Top 10 German Foods to try!

German food is rich, hearty and delicious and many top German dishes make great comfort food. After first visiting Germany in 2014 and then living there in 2015, I fell in love with a lot (all) of the delicious food on offer.
Each region has its own specialty dishes and variations, and although it is very popular, German cuisine is so much more than just sausage and meat.
If you are heading there for the first time here are 10 top German foods you have to try:

1. Currywurst 

Currywurst is probably at the top of everyone's list of German foods to try first, and I assure you it will not disappoint! Originating in Berlin, this popular fast food snack is a sliced Wurst (sausage) covered in a mix of ketchup and some curry powder.
It is traditionally accompanied by Pommes Frites (french fries) or a plain white bread roll. It's finger-licking good!

2. Brezel

Brezel are delicious soft, white pretzels and sprinkled with salt. It's great to eat as a side dish or snack, especially with a good German beer. You can find them in every bakery and on street stands, sold plain, sliced and buttered (Butterbrezel) or with slices of cold meats or cheese. My favourite are the Käze-Brezel (cheese pretzel).

3. Döner kebab

After beer, probably the one thing I miss the most about Germany are the döner kebabs.
Yes they are Turkish, but brought to Germany four decades ago - the döner is to Berlin what pizza is to New York: a transplanted food that has taken on a new life in its adopted land. Now, there is nothing more German than a big, fat juicy döner kebab. Perfect for a filling lunch or dinner, or commonly had as a street snack at 3 am after a big night out.

4. Schnitzel

Technically a national dish of Austria, Schnitzel has also been adopted into German cuisine.
The most famous version of Schnitzel is definitely the Wiener Schnitzel, which is a thinly sliced piece of veal-meat, crumbed and deep-fried until golden on the outside.
Also very tasty is the Schnitzel Wiener Art, which is basically the same but with pork meat. It usually comes served with a good portion of Pommes Frites and it is quite often the size of an entire plate itself!

5. Käsespatzle

One of the most famous German dishes, Spätzle, is completely vegetarian. These soft egg noodles are Germany's answer to pasta. It is especially popular in the south of Germany and considered a Swabian specialty associated with Baden-Württemberg (the state I lived in).
It is usually topped with a huge amount of cheese (Käse) with roasted onions for a little more flavour - it's truly delicious!

6. Schweinshaxe

Schweinshaxe is one of my favourite German meals to have - but if you're going to try it be sure to be very hungry first! This Bavarian specialty is a roasted ham hock or 'pork knuckle'. You can find it served in many traditional German pubs and it is a very hearty meal, usually served with Kartoffelkloesse (potato dumplings) and sauerkraut.

My very first Schweinshaxe in Berlin 2014 is still the best meal of my life!

7. Käsekuchen (and all bakery goods!)

You will find a lot of cakes and tarts to tempt you in Germany - the bakeries are just heavenly! Few can resist a huge slice of the most famous of German cakes: the delicious Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte (Black Forest cherry cake).
Along with sweet treats you can find amazing fresh bread, made filled sandwiches and coffee, all for very reasonable prices.
My ultimate favourite German bakery treat which I highly recommend trying is Käsekuchen (baked cheesecake). I swear it will be the best cheesecake you'll ever have in your life!

Typical German bakery

The delightful Käsekuchen

8. Bratwurst

There are more than 1500 different types of Wurst (sausage) made in Germany and you’ll find street stalls selling them everywhere. The most popular along with Currywurst is Bratwurst (fried sausage) made of ground pork and spices. Commonly served in a bun with sauce and mustard, it's a great option for lunch while you're out and about exploring.

9. Brathendl

Brathendel is a roasted rotisserie style chicken and I swear it is the best chicken I have ever had in my life! It is very common to find at festivals, outdoor beer gardens and markets.
At Oktoberfest, you can order Halbes Hendl, meaning half a roasted chicken. It might appear to be a lot at first, but after a Mass Bier (a litre of beer) you’ll have it down in no time!

