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Dubai’s top 5 culture hotspots 

Photo by Nextvoyage from Pexels

Dubai is a cultural mecca. It’s a city that combines the innovation of technological advances with Dubai tradition. These are just 5 of the culture hotspots to check out the next time you visit Dubai. 

  • Al Fahidi 
  • Grand Mosque
  • Al Shindagha Museum
  • Alserkal Avenue
  • Hatta 

Al Fahidi

Have you ever wondered what it was like to live in Dubai during the late 19th century? If your answer was yes, then the historic town of Al Fahidi is the perfect culture hotspot for you. Located along the Dubai Creek, Al Fahidi was originally built in the early 1900’s, and many of the towns original buildings are still intact. As you trek the winding streets, admiring the historical buildings, you will come across several museums, art galleries, and traditional food stalls which will transport you to 1900’s Dubai. To get as much historic knowledge about Old Dubai as possible, book yourself on a walking tour of the town. 

Image by Ankur Panchbudhe

Grand Mosque

The Grand Mosque is the hub of religious and cultural life in Dubai. Holding up to 1,200 worshippers, it is an architectural masterpiece with intricate geometric carvings and blue mosaic. The original Grand Mosque was built in 1900, but was replaced in 1960 and re-built again in 1998 to resemble the original structure. Non-Muslims can enter The Grand Mosque from 9:30am to 11:30am Sunday to Thursday for free tours.

Image by Guilhem Vellut

Al Shindagha Museum

If you would like to learn more about Dubai’s creek history, and wider Emirati culture, than head to the Al Shindagha Museum. Sat along the Dubai Creek, the Al Shindagha Museum offers a carefully curated tour of interactive videos, historic photos, and artefacts that show exactly what it was like to raise a family by Dubai’s waterway. Then, explore the legacy and trading importance of Emirati fragrances at The Perfume House. The Al Shindagha Museum is a fascinating day out, overflowing with beautiful artefacts and interactive fun. 

Image by A.Davey

Alserkal Avenue

Alserkal Avenue is the cultural hotspot of modern Dubai. What was once an industrial area of 40 warehouses has been transformed into a cultural bohemian of art galleries, dance studios, and artisanal cafes. The transformation of Alserkal Avenue began in 2008 when one gallery moved to the area. Word soon caught on, and over the past 13 years contemporary artists have been relocating to the area, creating the Alserkal Avenue you see today. Discover new art and some of the best coffee Dubai has to offer at Alserkal Avenue. 

Image by siska maria eviline

Hatta

Venture outside of the skyscraper city of Dubai and to the beautiful mountain village of Hatta. Many people visit Hatta to take part in activities such as mountain biking and paddle boarding, however the historic village of Hatta is also incredible to explore. In the town centre, you can find Hatta Heritage Village, which has been preserved and reconstructed to showcase centuries of rural living in Dubai. You can wander through traditional Dubai huts, and even observe villagers carrying out traditional activities, such as making jewellery, weaponry, and pottery. The beautiful surroundings of Hatta, coupled with learning about the historic culture of the village, make for an unforgettable day out. 

Image by Sergei Gussev

Don’t let laundry stop you from exploring the cultural hotspots of Dubai. Book your Laundryheap service today by heading to the Laundryheap website or downloading the free Laundryheap app.


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Travel hacks for families 

Photo by Victoria Borodinova from Pexels

Family holidays create memories that will last a lifetime. They can be incredible for family bonding and enjoying time together away from the home. That being said, they can also be incredibly stressful, so here are some hacks to take some of that stress away. 

  • Try to find family-friendly accommodation
  • Use a backpack
  • Pack spare clothes
  • Use vacuum seal bags
  • Comfort is key
  • Think about entertainment
  • Don’t forget plane sweets
  • Share the responsibility 
  • Bring some home comforts
  • Don’t forget to enjoy yourself!

Try to find family-friendly accommodation

Before you begin to contemplate travelling, think about your accommodation. Although staying in a generic hotel or renting short-stay accommodation may be cheaper, consider finding family-friendly specific accommodation. Family-friendly accommodation is built with children in mind, so there are usually additional activities available to keep your children entertained. It may be slightly pricier, but it could make your family holiday more enjoyable for everyone involved. 

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Use a backpack

Between checking in to your flight, getting through security, and making sure that your children are safe and happy, it will be rare to find your hands empty whilst you are at the airport, and on your holiday. Using a backpack for your carry-on rather than a travel bag will guarantee that your hands are accessible when you need them, and will guarantee that you don’t misplace or lose sight of your carry-on. 

Photo by Tatiana Syrikova from Pexels

Pack spare clothes

In your carry-on make sure that you pack a spare change of clothes for all the family. If you have young children you may already have packed a spare change of clothes for them, but make sure that you also pack spare clothes for yourself. Children can become travel sick, or could spill juice and/or food down themselves and you, so it’s always best to be prepared. Even if you just pack a change of top, it will at least help towards making everyone feel fresh once you have arrived at your holiday destination. 

Photo by William Fortunato from Pexels

Use vacuum seal bags 

There is a lot of packing involved for a family holiday. To save yourself some space in your suitcase, use vacuum seal bags. Assign each person in the family one or two bags to put all of their belonging in. Once each bag is packed, seal them shut and put them in the suitcase. Not only will this save you space, but it will also make packing, and unpacking, much easier. 

Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

Comfort is key

When deciding what to wear for traveling remember that comfort is key. All members of your family should prioritise comfort over style, so think about wearing loose-fitting clothing made from lightweight materials. These types of clothes will be easy to move in, and perfect for if you are traveling to or from a hot country. Consider packing a couple of small blankets or thick long scarves in your carry-on just in case you or the members of your family get cold whilst traveling. It’s always good to be prepared for all weather whilst on the move. 

