Glastonbury

If this year was anything like the past 5, I’d currently be gearing myself up for another weekend on Worth Farm, currently packing up my car to make the journey to Pilton, Somerset. But, as this year there isn’t a Glastonbury festival, I’ve decided to fill the five-day-filthy-extravaganza shared hole in my life by summing up my love for the place.

Yes, it was expensive. And yes, it will make you feel like a zombie for a solid few days afterwards. But is it worth it? Oh Yes.

I have been lucky enough to have 5 beautiful years at Worthy Farm – and I find it hard to pick my favourite year. I’ve been through rain, sunshine, mud, dust, thick and thin, but every year is perfect.

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I’m certainly not an expert like most Glastonbury veterans who’ve been going for actual decades but I’ve been enough to know my fair share of experiences, and still feel like I have so much left to see (figuratively and literally – the place is huge).

If you’re planning on going to Glastonbury next year – or any festival – your experience is entirely down to the people you’re with. Luckily I go with a lovely, large group of people who I’ve been going with since my first year, and the group has grown as each year rolls around. In addition to the people you’re with, there’s also an atmosphere about the place that makes even strangers welcoming, chatty and just up for a laugh.

We’ve met so many people throughout the years, whether the people manning the food stalls who just fancy a chat, or random strangers who come to help pull you out of the mud – everyone is in it together, and it feels like the happiest place on earth.

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The best bit about Glastonbury is that’s it’s so well known for being so iconic that it attracts the biggest and the best stars. There’s so many stages, and also the added excitement of surprise acts added at the last minute – last year’s was The Killers. Even if you turn up and you don’t fancy seeing any of the headliners on the main stages (and it’s happened to me before) it doesn’t mean you won’t have anything to watch – there are hundreds of other stages, bars and cafes that have lots more to offer – there’s even a circus and a cinema tent.

Another reason I feel Glastonbury stands out from other festivals is it’s one of the only festivals I know of where you can bring your only alcohol in, which you can carry around and enjoy everywhere. When your alcohol is sorted, that means you can turn to the important part – the food. Every 5 years I’ve been I’ve discovered a new favourite – this years was a halloumi, chorizo, guacamole burrito that I am still thinking of. Other than that memorable burrito, I also visit The Garlic Farm every year, and am working out a way that I can visit the actual farm on the Isle of Wight.

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When the music is over you then have the nightlife, which is just as varied and extensive as the range of music tents available. Because Glastonbury is just so big, there is a vast amount of bars, clubs, silent discos or just spots to sit back and share a few drinks with your pals.

If you want to go to the big one – Shangri-La – prepare yourself for the trek there, and to see a lot when you get there. It’s hard to describe the experience of seeing it, but there’s a lot to do and see when you arrive.

It’s hard to properly sum up my love for Glastonbury, but it’s a festival that holds a little place in my heart. It’s more than just a festival – and it costs and feels like the equivalent of a mini holiday – and it’s one that I hope I’ll be able to visit many times over into the future.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my latest post – more posts will be coming weekly, but in the meantime check out my Grundy Travels Instagram for the latest updates!

Thanks for reading x

My Top 5 Travel Mistakes

It won’t be a surprise to any of you that I am absolutely in love with travel. I love planning trips, shopping around for great travel deals, holiday shopping, packing and then obviously – the actual travelling itself. However, I am certainly no travel expert and I have made mistakes many times.

I was thinking about this recently and it lead me down this train of thought – what mistakes I’ve made in my travelling adventures and what I have learnt from it. As much as I’d love to claim I’m an expert in travel, and nothing has ever gone wrong, I’d be completely lying to you – I’ve made many a mistake, and I wanted to explore that more here, to see what I’ve done and how I’ve learnt from it. So without further ado, I’ve rounded up 5 of my top mistakes in travel to explore what I’ve learnt and what I’d do again…

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Following the ‘gram

This is the number one thing I am guilty of throughout my travels – ‘doing it for the gram’. As I run this travel blog and my GrundyTravels Instagram, I’m always searching for the best spots, restaurants and bars when I travel to a new location, but I have definitely been guilty of taking it too far sometimes. Sometimes you don’t need to hunt down the nearest rainbow doughnut or private speak-easy bar, and it can be exhausting and expensive trying to do things on holiday just for the pictures – and frankly it takes the joy out of it a bit.

