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  • Heather Hudak
  • December 28, 2016 05:16:26 PM
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A Little About Us

Wanderlust Wayfarer is the perfect place to find out about luxury travel and trends on a shoestring budget. If you like a five-star experience, but you have a three-star budget, I have good news for you. There are plenty of ways to experience the world on a shoestring budget. And you can look good while doing it! Each blog post features a new itinerary with the best ways to spend an amazing day—or more—in some of the most spectacular cities and towns across the globe. Each itinerary focuses on packing the most you can into your day. If you’re like me, you have limited time off from work each year, and you want to make the most of it. This means condensing a lot of action into a little bit of time.

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How to Pack Light Using Compass Rose Packing Cubes

Packing light can make your life a whole lot easier, but it can be a challenge to fit all your travel needs into a carry-on bag.   If you’re like me, there’s a lot of stuff you simply can’t live without while you travel, but you’re tired of hauling around a huge suitcase. Thanks to Compass […] The post How to Pack Light Using Compass Rose Packing Cubes appeared first on Wanderlust...

Packing light can make your life a whole lot easier, but it can be a challenge to fit all your travel needs into a carry-on bag.

 

If you’re like me, there’s a lot of stuff you simply can’t live without while you travel, but you’re tired of hauling around a huge suitcase. Thanks to Compass Rose packing cubes, you can fit everything you need into one small bag. I discovered the magic of packing cubes many years ago, but I’ve yet to find any that compare in quality and capability to the Compass Rose cubes.

Why Use Packing Cubes?

how to pack light

Have you ever wondered how Mary Poppins fit so much in her bag? Well, I’m convinced the answer is packing cubes. Using packing cubes allows me to fit at least 50 percent more inside my carry-on suitcase. This is ideal if you want to avoid checked baggage. Me personally, unless my airfare includes a free checked bag, I refuse to shell out any more money. I also take a lot of trips that involved moving from one place to another every few days, so lugging around a heavy suitcase is not ideal. That said, I also like to have a lot of options when it comes to my shoes and clothes. Packing cubes provide the ideal solution.

Tropical destinations are typically warm…very warm. I like to have an outfit I can change into once I’m done the most active part of my day—you know, once I’m done sweating. After a cool shower, it feels so good to put on fresh clothes, but it means I need two outfits for every day. Alternatively, I often travel too cooler climates where a few extra layers are needed to keep warm, especially after the sun goes down. I’m allergic to animal-based products, such as merino wool and cashmere, which makes it a challenge to find layering pieces that won’t take up a lot of room in my bag. Packing cubes make it possible to fit more stuff in less space. It’s a level of travel freedom you have to experience to appreciate.

What Are Compass Rose Packing Cubes?

how to pack light

Compass Rose is the only packing cube set on the market sized to correctly fit international carry-on suitcases, accommodating restrictive airline baggage policies. Created by travelers for travelers, Compass Rose Packing Cubes organize, compress, and maximize space for a smooth, stress-free travel experience. The innovative organizational packing system is designed using proven techniques to help people travel carry-on only. In addition, the structured, quality fabric ensures the cubes pack flat, retaining their shape. High-quality construction and materials include premium zippers, durable mesh, double stitching, and first-rate nylon fabric, allowing for maximum clothing compression.

How Do Compass Rose Packing Cubes Work?

how to pack light

There are four packing cubes in each set—two grey and two red. The slim-sized packing cube set features a one-of-a-kind number and color-coded organization system that allow you to maximize efficiency and organize your bag using one of six unique packing strategies. 

  1. Use one packing cube number per family member
  2. Assign daily outfit per number per day
  3. Color code for mixed weather trips (grey=cold, red=hot)
  4. Use numbers to differentiate clothes for each activity type
  5. Pack for two destinations by color coding
  6. Separate tops, bottoms, dresses, and more by number

Once you’ve decided on a strategy and chosen the items you want to pack, use a combination of rolling and folding to prepare each item. Then, simply fill each packing cube with clothing until it appears you’ve used all of the space. Looks can be deceiving, and once you’ve zipped the cubes closed, you’ll likely find you have plenty of space to spare. Once you find a small pocket of space, open one end of the cube, and push down the clothing that’s already inside so you can squeeze in more items. It’s that easy!

What Makes Compass Rose Different?

Let’s face it, there are a lot of packing cubes on the market today. Why should you choose Compass Rose Packing Cubes over another brand? Let’s start with the size. When you first receive your Compass Rose Packing Cubes, you may be a bit surprised by their size. They don’t look like other packing cubes, and that’s a good thing. The size difference is key because the Compass Rose packing cubes are the only cubes that will fit the exact width of a carry-on. Other cubes are slightly too long so Compass Rose cubes help streamline the space within your suitcase.

