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, 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.

3 Amsterdam-like cities to avoid the masses

When people think about the Netherlands, they think of Amsterdam. And it is a truly beautiful city. Most Dutch people I know, never visit the city much, because of how touristic it is. There are loads and loads of visitors every year, smoking weed, visiting the sex museum and cycling on the wrong side of the road. It’s a very popular city. But did you know there are actually a couple of cities that look a lot like Amsterdam, but are a whole lot less crowded? Here’s three Amsterdam-like cities in the Netherlands to avoid the masses!


Delft is a famous Dutch city that, just like the other cities in this blogpost, has the same canals and quaint little houses that Amsterdam does. It’s cute and pictoresque and easy to photograph without hundreds of other tourists! Make sure to check out the market square and the library.


A city famous for it’s cheese and cheese markets, Alkmaar is really lovely. It’s not too crowded, except in the summer and it’s close to Amsterdam. Don’t miss the cheese museum and markets.


My favourite city has to make the list: Utrecht. It’s what we Dutch would call gezellig, great for shopping, gaming in the arcade and it has the best pancakes in the country. Check out my city guide for all the highlights!

Car versus Plane: what’s the best way to travel?

Having gone to Nice twice in two months, it’s easy two compare the two trips. The second one was obviously better, as we had a lot more time to do what we wanted and not having to go back earlier for a funeral. But the trips also differed in means of transport. The first time we went, we drove, as we thought that would be cheaper (ha!), better for the environment and it would give us more freedom. The second time we knew what a roadtrip would actually cost and we wanted to spend as much time as we could in Nice, so we went by plane instead. Time to compare the two, which one is better?


Travel time: 14 hours (single trip)
Travel costs: €582,- (return)
Parking, gas, tollroads


Travel time: 2 hours (single trip)
Travel costs: €380,- (return for two people)
Flight tickets, parking at Schiphol airport

Driving by car is better for the environment and it gives you a whole lot of freedom to go at your own pace, stop wherever you want and take detours. It does take forever and is in no way cheaper than an airplane, especially if you’re driving through a country that has tollroads. A plane is quick and less expensive, but honestly a bit boring.

It’s about the journey, not the destination

Yeah, cheesy, I know. But it’s true enough for roadtrips. Planes are fine if you wanna get somewhere quick, or if you’re traveling to the other side of the world. But a roadtrip is so much more, see it as a part of your trip, and not only your way of transport. Pack the car with good food, good music and good people (the more the merrier, and the more, the cheaper in comparison to airplanes) and plan your route along the way.

When I first got my driver’s license, I felt so free. I knew I could go anywhere by car and the world opened up for me. I never actually did it, but the possibility was enough for me then. But this year we did it. And the south of France isn’t really that far, but it’s the furthest I ever drove. It was amazing: seeing the landscape and the vegetation change, driving through mountains, see the temperature rising on my dashboard. I was so happy, I cried. I have never felt more free in my life.

We didn’t have that much time but I did see so many stops where I would have loved to get out of the car, take pictures, walk around, smell the lavender. We drove through so many amazing cities, saw flower fields and castles at the side of the road. It was amazing.

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.


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.


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!

Guestpost: The do’s and don’ts of Wildlife Tourism

You probably have seen pictures of travellers taking selfies with tigers, swimming with dolphins or other animal related activities that seem super cool, but are actually awful extortions and abuse of the animals that are involved. We all know what kind of activities are too cruel (like bears ‘dancing’ or people standing on top of killer whales in Seaworld), but there are also a lot of activities that appear to be decent when they actually aren’t.

There are multiple organizations out there that portray themselves as animal sanctuaries, but that are actually in it for the money. For a lot of travelers, myself included, it is difficult to separate the real good-doing sanctuaries from the fake ones that actually abuse animals and make profit from it.

I was talking about this with my friend Adarshjit Das on Instagram. He is a researcher in Animal Behavior and Ecology in India, and he gave me some great insights on what to look for if you want to know what kind of organization you’ve encountered. I invited him today on Wanderlust Wonderland to talk about his work as a researcher and to give us a little bit more insight on how you can tell if an animal activity is a do or a don’t.

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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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Traveling during corona

Ciao! Right now, when I am writing this, I am in Rome having a fabulous time. I’m super grateful that the European borders have opened up, so that I can travel. I know most of you are still stuck in quarantine, and I can only say how much I am hoping that all of this will end quickly, so that everyone can go back to normal again.

Having said that, I also realize that there are lots of people out there wondering what life will be like after corona. What is gonna be our new normal? Especially during travels, what can we expect? With this post, I hope I can take away some of your worries or questions, sharing my own experiences traveling during covid19.

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Rule #1 is that you gotta have fun

You guys, I just discovered the BEST museum in the Netherlands! Put this on your bucketlist and book your flights to Amsterdam, because you will want to visit Wondr!

The world is opening up again, and I couldn’t be happier! From the beginning of this month, the museums, bars and restaurants have opened again, and from June fifteen, the Dutch border opens for European tourists (Except for Sweden and the UK, I’m sorry!). Time for a trip to Amsterdam!

I had discovered a new museum in Amsterdam just a few weeks prior to the quarantine, so when we heard the good news, I immediately bought tickets for opening day. And we had such an amazing time. Wondr Experience is a pop-up museum that is essentially an adult playground (no, not like that). I haven’t had this much fun in ages! Pools filled with marshmallows, rooms filled with confetti and glitter, walking through paintings. It’s the most playful museum I’ve ever been to!

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The anti-bucketlist

Today, something a little different. Normally I chatter to you about trips I took and trips I want to take, but today I want to shine a light on things that I don’t want to do, and neither should any other traveler. Activities that, unfortunately, are still popular with tourists, even if they are cruel and unneccessary. I’m talking about things like bullfighting, taking pictures with tigers or camelriding.

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