‘Travel’ Category

Chasing The Summer!

Chasing The Summer!

Day dreaming about our upcoming travels. Its Winter here in Joburg, but in just less than a month, we satisfy that persistent itch to see some world, and chase the Summer. We cannot wait! This is what August will look like for us… #NewYork #Mykonos #Paris

Summer 2013 Collage

Mahiki, London

Mahiki, London

If you are in the Mayfair area in London and looking for cocktails to unwind, Mahiki
next to the swank Ritz Hotel in the heart of prestigious Mayfair, serves mean cocktails. A trendy tropical escape and top clubbing venue Mahiki has been a white-hot celebrity hang-out since its 2006 opening by Piers Adam and Nick House.

Two floors of posh Polynesian playground, the Mahiki is known for ultra-delicious cocktails, and a funky resort ambience. Despite its popularity with the glitterati, the super-cool Mahiki has retained an open-door policy, though lines may form later in the evening. Try to slip in early on the popular Thursday theme nights. Friendly and relaxed as a South Sea beach-front sunset bar, the Mahiki delights with vibrant Hawaiian cushions, cheeky Tiki statues, wicker furniture and flickering lamplight.

Truly tropical, Mahiki’s innovative fresh fruit cocktail delights are served in coconut and pineapple tiki-cups, while the Island Grill serves up some tasty tapas. Relax in the laid-back Lanai cocktail lounge area, or let your hair down, flowers and all, in the campy and colorful Aloha Room, where rockin’ DJ’s bring cool beats to this Polynesian playground.

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For general enquiries or or bookings, you can email honey@mahiki.com or contact them on 020 7493 9529.

TBT: Winter in Lesotho, 2011

TBT: Winter in Lesotho, 2011

Firstly….This was my coldest winter EVER!

I had heard about the snow in Lesotho, but being the sceptic that I am, I didn’t believe it! We are in Southern Africa… How much snow could there really be? I soon found out that just 500km out of Johoannesburg, the mountains of Lesotho have seasons of their own.

Naturally, a group of friends gathered to explore the snowy mountains of Lesotho.

This was an experience that was out of my comfort zone (I generally do not like the freezing cold), but all of that was forgotten when we arrived. We were welcomed into a cabin with a fire place at Afri Ski Resort Mountain Resort . Well, actually, we had to make the fire:-)  We cooked, drank local beers and immersed ourselves in the snowy landscape. We bonded over bon fires and  bum boarded, mainly because because our alchol intake levels did not allow for us to be up early to do proper ski trainining sessions.  It was good times indeed…

Afri Ski, the only skiing resort situated in the Maloti Mountains, proved to be an exciting and well worth experience. After that holiday, I was sure that you could put me anywhere in the world and I’d still have a fantastic time, as long as there’s good company and great food…even in the ice cold :)

Contact details:

Website: www.afriski.net

Tel: 08612374754

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Get To Know: Bobo

Get To Know: Bobo

 

                           Photo courtesy of Mmaphuthi Morule

1.What is the best early morning experience you’ve had while traveling?

A champagne breakfast on the balcony of our hotel room at the Vista Palace Hotel when visiting Monaco back in 2009.

Overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, from the Principality of Monaco to the Italian Riviera, the Vista Palace Hotel offers one of the most spectacular views of the French Riviera. That experience had me feeling like i was in paradise.

Vista Palace Hotel , 1551 Route de la Turbie – 06190 Roquebrune Cap-Martin – France

Tel. : +33 (0) 4 92 10 40 00

2. Have you experienced any disasters/crisis while traveling?

Well, I suppose missing a flight from New York to Johannesburg could be considered a crisis of sorts, but it worked out in the end. And besides, an extra night in New York  never hurt anyone! We were also lucky enough not to have to pay extra for our flight the next day. Thank God for that because we were super broke come the end of that holiday! Crisis averted.

3. What is your travel style?

I do a lot of research on the destination I am traveling to.  I will trawl the internet to find out about the best restaurants, best places to shop, must see attractions, where to party etc. I feel like when visiting a new place, I really don’t want to miss out on “the best of” that city. A well informed traveler is a happy traveler!

I also prefer to experience new destinations through the locals as opposed to doing the tourist thing. The best way to fall in love with a city is to experience it the way the people who love it most do.

