Why Everybody Should Travel Solo.

Everybody knows someone who has travelled parts of the world by themselves and raved about how immense it was, or maybe you have. If you haven’t, common thoughts on those who have done it include :-image

‘are they mad?!?’

‘weren’t they afraid?’

‘didn’t they get lonely?’

‘wouldn’t they be worried about making no friends and having nobody to talk to?’

‘will they be safe?’ – especially for young females!!

These are all common worries that would have gone through the minds of the people who did the solo travelling. For me, it was when I got on the plane by myself at the start of the journey. I thought I was mad. I had never been able to eat alone in a restaurant and yet here I was, in an aircraft heading to South East Asia, completely alone for months without a soul in the world to keep me company.

It is something so many of us do, despite our loved ones begging us not to go and convincing is it is a dangerous and we are crazy.

As children, we are protected by our parents / guardians and kept under their wing. We do as we are told and at school / college we spend every day following instruction. Some people commit to a long term relationship very young and therefore are filling a role with expectation. Therefore it is only natural that we do not know who are in life. How many of you can honestly say that you KNOW who you are?

Once you step off that plane into a new life in a totally different world, there is something so exhilarating about the fact that you can recreate yourself as you wish and nobody in your life knows a thing about everything you do in these coming, precious weeks. Every experience you have is just yours. You will experience things, feel things you have never dreamt of before and meet people who will touch your life forever. I found that solo travelling actually changed the way I viewed certain things in life, it made me less rigid and more open, miles more confident in talking to people I don’t know. These attributes have helped me in my personal life and successful career in healthcare. Would I be where I am today if I hadn’t have been ‘crazy’ and had the guts to go abroad for months by myself? Possibly not.

Solo travelling makes you into a newer and better person. Are you crazy enough to do it?

Travel for free!!!!

Okay so we can’t literally travel for free, but if you are savvy enough you can end up earning enough during your travels to almost pay for your entire trip! Here’s how;

Tax free shopping! Almost everybody knows this but not everybody makes the most of it. You cave up to 80% off of the cost of tobacco, alcohol, perfume and make up in airport duty free, max it out on your travels!!! Obviously do not exceed the permitted amounts or risk facing the consequences, but there is a lot of money to be made of saved by purchasing what you can from duty free.

Buy fabric! I am a dressmaking fanatic so when I went to India I spent around £300 on fabric which is a lot! Cramming it all into my luggage was the most challenging part! The value of said fabric here in the UK would be around £1000. I was purchasing it for use at home but if I wanted to sell that back here it alone would pay for my trip. This can also work with clothes and fashions; you c an buy this in bulk and ship it back home anywhere and set up your own mini business!

Buy art! Many Asian countries are huge on art! Bali in Indonesia is a good example. You can easily purchase beautiful oil paintings on canvas for as little as £2-£3 which you can bring home frame it (do this yourself on mdf if you are able as it’s much cheaper than going to a framer) and you can sell this artwork and make money from it. Personally I can’t bring myself to separate my travel artwork from my walls, but the option is there!

Buy treatments! If you are a fan of beauty treatments and massage, work out how much you spend a year on this. Could easily be £200. If you hold out and splurge on treatments in Thailand or similar you are likely to save around £190.

Buy clothing! The USA is fantastic for purchasing fashionable clothing at massively discounted prices! They have an abundance of clothing outlets and malls with designer clothes and footwear up to 40% cheaper than in England. Pack lightly on the way out..

There are many other ways of purchasing  goods that can eventually pay for your travel, you may even make a profit and have an incredible journey along the way.

Travel is a life long investment.

Combatting a fear of flying!

It may be unusual to write about fear of flying on a happy travel blog, but this is a very real problem! I have come across many individuals who struggle to fly or simply will not get on a plane because of this fear.

This is also a fear of mine. A few years ago I became slightly obsessed with the TV show – ‘Air Crash Investigation’ after a few bad experiences on flights then my fear of flying began and I reached the point where I did not want to fly. I clung to my seat during the flight and I couldn’t stand up as I was convinced the aircraft would lose balance if I walked around on it. Every time the plane touched down at its destination it felt like a crazy miracle and I had been saved!! This for me seemed rediculous as I will go to theme parks, water rafting and boats / trains do not make me uncomfortable in the least. Being that travel is my favourite thing in life, this was a problem I had to solve.