In addition, the materials used in the construction of the packing cubes was specifically chosen to allow you to pack a generous amount of clothing while maintaining a flat structure. Other packing cubes lose their structure when filled, which creates a poor fit inside your suitcase. You can stack the Compass Rose packing cubes on top of each other and they lay flat when filled, allowing for maximum space and organization. In addition, the high-quality mesh doesn’t rip as easily as other brands. All these details help improve your packing so you have a more stress-free and enjoyable travel experience.

There are so many great reasons for learning how to pack light. From travel freedom to eliminating checked bag fees, Compass Rose Packing Cubes can help you achieve your packing goals. For those of you wondering, this is not a sponsored post. I believe strongly in this product and the positive impact it can have on your overall travel experience.

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how to pack light

 

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New Year’s Eve at the London Eye: What to Expect

New Year’s Eve in London, England, is one of the most exciting nights of the year. As the clock strikes midnight, the bells of Big Ben ring out like a siren’s call through the streets of London. Each year, the sky above the Thames River comes alive with the glow of 10,000 fireworks. Not even the […] The post New Year’s Eve at the London Eye: What to Expect appeared first on Wanderlust...

New Year’s Eve in London, England, is one of the most exciting nights of the year.

As the clock strikes midnight, the bells of Big Ben ring out like a siren’s call through the streets of London. Each year, the sky above the Thames River comes alive with the glow of 10,000 fireworks. Not even the brightest evening stars can compete with the rainbow of colors that bursts through the darkness over the Coca-Cola London Eye as part of city’s largest annual fireworks display. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about New Year’s Eve in London, from how to get tickets to what you can expect on the big night.

New Year's Eve at the London Eye

Plan Ahead

Many people think they can just show up on the day of the event and walk through the gates, but that simply isn’t so. You actually need to purchase tickets to the event, and you need to do it well in advance. In fact, tickets typically go on sale in late September and cost about £10 each. There are no guarantees you will be able to see the fireworks if you do not buy a ticket. Tickets sell out fast. I mean really, really fast. I bought my tickets the same day they went on sale, and already the prime viewing sections were sold out.

New Year's Eve at the London Eye

There are six viewing areas for the event, which is officially known as the Mayor of London’s New Year’s Eve Fireworks. Each one provides its own unique view of the fireworks. It’s recommended that you think about how you will be traveling to and from the event before you choose a viewing area. Most main streets are closed down to public transportation, so you may have to walk quite a distance to reach your destination.

New Year's Eve at the London Eye

When to Arrive

As noted previously, most streets are closed down to traffic, so plan to arrive early if you want to take public transportation to the main area. We chose to walk from our hotel. It was a lovely night, and the walk took only about 45 minutes. Based on my aforementioned Time’s Square experience, I was expecting massive crowds. As a result, I insisted we get to our designated entrance before the 8 p.m. opening time. I thought it would take hours to navigate the streets to our viewing area, but I was totally and utterly wrong.

New Year's Eve at the London Eye

The streets were utterly empty until we got about a block away from the entrance. Then, suddenly, we were swallowed up by a massive, but very friendly, crowd until the entrance opened a short while later. When it did open, the guards let in only a few people at a time. We ended up standing should-to-shoulder with some very friendly people for about an hour, and it felt like time was standing still. There was a lot of pushing and shoving as we got closer and people became less patient. I was with my 60-something mother, and I was a bit concerned for her safety. That said, the people around us were quite protective and did their best to keep us out of harm’s way.

Pro Tip: Dress in layers. In our case, the temperatures were unseasonably warm, so I peeled off a few layers to keep from melting. But the weather could just as easily swing in the other direction. It doesn’t hurt to come prepared for anything.

What to Expect Inside

Once we finally made it through the gate, the staff made sure we actually had in our possession tickets and that we were in the correct viewing area. We then passed through a security check before making our way inside…which was actually outside, of course! I was pleasantly surprised by just how spacious the area was. I had plenty of room to dance and stretch out. At first, I assumed the crowds would fill in around us as the minutes ticked by, but that wasn’t the case.

New Year's Eve at the London Eye

We didn’t wander too far from the gates, so I’m not sure how far our viewing area spanned in any one direction. There are no seats and no one tells you where to stand. It’s a free for all once you’re inside. A DJ spins tunes and pumps up the crowd, and there are a few vendors selling refreshments and souvenirs. We found a curb we could sit on for the next two hours while we waited for the official countdown to midnight. We chatted idly with the people around us and made a few new friends who were also visiting from other parts of the world.

New Year's Eve at the London Eye

Pro Tip: You are only allowed to bring small bags inside the viewing area. You can have food and drink, including small amounts of alcohol — only enough for you to consume so make sure your friends bring their own beverages. There are also portable toilets on site, and there are enough of them that you won’t have to wait long to use them.

When Sparks Fly

I’ve celebrated New Year’s in cities all over the world, including the ultimate New York Time’s Square experience, and I can honestly say that London is my top choice to date. When Big Ben begins to chime and the first sparks ignite over the London Eye, the wave of energy that rips through the crowd is truly contagious. The 12-minute pyrotechnics show lights up the sky in time to a specially crafted custom soundtrack that dazzles every bit as much as the visual display.