Think about entertainment  

Children can become irritable whilst traveling, especially on particularly long journeys, so make sure that you have an ample amount of things that will entertain them. It could be their favourite toy, a tablet to watch TV and films on, or a game that can be played. Alternatively, you could entertain your children by getting them excited about the holiday.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

Don’t forget plane sweets

One of the most unpleasant things about traveling is when the airplane is taking off and landing and your ears pop. This can be disorientating for both children and adults alike, so be prepared with plane sweets. Anything that can be sucked on will help to un-pop your ears on a plane, so choose some age-appropriate sweets and have them on-hand for your flight. 

Image by William Warby

Share the responsibility 

The responsibility of traveling as a family should not land on one person. If you are traveling with another adult or with older children share the responsibility. Make a list of responsibilities before you leave and divide them between the other adult(s) and older children in your family. You could even share some of the smaller responsibilities with the younger children, such as deciding on travel entertainment or what snacks to take with you. Traveling as a family can be stressful, so sharing the responsibility will help ease that stress and ensure that everyone has a good time. 

Photo by MART PRODUCTION from Pexels

Bring some home comforts 

We all get homesick at times, and, for younger children especially, it can be scary and disorientating staying in a new location. To make the transition from home to holiday easier for them, pack some home comforts. This could be their nightlight, pillows, or favourite teddy. You don’t have to pack anything too big or difficult to travel with, just something small that will make them feel safe and at home

Photo by Alex Green from Pexels

Don’t forget to enjoy yourself 

A family holiday is for the whole family, not just the children, so don’t forget to enjoy yourself. Whilst you are away take some time out of your day to do something that you want to do. Maybe it’s reading a book on the beach, going for a swim, or taking a walk on your own. A family holiday is just as much about enjoying yourself and getting away from the stresses of everyday life, as it is enjoying time as a family. 

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

Enjoy your family holiday without the stress of laundry. Book your Laundryheap service today by heading to the Laundryheap website or downloading the free Laundryheap app.


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Things to do in Chicago this fall

Photo by Nate from Pexels

Fall has finally arrived, and there is no city to enjoy the changing colours and festivities of the season quite like Chicago. Here are just 10 things that you can do this fall in Chicago. 

  • Lincoln Park
  • Night of 1,000 Jack-o-Lanterns 
  • Sonny Acres Farm
  • All Seasons Orchard
  • Harvest Wine and Cheese Festa
  • Chicago International Film Festival
  • The Magnificent Mile Light Festival 
  • Thanksgiving Parade
  • The Chicago Marathon 
  • Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit

Lincoln Park 

You will find Lincoln park in the north of Chicago. Home to immaculate gardens, a hidden lily pond, and the Lincoln Park Zoo, there is an abundance of things to see and do in Lincoln Park. Despite the park being accessible at all times of the year, it is most beautiful during the fall. As you walk the expanse of the grounds there are plenty of trees showcasing the changing colours of the fall, and plenty of crunchy leaves to satisfyingly walk through. If you want a day in the fresh air whilst in Chicago, explore Lincoln Park to its extent. 

Image by Ronincmc

Night of 1,000 Jack-o-Lanterns

Fall means Halloween. There are several ways Halloween can be celebrated in Chicago, one of which is the Night of 1,000 Jack-o-Lanterns. Hosted at the Chicago Botanical Gardens, Night of 1,000 Jack-o-Lanterns is a celebration of the humble Halloween classic- the pumpkin. More than 1,000 hand-carved pumpkins light a paved path with a variety of faces from celebrities to iconic Chicago landmarks. Each pumpkin is true art. As you walk the Jack-o-Lantern path, the Halloween festivities continue with costumed entertainers, pumpkin-carving demonstrations, and a light fare. Night of 1,000 Jack-o-Lanterns is only running from the 13th-17th and 20th-24th of October so make sure that you get your tickets ASAP. 

Sonny Acres Farm

Keeping with the Halloween theme, Sonny Acres Farm is the perfect place to spend a spooky day out. If you are in Chicago with children, the farms Haunted Daytime Fun is ideal. You can experience fun hayrides around the farm, pumpkin picking, and, if brave enough, even take a visit to the Haunted Barn. For older children and adults who are looking for the fright of their lives, wait until the evening to experience the Haunted Barn. With live actors taking on a variety of horrifyingly creepy characters, expect to be scared from the moment you step into the barn to the moment you leave. You can experience all of the Halloween fun at Sonny Acres Farm until the 31st of October. 

Photo by Jill Wellington from Pexels

All Seasons Orchard 

If you are looking for a more wholesome Chicago fall experience then head to All Seasons Orchard. There is an abundance of fall fun to be had, including picking fruit from the 15,000 apple and pear trees, picking the perfect pumpkin from the 10 acre pumpkin patch, and getting lost in the All Seasons corn maze. There are two pathways you can take in the corn maze, a shorter one for those with young children, and a longer, more challenging, alternative. After tackling the corn maze, explore the All Seasons Orchard Barnyard, complete with petting zoo, mini zip line, and pumpkin bowling. All Seasons Orchard is the perfect fall day out for every age. 

Photo by Tim Cyphers from Pexels

Harvest Wine and Cheese Festa

For those cheese and wine lovers visiting Chicago this fall, book your tickets for the Harvest Wine and Cheese Festa. Over the course of an hour and 15 minutes you will be treated to a special selection of ten Tuscan wines, each paired with a chef-curated selection of artisanal cheeses. Once you have sampled each wine, you can further indulge yourself by purchasing the wines at the on-site marketplace. A ticket for the Harvest Wine and Cheese Festa is $59 and the event will only be running on Friday the 22nd of October and Saturday the 23rd of October. 

