Planning a RTW trip: Where to start

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And so it begins….

It finally happened! I finished University a couple of months ago and now the saving and planning for my RTW trip has begun. Now, I’m not going to lie, planning a RTW trip can be very overwhelming – especially when the person you’re going with lives 3 hours away! But here are a few pointers that I’ve managed conjure up as a good place to start.

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Losing my hostel virginity

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This is an article I wrote for Gapyear.com on my current placement, but as you are my lovely followers you get the exclusive pictures! This article is about my weekend in Germany way back in April and how I took on hosteling for the very first time – and I loved it!

My First Time in a Hostel

From a newly converted hostel-phobe 

There are many misconceptions about the hostel way of travelling, and I don’t think the horror film ‘Hostel’ has helped with the stereotype either. A lot of people are worried about being robbed or sleeping on a dirty mattress or being abducted and tortured – yeah, I need to stop watching that film, and you’re not alone. Until a few months ago, I too was a hostel-phobe, but now I have been converted!

….CONTINUE HERE: http://www.gapyear.com/features/204819/my-first-time-in-a-hostel

Zante 2012

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Here is an article I wrote last year on my trip to the vomit-induced night life central of Zakynthos, or more regularly known as, Zante!

Now, last summer was a very fragile time for Greece, I won’t get too much into the politics, but basically, if you hadn’t heard, they were pretty financially screwed. However, out of the ashes rose a fairly cheap holiday.

For the hotel and flights, my friends and I paid a total of £330, not bad! However, that’s only the half of it. One of the biggest prices that is often overlooked is the dreaded ‘spending money’. Although, despite expecting a rise in prices, although a few nights out had to sacrificed, I managed fairly well on €150.

Zankythos June 21st – June 28th 2012

Zante! Zante! Zante! ….as celebrated by the ‘Lads On Tour’ in the room above us. The holiday which promises the messiest of nights out. Watching a blurry sun rise over the Mediterranean sea as you stumble across the beach, cocktail in hand, at six in the morning. But, a few hours on Laganas notorious strip and a number of watered down drinks later, it was decided between my friends and I that maybe, this just wasn’t us.
Now, I am twenty, but that doesn’t mean I’m dead. And I do enjoy letting my hair down into a bottle of vodka every now and then. But clubbing abroad is the complete definition of losing all inhibitions. By that, I mean sixteen year olds walking around covered in vomit, people stumbling sideways across roads until their head’s collide with the pavement, or girls just generally crying. And to be honest, I found that I did not regret for a second trading in dry heaving over a stained toilet bowl to spending my time scoping the breath-taking white cliffs and clear blue waters of this truly beautiful Island.

As you make your way down the strip, a forty-five minute walk for us from our hotel, Aphrodite Studios, you’ll soon become a master dodger of the reps inviting you into their bars. However, one rep we didn’t dodge was Celia, one of the many lovely welcoming Greeks we met on our holiday. With hardly a dent in our pocket, we booked an all-day cruise around the Island as well as turtle spotting, totaling only €40, including transport!

The cruise around the Island was absolutely mesmerizing, although make sure to cover up as you don’t realise how much you burn on a boat!  The highlight of this trip was the stop over at Smugglers Cove, one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. And it’s not hard to see why, with the aqua blue water lapping on to the pure white sand and rocks. These colours contrast magnificently with the huge rusty ship wreck which makes the beach such a landmark destination. However, this experience was somewhat ruined by one of our fellow passengers sea sickness getting the better of him as he vommed in the water, cutting short my dip in the sea as I jumped back on to the rocky sand.

Our turtle spotting cruise was not as a great day, with the trip being used to squeeze the boat in to small caves it was obviously too big to fit in, whilst a photographer on a speed boat took photos. We guess this was to show that the boat goes in to caves. Funny that, as two parts of the boat smashed off as we barely entered one.

However, the frustration, and British persona of getting our money back was diminished by the stop of at Marathonisi, or more well-known as Turtle Island, as it’s actually in the shape of a turtle! Although, we only saw one lonely turtle here, so if super tourism is not your strong suit, you’re probably more likely to see a few more turtles on a pedalo, but you probably won’t get the chance to swim near the islands.

Our entire holiday was not a complete 60’s and over dive. One amazing night had been the White Party. This is a party for 25 euros, on Cameo Island. The party gets its name from the dress code being strictly white, and makes for a more classy evening than a tank top and shorts on the strip. The scenery is gorgeous from the Island, especially as the music gets louder as the sun goes down, with people swimming to the floating dance floor, getting free face paint and knocking back some strong mixers. The fire show and fire works were a huge highlight of the night as well.

Food wise, we did make use of the kitchen in our hotel room, however trying a Greek kebab, called Gyros, at Palm beach food bar shouldn’t go a miss. This is an incredibly cheap option filling you up for €2, although you may have to overlook it’s nutritional values. However, make sure to have a meal or three at Paradise restaurant. The family waiters, Dennis, Nico and Alexander make you feel hugely welcome, as they entertain you through out the night and give you free cocktails and discount if you go more than once. 

Zante is an amazing place for both the more and less cultured. A few must do’s are definitely spotting a turtle or two, a swim in the Laganas sea, and a trip to the White party.  We’ll be back once the student overdraft have been paid off to soak in the hot weather and to gorge on some more glorious Greek food.

Overall: £330 flights and hotels (€388)

Activities: Obviously this varies, but try booking in bulk to save a few quid.

Food: Go cheap, go cheerful! Food from a stand will always be cheaper than a restaurant, but make sure you spare a couple of notes to treat yourself to at least one meal out. It’s meant to be a holiday after all!