So a couple of weeks ago I did a really quick and last minute trip to Amsterdam. I saw some cheap tickets to take the ferry from Hull to Europoort with P&O ferries and just had to book it. I got the ferry from Hull in the evening and arrived in Europoort at about 7:30 and left again at 9pm. 12 hours may also be an over estimate of how long I actually had in Amsterdam but heres what I got up to while I was there.

Flower Market

When arriving in Amsterdam, two of the things I knew I wanted to see was both the flower market and the Iamsterdam sign. Since I didn’t have a lot of time I decided I was going to go see these things first.The flower market was so beautiful! They were little stalls on floating barges. Some of the stalls didn’t like people taking photos though so just make sure you check first.

Iamsterdam sign

The Iamsterdam sign was so busy. If you are wanting to try take photos it is mean’t to be a lot quieter first thing in the morning.

Iamsterdam sign

Shopping

I didn’t plan on spending as much time shopping as I did but the shopping in Amsterdam was great. They had everything from high street shops to luxury shops. Local markets and vintage shops. There was so much to look around. I will definitely be coming back but with more luggage space to put things in.

Canal cruise

A canal cruise wasn’t something I had really thought about doing before getting into the city. By the point of doing this, I didn’t actually have long until I had to leave and wanted to see as much of the city as possible which I thought this would allow me to do. Taking the canal cruise mean’t that I saw even more of the city as well as learn a lot of the history about Amsterdam that I didn’t know about. There were so many different tours to go for and most lasted for about an hour.

canal in amsterdam

Food

Oh my god the food in Amsterdam is incredible! I was only there for a few hours and I had so much food. Both fries and waffles.

Waffle

But the best thing I had was Dutch Pancakes from a place called Pancakes. They had so many different types of pancakes both Dutch and American to choose from. I had a banana and caramel dutch pancake. It’s a must place to go when visiting. I will definitely be going back to try some others next time I’m in Amsterdam.

Pancakes store front

Here are just some things I got up to while I was in Amsterdam. I will definitely be going back. And next time for a much longer time.

So 2017 unfortunately wasn’t a big year for travel for me. I took a couple of small trips but that was about it. However 2018 is going to hopefully be very different. 2017 was about saving and now I’m so excited to start making all my plans. So here are some of the places I’m hoping to go or do over the next year.

2018 travel goals

Go to some countries in Eastern Europe

So I’ve never been to anywhere in eastern Europe. So next year I’m hoping to go to a couple. I’m hoping to do this by going interrailing. Which takes me to my next goal.

Go Interrailling

So I’ve wanted to go interrailing for quite a long time. Partially because I think it’s a great way to see lots of different places in a short amount of time and also because I hate flying so it’ll be nice to go around by land. I’m hoping to do this around summertime next year.

Go to Canada

So this is somewhere I’ve not been that interested in visiting before but I’ve been spending so much time on pinterest and it looks beautiful. I’ve also never been to North America so it will be a new continent for me. I’m hoping to visit towards the end of next year.

See more of the UK

I’ve only ever been to Wales once, I’ve never been to Northern Ireland. So next year I’m hoping to see more of the UK. Maybe go to some more cites in England or Wales but I’m not sure yet. Hopefully I will get to new cites in the UK every so often so I can see more.

Volunteer

I really want to do some kind of volunteering. I’m not sure it will be the one on my bucket list which is to volunteer with Elephants at the Elephant nature Park or some kind of other volunteering somewhere else.

 

Hopefully this time next year I can look back at this list and hopefully say I have done at least half of these things.

So this week I went on a mini break to Dublin, Ireland. This is the first time I’ve ever been to Ireland and it didn’t disappoint! I had such a good time even though I wasn’t there for long. I stayed in the Issac Hostel. Here are some of the things I got up to while I was away in Dublin.

Trinity College Dublin

Outside trinity college, Dublin

Trinity College was so beautiful. I planned to see the Book of Kells but unfortunately it was closed for the few days I was there.

Grafton Street

Grafton Street

I also went shopping down Grafton Street. Dublin was such a good place for shopping if only I had more room to bring stuff back!

St Patrick’s Cathedral

St Patrick's cathedral Dublin

St Patrick’s Cathedral is the largest church in Ireland. It was built between 1191 and 1270 and is a must see when visiting Dublin. As well as St Patrick’s cathedral there is also another nearby cathedral of Christ Church Cathedral which is also worth a visit.

