Long Distance Relationships | My Experience & Tips


Whether you travel for a living like I do, you've met someone special that doesn't quite live in the same city or country as you or you have jobs that send one another overseas, long distance relationships are pretty common in this day and age.

I get asked all the time, "How do you do it?" Followed by, "I couldn't do it," and there's one simple answer. If you love that person enough - you make it work. There also has to be certain characteristics and values that both of you share, such as trust and understanding.

Of course, long distance relationship problems exist, but if two people are committed to making it work the outlook isn’t bleak.



My Experience

The first time my partner and I experienced long distance was in 2015 when I studied in Germany and travelled around Europe for 7 months. His job allowed him to visit after one month apart, which meant we then went an entire 6 months without seeing each other.

The ultimate test for couples? In many cases, it can be but for us, it wasn't even a test.
We just knew it would work, it was never a problem for us. With his line of work, he himself was used to doing many long periods overseas away from family and friends and so he was very understanding.
It was my first time experiencing living overseas by myself and travelling solo but we both saw it as a great experience for me and we knew it was only temporary.


We constantly messaged each other and made sure that we video called every day.
What made it easy for us was that we were both extremely busy - him with his job and me with my study and then planning exciting excursions to nearby countries.

Last year we spent four months apart when I galivanted around Southeast Asia with a short break in between, where he met up with me in Vietnam for 10 days.

Earlier this year I was away for a month travelling the States and Canada. Even one month apart is still hard, I'm not saying it gets any easier being apart. He is my other half and I feel like a piece of me is missing when he is gone. But being on your own and independent once in a while helps you to grow and ultimately makes you stronger as a couple.


My partner is away for 6 months now, and we are currently one-third of the way through it. The first two weeks were tough for me because this time I was the one sitting at home with not much to distract me. Even though I had piles of work to do, I felt unmotivated to do any of it and it felt like time was standing still.

What got me out of that funk? Doing what I love to do - travelling. I started planning small trips not too far away from home, but places that I had never been. (I couldn't leave for too long because we have a cat that demands food and attention).

And somehow, the last several weeks have flown by and it's already next month that I'm off again on my next big trip. I'm going to Europe for six weeks and meeting my partner for 12 of those days for his halfway break. (Cat is sadly for her, off to the cattery).

Planning my trip to Europe has also been a great distraction and meeting up in Paris is an exciting prospect we are both looking forward to.

By the time I get back from Europe, it will only be a couple more months before he will be home again, and we are going to plan another little trip at the end of it.


We are lucky to have a strong relationship where we build each other up and are supportive of each other's careers. This is how we make our long distance stints work and you can too if you have the determination. Here are some top tips to help get you through:


Long Distance Tips

Message Daily

Greet each other “good morning” and “good night” every day and keep each other updated on your life and its happenings, however mundane some of the things may seem. Send funny pictures and video clips. By putting in this kind of effort, you make the other person feel loved and attended to.

Video Call Often

Make the time to video call whenever possible, even if you only have ten minutes to spare. Seeing the other person's face and hearing their voice can make everything feel okay again.


Be Kind

To yourself when you're first apart. It's hard at first but it does get easier. Spend those first few days on the couch binge-watching Netflix and then pick yourself up. Treat yourself to those little things that make you happy.

Keep Busy

Carry on as normal and keep those routines. If you're the one sitting at home missing the other person constantly, use that spare time and turn it into something positive. Take up a new hobby or class or go on short trips. Keeping your mind occupied helps make the time go faster.

Adapt

Learn to embrace the situation. Do those things you wanted to do like decorating the house all girly (sorry Gareth). You get to eat whatever you want for dinner and choose what you want to watch on TV every night. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Be Social

You may be feeling incredibly lonely but don't forget about all those friends and family you have. Make the time to plan meet-ups and go visit them. Ask your neighbour if they want to go for a walk. Haven't called a family member lately? Start now.

Snail Mail

Send each other care packages and old-fashioned hand-written letters. Surprising one another and being thoughtful is a lost art that holds a lot of meaning.


Plan Visits 

To help break up the time apart, plan visits or an exciting getaway for when you or your partner gets home. Even if it's a short, relaxing few days somewhere nearby, having something to look forward to at the end of it makes the reunion even sweeter and gives you something to organise together in the meantime.

Reach Out

If you need to, ask for help. If you don't want to lean on friends or feel like you don't have anybody, seek help online. There are so many people in your situation and there are support groups with people that understand and want to help. Don't suffer alone, there are people out there who care.

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At the end of the day, remember being apart is only temporary, and you have someone out there who is missing you as much as you miss them.

Let me know in the comments if you've experienced long distance and if you have any tips of your own to add, I'd love to read them!

Happy Travels,

Ultimate New Zealand Packing List


New Zealand is an absolutely incredible country to travel with so much to offer.
From pristine beaches, snowy mountains and magical fjords, to desert landscapes, glaciers, lush rainforests, geysers and everything in between - it's a travellers paradise on so many people's bucket lists for a reason.

With four seasons and different climates depending if you're up north or right down south, it's important to be prepared for all kinds of weather if you're travelling around New Zealand, no matter what time of the year. 

This is my ultimate packing list for New Zealand travel, for someone who might have a one-year working holiday visa or travelling all over the country for a few months.

It covers the essentials for what to bring and can be adjusted accordingly if you're only coming for summer/winter.


NEW ZEALAND PACKING LIST


First things first, 

LUGGAGE - SUITCASE OR BACKPACK?

