Essentials for an American road trip

10 Essentials for an American Road Trip

There is nothing quite like the feeling of setting out in your car on an epic road trip, the back seat piled with bags, blankets and snacks, Rusted Root’s “Send Me On My Way” playing in the background, and your favourite travel buddy sitting beside you.  Whether we’re exploring somewhere completely new and having to learn the rules of the road in a different country, or just going on a short weekend break closer to home, road trips are one of my favourite ways to travel.  Being able to stop wherever and whenever we want, having no obligations or time limits, and just enjoying the freedom of an open road.

Our great American adventure is only a day off now (eeek!!), and while we may not have actually been on our American road trip yet, we have been on a fair few in the past, from roadtrippin’ South Africa’s scenic Garden Route to driving around the pretty Cotswolds.

So these are my 10 essentials that are needed for a great road trip, with a few that will give us those extra American feels as we’re cruising along Route 66.

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Reasons to travel with someone you love

10 Reasons To Travel With Someone You Love

As Valentine’s Day is almost upon us and love is in the air, I thought I would share some reasons why I love travelling with Mr Ayla so much.  I spend so many hours at home just staring at our giant world map on the wall, amazed at all the pins in the places we’ve been, wondering where we’re going to discover next, and I wouldn’t want to fill up my map with anyone else.

I applaud those people who travel solo but it’s just not for me.  I once took a flight from London to Edinburgh – yes, only an hour long – and it just felt so strange.  I had no one to excitedly make my way to the airport with, no one to point to things out of the plane window, and no one to help me lift my heavy hand luggage into the overhead compartment.  Sigh.

After 12 years of exploring the world together, Mr Ayla is my favourite travel companion.  I wouldn’t want to go anywhere without him and here’s 10 reasons why…

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Drinks around the world

Drinking Our Way Around The World

It’s no secret that I love a fruity cocktail. In fact most of my family and friends will forever relate the Piña Colada song to me because every time a cocktail, pineapple, or just a drink in general is mentioned, I start singing the tune – with Hawaiian style dance moves included of course. Yes, I like Piña Colada.

As it’s almost Christmas and I’m sure the celebrations are already in full swing, I thought I would add to the festivities by sharing some of the best and most popular drinks from around the world that we’ve come across on our travels. They’re not all cocktails – I promise – and they’re not all alcoholic. Unfortunately, Piña Colada isn’t on this list (sigh) because I’ve not yet been to Puerto Rico, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying what the rest of the world has to offer.

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Mythical Marrakech

During our first visit to Morocco we spent five days exploring Marrakech, a place that I had heard so much about and had dreamed of visiting for years.  Me being me, I obviously planned plenty in advance and gathered as much information and recommendations as I could before our trip.

I love getting advice from other people whether it’s through reading other blogs (you bloggers are the best!), browsing destination guides or asking people I know who have already been.  Everyone has their own style of travelling but when it came to getting tips for visiting Marrakech, my expectations differed quite a lot to the reality.

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Harry Potter locations

10 of the Best Harry Potter Locations Around the World

It’s safe to say that I’m a little bit of a Harry Potter geek.  Okay, I’m a lot of a Harry Potter geek.  I’ve read the books countless times, I can quote all the films, I have a wardrobe full of HP clothes, I’ve been sorted into my house on Pottermore (I got Hufflepuff.  I wasn’t happy), and I love playing with my wand.  No that isn’t a euphemism, that’s just how much of a geek I am that I actually have a magic wand.  And it’s obviously the Elder Wand because I love you Dumbley-dore.

If I’ve already completely lost you and you’re not a fellow Potterhead then I’m afraid we can’t be friends and I will use said wand against you.  But for you Muggles who do often dream of living in the Harry Potter fantasy world, there are plenty of places you can visit to pretend it’s real (it totally is real – I got my Hogwarts acceptance letter and everything).

So for all you Potterheads out there, here are some of the best locations around the world that really bring the stories we all know and love to life.

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Where to eat in Cinque Terre

Eating Our Way Around The Cinque Terre

Following on from our adventures Eating Our Way Around Florence, I thought it only right that I make you drool over our foodie finds in the Cinque Terre too.

