Solo travel ….. Top 5 tips

 

Ciao Ragazzi! Another travel post today I’m afraid, but I promise there will be more lifestyle posts coming later this week! (My week is jam-packed full of exciting bits and pieces).

Today’s post is all about solo travel and tips for surviving solo travel. Over the past year, I have slowly started to travel solo much more, I don’t always have someone to travel with and it’s having the ability to travel alone that helped to make my year abroad absolutely fabulous!

But, here they are my top five tips for solo travel! These tips are aimed at ‘newcomers,’ to solo travel, so enjoy and let me know about any future adventures!

Build yourself up – Not everyone can jump on a plane and go back packing around Thailand for a month alone, so build yourself up to it. Start by travelling on longer train journeys alone to visit friends and loved ones. Then amp it up, flights alone can be daunting, but on many flights I’ve chatted to people with similar plans as my own. Once you can do the bulk of the journey alone, you can sight-see around amazing places alone easily.

Hotels are Lonely – My first solo trip was to Turin (see a previous post for my 24 hours in Turin), and I found the whole experience daunting and lonely, and part of that is because I stayed in a hotel. Hotels mainly attract couples and families and on the whole don’t cater for solo travellers. Instead hostels and couch surfing are much more viable and lively options, where you will meet like minded people and make friends for life.

Keep Busy – keep the guidebook in hand and the town map in the other. Do some research about the place prior, have some destinations in mind. And within these destinations, take the tour option. There is nothing like having a guided tour and meeting like minded. I took a guided tour up Mt. Etna and met a lovely Brazilian woman who just loved to travel, but was one of the loveliest, chattiest woman I had  the privileged of meeting. Walking tours are also great for meeting people, as well as cooking classes an opportunity to sample local cuisine.

Look Online – Organisations will often posts meet ups ahead of time on social media sites, such as Facebook, it’s worth giving them a search, we went for a fantastic meet up in Venice! But, always be careful with these types of searches, stay in well lit and busy areas. Remember to balance fun with safety!

Be Brave – One of the hardest things for me was eating alone in restaurants and coffee shops. Arm yourself with notebooks, maps, books and maybe even a camera to look at photos, also try and go to busier places that have more noise, places that you feel more blended and relaxed, if you don’t fancy sticking out like a sore thumb.

Ciao for now,

Hope

Italy off the beaten track………Puglia

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Matera – Matera has recently been declared the European capital of culture. Matera is located in the province of Matera in a small canyon. In 1993 it was named a UNESCO world heritage site for its historical centre and Sassi (this also includes the park and Rupestian churches. Both trains and buses run daily to Matera from Bari, and other surrounding cities for the cost of about 8 euro return. Some of the top sites in Matera include: Sassi di Matera, the Old town and Cripta del Peccato Originale.

Alberobello – Is another unique site in the Apulia region of Italy. It is famous for its prehistoric Trulli buildings, the Trulli were also named a UNESCO site in 1996. And is again accessible via bus and train from bari for a similar return cost. Be sure to get lost looking around the Trullie buildings and be amazed by how unique they are!

Polignano A Mare – Is located in the province of Bari Italy. It is believed to be the ancient Greek town of Neopolis. And is home to both Greek and Roman ruins, as well as a gorgeous beach and cliff top views, I’d recommend heading there on a Sunny day and relaxing in the crystal clear waters!

Ostuni – Is located in the province of Brindisi. This particular town has been inhabited since the stone age by the Messepis – a pre classic tribe. It was then destroyed by hannibal during the Punic wars, and then rebuilt by the Greeks. The castle and city walls are from the medieval period and still remain even to this day.

Otranto – Is located in the province of lecce and dates back to the Greek and Roman times. Points of interest include: the cathedral of Otranto and

Castello Aragonese. It is slightly further away from the city of Bari and costs 21 euro return on the train.

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Top 5 tips for settling into a year abroad!

Ciao Ragazzi! Another travel post, in future I will try and balance the posts a bit better, but I am just in the travel writing mood of late! I am not sure if I have openly mentioned this yet, but I have just returned from the most wonderful year abroad possible. I won’t sugarcoat it, there are ups and downs believe me, but here are a few tips for those of you about to head overseas! I’m pretty sure these tips will be applicable to most countries, so enjoy!