Although, saying this, sometimes it really has worked in my favour using Instagram to plan a holiday – as I wrote about here – as it can help you discover places that you might not see in a guide book. It’s also a great way to discover new blogs, travel bloggers and destinations. When I start planning a new holiday I always head to Instagram to get a feel for the place, even when searching hotels, as it can provide a different perspective to their official photos.

Say this, there are so many occasions where off-the-cuff, random discoveries have proved just as good – even better than what I’ve pre-planned using Instagram. Overall, I’ve learnt that a holiday needs to involve equal parts Insta-inspo and also time to look away from the small screen and at my surroundings. Some of the best moments happen when you least expect them, and they don’t always need to have their picture taken!

Trying to over-pack

This is certainly something I’ve refined in recent years with my hand luggage, but I feel like when I have the option for luggage in the hold I tend to go gung-ho and pack every possible item of clothing I might want to wear.

It’s funny as my friends have made fun of how little my cabin luggage is, but don’t be deceived, when I have luggage to go in the hold I tend to go crazy and pack too much, and it ends up being heavier than those that have bigger suitcases than mine. However, it hits me every time I get to my destination and unzip my case – I really don’t need all that I’ve packed.

I think it’s partially the unnecessary FOMO of getting somewhere and wishing that you had packed that one thing you left behind. But I’ve learnt over the years that the majority of what I’ve packed lays at the bottom of my suitcase whilst I gravitate to my favorites and contemplate how many days use in a row I can get out of them. To be honest it’s a mistake I keep making, but in my 3 week trip I’ll be making to Australia next year, I’m really going to refine my options, I Promise!

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Admitting That a Holiday Isn’t That Great

This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, and something I’ve seen others discussing too – the reality of a trip behind the glossy filter. Sometimes it’s easy to see people on their travels, exploring the world and looking like they’re having the best time, but we all really know that this can’t be the case the whole time.

Everyone’s had their low points on trips, it’s just not something that people tend to share – or put on Instagram. We’ve all felt a bit nervous, a bit unsure, a bit ill even when we’re on our travels, and I think sometimes we – myself especially – need to be more honest about that.

One example I can think of is my trip to Marrakech 4 years ago, because now with reflection I can admit that I really didn’t have the best time. I became ill half way through the trip after eating a questionable meal, and I grew tired of constantly being followed by people offering directions and then demanding money even when we declined. I hate the feeling of unease, and we were constantly trying to dodge people in the marketplace who would try and pull us into their shops, or place chained-up monkeys onto our shoulders and demand money for a picture.

I know plenty of people have had enjoyable experiences there, and some parts of my trip were great, but I felt that when I returned I was too proud to admit I hadn’t had a great holiday. It’s fair enough – it’s embarassing to admit that the place you splashed a lot of cash on, and took all your gorgeous pics wasn’t actually as good as it appeared.

I completely understand why people would want to only show the good bits – but when it comes to travel blogging especially, I want to give my honest opinion about my travels to those attempting the same trip – it would be unfair for me to only post the good bits without warning about the not-so-good.

Over-Planning

This links in with the first point as the over-planning, saving locations on the ‘gram, plotting out maps and researching every possible hotel review is something I have done plenty of times. I’m not going to stop doing it anytime soon, as I absolutely love doing this when getting ready for a trip – and it helps build up the excitement, however I have been guilty of going OTT when it comes to planning every part of an upcoming holiday.

One thing I always think about in this regard is my interrailing trip 5 years ago – which we planned to perfectionI don’t regret it at all – it was a great trip and the over planning was necessary for us travel around Europe on the budget we were on. However, if money wasn’t an object I do believe the non-planning route to interrailing would’ve been incredible, just flying into a city and then deciding where to go on a whim and booking the hostels that day.