Photo by Jep Gambardella from Pexels

Chicago International Film Festival

The Chicago International Film Festival is the longest-running competitive film festival in North America. The festival is presented by its parent company Cinema/Chicago, which was founded in 1964 by filmmaker and graphic artist Michael Kutza. The festival has been running since 1965 and is a celebration of the best in international cinema. All proceeds from the festival go to Cinema/Chicago’s programmes that help foster better communication between diverse cultures through film and moving images. The Chicago International Film Festival is a great opportunity to see international films and is perfect for any lover of cinema in Chicago this fall. 

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk from Pexels

The Magnificent Mile Light Festival 

Halloween isn’t the only fall festival to look forward to, there is also Thanksgiving. The week before Thanksgiving, along the length of Michigan Avenue, 200 tress are illuminated by over a million lights. The festival began in 1949 and has only grown in scale since. After the initial lighting ceremony, a parade of floats begins, featuring festive favourites such as Santa Claus, cartoon characters, and musical performances. To end an evening of magical fun, a firework display lights the nights sky, brining the event to a perfect close. The Magnificent Mile Light Festival begins at 11am. 

Image by Natasha Jelezkina

Thanksgiving Parade

Just one week after The Magnificent Mile Light Festival is Chicago’s Thanksgiving Parade. On Thursday 25th of November 2021 thousands will gather on the streets of Chicago to celebrate Thanksgiving and watch the Parade. From balloons of your favourite cartoon characters to parade floats, dance acts, and extra special guests, Chicago’s Thanksgiving Parade is a spectacle for all. The parade begins at 8am and runs until 11am, however it’s best to head to State Street as early as possible to secure yourself a good viewing spot.

Image by Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar

Chicago Marathon

The Chicago Marathon is held every October and sees 45,000 runners cover 26.219 miles of the city. The track forms a loop both beginning and ending at Grant Park, and the runners will travel through 29 of Chicago’s neighbourhoods. If you would like to support the runners of the Chicago Marathon you can do so at one of the three ‘Cheer Zones’. The ‘Cheer Zones’ are located at the 8 kilometre mark, 15 mile mark, and 26th mile mark. The Chicago Marathon will be held on Sunday the 10th of October 2021 and races begin from 7:20am. 

Image by Marco Verch

Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit

For those who are visiting Chicago interested in exploring art and culture, the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit is a must see. At the Lighthouse ArtSpace at Germaina Club you can experience the legendary work of Vincent Van Gogh like never before. Van Gogh’s work is highlighted through 500,000 cubic feet of flawless projections that allow every brushstroke to be observed up close. From Starry Night to Sunflowers you can view Van Gogh’s work at an astonishing scale that will give you a new appreciation for his artistry. The Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit will be running throughout October and November and tickets start from $40. 

Image by Immersivearteditor

Chicago is a beautiful city, especially during the fall season. Too beautiful to miss out on because you’re doing laundry. Head to the Laundryheap website, or download the free Laundryheap app, to get your laundry picked-up, laundered, and redelivered to you within 24 hours.


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Top 5 Copenhagen day trips

Photo by Daniel Jurin from Pexels

Copenhagen is a beautiful city, overflowing with things to do and places to explore. It is also surrounded by wonderful places for day visits. 

  • Helsingør 
  • Odense 
  • The outskirts of Copenhagen
  • Møn
  • Malmö

Helsingør 

The historical city of Helsingør is just an hour train journey from Copenhagen. The city’s most visited attraction is Kronborg Castle, made famous for being the setting of the Shakespeare play Hamlet. You can tour the castle on several routes, both free and payable options available, and immerse yourself in the rich history the castle has to offer. Once you’ve explored Kronborg Castle, wander around Helsingør. Attractions within the city include the Maritime Museum of Denmark, the Culture Yard, and the Danish Museum of Science and Technology. 

Image by Olivier Bruchez

Odense

Hans Christian Anderson is arguably the most famous fairy tale writer in the world. His birthplace of Odense is reachable within an hour, by train, from Copenhagen. As you wander the old cobbled streets you can visit the house where the famous fairy tale writer grew up. Afterwards, take a look around the Hans Christian Anderson House Museum which offers an immersive look into the fairy tales Anderson wrote. Odense has a strong cycling culture, so why not hire a bike to see the sights the city has to offer. There are public bicycle pumps across the city and plenty of bike-designated parking spots for when you want to take a break

Image by Elgaard

The outskirts of Copenhagen

The outskirts of Copenhagen are surrounded by lush forests and water. Hidden amongst this serene setting are six wooden giants for you to find. Created by artist Thomas Dambo, each giant is made from recycled wood which allows the structures to blend seamlessly into their scenic surroundings. Hunting for the six giants is the perfect activity for those who crave adventure and enjoy escaping from urban life. You will need a car to travel to each giant’s location, however, it may be worth doing some additional sightseeing as you journey to each structure. To find the exact location of each giant head to Thomas  Dambo’s website. 

Image by Lars Plougmann

Møn

Just under two hours South of Copenhagen you will find the island of Møn. Home to sweeping sandy beaches, secret coves, and, its main attraction, Møns Klint. Møn is a breath-taking island you may never want to leave. Møns Klint is the 70 million years old chalk cliffs on the island that are gently crumbling into the Baltic Sea, making the water crystal clear. You can view the cliffs, and enjoy the water, by hiring a kayak or fishing boat for the day. Alternatively, you can enjoy a ride on an Icelandic pony or take one of the two mountain bike trails 820km to the top of Møns Klint. 

