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Best Dubai souvenirs

It’s always nice to get a souvenir from your holiday to remind you of where you have been. These are the best souvenirs to get from Dubai. 

  • Camel milk chocolate
  • Oudh and Bakhoor
  • Attar
  • Pashmina 
  • Gold jewellery
  • Arabic coffee and coffee pot 
  • Lucky stones 
  • Dubai spices 
  • Traditional shoes
  • Persian rug

Camel milk chocolate 

Camel milk chocolate is not a life-time souvenir but more a tasty reminder of your time away. It is manufactured solely in Dubai by Al Nassma and comes in only five flavours- whole milk, 70% cocoa, dates, macadamia, and spiced. These chocolate bars are famous for their enticing taste and can be found at Al Nassma kiosks, duty-free shops, and the Camelicious Camel farm. For an added treat, buy the camel shaped chocolates rather than a standard bar. 

Oudh and Bakhoor

Whilst you are walking around Dubai, you may notice a distinct smell. That will be either oudh or bakhoor. Oudh is a traditional and expensive oil that comes from agar wood resin. Bakhoor is the term for agar wood chips that are burnt to produce a similar smell to oudh. 

Both oudh and bakhoor can be bought as souvenirs, however, oudh is much more expensive than bakhoor as it comes in an oil form, and can be mixed with floral oils to produce a stronger smell. 

Whether you choose oudh or bakhoor both allow you to bring home the smell of Dubai

Image by lovelyploi from Pixabay

Attar

Sticking with scent-derived souvenirs, attar is the name given to essential oils that are derived from plants. These oils are widely used by men and women in Dubai as perfumes. There are a variety of scents that you can choose from, and if you can’t decide the vendors at the Perfume Souk in Deira will be more than happy to help you choose one. 

If you are looking for a more distinct and original scent than you can make your own fragrance. Simply inform the vendor of what fragrances you would like to combine and they will make it for you. 

Prices for attar start at AED90 

Pashmina 

If you are looking for a slightly more luxurious souvenir than get yourself a pashmina. A pashmina is a traditional South Asian shawl that is made from cashmere. The starting price of an authentic pashmina is AED250. 

If you would like a pashmina but don’t want to pay the high price for it, there are plenty of vendors who sell inauthentic pashmina’s. These will be made from viscose or silk and will be priced around AED30. 

To test whether your pashmina is authentic or not try pulling the whole shawl through a ring. If it is authentic, the silkiness of the cashmere mixed with 30% silk should allow it to pass through the ring easily. If your pashmina does not pass through easily it is likely that it is not authentic. 

Gold jewellery 

Dubai is the perfect place to buy yourself some gold jewellery as it is a lot less expensive than in many other countries. Whether you are looking for a pair of earrings, a necklace, or a ring, the best place to buy your gold souvenir is the Dubai Gold Souk. The average price of gold begins at around AED110 per gram, however, don’t forget that you can often haggle vendors for a better price. 

Arabic coffee and coffee pot

Coffee farming is a long tradition in the Middle East. Arabic coffee has a very distinct, often bitter, taste that is not to every coffee drinker’s liking. That being said, if you do enjoy an Arabic coffee then do not miss out on the opportunity to take some home from your trip to Dubai. To complete your Arabic coffee experience buy yourself a traditional Arabic ‘dallah’ coffee pot. Often these pots will be exquisitely decorated so can be used for coffee purposes or simply as a design feature. 

Lucky stones 

Lucky stones are based on your birth month and are said to bring good luck. They can usually be found set in gold or silver rings and pendants that are to be worn to receive the gift of luck. All lucky stones can be customised to fit your taste and make great souvenirs for those in need of a bit of luck.

 Dubai spices 

If you visit the Spice Souk you can take home the taste of Dubai. At the Souk you will find an array of spices, including those that you can not find anywhere outside of the Spice Souk. If you like aromatic food, then you simply must purchase some Dubai spices. 

Be warned that as pleasant as these spices make your food, they can also make your luggage smell and prove difficult to get through customs. Make sure that you have securely wrapped them in your suitcase before heading to the airport. 

Traditional shoes

Traditional Arabic shoes are beautiful and said to be incredibly comfortable. They can be bought for men, women, and children, and come in an array of colours and with beautiful embellishments. Buying a pair of traditional Arabic shoes as a souvenir will serve as a reminder every time you wear them of your time in Dubai as you will not be able to buy an authentic pair outside of the UAE. 