Essentially what I’ve learnt is, over-planning can be essential when helping to stick to a budget and it’s something I love doing to help build up the excitement for a holiday. However, a holiday shouldn’t be planning too much, as it can zap the fun out of it. It’s the same as the Instagram issue – I don’t want to waste a good holiday trying to fit in everything I’ve seen or read about being amazing. Sometimes a good time can be had if you just take it slow and do things on a whim.

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Not following the jet-lag rules

The three main things I’ve heard for following Jet lag rules are – no caffeine on the day of travel, no alcohol in the air and to arrange my sleeping pattern when flying long-haul. And have I ever followed them? NO.

Call it excitement, stupidity or just over-zealously taking all of the free wine when you’re on the plane, but I’ve never managed to follow the proper jet lag rules and I’ve always felt terrible for it. It’s something I like to think that one day I will follow – especially on my upcoming trip to Australia, but I really don’t know how well I’ll do.

What I’ve learnt is that it really does make a different when you do the time difference maths, and not to go absolutely crazy on the free drinks…

I hope you’ve enjoyed my latest post – more posts will be coming weekly, but in the meantime check out my Grundy Travels Instagram for the latest updates!

Thanks for reading x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paris: The Essentials

Bonjour! The next in my Essentials series is the little old city of lights/love – whichever you prefer. It’s a big city and there is a lot to fit in when you’re there, so I have listed the essentials for your trip, from how to get there, to what to do and eat when you’re there. SO l’escargot!!! Oh wait, sorry, LET’S GO…

Currency: Euros. As always, my recommendation for bank cards abroad would be Monzo as I think it has a really great exchange rate and is accepted mostly everywhere.

Getting There: If you want to travel via Eurostar, it’s only a 2 hour journey from London and Business Class or not it’s a really enjoyable experience! It lands you directly in the centre of Paris at the Gare du Nord, which is an advantage over flying in and then travelling in from the airport.

Saying that, you can often find really good deals on flights to Paris – and the flight time from London is tiny! Or, if you want to go full-on budget mode you can go via the Megabus, which is a hearty 7 hour drive from London Victoria station. I’ve done it before and managed to get through almost a whole book, so it has it’s advantages, but if you’re strapped for time maybe air/train would be best.

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Travelling Around: Some of the best parts of exploring Paris are seen by just walking around the Parisian streets, but it’s certainly a long way between the majority of the landmarks.

The subway/underground is a standard fee of 1.90€ a ride, however far you go, but you can buy a book of 10 tickets at the station which brings each ticket down to 1.45€ each, which is great if you definitely know you’re going to be taking that amount of trips throughout your trip.

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Dishes you needed to Eat:

Cheese

Sorry that’s a bit of a cliché from me but France is the cheese motherland after all. On our visit we had dinner at a cheese fondue restaurant, which was very, very cheesy, but if you pick pretty much anywhere to eat you’re bound to find a menu filled with warm, homely cheese & cream filled delights.

Snails

This may not be up there on the top of your list, but it has been something I’ve wanted to try for a while. In all truthfulness, they actually tasted alright, as I think they were smothered in garlic sauce. Once you get your head around the fact you’re chewing on a little garden snail, it’s actually quite tasty.

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Croissants

Also known as – my favourite little breakfast treats. Croissants can be found worldwide, but in Paris – and France especially – they just seem to taste that much better. Probably because of it’s butter content, but that’s absolutely fine with me.

Bits to see:

Eiffel Tower

The iconic staple to the Parisian Skyline is an essential when you’re visiting the City of Light. Prices start at 10€ to go up it, but that involves walking up to the second floor. If you want to go to the top you’r looking at forking out for a 25€, but at least you get to do it all in an elevator.

If you don’t fancy going up the tower then that’s absolutely fine – it’s still great to look at from down below. It’s surrounded by a large park which is perfect for chilling in when the weather is good. From 8pm the entire tower lights up for a 10 minutes sparkly display – and it really is magical to see.