4. Which songs best describes your travel experiences?

“Paris Nights & New York Mornings”- by Corinne Bailey Rae. I can testify to those beautiful, mind blowing Paris nights, as well as those early morning walks of shame back home after a big night out in New York…heels in hand, hailing a cab down…

Rihanna has also provided many soundtracks to many a crazy night out in my recent trips to New York and Accra.

5. Most profound lesson learned through travel?

That to travel, and see the world, is to truly live and learn. Travel feeds my soul in a way that touches me deeply. Every single time.

6. Favorite Town/ Village?  Why?

Ada, Ghana. A small coastal town about an hour outside of Accra. It is beautiful. So simple, yet so exquisite. Definitely one of the places I have to go back to.

7. Favorite City? Why?

New York remains a big love. So much to see, so much to do. The energy of the city, the spirit of the people is what I resonate the most with. There’s just something about millions of people from everywhere around the world, coming together in this one city, with the common goal of making their dreams come true.

Paris comes a close second. The beautiful architecture, the romance, the ridiculously beautiful and stylish people, the classic sidewalk bistros, the art, and the champagne of course!

8. Who is the most unforgettable person/people you’ve met or interacted with while traveling?

The people of Accra that I have met on my visits there. They are some of the most kind-hearted, caring, and accommodating people I have ever come across. Their spirit is amazing. They always give so much of themselves to others. Always eager to help and forever hospitable. We are always so spolit every time we visit Accra.

9. What are some of the things you don’t like about traveling?

The admin involved in getting visas. Looooong flights in economy class. Bleh. That’s about it!

10. What are the 3 top eating experiences you’ve had while traveling?

1. Home cooked traditional Ghanian food. Shout out to Rita and Aunty Fafa!

2. A seafood braai on the beach at Inhaca Island, Mozambique.

3. Dinner at the Ciel de Paris restaurant in Paris.The restaurant is situated on the on the 56th floor of the Tour Montparnasse, and has the most beautiful panoramic views of the city. A great dining experience!

11. What’s the craziest stereotype you’ve heard about South Africans while traveling?

The usual stuff. We cant walk the streets because there is crime everywhere. We have lions and elephants in our back yards. We all have AIDS.

12. If I had only 24 hours to live, I would spend it in:

I would spend it on an island with the loves of my life on a secluded island.

13. Best Cities to fall in love?

New York, Amsterdam, Paris, and I would love to fall in love all over again in Barcelona. Never been to Barcelona, but I imagine that Barcelona would be the perfect background to a beautiful love story. With that Spanish guitar providing a dreamy soundtrack to it all! lol.

14. Cities you want to see with a lover?

Barcelona, Venice, Paris (of course).

15. Places you want to see with the girls?

A girls trip to Mykonos, and maybe Hvar Island in Croatia would be awesome :-) Long lazy days spent on the beach, bottomless cocktails, good food, and long Summer nights.

16. Best Cities to travel on your own?

New York.  Amsterdam.

17. What city best suits your personality?

New York. A city with many layers. A city of dreamers.

18. About Yourself?

I am a lover of life, family, friends, food, wine, travel, fashion, film and music. I’m learning and growing every day.

 

Rooftop Gardens, London

Rooftop Gardens, London

The best part about London nighttlife, is it is virtually impossible to run out of places to explore. One amazing find was Rooftop Gradens. Situated 100 feet above bustling Kensington High Street, the Rooftop Gardens and Babylon Restaurant are truly spectacular. There are three themed gardens, with over 70 full-size trees, a flowing stream stocked with fish and resident flamingos.For over 70 years this unique venue has played host to countless events, parties and weddings.

Originally above Derry and Tom’s department store which opened in 1933, The Roof Gardens were the dream child of the vice president of Barkers, Trevor Bowen, who employed landscape architect Ralph Hancock to realise his vision. The Roof Gardens is part of Virgin Limited Edition, Sir Richard Branson’s portfolio of unique retreats.

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High up on the 7th floor with amazing views over London's skyline, only their mouth-watering cuisine will compete for your attention at Babylon!

High up on the 7th floor with amazing views over London’s skyline, only their mouth-watering cuisine will compete for your attention at Babylon!

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And in the evening, when you feel like putting on your dancing shoes, you can visit their hugely popular and trendy club on the 6th floor, with top DJs working their magic in chic and contemporary surroundings.