Choosing whether to bring a suitcase or a large backpack is totally a matter of preference. Most younger travellers tend to opt for a backpack but you can easily travel the country with either.

Nowadays, I prefer to use a suitcase as my shoulders can no longer handle the weight of a backpack! I travel with my trusty lightweight Luna-Air.

Whatever you choose, a day backpack is essential. Use it as your carry-on and store your laptop, camera and other valuables in it. Then it can double as the perfect daypack for hiking/sightseeing.

The Muzmm Little Garden Backpack is my perfect carry-on/daypack bag (featured in the header image). Use my code 'krysti' for 20% off your own!


TRAVEL ESSENTIALS


Beginning with mentioning the main essentials that of course, you'll need to pack, like your Passport, Visa (if needed), Mobile Phone, Money (with some local currency), Travel Insurance, Sunglasses, any Medication etc.

Tip: Keep printed or online copies of your important travel documents and bookings.


CLOTHING

Layering is key - pack layers with both city and outdoor adventures in mind and for weather that can often change quite quickly.

2-3 long pants - jeans, trousers etc.

1 pair shorts

1 dress/skirt - for females or extra shorts for males or preference

3-4 long sleeve tops/sweaters

3-4 T-shirts/singlets

Rain & wind-proof jacket

Hat/cap

Underwear and socks for 7 days

Sleepwear

Swimwear - even if it's too cold for the beach, New Zealand is full of natural hot springs and pools.

If travelling in winter

A warm jacket - is a must

Beany/woollen hat

Gloves

Scarf

Extra merino/thermal layers

Tip: Roll your clothes instead of folding them. It will save space and avoid wrinkles.




FOOTWEAR

1 pair sneakers/trainers - Comfortable shoes for everyday wear/running in.

1 pair jandals/flipflops - Embrace the national footwear! Perfect for summer or those hostel showers...

1 pair hiking boots/sandals (optional) - If you're into doing some of the most spectacular walks in the world - hiking boots or sandals are a good idea.

1 pair smarter shoes/boots (optional)

1 pair sandals/flats (optional) - If you're around during the summer, having footwear other than jandals is a good idea for smarter occasions.

Tip: Wear your bulkiest items on the flight to save room in your luggage.


ELECTRONICS


It's entirely up to you what you bring but these are my electronic travel essentials:

Laptop

Camera

Mini tripod

Headphones

GoPro

SD cards

Portable charger

Spare camera battery

Travel adaptor (you can easily buy one in New Zealand)


                                          

Tip: To see more products I specifically use and recommend check out my shop.


TOILETRIES


Pack travel-sized toiletries and bring the absolute minimum as you can easily buy everything you need in New Zealand, unless you use a specific brand that is hard to come by.

Everyone's toiletries are different but this is what you can find in my toiletry bag:

Very basic makeup - as pictured

Mini shampoo & conditioner

Mini facewash & moisturiser

Toothbrush, small paste & floss

Roll-on deodorant

Small soap & travel wipes

Mini cleansing water & cotton rounds

Razor & small comb

Panadol, plasters, antibacterial cream

Hand sanitizer

Sunblock - important year-round

Insect repellent - essential in summer

Tip: Place into a large ziplock bag first to avoid leakage.


OTHER


The extras that I usually always travel with that will be handy for New Zealand travel include:

Canvas bag - for shopping/groceries/beach

Ziplock bags - for storing toiletries, dirty laundry etc.

Small padlock

Earplugs and eyemask - handy for hostels/camping/flights

Seasickness bands

Notebook and pen

Small umbrella

Small tin with USB stick, mini sewing kit, safety pins, bottle opener

Washing powder 

Reusable water bottle

Quick-dry towel

Books, music - usually pre-loaded on my phone


Aaand don't forget to pack your sense of adventure!




For more information on New Zealand, check out my New Zealand Travel Guide for an overview, tips on where to go and what to do.

If you're looking for an easy, flexible and fun way to travel New Zealand, check out Stray Travel - an award-winning guided Hop-On Hop-Off bus company for adventurous travellers.

Pin it! :)

That's my ultimate New Zealand packing list for year-round travel. Let me know in the comments if you're planning on coming to NZ or if you have any other essentials you would add to this list.

New Zealand is an awesome country to travel - you're gonna love it!

Happy Travels,

Why Travel is Good for the Mind, Body & Soul (& Win a Holiday!)


*Want a chance to win a holiday worth $10,000? Stay tuned til the end to find out how!*

Travelling is a beautiful thing.

It helps you discover things about yourself you never knew, challenges you in ways you never thought possible, and can bring so much happiness you will want to keep travelling for the rest of your life.

In other words, travelling is really good for the mind, body and soul.
But sadly, not enough people are taking the time for it.

Did you know that New Zealand workers are among the most holiday-deprived in the world? Many Kiwis don’t take their allocated annual leave, with the average having 20 days available but only using 15.

Travelling is a great reward for working hard all year, and holidays are vital to maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

If you need a little extra encouragement, here are some great reasons for you to go ahead and treat yourself to that well-deserved holiday.


Good for the Mind


It should come as no surprise that travel is proven to increase levels of happiness, reduce symptoms of depression, and relieve stress.

Even just planning a holiday gives joy! How many of you have used an official holiday countdown? That's because you know you’re going to enjoy the heck out of yourself.

When you're on holiday, you have the freedom to sleep in, stay up late, throw away schedules and do whatever you please.

