There isn't a lot a I don't like about the Trip Advisor travel map. There have been a few times over the years that I haven't been able to pin the places I've been to, but that is usually because they are more remote places we travelled through in Tibet for example, but apart from that its hard to find fault with it.
I LOVE the ability to pin cities I want to visit.
I usually only do the cities I am actively planning to visit, otherwise the whole map would be filled with green pins.. Using the green pins is a great way to plan journeys.
We have just booked flights for a trip in August to Sweden. I pinned all the cities we would drive through on our trip and then it was easy to see if there were any other cities nearby that we could easily get to, this is how we added Copenhagen and Oslo.
I zoomed into the map and printed it out and then using google maps I put in the driving distances between the cities to estimate how many days we would need. Easy Peasy.
I'm in the process of planning a 5 week trip to India early 2018 and I'm doing something similar. Hubby has gone through a few websites and come up with some cities or sights he wants to visit. I've pinned the map. I've printed the map and will write on the cities and using a guide book and various websites I will check to see what else is nearby each of the pins.
On my paper map I've added all the local airports and can start to come up with a rough 'plan'
I have also asked a few friends who have visited India several times to take a look at my map and suggest places I may not have thought about... I can see their travel maps and ask questions about places I can see they have travelled to... This only works if your friends keep their maps up to date too... but since its such a fun thing to do - why wouldn't you ??
There is something very satisfying about turning those green pins into orange ones :)
My Map tells me I have been to 750 cities and want to go to 43... and that I've only visited 43% of the world.... My Travel Map
I'm lucky that I've seen a lot more than many people... but also VERY aware that there is a lot of places I have yet to get to... and my list of places to visit is constantly grows.
Whilst I am still in the planning stage of both of these two trips - any advice or thoughts regarding any of my green pins would be most welcome :)
Do you use Trip Advisor or any other travel maps ?? I haven't really looked into any other Maps and would be interested to hear about any other sites or apps...
We have access to most of the airline lounges as I have my British Airways Gold Card (One World) and hubby has a Senator status with Swiss (Star Alliance). Access to these lounges make a HUGE difference to the whole travel experience, especially long haul.
On my recent trip I flew from Zurich to Melbourne with changes in Sydney and Singapore. On Arrival in Singapore after spending 13 hours in my pyjamas to be able to have a hot shower in the lounge at Changi Airport made a world of difference to how I felt. I changed into sweat pants and t-shirt for the leg to Sydney, grabbed a couple of more hours sleep and didn't feel too bad at all when I landed.
I went to the Quantas lounge on arrival, changed into normal clothes, did my cleanse, tone and moisturise routine and almost felt like a normal person again. I had a scrummy breakfast, charged up all my devices, updated my newspapers and checked my emails and Facebook before the short commuter flight to Melbourne.
On the return trip from Singapore my flight was an overnight one. I'd managed to sleep for most of the flight to London and just got off the plane in my pyjamas (the guys in the airport have seen much worse sights I'm sure). I headed straight for the lounge, had a long hot shower (lovely Elemis products in Heathrow T5 as an extra bonus) ordered a bacon and egg sandwich and curled up with a pot of tea until my short flight to Zurich was boarding.
The peace and quiet (usually there are no announcements) in the lounge is so much more relaxing for a few hours wait in the airport compared to the chaos in the main terminal building too.
On top of the showers and the food, most lounges have champagne too, and lots of it. In some lounges you have to ask for it, Manchester springs to mind, but is there a better way to start a trip ??
I love Airline Lounges. My Facebook friends know that most of my trips start and end with a photo of a glass of champagne in an airline lounge around the world. Some friends have now started tagging me in their FB posts in airline lounges too....
I'm going to post a review of some of the airline lounges as a separate blog post. My favourites being Heathrow T5, Qantas lounge in Sydney's International Terminal and the JAL Lounge at Tokyo.
If you are a lounge lover, where are your favourites ?
The downside of the great price was that I was that all my flights were separate and I was flying,
Zurich - London - Singapore- Sydney - Melbourne - Sydney - Auckland - Sydney - Singapore - London - Zurich....
whereas my husband flew....