London’s only rooftop Private Members Club is as glamorous as it comes. Open Friday and Saturday nights only, the dress code is simply “no effort, no entry”. Entrance is strictly over 21 years.

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Whether you come to the Roof gardens for an event, for a night at the private members club, for a meal in Babylon Restaurant or just for a wander around the gardens, you can be guaranteed a mind blowing London experience!

Call them on +44 (0) 207 368 3993, book a table online or email babylon@roofgardens.virgin.com

TBT – Beaching it up

TBT – Beaching it up

 

Somewhere deep into 2011, my peoples came over to hang out in Cape Town. I had just moved there, so could think of nothing better than chilling HARD taking in the fascinating (and icy) Cape Town waters. We spent time between Camps Bay eating at Pepperclub on The Beach, Llandudno beach – one of my favourite spots - which is about ten minutes from Camps Bay, and The Grand Beach Cafe at Granger Bay.

The whole day was spent doing absolutely nothing.  And It was nothing short of delicious.

 

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Pepperclub on The Beach

Address: The Promenade, Victoria Road, Camps Bay

Telephone number: +27 (0)21 438 3174

 

The Grand Beach Cafe

Address: Granger Bay Road (off Beach Road), Granger Bay

Telephone number: +27 (0)21 425 0551

The Bungalow, Clifton, CPT

The Bungalow, Clifton, CPT

Anyone who knows me well will testify to the fact that when I travel, most of my travel plans are based on great dining experiences. I will always seek out the best restaurants in any city that I travel to. Firstly because, well, I just love to eat good food, and secondly, because I believe that through its food, you get to know every country/city a little bit better.  Upon the good advice of a friend who lives in Cape Town, we made a reservation for lunch at The Bungalow in Clifton. And thank God we did, because its always packed, especially during peak season.

The Bungalow opened its doors in December 2011, and is also sister  to the Paranga / Pepenero / Zenzero and The Kove restaurants. The restaurant has been described as “Clifton’s hottest restaurant and lounge”, and after spending a very lazy Summer’s day eating the most divine seafood, and sipping on bubbly all day, I have to agree that The Bungalow is as “hot” as its been said to be.

With its chic interior and excellent food & wine menu, a relaxed vibe, and beautiful clientele,  The Bungalow has given Cape Town a fine dining restaurant at one of the best locations around and therefore created an excellent destination to spend long Summer lunches that turn into dinner.

We love Cape Town Summer days, but we love Cape Town Summer days spent at The Bungalow a little bit more :-)

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Their seafood platter is sooo good!

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Tequila, anyone?

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Stunning view!

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Good people, good food, good weather, plenty bubbly…enough to make a girl smile!

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Cheers!

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Happy times!

 

The Bungalow Restaurant (The old La Med)
Address: 3 Victoria Road, Clifton
Telephone number: +27 (0)21 438 2018.

TBT: The Dead Sea

TBT: The Dead Sea

Throw Back Thursday: A Bus Ride to the Dead Sea

In 2012 the girls and I took a 2 week holiday to Israel. Primarily, this break was to accompany one of our closest friends down the Isle as she married the man of her dreams, and Secondly to party, sit on the beach, drink insanely delicious cocktails and of cos to sight see.
Getting around in Israel is fairly easy. In a country as big as the Kruger National Park, all other main cities and sights are a bus ride away. From our lovely apartment in Tel-Aviv we took a 2 day trip to see Jerusalem and to do a day trip to the Dead sea.
Our trip to the dead started early in the morning with a walk to the Central Bust station in Jerusalem from our Hotel, to catch our ride.
After a 2 hour bus ride we arrive at a bus stop with a sign in Hebrew that says The Dead Sea. After making sure we are right – by asking the most fluent person amongst us, we get off at what looks like a deserted stop in a Texan Cow-Boy Movie. In 40 Degree heat, and a hat that got squashed on the ride, we nervously looked around for a sign of the famous Dead Sea

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After 30 minutes of walking around what I could only describe as a desert with salt deposits around VERY large rocks, it dawned on us – 4 very grumpy girls and an understanding man, that we were VERY far from where we should be.

After another 45 minutes, we caught another bus to what we hoped was the right destination. As we got off and saw a BEACH with SAND we realised we had finally arrived.

