Paris guide for the ordinary traveler

Wanderlust Wonderland brings you: a travel guide for ordinary travelers, with must-sees, tips and tricks and the most delicious food, for ordinary travelers, like you and me.

Paris, city of love, I realized I hadn’t written a travel guide for the city yet. I’ve been there a couple of times and I have a kind of love/hate relationship with the city. When going there, I’m always excited to be there but usually the city feels crowded and I’ve had some bad experiences with food in the city. But it really has it’s highlights and great food and it’s certainly a city that should be on your bucketlist. If only for the higlights and the art museums.

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The 12 steps to plan a perfect journey

I love planning. I really do. Planning a trip, for me, is almost as much fun as the trip itself. The anticipation, thinking about what you’re going to do, where you’ll stay, how to travel. I really love it. Usually, I plan short trips, a week max, and pick one or two cities that we’ll visit. It’s easy planning. Decide on a city, pick a hotel and then find out what kind of activities you want to do when you’re there. A bigger trip, like a honeymoon, however, requires a lot more work. So I made a step to step guide on how to plan a perfect journey.

This is not the first time I’m planning a trip of this scale. We had planned to visit Iceland in 2020 and, with some input of the Boyfriend, of course, I planned the entire route, chose hotels and B&B’s, and made a considerable list of things we wanted to see. The journey would have been amazing. Of course, covid hit, so we couldn’t actually do it, but the plans are still there, waiting for us to finally go.

Before we do that, I have to plan a wedding AND a honeymoon. In some earlier posts I already talked about finding the perfect location. This is the first step:

Step one

Deciding where you want to go is obviously the first step. If you decide on a small citytrip, the planning phase is easy, but if you’ll want a longer, extended vacation where you’ll visit several cities and landmarks, the first thing you’ll have to do is pick a country. For our honeymoon, we are going to Australia. Step one complete!

For me, Lonely Planet’s Honeymoon Handbook helped a lot in picking a location. This book is specific to Honeymoons but there are many, many, MANY other books to help you find the perfect location for your journey.

Step two

Decide on which area of the country you’ll want to visit. When planning the trip to Iceland, we decided that we wanted to see everything. Which is possible, as it’s not that big a country. For Australia, however, if you want to visit everything, you’re gonna need months instead of weeks. As I’m pretty sure my boss wouldn’t allow me to go away for months, we had to make some decisions on what areas we wanted to visit.

I asked around on Instagram what we definitely should visit, googled and looked through some books. Me and the Boyfriend made an excel sheet with all the areas in Australia and jotted down all the cool places I had come across. Two areas had the longest lists, so the decision to visit those two was easily made. For us this was Queensland and Sydney & New South Wales.

Step three

Pick a begin and end for your trip. All the places in between, you can look at later, but it’s important to set a beginning and an end, so you can buy your plane tickets early (which most of the times means they’ll be cheaper). The easiest way is to put all the places you wanted to visit in google maps, and let google plan your route. You’ll easily see a begin and end point.

Step four

Now is the time to fill in the spaces in between. I always buy a Lonely Planet or another guide of the area I’m visiting and then just read a lot and write down all the places I want to visit. Do some thorough research so you won’t miss a thing.

Step five

Turn on notification on flight tickets. If you know where you’re starting and where you’ll be going home again, find airports in the area and turn on notifications so you’ll get a message when the flight tickets are cheap. If you want to go by car, boat or train, of course you can skip this step and just buy the tickets as soon as possible, as they will probably get more expensive the longer you wait.

I haven’t used a flight deal alert yet, but I’m going to do it for Australia, as the tickets are usually quite pricey. I found a blogpost with a list of ten websites that offer these alerts.

Step 6

Decide on transport. You know where you’re going, how you’re going to get there and where you want to go. But how are going to get around in the country? If you want to go by train, buy tickets early, as they’re cheaper the sooner you book. If you want to fly, use the flight deal alerts. If you want to rent a car or a van, do this early too, and make sure you google what kind of car you’ll need. For instance, if you’re going to Iceland, you are going to need a fourwheeldrive.

Step 7

Decide what you want to do, fill in the details. You know the cities and you know your route. This is the time to find museums, galleries, theme parks, theatres, parks, landmarks, anything you like. Make a planning for what you want to do in each city. Check out the best restaurants and find what the specialties of the country are.

Step 8

If you know what you want to do in each city, you can decide how much time you want to spend everywhere and make a thorough time planning. You can also decide to wing it, just have a list of things you’ll want to do and a couple of days in each city, and decide what you’re going to do when if you’re there.

Step 9

Find hotels and B&Bs and other accomodations you want to stay in, and book them, unless you are winging it, of course, as per the previous step. I’m always a fan of booking.com, as you can book now and only pay the hotels when you get there, so you don’t have to spend all your money at once.

Step 10

Buy tickets to museums and other places you want to visit, for faster entrance and sometimes it’s cheaper too. For a lot of countries, buying your tickets beforehand is mandatory because of covid.

Step 11

Check what else you’re gonna need. Do you need vaccinations? A covid passport or health app? If you want to go diving, do you need a diving license? If you’re gonna drive, now is also the time to see what the rules are, and what to look out for.