The average price for these shoes is between AED50- AED100.

Persian rug 

A Persian rug is definitely an investment souvenir as, authentic, Persian rugs are expensive. For the best variety of styles head to the National Iranian Carpets or Persian Carpet House. If you have your heart set on a Persian rug, but can’t find one that suits your taste, then you can have one specially designed and made. 

When it comes to Persian rugs remember that you need to check their authenticity before purchasing, and you need to get it on the plane somehow. 

You look after the souvenirs whilst we look after your laundry. To book your UAE laundry service head to the Laundryheap website or download the free Laundryheap app. 


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What to pack in your travel backpack

Whether you’re backpacking across the world or going on a hiking holiday, these are your backpacking essentials. 

  • Essential documents 
  • Money
  • Chargers
  • Shoes for all occasions 
  • Plenty of underwear
  • Suitable clothing
  • Medicine
  • Essential toiletries 
  • Backpack rain cover 
  • Reading material

Essential documents

The most important thing to make sure you pack is your essential documents. This includes your passport, visas, transport tickets, and any other documents that will allow you to freely travel. Without these documents, you will not be able to travel so you must make sure that you have them with you at all times. 

Money

Asides from your essential documents, the most important thing to pack in your travel backpack is money. You must make sure that you have enough money for the whole of your trip. If you are travelling to numerous countries with different currencies, you must make sure that you have a suitable amount of money in each currency you will be using. It’s always best to take extra money with you when you’re travelling just in case you run out before the end of your trip.

Chargers 

Firstly, decide what electrical items you want to take with you. Whilst making your decision, think about the space that you will have in your backpack, how heavy your appliances are, and whether you will have access to charging ports. Once you have decided on your electrical items make sure that you pack your chargers. For backpacking, it’s always best to take portable chargers so that you can charge on the go.

Shoes for all occasions 

There is limited space in a travel backpack, however, you must make sure that you pack shoes for all occasions. If you are planning on going on long walks or hikes make sure that you pack hiking boots. A comfortable pair of trainers is always essential whenever you go travelling. If you are staying in a hostel during your travels make sure that you pack a pair of flip flops for the showers. 

Plenty of underwear

Whilst you’re travelling you may not always be able to find facilities to wash your clothes. This is why you must make sure to pack plenty of underwear. In addition to this, you may want to pack extra socks for when you’re walking as hiking boots tend to rub the heels of your feet. The more underwear you have the more prepared you will be for any situation. 

Suitable clothing 

Think about where it is you are travelling to and how active you are going to be. Use this as a guide to help you choose what clothing you are going to pack. If you are going to a warm destination you want to choose lighter materials. If you are going to a cold destination you may want to pack thermals. Regardless of where you are going make sure that you pack comfortably and practically. It’s always best to pack at least one waterproof jacket. 

Medicine 

If you suffer from allergies or need to take medication on a regular basis, make sure that you pack it. Ideally, you want any medication to be near the top of your bag so that it is easily accessible. Asides from medication that you take on a regular basis, make sure that you pack some basic medical essentials. Paracetamol, ibuprofen, plasters, sun cream, bug spray, etc. You want to make sure that you are equipped for any low-level injuries that you may face whilst on your travels. 

Photo by Senior Airman Kirby Turbak

Essential toiletries 

As previously mentioned, you do not have a lot of room in your travel backpack, so you need to bring essential toiletries only with you. Essential toiletries include toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, lip balm, and any contact lens solution you may need should you wear contacts. You may also want to take skincare products, however, these are not a priority and should be taken out if there is not enough room. You should store your essential toiletries at the top of your bag with your medicine as you never know when you may want to quickly freshen up. 

Backpack rain cover

Your travel backpack will store all of your belongings for the duration of your travels. It will be the most important item on your trip. This is why it is essential that you invest in a backpack rain cover. You don’t want to get stuck in the rain with your backpack and risk getting your belongings wet, and potentially destroyed. A backpack rain cover will protect your backpack, and all of your belongings, from the rain, ensuring a safe and dry journey. 

