Australia- The Series: The Journey

I have flown long haul quite a few times, but never as far as Australia so I was a little bit concerned about the flight.

Luckily for me I travelled with my sister who has been to Australia before and we knew where we want to fly from in the UK and where we wanted to land in Australia, so we could narrow down headlines.

We found good flights with KLM and Etihad, unfortunately due to some delays in the annual leave being approved at work (three weeks over christmas isn’t the easiest time to book off!) we lost the original price so they were now a little out of our range.

We did manage to find new flights- still with KLM and Etihad- but we just had an extra stop over in Amsterdam. On the way over this wasn’t too bad, but it was pretty miserable on the way home!

20th December-

As we were flying to Amsterdam we flew from Manchester Terminal 3 to begin with. Check in was REALLY SLOW for this, we were waiting a good hour or so. We were tired and hungry too so it seemed much worse that it was, we did have time to get breakfast in the end but we had to rush it through as we only had 30 minutes before we needed to board by the time we were checked in and through security.

We flew on a smaller KLM plane to Amsterdam- expected flight time was 2 hours but it only turned out to be an hour and 20 minutes. We slept the whole flight so don’t have much to say, but we were comfortable enough.

We had a short layover in Amsterdam, just long enough to grab some water and to wander over to our gate. Amsterdam Airport is easy enough to navigate, well sign posted and there were small luggage trolleys to help you along with your hand luggage.

We had been warned in Manchester that we were sitting next to each other for our next flight, it turns out that a lot of people had been sat apart. They think there had been some sort of check in error on their website. They couldn’t move our seats before the flight unfortunately but said we were welcome to ask the people next to us if they would switch, which we decided not to do in the end.

The expected flight time was 8 hours, but this turned out to be 6 hours and 10 minutes. Again we both slept most of the flight. This was a KLM plane and it was bigger for this flight and comfortable enough again. Something I did notice is that the stewards do not try to wake you for food and drinks services or leave you water. This isn’t a huge issue but I suggest taking a bottle of water for when you wake up or maybe asking a neighbour to wake you if you want to eat.

We had another short layover in Abu Dhabi, this airport is really manic. The walkways are quite narrow, especially if you have the little trolleys. We had to go through a mini security desk where they checked our bags for liquids etc.

Our next flight was on an Etihad plane, the expected flight time was 15 hour, but it was only 13 hours and 15 minutes. This plane was the most comfortable, but the flight was probably the most uncomfortable. The seats on the planes recline quite far back which is great if you’re laying back but not great for the person behind you! I personally don’t like to recline if there is somebody sat behind me so I had quite limited space for this flight. Service on the flight was quite good, one thing I did notice was that the seatbelt signs were switched on for the slightest amount of turbulence and the cabin crew would take their seats. Obviously you trust your crew when it comes to safety on board but it did mean that service was interrupted quite a lot, so I wished I had a bottle of water with me. Again Etihad crew don’t wake you for food so maybe ask whoever you’re travelling with to wake you. I was awake for one of the food services on this flight, there was a choice of three dishes (2 meat, 1 veggie) if you are a picky eater maybe ask for more details on what the meal actually is as the chicken meal was chicken curry which might not be to everybody’s taste. One thing I didn’t like about the service was that my meal was passed to me before my tray table was down and the stewards didn’t ask the passenger infront to sit his seat up for food, so I had to lean onto my neighbour to ask him to move forward before I could put my food down to start eating. I just found it a little odd as I’ve never flown with an airline that doesn’t ask passengers to sit up for food service. It was only a small issue, so didn’t affect the flight too much just unusual. Entertainment was great on the Etihad flight, it does shut off about half an hour before landing and there are a lot of announcements just before so don’t start watching anything around that time because you won’t have time to finish it!

Our flights from Brisbane to Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi to Amsterdam on the way home were Etihad flights. We were both so tired from our trip that we slept most of the flights (11/13 hours and 3/6 hours), we also had nobody behind us so we could recline which was great.

The only issue we had was with check in, even though we booked all of the flights together through the KLM site we could only check in for the KLM flights. Which meant we couldn’t check in for any of the flights on the way back. Luckily the airlines seated us together for 5/6 flights.

These flights were my first with both KLM and Etihad, I would definitely fly with KLM again. If I had a choice I would maybe choose Emirates over Etihad, but I would not rule out flying Etihad again.





Australia- The Series

I’ve been on my travels again! This time to Australia for Christmas and New Year

As with my other trips I’m going to do a series to go through where I went, what I did and what I thought.

Here is a quick run through of the itinerary to start off:

20th December- Leave England

21st December- Arrive in Australia

22nd-27th December- Airlie Beach

27th- 31st December- Melbourne

31st December- 5th January- Sydney

5th-8th January- Uluru/Ayers Rock

8th-13th January- Gold Coast

13th January- Leave Australia

14th January Arrive back in England

Keep checking back for the first in the series!