New Year's Eve at the London Eye

New Year's Eve at the London Eye

New Year's Eve at the London Eye

You’ll be blown away — literally and figuratively by the sheer volume of fireworks and quick clip of the fireworks as they explode across the sky. It’s a sight to behold and a memory to hold dear. I’ve popped in a few super poor-quality pictures to give you an idea of the experience, and while I am a professional photographer by trade, you would never know it. Admittedly, I was much more focused on watching the show and enjoying myself than getting the money shot. It was truly stellar. I’ve interspersed a few more impressive photos taken by others as well.

New Year's Eve at the London Eye

New Year's Eve at the London Eye  

Pro Tip: Look for benches within your line of sight. People will stand on those benches once the show begins, and you will not be able to see around them. We sat in the same spot for two hours only to have to find a new location once the show started for this very reason. It was especially awesome when they started taking selfies and were not even watching the show. 

Getting Home

The entire ordeal lasts only mere moments, but it’s worth every minute. And when the show’s over, it’s really over. In fact, there’s nothing left to see. Most people beeline for the exits and begin making their way to their next destination, which for us was the hotel. Streets that were open to traffic on our way to the show were now closed down to cars. We were in shock and awe to find even Piccadilly Circus at a standstill. But the streets were abuzz no less with pedestrians and partiers. We walked the entire way back to our hotel near Paddington Station. And while the trek took more than an hour, there were plenty of exciting sights and sounds along the way.

New Year's Eve at the London Eye

For those of you wondering where I stay when I’m in London, it all depends on my budget. If money is no object —  which, let’s face it, is rare — I love to stay at Hazlitt’s Hotel in Soho. The upscale 1800s ambiance and boutique service is second to none, and the location near shopping, entertainment, and eateries is ideal. However, when I’m in need of a more budget-friendly accommodation, I turn to the Paddington Point A. Just a five-minute walk from Paddington Station, the location is perfect if you’re planning to take a few day trips by train to places such as Oxford or Windsor. The no-frills hotel is clean, the staff is friendly, and it’s only a 15-minute walk to the ever-popular Oxford Street.

Booking.com

Parade Day

As an added bonus, for the past 30 years on January 1, the city hosts London’s New Year’s Parade. Starting at noon, more than 10,000 participants ranging from cheerleaders to marching bands and cultural performers strut their talent through some of London’s most popular places, including Trafalgar Square and the aforementioned Picadilly Circus. You can purchase seats — yes actual seats in bleachers — in advance so you can rest your feet and stay covered in the case of inclement weather. Or you can take your chances on the weather and find a place to stand on the sidelines at the last minute. Either way, it’s a fun way to spend the day, especially since many stores and attractions do not open on New Year’s Day.

New Year's Eve at the London Eye

New Year's Eve at the London Eye

New Year's Eve at the London Eye

New Year's Eve at the London Eye

New Year's Eve at the London Eye

New Year's Eve at the London Eye

If you’re looking for a fun-filled New Year’s Eve experience that’s action-packed but not overcrowded, check out New Year’s Eve at the London Eye. You’ll be delighted and awed by the spectacular display. And if you’re up for it the next day, the London New Year’s Parade is worth checking out, too.

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New Year's Eve at the London Eye

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Things to Do in Bangkok During a 24-Hour Layover

Guest post by Alice Ross at For Travelista Many travelers have to change aircraft at the airport in Bangkok and end up with some free time in the city.   Most flights going through the Bangkok airport have connecting flights scheduled pretty close together, so you don’t need to wait too long for your next […] The post Things to Do in Bangkok During a 24-Hour Layover appeared first on Wanderlust...

Guest post by Alice Ross at For Travelista

Many travelers have to change aircraft at the airport in Bangkok and end up with some free time in the city.

 

Most flights going through the Bangkok airport have connecting flights scheduled pretty close together, so you don’t need to wait too long for your next flight. But what if your layover is longer than a few hours? Or maybe you’ve got 24 hours to spend in the city before you fly out? You don’t want to wait at the airport for too long! We all know lounges can be expensive and massage chairs are not always enough to keep you comfortable. One of the best ways to use your free time is to explore Thailand’s capital city.


Booking.com

Getting There

It’s easy to get to the main city of Bangkok from Suvarnabhumi Airport. Not only is the Airport Rail Link fast, but it’s also affordable. For only 150 Baht, you can take the 30-minute ride from the airport to Makkasan Station. As the closest station to the main city, it will be your starting point.

Another option is riding in a taxi. They easily are available from the airport’s ground floor. While not as cheap as taking the train, taxis are a more convenient way to get around. However, you have to know that rush hour and rainy days are not the best times to take a taxi as you might spend hours sitting in it. Also, ask your driver to turn on the meter before hopping in it, unless you want to get ripped off, of course.

