Top Hotel Deals
- World’s Best Winter Destinations
- The Ultimate Tel Aviv Food Guide
- Stay Healthy While Traveling
- Interview with Lauren Juliff and her Never Ending Footsteps
- Top 7 Travel Activities Around The World
- Best Markets Around The World
- Alternative Destinations in Europe
- Top 5 NYE Destinations
- Essential Travel Items
- Top 10 Most Naturally Dangerous Places in the World.
All Time Popular Posts
- Titanic facts (28,790)
- National Beer Brands Quiz (23,860)
- Worldwide greetings traditions (16,195)
- Most amazing hotel pools (14,480)
- Public transport in London (14,255)
- Ultimate Amsterdam Queen’s Day Guide (13,609)
- Top Paris Blogs: Get Inspired! (12,012)
- 10 things to do in Schiphol airport while waiting for a flight (11,609)
- Hidden tourist gems in Paris (11,413)
- 25 most beautiful fountains of the world (10,680)
TagsA-Z airport Amsterdam Amsterdam tips apps Bangkok Barcelona beach Berlin budget castles Christmas City Trips Dubai Dublin EasyToBook europe Festivals Funny Hong Kong hotel Informative Istanbul Local food London Madrid marathon market Milan museum New Years Eve New York Paris Quiz restaurant Rome Schiphol Shopping Guide Spain Sydney tips Top Blogs Travel Travel-Research Venice
Our main destinations
Find and follow us…
Subscribe to our feed
Tag Archives: Travel Guide
How many times have we told ourselves we need a trip? Either being for the purpose of unwinding, or just to take advantage of those extra vacation days we refuse to waste at home. We share the idea with our friends and/or spouse, but it seems everybody is too busy, consequently impeding your desired jaunt. Even worse, urging you to put your plans on hold until they are possibly… maybe on board.
It is almost impossible to sync our plans to other people’s priorities, and sometimes even when you find yourself a travel buddy, is it really worth it? The trip becomes an endless compromise battle. You start ruling out that modern art museum, because your buddy thinks he could have painted half of the exhibitions. You ditch your escargot tasting plans due to your friend’s rigorous McDonald’s diet. Instead of killing the person in your imagination, how about traveling solo?
The mystification of traveling solo is long overdue! ‘But I am a woman…its dangerous!’ ‘I am going to get so lonely!’ or ‘ I will look like a loser sitting in bars and restaurants all by myself!’ These affirmations usually put many of great expeditions on standby if not in its complete oblivion.
It’s time to do it! Put your excuses aside, take a pen and paper and start tracing the first of many solo traveling experiences. It’s addictive! There is no better place to self- analyze all of your irrational fears and maybe low self-esteem than picnicking in the shadow of the Eiffel tower.
Paris: A romantic first time
Paris is one of the most beautiful and/or romantic places in the world. How many times have we heard this sentence? I am afraid as cliché as it may sound; it is just the plain truth. Although people connect the statement to a loving partner, traveling alone to Paris could be that twist to your experience. Being able to either find love or fall in love with this city is something that can be read in numerous blogs online. It is a safe bet!
Step 1: Booking and arrangements
It is an essential yet fun task, which should commence as soon as your tickets’ confirmation is sent to your e-mail. This is my personal favorite, to study the city, to find things that interest YOU, foods, drinks, places YOU would like to experience… For heaven‘s sake you are alone! You can do whatever you want, whenever you want! You can splurge on a luxurious hotel, or book that little charming one of your preference. You can spend a whole day at the Louvre, or sleep in and then go market hunting at 2 PM. Paris is your canvas!
When planning a solo trip, it is important to do your homework before embarking. Spending a few evenings researching addresses of landmarks and emergencies numbers. It will come very handy, especially if the WiFi in your hotel room is not as good as you anticipated.
Make a list of attractions, directions, numbers, and tips you can easily find online about the city. Even if you are not going to follow it religiously, it’s better to be over prepared and slack off than slacking off and being overwhelmed.
Booking a proper hotel is one of the most important tasks, but it is also a fun part of the process. You will book the one that best attends to your personal preferences. Take time, read reviews, choose consciously and from there on you can enjoy without a worry. We have a wide selection, pick one and be happy!
Step 2: Sightseeing: It is not as scary as you think
The best way to sight-see when travelling alone is in group tours. Pick interesting ones and strike a conversation with your fellow rubbernecks, you will be surprised at how they crave for a nice conversation or an exchange of picture taking. If you hit it off, it could even lead to an invitation to this great wine bar friends told them about.
There are also places where you can have an introspective expedition or just some me time. You decide when you spent enough time with Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, Milon de Crotone or when it’s time for a café au lait break.
It is also a good idea to enroll yourself in culinary courses or group activities. These would be perfect ice breakers, and an opportunity to meet people from around the world as well as learning something local. You enjoy a nice meal, conversations, wine and laugh about your initial self-spelled loneliness curse.
Step 3: What mustn’t I see?
The real smart people are those who learn from other people’s mistakes. A nice idea would be to ask friends that have been to Paris to tell you places you should not waste your precious time on. This could be different for everyone, of course, but it comes very handy as you can spend your vacation doing only things that are worthwhile.
You are braver than you give yourself credit for. It is OK to feel lonely sometimes, to feel a bit scared sometimes, but the feeling of overcoming these feelings is something that will carry on for way longer than the date on your return ticket. Still in doubt? check many of the solo travelers’ blogs available online for inspiration, they will change your mind.