Step 12

Last one! Get insurance. You don’t want your trip to be cancelled and leaving you penniless.

So that’s it. Your 12 step list to your perfect journey.

Nice Guide for Ordinary Travelers

Wanderlust Wonderland brings you: a travel guide for ordinary travelers, with must-sees, tips and tricks and the most delicious food, for ordinary travelers, like you and me.

I fell in love with Nice the first time I was there. Only fifteen years old on a schooltrip I didn’t even want to be on. But the blue sea stole my heart and I’ve been longing to go back ever since. It’s a beautiful, luxurious place that will steal the heart of every traveler.

When to go

Whatever you do, do NOT go in peak season. In summer the place is crowded and it’s too warm to do anything. Avoid visiting in July or August but go in spring or autumn. It will still be warm and it will be way less crowded.

In february/march the annual Carnaval is held and the city will be very crowded then too. It’s one of the highlights of the city so it’s a good reason for visiting. If you’re not interested, however, avoid these months too or check the website to see when exactly the carnaval is being held.

The same goes for the Tour de France in June/July which somethings goes through the city. Check the website to see if the cyclists go through Nice or not and plan your trip accordingly.

Highlights

  • The Promenade des Anglais is one you can’t miss. It’s one of the highlights but also the main road alongside the beach. Take a walk on the Promenade, smell the sea and take a picture with the #Ilovenice sign if you want to be a true tourist
  • The beach itself has to be on your list as well.
  • Nice has several museums that are worth a visit, most highlighted one is Musée Matisse where you can learn more about the artist’s life and work
  • The old city center, or Vieux Nice is another place you can’t miss

Must do

  • Explore Cimiez hill and spend some quiet time in the Monastery gardens
  • Relax and enjoy your time in the city. Visit a bakery in the morning and buy all sorts of yummy buns, bread and macarons and enjoy a lovely picnic or breakfast while looking out to sea
  • Take your time, wander around and get lost. The city is not in a hurry, so why should you be?
  • See Nice at night and see how it lights up

Must eat

  • Eat the best icecream at Fenocchio
  • Have dinner at Cafe de la Place Garibaldi
  • You’re in France so you should enjoy the food! Try macarons, baguettes, croissants and all the other delicacies France is famous for. And don’t forget the wine!
  • What better place to try Salade Niçoise than in the city it came from?

Tips

  • Remember, the beach in Nice doesn’t have sand, it has pebbles. And if you’re not used to them, they will hurt your feet (and legs and knees). If you wanna go for a swim, bring watershoes or buy them somewhere in the city.
  • If you’re venturing out at night, check to see opening times before you walk through fences. They might very well be closed and then you’ll be locked in…

The Traveling Bookworm

  • Virginia Johnson – Travels through the French riviera
  • Jo Thomas – Escape to the French Farmhouse
  • Emma Donoghue – Akin

5 things you’ll need for the ultimate roadtrip

This summer, it’s getting more and more probable that we will be able to travel again. I couldn’t be happier! I already booked my trip, and if you have been reading this blog, you’ll probably now where I am going!

We opted to drive this time instead of going by airplane. We’re not vaccinated yet and not sure how safe the planes will be, and of course there’s the ecological argument to be made. Plus, it seemed like a fun idea to do a roadtrip! Time for a list of the 5 things you’ll need if you want to have an awesome roadtrip!

Something to listen to

Of course you’re gonna need great music when you’re going on a roadtrip. The best choice is music you can sing along to. Time will fly by if you’re singing from the top of your lungs for a couple of hours. But after a while you’re throat is probably gonna hurt and you’ll also probably don’t want to make a roadtrip playlist that’s seventeen hours long. Try to combine this: listen to music for a few hours, then a podcast or an audiobook. Find something everyone in the car will enjoy. I have some tips for great podcasts if you like. Besides podcasts, audiobooks are a must. Find a book that’s read by someone with a great voice, something that isn’t too distracting. Storytel is a great app with tons of audiobooks. Make sure to choose and download one or a few audiobooks before you hit the road, same goes for podcasts, because you don’t want to use up all of your data.

Audiobooks in the car aren’t for everyone. Some find them too distracting. Of course, the driver has to be comfortable enough to listen to the book and keep their eyes on the road. Some tips that might help with finding the perfect roadtrip-audiobook:

  • Look for a book in a language you prefer. I always listen to English books, and never Dutch ones, as the Dutch ones tend to go too slow for me.
  • Try to avoid accents. If you have to concentrate too hard on the accent to decipher the words, it’s probably a bad idea to use it in the car
  • Find a book that’s enjoyable to everyone, and try to pick something simple. Of course, if you’re driving for 18 hours it might be a good way to finally listen to some classic literature, like Ulysses or Anna Karenina, but if the book is too literary, you might get distracted. Of course, if you’re into it, it could also be a good conversation starter for when you don’t want to listen to something for a while.
  • Listen to a preview of the book before you start driving to make its a good fit, and have a couple of alternatives.