Image by Image by Jenny Shead from Pixabay 

Malmö

In just 38 minutes you can go from one country to another. Take a quick trip to Malmö Sweden, a charming city full of culture, incredible architecture, and great food. Whilst in Malmö don’t miss out on seeing The Turning Torso, Scandinavia’s tallest building. At the foot of the Turning Torso, you will find a beach and harbour, perfect for a leisurely stroll. After visiting The Turning Torso, head to Malmö Saluhall, a food market overflowing with delicious artisanal goods. Here you can try Fika, the Swedish version of afternoon tea, where you will be served a variety of delicious cakes and coffee

Image by Alex Waltner from Pixabay 

Copenhagen, and its surrounding areas, should be explored to the fullest. Don’t let laundry get in the way, let us do it for you. Head to the Laundryheap website or download the free Laundryheap app to book your laundry and dry cleaning service today.


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Where to shop in Doha

Photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels

A bit of retail therapy makes every holiday better. If you are visiting Doha, these are the best places to shop. 

  • Souq Waqif
  • Gold Souq
  • Omani Souq
  • Festival City
  • MIA Park Bazaar 
  • The Pearl

Souq Waqif 

Location: Al Souq Street, Doha, Qatar

Opening times: Saturday-Thursday, 7:30 am-12:30 pm and 3:30 pm-10 pm, Friday 12:30 pm-10 pm 

Founded over a century ago, Souq Waqif is one of the oldest Souqs in Qatar. What was once a busy trading centre for camels and livestock is now a labyrinth of market stalls selling spices, textiles, jewellery, and handicrafts. As you wander from stall to stall allow your senses to be taken over by the smells of the spice stalls and the sounds of traditional music.  Despite being open until 10 pm, it is best to visit Souq Waqif either in the early morning or later in the day to avoid the scorching daytime heat.  

Image by Nordcap Studio from Pixabay 

Gold Souq

Location: Al Ahmed Street, Doha, Qatar

Opening times: Saturday–Thursday 9 am-1 pm and 4 pm-10 pm, Friday 4 pm-10 pm

Across the street from Souq Waqif, you will find the Gold Souq. As the name suggests, here you will find finely crafted pieces of gold jewellery and precious gems. Most of the items on sale are 22 carats, however, there are white gold, silver, and platinum pieces available at a slightly cheaper price. From bridal jewellery to souvenirs, the Gold Souq is the best place to shop for all your jewellery needs whilst your visiting Doha

Omani Souq 

Location: Salwa Road, Al Maamoura, Doha, Qatar 

Opening times: Daily, 7 am-10 pm

Omani Souq, in comparison to the Gold Souq and Souq Waqif, is a smaller market, visited more by locals than tourists. Here you will find fresh produce, including fruits and vegetables, Saudi dates, local honey, and an array of vibrant spices. Alongside this fresh produce are clay pots, perfumes, and baskets, which make perfect souvenirs to take home with you. One of the best finds at Omani Souq are white truffles, at an astoundingly low price, which can only be sourced if the desert has had the right amount of rain. 

Photo by Engin Akyurt from Pexels

Festival City 

Location: Al Shamal Road, Umm Salal Mohammed, Doha, Qatar

Opening times: Sunday–Wednesday, 10 am-10 pm, Thursday–Saturday 10 am-midnight

Doha’s Festival City is more than just a shopping experience. This 600,000 square meter shopping mall includes hundreds of shops, over 100 restaurants, plus an Angry Birds park, complete with bumper cars, a trampoline park, and a zip line. If that was not enough, you can cool off from the desert heat on the indoor snow slide and snow-covered hills. Festival City provides the perfect combination of retail therapy and thrilling adventure, all under one roof, and all family-friendly. 

Photo by Artem Beliaikin from Pexels

MIA Park Bazaar 

Location: South of Doha Corniche, Doha, Qatar

Opening times: Friday 2 pm-10 pm, Saturday 12 pm-7 pm, Sunday 12 pm-6 pm

Hosted on the grounds of the Museum of Islamic Art, MIA Park Bazaar is a weekend market that operates from September to April. During this time, as many as 150 market stalls offer both local and international arts, crafts, and culinary creations. Each stall offers unique pieces of handmade art which make for one-of-a-kind souvenirs. After browsing the buzzing stalls, head into the Museum of Islamic Art to observe the impressive collection of art and artefacts from the Muslim world. 

Image by StellarD

The Pearl 

Location: The Pearl-Qatar, Doha, Qatar

If you are looking for a luxury shopping experience then look no further than The Pearl. This artificial island is home to elegant fashion, jewellery, and lifestyle boutiques, as well as celebrity-chef restaurants and cafes. From the marina with its huge yachts bobbing on the water to the shop fronts lining the streets with beautiful window displays, everything about The Pearl screams luxurious. Whether you’re shopping or window shopping it’s a luxury experience you don’t want to miss. 

Image by Steven Byles

Enjoy shopping without having to think about laundry when you book your Laundryheap service. Simply head to the Laundryheap website or download the free Laundryheap app to book your order today. 


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Backpacking travel hacks

Photo by Pawan Yadav from Pexels

Backpacking is an extraordinary opportunity full of excitement and adventure. That being said, it can also be stressful and costly. These travel hacks will help to limit the stress that comes with backpacking, and allow you to fully focus on the adventure. 

  • Use private browsing
  • Roll your clothing
  • Buy a portable phone charger
  • Take advantage of credit card offers
  • Stay for free 
  • Adapt your travel style
  • Rely on Wi-Fi
  • Use WhatsApp
  • Download Google Translate 
  • Keep rechargeable batteries in the fridge 

Use private browsing 

When booking any kind of travel, always use private browsing. Travel sites can monitor when you have visited their website and what you have searched for by installing cookies on your browser, which can lead to inflated prices. Using private browsing prevents these sites from monitoring your activity and will guarantee you the best travel prices. 

Photo by Peter Olexa from Pexels

Roll your clothing

Travel backpacks do not have a lot of room, so space-saving techniques are essential. One space-saving technique is to roll your clothing rather than fold. Rolling your clothing will make it much easier to arrange them inside your backpack and will also limit the creases on each garment. Alternatively, you can also use your clothing to wrap up valuables that you want to take with you, such as a camera. 

Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

Buy a portable phone charger 

Although there will be places to charge your phone on your travels, there is no guarantee that your phone won’t completely run out of battery before you get there. It is vitally important to have a charged phone with you at all times whilst you are backpacking, so that you can look up directions, book transport, or in case of emergencies. Investing in a portable phone charger is the best way to guarantee that your phone always has a good amount of battery left in it. Just make sure that you remember to charge your portable charger before leaving for the day. 

Photo by ready made from Pexels

Take advantage of credit card offers

There are several credit card companies that offer lucrative deals perfect for backpackers. These can include travel insurance deals, travel points, and allowing you to use your card in multiple different countries without additional charges. Thoroughly research the pros and cons of several different credit card options, and decide whether it is worth signing up for one. You may find it is the easiest option for you. 

Photo by Anete Lusina from Pexels

Stay for free

If you are an avid backpacker you may have made friends and connections in places that you have previously visited. Alternatively, you may be backpacking to a country that you have never visited before but know someone who lives there. Either way, make use of your connections and try and get free accommodation for a few nights. As long as you trust the individual that you are asking to stay with, there is no harm in requesting if you can sleep on their sofa for a couple of nights. It may end up saving you a lot of money. 

Photo by Tim Samuel from Pexels

Adapt your travel style

If you are travelling to different countries, or even different areas of the same country, you will have to adapt your travel style to reflect how pricey the area is. You will find that in some places, such as capital cities, accommodation, food, and activities are more costly than in smaller towns and villages. Before heading to your next destination, do some research. If the area is costly, find free activities and consider staying in a hostel rather than a hotel. If the area you are heading to isn’t as pricey, don’t restrict yourself. Spend a little bit more money on accommodation or eating at a nice restaurant. Backpacking is all about balance. As long as you have enough money to get yourself safely from one location to another, it’s perfectly acceptable to use the rest of your money to treat yourself. 

Photo by Porapak Apichodilok from Pexels

Rely on Wi-Fi 

Some countries you visit will charge you for making calls and sending texts outside of the country. Don’t risk these charges and instead rely on Wi-Fi. Most areas you visit will have places that supply Wi-Fi, such as restaurants, cafes, and hotels. Use these services to stay in touch with friends and family. Wi-Fi is free, so don’t risk any additional charges by using your phones data. 

Photo by Uriel Mont from Pexels

Use WhatsApp

Texting and calling to a phone outside of the country you are in can incur additional charges. Rather than texting or calling, download WhatsApp on your phone and use it to stay in contact with friends and family. WhatsApp is a messaging platform that uses Wi-Fi to keep you connected. You can send messages, phots, videos, and even call other WhatsApp users completely free of charge. Make sure to download the app before you leave and encourage the people you want to stay in touch with to do the same. 

Photo by Alok Sharma from Pexels

Download Google Translate

As you are backpacking you will encounter an array of different languages. Although you may encounter people who speak the same language as yourself, you will have a much more authentic experience of the countries you are visiting if you interact with the locals, including speaking to them in their native language. Download Google Translate so that you can quickly and efficiently translate what people are saying, and form a cohesive response. Overtime you may find yourself picking up phrases and learning parts of the language. 

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Keep rechargeable batteries in the fridge

It may sound strange to keep batteries in the fridge, but it is incredibly effective. Most rechargeable batteries retain 90% of their full charge when they are kept in cooler temperatures. When you get back from a long day of sightseeing, put your batteries in the fridge overnight and by the time you go out the next day they will be ready to use again. 

Photo by PhotoMIX Company from Pexels

Never run out of clothing whilst you are backpacking. Laundryheap operates internationally, from the UK to the USA, Singapore to Bahrain, you can check if Laundrheap operates in your next backpacking destination by heading to the Laundryheap website or downloading the free Laundryheap app. 


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Top cycling routes in Amsterdam

Photo by Liam Gant from Pexels

There are 881,000 bikes in Amsterdam– more bikes than residents. Cycling is a great way to see the city, and these are the top 5 routes we recommend taking. 

  • Amstel River
  • Zuidoost
  • Haarlem
  • Waterland
  • Flowers of Amsterdam

Amstel River

The Amstel River, named after the 13th century fishing village Amstelredamme,  stretches for 31 kilometres. Cycling down the Amstel River will take you out of Amsterdam and through Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, Nes aan de Amstel, Uithoorn and Waver. Whilst you cycle, look out for the Riekermolen windmill. Built in 1636, it was used to drain the surrounding land, but now stands as a beautiful reminder of a bygone era. You will also pass Rembrandt Hoeve, a farm which specialises in making traditional Netherland clogs and gouda cheese.

Image by karinmuller66 from Pixabay

Zuidoost

When you think of Amsterdam, you picture canals, clogs, and tulips. Cycling through Zuidoost will give you the opportunity to experience a different side to the city. Amsterdam-Zuidoost and Bijlmermeer, simply known as Bijlmer, is home to 100,000 residents of more than 150 ethnic backgrounds, who have created a neighbourhood overflowing with art, culture, and entertainment. As you bike across the neighbourhood, observe the HCC building, a strikingly colourful building which is a living and working place for artists, the multitude of graffiti murals that cover walls across the neighbourhood, and the colourful houses which line the streets. If you get hungry on your travels, stop off at Foodhallen World of Food, where you will find street food from across the world- a true celebration of the different ethnicities that live and work in Bijlmer. 