If you choose to spend your days relaxing, all of that fresh air and sunshine can do wonders for your health – with benefits almost immediately. A study showed that 89% of people see significant drops in stress after only a day or two on vacation.


Or if you’re an adventurous traveller like myself and enjoy using your holiday to lose yourself in new cultures, explore historical sites and try unfamiliar cuisines and activities, this actually helps keep your mind sharp!

When you’re constantly on the go from being immersed in a foreign environment with language barriers and time constraints, studies show the brain starts rewiring itself and develops cognitive flexibility and creativity.


Travel is good for your Body


Aside from time spent sitting on your behind to get to your destination - travelling opens up a whole lot of opportunities to be more active than usual.

When I travel, I love exploring new cities by foot. It’s the best way to get amongst the locals and discover hidden gems.

I often walk up to 30,000 steps a day – over 22 kilometres (sometimes 6x more often than what I usually do!).

Whether it be by exploring a new place by foot or bicycle, taking part in your resort's morning yoga class, swimming at the pool or beach, going on a local hike, a surfing lesson or trying a new extreme sport - there's plenty of chances to get moving and actually enjoy yourself too.


Travel is good for the Soul


Finally, in my experience, travelling can do wonders for your self-confidence.

Before I travelled overseas, I was shy and reserved. I didn't talk to strangers, I wouldn't have been caught dead in a bikini in public and I didn't know how to face simple challenges alone.

Now that I have seen the world, I have opened up myself in turn. I discovered that I love meeting new people from all corners and immersing myself in new cultures. A simple challenge that once would have floored me, now sees me facing them head on without a concern.

Travel helps to nourish your soul as you learn invaluable life lessons and more about yourself.

It makes you adaptable, patient, grateful, kinder and more confident as you gain experience, accomplish challenges and learn that you are extremely capable of anything and everything.


Whether it be local or global, all forms of travel enrich our lives.

Through travelling, we can reduce stress, keep our body well inside and out, and boost brain and mental health - all contributing to a happier and healthier life.

So what are you waiting for? Use that overdue leave, take control of your well-being, and plan that next getaway now!


Be in to Win a Holiday with nib New Zealand


This post is brought to you by one of New Zealand’s leading health insurance providers, nib – because they know when it comes to looking after yourself, taking time out is just as important as the right health cover.

They’re giving you the chance to win a holiday worth $10,000 to Tokyo, Honolulu, the Gold Coast, or another destination of your choice!

All you have to do is get a quote for health insurance between now and the 28th of June 2018 and you’re in the draw – check it out here!

Open to New Zealand residents only. Read the full terms and conditions here.

Good luck to everyone who enters!

Happy Travels,

Packing List for North America: How to Travel Light in Hot & Cold


As you may have heard me gushing all over social media - I am off to North America very soon (two days - aah!).
It's my first time there so I am incredibly excited - if you couldn't tell. For a peek into my itinerary and where I'm heading, head to this post here.

As I am going in early March, it's a bit of a tricky one packing-wise. I love to travel as light as possible and usually do so with no problem at all.
However, I will be going there still on the tail-end of winter, and while some of the places will be relatively nice and warm (Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Florida), I am also heading to places where it could still be potentially snowing! (Chicago, Ottowa, Quebec City, New York).

So how do you pack lightly for both summer and winter for an entire month away?

This will be my 15th trip overseas in just the last few years, so I'm pretty sure by now I am a packing master.



Let's begin with a few tips before I dive into my packing list:

✽ Layering is key
Try to choose really versatile pieces to bring that you can mix and match and layer if need be. Most of my clothing tends to be darker and complimentary colour-wise.

✽ Wear your bulkiest items on the flight
Wear your jeans, boots and jacket, even if it's not cold. Bring a pair of light cosy pants and fluffy socks to change into on the plane.

✽ Merino for the win
Clothing made from merino wool is super-lightweight, keeps you warm in cold weather and cool in hot weather and you can wear it for days on end and it still won’t smell. Winner!

✽ Bring your own washing powder
Fill a small snap-lock bag with washing powder, which is enough to last a few weeks.
This allows you to rewash your shirts and underwear whenever needed which means you can bring less with you.

✽ Take minimal toiletries
99% of places will have the basics so save space by only bringing the minimum.
I bring everything in miniature form, enough to last a week or two and will repurchase once I've run out over there.

✽ Roll 'em
Roll your clothes instead of folding them. As well as saving space, you'll avoid wrinkles.

That's enough tips for now and I'm sure you have probably heard it all before anyway - on to the list.

Here is everything I have packed for four weeks away in potentially all seasons:

Shoes:


1 pair black leather boots (A necessity for the cold - will wear on the plane).
1 pair Nike sneakers (Comfortable every day walking shoes).
1 pair jandals/flip flops (For the warmer days and hostels).
1 pair sandals (Again for warmer weather and can be dressed up if need be).