After tucking my braids under my hat, I joined the girls in the water. I must say that balancing in this water is a lot harder than it seems, and I almost toppled over more than a few times.

the water was so warm and heavy

the water was so warm and heavy

And obviously one cannot go to the Dead Sea and not do a Dead Sea Mud Mask … Applying this cool mud on my entire body proved to be tricky as I was forced to watch it dry INSTANTLY because of the heat. This resulted in a 5 minute Mud mask as opposed to the recommended 45 minutes.

Mud Mask

Mud Mask

4 Ladies and a Gentleman

The bus ride back to Jerusalem was one of the most silent rides any of us have taken in a while. I think this could be attributed to the slight case of heat stroke we were all suffering from.
All in all a great trip and an amazing experience!

Get To Know: Katiso

Get To Know: Katiso

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1.What is the best early morning experience you’ve had while traveling?

My answer would be soo scandalous, I just cant. All I can say is sitting on the beach, drinking beer  at 6am watching the sun rise on a beautiful Island – that has got to have been the best way to say “Hello morning”

2. Have you experienced any disasters/crisis while traveling?

When I travelled Cambodia in 2012 I lost my passport in Siem Reap. I realized on the day I was checking out to go to Phnom Pen. The bus was arriving to pick me up in 3 hours. I just felt that this wasn’t how I was going down. After going to the embassy, I bought a beer, drank it and decided my trip needs to continue with or without my passport. It did, and my passport was found and delivered to me in Phnom Penn.

3. Have you ever “mysteriously” survived a critical situation?

In Vietnam I ran out of money. Twice! Need I say more. This was after I received a cash injection from my mom and sister.

I didn’t have money to book a flight from Vietnam  back to Bangkok and then another flight  to get back home because I spent it all. I asked for more money and realized when I arrived at the airport my bags were overweight and had a fee to pay. I clearly didn’t have that money either, and I couldn’t give up my last $20 which I was planning to have one last meal and beer with. So I played the victim and smiled and negotiated until they had no choice but let me and my bags on the flight. Imagine having to off load all my shopping, that would have been heart wrenching.

4.  What is your travel style?

Do whatever, take risks, live a little and no regrets. I like to take things as they come, not always knowing what lies ahead of me. I hate knowing what I’m doing each day, I like to explore and discover things and just go with the moment. It doesn’t always have to be done by the book. If a foreign boy wants to kiss you, its really rude to say no. Oh and I always come back disgustingly broke

5. Which songs best describes your travel experiences?

Katy Perry: Last Friday night,(I have experiences that have been so epic that I want to repeat them again) David Guetta: Memories, (The memories I create while traveling are for life. Its all about memories) Norah Jones: I’ve got to see you again (After my travels I always want to go back. I come back planning how I am going to raise up the money again.)

6. Most profound lesson learned through travel?

Only you can make it what you want it to be .Keep traveling- because it changes you. Travel makes you discover more about yourself. I’m continuously mesmerized by people.  Being able to love being by yourself and loving your own company, is the greatest feeling ever.

7. Favorite Town/ Village?

Hoi An, Vietnam. I am not one of those “follow the crowd- kind of person”, so falling in love with a place that hasn’t been commercialized makes it special. The city is a beautiful treasure.  It’s a picturesque village “lost in time” as it were. It emanates charm. There is something about Hoi An that brought calm to me. I rented a bicycle for three days to get around. One minute you are walking along the river banks, then you are weaving through the old buildings that make up this historic city and then you hop onto a bicycle to get to the beach. The city is not over populated-  which makes it so blissful. There is just something about a place that has so much intrigue and allows you to be peaceful just for the time you are there.

8. Favorite City? Why?

Berlin! Ah man oh man. I fell in love with this city the moment I arrived. I believe that in life everyone has a history, its what you do with your future that matters, and that is exactly what Berlin stands for. A city –  with not such a glamorous history, but the beauty it has developed into is what drew me to fall in love with it. The city literally broke down the walls of separation between the East and West. There is a buzz of excitement when you walk the streets, creativity surrounds the city, and ofcourse the party scene is beyond sick!!