10. Beer! 

Speaking of beer, I know it's not technically a food - but German beer is so filling it should be considered a food group itself in my opinion. Anyone that knows me, will know that I love my beer (and miss German beer oh so dearly), so shouldn't be too surprised to find it has a whole point to itself!
Germany is well known for its delicious beer, or as I call it, liquid gold. Each year, thousands of tourists flock to Oktoberfest in Munich, just to savour the taste of a true German brew. From Weissbier to Pils, to Starkbier to Helles and Dunkles, Germany offers a rich variety to choose from, and it's certainly one to not miss trying! If you're not a fan of beer, try a refreshing Radler, which is beer mixed with lemonade.

An armful of Mass at Oktoberfest
My favourite kind - Weissbier (wheat beer) served with Currywurst and Brezen

There are so many more incredible German foods, these are just my top 10 ultimate favourites!
Do you have another favourite German food you love to add to this list? Let me know in the comments below - I'd love to read them.

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Upcoming Travel Plans: One Way Ticket to Southeast Asia!

I have just started finalising my next big travel plans today, and as I had a whole week off blogging over the Easter break and I'm so excited from booking tickets, I just had to gush write all about it!

At the end of January, I bought a one-way ticket to Bali which will be my third time there. One of my best friends is celebrating a milestone birthday and our whole friend group will be coming from New Zealand - which will be so much fun!
With less than a month to go, I thought I had better start preparing for what came after that. I have looked into a lot of options and done a lot of research, but nothing was set in stone, until today!

My husband Gareth gets a two-week break at the beginning of July, (his only break all year) and it's also during the school holidays, meaning it's the worst possible time to fly anywhere. Flights and accommodation are double the price. We looked at everything from Bali, Japan, Fiji, Phuket - you name it, but it was going to cost thousands and thousands of dollars, and that was just for him.
I will already be floating around Southeast Asia and was planning to meet him wherever, and then return home together after me being away for a total of two months.

Just last night we started looking into Vietnam, even though we had only just visited in December. I thought - it's not exactly a destination where most people would take their kids during the holidays, and I was right! I suggested visiting Hoi An, as we didn't get the chance last time and I've heard brilliant things. It's a beautiful ancient city and it's right on the beach - win win.
We managed to find a wonderful hotel resort and flight package deal for less than $2,000 NZD - which is half than what we would have paid anywhere else. We thought about it over night and the next morning - booked it straight away! We are staying in Danang first for three nights, and then Hoi An for eight nights.

With the ending of my travels figured out (kind of - I am yet to buy my return ticket),  it was time to start booking the in-between stuff!

There are still some big gaps to fill, but this is how it is looking so far:

Travel Plans

May 16 - 25: Bali, INDONESIA

Here I will be working and also enjoying a fun week with my friends.

May 26 - June 1: Jakarta, INDONESIA

I couldn't go back to Indonesia and not visit somewhere new this time! I'm looking forward to exploring the enormous capital city.

June 2 - 8: Bangkok, THAILAND

I can't wait to return to Thailand which was my very first proper overseas destination over four years ago. That trip changed my life, so I can't wait to see how I feel after visiting a second time, this time with a lot more experience under my belt! I also can't wait to take new photographs, as my camera quality back then was rubbish.

June 9 - July 1: Unknown!

Hopefully, it will include Chiang Mai, THAILAND which I loved a lot more than Bangkok and Siem Reap, CAMBODIA. I've heard not so great things about Cambodia, but I still really wish to see Angkor Wat, so I might literally just go for two days to see that.
I have included both of them on the map above with the places I am heading to as I'm pretty sure they will make the cut!

July 2 - 4: Danang, VIETNAM

This is where we fly into to visit Hoi An, so we decided to spend a few nights here first.
It's the third largest city in Vietnam and has previously been occupied by both the French and Americans, so there's a lot of history there.

July 5 - 12: Hoi An, VIETNAM

I'm super excited to visit the ancient and peaceful town of Hoi An.

July 13 - Unknown!

I may fly back to Australia or I may not. Flights are looking at about a grand to return home during that time period (still peak season) so I might just hang around somewhere for a couple more weeks until the flight prices drop.

While I am over there I will be working - this isn't a vacation! I will continue writing blog posts and I am hoping to daily vlog my adventures for YouTube as well. I already have several jobs lined up, so far four in Bali, two in Bangkok and one in Hoi An. Travel blogging is my absolute dream job, so I am very happy and grateful for any opportunities to continue travelling, exploring the world and achieving my goals.