Clothing:

Bottoms:

2 denim skirts (one black, one blue - wear with tights and boots if cold)
1 pair denim shorts
1 pair black stockings/tights (not pictured - in undergarment bag)
2 pairs denim jeans (one blue, one black)
1 black comfy pants (used on long-haul flights and as pyjama bottoms)

Tops:

5 shirts 
(one for sleeping)
2 singlets (one for layering if cold)
1 long sleeve merino top (for layering - not pictured; in wash)
1 checkered button-up long-sleeve shirt
1 nice jumper
1 zip-up sweatshirt

Coat & Jacket

1 light zip-up coat (will wear on plane)
1 waterproof rain jacket (also has a removable merino shell lining)

Extras:

1 bikini top and bottom
1 pair light boardshorts
Underwear for five days
Incl. 2 pairs merino socks


Accessories:


1 backpack (Used as carry on bag with laptop in it)
1 beanie/woolly hat
1 pair fingerless gloves
1 scarf (will also take as carry on)
1 pair sunglasses
1 small umbrella
Basic jewellery - a few of my bracelets I collect from my travels and one necklace
1 smaller everyday bag (I use a small leather side satchel)

Toiletries:


Very basic makeup - light foundation, powder, mascara, eyeliner, concealer, 1 lipstick
Chapstick
Small comb
Cotton pads (for cleansing water)
Small moisturiser
Mini facewash
Mini cleansing water
Mini shampoo & conditioner
Floss
Toothbrush and small paste
Small packet makeup wipes
Hand sanitizer
Razor
Small soap
Packet of tissues
Deodorant (roll-on)
Panadol
Plasters
Small tube antibacterial cream
Any prescription medication

Electronics:


Cell phone - Samsung Galaxy S7 (not pictured, took the photo)
Laptop (small and light Samsung notebook)
Camera - Sony RX 100 iv
2 SD cards - SanDisk Extreme Pro 64gb
1 spare camera battery
Headphones (flight necessity)
Portable charger (so handy for travel)
GoPro - Hero4
Any required cables/chargers
Universal travel adaptor (not pictured)

Extra Stuff!:


Canvas bag (for shopping/groceries/beach)
Earplugs and eyemask
Boost multivitamin tablets
Sweetener tablets (for my coffee)
Seasickness bands 
Hair ties 
Small lock
Small tin with USB stick, mini sewing kit, safety pins and bottle opener
Ziplock bags (for storing toiletries, dirty laundry etc.)
Washing powder
Notebook and pen
Packing cubes (not pictured but such a great way to organise and save space)

And of course the obvious...

Travel Essentials:


Passport
Approved ESTA before you go
Wallet - including some American Dollars

Cash Passport (a handy preloaded card used like a Mastercard without the fees)
Travel insurance
Travel documents - locked and loaded online, a copy given to relatives or friends

And for those wondering, what's specifically in my

Carry On:


Eyemask and earplugs
Laptop
Headphones
Blow up neck pillow
Sunglasses
Passport
Wallet
Facewipes
Gum
Cellphone (loaded with books on my Kindle app)
Tissues
Portable charger
Comb
Hand sanitizer
Chapstick

And that is everything that I am packing! It all fits nicely into my lightweight suitcase with plenty of space left if I decide to do any shopping over there.


The clothing is stored into three packing cubes on the left (undergarments/ swimwear, tops and bottoms). Shoes (in the green plastic bag), toiletries, electronics and extras are on the right.


I'm all set for my next adventure! Feel free to follow along on all of my social media channels (Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter) to keep up with my travels.


Let me know if there's anything else you would pack too in the comments below.
See you in my next post which will be from Los Angeles!

Happy Travels,
Pin it! :)

Top Five things to do in Siem Reap


I really enjoyed exploring Siem Reap, even a whole week there wasn't enough for me and I can't wait to go back again one day in the future.

As it is for most people, seeing Angkor Wat and the incredible surrounding temples was the main reason I wanted to go there but there is so much more to see and do as well.

Here are my top five favourite things to do:


1. Marvel at the temples on a day tour

Beginning with the obvious and one of the top things on most people's bucket lists.
Siem Reap is most well known for being the gateway to Angkor Wat and the rest of the Angkor Ruins - a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Site covers almost 400 square kilometres, making it arguably one of the most important archaeological sites in Southeast Asia.

I did a sunrise Angkor Wat and full day temple tour with Happy Angkor and it was such an incredible day and a major highlight of my time there.





2. Floating village and local school visit

Another awesome thing to do is head out of the city centre to visit the nearby floating villages. I went with Kompong Khleang and it was an amazing day witnessing such a different way of life. 
We spent heaps of time on the Tonle Sap River in the midst of village life and got to visit a local school where our guide was originally from. We met some very happy and friendly children and I highly recommend the tour. All of the proceeds made go straight back to the school.





3. Check out Pub Street

Pub Street is the town centre where most tourists tend to gravitate towards. The area is nicely decorated, the restaurants and bars are cheap and plentiful and there are many market-style shopping areas nearby.
Come at night time for a totally different experience. You can try a scorpion or tarantula or sit at one of the many fun pop-up cocktail carts. I can recommend getting a banana and nutella pancake from a street food cart made fresh in front of you for only $1 - so good!





4. Phare the Cambodian Circus

My favourite evening spent in Siem Reap was at the popular show Phare the Cambodian Circus. It's modern circus-style entertainment featuring very talented high-flying acrobats.
I was completely astonished by their amazing skills and drawn in by the compelling story they told. It was fun, high-energy and even emotional.
It is again a wonderful cause and all of the proceeds go straight back into the community and help to transform the lives of Cambodian youth.





5. Indulge in the great food

I enjoyed the food in Siem Reap so much that I already have a whole blog post on it! Five Places to Eat in Siem Reap.
As well as eating your way around some of the best-rated restaurants, you could do a food tour or even take a local cooking class. There is an abundance of great cafes and restaurants to choose from specialing in local Khmer dishes, healthy vegan and vegetarian and various nationalities. Best of all - the price is unbeatable!





