well as watching our wedding video. After breakfast we packed up our stuff and headed home.

I had a great time in Anglesey and would definitely go again.

Have you ever been to Anglesey?

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Tales of a Treehouse

Tales of a Treehouse

I think sleeping in a treehouse must feature on a lot of people’s bucket lists, mine included. Last month I finally got to tick it off mine. Wanting to do something interesting for Topher and I’s first wedding anniversary, finding a treehouse to stay in popped into my head. I had just found out that I got my office job so thought why not; lets see what I can find.

After a browse on Airbnb, I found the majority of treehouses were in mainland Europe; at least the real ones. I consider a real treehouse to be somewhat off the ground. Luckily there were a handful in the UK and one was only a stones throw from Manchester. And the reviews were good so I booked it.

The main plus for this particular treehouse is that not only was it off the ground but it had indoor plumbing. Perfect for someone like me who prefers to avoid camping. Of course I forgot to get a photo of the bathroom but you can see it in the listing itself.

treehouse - outside

The Treehouse

Described as a children’s treehouse that got out of hand, this structure has three rooms. The kitchen is at the bottom; the bathroom up the second staircase and the bedroom/living room is at the top. You may have a bit of fun getting up the stairs if you’re on the larger side but it’s all part of the experience!

Outside the kitchen is a yard that is perfect for having your breakfast if the weather is on your side, which it was for us!

treehouse - yard

treehouse - kitchen entrance

The kitchen is small but perfectly functional with everything you need to keep yourself fed. We ate out mostly but the small fridge was ideal to keep some tasty treats for later.

treehouse - kitchen

The bathroom has a toilet and shower but no wash basin. Not the end of the world but I’d recommend either bringing some anti bacterial gel or just washing your hands in the kitchen. The shower was surprisingly good considering I’ve lived in apartments that had showers with barely any pressure at all.

treehouse - entrance

 

treehouse - window

The top floor has a balcony and a barn door that leads you into the living quarters of the treehouse. There’s plenty of seating, a dining table, coffee table as well as a pull out sofa bed. The large trunk contains all the bedding you’ll need for your stay. And if you’re staying in winter there’s a wood burning stove to keep you warm.

treehouse - barn doors

treehouse - sofa bed

treehouse - sitting area

treehouse - tree

The grounds

I was pleasantly surprised at how big the grounds were around the treehouse. As well as the treehouse, you can also stay in a static caravan and a small cottage if you have a bigger party with you. The hosts themselves live in a large house next to the treehouse and were very helpful our whole stay.

We were lucky enough to be the only guests on the Friday night and have the whole place to ourselves. And even though there were other guests on the Saturday night, it wasn’t an inconvenience at all. Though Topher may have given the ladies in the cottage celebrating a birthday a bit of a fright when he climbed down to the bathroom late at night. I don’t think they realised anyone was staying in the treehouse! Pretty funny.

treehouse - grounds

treehouse - toadstool garden

The Experience

We stayed in the treehouse two nights and had a great time. When we were alone on the Friday night, we saw the local wildlife; rabbits, the neighbor’s chickens, cows in the next field and the chatty house cat. It was lovely having a takeaway on the vast lawn and watching the world go by.

Coming in July was great as the weather was on our side and it really added to the atmosphere. Plus it really helped that it wasn’t cold when you had to nip out to the bathroom in the middle of the night! The treehouse had motion sensor lights outside so you could find your way, but I still managed to spook myself a little! I had to laugh when Topher asked why I practically ran up the stairs. No reason, just me convincing myself that there could be anything out there in the dark – when there was nothing but the cat.

treehouse - me in toadstool garden

My wimpyness aside, we had a perfect anniversary trip. I would definitely recommend this for someone who likes their basic creature comforts but still wants to have a bit of an adventure. It’s a thumbs up from both Topher and I. Now, how to top this next year?

Have you ever stayed in a treehouse?

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