I will be writing a Southeast Asia Travel Diary series where I will update my travels here at least once a week with highlights and photos, as well as writing travel guides and tips for each new place I visit. Do subscribe to my YouTube channel as well if you would like to follow along with my videos.

I am very excited to head back to Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam and return to some loved places as well as visit some new ones. Hopefully, I'll be able to add a couple more countries to my list as well!

I hope you'll come along on my adventures with me and be apart of the excitement.
This is my first time ever booking a one-way ticket and making things up as I go along and it's such a wonderful feeling! It is pretty daunting that most of it will be a solo trip, but I remember feeling scared before travelling through Europe alone, but I look back on that time and think - piece of cake! I have no doubt, this will be just like that. And hey, I actually quite like travelling alone.

Do you have any exciting travel plans coming up? Let me know in the comments!

Happy Travels,
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L O N D O N | 25 Top Spots to visit!

London is such a fascinating, vibrant and eclectic city. Being so large and diverse, there are countless amazing things to see and do, so this post focuses on my top tourist attractions and spots to visit, particularly for first-timers.

This is part two of my London guide, check out: L O N D O N | Top 10 Travel Tips if you haven't already. Of course, absolutely do whatever you wish to in London - these are just some of my favourite places and recommended things to do that I really enjoyed myself, to give you some ideas and inspiration.

1. Natural History Museum

This is easily my favourite museum I've ever visited and it's a must-see for anyone!
Most famous for its impressive dinosaur displays, there's an enormous range of exhibits showcasing specimens from all throughout history. You could easily spend an entire day here and best of all it's totally free.

2. Tower of London 

Officially known as 'Her Majesty's Royal Palace' and 'Fortress of the Tower of London', visiting this historic castle is worth the money. Book online to save a little bit of money.
Full price adult tickets cost £24.00 and this includes access to the Tower and the Crown Jewels display, many exhibitions and the always entertaining Yeoman Warder guided tour. While you're in the area, don't forget to check out the Tower Bridge.

3. Big Ben 

One of the most famous clocks in the world, Big Ben is the nickname for the Great Bell of the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster. Seeing one of the major iconic symbols of London with your own eyes is a must-do for any first time visitor. 

4. Trafalgar Square

Ever since the Middle Ages, the iconic Trafalgar Square has been a central meeting place. It's a great place to hang out and admire its wonderful fountains and architecture.
It's surrounded by museums, galleries, cultural spaces and historic buildings and being the largest square in London, it is thought of as the heart of the city.

5. Buckingham Palace 

Seeing Buckingham Palace is an essential part of any trip to London. It has served as the official London residence of the UK's sovereigns since 1837 and today it is the administrative headquarters of the Monarch. Make time to see the Changing of the Guard, for times and dates check the website here.

6. Westminster Abbey 

Don't miss seeing the gorgeous Westminster Abbey, one of the world's great churches with a history stretching back over a thousand years. Admire the Gothic abbey from the outside or if you wish to visit properly, book tickets online for £20.

7. The British Museum 

The British Museum is dedicated to human history, art and culture and houses an impressive collection of historical world art and artifacts including the Rosetta stone, iconic sculptures from Ancient Greece and Egypt and many more. Free to all visitors, you can again easily spend an entire day exploring the many rooms full of treasures.

8. Harry Potter studio tour

This attraction does of course depend if you are a fan or not - but if you are then this Warner Brother's tour is an absolute must-visit! Well worth the £39, book your date and time slot in advance here to enter the magical world of Harry Potter and see the authentic sets, behind the scenes and making of the films.

9. St Paul's Cathedral

St Paul's Cathedral with its world-famous dome is an iconic feature of the London skyline. Head inside the seat of the Bishop of London to see the Anglican Cathedral's beautiful interior and uncover fascinating stories about its history. Optional guided tours are £18, for more information visit their website.

10. Covent Garden

Just on the fringes of West End, Covent Garden offers excellent shopping, theatres, restaurants and pubs. Inside the marketplace, you can find the most wonderfully talented buskers who come to perform in the hopes of making it big.

11. Notting Hill

Notting Hill in West London is an iconic and captivating neighbourhood. There's a reason why so many films are set here. It's wonderful to walk through the quaint streets filled with rustic townhouses and especially great on a Saturday when Portobello Market comes to life. 

