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Rome 101

  • Fly into Fiumicino (FCO), slightly more expensive than CIA but better connected.
  • Use your card everywhere, cash for souvenirs
  • Buy a city pass or stay centrally and walk around city instead

Here are our top sites to see in Rome, Rome is such a walkable city – things we love! So it’s easy to do a lot of these in one day.

  • Trevi Fountain – find out more about this amazing fountain here.
  • Pantheon – is a former Roman temple, now a Catholic church. A great spot to sit and people watch or grab a bite to eat at nearby restaurants.
  • The Colosseum – is an oval amphitheatre in the centre of the city and is the largest ancient amphitheatre ever built, and is still the largest standing amphitheater in the world today, despite its age!
  • Roman Forum – also known by its Latin name Forum Romanum, is a rectangular forum surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the centre of the city.
  • Spanish Steps – are a set of steps, climbing a steep slope between the Piazza di Spagna at the base and Piazza Trinità dei Monti, dominated by the Trinità dei Monti church at the top. It’s a lovely sea of people; on their lunch breaks – a welcome break after a long day of walking.
  • Piazza Navona – is a public open space in Rome, Italy. It is built on the site of the Stadium of Domitian, built in the 1st century AD, and follows the form of the open space of the stadium.
  • St. Peters Basilica – is a church built in the Renaissance style located in Vatican City.
  • Sistine Chapel – a chapel in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the pope, in Vatican City. You could spend hours, literally in awe of the intricate and beautiful paintings on the ceiling.
  • Palatine Hill – which is the centremost of the Seven Hills of Rome, is one of the most ancient parts of the city and has been called “the first nucleus of the Roman Empire.
  • Vatican / Vatican City – you may get to see the Pope during a processions, it also gave me Twilight vibes – the Volturi and all.
  • Trastevere – is one of Rome’s most colourful neighbourhoods. While it may be less touristy when compared to the ancient town or Vatican City, it has to be said that it does remain firmly on the tourist trail – but that’s not to say it’s not worth a visit! Restaurnats, cinemas – lots of choices. 

Food to try: Pasta, Pizza, Gelato – bye-bye waistline.

Have you been to Rome? What’s your favourite thing to do there? If you found this useful, share and save it for later x

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Baraka Natural Aquarium

Baraka Natural Aquarium is located in the northern part of Nungwi. As with everything these days, I originally saw it on the gram and was very pleased that it matched up to my expectations 😻😻.WE LOVE TO SEE IT 🗣⁣

Baraka is a turtle rehabilitation centre run by local people; the turtles here have been rescued from fishermen capture. They are then nursed back to full health before being released back into the wild. You can wade through the shallow water in the low tide, and swim with fish and other small marine animals.

Price: $10 to get in and the seaweed needed to coax the turtles closer is provided. If you would like to snorkel, you can hire gear in destination.

Here are some tips for making the most of your time:

  • No prebooking – just arrive turn up and you will be directed to the location.
  • Arrive early just as they open to get a shot without other people – I say early rather than later because the sunlight hitting the water is something special.
  • The turtles are just trying to eat, so you can very easily bribe them with the seaweed provided 😂⁣
  • Seaweed is salty; so bring a towel and water to wash your eyes out. (I learnt the hard way 😂)
  • There are showers on site – so you can bring a change of clothes
  • It’s by no means a whole day activity.
  • The turtles will bite! Once they know you have the seaweed they’ll swarm.
  • The turtles have a rubbery texture and they don’t seem to mind you stroking them (follow any instructions given by the guides).
  • Don’t put on too much sunscreen if you plan to go into the water, it will contaminate the water and we don’t want that for the turtles.

Photo op tips:

  • When you walk in, find the cove to your right and coax turtles with seaweed. It’s a good point for a photo with no one else in.
  • If you want a picture on the podium in the middle, you’ll need someone high up to capture it for you.
  • If you’re a confident swimmer, go further out and again use the seaweed to coax the turtles

Most importantly, have fun! It’s an amazing experience.

As always, keep up to date with us on @trippinwithsj // @sarahambitious x

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Nungwi Beach

Nungwi Beach is one of the main areas you will find information about online when planning a visit to Zanzibar, and for good reason. It has powdery white sand, turqouise blue water that simply looks unreal – I remember standing in awe. I never get tired of looking at beautiful water.

Nungwi is all you expect from a tourist beach front; restaurants serving a variety of cuisines, water sports and regular party boats that include food, bottomless drinks and music you can groove to. I even got some beautiful henna done.