Things to Do in Bangkok

Attractions

So, where should you go? It’s best to make the attraction you want to see first your direct destination from the airport. Note that some places, especially temples, may refuse your entry if you’re not wearing proper clothing. Do not wear flip-flops, sleeveless shirts, or shorts. This strict rule applies to both genders. If you happen to forget to wear the right clothing, there are many shops targeting tourists that will allow you to buy or rent a sarong or shoes.

You can start by soaking up some of the local culture. The Grand Palace is an amazing example of Thai culture and probably the most iconic landmark in Bangkok. This complex is where you will find Wat Phra Kaew that houses the famous 14th-century Emerald Buddha. The small architectural details and Buddhist shrines make the Grand Palace a tourist attraction that no foreign visitors should miss. The city’s cultural heart is a fascinating attraction that offers unique insight into the country’s history.

If the weather and time allow, you may want to take a tour from the River City complex on the Chao Phraya’s riverbank for an opportunity to see quickly see some of the city’s historical monuments. Weaving between the houses along the waterways of Bangkok and passing by the remarkable temples, such as the majestic Wat Arun or Temple of Dawn, you get a feel of authentic life in Bangkok. The tour will bring you up the river by longtail boat, and you’ll get to the calmer rice barge, where you’ll you can try some of the delectable cuisines.

Things to Do in Bangkok

Afternoon Shopping

Your trip to Bangkok is not complete if you haven’t experience exploring some of its many shopping markets. Considered as a shopper’s paradise, you can find anything you can think of here. Make sure to bargain for the best price for the products you want to take home with you.

Siam is the ultimate shopping district in Bangkok. Here, you will find rows of mega malls sitting that house some of the biggest brands in fashion. You can spend your whole day walking around the malls and still not see them all. So, if you have limited time in Siam Paragon, you may want to check out Siam Center and Central World first, as they offer the best combination of designers, high street brands, and boutiques. While MBK is infamous among travelers, it is the best place to go if you’re looking for cheap trinkets.

Another place you may want to go is in Platinum Fashion Mall located in Pratunam. Platinum is a one-stop shop for those who are looking wholesale finds that specializes in fashion brands. The many options available might be intimidating for some, but if you’re looking for something special, it is a worthwhile stop.

Things to Do in Bangkok

The Nightlife

And of course, you cannot truly experience Bangkok unless you see its nightlife. If you have a low to mid-range budget, you can find a lot of affordable bars that target tourists. Khao San Road is probably the most popular street in Bangkok, if not, in all of Thailand – partly for having the most bars per square foot in the whole country.

Another popular area for lowball partygoers is Silom Soi 4. In this area is where you will find Langsuan, which is popular for its live music. Sukhumvit Road, on the other hand, has a lot of Irish, British, German, and American-style pubs. You can enjoy live DJ music here as well.

If you are looking for bigger, more upscale clubs, then you must check out RCA. You will find six big clubs located close to one another. While many bars don’t have a dress code, you might still want to dress well, just in case.

As the main hub of Thailand, Bangkok offers travelers plenty of opportunities to have a lot of fun even in a short amount of time. If you have a flight connection in this exciting city, be sure to check out the many things to do in Bangkok during a 24-hour layover.

Alice Ross ForTravelista


Alice Ross is a long-term traveler who left the corporate world to travel the world. You can read about her travels at For Travelista.


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Take a Day Trip through the Lavender in Provence

June through August each year, the Provence lavender fields come alive.   From muted mauves to vibrant violets, the lavender in Provence, France, is a rich array of colorful hues and refreshing scents that tantalize the senses. It was my dream for many years to see the lavender fields in bloom, and when that dream […] The post Take a Day Trip through the Lavender in Provence appeared first on Wanderlust...

June through August each year, the Provence lavender fields come alive.

 

From muted mauves to vibrant violets, the lavender in Provence, France, is a rich array of colorful hues and refreshing scents that tantalize the senses. It was my dream for many years to see the lavender fields in bloom, and when that dream finally came true, it was one of the loveliest trips I have ever taken. In just one day, you can visit several small provincial towns and villages, stopping along the route to walk among fragrant fields of lavender or gaze at the stunning landscapes.

If you’re in France throughout the summer months, I highly recommend renting a car and heading to Provence for a day or two—I promise you won’t be disappointed. In addition to lavender, you’ll find no shortage of heritage, history, culture, and cuisine.

Lavender in Provence

When to Go

Typically, the lavender begins to bloom in June and is harvested in August. Of course, it’s up to Mother Nature to decide when the fields will be at their fullest, but if you visit sometime between the end of June and late July, you should have a good chance of seeing the lavender in all its glory. I visited at the end of June, and the lavender was at its prime. If I had visited any earlier, I think the blossoms would have been a lot less dense.