I read books and purchased hypnosis DVDs. The two main things I took from this was that the noises you hear during take off and landing are perfectly normal, as are strange movements of the flaps off the wing etc. There is no such thing as an ‘air pocket’, if the plane drops suddenly, this happens!! Just relax. For me, understanding HOW the aircraft actually lifts off the ground and into the sky was the best way to calm my fear. I have studied the basics of aerodynamics during my lifetime, none of which could offer me any real comfort. For me, the best ‘scientific’ explaination I could find to understand how flying works was this simple paragraph;

Imagine you are driving in a car, either as the driver or passenger, and you are travelling at a very high speed. Pop your arm out of the window and make no effort to hold the tone in your arm, just relax it. You will find that the air will actually hold your arm up whilst you are in motion.’

Go ahead, try it, it works! You obviously have to be travelling at a certain speed for it to work. This is how pilots determine how fast an aircraft needs to be travelling down a runway before it can lift off, just down to the size and weight of the plane.

This next bit may sounds rediculous but what I did next to help my fear was accept that a plane crash may happen to me. The fear of it happening was causing me far too much anxiety when weighed up the realistic and highly unlikely possibility of this event ever happening to me. Once I accepted a crash was possible, it no longer seemed like a terrifying omen. Also, working in the Ambulance service and being in the face of death on a regular basis stops it being so scary.

Something to bear in mind if and when anxiety kicks in is that your fear of flying is irrational. In fact, any fear of anything is irrational. In this instance it is literally the fight AND flight syndrome.

The final and by far, the best thing I did in combatting my fear of flying was to book a flight to Australia and South East Asia, by myself. Facing the fear really did help me in this sense. Travelling alone makes you more independent and your inner child gets tucked away.

Give these a try for yourself if you, too struggle with this fear! 🙂

*SECRETS OF THE TRAVEL TRADE* – tips on how to find and book the best and cheapest flights (from an insider!)

Cuddle Your Globe

Here I am revealing the top secrets of the travel agent / airline ticket industry. I hope you find this useful when you come to purchase your flights!

There are three different types of airlines:- Charter, Budget (low cost) and Scheduled airlines.

Charter flights are usually operated by a package holiday operator and operate a slightly flexible schedule; usually seasonally / once a week e.g, and include the likes of Thomson, Thomas Cook and Monarch and are aimed at holidaymakers.

Budget, or Low Cost flights operate usually a bit more frequently but can still be seasonal (depending on destination) and include Ryanair, Easyjet, Wizz Air, Jet Blue or Virgin Australia etc. They are no frills and low cost and you have to pay for lots of hidden extras such as airport check in and hold luggage.

The third type of flight is scheduled flights; these are the main carriers who…

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Well Done to The Best City in the World 2015!!!

A big congratulations to the worlds best city 2015 after also winning last year, voted by tourists for Travel + Leisure magazine…. Kyoto in Japan. Japan is on most people’s top ten list of places to see during their lifetime, but what is so great about Kyoto that has topped the likes of New York City, Barcelona, Siem Reap, Cape Town and Dubai??

Could it be the wildly colourful gardens scattered all over the place with impossibly beautiful plants?

Could it be the artistic and quirky architecture and buildings this incredible city has to offer?

Or perhaps it could be the abundance of stunning Buddhist temples, shrines and palaces that scatter Kyoto that attract tourists to this vibrant city?

Kyoto once was the Capital city of Japan and the temples and gardens that remain today were once owned by aristocrats and emperors. Some you can actually explore today, although sadly many have been destroyed over the centuries. If you are doing a whistle stop tour of this fabulous city, there are bicycle and walking tours, cooking classes, Nijo castle, many many shops and restaurants, Geisha girls for entertainment, markets and food tours.

Kyoto has just gone to the top of my list!!

#TravelLeisure  #travel  #bestcity2015  #ttot

Luxury Swish Thailand! This perfect itinerary is more than reasonably priced

This place is utter paradise, even in the rain.

Chaweng Beach, Koh Samui

Lush, green, exotic. If you haven’t been to Asia before and are a little frightened by a culture shock, I really do recommend Thailand for the first time experience of Asia.The beauty with Thailand is that if you want it to overwhelm or underwhelm you, it will. You can play it safe or live on the edge. Bangkok is one of the most eye opening cities I have visited and loved it so much I have returned twice. It will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but you do not have to stay in Bangkok, you can travel onward to one of Thailand’s abundance of stunning beach resorts or islands.