Here are 10 reasons you should visit Nungwi if you go to Tanzania:

  1. It’s an island paradise(!) 😍 (hyperbole?, yes but no)
  2. It’s warm all year round. Zanzibar is located near the equator and gets sunny weather most of the time, so tan me up please! (Averaging up to 32°C & 9 hours of sun) 🌞😎
  3. Beautiful sunset views. Again because Zanzibar is on the western coast at the top of the island, its perfect to get your insta moments and have people wishing they were laying up there too. You can enjoy a drink on a rooftop as the sun sets or get on a sunset cruise on a dhow. (Did someone say baecation criteria being ticked?) 🌅
  4. Experience nature up close. Baraka Natural Aquarium is a conservation site run by locals, but that deserves a blogpost all of its own. So keep an eye out 😉
  5. Nightlife! As the sun sets, the beach comes alive. Visit Cholo’s Bar – it’s the oldest in the village. 🥂
  6. Enjoy local flavours. There are countless restaurants that will cater to your tastes, you have everything from French inspired to classic Italian in addition to local flavours. 🥘
  7. Build a dhow. You won’t actually do the back breaking work yourself, but you can get a personal look at how it’s done. Dhows are used to catch fish and other seafood in Zanzibar, and some of the fisherman will give a ‘Dhow building 101’. 🚣🏾‍♀️
  8. Walk, walk, walk. Locals are used to tourists walking around, but please be respectful of the local culture and cover up – shoulders and knees. Try the village market and get the best in local fruits and veg. Try the local faves; date nut bread, fried plantains and octopus! Spice galore again – so much to take back home for friends and family.
  9. Melting pot of cultures. Nungwi beach is in Zanzibar which is an important location for the spice trade, trade always brings people together and as people pass through they leave bits of their culture behind. Asian, European and African cultures, can be seen in the religion, values and cuisine.
  10. Beach boys. The souvenirs will come to you, or maybe it’s a dhow cruise you’re after? Water sports? A picture. The Maasai people will try and sell it all, but they are not overbearing. A firm ‘no’, and they will leave you alone.

There are many beautiful beaches in Zanzibar, but Nungwi stays top 5 no debating. Nungwi has so much hustle and bustle, but you still feel secluded; I don’t know but it’s beautiful. 🧘🏾‍♀️

Best time to travel: All year round; June – October, January and February are the driest months

Places to eat: Le Macis Zanzibar

As always, keep up with us on @sarahambitious // @trippinwithsj x

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Nairobi

Nairobi will most likely be your first stop in Kenya if you’re flying in. Nairobi is amazing as it offers quite a few wildlife activities right in the heart of the city. Nairobi National Park is the only national park in the world to be in a capital city – on its savannah plains you can see rhinos, lions, giraffes with the city skyline as a backdrop.

There are bars and restaurants like you would expect from any capital city and the easiest way I found to get around was uber.

I spent my first night going for dinner at Carnivore, which is an open-air restaurant. Carnivore’s specialty is meat, and features an all-you-can-eat meat buffet – they offer a range of unusual meats; alligator, ostrich etc. The atmosphere was lovely, complete with a live band performance.

Area to stay: Westlands

Places to eat: Carnivore Restaurant, CJ’s 

Places to visit: David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Nairobi National Park, Giraffe Centre

Luxe Out:

  • Fairmont the Norfolk – spa day
  • Carnivore Restaurant – dinner
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Maasai Mara

If you’ve watched Uncle Attenborough’s many animal documentaries, you will have heard of the Maasai Mara. The image of wildebeest and birds alike making the big migration.

Then if you love Lion King, I meannnnnn. I won’t go on too much, but my point is the idea of visiting this natural wonder has been in my mind and heart for a long time.

Now, in my experience of curating tailormade holidays; going on a safari is not cheap. So it was always a bucket list thing and I thought it would be unattainable for a while. However, when the opportunity to visit Kenya arose – I knew I couldn’t let the chance pass me by.

So, here they are – my tips on how to go on a safari in the most cost effective way. Hakuna Matata 😉

When to go: As with most trips, deciding what season you go will determine how much you spend overall.

  • December to February – it’s not dry season but when I went in December the weather was amazing, and we saw all of the Big 5 too. This time period will allow cheaper airfares, hotel stays and possibly discounted activities 🏌🏾‍♀️ (The weather was even good enough for a hot air balloon ride, but I’ll get into that later 😁)
  • June to October – is the ‘best time’ to visit Kenya as its during the Dry season. Late June to October are meant to be the the best wildlife viewing months. The wildebeest migration usually reaches the Masai Mara in August and remains until October when they move back to the Serengeti in Tanzania. 

As Kenya sits close to the equator, its seasons are the opposite of ours. So going in December I was greeted with at 26 degrees Celcius 😍😍

Where to stay: Outside

I would recommend setting aside 3 days minimum to make the most of your time in the Maasai Mara. This way if you miss animals on one day, there’s still more opportunities to see them. 