Zurich - Singapore - Melbourne - Auckland - Singapore - Zurich.
As most of you know, I am not phased by unknown airports or travelling alone so I loaded up my iBooks, grabbed my bag and off I went.
It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I got to walk around the airports in-between flights, and after arriving in Sydney I had a nice shower in the lounge and changed clothes before the short hop to Melbourne. That made a huge difference to how I felt when I arrived.
I got my return to Sydney organised with a stopover in Singapore on the way home. It was a great price and the leg out was business class, so I knew I would arrive at least having had a good sleep on the BA flat bed. The ticket was only 300 Swiss Francs more than Prem Ecc so I jumped on that fare.
As things worked out I was also lucky enough to get a nice upgrade to business class on the return, proving that loyalty really does pay.
So again my husband had to travel for his job and if there is something most people know about me its that I'm not the type of person to sit at home alone for 3 weeks, so I jumped quickly on www.BA.com and got myself some flights. My husband flies direct and in Business Class and the cost of his tickets is way more than I am prepared to spend on myself so I've become pretty good at working out the best flight combinations for the price.
I've been to Sydney and Melbourne several times before so this trip was all about catching up with friends. I met up with an old college friend, a friend I used to work with, a friend from expat days in Singapore and also some new friends from Zurich who were there by coincidence. We tried out lots of great restaurants, and of course the Sydney Fish Market. I had such an amazing time.
The weather was perfect for being in the city and I got to take some lovely long walks and indulge in some retail therapy too.
New Zealand was a new adventure for me as I have never been before. We stayed in Auckland and at the weekend hired a car to drive along the coast and visit Hobbiton, where The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings were filmed. I also took advantage of my husband's busy work scheduled and took a quick flight to Wellington for an overnight visit to another college friend.
Singapore was a nice 3 night stopover on the return home. For me the hi-light was catching up with friends from when we used to live here, and of course the food. Staying in a great hotel in the CBD with a lovely pool didn't hurt either.
I'm in the process of writing a few blog posts about the cities, restaurants, hotels and various airline lounges I have come across, so if you are interested, watch this space this space.
Well its the end of January and I've been busy booking flights. This year is going to be all about the travel.......
Last year I managed to get to Norway, Hong Kong, Japan, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, USA and several times to London, so not a bad year travel wise at all... 2015 promises to be just as exciting.
It has already got off to a great start... because it started in London, which I think is a fabulous way to spend Christmas and New Year. I love London over Christmas, from the lights on Oxford Street to the cheery nature of the cabbies. It starts early December with the office Christmas parties and continues until early Jan when people return to work. We stayed for the whole festive season and had a fabulous time. Meeting friends and eating at some great restaurants. We had some great weather, a little chilly but blue skies and sunshine. It made for some great walks around the city and along the river.
My husband has to work in NYC several times during 2015 and has a trip in February for two weeks so I'm going to join him. It will probably be miserable weather but there will be the new collections in the shops and there are ALWAYS new things to do and exhibitions to see. Why would I even think of staying home alone when I can book middle of the day flights (read cheaper) and there is already a very nice hotel room booked.
Right on the back of that trip we are going to Australia and New Zealand in March with a 3 day stopover in Singapore on the way home. Again, Hubby has to work but I'm quite an independent traveller and I never pass up the opportunity to visit somewhere new. I've never been to New Zealand and its been on my radar for quite a while. So its an opportunity that can't be missed. I'm so excited I'm waiting for my guide book to download to my kindle as I type. I'm also really looking forward to going to back to Australia too. Its been 5 years since I was there last and I have some friends I'll be able to catch-up with. I love the Sydney Fish Market and know the city quite well, so it will be fun to be back there. I've only been to Melbourne once so I'm sure there are still lots of things to discover there.