My favourite visit to Thailand is when I really loosened the purse strings and splashed out on luxury accommodation. It didn’t cost much more than a bog standard trip to London and yet the whole experience was out of this world. If you have never been to Thailand or want to go back and have a few quid to throw at it, I really suggest trying out the trip I did and loved every second of…

I spent my first two nights in Bangkok at the Lebua hotel http://www.lebua.com/state-tower/ I am quite happy to say that I am fussy about hotels when I am spending a lot. This one did not disappoint. The welcome was superb, it is an all suite hotel and the rooms are outrageous. Being one of the tallest buildings in Bangkok meant the views from the superb balcony over the city and river were second to none.

View from the balcony at the Lebua State Towers Hotel Suites, Bangkok

They have a cocktail lounge with an outside terrace that gives the empire state building a run for its money. Be prepared to spend upwards of £15 for a drink here though, for Thailand it is very expensive. This hotel actually featured in the second hangover film and I’m not surprised, it is a treat for the most discerning of travellers; it really is exquisite. My friend and I rocked up to the hotel in a tuk tuk whilst everybody else had mercedes and limosines, it really was quite amusing. Once I entered the reception in shorts and flip flops I felt slightly out of place. It was nice to dress up for a couple of days and live the high life.

I will never forget my first trip to the famous patpong market in Bangkok which is home to many many stalls selling genuine authentic fake sunglasses, bags and bric-a-brac. Its bubbly and vibrant and oozes with go-go girl bars and the ping pong show if you are brave enough to watch – I will say no more about this 😉 The shopping and culture of Bangkok is fantastic and exciting. There are heaps of museums and temples to check out. I probably wouldn’t recommend the zoo / tiger temple –  I hear the animals are heavily sedated and not the best treated in the world. But hey, if you can prove me wrong then great.

Patpong market, Bangkok

The ultimate highlight of this trip laid a one hour flight south of Bangkok – Koh Samui Island. I spent the rest of my trip here and happily could have stayed forever. The most beautiful white sandy beaches, day trips galore and cuisine to tickle the taste buds of an angel. Personally, I love Thai food anyway but the options in Koh Samui are fab.

If you prefer a quiet relaxing and chilled out holiday or honeymoon, then Lamai or Bo Phut may be more idyllic. I wanted to stay in Chaweng but not right in the heart of it as it can be very touristy. I booked a hotel which looked nice but did not expect to be as blown away as I was. The service and the rooms were incredible, possibly the nicest accommodation I have ever experienced. The whole hotel resort was exceptionally stunning and right on the beach in a fairly quiet spot, just a ten minute walk from the centre of town with its bustle of shops, bars and restaurants.

The Kandaburi hotel, Koh Samui
Inside the Deluxe Hillside room
Evening at the hotel

The best day trip from here was to the elephant trekking at Namuang waterfalls. The elephants were well looked after and had plenty of space, shelter, shade and water. The trek takes you through the waters and through the jungle and lasts around an hour. It was an amazing day trip

Namuang Waterfalls, Koh Samui

The hotel I stayed at in Koh Samui was called the Kandaburi Resort and Spa and can be found on this website – http://www.katagroup.com

I believe it may only be rated 4* but I have sure as hell stayed in apparent 5* hotels that did not touch on the standard of this hotel in any way.

What I wouldn’t give to go back and re-live this journey. If you decide to follow this or a similar itinerary, I will be both very pleased for you and very envious.

Thailand is beautiful, both inside and out.

For more stories or tips, please follow me.

@cuddleyourglobe

facebook.com/cuddleyourglobe

#ttot

Swish Thailand! Where to stay in luxury Thailand…

Paradise, even in the rain.