Image by Henk-Jan van der Klis

Haarlem

Just outside of the urban streets of Amsterdam is the pastoral city of Haarlem. Built during the 10th century, Haarlem holds on to its medieval charm, and yet remains very modern with it’s thriving art scene. Whilst cycling through, make sure that you take a break to explore the city. Visit the Teylers Museum, home to fossils and minerals, as well as a collection of drawings and paintings. Grote Markt is the market square of Haarlem where you can buy a multitude of Netherland delicacies from vendors. Whilst in Grote Markt, don’t miss out on viewing Haarlem City Hall, one of the oldest City Hall’s in the Netherlands. 

Image by Bogdan Migulski

Waterland

The Waterland cycling route begins and ends at Amsterdam Centraal, Amsterdam’s largest train station. This is the perfect cycle route to take to see the traditional villages surrounding Amsterdam, and fall in love with the Netherlands countryside. As you cycle, you will pass a 16th century wooden house on the Buiksloterdijk, giving you a true sense of how the Netherlands was thousands of years ago. Another highlight of the route is the Krijtmolen d’Admiraal, an octagonal smock windmill built in 1792. This cycle route has beautiful landmarks to observe, whilst being incredibly peaceful. Perfect for a Sunday afternoon.

Image by Marcelmulder68

Flowers of Amsterdam

There can only be one flower you think of when you think about the Netherlands- tulips. In 1637, tulips were being sold for more than the price of a luxury Amsterdam home. The flower cycle route begins at the Bloemenmarkt, the world’s only floating flower market, and ends in Aalsmeer, near the largest flower auction in the world where 12 million flowers are sold every day. Along the way, you will have the opportunity to view some of the most beautiful flowers and plants of all time. It will truly be the most scenic bike ride of your life. 

Image by Ricardo Ramírez Gisbert

Whichever cycle route you choose to take, there is no doubt that you will be exhausted after it. Too exhausted to tackle your laundry. Luckily, we’re here to help. Book your Laundryheap order today and we will have your clothing picked up, laundered, and redelivered to you before you even have time to recover from your bike ride. We’ll even wash your biking gear for you. To book your Laundryheap order simply head to the Laundryheap website, or download the free Laundryheap app.


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Landmarks of Abu Dhabi

Photo by Kevin Villaruz from Pexels

Abu Dhabi is home to a culture crossover of modern and ancient landmarks. These are our top 10 must-see. 

  • Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque 
  • Etihad Towers 
  • Masdar City
  • Heritage Village
  • Al Ain Oasis
  • Jebel Hafit
  • Mamsha Al Khair 
  • Qasr Al Watan 
  • Qasr Al-Hosn
  • Sheikh Zayed Bridge

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque 

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is the crown jewel of Abu Dhabi. Named after the founding father of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the building is made from Macedonian marble which gives the structure a feeling of grandness. The Mosque can hold 40,000 worshippers, and is also home to the worlds largest crystal chandelier. 

Photo by Pavlo Luchkovski from Pexels

Etihad Towers  

Etihad Towers is a five-tower structure which offers areas to live, work, stay, shop, and dine. The dramatic structures include exclusive shopping at The Avenue, a five star hotel for guests to enjoy a luxury stay, and an observation deck with panoramic views of Abu Dhabi. If you’re looking for grandeur on your holiday, book yourself into the Etihad Towers and enjoy. 

Image by Dr. Norbert Heidenbluth

Masdar City 

Glimpse into the future at Masdar City, the centre of clean energy technology in Abu Dhabi. Visitors can enter the city completely free of charge, and ride into the centre in unmanned electric cars. Marvel at the architecture, made with renewable energy in mind, before relaxing with a coffee at one of the many coffee shops and restaurants within the city. This futuristic city proves that renewable energy is the future, and it proves to be an exciting experience for residents and tourists alike. 

Image by Sa7er90

Heritage Village 

Fully immerse yourself in Abu Dhabi’s past at the Heritage Village. Run by the Emirates Heritage Club, local artisans run regular public workshops which allow visitors to pick up local skills. Whilst exploring the village, enjoy traditional Abu Dhabi food, entertainment, and shop for beautiful, one-of-a-kind, handmade artefacts. If you want to get a true sense of Abu Dhabi, the Heritage Village should be on your holiday bucket list. 

Image by Banja-Frans Mulder

Al Ain Oasis 

Continuing with the exploration of Abu Dhabi’s past, Al Ain Oasis provides a unique insight into Abu Dhabi’s inhabitants that began taming the desert 4,000 years ago. Spread across 1,200 hectares, farmers tens to thousands of date palms, fodder crops, and fruit trees. Water to the oasis is supplied by wells and the ancient falaj system, that taps underground or mountain aquifers. Al Ain Oasis has been a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site list since 2011, but has only recently been opened to the public due to its educational Eco-Centre and shaded pathways.

Image by Allan Henderson

Jebel Hafit 

There is no better way to view Al Ain, Abu Dhabi’s lush garden city, than from the top of Jebel Hafit mountain. Reaching 1,249 meters into the sky, Jebel Hafit is Abu Dhabi’s highest peak, and the United Arab Emirates second highest. Formed from limestone, you can reach the mountains summit via car, motorbike, or bicycle. As you journey up the mountain, observe the weathered limestone which has held thousands of fossils over the years that have uncovered Abu Dhabi’s ancient history. After making it down from the mountain, head to the Desert Park to discover more about the archaeological remains that have been found. 

Image by Riyaz Ahamed

Mamsha Al Khair  

Mamsha Al Khair is an inspirational landmark of granite and limestone installations spread along the Abu Dhabi Corniche promenade. Each installation has inscriptions from globally renowned and inspirational leaders, both past and present, reflecting the United Arab Emirates ongoing commitment to a culture of generosity and giving. Visitors are encouraged to interact with the monuments, taking photos and videos with them, so that future generations can foster a legacy of generosity. 

