What type of holiday should you head on next?

At this time of year, we’re all thinking about jetting off on holiday. Even though the weather is surprisingly pleasant, there’s nothing quite like heading abroad, switching off, and relaxing. When you lead a busy life, you always need that promise of a holiday to hold on to. And it can be incredibly exciting. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or someone that wants to lay back by the pool and do absolutely nothing, there’s the perfect holiday out there just waiting to be had. But what will it be? It can be tempting to stick to the same kinds of trips, but this really does limit the travel experiences that you have. So maybe this time, you’ll want to just switch it up.

1. City Break
First of all, you might want to think about heading off on a city break. If you’re someone that loves to explore when you’re away, then heading off to a European city could be exactly what you need from your next break. Even if you want the balance of being able to relax, you could get yourself a hotel with a rooftop pool, so that you have the best of both. Then, you still get to explore the city and feel like you’ve got a sun holiday at the same time.

2. All-Inclusive
Or maybe the idea of exploring is the exact opposite of what you want? Maybe you want to head on holiday and do absolutely nothing at all? And by nothing at all, that includes thinking about what you want to do that day – or even where you’re going to eat! Then an all-inclusive option will be best for you. There are some great all-inclusive resorts across Europe, so be sure to take a look at some of the options that are available to you.

3.Adventure
When you want to go a step on from that, and follow your sense of adventure, then you’re going to want to hit the seas. You’ll find that Croatia is a fantastic destination for sailing holidays, so take a look at the trips available. If you want to enjoy some time of the seas, there are plenty of options across Europe for that.

4. Spa Break
And, of course, you could also head on a good old-fashioned spa break. If you know that you want to relax, enjoy some peace of quiet, and a bit of pampering, then finding yourself at a local spa resort is always going to be a good option.

5. Island Hopping
And finally, maybe you’d like the idea of doing a bit of everything. When that’s the case, you may find that island hopping is a great option for you here. First of all, you’ll get to see a range of different locations, from seaside resorts to cities, and more. But you also get to sail the seas and enjoy time on the boat. And there’s always some adventure and relaxation to be had. So this makes it a great option when you want a varied holiday. Again, Croatia is a great option, but so is Greece. So take a look at different agendas to see what takes your fancy.

This was a collaborative post.

Truly Wild Experiences Down Under

As someone with a keen interest in conservation and zoology, seeing the native wildlife of a place is something that usually features highly on my destination wishlist when I travel. This year hasn’t been easy for me on a personal level but it always lifts my spirits when I think of the amazing things I have seen and done already.

One of my most cherished memories is when I went backpacking Down Under with my husband. Australia and New Zealand are two of my best-loved countries – friendly locals, stunning scenery and most importantly, amazing wildlife. So I would like to share my favourite wildlife experience from each.

Adorable quokka - a native to Rottnest Island in Western Australia

Discovering quokkas on Rottnest Island, Australia

Rottnest Island is a beautiful island off the coast of Western Australia, home to an adorably smiley-looking marsupial known as the quokka. In fact, Rottnest Island was named after the quokka when a Dutch explorer arrived at the island and mistook the quokkas for rats, naming it ‘Rat’s Nest’.

Wild Experiences Down Under

Being almost completely wiped out on the mainland of Australia, Rottnest Island is one of only a few places where you can see quokkas in their natural habitat and due to the lack of predators on the island, coupled with an abundance of food, their numbers are thriving.

Beautiful Rottnest Island - catch the ferry from Fremantle and enjoy a day with the quokkas!

As the island has a strong focus on the environment and sustainability, the best way to explore is by bicycle. So when we arrived by boat we picked up some hired bikes from the dock and went on our merry way.

Rottnest Island is easily one of the most beautiful places I have been fortunate enough to visit, with its white sand beaches and turquoise seas it looks like something from a movie set. Of course, my favourite part was observing the quokkas and I managed to even get a #quokkaselfie too! All flora and fauna on the island is protected by law so visitors must remember not to touch or feed the animals as it could harm them.

The best way to get around Rottnest Island! Hire a bike and explore this beautiful part of Western Australia.

Quokka selfie on Rottnest Island, Australia

One of my favourite things about Australia happens to be its native creatures – I’m completely in awe of it – so to be able to see the happy little quokkas in the wild and not in a zoo was something unforgettable.