The only other trip we have actually booked is to Cuba in May. After reading in the news about the discussions between Cuba and the USA we decided to book flights and get there before McDonalds and Starbucks take over. (as sadly we have seen happen in some parts of Asia). Its been somewhere we have wanted to go for a while, so I'm not only excited about seeing somewhere new but I'm excited because its a proper holiday. Hubby doesn't have to go to the office, or out for business dinners. We can relax and be tourists together. Also I heard the internet is terrible, so I won't have to share him with his work emails - as is usually the case. The only other time this has happened was about 7 years ago in Myanmar. There was no internet whatsoever, let alone mobile phone networks. Bliss - two weeks without the Blackberry !!
We have other trips in pencil but they won't really get booked until much nearer the time. We will have another trip to NYC later in the year, we're planning to stay with some friends at their villa in Phuket, a trip to Japan, maybe a trip to South Africa and hopefully a trip to Bhutan in November.......I'm sure we will be able to slot in some European city breaks too.....I have quite a list of those we want to work through.
I'd love to hear any city recommendations people have. Please drop me a message below .
I now have a lot of research to do trying to find the best places to eat and drink....... I'll post any good reviews in the Restaurant Blog as usual.
When my husband travels for work he usually travels to big cities where the company have other offices. London, New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Sydney and Singapore are regular features on his yearly calendar. If he is going for more than 3 days I like to go with him - especially as I've I've lived there and still have friends....
Its a great opportunity to have a short break, you can visit interesting places that maybe you wouldn't go on holiday (Seoul, South Korea was never on my travel list but it was a great city for 3 days) you don't have to make the bed, or cook dinner - whats not to like?. You can see an exhibition of Wedding Dresses at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London or spend hours people watching in Central Park New York without anyone moaning about it.
As I've said before, I really enjoy traveling and I am quite a happy solo tourist, also, I think it adds some interest for him, especially on the evenings he doesn't have client dinners or meetings. And really, my alternative is being home alone, which has often been in a place where I don't have a social network of friends to hook up with.....
I do still spend quite a bit of time alone On the evenings he has work dinners I have to entertain myself. My choice is either room service, a fast food stop or a solo dinner.
I learnt at an early age when I travelled for work if I didn't get over the 'I don't want to go to a restaurant alone' thing then I had a life of bad room service and take away food to look forward to. I usually have a queue of books on my iPad waiting to be read, so I take this with me, in case there aren't any interesting people to watch! I find most restaurants are used to solo diners, sometimes you get hidden away in the corner, but I usually ask for a table where I can see some activity. I usually make a point of telling the waiter that's I don't want to be rushed (as is often the tendency when you are alone). I want to enjoy my meal as I would if I was with company.... And it's never a problem.
The one thing it is important to remember, especially if you are in a new city, is to restrict how much wine you drink. The only person getting you back to the hotel is you, and sadly it doesn't matter where you are in the world or how safe the city is, there is alway a risk attached to being tipsy and alone in the evening.
Also be prepared to be able to politely decline any unwanted attention.
A short 'that's very flattering but I'm joining my husband and his colleagues after dinner' will usually do the trick. Especially as most guys have fragile egos and won't want to be rejected twice !
If any situation gets out of hand the restaurant will usually help out and call you a cab so you don't have to resort to climbing out of a toilet window !!.
In over 20 years of dining alone I've never had any major problems or felt physically threatened, however it's just good sense to be aware that not everyone out there can be taken at face value. (Or maybe I watch too many American crime dramas!)
Solo dining also has many advantages, like with being a solo tourist, there is no compromise to be made. If you want to eat pizza you can, you don't have to consider that your husband/partner had pizza at his lunch meeting. You can be fabulously selfish !
Of course I would always rather have dinner with my husband, but Im certainly glad I took the step to eating out alone a long time ago. I have had some amazing food experiences, and sadly have forgotten most of the restaurants names. - why wasn't trip advisor around 20 years ago? Some fabulous restaurants have been reduced to descriptions like 'a tiny restaurant, next to a pub on a side street in Bantry Bay'... Which isn't very helpful to anyone going to Bantry Bay.... In fact even I would struggle to find many of the places myself... But that could also be age...
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