Pack your bags, put your brave face on and explore!
It is not an unusual scene to see tourists departing Amsterdam with another perception of the city. They come with thirsty eyes to see the XXX’s shops, the welcoming prostitutes on the red light district, dodgy coffeeshops, and the extreme parties that seem endless. Of course, these are few elements that differentiate Amsterdam from other cities around the world. But there is so much more to this city, that the best way to immerse in its culture is by eating, drinking, partying and enjoying it as a local.
As an expat in the city for 5 years, I have learned how to love it immensely. Every day I discover something new in this relatively small metropolis. It does not take a lot to adapt the city to your interests. Once you find your way around this canal-filled-spider web-shaped city, you will see why it is so beloved by many.
Stay as a local: Rent an apartment and bike
We all like the perks of staying on a nice hotel; warm breakfast waiting for you, spotlessly cleaned room whenever you get back from hardcore touristic expeditions, food at the press of a button… However, renting an apartment could be an exciting and inexpensive option to your visit. The advantages of renting an apartment are endless. Being able to go to supermarkets and buying ingredients to make a ‘hutspot’ for dinner, buying deliciously cheap French wine from the shelf of a supermarket, saying ‘goedemorgen’ to your smiling old neighbor and still being a short pedaling away from the city’s main attractions.
Sometimes it seems like cars are an obsolete mean of transportation in Amsterdam. While streets in the center are narrow and jamming, parking with unbelievably high rates, and traffic rules that are foreign to most foreigners… Biking is easy breezy, with paths throughout the whole city, free parking available on every corner and magical scenery on your way to anywhere. There are many bike rental places in the city with rates around €14 a day.
Shop as a local
Albert Heijn is the biggest chain of supermarkets in The Netherlands; they are basically in every corner of the country. They offer a large selection of products for a decent price, but you can also grocery shop at C1000, Jumbo or Dirk van den Broek which offer a slightly smaller selection, but relatively cheaper prices. If you are on a budget, it is a good idea to check Lidl and Aldi. These German global discount supermarkets offer a smaller selection of products of less known brands for a very cheap price. Not everything is worth buying, but if you are not too picky, you will do just fine shopping there.
Amsterdam also has very good street markets, replete with fresh vegetables, fruits, haring, stroopwafels and everything else you could imagine. The Albert Cuyp and Westerstraat markets are the most famous ones. They have steep prices for street markets, but you can find basically everything you are not looking for, from cheese to branded clothes. IJ Hallen is a very big flea market that happens in the north of Amsterdam once or twice a month. If you are good at bargaining or finding hidden treasures, this is the place for you. Entrance is €4.50 for adults and €2 for children.
Do not know where to find those everyday products for a cheap price? Hema is the answer! This shop sells anything and everything for very affordable prices. Before shopping, try their legendary hotdogs with sauce.
Tip 1: If you are vegetarian or like to eat only organic, you will enjoy shopping at Marqt. They are not everywhere and prices are relatively expensive, but their selection is incredible.
Tip 2: Locals usually re-use plastic bags, so when you leave grocery shopping for a second time, take the bags from your previous purchase. You will look cool and eco-friendly.
Wine and dine as a local
Amsterdam has an incredible variety of restaurants, bars, pubs and venues. You can find from expensive posh restaurants and bars to the most alternative, laid back, vegan-loving squat places. Locals are very loyal to their favorite spots; they go numerous times to the same place until they find their next favorite.
If you want to take an uncompromising taste at Dutch cuisine, you can visit the nearest Febo. It’s a place locals hate to love. They offer Dutch croquet, fries, hamburgers, fried chicken and many other dishes showcased in several little windows. You insert your coins, open the window and enjoy your snack.
In line with more budget conscious but tasty tips, you will find several delicious cheap restaurants:
Porto Carrara = Small Italian restaurant within a walking distance of Leidse square with charming outdoor seating, and an extensive €5 menu. I really recommend their Calzones!
MKZ and De Peper = Cheap and delicious vegan restaurants with three-course meals. They are very alternative restaurants, but with great atmosphere. Booking required.
La Place= It’s a self-service restaurant, with incredible options. They have amazing pizza, grilled salmon or steak, high quality burgers, Dutch pea soup and etc. I recommend visiting the one on the public library, take the escalators and explore this incredible building.
Van Kerkwijk= It does not look very promising from the outside, but it is a big hit among locals. They do not have a fixed menu and they do not take bookings. Get in early or wait with a drink, it is worth it.
If you are on a romantic getaway or willing to spend a little more, there are very good restaurants which will provide you with an amazing experience.
Osaka= This is an all-you-can-eat Japanese restaurant in the north of Amsterdam. The sushi is very good, and they prepare the meat right before your eyes. It’s the best value for your money sushi-wise.
Noorderlicht = It is a picturesque restaurant/bar also in the north of Amsterdam. The atmosphere is very unique, the soup is amazing and if you come on summer time they have live music at one the best terraces of Amsterdam.
Bird = Bird is one of the locals favorite Thai restaurants. The food is incredible and the decoration is very unique. The restaurant is located at Zeedijk, one of the liveliest areas of Amsterdam. I recommend their Pad Thai and a drink in one of the weird little bars around.
Canal Cruise dinner = Have an amazing three course dinner while sightseeing at night through Amsterdam’s beautiful canals. Prices are around €75 , but it’s worth every penny.
* If you want more tips, check part 2, and please share your own Amsterdam tips in the comments below!