Spotting wild seals in Kaikoura, New Zealand

Kaikoura is a small town on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island and is famed for its marine life. Due to the weather cancelling any whale watching trips out to sea, we made a spontaneous decision to take a drive to Ohau Point where we could see some wild New Zealand fur seals.

Adorable seal pup at Ohau Point, New Zealand

After a short walk into the woodland, we were greeted by one of the most magical sights I have seen – numerous young seals swimming and frolicking at the bottom of a waterfall! I wasn’t sure what to expect on this spur of the moment adventure but it by far exceeded any expectations I could have had. The seals looked so happy and there were very few tourists at this spot making it feel all the more special. Of course, we kept our distance but a couple of the seals were playing on the path together just a mere metre away from where we stood!

Ohau waterfall - a beautiful place to see seal pups swimming

The seal pups are born in November and December and start making their way to the waterfall in April, where they are then able to develop their swimming and social skills together. They stay in the stream for several days at a time before returning to the coast to feed from their mothers. Once weaned, they then remain on the coast where they can hunt for food at sea.

See New Zealand fur seals - free things to do in Kaikoura

Seal swimming in Ohau stream, Kaikoura

We waited and watched the playful pups for a little while longer but even on the walk back to the car we were able spot a few of them swimming in the shallow waters alongside us. Amazing! Sometimes the best adventures are unplanned.

Note: My visit to Ohau Point happened prior to the devastating 2016 earthquake and although parts of this area are still destroyed, visitors are still able to see seal colonies elsewhere in Kaikoura. Hopefully they will return to the waterfall very soon.

As far as future wildlife adventures go, a safari in Kenya would be at the top spot on my travel bucket list and as a proud recipient of a charity rhino adoption, I would love nothing more than to see them in the wild.

Win a safari adventure in Kenya!

Win an African safari with Audley Travel by sharing your best wildlife photograph or video on your social media channels. To enter write #AudleySafari and @AudleyTravel on your Instagram or Twitter post or share directly on the Audley Travel Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/audleytravel/. To find out more or enter via the website, visit www.audleytravel.com/social.  Entries must be posted between 20th August – 23rd September.

This post is my entry into the Trips 100 & Audley Travel blogger challenge.

Avoiding too much sun

At the moment most of us are longing for a little bit of sun, which is apparently finally on its way. We spend all winter looking forward to feeling the warmth on our skin and getting a little bit of a glow. We dream of being able to go out without piling on a thousand layers first. Of just being able to walk down the street in a t-shirt or dress, without having to take a jacket “just in case” and we can’t wait to sit outside in the sun reading a book and sipping an ice-cold drink.

Many of us have already booked summer holidays, perhaps staying with Elegant Address, and are counting down the days until even more great weather, with a much smaller chance of rain, and some of us are just starting to come out of a winter funk.

This is great. The sun is fantastic, and it should be enjoyed. Getting more sunlight can boost your mood and confidence and help you to sleep better. It can encourage you to get out and do some exercise, and it gives you vitamin D levels a huge boost, which can help to fight off and prevent infection and disease as well as improving your mental health. Being out in the sunshine also gets us out there with our friends and family more and could help you to get a bit of a digital detox.

But, there is such a thing as too much sun. Especially when you’re not used to it. Spending too much time in the sunshine can lead to sunburn and eventually, skin cancer. It can dry out your hair, skin and nails, give you headaches and make you feel much more tired than usual. So, it’s important that you get the balance right and avoid too much sun. This can be difficult on the hottest days or when you are on holiday, so here are some tips to help you.

Image via unsplash

Wear Sunscreen
Firstly, even if you are avoiding too much sun, even, in fact, if it’s not a particularly sunny day, you should be wearing sunscreen. Even in the winter time, it’s a good idea to wear a foundation or primer with added SPF, as the sun’s rays could still be doing harm. In the summer, wear a high factor and reapply throughout the day.

Avoid the Midday Sun
The sun is generally at its highest around lunchtime, so it’s best to go indoors from around 11-2. If you are on holiday, use this time to head to a café for lunch or to take an afternoon siesta. If you do need to be outdoors, being in the shade can reduce UV radiation by 50-95% so try to find a shaded area.