So, I’ve just told you to spend at least 3 days on the nature reserve. You’ve checked prices for lodges and you’ve come back to tell me I’m crazy 😜 

Relax friends, relax and walk with me 😂

I too, was impressed by the price of lodges on the nature reserve! If you have the funds to splash out, definitely stay on the nature reserve you save some time driving. However, if you want to save some coins – stay on a lodge just outside the gates of the Maasai Mara! They offer all the same services; game drives, glamping etc. but for a lot less. We even booked our hot air balloon tour with our accommodation. 

We were lucky enough to spot nearly all of the Big 5 during our game drive and we only needed to go on one day 🥺. A lot of the game drives will allow you to go again for free if you don’t see them on your first try. 

What to pack: Layersss

So I made a little song and dance about how warm it was in December. But, the temperature really does drop 🥶 as soon as the sun goes down and as it’s rising.

  • Hiking boots/weatherproof boots 
  • Hat 
  • Jumpers, cardigans (anything you can layer) 
  • Mosquito spray 
  • Water bottle
  • Camera
  • Torchlight 

Some people will go as far as hiring their own 4×4 and trying to drive the nature reserve themselves – you can do this and it will cut costs as you’ll only need to buy a ticket for entry. However, I wouldn’t recommend; I saw too many people stuck in the mud – literally. The guides who are local people, know the routes like the back of their hands and know how to navigate the plains. (You may also have the opportunity to visit one of the local Maasai families.)

Top site to see: Great Rift Valley

Other than the Maasai Mara itself, on your way there you will pass the Great Rift Valley.  The Earth moved when Kenya was created and the evidence can be seen with the Great Rift Valley, it cuts across the country’s length. There are lakes, savannahs and volcanoes that stretches from Jordan all the way to Mozambique. The drive from the city to nature reserve is quite long, so it makes a good stop for a photo op and a toilet break. The toilet is not anything fancy, so be prepared!

Stand-out excursion: Hot air balloon ride

Once in a lifetime means there’s no second chance…*clears throat* I’m all for saving your money on certain things so you can luxe out on others! We luxed out on a hot air balloon ride, and oh boy what a dream. 

You have to get up super early and it’ll be freezing, so driving around in a 4×4 with no heating sounds like a terrible idea. The ride you’re blessed with after you see the balloons being blown up tho? So worth it. 10/10 would recommend without a question.

After your flight you get to celebrate the succesful flight with everyone you flew with – there is a buffet breakfast and unlimited champage – (yes, I made myself countless mimosas). You get a certificate and a visual souvenir of the ride itself. Your guide is ready on the otherside to pick you up and take you back to base, or you can tie on a game drive since you’re already out there.

We hope this guide helps you get started on planning your own trip, or serves as a way back to fond memories of a safari trip.

Keep up with us on: @trippinwithsj x

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Icelandic bites

So, the food is expensive – yes. But IT. IS. WORTH. IT. 🤤 

Whether it’s at the petrol station stop or the high end restaurant – the Icelandic quality of food is UNMATCHED.

And for all of you non-tap water drinkers, just bring your water bottle and be amazed. Wow, I never thought I would miss tap water.

Here are my top places to grab a bite to eat:

Braud & Co. do the most amazing baked goods 😍 wow, their cinnamon rolls are just divine. You can usually wait for a fresh batch to be made, if your visit is timed right. I ended up buying two for later. They were just that good!

Rok – if you’re in Reykjavik and need a bite to eat after seeing the church, this is the place to come. I opted for seafood and it didn’t disappoint. The bread too! *chefs kiss*

Lava @ Blue Lagoon – depending on which package you book, it will include a reservation for a meal and complimentary wine 🍷 *clink clink*. Again with the flavours 😍 I ordered the langoustine soup as a starter and personally the taste was slightly overpowering – so I wouldn’t recommend. For a main, I opted for the lamb 😍 and it ticked all the boxes.

Perlan – The Pearl; other than being a great observation deck for the Northern Lights. This is a great spot for food. Seafood soup – slapped! Steak in red wine jus – slapped! Creme brûlée 😍 – you get where this is going 😋 it has a really cute vibe and they were playing Sade as we walked in. I mean talk about good vibes 😂

The CooCoo’s nest – is a cosy restaurant, with blankets and fur all over to make you feel like you’re in a nest I guess. It’s a no reservation and more of you turning up and hoping the wait isn’t too long to be sat down. The breakfast options here are insane; the portions are generous, the flavours and it all tastes so fresh 👅

Wherever you decide to eat in Iceland, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. It’s pricey at most places, but I really think it’s worth it. The quality is top tier.

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New York

With the news of a travel corridor between New York and London flying around the internet scape, we may as well give you some top tips for exploring the Big Apple like a true New Yorker! 


Top tips for enjoying NYC like a local: 

  • Speed up!

Similarly to Londoners, New Yorkers hateeeee slow walkers. Don’t walk at snails pace, taking in all the tall buildings and billboards. Find a space and keep it moving. 