Those are five of my top recommended things to do in Siem Reap. Leave me a comment if you have any other suggestions to add!

If you would like to read about what I got up to in Cambodia in more detail check out my travel diary post.

Pin it! :)

Happy Travels,

20 Gift Ideas for the Travel-Obsessed



With December peeping right around the corner, if you haven't already, now is the time to start thinking about what to get your loved ones for Christmas.

If you know someone who is just a little bit travel obsessed, *cough* or even to well-deservedly spoil yourself - these twenty gift ideas might just make shopping over the silly season easier.

In no particular order, here are some favourite ideas for 2017:


1. Scratch Off World Map Poster 

This is the perfect gift for travellers. It's a great memento for enthusiasts to have on the wall and scratch off after each new country is achieved. I recently got one and I absolutely love it!


2. Travel Journal


What could be a better way to start off 2018's travel adventures than with a fresh new travel-themed notebook? It's one of those things you can never have too many of.




A Polaroid camera is the hot new travel must-have to capture special moments instantly from all around the world. Best of all, it's super light and comes in different pastel colours.


4. Wanderlust T-Shirt 
Is there a better way to express your travel obsession than with a wanderlust t-shirt? Surprise your globetrotting loved one with this and I bet they'll never take it off.


5. World Map Pendant Necklace


A great stocking stuffer idea and perhaps another not so subtle way of sharing their wanderlust could be with a delicate world map necklace.


6. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones


If you're wanting to truly spoil someone then a set of excellent quality Bose headphones would be the ultimate present. Who wouldn't be grateful to block out every single sound on an aeroplane?


7. Lonely Planet's Ultimate Travel


I got this book for Christmas last year and really enjoyed reading it. Lonely Planet shares their top 500 places in the world to visit and it is super inspiring. (I visited the Twelve Apostles this year because of it!).


8. Passport Stamp Phone Case


A thoughtful gift to help publicly declare a traveller's wanderlust. Be sure to check what type of phone they have to fit this awesome case.


9. GoPro HERO 5
Again, if you wish to spend a bit more, this powerful camera that's able to be used in all elements is a fun must-have for any traveller.


10. World Map Laptop Sleeve


This sleek and colourful world map laptop cover would put a smile on any wanderluster's face. Again, make sure to select the correct size.




This wanderlust definition art print is a simple but brilliant idea. Pop it in a nice frame and it will be a standout feature for any shelf or wall.


12. Wanderlust Passport Wallet
Wanderlust themed goodies are always a winner. Let your loved ones show off their passion for travel at the airport with this cool passport wallet.


13. Anti-theft Travel Backpack


If you're looking for a more practical gift to give, this smart anti-theft backpack would be very thoughtful and welcome to many travellers old and new.


14. Wanderlust Luggage Tag


Another great little stocking stuffer, this wanderlust luggage tag is a cute way for the travel-obsessed to share their love of the world via their suitcase.


15. Lonely Planet Travel Guidebook


Do you know where your loved ones are planning to travel to next year? Get them a Lonely Planet guidebook for their destination. My sister does this for me and I always appreciate it!


16. A Traveller's Heart Metal Travel Mug
If your travel-loving pal is a coffee/hot drink lover then this metal on-the-go mug would be a great practical gift complete with an inspiring quote.


17. Cork Board Map of the World


Who wouldn't want an iconic cork board map to pin all of the countries you have been to? Or perhaps to pinpoint the places on that ever-growing bucket list!


18. Manfrotto Mini Tripod

If your loved one is a photography enthusiast and doesn't yet have one of these handy mini tripods then this could be a perfect gift. Great for setting up self-timed photos and vlogging.


19. Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost Pillows


A great addition to any bedroom, help your loved ones get excited about their next trip by falling asleep on this pretty novelty pillow which comes in a set of two.


20. 1,000 Places to See Before You Die


Similar to the Lonely Planet's Ultimate Travel, this New York Times Bestseller is another motivating book that I would love to receive as a gift myself this year! (Hint, hint!).


Pin it! :)

Those are twenty gift ideas for the wanderlusters out there, whether a family member, friend, colleague or yourself, I hope you have some fun and practical sparks of gift-giving inspiration for the upcoming festive season.

Let me know which travel-themed goodie is your favourite and if you have any other suggestions - comment below!

(The products are all linked in the titles if you would like prices and more information).

Happy Travels,

Top 10 Things to do in Bangkok


Bangkok is a city that awakens the senses. It is vibrant, colourful, noisy, bustling, hectic, hot, young and old, rich and poor; an array of interesting sights and smells.

Bankok has topped the 2017 list in the world's most popular tourist destinations, and that's because of all the incredible things the city has to offer. Amazing culture and temples, friendly people, the best street food, world-class shopping and sky bars.

There are so many things to do in Bangkok you couldn't possibly ever get bored. Here is my top selection of the very best:


1. Marvel at the Grand Palace


The Grand Palace is the number one must-do in Bangkok. It has been the official residence of the Kings of Siam since 1782 and is a complex of beautiful buildings and temples, including the famous Emerald Buddha.


The Grand Palace hosts some of the most sacred places of Thailand and is considered to be the heart of Bangkok.


2. Admire Wat Pho & Reclining Buddha


Wat Pho is my favourite place in Bangkok. Founded in the 16th Century, it is the capital city's largest and oldest temple. It was the first open university of Thailand, where courses in traditional medicine and the first school of massage were born.