Wear a Hat
Wear a hat with a wide brim or even carry a parasol on very hot days. A hat like this will protect your head, face and neck and help prevent headaches. You should also protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses that provide UV protection.

This was a collaborative post.

5 signs you’ve been bitten by the travel bug

There are some for whom international travel is as much a given as their birthday or the coming of the seasons. Ever since childhood they’ve been accustomed to going away and have come to regard it as not just a welcome reprieve from the pressures of their job, career and familial obligations, but as a basic human right. Yet, there are also many for whom the call of wanderlust is a relatively new phenomenon. They may have enjoyed a few activity breaks in their home country but the pleasures of seeing the great wide world are relatively new to them. For these people this new experience quickly becomes intoxicating and soon their every thought is geared towards lining up their next holiday.

5 signs you've been bitten by the travel bug

If this sounds like you, here are some telltale signs that will confirm that you’ve well and truly been bitten by the travel bug…

You want the things you used to want a whole lot less
After a bite from the travel bug you suddenly become a whole ,lot pickier about what you spend your precious disposable income on. That dress you lusted over a few months back? Pfft! A mere frippery! Those shoes that your life once seemed so incomplete without? A shocking frivolity. Every spare penny you have is, in your mind, already spent on the deposit for your next big getaway.

You’re already lining up avenues of credit
Sure, we should all be saving more, but the rising cost of living combined with the stagnation of most people’s wages mean that saving is not as easy as it sounds. Plus, most savings accounts suck! When the travel bug bites but you just can’t squirrel away as much as you’d like to, all avenues of credit look increasingly appealing. If you have poor credit there are personal loans no credit check no bank account required but if you can, opt for a credit card with a low or 0% introductory APR. Box clever with the interest rates and keep moving the debt around or you might find next year’s getaway that much harder!

You can’t watch a movie without pulling your phone or tablet out
The cinema is often a gateway to new and exotic lands, either real or imagined. But when we see a location that looks so gorgeous we want to step through the screen and lay down a beach towel, real travel bugs are instantly on their phone trying to find out where the scene was shot and the cost of a return flight.

You’re setting aside fridge space for more magnets
Just like a stamp on your passport, a fridge magnet is a fun reminder of a far away land that brings memories flooding back every time you lay eyes on it. You likely have a precious one or two on there, but your kids’ artwork is going to have to go somewhere else because you’re saving room for more.

Your bookcase is thronged with phrase books and rough guides
Preparing for a trip is half the fun, right? So, just to be on the safe side you’ve scoured Amazon for rough guides and phrase books for every destination on your ‘to do’ list… Y’know… Just in case!

Post written in collaboration with Hayley Edlund.

Where to watch Sumo Wrestling in Tokyo

Where to watch Sumo wrestling in Tokyo

Sumo wrestling is a big part of Japanese culture and is actually Japan’s national sport. If you have a ‘Japan Bucket List’ of any description, then watching a bit of sumo is likely to be on there.

Of course, the ideal scenario would be to get tickets for a tournament. There are three main tournaments in Tokyo every year, held in January, May and September. But what if you happen to visit Japan outside of these three months?

My answer is – visit a sumo stable.

Where to watch sumo wrestling in Tokyo

Sumo stables are where the wrestlers live and train together, and you can go along and watch their morning practice. It’s not really touted as a tourist attraction as such but we went along to one and were able to watch the wrestlers through the window.

Sumo is the national sport of Japan

We went to the Arashio-beya which is around a minutes walk from the A2 exit of Hamacho Station on the Toei Subway Shinjuku Line. Practice takes place between 7.30am and 10am. Their website does have a Japanese script and a phone number to call so you can check in advance if the practice is on the next day, which I did but unfortunately I couldn’t understand the response despite following the script! I can’t remember if we asked our hotel to call on our behalf or just showed up but it all worked out ok.

You’re unlikely to stay and watch the full length of training as it can feel a little crowded by the window standing among the wrestler’s bicycles and other gawping tourists, but it’s definitely worth stopping by for the experience.

Watch the sumo wrestlers training in Tokyo

If you liked this you might like some of my other Japan posts or you might like might Japan in less than 60 seconds video.

Where to watch sumo wrestling in Tokyo