5 Cheap Cities For Long Term Travel*

(image)

If you’re reading this article there’s a high chance you have a pretty long bucket list when it comes to travel, and with so much to do in such little time you might question whether the trend of “slow travel”- where one spends a reasonably long time in one place, for example a month, often working and fully integrating with the culture of the destination is a viable way to squeeze more from your travels, or whether slow travel is actually just slowing you down.

The thought behind “slow travel” is that by spending more time in one location- be that a few weeks or a few months, you can experience the city in more depth and more authentically. The term “like a local” is often used to describe the experience of getting beneath the surface of a city and living more like a local – however to do this in a weekend isn’t realistic no matter what guidebook you possess.

However, if you have a month or more to integrate with the local culture and genuinely live like a local, in that you rent a home and perhaps even get a part-time job; you will experience a whole new side of the city that is much richer than the typical tourist trail.

CHIANG MAI

Chiang Mai is known as the “capital of the north”- Many would describe Chiang Mai as a mystical land of temples, rice paddies, monks and natural jungle. Whilst this is true for areas around Chiang Mai, the town turned city itself is pretty bustling and at times resembles a more relaxed version of Bangkok.

Chiang Mai is a digital nomad’s paradise with a high concentration of freelancers working from the many independent coffee shops and restaurants scattered around the city’s walls. There’s also a large university meaning the city has a young, vibrant and aspirational feel to it.

Finding somewhere cheap to live in Chiang Mai is pretty simple. There are several modern condos available for exclusive rent on AirBnB at a cost of just $10 per night if you are renting for a month or more. In terms of finding a more traditional short term lease there are property agents, but the majority require three to six months minimum stay.

Chiang Mai is a great place to have as a long term base, in which you can explore the rest of Thailand. With direct flights to Krabi, Phuket and Koh Samui you are able to have a base in the North of Thailand (much cheaper than the south) and go on mini breaks to more exotic locations.

ISTANBUL

Istanbul has unfortunately received a lot of bad press in recent years, with terrorist attacks, political instability and social unrest bombarding the headlines. The truth is that whilst there are pockets of unrest Istanbul is a place where people get along with each other very well and there is a sense of community and brotherhood that instantly makes you feel part of the culture. Yes, there are the occasional demonstrations but on the whole Istanbul is a very safe city due to its police presence and security measures now in place.

Istanbul is much like London, New York and Paris in that it is is one of the world’s greatest cities, yet comparatively cheap to it’s western counterparts. The joy of Istanbul is the city retains a traditional and authentic feel yet is superbly modern, design oriented, relaxed and friendly.

Istanbul is unlike any other city in the world due to being separated by the Bosphorus Strait which divides Istanbul into two sides on two different continents- the European Side and the Asian Side. The European side offers the more modern side of the city with well known brands occupying prime real estate on the busy high street whilst independent hipster bars and coffee shops can be found nearer the river. Indeed the European side has a feel of San Francisco about it with all its unique and creative independent stores, cafes, restaurants and watering holes.

In terms of finding a property it’s this side of the river where you’ll find trendy loft apartments at a quarter of the price you would pay in New York. The Asian side, however, is a little more shabby and this is where you’re likely to find a great deal on a property. The Asian side has a much more “local” and rustic feel to it.

MARRAKECH

Marrakech is an incredibly colourful and vibrant city. The majority of people visit for just a short while as there is an element of endurance to be had with exploring Marrakech due to the frenetic pace, the hustle and bustle and, in summer at least – the sweltering heat.

Marrakech for some may feel like stepping into Disneyland in that it is such an overwhelming delight/attack on the senses. Whilst it provides a stark contrast to the Western World it is only a short hop on a cheap flight to Mainland Europe and the “new city” offers some very luxurious accommodation at an incredibly cheap price.

Whilst you may not choose to live in Marrakech for a number of months it can be a fantastic place to base yourself for a few weeks whilst exploring the gems of Morocco such as the Sahara Desert and Atlas Mountains. A more relaxed alternative to Marrakech is Essaouira which has a more chilled out coastal vibe to the city.

“CHEAPISH” CITIES FOR LONG TERM TRAVEL

One of the dangers with hunting for cheap destinations for long term travel is there’s normally a reason the destination is so cheap; perhaps there are socio-economic problems, adverse weather conditions, political instability, or a lack of modern infrastructure. The challenge is that whilst a destination can be “cheap” it doesn’t always provide good value, therefore below you’ll find two “cheapish” cities that might not be the least expensive but offer a great value experience.

SINGAPORE

Singapore is a melting pot of cultures with a serious foodie scene. Whilst Singapore isn’t particularly cheap as a place to live you can earn a decent wage here and regulations for foreigners working within Singapore are reasonably easy to navigate.

Hotels can be pricey but there are some great deals to be had on long term apartments. HDB flats have a number of listings for places to rent in Singapore, some of which include short-term leases.

Singapore offers a great place to have as a base for exploring other parts of South East Asia such as Bali, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia. There are very cheap flights to the majority of popular tourist destinations within South East Asia and flights are just a few hours long.