Lush, green, exotic. If you haven’t been to Asia before and are a little frightened by a culture shock, I really do recommend Thailand for the first time experience of Asia.The beauty with Thailand is that if you want it to overwhelm or underwhelm you, it will. You can play it safe or live on the edge. Bangkok is one of the most eye opening cities I have visited and loved it so much I have returned twice. It will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but you do not have to stay in Bangkok, you can fly onward to one of Thailand’s abundance of stunning beach resorts or islands

My favourite visit to Thailand is when I really loosened the purse strings and splashed out on luxury accommodation. It didn’t cost much more than a bog standard trip to London and yet the whole experience was out of this world. If you have never been to Thailand or want to go back and have a few quid to throw at it, I really suggest trying out the trip I did and loved every second of…

I spent my first two nights in Bangkok at the Lebua hotel http://www.lebua.com/state-tower/ I am quite happy to say that I am fussy about hotels when I am spending a lot. This one did not disappoint. The welcome was superb, it is an all suite hotel and the rooms are outrageous. Being one of the tallest buildings in Bangkok meant the views from the superb balcony over the city and river were second to none.

They have a cocktail lounge with an outside terrace that gives the empire state building a run for its money. Be prepared to spend upwards of £15 for a drink here though, for Thailand it is very expensive. This hotel actually featured in the second hangover film and I’m not surprised, it is a treat for the most particular of travelers; it really is exquisite. My friend and I  bawled up to the hotel in a tuk tuk whilst everybody else had mercedes and limosines, it really was quite amusing. Once I entered the reception in shorts and flip flops I felt slightly out of place. It was nice to dress up for a couple of days and live the high life.

I will never forget my first trip to the famous patpong market in Bangkok which is home to many many stalls selling genuine authentic fake sunglasses, bags and bric-a-brac. Its bubbly and vibrant and oozes with go-go girl bars and the ping pong show if you are brave enough to watch – I will say no more about this 😉 The shopping and culture of Bangkok is fantastic and exciting. There are heaps of museums and temples to check out. I probably wouldn’t recommend the zoo / tiger temple –  I hear the animals are heavily sedated and not the best treated in the world. But hey, if you can prove me wrong then great.

The ultimate highlight of this trip laid a one hour flight south of Bangkok – Koh Samui Island. I spent the rest of my trip here and happily could have stayed forever. The most beautiful white sandy beaches, day trips galore and cuisine to tickle the taste buds of an angel. Personally, I love Thai food anyway but the options in Koh Samui are fab.

If you prefer a quiet relaxing and chilled out holiday or honeymoon, then Lamai or Bo Phut may be more idyllic. I wanted to stay in Chaweng but not right in the heart of it as it can be very touristy. I booked a hotel which looked nice but did not expect to be as blown away as I was. The service and the rooms were incredible, possibly the nicest accommodation I have ever experienced. The whole hotel resort was exceptionally stunning and right on the beach in a fairly quiet spot, just a ten minute walk from the centre of town with its bustle of shops, bars and restaurants.

The best day trip from here was to the elephant trekking at Namuang waterfalls. The elephants were well looked after and had plenty of space, shelter, shade and water. The trek takes you through the waters and through the jungle and lasts around an hour. It was an amazing day trip

The hotel I stayed at in Koh Samui was called the Kandaburi Resort and Spa and can be found on this website – http://www.katagroup.com/ I believe it may only be rated 4* but I have sure as hell stayed in apparent 5* hotels that did not touch on the standard of this hotel in any way.

What I wouldn’t give to go back and re-live this journey. If you decide to follow this or a similar itinerary, I will be both very pleased for you and very envious.

Thailand is beautiful, both inside and out.

@louise_franc

#ttot

Why do we travel?

Why do we travel?

We spend more on travel than perhaps on a vehicle. I for one could have bought a house with the amount of money I have spent on travelling. Security at airports creates anxiety in nearly all of us and as you come through the customs clearance you are certain that they will think you are a terrorist. The flights are long and uncomfortable and you have potentially days of jet lag to look forward to, even once you have arrived at your destination.

So why do we travel?

Purchasing ‘travel’ seems obscure. It’s one of the very few times in life when you hand over a large amount of money and afterwards have absolutely nothing physical to show for it, except for a slightly faded tan or perhaps an injury from skiing.

So why do we travel?

People have all kinds of reasons to travel. An opportunity to recreate a new version of yourself in a land far, far away. To recover from a broken heart. To make new friends. To fantasise about starting a new life over somewhere completely different where nobody knows you and the trip is just a taster of how this life could be. To emerge yourself in a new culture with new things to see. To simply complete your travel ‘to-do list’. To run away.

I am guilty of all of the above reasons to travel, and many more. I desire and crave visiting new and foreign lands.

Why do you travel?

@louise_franc