Reading material 

When your travelling you need to conserve the battery on your devices, such as your phone, as you won’t always have access to charging portals. This means that when you aren’t exploring, you will have to find other ways to entertain yourself. Take some reading material on your travels as a way to entertain yourself. You could even take books on your destination(s) so that you can do some pre-reading on where you are going. Make sure that you don’t pack too many books though as you don’t want to make your bag too heavy. 

woman, reading, book

Laundryheap is available in several countries across the world, including Bahrain, Singapore, and Kuwait. If you are looking to get your laundry done whilst on your travels, head to the Laundryheap website or download the free Laundryheap app to book your service. 


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How to make the most of a short holiday

Image by nile from Pixabay

When your holiday only lasts for a long weekend, or a few short days, it can seem like there isn’t enough time to get much done. That is not true. This is how to make the most of a short holiday.

  • Be prepared 
  • Unplug
  • Consider your hotel location
  • Prioritize 
  • Hire a guide
  • Try something new
  • Wake up early
  • Live like a local
  •  Be aware of time zones 
  • Give yourself time to relax

Be prepared

The key to any successful holiday is being prepared, but when you know you have a limited amount of time the need to prepare is heightened. To adequately prepare for your holiday, you first need to establish what type of holiday you want. Do you simply want to relax by the pool or on the beach? Or are you looking for more of an adventure, exploring a new city or town? After you’ve established the holiday you want, you can start researching what is available for you to do- guided tours, activities, restaurants in the local area, etc. Once you’ve done your research, set a loose itinerary for your holiday. You don’t want to put yourself under pressure by scheduling in too much in a small amount of time, but creating a loose itinerary as a guide will ensure that you see and experience all of your bucket-list things. 

Image by Marco Verch Professional Photographer and Speaker

Unplug

Holidays are all about escaping from your everyday reality. When on a short holiday, it’s best to soak up every moment of not being in your everyday surroundings. The best way to do this is to completely unplug. Keep your phone available and fully-charged just in case of an emergency, but don’t constantly be checking it. Leave the technology behind, and embrace the feeling of being outside of your normal routine. Before you know it, you’ll be back at work, so you need to enjoy your well-deserved time-off whilst you can. 

Consider your hotel location

Short holidays mean less time to explore, however that doesn’t mean that you need to miss out on the excitement of exploring a new place. When booking your hotel, look at what is in the immediate surrounding area and what is close by. Choose hotels close to the city or beach, depending on your holiday preference. Make sure that there are good transport links if you want to go on a day-trip further afield. Check the local bars and restaurants in the area. Make sure that you pick a hotel that will allow you to do everything you want to do in the time frame you have. 

Prioritise 

If you like adventurous holidays then there is probably a long list of things that you would like to achieve whilst away. That being said, on short holiday’s you won’t have the time to experience everything. Make a bucket-list of the top 5 or 10 things you want to see and/or do whilst your on holiday and prioritise your top 3. Doing this will ensure that, even though you may not see everything you want to see on your holiday, you will at least see the most important things you wanted to. 

Hire a guide

The best way to see a location in a short period of time is by taking a guided tour. Guided tours will take you around a city or a certain area of a country, and explain the history and cultural significance of it. Whether it’s an open-top bus tour or a walking tour, investing in a guide is a great way to see the highlights of a place in a short amount of time. 

Image by Andrew Bowden

Try something new

Part of the thrill of going on holiday is experiencing something new. Whether that is a new country, a new destination, or even a new way of living. Whilst on your short holiday, push yourself to try a new experience. It could be anything from a new cuisine, to just talking to a new person. Being on holiday is the perfect opportunity to explore new experiences you would never try in your everyday life, no matter how long your holiday is. 

Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

Wake up early

If you have a long list of experiences that you want to try whilst on your short holiday, it’s best to wake up early. Some people enjoy relaxing and not having to set an alarm whilst on holiday, however, if you know that there’s a lot you want to achieve, it’s best to start your day early. Don’t force yourself to wake up early every day though, remember that you are also on holiday to relax. 

An alarm clock showing the time set at nine o’clock in the morning (09:00 / 9AM)

Live like a local 

If you’re holidaying in a country you have never explored before it can be exciting to spend your time living like a local. Before heading on your holiday, do some research into bars, restaurants, and general places where locals will go. When on your holiday, engage a local in general conversation and show a willingness to get to know about their culture and way of life. You will get a much more authentic experience out of a country if you spend, even a day, living like a local. 

Image by
Marco Verch Professional Photographer and Speaker

Be aware of time zones 

When travelling outside of your home country it’s best to remember if there is a time difference. Depending on where you are travelling to and from in the world could depend on whether you get an extra few hours on holiday or not. If you are aware of the time zones you are travelling to and from prior to your trip, you can easily plan around it. 