Lavender in Provence

Where to Stay

To make the most of your visit, you’ll want to hit the road early, so it’s a good idea to stay overnight in the area. Cavaillon is a small town in the center of the action. Located in Luberon National Park, it’s surrounded by beautiful vistas and quaint provincial towns. While there isn’t much to do in Cavaillon per se, it’s the perfect jumping off point for visiting many nearby attractions. I stayed at the Inter-Hotel Cavaillon Hôtel Du Parc, and I kid you not, it was the most delightful experience.

Lavender in Provence

Lavender in Provence

Lavender in Provence

Situated just off the main road, there is plenty of free parking right outside the hotel, which is ideal since it’s necessary to have a car for your stay if you want to visit the surrounding communities and take a tour through the lavender. Upon entering the adorable inn, we were immediately greeted by the owner. She was eager to show us around and gives us tips on what to see during our stay. She was helpful, friendly, and very knowledgeable. The pride she had for her inn and community were absolutely infectious. And we absorbed every bit of advice she gave us like the good little sponges we are.

Lavender in Provence

The charming decor is exactly what you would expect from a hotel in Provence, with antiques and other adornments filling every empty space. There’s a huge breakfast room where, for about 10 Euros, you can enjoy delicious pastries, teas, and other goodies each morning. The spacious rooms are immaculate, cozy, and offer all the amenities you need for a most amazing stay.

Lavender in Provence

Lavender in Provence

Lavender in Provence

Booking.com


Map Out Your Route

I am all about advance planning, but there are so many possibilities for things to see and do in this region of France that it’s hard to narrow things down. I had a high-level idea of the types of things I wanted to see and do but nothing concrete. I told the innkeeper my ideas, and she quickly went to work highlighting several routes on a map, giving us a variety of options for places to visit. She included the top spots to see the lavender, as well as great places to grab a bite to eat and check out the local culture. All of her suggestions were spot on.

The map shown here details the exact route we took. Click the “More options” link opens up step-by-step driving instructions so you can follow the same route on your visit to the Provence lavender fields.

Morning – Lavender Museum

Start your day with a visit to the Lavender Museum just a 15-minute drive from Cavaillon in the community of Coustellet. Here, you’ll learn all about the history of lavender farms in France and the evolution of the distillation process. You’ll also find out how to tell authentic lavender from synthetic products. The cost is just 7 Euros-ish per person, and it includes a self-guided audio tour.

lavender in provence

lavender in provence

Plan to spend about 45 minutes exploring the museum, which is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily from May through September. Be sure to arrive early to get ahead of the crowds. We got there just after opening, and by the time we left, tour buses were starting to arrive and carloads of people were pulling into the parking lot.

lavender in provence

lavender in provence

lavender in provence

lavender in provence

lavender in provence

In addition to the exhibits, Le Chateau du Bois boutique sells locally made lavender products. After you’ve picked up a few souvenirs—I grabbed a sachet for my closet—head outside for a first glimpse at the lavender in bloom. There is a small but wonderfully fragrant field where you can snap a few shots. It’s also where we learned from the “Beware of Snakes” signs that vipers like to hide out beneath the lavender bushes, so watch your step when you’re wandering through the fields (or driving the back roads, as I well learned).

lavender in provence

Mid-Morning – Sénanque Abbey

Next, make your way to Sénanque Abbey on the fringes of Gordes, a stunning hilltop town. It’s just a 20-minute drive from Coustellet along scenic country roads that wind around Gordes for phenomenal views of the village that is considered one of the most beautiful in all of France. It was about 11 a.m. when we arrived, and it was already packed. We lucked out and quickly got a parking space near the entrance to the entrance, but be prepared to walk a ways or wait a while for a good spot.

lavender in provence

The abbey is the quintessential stop for lavender enthusiasts. In fact, when you Google lavender fields, the iconic image that comes up is one of the stone abbey surrounded by fields of purple flowers. It’s every bit as beautiful in person as it is in pictures, though don’t expect to walk through the lavender. At best, you can view it from behind a tall stone wall or from the side.

Founded in 1148 by Cistercian monks, the abbey is home to a small community of monks who make their living growing lavender and tending honey bees. You can purchase some of their products in the abbey boutique, as well as a delightful selection of other lavender-related products. Here, I picked up some homemade honey, a brick of soap, perfume, another sachet, and a tote bag. Expect to spend less than an hour at the abbey.

lavender in provence

lavender in provence

lavender in provence

Lunchtime

By now, your stomach will likely be grumbling. Make your way back to Gordes and park in one of the public stalls in the center of town. It costs just a few dollars for the entire day, but you likely won’t spend more than an hour or two. It will take only five or ten minutes to walk into town, which is defined by the white stone buildings that rise from the high above the cliff side and the labyrinth of winding cobblestone streets.