9. Who is the most unforgettable person you’ve met or interacted with while traveling?

The Irish guy I met in Vietnam, I will leave it at that. However a lifelong appreciation of getting the pleasure to have met one individual, would be the monk I met in Chiang Mai. I have my younger brother to thank for that. I was asked questions about myself I couldn’t answer. I was forced to confront a few things I didn’t realize could be stunting my spiritual growth. “If you take care of your soul, everything else will fall into place naturally” My outlook on life and the way I saw myself changed after that day. Every city I went to after that I made sure my soul got fed. I fell in love with myself, a feeling that not even God himself could take away from me.

10. What are some of the things you don’t like about traveling?

That the specific trip you are on, comes to an end at some point. That has to be the only and worst part of travelling. But long stop over times and a flight being delayed is just annoying.

11. I had my best night’s sleep at:

Tyrol, Austria. We stayed at a guest house called Pension Marliesenhof. Its nestled at the bottom of the Alpine mountains. I got more than 5 hours sleep. It was peaceful and you were just surrounded by mountains. The bedding felt like you were at home, and it being a guest house had a personal touch to it.

12. What are the 3 top eating experiences you’ve had while traveling lately?

Eating is always an experience for me, so that puts me in a squishy corner really. Italy, the food is amazing. The eating experience was just bliss and you have 4 courses, 4!  How freaking awesome is that?  And then of course the wine !

Ghana: The food is spicy but oh so delicious, but I need to go back and do right by the food.

Chiang Mai, the food is delicious and there is so much variety and so affordable. Every meal was a pleasurable experience.

13. Best place to get tipsy:

In Chiang Mai I had 50c Mojitos, In Hoi An and Hanoi I had 25c beer, so its safe to say Asia is your best bet to get tipsy, proper, no mucking around tipsy. I need to say that its coupled with the most lethal hangovers ever as they are not shy with the booze.

14. What’s the craziest stereotype you’ve heard about South Africans while traveling?

Not the craziest but the standard stereotype that we live with animals. We need to shut it down and keep it moving already.

15. If I had only 24 hours to live, I would spend it in:

A place where I can dance like mad, drink like crazy and fall in love for just those 24hours all with a scenic view. Sooo drum roll….. an Island, any Island.

16.  Best Cities to fall in love

Florence, Venice (I can’t even describe how romantic Florence and Venice are, they have those small alley ways for those random “um hello a quick steal of a kiss”) Hoi An, Paris is cliché but I really get why, Prague (there is something about Prague that made me want to walk the streets holding a man’s hand)

17.  Places  you want to see with a lover?

Greece, Cuba and Spain.

18.  Cities you want to see with the girls?

New York (did that in summer of 2012, epic trip), Sao Paulo, Rio, Barcelona, Nigeria and Kenya.

 19. Best Cities to travel on your own

Rome, Prague, Amsterdam, Chiang Mai, Siem Reap, Hoi An, Nha Trang, Hanoi. Actually anywhere is best to travel on your own.

 20. What city best suits/ embodies your personality?

Berlin. I can see me and Berlin being best buddies. Its vibrant, edgy always looking to better itself, a city for all. It has its own identity. Its changing in a freakingly awesome way. It’s a city that has been through a lot, yet it thrives on being spectacular. It’s a crazy crazy place. 

21. About Yourself:

Oh goodness, I could write an entire novel or make a comedy about myself. I’m crazy and I’m cheeky. I’m a free spirit. I seriously think that people don’t take me seriously half the time because half the time I talk pure and utter nonsense.  I’m spontaneous and I’m my own person. I’m obsessed with people as they are my adrenaline rush. I’m energized by the light that people can bring into my life and hence I surround myself with people from all walks of life.  It’s the small things that get me pumped.  Strength is something no one can deny I have. Travelling and eating are definitely one thing I do extremely well.

I want to be remembered for how I loved,  how  I treated people, for being me at all times and making sure that I lived life amazingly.

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Tips: Finding the best flights

Tips: Finding the best flights

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Being a traveler, I have been fortunate to get great flight deals and have also been unfortunate to experience not so great flying experiences, so its safe to say I know the ins and outs of flying.  Accompanied with the fact that fuel prices keep fluctuating which impacts on the cost of a ticket and this year also being the year of people saving,  finding the right flight at the perfect cost is very important. So through my experiences I have put together some tips regarding the flight aspect of traveling, to help you when you plan your next trip.

Here goes!