Image by Janiere Fernandez from Pexels

Give yourself time to relax

The most important thing to remember when going on holiday, no matter its length, is to relax. You are going on holiday to escape your normal life, have a new experience, and unwind. Remember to enjoy your time off and not stress yourself out if you don’t see or do everything you wanted to. 

Don’t worry about the post-holiday washing, leave it to us to pick-up, dry clean, iron, and re-deliver to you. You can even pre-book your laundry pick-up up to two weeks in advance. Simply head to the Laundryheap website or download the free Laundryheap app. 


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Top day trips just outside of Amsterdam

When you’re on holiday, sometimes it’s nice to explore areas outside of the city centre. Here are the top 10 day trips to enjoy just outside of Amsterdam

  • Keukenhof Tulip Garden
  • Rotterdam
  • The Hague 
  • Giethoorn 
  • Batavia Stad
  • Gouda
  • Delft
  • Kinderdijk
  • Muiderslot Castle
  • Efteling

Keukenhof Tulip Garden

The Keukenhof Tulip Garden is one of the most iconic landscapes in the Netherlands. It is the world’s largest flower garden, home to 7 million flowers including daffodils, orchids, roses, and the Netherlands famous tulips. Take in the spectacle of fragrance and colour as you wander through gardens and pavilions, observing a multitude of flowers.  

The fastest way to reach the Keukenhof Tulip Garden from Amsterdam is to take the train to Haarlem and then get the Keukenhof Express bus to the Tulip Garden. 

Rotterdam

If you enjoy city holidays, then why not explore the Netherlands second-biggest city Rotterdam? If you are taking a day-trip to Rotterdam, take in the whole city by travelling 185 meters up the Euromast. Your journey will be taken in a rotating glass elevator so even as you travel you can observe the beauty of the city. Once you have reached the top, take in the stunning cityscape. When you’re feet touch solid ground again, take a stroll down the Maas river and explore the abundance of cafes and restaurants there are on offer. 

There are direct trains running from Amsterdam to Rotterdam so travel is no issue. 

Image by Guilhem Vellut

The Hague

The Hague is the International City of Peace and Justice. Not only is it home to the United Nations International Court of Justice and Peace Palace, but it is also home to the Dutch government and the Dutch royal family. Whilst exploring The Hague, don’t forget to visit The Mauritshuis. Featuring masterpieces by groundbreaking artists, such as Andy Warhol, Rembrandt and Vermeer, it is a must-see.

Direct trains run from Amsterdam Central to Hague central.

Giethoorn 

Giethoorn is a hidden gem. It is a classic Netherlands village, built on a complex series of canals that are best explored by Gondola. Once you’ve explored the village by boat, explore it by foot. Giethoorn is a picturesque village in every way. From its abundance of flowers to the perfectly restored farmhouses, Giethoorn is the perfect place to escape from the hustle and bustle of central Amsterdam and enjoy some country living. 

From Amsterdam Central station, take a train to Steenwijk. There are direct trains available but if you find a connecting train via Zwolle, that will also get you to Giethoorn. 

SONY DSC

Batavia Stad

If you area lover of shopping then you must visit Batavia Stad- the Netherlands leading outlet shopping mall. Explore 250 brands across 150 stores before enjoying a meal at one of the many cafes and restaurants that can be found throughout the outlet. There is something for everyone at Batavia Stad, but be aware that it is best to visit the outlet on a clear day as it is open air. 

Batavia Stad is just outside Amsterdam city centre and there is a free shuttle bus that can take you straight to the outlet.

Gouda

If you love cheese then visit Gouda. In Market Square every Thursday Gouda hosts the Gouda Cheese Market where you can truly step back in time. Observe as cheese wheels are carried around by sellers in traditional costumes and sold on the market stalls. Once you have travelled around the market, don’t miss out on the opportunity to explore the rest of the historical town. There are several buildings, dating back to the 13th century, that perfectly preserves the history of the Netherlands. The Gouda Stadhuis, for example, was constructed back in 1448 and is a prime example of perfectly preserved gothic architecture.

There are direct trains available from Amsterdam Central to Gouda. 