  1. Look, Look, Cross

Don’t wait for the traffic light to stop flashing. Newsflash – it won’t. When the green man is flashing, take a calculated look and cross the road. 

  • Change shoes, then pose

Wear comfortable shoes or bring a pair to change into. You’ll do a lot of walking around the city, so it just makes sense. (If you don’t have a pair handy, there are many discount stores you can grab some on the cheap from.)

  • Public transport

Get the subway or walk. Don’t rely on yellow taxis or Uber, you’ll get stuck in traffic and lose a heap of time. We recommend getting your yellow taxi 🚕 fix at night, when the roads are quieter. 

  • Stop for a treat

Get an amazing Belgian waffle 🧇 from a stall on 35th & 6th 🥺😍 you won’t regret it. 

  • Don’t stay in Manhattan

Don’t stay in Manhattan. Yes, Gossip Girl. Yes, Sex and the city. But no to the inflated cost! Stay in Queens, Brooklyn or Williamsburg. 

  • walk the bridge

Walk across the iconic Brooklyn Bridge. Plenty of photo opportunities and a way to add some calm to your time in the busy city. 

  • visit central park

Take a walk around Central Park. So many of your favourite movies, series even music videos have had cameos here.  

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Breaks close to home

Not being able to travel internationally doesn’t mean you have to miss out on some well deserved #RnR 🧖🏾‍♀️. 

Here’s our list of local destinations we think you should try out: 

1️⃣ London – Why not stay close to home or drive/commute down and stay at a 5* star hotel. We recommend the Landmark as they always offer an amazing service 👌🏾 

Breakfast in bed? A spa treatment? Get the holiday feeling without getting on a flight. 

➡️ if you’d prefer a day service why not try the Montcalm or one of the many Bannatyne sites? Their massages are amazing and they offer access to their swimming pool and spa services. 

2️⃣ The Cotswolds 

The Cotswolds have been declared an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). They are truly picturesque. They cover 800 square miles across 5 counties. It’s a gateway to some amazing cities; Bath, Oxford for example and the chefs at their gastropubs are top tier.

We could go on but then this post would get really long 😉 Look into it and make a weekend or longer of it.

3️⃣ Cornwall – St. Ives, Penzance, Newquay, Torquay. Getting to some of these places will really make you feel like you’ve left the UK. You will have a lengthy drive or train head ahead of you but the destination is more than worth it.

https://www.visitcornwall.com

4️⃣Edinburgh, Scotland 

There are nearly more castles than people (not really but there are a lot of castles)! Gothic vibes, castle vibes, cobbled street vibes. Edinburgh offers a lot of vibes, if you’re feeling even more adventourous why not head to the coast and take in some of the beautiful coastline 😍

**Please check local lockdown/covid restrictions before booking anything**

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Post Brexit Travel to Europe

European travel looks like the way to go once Covid cases start dropping. Here are few things to bear in mind for UK travellers.

We’re officially about to be outside of the clurb 🥺😔

For more information, visit www.gov.uk/transition

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Tourin’ Athens

If you go on a trip and don’t eat something new or see a new site, you didn’t really travel. And that’s on life!

So with that being said, here are my top things:

  • to do
  • to look out for
  • to try in Athens. Enjoy 😉

DOING UP TOURISTReasons to visit Athens:

  • Ancient Greek ruins
  • Greek cuisine 
  • Sculptures
  • Taverns 
  • The Acropolis 

You can pretty much see all the architectural sights in one day if you’re up early and up for walking. A pass costs around €20, unfortunately there’s no longer a cheaper student option to access the sites. You can also go on an inexpensive walking tour and use this as an opportunity to meet people or go it alone! 

Trippin’ tip: if you’re being a Scrooge, you can see the sites from the outside (apart from the Acropolis) so you don’t need to pay anything 🙈

**NOTE: Most sites are closed on Sunday and all close around 5pm (except the Acropolis which stays open until 8pm)**

Top Trippin in Athens tips 

Watch out for pick pockets! – The little kids that you think are cute may be up to no good. And that gentlemen that lets you walk in front of him as you walk down the stairs from the acropolis…he’s watching your pockets! 

Walk everywhere! – Athens is somewhere you can easily get your steps in! 

Foodie? – Eat like a local. For tips on good food places, ask the locals, they usually have the best hidden spots! 

For brunch: I visited Ellyz Athens which is a cute little pink spot serving up good vibes and pancakes with that readymade Insta aesthetic. 

You can find it on the back streets behind the flea market, before you reach the Acropolis. It can get very busy though so prepare to queue! 

For dinner: A visit to a rooftop bar is a MUST whilst in Athens. Electra Rooftop Garden has the most break taking views of the city. The food personally was a bit underwhelming, but the cocktails were sensational. 

Have you been to Athens before? What was your favourite part? Here’s what 15 seconds in Athens looks like…