A Cheeky Weekend in Hamburg

If you’ve read a few of my other posts you will know that my Sister and I like to travel. This includes a cheeky weekend in Europe when we can get there.

A friend of mine also likes to try to get to Germany when she can since we went together in January 2016.

In  July 2017 we started planning a weekend in Europe and found flights for £9.99 each way! (Thank you very much Ryainair!) We flew out early morning on Thursday 10th August and flew home on the morning of Sunday 13th August- this worked out well because if you’ve been to Germany before you’ll know that not many places are open on Sundays.

We had planned to have a bit of an “Anti Stag Weekend”, where we planned to go somewhere in Europe, have a drink and a few late nights and come home tired. Hamburg is the perfect destination for this. We went as three girls and were definitely a rarity, with most of the tourists being male groups.

We knew what to expect from our stay and specifically planned to stay on the Reeperbahn to be near the nightlife, so the Brothels, strip clubs and sex shops were no surprise to us.

We got the train from the airport- usually the train is direct to the Reeperbahn but there was a powercut on the train lines which meant we had to change a few times and walk from the Landungsbruecke- its only a 10 minute walk if you do have to do this.

We stayed at the Alm Hostel right on the Reeperbahn, it’s a coupe of doors uo from McDonalds, and across from Schmidt if you’re struggling to find this. It’s relatively small and over a bar (just next door to Herzblut). Our room was on the top floor overlooking the Reeperbahn, it was functional, we had a locking door, two sets of bunk beds (which were comfortable enough) and bathroom. In short, we could shower and sleep here and it was safe. The major downfall of this place was that you couldn’t check in before 3pm, and there is nowhere to leave your luggage. There was a group of 10 or so of us waiting outside the bar by the time the guy arrived to open up the bar and even then he wasn’t going to check us in until somebody asked if we could get to our rooms. Then on check in we were told that we needed to pay for our booking in cash and that there was now way to pay via card. (I find this hard to believe given that this was a reservation and they would have taken payment from the card had we not showed uo for it) I had no issues with a further payment being taken however I did request a receipt just in case- you will need to ask for this and won’t be offered one. I wish I had known we needed to pay in cash beforehand as I would have taken more with me.

The room served us fine for our stay and we could sleep off our hangovers, but be prepared for noise. You are staying in a hostel above a bar on a busy street.

A few tips I picked up in Hamburg :

  • We struggled to find many places to sit down and eat, Herzblut serves good food but this does turn into a bar after a certain time so the music may pick up and the lights go out mid meal! There is also the Hard Rock Cafe down by Landungsbruecke.
  • There are plenty of places to grab snacks, Luculles does good late night Bratwurst, and there is a small Pizzeria on Hans-Albers Platz. There are also plenty of fast food options for a midnight meal after too much Astra!
  • Head to Friedrichstrasse (just off Hans-Albers Platz) for cheaper drinks and a more “local” vibe, as this is where the student bars are.
  • We struggled to find a supermarket when we first arrived (to grab water and beer and snacks) there is  a Pennymarkt near the KFC and an Aldi just down Taubenstrasse (about 2 minutes off the top of the Reeperbahn), along with a couple of bakeries.
  • Astra is the local beer, I don’t know what it is about this stuff but it gave me stinking hangovers. If you need a break from it the theatre bar and a few bars on the Lange Reihe serve Konig Pilsener, this comes from a city in Nordrhein Westfalen and is a bit less evil (in my humble opinion).
  • There is a huge homelessness problem in Hamburg, so be prepared to see homeless people. We didn’t have any trouble with anything but then we didn’t go out of our way to create it. On our last morning we handed over a bag of our plastic and glass bottles to a guy as they can return these for Pfand- a small deposit paid on the bottles- you receive credit vouchers for the supermarket in return. If you have a plastic bottle that you don’t plan on returning hand it over to somebody who might.
  • Schmidt is a good night when the live singer is on, go ahead and join in!
  • There was a mini event in the centre of the Reeperbahn while we were there with a little stage, bars and food stands. This is good fun if it is there while you are.

Our weekend in Hamburg was spent drinking and relaxing with friends, unfortunately we didn’t venture far off the Reeperbahn so I don’t feel like we saw much of Hamburg (the weather was pretty rotten while we were there too). If you’re looking for a weekend of drinking and laughs, I can recommend Hamburg!

If you have any recommendations for my next visit for things I missed, let me know!

Las Vegas, The Series: Plans for the next trip.

As my stay in Vegas was quite short this is going to be more a mini series, with this being the last installment.

This is just going to be an overview of what I would do for my next trip to Vegas, what I would change, what I would keep the same, why?