Image by FritzDaCat

Qasr Al Watan 

Qasr Al Watan is a grand Presidential palace, which proudly displays the rich legacy of knowledge and tradition that has shaped the United Arab Emirates. As you wander the rooms and halls of Qasr Al Watan you will discover the history of the United Arab Emirates, from the country’s formation, to it’s governing traditions and values. One of the palaces most impressive attractions is the Palace in Motion event, a mesmerising light and sound show that celebrates the UAE’s journey. For a cultural experience that mixes art with history, head to Qasr Al Watan. 

Image by Xavier Cartron

Qasr Al-Hosn

Built as a protective watchtower in 1761, before becoming home to the royal family of the United Arab Emirates, Qasr Al-Hosn is a must see landmark. Made from stone, it is one of Abu Dhabi’s oldest stone buildings and is mesmerising to look at. The museum within the watchtowers grounds takes you on the journey of how the land around Abu Dhabi has changed over the years, giving you a feeling of connection to the land. 

Image by Peturrunar

Sheikh Zayed Bridge

The Sheikh Zayed Bridge is said to be the most complex bridge ever built. Designed by architect Dame Zaha Hadid, the bridge is made from curved arches, which mimic sand dunes, a dynamic lighting design, and road decks which suspend from symmetrical steel arches. The bridge stands 64-metres-high and connects Abu Dhabi with the Saadiyat islands across the Maqta Channel. Despite being an everyday bridge, it’s construction is far from everyday, and definitely an Abu Dhabi landmark worth looking out for. 

Image by Alvis Pulvinar

Whilst you explore the landmarks of Abu Dhabi, we will explore your laundry pile. Book your Laundryheap dry cleaning service today by heading to the Laundryheap website or downloading the free Laundryheap app. 


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Packing hacks

Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

Packing to go on holiday can be stressful. There never seems to be enough room in your suitcase, clothing gets creased, and something always seems to spill. Try these packing hacks to avoid any further packing disasters. 

  • Take a large carry-on
  • Be sensible with your carry-on
  • Know what you’re taking
  • Take versatile clothing
  • Roll don’t fold
  • Pack shoes first
  • Utilise shoe space
  • Invest in liquid bottles
  • Ziplock bags
  • Dryer sheets in your case

Take a large carry-on 

Your carry-on is the perfect place to store any overspill from your suitcase. It’s always best to check with your airline prior to packing, however, the average size of a carry-on is 22”-14”-9”. It’s best to take the biggest carry-on you can, not just for extra clothing and holiday essentials, but for any gifts you may buy on your travels. 

Image by ivabalk from Pixabay

Be sensible with your carry-on

Not only should you be using the biggest carry-on you are allowed, but you should be using that space wisely. Your carry-on should be used as an emergency bag in case your suitcase gets lost. Make sure that you pack some clothing, essential toiletries, and any items you may need for the first 24-48 hours of your holiday. It’s terrible to think about your luggage going missing, but it’s best to be prepared. 

Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

Know what you’re taking

No matter how long you are away, it’s always best to pre-plan your outfits. This will help you to limit the amount of unnecessary clothing you pack and leave you more space for toiletries and other essentials. Make sure that you pack enough outfits to last your whole trip, but be mindful of the amount of space you have in your suitcase and carry-on.

Photo by Liza Summer from Pexels

Take versatile clothing

One of the best ways to save space when packing for a holiday is to take versatile clothing. Try and take items that can be worn every day and that can be easily transferred from day to night. Think of ways you can use accessories and shoes to dress up or dress down an outfit. 

Photo by Asad Photo Maldives from Pexels

Roll don’t fold 

Although it may feel natural to fold, always roll. Rolling your clothing will conserve precious space in your suitcase and also limit creases in your garments. You can roll items individually, or roll your outfits for each day together, it’s completely up to you, just avoid folding at all costs. 

Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

Pack shoes first 

Shoes are the most awkward item to pack. They are an awkward shape that never seem to fit properly in your suitcase, and they usually end up bent and creased. It’s best practice to pack your shoes first for two reasons. Firstly, if you have any dirt or debris on the bottom of your shoes it won’t be transferred onto your clothing. Secondly, you can fit your more pliable items, such as clothing, around your shoes, utilising the little space you have. 

Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

Utilise shoe space 

As we’ve established, shoes are an awkward shape, which means they also take up quite a lot of space. Use your shoes as extra storage for smaller items. Underwear, toiletries, and accessories are all items small enough to fit inside your shoes rather than letting them take up valuable bag space. Just make sure you spray your shoes before inserting anything into them to avoid your underwear smelling of feet. 

Photo by Lum3n from Pexels

Invest in travel bottles 

If you are storing your liquids in your carry on you will have to adhere to the 100ml’s limit per item. To help you stick to this limit, invest in travel bottles- small bottles that hold no more than 100 ml’s. You can pour your toiletries into each bottle and shake off the worry of carrying more liquid than you are allowed. What’s more, these bottles are reusable so you will have them on-hand for your next holiday.

Ziploc bags 

It can be incredibly annoying when you open your case to find the perfect accessory to finish your outfit, and you just can’t seem to find it. Never lose your accessories, and smaller items, on holiday again by storing them in a Ziploc bag. You can even store your Ziploc in one of your shoes

Image by SonnyandSandy

Dryer sheets in your case 

Keep your suitcase and its contents smelling fresh by placing a handful of dryer sheets throughout your case. They will absorb any musty smells, and ensure that you get fresh smelling clothes every day of your holiday. 

Image by trenttsd

If you run out of clothing during your holiday, don’t panic. We work internationally to ensure that our customers can have fresh and clean clothing wherever they are. To check that we service your area, and to book your Laundryheap order, simply head to the Laundryheap website or download the free Laundryheap app.


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Copenhagen must-see sights

Image by City Clock Magazine

When you are visiting a country for only a small amount of time, it can be hard to prioritse what you should see and what you can miss. If you are visiting Copenhagen, these are the sites you should not be missing out on. 