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Champs-Élysées/Arc de Triomphe

Well renown – whether you’re a Tour de France fan or not, the Arc de Triomphe and the surrounding Champs-Élysées are worth a visit. You can visit the arc itself, and even pay to go up and visit for a view of the Paris skyline (but my motto is – if you can do it at a rooftop bar, then do it with a drink in your hand instead).

Do be aware that the Champs-Élysées is the touristy strip of Paris, with it’s designer shops and high-priced cafes, so take a stroll down there for the experience and for a bit of window shopping – but perhaps not for a bite to eat.

Louvre

Another iconic staple of Paris, the Louvre museum stands out – quite literally – from the ground. Home of the famous Mona Lisa, it’s a great way to spend an afternoon exploring the gallery, but tickets will cost you 15€ . If you don’t have the time – or the interest – it’s still good to go and take a look at the large prism popping out of the ground. The Louvre is also in front of some large Tuilerie gardens which are nice for a walk around.

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Sacré-Cœur

Worth the walk to visit Sacré-Cœur and the surrounding lanes for a great view across Paris and to also experience the little Parisian streets that surround it. You can enter for free and even climb up to the top – but be warned as it’s 300 steps and there’s no lift!

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If you have the time:

The Catacombs

Personally a visit idea that terrifies me – I don’t do that well in small spaces underground – but The Catacombs are an ancient, underground cemetery that runs underneath Paris. For 45 minutes you can take a tour around the rows of skulls –  if that’s your thing – at the cost of 13€. Maybe not for me though, you can find me back up on earth with a glass of vino instead.

Explore Montmarte

The hilly slopes of Montmarte are a treat to explore – personally I found them at their most enchanting early in the morning in the search for breakfast, before the city had properly woken up and the little streets were still sleepy and quiet. Alternatively, if you are around the area int he evening it’s also a hotspot for great restaurants and bars that won’t be as busy as the more central tourist traps.

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Palace of Versailles

This is for if you really have a few extra days in your trip, as the Palace of Versailles lies outside of Paris, but only a short train ride away. I’ve never been personally, but it’s on my bucket list, as the palace and it’s grounds look gorgeous. For a day pass you’re looking at spending 20€, but with that you get to explore the historical palace and it’s infamous gardens.

Disneyland

For those who are also a child at heart you can also find another world renown staple – Disneyland. To save on the extortionate prices of staying in the park you can just visit for the day and explore as you wish! It’s £56 for a day pass to one park, and £73 for access to both parks – if you can fit them all in one day! I’ve been before – when I was 8 years old – and I had the time of my life, but granted I wasn’t forking out for the high prices like my parents were so there’s that to bear in mind (p.s thanks Mum & Dad!)

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A Cruise on the Seine

Personally not a venture I’ve done myself, and I prefer to walk along the Seine by foot as there’s lots to take in and see on the way. But there are plenty of offers when visiting Paris to take a trip on a river cruise, and on a perfect, sunny day it sounds like a treat. A good bargain would be to pick up a hop-on-hop-off boat trip which can also help you get around Paris if you’re feet get a bit sore from the walking, and you can travel via a more scenic route!

Moulin Rouge

You won’t find me in line for a show at the Moulin Rouge personally, but it’s worth a trip (preferably on your way to Montmarte) to stop by and take a look at the famous red windmill.

If you’re planning on visiting Paris soon let me know in the comments! More posts in this Basics series will be coming soon, but in the meantime check out my Grundy Travels Instagram for the latest updates!

Thanks for reading x

How to Pack for a Beach Holday with only Hand Luggage

Guys, I don’t want to blow my own horn here, but if there’s one thing I believe I truly excel at, it’s packing a week’s worth of clothes into a hand luggage sized suitcase. If there’s one thing that goes hand-in-hand with budget holidays, it’s getting all your holiday belongings into a carry-on, and if you’re attempting it this Summer then I have some tips to help!

Bringing hand luggage on a beach holiday isn’t for everyone, and I completely understand – for a beach holiday you’ve got your beach towels, your inflatables, your cover-ups and then your evening wear. But I have a pretty shocking revelation here: You really don’t need to bring that much.