BERLIN

Berlin is a large multicultural city that is very “cool” yet manages to have an unpretentious charm where the locals value personal freedom and a creative lifestyle more than wealth and status. This means the vibe in Berlin is very light, fun, relaxed and yet still lively. Berlin on the one hand is a vibrant city with very intense parties – yet on the other it is a relaxed artsy bolthole that is occupied by a variety of gentle creatives.

Berlin is a large city yet the key areas are easily navigated on foot as they are all congregated in a reasonably compact central area. Germany is not known for being a cheap destination when compared to countries such as Nepal and India, but if you are looking for a fun European city that offers great value for money in terms of the experience you’ll have – it’s hard to beat Berlin in terms of bang for your buck.

With regard to accommodation then the best bet is to look for somewhere on AirBnB as property agents tend to require a minimum six month commitment – whereas many enterprising creatives list their modern (and occasionally funky) home on AirBnB at a great price.

end

4 Incredible Places That Should Be On Your Travel Bucket List*

Nearly everyone has a bucket list- that one list of things that they would like to do or achieve before they die. For some, the bucket list is something they would like to complete before a certain age whilst for others as long as they tick off most of the boxes before they die they are happy! One of the most popular options for a bucket list (aside from finding love and buying a house) – is travel.

It’s very rare to find someone that doesn’t get a touch of wanderlust at some point in their lives. The world is a big place and the idea that you could get from birth to death without getting that itch to explore is something that isn’t conceivable for most. Travelling is about so much more than hopping across continents on trains or planes. It’s about self-discovery. It’s about tasting new cultures and absorbing new experiences. It’s about drinking in the world and seeing people in a totally different way, accepting differences and adapting opinions based on those differences. Of course you do get those who believe travelling is about checking out the differences in the sand on the beach, but that’s beside the point.

(image)

When you write your travel bucket list you need to really think carefully about the places you want to visit. Are you out to soak up new experiences in the world? Or are you aiming to buy a luxury new condo abroad therefore fitting in your travel plans with an investment? Are you hoping to escape the commute for mountain tops? Or are you hoping to get to the depths of different oceans and be up close with the fish? Whichever way you want to manage your bucket list of travel destinations we’ve got four fantastic places that should be on yours. Don’t forget, a bucket list is a plan and budget goes right out of the window when it comes to dreaming!

(image)

Australia
I haven’t specified a state, city or a town here because Australia is huge and there are so many places that the only suggestion I can make is to road trip! Australia is travel heaven – how could it not be with its unique wildlife, beaches of white sugar and varied landscapes? The beaches you find along the legendary Great Ocean Road vary so widely that it isn’t possible to miss out on spectacular sights. There are beaches with hidden coves and water that sparkles like diamonds. There are beaches in the cities for people to relax beside during a sunny day, and let’s face it, there’s plenty of those!
There is an island of kangaroos to explore just off the South Adelaide coast. Alongside the cities are deserts in the form of the Outback. The scenery and landscape are so vast that it is physically impossible to miss out on something that suits you. You can ski in Mt Buller, swim in the oceans off of Byron Bay and meet indigenous people of varying cultures. Australia is somewhere that should be on your wanderlust list, and if it isn’t it’s time to write it down.

(image)

Paris
It may be a short hop over the English Channel but Paris with its beauty and history feels so far away from the day to day drudgery we all deal with. It’s not just a case of wanting to visit Disneyland- although that is something that should be on the bucket list of everyone in the world. However, gracing the Louvre with your presence, seeing the real pieces of art that have been lauded as masterpieces for centuries and soaking in the culture is a must. Visit the many galleries and museums that have been built for purpose and we now enjoy as monuments of history. Explore Parisian culture- enjoy pastries and chocolat chaud in the cafes that line the beautiful River Seine. Explore the French neighbourhoods from the top of the Eiffel Tower and hunt for Qasimodo at Notre Dame Cathedral. It’s just got to be done!

(image)

China
One of the world’s oldest civilizations, China has a history vaster than you could ever imagine. The culture, the food and the people are a world away from what you may be used to, but it’s a place that should be on your cultural radar to experience. It’s one of the biggest countries in the world, meaning that the landscapes that you would experience are bound to be breath-takingly beautiful. The frozen Harbin to the tropical warmth of Xishuangbanna should be life goals for all. You may be wary of street food, but unless you take a stroll through the many markets and breathe in the scents of spices and seafoods you’ll never know what it is to taste authentically Chinese food for cents!

(image)

Fiji
This one is a little out there for a bucket list entry but there are so many reasons why Fiji should feature for you. The beaches are the main act of Fiji, with coconut trees and sunshine a step away from wherever you stay. The people that grace the island are friendly and will welcome you wherever you go and while you hop from one of the islands to the next, there is always someone to greet you and say hello. Experience the jungle treks in Nadi and discover hidden waterfalls and man-made canoes. Fiji has its own history, with the Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple, which is the largest Hindu temple in the southern hemisphere. Take part in extreme snorkelling, which is as good as diving down to the deep of the Great Barrier Reef. It’s somewhere that most people don’t think about, but it should be!