Temple Bar

Outside Temple bar

Before visiting Dublin everyone said that Temple Bar is worth a visit. Temple Bar is a great place to go during the day or the night and listen to some great live Irish music. Temple bar is expensive but is a must see! There are more pubs in Temple bar, lots with a great atmosphere and music.

St Stephen’s shopping centre is located at the top of Grafton street and is named after the close by St Stephen’s green. It’s currently decorated so nicely for Christmas.

The Spire

the spire

The Spire of Dublin which is also known as the monument of light. It’s 120 metres tall and is located on the same site as where the former Nelson’s pillar was. It is located on O’connell street.

river liffey

Guinness Storehouse

outside guinness storehouse

Now visiting the Guinness Storehouse was one of my favourite parts of my trip which surprised me. Even though I am not a fan it was a great place to visit which was really informative. As well as getting a free pint at the top in the Gravity bar where you could see the whole of Dublin from. It is definitely worth the visit.

 

Here are just some things I got up to on my mini break in Dublin.

Trying to find ways to travel for cheaper? Or even for longer without spending too much more money? Well to do this cutting down accommodation costs could be the easiest and simplest way too cut costs. So here are some of the easiest ways to cut costs and find cheaper accommodation.

laptop and daily planner

Hostels

Hostels are one for the best ways to cut costs with accommodation.Hostels are so much cheaper than hotel rooms. And normally the bigger the dorm the cheaper the cost of the hostel. One of my favourite sites to use is Hostelworld.

Couchsurfing

One of the best ways to findĀ freeĀ accommodation is by using sites such as couchsurfing. Couch surfing allows you to stay with locals and learn more about their culture. If you are concerned about staying at a strangers home you can look at reviews on their profile as well as different levels of verification.

Short term rents

If you are planning on staying in one place from one night to a few weeks Air Bnb may be a good choice. Not only will it give a homely feel but if you are staying for a week or more there is normally a discount which will help you save money over time. Air Bnb is likely to be cheaper than a hotel but more expensive than a hostel. However it depends on the level of luxury you like while travelling.

Stay mid week

If you have the opportunity too, try stay through the week and skip the weekend if you are only going away for a few days. This is likely to cut the costs of your accommodation as well as missing the busy periods.

Try not stay central

If you can or don’t need to stay in a central location, then staying slightly out of town can help you cut the costs of your accommodation as it will likely be cheaper. Places like Travelodge have places in and around cities.

 

Here are a few ways to cut costs and find cheaper accommodation.

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Sometimes when you are going somewhere new or don’t know the area very well tour operaters can be a good way to go. It makes travel simpler and takes all the stress out of planning. Group tours may also be the way to go if you are alone but aren’t ready to travel solo yet. As groups give you the opportunity to meet and be with other people which good be a good option for some people. There are many different tour companies you can choose from here are some of the best ones.

Best sites to find group tours

STA

Sta travel offer a wide range of tours covering all over the world for different lengths of time. If you go into one of the offices they can help you find a tour best suited for you. You can also find details of the tours and type of tour and accommodation for each online or in brochures as well. However sta’s tours are quite expensive compared to if you were going to buy yourself the same things online. But if you are wanting the security of being in a group and it all being organised it may still be worth it.

G Adventures

G adventures do tours all over including the polar regions ( which will now definitely be on my list of places to go). They also have different styles of trips including Active, Rail, Family 18 to 30 somethings and local living. I tried to look online to see if I could find anyone who had a bad experience and I look through loads of reviews and couldn’t even find one bad one. So surely thats a good sign!

Gecko Adventures

Gecko Adventures is a tour company catered for 18-29 year olds. They offer tours for small groups of people where you get to meet the locals.They also do trips to different festivals too such as the day of the dead festival and Canada winter festivals and others. Also if you are over 29 you can use there other tour company Intrepid.

Contiki

Contiki offer 300+ trips in over 6 continents and are exclusive to 18-35 year olds. They offer 8 different ways to travel including short trips and festivals, discoverer, high energy, in-depth explorer, independent insider, camping, sailing cruise and beach and winter and ski. You also get free time to do your own wandering. Contiki have a reputation for always partying so if that isn’t your thing then their tours may not be for you.

Topdeck

Top deck cover the majority of places however do not go to South America. There tours are mean’t to offer a fair amount of free time so that people are also able to explore on their own as well as in a group. They have over 40 years of experience as well as some award winning tours. They are also are mean’t to have passionate and knowledgeable crew on their tours.

 

Here are some of the most popular companies to go on travel tours with.