1. Wardrobe

Now I have been and experienced the weather and the walking I would make some big changes to my wardrobe. Some slightly warmer clothes for the evening would be a must, I’m not saying I need a winter coat, but maybe a pair of jeans in case the evening gets chillier and another jacket! Fewer dresses for sure as these were a total nightmare for me, I feel like I spent the whole time trying not to flash my knickers at strangers! And most defintiely a pair of proper shoes for walking around in the day in, I think my feet are still recovering over 6 months later!

2. Pre drinks

We bought some spirits in duty free at Gatwick airport as we’d heard they were really expensive to buy over there. Our taxi driver from the airport also offered to stop by a liquor store off the strip for us to buy something to save us some cash, so if you don’t get chance at the airport it might be worth asking if you can do this instead. This definitely paid off for us, as the spirits were at least twice the price we paid! We bought our mixers from the convenience stores and cooled them in the ice buckets in our room. It was nice to start the night a little earlier while you were getting ready and it meant you could have a nightcap before getting some rest!


3. Hotel

I loved the Luxor, and had absolutely no problem with it at all. It is at the end of the strip but it meant we had a quiet night’s sleep every night, but we were in the mix of it within 10 minutes. I would look into staying somewhere else for my next trip, only to experience somewhere else. Each hotel is so different to the next that it would almost be a waste to not see another one in the depth that we saw the Luxor. That being said if I stayed in the Luxor next time I wouldn’t be dissapointed. I didn’t have a single complaint.


4. Planning

I feel like the balance of planned trips to “free time” was just right for our trip. We had a few things planned that we knew we definitely wanted to do (Britney Spears, Celine Dion, Grand Canyon), but we left free time so we could book things whle we were there (Penn & Teller, Titanic Exhibition). We left time for Fremont St, The Strip in general and shopping. One thing I am really glad we did was shopped around for our Grand Canyon tour- I recommend the stand just inside the shopping centre by Planet Hollywood as they had a few different packages with different options. I do think having things planned before you go is good idea because you can base your time around them, but try not to book your time up completely and end up feeling like you missed out on some of the lesser known Gems (We loved the Piano Bar in Harrah’s which was loads of fun!)






Las Vegas: The Series. My Top 5.

Here are my top 5 from my time in Vegas. These are based on what I enjoyed the most and what I can remember!

Britney Spears

I may be a bit biased as Britney is a bit of a childhood hero, but Britney’s show was so good that we went to see it twice in one week! There’s no denying that the singing is not “100% live”- the songs are pre recorded and played as a backing track (along with the singing) but Brit knows how to put on a show! There’s a good mix of newer songs and classics and the staging is amazing. I can see why this show has been voted the best in Vegas.

Penn & Teller

This was a show I had wanted to see for a long time but when I looked into it, the dates I was in Vegas didn’t have any shows. Luckily some shows were announced and we managed to pick up some tickets from Tix 4 Tonight. This show was at the Rio and really intimate, while still having the larger scale tricks that they are known for. Obviously in true Penn & Teller style there were a few “hints” at some magician’s secrets too. Stick around after the show to catch up with both of them and if you’re lucky you’ll hear Teller speak!

Fremont Street

Here is where you want to go to see a good mix of “old style” downtown and modern day Vegas. The atmosphere here is fantastic and is something that needs to be experienced to understand. This is also the area to go for “serious gamblers” as well as somebody who is after a dabble on the penny slots (definitely more of my style of gambling!!). You’ve got bars and restaurants, tacky souvenir shops and convenience stores (that are cheaper than on the strip if you’re after beers or mixers to take back to your room). Check out the amazing street performers and if you’re brave enough give Slotzilla a go!

Bellagio Fountains

A Las Vegas staple! They’re regular, so check the timetable to see when they’ll be on and try to get yourself a good view. I would recommend trying to see them during the day and night to get the best of both shows. You wouldn’t think fountains dancing to a song could do this but they really do give you goosebumps! An added bonus of the fountains is that they are free, so perfect if you’re looking for something cheap to do or your budget is getting tight towards the end of your stay.

Celine Dion

This was a surprise for me as I definitely wouldn’t call myself a Celine fan! My sister wanted to see her as a “Vegas legend”, so we got ourselves tickets. We did sit in the “nosebleed” seats but we still had a really good view. one thing I can say for Celine, is that she is an extremely talented Lady, her vocals were absolutely flawless and she looked beautiful throughout the entire show. What surprised me is how well she connected with the audience, it felt very intimate despite the size of the venue and she spent a lot of time talking to the audience, talking about her family, her childhood, her husband and the meaning behind the songs she was singing.

There were honestly so many more things I could have chosen and choosing a top 5 was really difficult. I packed a lot into a week, but these were some of the stand out highlights!