Food

What kind of food you wanna bring on a roadtrip, is based on your own preferences. But there must be food, otherwise it would be a very boring roadtrip. Choose something that’s easy to eat while driving, and that won’t crumble too much. Having to first vacuum your car when you’ve arrived on your destination because it’s covered in melted chocolate or crisps crumbles, is no fun. If you’re driving in the full sun, maybe chocolate isn’t the best choice. If you have the space, put a cooler in the back, so you can keep your food fresh.

I’ve heard people say they boil eggs before they go on a roadtrip so they will have some easy food to fill their stomachs. Personally, I find it a little weird, but to each their own.

Don’t forget drinks! Buy something you like, or just drink water to keep you hydrated.

My favourite roadtrip food:

  • Skittles or M&M’s
  • Finger sandwiches
  • Cookies
  • Gummy bears, winegums, Redband

A car picnic also sounds like fun. I saw this in the Netflix show Ginny & Georgia and I immediately put it on the list for our next roadtrip. Just fill up a picnic basket (or the cooler you put in the back of the car) with sandwiches, donuts, cookies, fruit and other yummy food and whenever you feel like lunch, find a nice spot, park, go outside (or inside the car) and have a picnic!

Lastly, don’t forget to bring a trash bag. You can easily throw it out whenever you go for gas or when you’ve arrived at your destination. This way you’ll keep the car and the road clean.

Comfort & Clean

If you’re gonna drive for long periods of time, it’s important to stay comfortable. Save your fancy shoes, dresses and suits for when you’ve arrived at your destination, and go for comfort in the car. Sturdy shoes for driving, comfortable loose trousers and a comfy sweater. Bring a blanket for if it gets cold.

At some point, you’re gonna have to go to the bathroom. And as far as I’ve seen, side-of-the-road toilets aren’t the cleanest. Sometimes they don’t even have seats. So make sure to pack wet wipes and hand sanitizer to keep yourself clean. A roll of toilet paper also couldn’t hurt.

Games

So far, you’re comfortable, well-fed and you have music, podcasts and audiobooks to listen to. But still, being on the road can get boring, even with the loveliest of company. Why not play some games?

There’s the obvious ‘I spy’, but pointing out red cars can get boring easily. We usually play the alphabet game to pass the time. Name a subject, any subject, and take turns saying something with the next letter of the alphabet. You could do tv-shows, movies, books, but also ‘things you definitely do not want to put on your pizza’ or ‘things I would love to see on the road’.

Another one is the licence plate sandwich game. Try to make sandwiches with the letters on licence plates you see. For instance, if you have ** GTO * you could make a sandwich with gelato, tomato and onions.

You could also do 21 questions, word association or would you rather.

Country specific necessities

Google this prior to your trip if you’re driving to or through another country. Sometimes certain items are obligatory to carry with you in the car. For instance, for Germany and France you’ll need a special milieu sticker on your window and for France you’ll also have to have two alcohol tests in your car. Google this beforehand and make sure you get the items on time.

Happy roadtripping!

Disneyland Guide for the Ordinary Traveler

Wanderlust Wonderland brings you: a travel guide for ordinary travelers, with must-sees, tips and tricks and the most delicious food, for ordinary travelers, like you and me.

Two weeks ago I shared a travel guide to Paris, but what is Paris without a visit to Disneyland? You could easily take a trainride from the city to the amusement park to spend a day there, or rather stay a couple of days in the happiest place on earth. I asked my sister-in-law, Suzanne, who is the biggest Disneyland fan I know, about the best places to eat, to stay, and tips and tricks.

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The Netherlands guide for the Ordinary Traveler

Wanderlust Wonderland brings you: a travel guide for ordinary travelers, with must-sees, tips and tricks and the most delicious food, for ordinary travelers, like you and me. 

Thanks to the corona virus, traveling is getting harder and harder. But to look at the bright side of things, because I couldn’t go far, I decided to travel around for a bit in my own country and I have discovered some wonderful new places! I have shared a lot of them with you already and it’s now time for an overview. A travel guide for the Netherlands!

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Travel Guide to Tulip Season

Wanderlust Wonderland brings you: a travel guide for ordinary travelers, with must-sees, tips and tricks and the most delicious food, for ordinary travelers, like you and me.

Tulips is one of the things The Netherlands is famous for, and lots of tourists come in just to see the endless fields of color. Time for a travel guide on the how, when and where of the Dutch tulips!

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Utrecht guide for ordinary travelers

Wanderlust Wonderland brings you: a travel guide for ordinary travelers, with must-sees, tips and tricks and the most delicious food, for ordinary travelers, like you and me.

My favourite city in the Netherlands is Utrecht. It’s a charming city that feels very homey. It has all the highlights Amsterdam has, but it is less crowded and feels more comfortable, if you ask me. In this post I want to show you all of my favourite places in Utrecht!

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Florence Guide for the Ordinary Traveler

Wanderlust Wonderland brings you: a travel guide for ordinary travelers, with must-sees, tips and tricks and the most delicious food, for ordinary travelers, like you and me.

I fell in love with Florence the first second I layed eyes on the city. There’s just something magical about it. The gorgeous architecture, the amazing food, the gardens and museums that you just don’t want to leave… Time for some recommendations of the city, time for a guide to Florence!

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