Tag Archive | travel tips

Express Barcelona

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Hey guys!

I thought I would put together a helpful and quick guide to all the things you need to know prior and during your stay in Barcelona- a favourite city of mine.

Airport to Barcelona city centre

This has got to be one of the most stressful parts of a journey. Upon exiting the airport, follow the crowd and signs to bus stop to the city. I used Aerobus. It’s located downstairs from the arrivals hall. When I was there, the ticket line for the vending machines were huge! You can pre-book tickets and also line up for the bus and pay at the front of the bus (but this is really slow). There are 4 stops towards the city-centre, so check the location of where you need to get off against these stops. For travellers, this is generally the last stop: Plaza Catalunya.

  • 35 minutes trip, buses running every 5 minutes and bus runs everyday all year round.
  • Tip: buy a return ticket when you first purchase as it’s cheaper than buying 2 single tickets.

Public transport around Barcelona

Barcelona has a brilliant metro system and if you’re just visiting the major sites, is the perfect way to get around. The city centre is also quite easy to navigate on-foot so be sure to check the location of your accommodation and what you wish to see during your time there. For visitors, there are 2 tickets that are always recommended again and again. The 10 pass ticket (€9.95) that allows travel for 10 trips on buses (excluding airport buses) or metro or day passes which offer unlimited travel for the duration of its validity (3, 4 or 5 days validity). Another option is the tourist travel pass which offers unlimited public transport use and also tickets to major sites.

Tickets to major sites

By major sites, I mean anything Gaudi related. You will need to pre-book these tickets in advance as the lines are not worth your precious holiday time! Each venue will have its own website so make sure you’re onto this ASAP as Barcelona is a very busy city and sessions can often be booked out.

To see what I got up to when I went to visit Barcelona click here.

Do you have any more quick tips for visitors to Barcelona? Leave them in the comments below!

-S.

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Chasing the Nobel Prize

  Being in science means that there are countless of Nobel Prize jokes going around so when I was in Scandinavia a few years ago, visiting every possible Nobel related venue was on my list of things to see (nerd alert). First stop was the Nobel Museum in Stockholm (picture 1). The museum is a […]

How not to see Oslo

I went to Oslo during my Scandinavian escapade and was only there for 4 days but let me share some lessons I have learnt in those 4 days about visiting Oslo that someone else might benefit from. Firstly, Oslo is not just known for being one of the World’s most expensive cities for no reason, it’s […]

Laundry tips on the road

Laundry on the road

There may come times when you’re on the road, hoteling and need to wash your clothes. Options become quite limited and paying for your laundry at the hotel can be quite expensive. Local laundromats are an option (a very tempting option if there’s a cafe attached while you wait) but if you’re after something cheap and easy, let me share with you a way!

I learnt this way after finding it on someone else’s blog (which i can’t remember now) and have used it MANY MANY times.

All you’ll need is a towel and some shampoo.

1. Put in the plug and fill the sink basin with water, add your clothes and shampoo. I would give it a whirl/clothes a rub and some turning for good measure.

2. You can now leave it in there for a while. A good way to set it up is to do this before you get into the shower (if you only have 1 towel).

3. Drain and rinse all your clothes.

4. Squeeze your clothes dry and then using your towel, wrap your clothes with the towel and keep squeezing to draw out more water.

5. Hang clothes with coat hangers, chairs, door knobs, heaters etc. Remember to hang your towel too.

Ta da. Fresh smelling clean-ish clothes at the cost of almost nothing.

Happy clothes washing.

-S.

Picture: Clothes being dried in Varanasi, India. Beautiful spectrum of colours and clothes lining the boardwalk along the Ganges.

Tips for travelling alone

On the road alone

The last few trips abroad I have taken alone and I’ve been asked a few times “ how do you do it? don’t you get anxious or afraid?”

Yes. If I’m going to a new country, anxiety levels are quite high and even in a city I’ve been to before, I’m still a tad anxious. This is because I feel like other cities that are not your own have a dynamic that you’re not familiar with and are unaware of and this brings uncertainty and anxiety. That’s not to say, I know my own city inside out and back to front but you know your trains lines, which streets/suburbs to avoid and the general geography of your own city.

I think the bottom line of traveling alone is being comfortable with yourself and trusting yourself and your own instincts.

It’s time out from your busy life, time to enjoy how your brain works (sorry, brain reference) and pushes your comfort zone on how comfortable you are about being with yourself. Watching a movie, eating at a cafe/restaurant or going to a bar alone are things that are usually associated activities you do with other people but if you want to see a movie or need to eat, you kind of just have to go at it alone don’t you? We’re all human.

Trust yourself. You know yourself better than anyone else. Your ability to quickly adapt to your new surroundings or your inner homing pigeon that gives you that feeling that maybe you’re on the metro heading the wrong way will surprise you. You just have to let yourself experience it, make mistakes and then get on the right metro again. No limbs lost, the world is still spinning.