Be flexible with your travel dates

Rather look at traveling during the week between Monday and Thursday as prices are cheaper during the week than over the weekend. And early morning or late flights are also cheaper as few people fly then.

Take advantage of Student flights

I’m on the database for STA Travel and use them to inquire about great deals as well as I get my insurance through STA Travel unless you don’t use your credit card to pay for your flight where you get free travel insurance. Using student flight centers guarantees you discounted rates.

Compare prices

Most people generally go for the airlines they are familiar with. With smart phones you have travel apps only just a click away. I have downloaded the following apps which helps to compare flights. I have the following apps downloaded, Kayak, Expedia, Easyjet and Travelocity to compare flights. Never just book a flight based on one site.

Take your time

I immerse myself in finding the right flight. Take about a week to search for flights. Flights fluctuate and you need to ensure that by the time you have booked, you have exhausted all possible options.

Go to travel agents

I generally start my search by calling or popping into different travel agents to compare prices. Once they have given me advice on what are the best options available, I go back and do the searches myself as travel agents charge a service fee. Travel agents take the stress out of finding a flight so if you do not have the energy to do the homework, they are your best bet.

Sign up for a Airline rewards programs

Most airlines have frequent flyer rewards programs. Even if you don’t use the same airline it doesn’t matter. Star Alliance has many airlines under their belt so you can sign up there and earn points when you fly which might come in handy the next time you are short.

You earn free miles if you signup when you are still on the flight and some airlines have a 3 month gap for free points after your flight.

Look for alternative routes

Some people generally book direct flights which are much more expensive than connecting flights. By changing your route you end bagging a good deal. This also gives you a chance to pop in for a day or two to see another country that isn’t part of your travels.

Connecting flights

After a stressful 6 hour flight delay from Joburg to Thailand, I learned to make sure that there is ample time between my connecting flights. Some of the people on our flight were unfortunately not using the same airline to connect and missed their flights.

 Travel insurance

This is not even a nice to have actually. You need this. Anything can happen, you could miss your flight because you were late for check in, your flight caught be delayed which affects all your connecting flights and not forgetting having your baggage lost. In peak season having to book another flight could be disastrous.

Be at the airport on time

I don’t know how many times I have had to run through the airport because I was late for check in, or I was too busy having a beer that I was late for the gate. It could also happen that you are not at fault, so make sure you have an hour contingency. The last thing you want is receiving a phone call saying they are off loading you because the gate is closed. That could be the most heartbreaking thing ever especially since you have been looking forward to that holiday.

Investigate the airline

This may seem dramatic, but it could be the thin line between a great flight and a pear shaped flight. Myself and Lera decided found the cheapest flight but it came with a price. There was NO ALCOHOL on the flight. Nothing, Zilch, nudda. After running through the airport all we were looking forward to was a glass of wine, and we were met with disappointment. Needless to say at the connecting airport looking for a bar was the first thing we did. So investigate what their dos and don’ts.

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Stick to the luggage weight requirements

Make sure that you pack lightly, because its not the going where it matters, its the coming back. So leave atleast 10kg extra for all the shopping you will do. You don’t want to be stuck in a situation where you don’t have money to pay the penalty fee and have to leave some luggage behind. This experience could scar you for life.

 Have the card you booked ticket with, with you at check in

On my last trip I had forgotten my card at the atm which the atm swallowed. I completely forgot that I needed this at check in. I wasted a good 45 minutes running to the bank and then back to ticket counter to get a letter from the bank. You may think its not necessary, but that one time you lose your card, is when they will ask for it.

Let your family know your flight details

Leave your flight details with a family member so that they can track your flight. You can track your flight using the Skyscanner app that shows all flights arriving and departing and status of the flights. This comes in handy particularly if you are not roaming for whoever is picking you up to know.

 Check your flight information the day before you leave

Some flights change their flights at the last minute. Its your responsibility to check that everything is running according to schedule. You can choose the email option for flight updates as it doesn’t matter where in the world you are, you can get access to your personal email account.

Finally: BE EXCITED FOR YOUR FLIGHT

It usually only kicks in when you have checked in and boarding that flight that you are about to embark on the most epic trip of your life. Once you are on that flight, there is not turning back. Leave all your worries and stresses behind, because the ride is far more important. Your journey begins the minute you hop onto that flight. Give thanks that you are able to get the opportunity to go make memories, and pray for safe travels.