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  1. Know where you’re going! Checked yourself into a hostel? Read the reviews! Be sure, you’ll be able to cope there for up to a week, finding the perfect apartment will take some time, so the last thing you’ll want is for homesickness to creep in and a bug to scuttle past all within the space of a minute!
  2. Get a Sim card Now! I held out on getting a sim card for a very long time, but during that first week you’ll be meeting loads of other Erasmus students, who will be constantly and inevitably asking for your number! If you’re on a budget though, Facebook and Whatsapp are great alternatives if you have unlimited WiFi like I do! I also upgraded networks to three, which allows you to use a phone abroad at no extra cost (check this applicable for your chosen country though!)
  3. Get out of your room. When I first arrived, I didn’t even think to check for Erasmus groups on Facebook and it wasn’t until a friend suggested looking, that I actually did. And believe me when I say – there are tons! So, run to the nearest social and meet people and spend those first few weeks involving yourself in everything, you’ll not only make friends, but some unforgettable memories.
  4. 4 knock on people’s doors! Chose halls instead of a tedious house hunt? I love living in halls, and have found it much more social than the apartment life. However, there are down days, when I feel lonely and homesick, so I simply knock on my friends doors, invite them round for a drink, anything. Friends are there to help and will most likely be feeling the same from time to time!
  5. Don’t Skype home! This was a fatal mistake that I made. I landed relatively late at night and was extremely homesick, so I did the only natural thing – I Skyped my Family. Whilst parents are known for giving sound pieces of advice (which mine did), it only made me cry more. Instead, leave it a few days, get settled then Skype, not only will you feel better, but your family will as well.

But above all, have fun, enjoy yourself the year will soon fly by and stay safe!

Hope

24 Hours in Turin

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How to get there:

Monarch airlines fly from Birmingham International to Turin, for as little as £30 one way.

What to do there?

Turin offers a wide range of touristic opportunities, most Brits venture there to do a bit of skiing and other such winter sports. Turin is surrounded by the western alpine arch. But, it is not just skiing that Turin has to offer, Turin also has a wealth of history.

One of Turin’s most famous attractions is the Holy Shroud of Turin. The Holy Shroud is a piece of linen cloth, which bares the image of a man, believed by many to be Jesus at the time of the crucifixion. The Holy Shroud is located in the Royal church of St. John the Baptist. This church is also near other famous locations, such as the Palentine Hills.

Not interested in religious history? Turin is also home to the UNESCO world heritage site, this particular site being the Royal House of Savoy, which became a UNESCO site in 1997.

Not a royalist either? Well Turin is also home to some rather interesting museums. The highlight being the Egyptian Museum of Turin, which is the biggest Egyptian collection of relics and artifacts outside of Cairo.

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What to eat/drink?

Like with the majority of Italy all and any cuisine is tantalizingly good; pizza, pasta and wine are all on offer in Turin. However, there are some local delicacies that are sure to get your taste-buds tingling. Furthermore, due to it’s close proximity to France, there is an obvious French influence over the cuisine. Be sure to try a Risotto, whilst you are there. And, for something sweet try the solid chocolate bread sticks ‘grissini,’ they are an absolute must.

Insider’s tip:

Metro tickets can be brought from most hostels, but each ticket will give you up to 90 minutes of use, which makes getting about quick and easy and affordable.

Ladies who Lunch

 

So, this is my first ‘daily life,’ blog. I don’t have an overly boring life, nor do I have an overly exciting, it’s just normal and normal is what I want to capture. This is essentially my space to chitchat about my normal daily life and exciting little tidbits – enjoy!

Well, first things first since being on my year abroad in Italy I have become somewhat more conscious about my personal appearance.Hence, a few cheeky splurges at Boots and Superdrug since my return! One of my ‘go to,’ make up brands, is No7, it’s high quality and cruelty free (an added bonus) and makes me feel a tincy bit more grown up inside.

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The above picture showcases some of my recent purchases and in some cases re-purchases!

The No7 Day Cream is a firm favourite of my make up routine (this is my third re-purchase this year!) it’s hypoallergenic and is for normal to dry skin.

The No7 stay perfect is also a re-purchase, I have extremely pale skin and find it really difficult to find a foundation base that doesn’t leave me looking like an orange. But, the No7 shade Calico is the perfect shade of pure whiteness, the stay perfect gives a nice even coverage and doesn’t break me out! I also enjoy going up to the No7 colour match service, the ladies behind there are always so helpful and approachable.

The next two products are a bit of a branch outwards for me, normally Barry M is my one stop nail polish shop. But, the No7 gel high shine makes me feel fabulous, it applies well and lasts a fair few days before chippping. The above nail polish is in the shade Bluebell. The lipstick is my first lipstick from no7 and I have to say I will not be going back to any other brand any time soon, it’s smooth and applies well. Again, here is the perfect opportunity to make use of the No7 perfect match service, today I picked up shade 555 – blushing tulip.

After my small splurge in boots – oops. I headed for my lunch date with my uni ladies! It was a wagamamas, yaki udon love in!

 

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