If you are looking for something a bit different to do in London, we would definitely recommend a wine tasting experience. We had an entertaining and tipsy Saturday afternoon spent wine tasting at London’s Wine Cottage. The day was held at The Oval cricket ground which has been the home ground of Surrey County Cricket Club since it was opened in 1845.
We kicked our day off with tequila.. yes tequila! If you really want to let your hair down definitely go for it. You have the option to choose if you would like to have a session tequila tasting before the actual wine tasting and we chose to do just that lol.
Now, for the wines. We enjoyed luxury Wine, Champagne & Port, paired with Cheese and Truffles. Each wine complimented the cheeses so well and not forgetting the port and truffles. We drank Port from a chocolate cup which went down very well. The wines and port were finely selected by our wine connoisseurs. The wines are exclusively selected and imported directly from some of the best châteaux and award winning vineyards from around the world.
Our wine tasting experience was not only fun and entertaining. The day was also educational and informative. You will not only be leaving the venue tipsy, but with your new found wine knowledge you will become a wine connoisseur in your own right.
While much of the globe is currently on hold with travel restrictions being imposed following the coronavirus pandemic there has been no better time for us to make some personal finance changes so we can get back to globetrotting!
Are you planning a dream getaway, package holiday, a solo trip or a budget trip and are stuck on ways to save for your epic journey?
In this guide, you’ll find our simple and most effective tips to save for money and embark on your latest travel adventure.
By making small changes today, before you know it you’ll be on your next flight out on a dream holiday.
Before we get started there are a few things you must consider before you begin saving money for travel.
How much are you looking to save and what is your travel budget?
Do you have any outstanding debts?
Are you currently sticking to a budget?
Do you have any ways to make some extra money?
Paying off debt
Paying off any loans or credit cards are one of the first steps you can take to make your travel goals. By freeing yourself of debts gives you more control over your money. While it can be a long journey to be completely debt-free, once you reach that goal it will give you peace of mind.
One option for borrowers is to transfer your credit card debt to a 0% balance transfer credit card where you will not be charged any interest. For example, if you owe £2,000 on your card you’ll only have to pay off the balance only. It’s important to note that some providers charge a fee on balance transfers.
If you have debt on more than one credit card it is worth paying off the most expensive card first. If, for example, you owe £1,000 on a card charging 15% interest and another £1,000 on one charging 30% concentrate on the card charging 30% and pay as much as you can. But make sure you continue to pay the minimum amounts on both credit cards because any missed payments can negatively impact your credit score.
We would also recommend that you set up a direct debit payment for all your credit cards so that you never miss a payment.
Before you begin stashing away cash for your dream destination, it is important to set yourself a savings goal. Think about your budget and how much you will need for the trip and how much money you need to save.
Have a look at your finances by creating a spreadsheet where you can clearly see how much you earn each month and the amount you spend. Or you can download a free monthly budget app onto your phone which can track your spending habits. There are also various online calculators that can help you plan a budget.
Are there any areas where you can cut back spending or subscriptions you can cancel like your current gym membership?
Once you have decided how much you need to save set up a limited access savings account and automate payments into your holiday fund each month. This way you can commit to saving for your dream trip and by using a limited savings account you’ll be less tempted to dip into your travel fund.
Let’s imagine that your budget for your trip is £1,000 and you want to save up for your dream getaway in the next four, six or 12 months. Over the next four months you’ll need to save £250, over six months roughly around £167 and in 12 months £83.
By setting realistic money saving goals you will get closer to reaching your target.
Sell your stuff
It’s amazing the amount of things we accumulate over the years that we no longer use but hold on to for whatever reason. Unless it holds sentimental value to you just get rid of it!
There are numerous websites online where you can sell unwanted clothes, furniture or sports equipment online – pretty much anything! With sites like Ebay to Amazon and Depop there are easy ways to sell your old items and make some extra cash along the way.
If you have creative talents you could even turn your handcrafted unique pieces into cash by selling on Etsy. It’s a great way to turn your hobby into something profitable and have some extra funds to add to your travel account.
Start a side hustle
Being in lockdown has given many of us a lot of time on our hands to start being a bit more creative. Maybe you wanted to start a blog or write a book but there are many different opportunities to earn extra money if you have a full-time job.