lavender in provence

Take some time to explore the local shops, which sell much the same lavender products as the abbey and every other boutique in Provence. Then, grab a bite to eat at one of the many street-side cafes. We opted to grab a Caprese sandwich and a lemon meringue tart from a local bakery, which we ate sitting on a rocky stairwell in the middle of the action and watched the world go by—one of my favorite things to do. After, we wandered around a bit more and enjoyed the beautiful views of the farms below the village before heading back to the car to continue our road trip.

lavender in provence

lavender in provence

lavender in provence

Afternoon

My trip to this part of France was solely inspired by my desire to see the lavender fields in bloom so we continued our road trip north toward Sault. Since the development of synthetic lavender, many farmers have stopped growing the good stuff—it’s a lot of work for not a lot of reward (as we learned at the museum earlier in our trek). However, many farmers between Gordes and Sault still earn a living growing lavender, so it’s a must for anyone who shares my passion to see the fields in bloom. The drive takes about an hour, and there isn’t much to do in Sault once you arrive, but the beautiful vistas en route are worth every mile you put on your rental.

lavender in provence

lavender in provence

We stopped numerous times along the highway to frolic in lavender fields and take pictures of the purple panoramas beneath the twisting road. I’m not going to lie, there’s a steep drop at times, and there are numerous turns on the impossibly narrow two-way route, but it’s not a long drive by North-American standards. You can take a break when you reach the top. Parking is a bit trickier here—you may need to circle around a few times before you can find a spot on a side street.

Sault itself is a small community. There are a handful of boutiques selling the tried and true lavender staples. Our fun find here was a nougat shop with the most delicious selection of flavors, including lavender, which we just had to try. Simply tell the shopkeeper how much you want, and she’ll chop off a chunk. You pay by weight.

lavender in provence

lavender in provence

We also went to a nearby lavender distillery on the edge of town called Aroma Plantes. Here, you can take a tour of the facility to see how farmers extract the essence from the lavender. There’s also a small, interactive exhibit and a well-stocked shop filled with everything from lavender-infused essential oils to hair products. Our favorite feature was the on-site cafe serving up lavender-infused beverages of all kinds, as well as a selection of delicious snacks. I had the apple lavender juice and a lavender honey crepe. Both were divine. Plan to spend about a half hour wandering through Sault and an hour or so at the distillery.

lavender in provence

lavender in provence

Early Evening

I love packing my days as full as I can when I’m on vacation, so we decided to make one last stop before returning to Cavaillon. Located at the base of the Mont de Vaucluse, Roussillon is a bit off the beaten path, but it’s truly a gem. About a 40-minute drive from Sault, the lavender landscape gives way to majestic red cliffs and magnificent ochre quarries. There’s a public parking zone on the edge of the city that costs just a few bucks.

lavender in provence

lavender in provence

We arrived around 5 p.m., which was early enough for the shops and restaurants to still be open but late enough that the crowds had died down a bit. We grabbed a gelato to tide us over and then made our rounds through the red stone streets. Roussillon looked quite different from the other towns we’d visited during the day, and we thoroughly enjoyed its uniqueness. Hands down, the most spectacular feature of this quaint community is the striking view of the vibrant cliffs jutting up over the towering trees and into the bright blue sky—amazing to behold. We spent about an hour and a half in Roussillon, which was plenty of time to walk through the maze of streets.

lavender in provence

Evening

The drive back to Cavaillon takes about 30 minutes. If you follow the same route we took and spend about the same amount of time in each location, means you’ll arrive back in Cavaillon around 7 p.m. Like most sleepy provincial towns, just about every restaurant is closed by this time. So I offer a few options to close out your evening with a delicious meal.

Across from the Roman Arch in the center of town, you’ll find a pizza truck. I know, you didn’t go all the way to France to eat pizza from a truck, but it’s good…like really good. They offer a ton of toppings, bake it fresh when you order, and it only costs about 10 Euros for an entire pie. There was a long lineup of people waiting for their orders when we arrived, so we figured it was worth a shot. We sat on the steps of the arch to eat and enjoyed a little more people watching.

Alternatively, make your way to L’Isle-sur-la-Sorge, a small but adorable community about 15 minutes from Cavaillon by car. Most of the restaurants close early, but there are a few who keep their doors open past 7 p.m.

lavender in provence

lavender in provence

If you want to see the lavender in Provence, follow this jam-packed itinerary, and you can’t go wrong. Driving through Luberon is as easy as pie, so it makes for a peaceful and relaxing journey. If you’d rather let someone else do the driving, there are plenty of great—and affordable—day trips you can take, too. For me, this was a bucket list trip and one of my favorites of all time. Considering I have been to more than 50 countries and hundreds of cities, it takes a lot to impress me, and I would happily do this trip again and again and never get bored.

Did I miss anything? Are there other places to see the lavender in Provence you’d recommend? Leave a comment here to share your ideas!