It is best known for the golden Statue of the Reclining Buddha, the largest in Thailand at 46 metres long and 15 metres high.


3. Sip on a fancy cocktail from a Sky Bar


Bangkok is famous for its incredible skyline and rooftop bars, and there is no shortage of ones to choose from. Sky Bar is one of the most popular thanks to the movie The Hangover. Other great ones to choose include: Above Eleven Bar, Octave, Vertigo Bar, Attitude and Red Sky Bar.


Beware the prices are quite steep (standard western prices) but you are paying for the incredible view and the service is top quality.
As a tip, most sky bars have a dress code and head there just before sunset to watch the city lights come to life.


4. Indulge in the Street Food scene


Bangkok is known to have some of the very best and cheapest street food in the world.
The majority of locals don't cook at home, they eat street food and either take away or sit down to eat at little popup tables and chairs.


At night especially the streets come to life with food carts of various delectable Thai cuisines, from Pad Thai to fried rice, curries, grilled meats and soups.
Get a dose of the local culture by joining in. As a tip, go to carts that have a lot of people hanging around. Higher turnover means fresher food and will most definitely be delicious. If you're still worried about eating meat - go vegetarian. I quite often opted for vegetarian Pad Thais and curries, they are still just as good.


5. Shop 'til you drop in the malls


Here's a fun fact - the number one pastime of the locals of Bangkok is: shopping! The malls in Bangkok are among the world's best, they carry all the major brand names and have an endless variety of shops to suit all budgets. They also have local food courts and being air-conditioned, it is a great way to get relief from the outside heat.


There's the MBK Center, Siam Center, CentralWorld, Siam Discovery, Platinum Fashion Mall and Siam Paragon just to name a few.


6. Experience the weird and wonderful


Being a rather large capital city in Southeast Asia, it should come as no surprise that Bangkok is brimming with the unexpected.


From a Unicorn Cafe and Little Zoo Cafe (with real exotic animals) to a condom-themed restaurant to Ladyboy shows, there is something fun for everyone, you don't have to look hard to find it.


7. Get a Thai massage


While you're in Bangkok don't miss getting a traditional Thai massage. You'll be able to find one as easily as a 7-Eleven and they will usually cost no more than 250 Baht ($7.50 US) for one hour.


Thai massage is an ancient healing system combining acupressure and stretching techniques. It's not for the faint-hearted (it can feel like you have volunteered to be tortured at times) but you feel energised and like a brand new person afterwards. You can always ask the masseuse prior to go easy on you!


8. Barter at the biggest weekend market


The Chatuchak Weekend Market is the largest market in Asia and you could easily spend an entire day getting lost amongst the 8000 stalls.



Open every Saturday and Sunday, try your hand at bartering for everything from clothing, souvenirs and jewellery to homeware and furniture. There are plenty of food and drink options to keep you fuelled while you shop.


9. Visit the beautiful Wat Arun


Wat Arun, also known as the Temple of Dawn, is another spectacular temple highly worth visiting. Located riverside, almost directly opposite Wat Pho, the colourfully decorated spires stands majestically over the water.


It is a landmark known from many postcards and is particularly iconic to photograph during a sunrise or sunset.


10. Sightsee by boat


Bangkok’s canals have a rich history and are often referred to as the main artery of the nation. The scenic Chao Phraya River flows through the centre of Bangkok and hopping on one of the many river boats or ferries is a fantastic way to see the nearby famous and historical attractions.


It is a convenient transportation system to reach Wat Arun, Wat Pho and the Grand Palace in hop on, hop off style and there are plenty of longer sightseeing cruises on offer in traditional boats for both day and night.

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There is of course so much more to Bangkok with countless amazing attractions and things to do. These ten are my top recommendations I would suggest to a friend visiting for their very first time.
I hope if you're going there yourself you have some ideas and inspiration for what to do.

Embrace the city in all it's craziness and have an amazing time!

Happy Travels,

12 Female Wanderlust Inspiring Instagram accounts to follow


Instagram is by far my favourite social media platform. It is creative, artistic and your very own portfolio to showcase whatever you please in your own way.

I am super picky about the big travel accounts out there I choose to follow, of which there are so many. I like to feel inspired and motivated when I scroll through Instagram (which, let's be honest, is pretty often).

Here are twelve of my favourite female Instagram accounts, including single particular people and big communities of female travellers. They all ooze inspiration, positivity and spark that burning wanderlust desire.



A post shared by LISA HOMSY (@lisahomsy) on

I have the biggest girl crush on this Canadian! She is so down to earth and relatable and her Instagram is absolute goals. Her stories are addictive to watch and she is one hell of a babe. I have been following her since she was at 20k and watched her grow rapidly in just 6 months!




This is a big wanderlust-inspo community for female travellers worldwide. If you have an awesome enough photo and use the hashtag #sheisnotlost you might just be lucky enough to be reposted!




Aggie is another of my favourite ladies (who I discovered through Lisa Homsy).
From Poland, she is beautiful, sweet and inspiring and is currently celebrating her 30th birthday with all her travel buddies in Greece right now! Her stories and feed are to die for.



A post shared by Backpacker (@backpackerstory) on

A fun community that showcases all the incredible places this world has to offer to get inspired for your next trip!




This Australian is incredible and one of the original travel Instagrammers. At one million followers, her photography is magical and oozes wanderlust to all.