Before we left for this trip, I was a little worried about eating in this region on the Italian Riviera as it’s hugely popular for seafood and pesto, neither of which I eat (I’m not a fan of seafood at all and I’m allergic to nuts).  I knew I’d be so disappointed if I couldn’t try the local delicacies and so my rumbling stomach thanks the food gods that there was plenty for me to eat and the Cinque Terre very quickly became one of my very favourite foodie destinations from all of our travels.

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Gelato in Florence Italy

Eating Our Way Around Florence

You have to believe me when I say that I didn’t originally plan our trip to Italy earlier this year purely for the food.  Honestly.  It just so happens that Italian food is, unquestionably, one of the best cuisines that we’ve ever have the pleasure of eating on our travels, and so our sightseeing trip very quickly turned into a foodie trip (with a little bit of sightseeing on the side of course).

I’ve always been a huge lover of pasta while Mr Ayla is a massive pizza fanatic, so Italy is the perfect place for us to travel together.  I’ve had a bit of a craving for some proper authentic Italian food recently which has had me thinking about our time in Italy and all our delicious foodie finds, so I thought it was about time I shared these with you.  We ate our way from the historic city of Florence to the gorgeous Cinque Terre and I’m pretty sure that if we hadn’t done so much hiking and walking around sightseeing we would have come back twice the size!

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48 hours in Dublin

48 Hours in Dublin

After a flight from London that was so quick I hardly had time for a power nap, we arrived in Dublin, somewhere we have lived so close to our whole lives but were only just getting around to visiting.  Knowing we only had 48 hours in this small but fascinating city we headed straight out to the main strip of Temple Bar to see what all the fuss was about.

As it was late evening by the time we set out, crowds of people already lined the street, spilling out the doors of every pub and restaurant, drinking and chatting away, listening to the street music that was being played on each corner.  For fear of being crushed in the stampede of whiskey induced tourists, we headed to Bad Bobs which was slightly less packed but still had a lively atmosphere.  We just about managed to find a seat, ordered some drinks and a huge plate of spicy chicken wings, sang along to the entertaining live band and giggled at the drunken groups of friends (and a policeman who looked suspiciously like a stripper) enjoying the weekend.

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Gadventures Inca Trail

The Challenge of a Lifetime: Hiking the Inca Trail

Exactly a year ago today I was sitting in our hotel in Cusco, exhausted and aching all over, never wanting to move another muscle again, except to lie down for the massage I had booked later that day. I had just completed the toughest challenge of my life – an incredible journey along the Inca Trail, one of the world’s most renowned and most awe-inspiring treks. The 4 day hike through Peru’s Andes Mountains took us past ancient Inca ruins, over steep peaks and breathtaking vistas, and finally lead us to the world wonder of Machu Picchu.

I cannot believe that a year has already gone by since the trek; I remember it like it was just a few days ago.  I originally wrote this post shortly after returning from South America but I think the trek, along with getting ill in Brazil afterwards, exhausted me out too much to actually finish it. So even though it’s taken me a whole year to actually tell you of our adventures on the Inca Trail, these are not just vague memories.  This my honest, fresh and slightly gruelling experience at the time!

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Hiking in the Cinque Terre

A Hiking Adventure in the Cinque Terre

I awoke with a start on our first day in the Cinque Terre to what sounded like thunder and torrential rain. This could not be happening. We had only arrived the afternoon before to a glorious sunny day, people relaxing on the rocks and eating gelato by the harbour, and we were all prepared to go off on a hike on our first morning to explore the villages. I jumped out of bed, threw open the Italian shutters of our cute little bed and breakfast, and stuck my head out the window to find that, yes, it was indeed raining. The pastel coloured rooftops were being hammered with water and people on the street below were hurriedly rushing by attempting to cover their soaking heads. Perfect. Our day of hiking suddenly looked rather bleak.

But despite the hiking paths being closed thanks to the stormy weather, we didn’t want to spend the day sat inside hiding from the rain, so we hopped on the train to explore instead and discovered that this part of the Italian Riviera is still a little piece of heaven even in the rain.

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