Your bucket list of places should always include somewhere you feel you could gain a cultural experience from. It should also include beautiful scenery to make memories from, and visiting the most cultural places around the world is how to get those memories. There is always something to visit and see, so don’t be left behind in life – go and see it all!

end

A miniature London city guide*

Don’t get me wrong, I love living near Bristol but sometimes the bright lights of a bigger city come calling. London is one of those places that always makes an impression no matter how many times I visit – it really does live up to the hype. Whether you’re planning your own trip to the capital this summer or just want to know what the city has to offer I’ve put together a miniature travel guide to get you started!
Where to stay

London is crammed with amazing hotels and staying in them doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Z Hotels are awesome for those wanting to stay close to the city centre on a budget with branches in Soho, Piccadilly and Shoreditch to name just a few. They may not be the most luxurious accommodation but they’ll definitely do for anyone looking to spend a few nights here.
If you don’t fancy staying in a hotel there’s always the option of an Airbnb. There are some amazing looking rooms and apartments close to the city centre with additional perks such as being able to cook your own food and save money on eating out all the time.

Places to eat

Although pricey dining out has to be one of the biggest perks of London. There’s a little bit of everything here- from traditional British dishes to something more exotic like Lebanese or Mongolian cuisine.

I love to eat healthily as much as possible but visiting the capital is as good an excuse as any to treat yourself. The Breakfast Club is a must-visit, and once again you can find branches all over London, including Canary Wharf and London Bridge. The breakfasts here are legendary with a menu that includes all American pancake options for both veggies and meat-eaters, yum!

In the evening I’d recommend Ping Pong Dim Sum. This is a favourite amongst bloggers for good reason as they serve some of the best Asian dishes that you’ll find in London – with amazing cocktails to boot! Try the Hong Kong Colada served in a bamboo cup for a touch of something special.

Things to do

With so much to do there’s very little opportunity to get bored in London. Whether you’re planning on heading off the beaten track or seeing all the usual sights the entire city is your oyster.

The National Gallery is one of the most spectacular buildings in London and is home to some truly amazing collections. Even if you’re not an art lover it’s great to experience a little of London’s cultural side and free entry is an added bonus too.

For Harry Potter fans like me the Warner Bros Studio Tour is a must-visit. Located just outside of Watford it’s well worth venturing to especially now that the Forbidden Forest has been officially unveiled.

Lastly no London city guide would be complete without mentioning the amazing Madame Tussauds. Fancy rubbing shoulders with Kim Kardashian, David Beckham or Lady Gaga? Madame Tussauds is your chance to do it! There’s even a new Fashion Week experience to explore where you can hang out with the likes of Cara Delevigne and Kendall Jenner behind the runway.

Where are your favourite spots in London? I’d love to hear your recommendations!

end

Uk Travel Bucketlist: Liverpool*

I’ll admit I’m not particularly well travelled when it comes to the UK- not when it comes from venturing North of the South West at least. Devon and Cornwall I’ve done a lot thanks to spending most childhood Summers there and it being a relatively short drive away for days out and weekend trips. For some reason the opposite direction has always held less appeal to me and apart from Birmingham, Leicester and Melton Mowbray I’m struggling to think of other places I have visited.

That’s not to say I don’t want to though and I have a long list of places I’d like to pay a visit to when time and money allows (and of course it will be so much easier when I’m driving). These places include a LONG overdue trip up to Leeds to visit my brother as well as places like Manchester and Liverpool for the shopping scene- yep, I’m basing my travel bucket list on the places I most want to shop.

Home to some fantastic Liverpool restaurants and a huge array of some of my favourite shops- think Zara, Victoria’s Secret and All Saints as well as high end retailers like Michael Kors and Reiss as well as the UK’s only Beauty Bazaar in Harvey Nichols, Liverpool One is pretty high up on my list of places to visit. There is also a Disney Store which I admit is a huge pull for me despite being almost 30 as they are few and far between these days and there is almost always something I want from there- namely their mugs because a girl can never have too many mugs right?

Liverpool One is also home to some of my favourite places to eat- although I’ll be honest and say I’m not the most adventurous or experienced at eating out (yet, it’s a work in progress). Jamie’s Italian is one of my favourite dining chains and I’d definitely be making a pit stop there, and given that it’s likely to be at least a one night trip if not more I’m sure visits to Nandos, Pizza Express as well as several coffee stops and a cheeky prosecco at the end of the day will also happen.

Here’s a handy guide to what is on at Liverpool One right now.

What's going on at Liverpool One_ (2)
So, aside from Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester where else do I need to be adding to my UK travel list? I’m open to lesser known places too- I’m not solely about the shopping, I’m more than happy to soak up some culture and visit as many tourist attractions as you throw at me. Once I’m driving there will be no stopping me (aside from the seemingly ever climbing cost of petrol that is!)

end