A warm travel blog community 'inspiring and empowering women to travel more, do more and be more'.




This young Australian is the girl next door with incredible photography skills. She's currently living in New Zealand and I'm just loving her feed!




A community group for all of the travelling career girls out there. Their feed is full of inspiring and motivational captions as well as amazing photos.



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This lovely lady from Bulgaria is a literal ray of sunshine with the kindest spirit.
Partner of the legendary travel vlogger Fun For Louis, she has her own amazing YouTube channel as well now. She is a joy to follow on all platforms.



A post shared by Nadine Sykora (@heynadine) on

I've been following Canadian Nadine's awesome travel blog and Youtube channel for years and love her style and personality. Her Instagram is jam-packed with the best destinations!




Another large and wonderful community that I love to follow, with a message to 'inspire, connect and educate female travellers'.




Last but not least is the sweet Australian Brooke, another of the very first travel bloggers that inspired so many to start their own blog. She is someone I highly look up to and her feed is, of course, absolute goals.


There you have my twelve favourite and most inspiring female travel Instagram accounts. Follow along if you like for multiple daily doses of wanderlust and creativity.

Oh and me!
If you feel so inclined, follow along on my Instagram journey too.


A post shared by Krysti Jaims (@krystijaims) on

I love photography and sharing my travels. I can only hope one day that my feed will be half as good as any of theirs! They are all definitely something to aspire to.

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Do you know any other inspiring accounts to follow? Comment below, I'd love to read them.

Happy Travels,

Is it Safe to Travel Alone as a Female? (Tips to Travel Smart)


This is a question I get asked quite often and it is also something I wondered myself when I first started travelling alone.
Everybody's experiences are of course different but for me personally... my answer is

YES.

I have never had a single problem in all of my solo travels including cities that are known to be notorious for pickpockets and crime such as Athens, Barcelona, Jakarta, Phnom Penh etc. However, I did witness incidences, so they certainly are places to be alert in for a reason, as you should be for wherever you travel.



Have I just been lucky then? I have never had any items lost or stolen, or had anybody try to bother me while travelling.
Perhaps.

I thought recently, surely after four months travelling mostly solo around Southeast Asia, something bad was bound to happen. But, nope. I have never even missed a flight or had my bags misplaced. (Thank goodness!).

Again, it could be due to being in the right place at the right time and it could also be due to the fact that I would say I'm a smart traveller.



I'm not ever worried about travelling alone, but I am always aware of my surroundings and never let my guard down.

Through experience and common sense, I've learned easy ways to help stay safer, not get my stuff stolen and therefore just have a bloody good time and not have to worry about dealing with those consequences.

That doesn't mean I've never had anything bad at all happen to me while travelling.
Oh yes, nobody is perfect! I have had people try to scam me, I've been so lost in a foreign place I've almost broken down, I've had my credit card details stolen, I've stayed in some horrid rat and drug infested places... but bad times such as these are only temporary and lead to future learning and funny stories.



Yes, bad things can happen, but you don't need to be afraid or be put off travelling alone as a female because of it. The truth is, the majority of local people are extremely friendly and welcoming and would rather help you than harm you.

As they say, you are more likely to have a crime done against you in your own country. (This is true for me!). You just need to travel smart.

Below are some handy travel and safety tips that I always use myself:


Travel tips to help stay safe

⚫ If you have a long-strapped bag always carry it across your body, zipped and tightly secure. If you have a spare hand, hold on to it too whenever possible.



⚫ When using your phone out walking on the street, hold it close to your body and always with two hands.

⚫ If you don't have data available, download the city you are in prior on Google Maps offline so you will never get lost.

⚫ Don't trust strangers even if they seem nice. Never get in a car or go somewhere with them by yourself.

⚫ Make sure at least one person has your current travel itinerary and always knows where you are staying and where you should be.



⚫ Always keep sight of your belongings at train stations, airports etc.

⚫ Don't go out walking alone late at night.

⚫ Don't get too drunk. Always be in control.

⚫ Don't carry more cash than you would need for the day and always have a spare EFTPOS/credit card located separately from the one you carry.

⚫ Dress conservatively, especially in places where it is customary.



⚫ Where you can, travelling by Uber is a smart way to get around. The app tracks the driver and you, keeping both of your information in the system and the payment is done through the app via credit card so no money is exchanged.

⚫ Grab the business card of your accommodation to take around with you, even most hostels have them. That way you always have the address and phone number of where you are staying in case you get lost and can't communicate with a driver.

⚫ Trust your intuition. If something doesn't feel right, then it probably isn't.

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Hopefully these tips can help you to feel more confident and stay safe when travelling solo as a female. Just remember there are so many of us out there doing it so you aren't really alone!

Travelling solo opens up a whole new world of experiences as you learn to navigate situations on your own, make new friendships and basically do whatever you want!
Enjoy it.

Do you have any other tips to add to this list? Comment below, I'd love to read them.

Happy Travels,

Ultimate Packing List for Southeast Asia


Southeast Asia is one of the most popular regions in the world for travelling; being so diverse in cultures, history, having amazing cuisines and a delightfully warm climate.
Best of all, it is pretty easy to travel around at a low-cost, making it accessible for all types of budgets.

I've had a continuing love affair ever since my first visit four years ago, and I've been lucky enough to visit four times so far, travelling to Thailand, Indonesia twice and to Vietnam.