Image by bertknot

Delft

The old Netherlands town of Delft will provide you with the perfect opportunity to relax away from the city. Best known for it’s Delft Blue pottery, this old Holland town is complete with beautiful canals that can be explored by walking over classic humped bridges. If you want to see the whole of the town, climb up to the top of the New Church and take in the picturesque town in all of its glory. 

There are direct trains from Amsterdam to Delft. 

Kinderdijk

The Netherlands is well known for its iconic windmills. If you want to see those windmills in action then visit Kinderdijk. At Kinderdijk you will find historic windmills that date back to the 16th and 18th centuries. You won’t only find picture-perfect scenery at Kinderdijk, but you will find a rich history that is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you’re interested in the history of the Netherlands, you won’t want to miss Kinderdijk. 

The easiest way to reach Kinderdijk is by car, however there are organised tours that will take you to the historical site. 

Image by kkmarais

Muiderslot Castle

Dating back to the 12th Century, and complete with a moat, Muiderslot Castle is the perfect day out for families. This is not simply an opportunity to stroll around an ancient castle, this is an opportunity to learn about the history of the Netherlands in an interactive way. As you travel around the castle there are interactive games to play, dress-up opportunities, and even falcon displays on Saturdays. Once you have fully explored the castle, take in the beautiful gardens that you are free to wander at your leisure. What is more, if you have an iAmsterdam City card you can get in for free. 

If you are feeling adventurous, take a bike ride from Amsterdam to Muiderslot Castle. Otherwise, you can drive via car or take the train. 

Image by pautrecht from Pixabay

Efteling

Efteling is an amusement park like no other. It is the largest theme park in the Netherlands and one of the oldest theme parks in the world. Each attraction found at the park reflects elements from ancient myths and legends, fairy tales, fables, and folklore. 15 million people visit the park each year and enjoy not only the park but the four-star Efteling Hotel and 18-hole golf course. 

The best option for travelling to Efteling is by bus. 

If you are living in Amsterdam, or even just enjoying a shot stay, book your Laundryheap service by visiting the Laundryheap website or by downloading the free Laundryheap app. 


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Visiting Dubai: The Do’s and Do Not’s

Dubai is a city known for being technologically and architecturally advanced, yet it is incredibly traditional and religious. That is why we have made this guide of Do’s and Do Not’s for your visit to Dubai.

Do

  • Dress respectfully 
  • Take taxis
  • Drink tap water 
  • Leave the city 
  • See the Burj Khalifa

Dress respectfully

Dubai is a traditional Islamic city so dressing conservatively is highly advised. It’s suggested that women wear loose-fitting dresses and skirts, and men trousers and jeans coupled with long sleeve tops. However, just because you have to dress conservatively, it doesn’t mean you can’t dress fashionably. Dubai is one of the capital cities of fashion, where men and women alike love to experiment with colours, fabrics, and patterns. So, be fashion-forward with your conservative attire. 

Take taxis 

Taxi services in Dubai are reasonably priced and a great way to escape the heat and travel around the city. Additionally, if you are planning a wild Dubai night out, it’s best to plan to get to the club via taxi. It’s an offence in Dubai to be seen on the street intoxicated and could lead to a fine or even a month in prison. Better to be safe and book your taxi to and from the club than risk a prison sentence. 

Image by Fabio Achilli

Drink tap water 

Despite popular debate, it is safe to drink tap water in Dubai, so give it a taste. If you are still dubious, there are hotels that will import bottled water from Europe, however, due to the lack of environmental sustainability importation promotes, drinking imported water should be avoided. Instead, ask for locally sourced bottled water to avoid the harm to the environment and avoid the tap. 

Leave the city 

Dubai is a beautiful cosmopolitan city, but there is a lot to explore just outside the city walls. Take a trip to the desert one day and experience life beyond the city of Dubai. Desert safari experiences can be bought at a range of prices, and often involve a camel ride. Go wild for a day and return to the civilisation of the city later on. 

Image by alfonso venzuela

See the Burj Khalifa 

No Dubai trip is complete without seeing the Burj Kalifa. Standing 829 meters tall, the Burj Kalifa is the tallest building in the world and an architectural sight to behold. You can pay to see Dubai from the buildings viewing platform 555 meters up, or be shadowed by the building as you observe it, for free, from below. Either way, your trip to Dubai will not be complete without visiting this spectacular structure. 