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lavender in provence

 

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Plan the Perfect Day Trip to Windsor Castle from London

A day trip to Windsor Castle from London is a fun and easy way to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city for a few hours.   Located just 30 miles from London, Windsor is a cozy community steeped in a rich royal history. Home to the largest and oldest inhabited […] The post Plan the Perfect Day Trip to Windsor Castle from London appeared first on Wanderlust...

A day trip to Windsor Castle from London is a fun and easy way to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city for a few hours.

 

Located just 30 miles from London, Windsor is a cozy community steeped in a rich royal history. Home to the largest and oldest inhabited castle in the world, as well as a bevy of unique boutiques and bistros, Windsor is the kind of place where you can while away the hours simply strolling the charming city streets or enjoying high tea in the afternoon.

Day Trip to Windsor Castle from London

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Getting There

Making your way to Windsor Castle from London couldn’t be any easier. Trains run every 30 minutes from Paddington Station, one of the busiest train stations in the city. You’ll find easy-to-use electronic ticket kiosks inside the doors of the station where you can purchase your ticket to Windsor & Eton Central station. If you need assistance, simply locate one of the many staff members, and they’ll happily lend a hand.

Once you’ve purchased your ticket, look for the departures boards to find out when the next train arrives and which platform to catch it on. Some trains leave later but make more stops, so be sure to look for the fastest overall route. After about 30 minutes onboard, you’ll need to transfer trains at Slough station. It’s a very small station with only four platforms, so it’s pretty easy to get around. Upon arrival, check the departures signs to find out when the next Windsor-bound train arrives and which platform it will be on. They run very often, so if you just miss one, don’t fear. Another one will come soon, and the ride from Slough only to Windsor takes only 5 minutes. The entire trip takes about 40 minutes total, including the transfer.

Day Trip to Windsor Castle from London

windsor castle

Pro Tip: If your schedule is flexible, purchase a ticket for off-peak travel. The trains will be less crowded and more affordable. An off-peak return ticket costs only about £12.

Things to Do

With of population of just over 32,000, Windsor has all the charm of a small town, but thanks to its very important royal residents, it’s got no shortage of things to do. Of course, Windsor Castle, best known these days as the site of Prince Harry and Meghan Marke’s nuptials, is the city’s main attraction. As one of the three official homes of the queen, the stately 900-year-old castle is a sight to behold.

windsor castle

When you get off the train, basically all you need to do is walk forward straight out of the station, and you’ll be within steps of the castle gates. Just follow the signs—it’s that easy. Depending on the time of year, the hours of operation change ever so slightly, but you can typically expect to find it open between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. during the peak season.

windsor castle

Though I’m born and raised in Canada, my grandma was from England, so I’m all about the royals, but I opted not to go inside. By 10 a.m., the line to get in was about a block long, and the cost of admission is hefty at more than £21 per ticket. I settled for a long-distance look from outside the castle walls. If you do intend to go inside, expect to spend between 90 minutes and three hours exploring the castle.

windsor castle

windsor castle

Shop Til You Drop

Aside from the castle, you’ll find plenty of ways to spend your hard-earned cash in Windsor. All around the castle, you’ll find sho-lined streets where you can purchase royal-themed souvenirs or one-of-a-kind gifts. The railway station itself is home to Windsor Royal Shopping. Open seven days a week, the shopping center features 40 brand-name retailers and a solid mix of restaurants and cafes.

windsor castle

windsor castle

Be sure to hit up Peascod Street, which is steps away from the train station and runs south-west from the entrance of Windsor Castle. The pedestrian street boasts a number of unique boutiques and eateries. In addition to cute side streets and alleyways, other nearby shopping streets include High Street and Thames Street.

Day Trip to Windsor Castle from London

windsor castle

windsor castle
windsor castle

windsor castle

Windsor Yards Shopping Centre is located in King Edward Court, just steps away from the central train station. A variety of well-known retailers, such as Zara and Topshop, have set up shop here.

windsor castle
windsor castle
Afternoon Tea

Before heading back to London, enjoy afternoon tea at one of the many local eateries. I highly recommend pampering yourself with a mouthwatering meal at the luxurious Madame Posh on Peascod Street. I just dare you to walk by the window featuring all of the restaurant’s decadent delicacies without stopping to try one. I can’t even tell you how long it took me to get a picture of the window without a hoard of people ogling all of the desserts inside. While the restaurant does offer a delicious afternoon tea, I was in the mood for a savory crepe, or galette. And I simply couldn’t pass up the lemon meringue tarts. I ate outside at one of the faux-fur-lined tables. Both the atmosphere and the food were to die for. It was the perfect way to top off our day trip to Windsor Castle from London.

windsor castle

windsor castle

windsor castle

Day Trip to Windsor Castle from London

Pro Tip: Plan to spend anywhere from four to eight hours roaming the city’s main attractions and another hour for travel time on your day trip to Windsor Castle from London. We left Paddington Station at around 9:30 a.m. and returned at about 4:30 p.m. 