12. London Eye

Also known as the Millennium Wheel, the London Eye is the world's tallest Ferris Wheel.
It is officially the United Kingdom's most popular paid tourist attraction and offers breath-taking views of London from high above the River Thames. Be sure to book your tickets and a time slot in advance online, as the queues can be hours long. Ticket prices start at £23.

13. Tate Modern

The Tate Modern is a free national art museum housed in the Bankside Power Station built after World War II. Enjoy a most impressive collection of international modern and contemporary art ranging from the 1900's to the present day.

14. Camden Town

If you like alternative places then you will enjoy this area. Find unique fashion and accessory shops, great live music, eclectic dining, plenty of piercing and tattoo parlours and many cool pubs - my favourite is the World's End pub.

15. Camden Market

While you're in Camden be sure to visit the very cool alternative markets with over 1000 shops and stalls selling fashion, music, art and food next to Camden Lock. Open every day of the week - don't miss the 'Cyberdog' store for a very surreal shopping experience!

16. Leicester Square

A famous pedestrian square in the West End of London, it's the home of entertainment with plenty of great shows in the area. There are also many great restaurants and cool shops including the giant M&M's World, which is a must-see.

17. Hyde Park

One of the largest parks in London, Hyde Park is a particular favourite to stroll through. The Royal Park covers 350 acres and is home to a number of famous landmarks including the Serpentine Lake and the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain. Aside from squirrel-spotting you can go cycling, open water swimming, boating and even play tennis.

18. Oxford Street

Oxford Street is known to be the UK's favourite High Street, with more than 300 retailers from designer outlets to department stores and is the most visited shopping street in Europe. You could find anything you are looking for here and with the beautiful architecture and great nearby restaurants, it's a must for any shopping lover. One of my favourite department stores is Selfridges.

19. South Bank

One of my favourite areas is South Bank along the river Thames. It's perfect for a stroll on a nice day and there are plenty of entertaining things to see and do along the way.
It's home to the London Eye, Shakespeare's Globe, the London Dungeon, and the National Theatre just to name a few. You just can't beat the views of seeing some of London's most iconic buildings across the river.

20. Baker Street

If you are a fellow Sherlock Holmes fan then don't bypass 221 B! On Baker Street is the Sherlock Holmes Museum where you can step back in time. Tickets for adults cost £15. It's also very close to Abbey Road and Madame Tussaud's if any of those interest you. (Next time I return I want to see Benedict Cumberbatch's wax figure!).

21. Borough Market

One of London's most well-known food and drink markets, Borough Market is fantastic for fresh produce and goods and a large variety of international food stalls.
Open from Wednesday to Saturday and located next to London Bridge, it's perfect for a lunch stop or quick shop if you're out and about in the area.

22. The Shard

The Shard is home to some of the best offices, restaurants and hotel rooms in London - along with breathtaking views. The 95-storey skyscraper is Western Europe's tallest building. For the best views over London head to The View, the highest viewing platform. Book in advance online to save 15%. Prices start from £15.95.

23. Greenwich 

One of the earliest established districts of London, Greenwich is a great place to spend the day. Many people enjoy seeing the famous Meridian timeline up close, from where you can enjoy magnificent views over London. There are beautiful parks, the National Maritime Museum, the Cutty Sark ship, Greenwich markets and plenty of great eateries and shops.

24. Kings Cross

Again, if you are a Harry Potter fan then head to the Kings Cross station to line up for your picture taken at the Platform 9 3/4 spot! There is also a souvenir shop selling plenty of merchandise if you can't make it to the studio tour.

25. Harrods

Visiting one of the world's most famous department stores, Harrods is a must for any shopping lover. It's incredible just for browsing (and drooling over) the high-end goods or spending all of your money in the cafe or chocolate section.

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As mentioned, there are so many more wonderful things to do and top spots to visit, this is merely some of my favourites that I would recommend to someone going on a first or second trip to London.
Do you have a favourite place not mentioned here? Let me know in the comments below, I'd love to read them.

Happy Travels,

Best Places To Eat: Ho Chi Minh City

I spent a wonderful two weeks in Vietnam in December, and as always I learned as much as I could and very much enjoyed the delights of the local cuisine. Vietnamese pride their food on being fresh, healthy and bursting with flavour.
I am in no way an expert just from my short stay there, but I have some great recommendations for gems that I did find.