Find a side hustle that could be working from home or a second job as an Uber or Amazon driver or you could set up an online business. It doesn’t have to be something that makes you loads of money. Just something to help boost your income.
Do some research and find something which matches your talents or skill set. By doing this it will be easier for you to reach your goals and make some extra money.
Watch your savings grow
It is not an easy task but with determination and discipline you can reach your travel savings goal in no time. Check your account every couple of months to see how you’re doing.
Set yourself small targets and treat yourself as you hit each milestone.
When you reach your goal for this year’s holiday, set a new higher target for next year – maybe you could increase the number of destinations that you visit and more holidays.
Do you have any other tips to help others save for travel. Let us know in the comments!
Amsterdam, The Netherlands capital and one of the world’s most multicultural cities. Home to painter Van Gogh and Anne Frank. Known for its historic canals, museums, coffee shops, narrow houses, cyclists, bike paths and not forgetting the red-light district. We have to say one of our favourite long weekends away was spent in this city. There is so much history in Amsterdam with the most stunning buildings.
Where to stay
We stayed at the Corendon Vitality Hotel which has easy transport links and is very handy when exploring Amsterdam. The rooms are small, cosy and chic, the hotel restaurant is based on the ground floor and serves a breakfast buffet, lunch and dinner with the chefs cooking in your eye view. Our favourite part of the Corendon is the spa. We enjoyed a 60-minute hot stone massage side by side which was so relaxing! We then took advantage of the sauna and steam room after our massage. The spa also has a chill out area that comes with cushioned lounge beds where you can enjoy a quick nap. To add the extra zen there’s mood lighting that creates a soothing tranquility effect. We honestly didn’t want to leave!
Things to do
Canal Cruise: We boarded the boat in the heart of the city and chose the cruise as it’s a nice way to see Amsterdam from the water. You are given disposable earphones when seated where you then sit back and listen to a recorded tour guide. Amsterdam is so picturesque the canals and bridges are so beautiful. We chose a great day for the cruise, the sun was shining which made the cruise that extra special. The cruise is a great way to learn about Amsterdam’s history. Some of the houses built alongside the canal were built during the Dutch Golden Age and there are different stop off points. We exited the boat outside Anne Frank’s house.
Anne Frank House: Located on the Prinsengracht canal in central Amsterdam stands the house of Anne Frank along with her family and four people who hid from the Nazi persecution during World War II. We booked tickets to visit Anne Frank’s House before we left London and highly recommend booking this way to prevent queuing for ages and to avoid disappointment. Anne Frank’s House should definitely be on your to do list. The museum is full of pictures of Anne, her family and the people who lived with them. You see quotations from Anne’s diary, family photographs and film images. It’s as if you’re stepping into her mind, everything she wrote, her thought’s and how she felt at that time was quoted in the museum. You will also see original objects belonging to those in hiding. It truly was a memorable part of our trip.
Ice Bar: We wanted to experience something a little different and one evening while walking along the streets of Amsterdam we came across Amsterdam’s Ice Bar. On arrival you are given three tokens where you can treat yourself to free drinks. There are two bars, the first bar called ‘the lounge’ where you sit and enjoy some music (in the warmth) whilst sipping on a cocktail. The Ice bar is located at the back of the lounge. Before entering the -10 degree bar you are given a thermal coat and gloves. It was all fun and games before we entered lol! The Ice bar is colourfully lit with an amazing ice sculptured bar made up of 60 tons of natural ice. Even the walls were made out of ice. When ordering your drink at the bar the glasses you drink out of are also made up of ice. Even down to the seats!
Supperclub: If you want a night out combined with good cuisine then look no further than Supperclub. When you arrive at the low-key venue be prepared to enter a night filled with magical festivities. It’s more than a restaurant but a place that will blow your mind from beginning until the end. On arrival guests have the option to dine at a table or can lounge on a crisp white bed and we opted for the latter. Kicking off your shoes you can lay back and await your seven-course meal before the entertainment begins. Another twist to the evening was all the dishes were a surprise, so you didn’t actually know what was on the menu. You have no idea what you are about to eat until you are served your meal. Be sure to wear your favourite socks when sat on the beds as you will be asked to remove your shoes. When booking the experience they do ask for your dietary requirements and allergies beforehand and will make a note on your reservation. The entertainment was stellar – from acrobats, to ballerinas and people in drag singing and dancing. To wrap up the evening there is an in-house DJ who keeps the night going well into the early hours.