Windsor is just one of the many great day trips you can take from Paddington Station in London. For this reason, I recommend staying in the vicinity if you’re planning to get outside the city several times during your stay. The Point A Hotel London Paddington is a budget-friendly hotel that’s only a 5-minute walk from the station. Though it has only a two-star rating by hotel standards, most reviewers give it four or five stars on TripAdvisor. The rooms are spacious, clean, and recently renovated. If you like a little more luxury, I highly recommend Hazlitt’s Hotel. Located in Soho, it’s a bit of a trek to Paddington Station, but you’ll love its haunted history and quirky charms.

Where are your favorite places to visit in Windsor? What places have you traveled to from Paddington Station? Let us know in the comments section!

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Day Trip to Windsor Castle from London

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5 Essential Things to Do in Metro Manila

Guest post by Janice Jaramillo “I do not think the measure of a civilization is how tall its buildings of concrete are, but rather how well its people have learned to relate to their environment and fellow man.” – Sun Bear, Chippewa   More distinctly known as the National Capital Regional Region of the Philippines, […] The post 5 Essential Things to Do in Metro Manila appeared first on Wanderlust...

Guest post by Janice Jaramillo

“I do not think the measure of a civilization is how tall its buildings of concrete are, but rather how well its people have learned to relate to their environment and fellow man.” – Sun Bear, Chippewa

 

More distinctly known as the National Capital Regional Region of the Philippines, Metro Manila is widely regarded as a concrete jungle that is densely populated due to its innumerable opportunities for career growth and job offers. Apart from that, the metropolis is also known to be an avenue for entertainment and a business hub of all sorts. In fact, one might say it is a cosmopolitan city of diverse offerings—culture, governance, trade, and economics to name a few. Today, it is the 11th-most populous city in the world.

5 Essential Things to Do in Metro Manila

Metro Manila is characterized by its progressive development. Unfortunately, with every growth comes with its own downfalls. As the main gateway to the rest of the Philippine provinces, many tourists make Metro Manila their main jump-off point in getting to remote areas in the country, and as it is, it has been notably exemplified for its smog, pollution, and onslaughts of traffic. However, do not let these deter you, as Metro Manila still retains some of its subtle charms if you care enough to look.

So, if you ever have the opportunity to visit or are simply looking for new ways to fall in love with this city again, take a gander at this list for some things you can do while there.



Booking.com

Party at the Hottest and Most Exclusive Clubs

5 Essential Things to Do in Metro Manila

There has never been any question that Makati Philippines hosts a series of the country’s best and most happening clubs. Nightlife is never wanting in city centers such as Makati, Eastwood, and Bonifacio Global City, and if you are lucky enough, you might just even spot a local celebrity partying it up in the VIP room. If you have a streak of the wild side in you or simply have a penchant for dancing the night away, visit one of Manila’s most exclusive nightclubs and be prepared to be blown away by the unique party scenes each club has.

Observe Old and Gothic Churches

5 Essential Things to Do in Metro Manila

A former colony of Spain and also a devoutly Catholic country, one can expect to find a myriad of churches in the Philippines. In Cambodia and Thailand, tourists are known to temple hop. In the Philippines, you can church hop. Note the ancient and aesthetic architecture in each of the churches that have been preserved so well and withstood the test of time.

Explore the Chinatown: Binondo Manila

5 Essential Things to Do in Metro Manila

If you have a hankering for authentic Chinese cuisine, you are in luck. Look no further than Manila’s very own Chinese community scene in Binondo where they serve authentic Chinese dishes that would appeal to even the most discriminating palate. Established in the early 1500s, Binondo is the oldest Chinese district not only in the Philippines but the world as well. The district is rather well known for its Chinese New Year celebrations as well as its specialty stores and unique places of worship. Binondo is definitely a place of interest if you are looking to satisfy the foodie in you.

Go Shopping at Divisoria

5 Essential Things to Do in Metro Manila

In these days where prices of goods and commodities are skyrocketing, it would not only be a welcome change but a miracle to find something so cheap. Well, this is the main allure of Divisoria, a shopping district located at the heart of Manila. It is comprised of malls and markets that would sell you basically anything you need for a fraction of what you would pay at the mall. In fact, a $20 bill would go a long way at this shopping district. It is not known for being the bargain hunter’s shopping mecca for nothing after all. If you are looking to stretch your budget or simply doing your Christmas shopping, go for the more affordable alternative in Divisoria.

Let the Manila Bay Sunset Take Your Breath Away

5 Essential Things to Do in Metro Manila

For all the flak Manila has gotten for its unbearable traffic, thick fog, and pollution, it seems like all these things are well compensated for the fact that it has one of the most beautiful sunsets. If you have a rather romantic side to you, take a stroll along the bay walks of Mall of Asia and Roxas Boulevard in a good weather. Just pick any spot and bask in the breathtaking golden sunset. Do not forget to take as many photos as you can while you are at it.

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5 Essential Things to Do in Metro Manila

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