If you think I missed anything, let me know in the comments!



Las Vegas: The Series Top Tips for surviving Vegas!

I have just about recovered from my week in Vegas and have a few tips to share with you for surviving Vegas. Some of these are things I did and some of these are things I WISH I did!


This seems so obvious because you should do this anywhere. Vegas is right in the middle of the desert, and even though I was fully aware of this before going and fully prepared to need extra hydration I was still surprised by HOW DRY Vegas was! I needed to drink so much more water than usual, my skin,my lips, my hair, even my nails were dry! Drinks lots and use a lot of moisturiser. Even when you escape the heat outside you’re still in Air Conditioned buildings which are just as drying. I live in England where A/C isn’t really needed so found the dryness very full on. I made sure I always had a bottle of water, lip balm and hand cream in my bag, as well as sun screen to top up through the day- this kept me hydrated enough until I got back to the room.

Suitable Clothes

I know a few people who have been to Vegas who all warned me how hot it was during the day here and to dress accordingly. Only one person told me it can get chilly at night- but she mentioned that she went in October. As I was travelling in May I took a light jacket but didn’t think I would need it. I was wrong, there were two nights when the wind was COLD and I was very thankful for the jacket. I suppose this is pretty standard “desert” weather and I wish I had maybe taken a pair of jeans for the evening in case of cooler weather! There was often a breeze right down the strip (both day and night) which was cooling in the day, but played havoc with dresses. Be wary of what you take because I had a few “Marilyn Monroe” incidents! Next time I would take fewer floaty dresses and more shorts!

Good Walking Shoes

This is sort of linked to taking Suitable clothes, but I made a mistake with the shoes I took with me! I read something this morning that said “everything looks closer than it is in Vegas” and it’s so true! I think because everything is so huge it looks close, but you don’t realise that it takes 10 minutes to get past each building! I took flip flops, two pairs of sandals and a pair of heels and my feet were in agony by the first night! The floor was burning my feet THROUGH the shoes and I desperately needed some support. I would definitely take a better pair of shoes to walk around during the day, something that offers at least some support. Hopefully it will save you ice baths for your feet and sleeping with them propped on pillows!

Use the Deuce/SDX

There are buses that run up and down the strip 24 hrs a day, the Deuce stops at each stop down the strip then goes all the way downtown to Fremont Street, the SDX runs late but not 24hrs, this goes up and down the strip (but doesn’t stop at every stop) as well as downtown, to the shopping outlets and to the Las Vegas sign (this is about a 15 minute walk past Mandalay Bay). I highly recommend this bus, its safe, clean and always runs, you can buy a 3 day pass for $20 (I think there is also a 5 days pass available), the passes are valid on the Deuce and the SDX. Taxi rides are really expensive up and down the strip ($20 from the Luxor to Caesers) so the bus is well worth the money!

Tix For Tonight

There are about ten stands for this company located up and down the strip as well as one on Fremont Street. They sell reduced tickets- usually for that night or the night after- to almost anything. You can get tickets to shows, attractions, excursions and dinners. We used Tix For Tonight to get tickets to the Titanic Exhibition in the Luxor (50% off), the Eiffel Tower at Paris ($8 off) and tickets to see Penn & Teller at the Rio (46% of) which also included transport from Harrah’s to the Rio. You can save some serious money here so check here before buying tickets to shows. We used the stand outside Planet Hollywood the most, but we did use stands by M&M World and the Linq too.

My Vegas Slots and My Vegas Blackjack

These are free apps to download onto your phone, you play either Blackjack or the Slots (this is really easy you just press a button) to win gold coins. The gold coins can then be used to redeem vouchers at any casino/hotel using the MLife reward system. You can get BOGOF buffet vouchers, free drinks, money off at Starbucks, show tickets or attraction tickets. This is a great way to save a little money, Vegas can get pretty expensive so every little helps! Something to be aware of which is buried deep in the Ts&Cs of this app is that if you have both apps your coins are combined (e.g. the coins shown at the top of your app are the combined total not what you have on each app) and you are only able to redeem 4 vouchers every 30 days, and the vouchers can only be redeemed while you are in Vegas as you need to go to an MLife desk (which are in the Casinos).

These were just a few things that I did or wish I did to make my stay in Vegas easier, cheaper or better. I hope these might be helpful to somebody who is going as I wish I’d seen some of these before I went. If you have any tips that you think I missed let me know becuase it would be good for me to know for my next trip!

Las Vegas: The Series

I got back from a week in Las Vegas last week and its safe to say I had an amazing time. I’ve spent the last week recovering and catching upon my missed sleep!

I had this trip booked a while and it took a fair amount of planning and organizing.

Like I did with Thailand, I’m going to do a mini series on my recent stay to share with you.