People are also mostly genuinely nice. You’ve seen some shifty people around and can identify them. Scammers are out there just be aware. Most people will want to help you, let them. Ask for help when you need it. Trust your own judgement about the people you come across (and you will come across many people).

Being afraid and anxious is normal. The only way I’ve come to deal with this is to trust that I will survive and to just go with the flow.

-S.

Packing tips for India

Packing tips for India I would consider myself quite a semi glamourous packer. On almost every single trip I’ve always packed SOMETHING that I didn’t need or use and hope that one day, i will become a packing pro. I’d like to share with you some secret tips about packing for India that I was […]

India: to go or not to go?

To India? The decision to go to India was an easy one. This was a chance to see a completely different country and a culture that I was not familiar with at all. What comes to mind when you think of India? Poverty, tuk tuks, crazy driving, curry, blazing summers, bollywood & sari’s? You’re completely […]

10 things that happen to you in a country where you don’t speak the language

Here is my list of 10 things.

1. You don’t know what you’re buying at the supermarket. Sometimes, you can generally figure it out but other times, you either buy the wrong thing or something that you weren’t looking for.

2. You’re afraid a local will laugh at your silly question. I would suggest you ask anyway. Or end up lathering on body wash thinking that you’ve bought body cream.

3. You don’t know where you’re going. You have no idea which way is north or south, you swear your place of residence was around this corner and walking to main roads to see a street sign become routine.

3. Directions take 10x longer to figure out. Even if you do know where you’re going, the first time you take that route requires some research and memorization and even then, you may not make it without taking an extra 1/2hr detour.

4. You notice how many words you mispronounce with your ‘home’ accent. As an Australian, this is really noticeable due to us having our own special accent and our own set of words that no-one in the rest of the world uses.

5. You start to get upset or frustrated that you don’t know the local tongue and you stick out…..like a tourist.

6. Ordering food becomes challenging if there is only local language on the menu. Then you proceed to ask the waiter/waitress to translate every meal and its contents to you.

7. You are secretly on the look out for people who will ask you for directions and hope they don’t. Let’s be honest, you don’t even know where the street you’re on will take you.

8. You have mixed emotions when you over hear a conversation in your native language. Yes, I understand them and then No, i did not travel all this way to meet people from the same country as I.

9. You feel like a phoney when you start saying small phrases in the local language. Please do not engage in conversation with me because the extent of my knowledge of the local tongue does not extend past hello, good thank you and thank you.

10. You return home wanting to learn that local language. Then once you start, you come to realise that you don’t know anyone you can speak to on a daily basis to practise the language.

Do any of these happen to you too?

-S.

Things you learn from traveling solo that no-one tells you.

There are a heap of posts online about the benefits of traveling alone, what you learn when you travel alone and the disadvantages but here are some things that no-one tells you about traveling alone.

1. Going to the bathroom at airports is a pain because there is no-one to mind your luggage.
Some airport cubicles aren’t the most convenient places for sports bags, wheelie bags or big backpacks. The only place for them is on the floor and god-forbid if the floor isn’t exactly clean.

2. You have no-one to make comments to.
Did you see that, how funny was it? What does that even mean? These are cute shoes. That was so gross, are you grossed out too? Unfortunately this is the dialogue you will be having. To yourself.

3. You can’t fall asleep on public transport or airports.
You could but then you’d risk falling into deep sleep with no-one to wake you while you miss the flight, end up in a different country or have things stolen from you.

4. You become very accustomed to the interiors of a restaurant or cafe.
Dining alone is something that you will have to get use to but if you don’t want your head to be stuck into a book or technology, there is little left to entertain yourself with. Luckily for you, most places have interesting fit outs and if all else fails, waiters are pretty funny to watch.

5. You become good at taking selfies.
Sometimes, you just want a snap with something (or want to frame a picture a particular way) and the only way is to take it yourself.

6. In saying that, if you want someone else to take the picture, many people are often happy to help.
No promises on quality though.

7. You can’t check the exchange rates with someone.
Most of the time, I would’ve researched roughly what the exchange rate is so I can compute super long calculations in my head I’m ready to convert and buy if I need to but there have been times when I’ve arrived at an airport for a layover and all of a sudden “What is their currency even called?”

8. There is no-one to help you with luggage on trains.
If you’ve ever been on the train crossing countries or in winter near mountains, you’ll know that luggage space is scarce and snowboards/skis take up a lot of space. With ill placed bags (bottom of a luggage tower) or trapped behind skis and an impending train stop coming up, trying to get your luggage out alone is no easy feat. May the force be with you.

9. There is no-one to tell you immediately whether you’ve got food on your face.
Self explanatory.

10. You become very good at holding in fear (or not holding in fear).
Getting lost, getting lost at night & missing train stops seem to be less painful when you’re with someone.

What other things have you learnt that no-one told you about? I’d love to hear them!

-S.