  • Tivoli Gardens 
  • Christiansborg Palace
  • Nyhavn Harbour
  • The Round Tower
  • The Little Mermaid
  • Torvehallerne Food Market
  • Frederik’s Church
  • Rosenborg Castle 
  • The Wooden Skyscraper 
  • Bakken 

Tivoli Gardens

The magic of Tivoli Gardens is a Copenhagen site that you would be devastated to miss. Since its opening in 1843, Tivoli Gardens has been delighting visitors of all ages with its beautiful architecture, lush gardens, and, at night, twinkling lights that add to the fairy tale atmosphere. Walt Disney himself even visited Tivoli Gardens and said that it was his inspiration for Disney World. Whether you are a thrill-seeker looking to ride the rollercoasters, or you’re more interested in taking in the beautiful architecture and gardens, there is something to please everyone at Tivoli Gardens. 

Image by Charlie

Christiansborg Palace

If you want to experience 800 years of history in one day then head to Christiansborg Palace. Although most of the palace is open for visitors to tour, it is still home to the Danish parliament, the Prime Ministers office, and the Supreme Court, and some rooms are still occupied by the Royal Family. With every ticket for the Royal Reception Rooms, you will be given a free guided tour of the palace. Even if you don’t want to explore the inside, the outside of the palace is just as beautiful. 

Image by Jorge Franganillo

Nyhavn Harbour

Nyhavn was once a busy commercial port where ships from across the world would dock. Today, you can find hoards of people relaxing, drinking, and enjoying jazz music in restaurants that line the port. The old houses of Nyhavn, some of which fairy tale writer Hans Christian Anderson occupied, have been renovated and in their place stand brightly coloured homes that paint the perfect picture of happiness. If you’re looking for somewhere to drink, eat good food, and enjoy a relaxing day, then look no further than Nyhavn Harbour.

Image by E_Scott from Pixabay

The Round Tower

Built in 1642, The Round Tower is a 36-meter-high building that offers incredible views of the Old Town of Copenhagen. The tower was built by Christian IV in a time when Denmark was renowned for its astronomical achievements, thanks to Tycho Brahe. When Brahe died, Christian IV built The Round Tower to encourage astronomers to carry on Brahe’s work. Today, it is still used by amateur astronomers, but is used more to get panoramic views of the Old Town. Be warned, to get to the viewing platform you must walk up a spiral staircase, but, if the staircases hasn’t already, the view at the top will take your breath away. 

Image by Maria Eklind

The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid has become an iconic landmark in Copenhagen. Based off of the Hans Christian Anderson tale of the same name, the statue sits by the waterside at the Langelinie promenade, and depicts a human turning into a mermaid. It was commissioned in 1909 by Carl Jacobsen, who had become fascinated by a ballet based on the tale. Edvard Eriksen sculpted the piece, and the grand unveiling took place in August 1913. It has since become a symbol for Copenhagen in the same way at the Statue of Liberty has for New York, and tourists flock to the statute to take pictures. You may be waiting a while to see the mermaid, but you wouldn’t want to miss it. 

Photo by C1superstar from Pexels

Torvehallerne Food Market

Conveniently situated close to Nørreport Station, Torvehallerne Food Market is one of Copenhagen’s most popular markets. With more than 80 shops to browse, you can find everything from traditional Danish food to local vegetables and fresh fish. It’s the perfect place to stroll around at your leisure, try some samples, and enjoy what produce Copenhagen has to offer. 

Image by Heather Cowper

Frederik’s Church

Nicknamed The Marble Church, Frederik’s Church is one of the most impressive buildings in Copenhagen. Located in Frederiksstaden, the foundation stone of the church was laid in 1749, but the project was not completed until 1894. The building itself is incredibly striking, with a copper green dome that juxtaposes the delicate white marble beautifully. Inside the church is equally as delightful, so it is no surprise that couples are desperate to get married here. The church room is open to the public, as is the dome which offers draw-dropping views of Copenhagen. 

Image by Tony Webster

Rosenborg Castle 

Built as a country summer house by Christian IV 400 years ago, Rosenborg Castle offers visitors the chance to travel back in time and explore the grandeur of Christian IV life. After exploring the pomp and pageantry of the castle, visitors can roam the Kongens Have (the Kings Garden), the oldest royal garden in Denmark. Estimated to attract 2.5 million visitors every year, these gardens are a popular retreat for tourists and locals alike. Sit on the lush green grass, wander the paths, and feel like a true royal for the day.

Image by Steve Barker from Pixabay

The Wooden Skyscraper 

An hour south of Copenhagen, standing in the Gisselfeld Klosters Forest, you will find Denmark’s Wooden Skyscraper. What appears to be a structure right out of a Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale, is a 45 meter tall observation tower, completed with a spiralling walkway for easy access. Made from weathered steel and local oak, the structure blends seamlessly into the surrounding forest environment. Once you reach the top, you will be treated to views of rolling hills, lakes, and, on a clear day, Copenhagen. Although you have to travel an hour outside of the city to reach the structure, the spectacular view, both on the way up and from the top, is worth it.

Image by Stig Nygaard

Bakken 

Located in the woods of Dyrehaven you will find Bakken, the oldest amusement park in the world. Founded in 1853, Bakken has been delighting visitors of all ages for centuries. Whether you are a thrill seeker looking to ride rollercoasters, or you want to stroll around the independent stalls, there is something for everyone. Whilst visiting, look out for Pjerrot, the white-faced clown who has been delighting visitors since the parks opening. 

Image by J M Rice

With so many amazing sights in Copenhagen, the last sight you want to see is your laundry pile. Luckily, we can take care of that for you. Simply head to the Laundryheap website, or download the free Laundryheap app, to make your booking today.