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Look, I’m a girl with a pretty big wardrobe, and every time a new holiday rolls around I want to pack it all in to bring with me, but the reality is when I do this I always gravitate towards my favourites and everything else I packed as a ‘just in case’ stays crumpled at the bottom of my suitcase.

Therefore throughout the years I’ve discovered how to condense all of my holiday essentials into a carry-on suitcase, and I have

Don’t pack a towel

To be fair this does depend on what your hotel provides, but even if you’re at the most budget hotel possible, or even an Airbnb, it’s likely you’ve been provided with towels. These are the main offenders for taking up the most room in a suitcase and taking them out of the equation opens you up to a lot more space.

If you’re uncomfortable using the hotels’ towels for the beach, then it’s also worth picking a beach towel up when you’re there. Why spend stupid money back home on a beach towel when you can wait until you’re out there and it’ll only be 5 euros for a beach towel – and you get a souvenir at the same time!

Don’t over do the shoes

As a big shoe-hoarder myself, this might sound like an annoying thing to say but if you’re planning on a sunny beach break you really don’t need that many shoes! Flip flops, sandals and maybe a pair of comfy trainers for the airport (which therefore don’t need to be packed) and you’re sorted! The great thing about them is they’re so light and small they barely take up any room in your suitcase.

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Don’t even bother with liquids

When I’m on a beach holiday there are two essentials I need with me – sun cream because helllloooo I turn into a lobster otherwise. And my shampoo and conditioner – because my thick, frizzy hair can’t handle one day of chlorine or ocean water before it turns to hay. Whilst I absolutely need to bring these both with me on holiday, I certainly don’t need to pack them in my hand luggage, as 100ml of either won’t get me very far.

Therefore I’d advise to not bother packing in the liquids like these – even if you don’t burn like me. It’s always worth waiting until the airport, once you’re through security and then picking up your essentials there. There’s always discounts and promotions on the Boots at an airport, and it’s always worth having a full size when you’re on holiday.

For the other liquids I use – like my makeup and skincare, I am a huge fan of hoarding all my old samples. I have quite a lot of miniatures for my normal Liz Earle skincare, and keep them stored up throughout the year so I can use them when I go abroad.

The Essentials

Now we’ve ruled out what’s pointless to bring with you – it’s time to outline the essentials. Now, I don’t know exactly what’s in your wardrobe, but below is my usual packing essentials list for a week on a sunny beach vacation:

  • 2 x Shorts: One Denim, One cotton
  • 2 x Skirts
  • 2 x Summer Dresses
  • 5 x Tops – T-shirts Camis etc A mixture for daytime and night
  • 3 x Shoes – Birkenstocks, Flip-Flops and trainers
  • 2 x Bikinis + 1 x Swimming Costume
  • 2 x Beach cover ups

Chuck in some PJs, hairbrush, phone charger and pants (essential) and you’re good to go.

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The Holy Grail

Always when travelling with only hand luggage, the best thing you can bring with you is a loose, fold-able tote bag. I personally love my Sezane tote bag as it was given to me free (!!) with another purchase, and plus it doubles up as a really nice Beach bag. It’s the best for when certain pesky (ahem) airlines won’t let you bring more than one cabin bag on board.

If this is the case, or you’re just not sure, you can bring along all your on-board items along in it, and if they turn their nose up at the sight of a roll-on suitcase and a bag, just take out your bits and carry them (passport, magazines etc) and once you’re on the plane you can unfold and refill. It’s pretty simple and no-one minds, it’s just a great way to get around the rule against two carry-on bags.

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I hope you enjoyed this post, and that it has helped some of you when packing for a holiday. Who needs hold luggage when you can save that extra £40 and spend it on your holiday! £40 worth of pina coladas? Count me in.

If you have any suggestions I might have missed please let me know in the comments, and in the meantime I’m still posting my holiday snapps on my Instagram at GrundyTravels

Thanks for reading x