Here in part one of this mini food series, I share specific places for where to eat in Ho Chi Minh City and include a selection of my favourite Vietnamese food that are absolute must-tries. Part Two will share more dishes and recommendations for Hanoi.

Saigon Street Eats

I'll start by highly recommending an excellent street food tour my husband and I did on our first night: Saigon Street Eats. We discovered it from its excellent reviews on Trip Advisor as we love to do food tours when we first arrive in a new place, to scope out and be introduced to the very best food the city has to offer! We did the Street Food 101 tour, and they also have a Pho Trail and a Seafood Trail if that tickles your fancy.

We were picked up by friendly guides from our hotel on the back of motorbikes and joined a small group in the well-known food area District 3. The entire evening was jam-packed with so many delicious dishes - we were so full after over three hours of nonstop eating.

We started with Banh Xeo (Vietnamese pancakes) which was one of my absolute favourites. These enormous, cheap and filling savoury pancakes are filled with shrimp, pork, bean sprouts and egg, which is fried and wrapped in rice paper. You are also given a plate of fresh greens which you wrap a piece in and then dunk into a spicy sauce.
It's so fresh and the flavours are amazing.

Next up we tried Com Tam (broken rice), which is a street-stand favourite. Recipes vary, but you can often find it served with barbecued pork or beef and a fried egg. It was the most delicious rice I've ever tried and the succulent meat accompanying it was divine.

Also on the street food tour, we tried frog legs (tasted like chicken), barbecued duck, hot pots and a selection of Vietnamese desserts.
Everything was fantastic and we picked up some great information such as where to get the best Banh Mi in the city (shared below!).
At $45 USD per person, it is of course, pricier than you could find eating on the streets yourself, but you are paying for a local-guided tour, awesome food, drinks at every stop, transportation and you get a wonderful insight into the local food - it's really worth it.

The best Banh Mi

This delectable baguette sandwich is packed with a choice of fillings including paté and greens and it's so good it has been imitated all over the world. The perfect Banh Mi should have slightly warmed and crunchy bread, and fresh and flavourful fillings.

As mentioned we were recommended this place by our food tour guide and I am not kidding you - I tried a lot of Banh Mi over our two weeks in Vietnam and Banh Mi Huyn Hoa was the king of the kings.
We knew it would be good even before we tried it, as there was a long line of locals waiting outside. For 33K VND (less than $2 AUD) it was the best dang sandwich period!

The best Pho

Vietnam’s national dish and the country’s great staple is Pho (pronounced “fur”).
A light and flavourful noodle soup, it is eaten at any time of the day, but most commonly at breakfast. A basic bowl of Pho consists of a light beef or chicken broth flavoured with ginger and coriander, with flat rice noodles, spring onions and slivers of chicken, pork or beef.

I ate Pho for breakfast every morning as it was served at all of the hotels we were staying at, so I didn't actively search for a 'best place' to eat it.

For the times that I did have it outside of the hotel, I went to Big Bowl, a popular Pho chain. You can customise your soup exactly how you like and it's very reasonably priced. Even at an airport, I had a Pho, a bottle of water and a coke all for 100K VND ($5 AUD).
Every single bowl I had no matter where it was from was delicious - so I'm pretty sure you won't go wrong wherever you go!

The best place for dinner

An absolute must if you can - go to Cyclo Resto for their incredible five-course set menu.
It is honestly one of the best foodie experiences I've ever had in my life.
We again found it by their excellent Trip Advisor reviews and it was conveniently only a ten-minute walk away from where we were staying.
The restaurant aims to give you a real experience of a Vietnamese family meal. The service was perfect, each of the five courses were like they were sent from heaven and the price for all of it was gob-smacking.
It cost us a grand total of $16 AUD for two people including a beer and water each... needless to say we gave them a very good tip at the end because we could not believe we just had one of the best meals of our lives for so little.

Every dish was lovingly prepared and was an explosion of flavour. Below are each of the courses:

Course #1: Prawn crispy spring rolls which had the most impressive presentation!

Course #2: A clear green melon soup with shrimp which was incredibly hydrating, it was like drinking an elixir of life.

Course #3: Stir fried green beans and pork with a black bean flavour. They were perfectly sauteed and crunchy.