In two weeks I'll be off on my next adventure to Southeast Asia where I'll be travelling to six different countries (the majority of it solo) over two months.
Naturally, packing has been on my mind and I think for my fifth time there I've finally got it down pat!


I'm one of the few people that actually loves packing - it gets me extra pumped for my upcoming trip. Whether you are travelling with a suitcase or a backpack, the same list generally applies and either way it is always best to travel as light as you can with only the things you will need and actually use.
I've had to train myself not to bring too many clothes (guilty habit) and over the years I have learned what I can easily pick up along the way.

Here is my Ultimate Packing List, with everything I should need for eight weeks away:


Clothing

4 T-shirts – Three casual and one for sleeping in. I usually buy T-shirts at each new place I go to so I don't like to bring too many with me.

1 nicer top – For going out to the very occasional nice restaurant for dinner where t-shirts and singlets aren't quite acceptable.

4 singlets – Perfect for hot days around the likes of Bali, Bangkok and beach areas.

2 dresses – Same as above (beachy dresses). Also can be used for evenings with a light cardy.

4 pairs of shorts – My favourite pair of jean shorts, one pair of board shorts for the beach, gym shorts and one for sleeping in.

1 pair of jeans – Not so much for hotter areas but I will be wearing them there and back on the plane as I'm always really cold and for possible cooler evenings in the north.

1 sweatshirt – For the same reasons as above.

2 light cardigans – One casual black cardy that goes with everything and one nicer one for evenings out.

3 bikinis – I'm going to be spending a fair bit of time at the beach and I'm mostly staying somewhere with a pool, so I think three is necessary.

3 bras – Two normal and one sports bra.

8 pairs of underwear

4 pairs of socks

1 sarong – Useful for the beach/pool and covering up at temples.



Shoes

1 pair of jandals

1 pair of sandals

1 pair of running shoes

1 pair of converse


Toiletries and Medical Items

You can pick things up that you need such as shampoo, soap, toothpaste and almost anything else in Southeast Asia very cheaply, so I always pack travel-sized toiletries when I can.

Mini shampoo and conditioner

Mini facewash

Deodorant

Toothbrush, small toothpaste, floss

Mini soap/shower gel

Hand sanitizer – An essential always in my day bag.

Moisturiser – I go for one with a high SPF.

Sunblock – A small bottle, again high in SPF.

Small night cream

Chapstick

Makeup – Just the bare minimum as it's really hot and humid in most parts of Southeast Asia and you’re likely to sweat it off!

Face wipes – Super refreshing if needed and to help remove any makeup.

Feminine products

Insect Repellent

Small comb and hair ties

Prescription medications – Including antibiotics.

Shaver

Basic first aid items – Plasters, panadol, antiseptic cream, safety pins, small scissors, Immodium, cold medicine.

Tissues – Many public bathrooms don't provide toilet paper so always carry a pack with you!

Multivitamins

Antimalarial medicine – Talk to your doctor ahead of time if you might need it, as well as any vaccines.




Electronics

As a travel blogger and vlogger that will be working from there, I have a few essential electronics to bring with me. If you are just visiting for a holiday these are totally optional. You may just want to bring your phone, a small camera and maybe an IPad/tablet.

Cellphone

Laptop

Hard drive

Headphones

Camera 

GoPro

Memory cards and extra batteries

Portable phone charger

Mini tripod

USB stick

Any required cables/chargers

(You can find what particular camera gear and electronics I use in my Shop section).




Travel Essentials

Passport – Make sure it’s valid for at least 6 months past the end of your trip.

Money – It's always handy to have some local currency upon arrival but you could always get this at the airport. It's a good idea to travel with a backup ATM and credit card, kept separately from your main wallet.

Travel insurance – Essential! I use the 1Cover comprehensive plan.

Passport-sized photos – For any required visas.

Copies of travel documents: Booking confirmations (some have a tendency to get 'lost'), travel insurance, passport, visas.

Plug adapters – if you don't already have one you can pick one up there.




Accessories 

Sunglasses

Basic jewellery – Just a few pieces that I wouldn't care if they were lost. It's usually just one pair of earrings, one necklace and some bracelets to layer.

A light scarf – I like to have this for the plane and it can also dress up an outfit for a night out.

Backpack and day bag –  My backpack is my carry on bag which will have my laptop in it. I can also use this for longer day trips. My everyday bag is a smaller satchel type purse that can cross over my body and fit everything I need in.

Hat – It's so easy to burn when you're out in the sun all day!




Extra stuff!

Earplugs and eye mask – I'm a very light sleeper so these are essential for me.

Book – One of my favourite things to do is to read a book by the pool or beach.

Refillable drink bottle

Small umbrella – Handy to have if there's a random downpour.

Washing powder – For washing clothes in the sink as needed.

Lock or two – Useful to lock your valuables when out and about for the day.

Notebook and pens – I love to journal my days and jot down thoughts and plans.

Canvas bag – Great as a pool/beach bag or to take out when shopping.


Note - I am mostly staying at Airbnbs and hotels, but if you are going backpacking and staying in hostels/guesthouses then I'd suggest also packing a sleeping bag liner and a pillowcase.

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That's everything in my Ultimate Packing List for Southeast Asia! Do you have anything else you would add to this list? Let me know in the comments below, I'd love to read them.

If you would like to check out some of my favourite travel gear, essentials and wanderlust inspiration items, check out my shop section!

I also recently filmed a chatty video for YouTube of everything I'm packing for this trip.
Feel free to give it a watch if interested.



Happy Travels,

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