A few days spent in the city of Las Vegas (pre-lockdown) was breathtaking. The city honestly felt like a different world! From bright lights, to fine dining, night life and great entertainment. We guarantee that there is never a dull moment when spent in Sin City.
So if you’re looking for some adventure where no two days are the same… look no further than Vegas baby!
Some people may believe that Las Vegas is just partying and gambling but this little Nevada city has so much more to offer.
Here’s our top places to visit for the ultimate girls trip to Las Vegas.
Welcome to Vegas!
You can’t start your trip without checking out the Welcome to Las Vegas sign. It’s the perfect selfie opportunity but be prepared to be met with crowds so get there early to get the best shot.
The sign is at the start of the 4.2 mile strip so be sure to get a drink, preferably a tequila cocktail and start exploring.
There is so much to see and do on the Las Vegas strip. We do recommend that you wear your comfy shoes before you begin sightseeing as it’s one heck of a trek! From gambling hotels to a variety of different restaurants and shops, the strip is lined with something different for everyone. Vegas is a great place to watch your favourite artists in concert – Caesars Palace and the MGM Grand are Vegas’ concert hotspots. You may even fancy seeing a circus act and we also recommend seeing the Bellagio fountains.
Where to stay
Las Vegas strip is known for providing a host of unique hotels, from Wynn, Excalibur Hotel and Casino and many more. We stayed at the Luxor Hotel and Casino which is shaped as an Egyptian pyramid. The hotel is named for the city of Luxor (ancient Thebes) in Egypt. It felt so surreal walking around the hotel, which is buzzing 24/7. If gambling’s your thing the Luxor has a 120,000-square-foot casino with over 2,000 slot machines and 87 table games. Luxor LasVegas includes bars, clubs, spas and restaurants. We had so much fun lounging at the outside pool which has four swimming pools and whirlpools and also has one of the largest pools in Las Vegas. The Luxor is so easy to get around and is connected to the Mandalay Bay hotel to the south and the Excalibur hotel to the north. All three hotels are connected by free express and local trams as well as walkways to get around.
The two of us love to eat out at restaurants and are keen dining-enthusiasts. We were only in Vegas for three days so we didn’t get to experience all the restaurants, but have picked out a couple of our favourites.
TAO: We are massive fans of TAO and was lucky enough to experience dining at TAO in Uptown New York City. TAO Las Vegas is just as good and is known for its unique ”fine dining” experience. If you enjoy Pan-Asian food then TAO is the restaurant for you. Located inside The Venetian hotel, Tao also has its own nightclub next door if you fancy it.
Hakkasan: This restaurant is an all time favourite of ours. The whole experience from when you enter Hakkasan is five-star, the whole vibe is just perfect. The lighting is dim which creates a peaceful atmosphere and when the smell of good food hits you, you know you are in for a great time. The different courses were so mouth-watering whilst washed down with great cocktails. We recommend Jasmine tea after your meal which is so refreshing and really helps the digestive system.
Things to do:
Bus Tour: There isn’t anything better than to spend the day sightseeing in Las Vegas. We did just that on the hop-on hop-off bus tour. We traveled through Downtown Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Strip, enjoying views from the upper deck of the open-top bus. We saw the iconic ‘A Little White Chapel’ that is famously known to be the site of many quick celebrity weddings. We saw the Harley Davidson Parking Lot, Circus Circus Hotel and decided to jump off at the Mob Museum.
The Mob Museum: We love museums and thought why not visit The Mob Museum when in Vegas. The museum is a history museum located in Downtown Las Vegas and is dedicated to featuring the artifacts, stories and history of organised crime in the United States.
The Chandelier Bar: This beautiful three-floor bar is surrounded by shimmering strands of around two million beaded crystals. We sat on the top floor taking in the scenery whilst enjoying a cocktail or two. The bar is located in the centre of The Cosmopolitan Hotel. If you are looking for a sophisticated evening decorated by shimmering lights then The Chandelier Bar should be on the top of your list.