Courses #4 and #5 came out together as the mains - a delicious fish clay pot and a fragrant lemongrass chicken curry, served with steamed rice.

As a surprise at the end, we were presented with an Egg Coffee which I had heard so much about but knew it was a speciality in Hanoi. I was very excited to try it and it exceeded my expectations - it tasted like a liquid tiramisu! It was the perfect way to finish the most delightful evening.

Cyclo Resto gets an 11/10 from me, even if it's not close to where you are staying I would go out of your way for this one! They also do cooking classes which I would have loved to do if I had the time.

The best place for lunch

There were two great spots we found that I would recommend for lunch. The first being a popular food court Cocochin. They have a variety of Asian food stalls where you can choose from literally a hundred dishes, so there's something for everyone.
The food court is in a central location (not far from the statue of Ho Chi Minh), it is clean and very well priced.

I ordered a BBQ pork wonton soup and it was the perfect lunch. The price of both of our dishes and a drink each cost 55,000K VND ($3 AUD!).

The second top spot for lunch (or even a snack) is a delightful French bakery Tous les Joures. They can be found all over the city and have amazing fresh pastries, sandwiches and coffee. The store we frequented was located inside the shopping mall Vincom Center (also close to Ho Chi Minh's statue).

The best coffee

Vietnamese love their coffee and you can find a coffee shop on practically every corner.
I had a decent coffee practically everywhere I went, but one place I kept going back to was the giant chain Highlands. They make great coffee, both hot and cold, have free wifi, serve food and refreshing fruity beverages which are perfect to beat the heat.

(I would however not recommend the Banh Mi here, which we found to be a tad dry and tasteless)

The best dessert

Last but not least, I thought I should mention a dessert. To be fair, we didn't try many as we were usually too full, but we did try some amazing sweet dessert rice. You can find it all over the city in street carts and there is a selection of different types and flavours. We got a mixture of everything to share and really enjoyed it. A bunch of salt was added on top which made it almost taste like popcorn - so yum!

There we have my top recommended places to eat some very delicious Vietnamese food in Ho Chi Minh City. Stay tuned for my next food post for Hanoi coming early next week.
Do you have any other places you would add to this list? Let me know in the comments - I'd love to read them.

Happy Travels,
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Tips To Have The BEST Flight Ever

I’d like to think that I’m a pretty good flier at this point. This of course, wasn't always the case. I still remember the very first time I had to catch a plane by myself like it was yesterday...

I made sure to leave for the airport with plenty of time to spare, but I unwittingly didn't factor into that time rush-hour traffic - or the case of a natural disaster... there happened to be a major earthquake (not in my city thankfully) but it meant the roads were packed and the airport (once I finally arrived) was chaotic due to planes being stranded.

I was in a huge panic as I was yet to check in and drop my suitcase off and my flight was supposed to be leaving in half an hour... oh did I mention it was also a few days before Christmas?
My heart had quite a workout that day.

Because of the earthquake, that did however mean that my flight (thankfully) was quite delayed so I did make it just fine. I'm sure not everyone has had quite a stressful first flight alone as that!

Since then I've made the mistake of leaving for the airport too early (four hours is far too much time to kill), so by now I'm pretty sure I've got it down pat.

Since flying is on my mind I thought I could share my best tips with you to have a great flight from start to finish.

Before the Airport

For a smooth security experience here are a few tips:

Pack smart. There is nothing worse than being held up because you accidentally packed something in your carry-on luggage you’re not allowed to bring onboard the plane (cough don't pack scissors cough). Your airline and airport's website should provide all the information and guidelines you will need online.

Dress smart. When dressing for the day, be wary that things like watches, belts and jackets will need to be removed before going through the scanners. Wear minimal jewellery to avoid setting off the metal detector and choose shoes that are easy to get on and off.

Don’t pack your laptop deep in your carry-on - you will need to remove it efficiently and put it on a separate tray to go through the scanners. If you have to dig through and displace everything in your carry-on you’ll hold up the line and annoy everyone behind you. Fish it out and have it ready in your arms before you get to the tray section.

If you're one of those people that security guards always pick on, know that if for any reason you’re uncomfortable going through a body scanner it’s your right to ask for a private screening with an agent of the same sex.

It's a good idea to download your airline's app and have your ticket on your phone - this way there is zero chance of losing/forgetting it and you have all of the information you need at your fingertips.

Keep your passport in a secure but easily accessible place.

Remember your carry-on essentials. These will vary from person to person, but here are mine:

Cosy socks - the second I get on the plane my shoes come off. (Pro tip: Make sure your shoes/socks/feet don’t smell at all. Otherwise be respectful and keep your shoes on!).

Noise-cancelling headphones - a highly essential item, not only to listen to music or watch movies but to drown out any background noise like the crying baby that's always only an aisle or two away.

Snacks - in the case where you may not be getting a meal, bring your favourite snacks to get you through. Make sure to have consumed them before entering a foreign country.

Empty water bottle - you can’t take a full water bottle through security, but if you bring an empty one you can fill it up after security so you don’t get ripped off by airline prices.

Entertainment - to alleviate boredom bring things to do to pass the time. I like to download a couple of books on my Kindle app, make sure I have plenty of music and a game or two on my phone. (Also be sure to pack your phone charger).

Chapstick, hand sanitizer, panadol and gum - a few other essentials that are always in my everyday bag and especially in my carry-on.

Something warm - planes get really cold, so even if you're heading to a warm destination, bring a light sweater or at least a versatile scarf that can keep you warm during your flight.

One of my favourite airports - Changi in Singapore

At the Airport

Airports can be chaotic. My best tip here is to keep your head and don’t stress out. Most travellers can say they’ve missed connections or sat at the wrong gate for hours, but at the end of the day, it's going to take you where you want/need to go eventually! Here are a few airport tips to help get you through:

If you have some time to kill before your flight then walk and move around as much as you can. You are probably about to be seated for hours and hours which is never comfortable, so try to get as much activity in beforehand.

Don’t line up just because everyone else is - flights are usually called in boarding groups. I’m not a big fan of hurrying up just to wait on a cramped plane, so I stay seated/linger nearby until they call my boarding group.

Don’t crowd the luggage return at your final destination. When everyone stands that close to the carousel while waiting for their bag to come out, people whose bags are actually already out can’t grab theirs without throwing elbows. It makes more sense to stand back while you wait and then step forward when you actually spot your bag. Please pass this tip on!

(Probably) The best plane in the world!

On the plane

It’s the final stretch! Once you’re on the plane you’re about as good as gold (unless you have to hurry to make a connection) but there are still steps you can take on the plane to make your flight as comfortable as possible:

Have your things you wish to use during the flight easily accessible. I put everything I might need in the seat pocket in front of me. This will include my phone, headphones, cosy socks, filled water bottle, hand sanitizer, pen, chapstick and gum. This way I won't have to worry about getting into my bag in the overhead locker.

Kick off your shoes, place on your headphones, get cosy and settle in for a long flight.
Try to time getting up for regular stretches/going to the bathroom before meals are about to be served. This way you will avoid having to dodge the cart and everyone else that goes to the bathroom afterwards.

Typical snack and beverage on an  internal Air New Zealand flight

If you are in for a long-haul flight, then don't forget to also pack your toothbrush and mini toothpaste (some airlines will provide this for you) and some kind of face wipes to help remove any makeup or just to freshen up before sleeping and then once you wake - you will feel so much better for it.

Stay hydrated! It's easy to go nuts if there's an open bar onboard, but alcohol will only make you more dehydrated, will make you need to go to the bathroom more, may hinder sleep and leave you feeling more jet-lagged once you arrive. Sure, have a couple if you like, but make sure to match it by drinking plenty of water.

When the plane lands, stay seated. So many times I see the aisle seaters stand up and move into the aisle quick-smart. More often than not, it takes a long time to be able to disembark and now a third of the plane is stuck standing in crowded quarters. You might be excited to get off, but if you stay seated you’ll be more comfortable for longer.

No matter what your airport experience is - don’t let it put a damper on your entire trip!
If you stress about the fact that you missed your connection and arrived 3 hours later, you’re spending time focusing on the negative instead of getting pumped for the adventure to come. Everyone has their own airport battle stories, and earning yours is a rite of passage.

Where is your next trip taking you to? I have a one-way ticket booked to South-East Asia next month and I'm so excited!

Happy Travels,

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