Don’t

  • Wear swimwear away from the water
  • Take photos of government buildings 
  • Eat or drink in public during Ramadan 
  • Engage in PDA
  • Make big plans on a Friday

Wear swimwear away from the water 

As previously discussed, Dubai has a conservative dress code; this code also applies to swimwear. When at the beach or a pool it is completely acceptable to wear any form of swimwear that you desire. However, as soon as you step out of the water, you must be conscious of your clothing and consider throwing on a dress or shirt over your swimwear. 

Image by Sakena

Take photos of government buildings

Regardless of where you go on holiday you always want to take a few snaps for the memories. Dubai is home to some of the most extraordinary modern-day buildings that, undoubtedly, need to be caught on camera. This being said, be mindful not to capture any government buildings as, for security reasons, this is strictly prohibited.  

Image by Michael Theis

Eat or drink in public during Ramadan 

During the 9th month of the Islamic calendar, Muslims will take part in Ramadan where they will fast during daylight hours. If you are visiting Dubai during Ramadan the locals won’t expect you to take part in the festival, however, you must be respectful towards those who are. If you want to eat and drink during daylight hours there are a handful of cafes and restaurants that stay open, however, you’re options will be limited. Alternatively, you can eat and drink in your room until the sun goes down. 

Image by George Shahda

Engage in PDA 

Public Displays of Affection (PDA) are a strong offense in Dubai. Everything from a kiss on the cheek to hugging in public is considered indecent. At a push, a married couple may hold hands, but even that is pushing the boundaries of acceptability. To avoid causing offense, it’s best to save showering your other half in affection until you return to your hotel room.  

Make big plans on a Friday 

Friday is considered a holy day in Dubai and is therefore not for working. Don’t worry, the whole city doesn’t grind to a halt, but you should expect there to be a limited number of amenities open. Bear this in mind when planning your Dubai trip and consider having a beach day on Friday. 

Image by Dr. Norbert Heidenbluth

Whatever you’re plans are in Dubai, do make sure that you use Laundryheap for all your holiday laundering needs and do not miss out on the opportunity to enjoy your trip in the freshest smelling clothes. 


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Challenges Of Travelling Solo

Solo travelling can be an experience like no other! With no friends or family with you, it can be easy to begin daydreaming about sleeping in with no judgement or stuffing our faces day after day, guilt-free. 

Travelling solo can indeed produce a wealth of excitement and adventure. It is also true that it brings with it some real struggles. One day your drinking at a hostel bar with new your new fascinating international friends, the next you might find yourself alone and lost in one of the less friendly neighbourhoods in town. If you are thinking of giving solo travelling a try, then make sure know what you are getting yourself into. 

  • Breaking the news to friends and family that you will be solo travelling
  • Having to make new friends 
  • Bringing your bag with you EVERYWHERE
  • Not speaking to anyone for a whole day (or more)
  • Relying on selfies
  • No one to split the bill with 
  • Getting lost on your own
  • Feeling sick with no one to look after you
  • Having no one to share your experiences with 

Breaking the news to friends and family that you will be solo travelling

This is something anyone who has considered travelling solo will understand. Before your dream is even close to becoming a reality, expect your parents to ask you thousands of time: “Why would you want to travel ALONE?!”. The same applies to close friends who might take offence to you wanting to travel on your own instead of with them. 

Getting questioned by your friends and family is always the first struggle solo travellers face themselves with. Some will question your motives for travelling solo, some your capacity to make friends and others might question your ability to survive on your own! Nearly 100% of the people bombarding you with such questions would have never been solo travelling themselves. They might not understand the numerous reasons there are for wanting to see the world on your own. Don’t let these initial reactions from people put you off of your dream. 

Having to make new friends 

The fear of not making new friends when travelling alone is probably number one on most peoples list of worries about travelling solo. Images flash through our minds of us sitting alone at a hostel bar, no one wanting to talk to us, checking our phones habitually for any human contact we can find.  

This reality can be especially true for those of us who are more introverted and don’t make friends as easily as others. It might be that you are surrounded by more brash extroverts who prevent you from getting a word in or just that you find it hard to build enough courage to start a conversation with someone. Thankfully, there are some suggestions to combat this struggle. You can always book day trips where you find plenty of like-minded solo travellers also looking for friends. Better yet, you could use this opportunity as a chance to grow your social skills and push you out of your comfort zone. 

Bringing your bag with you EVERYWHERE

Picture this, you have just arrived at your destination after 8 excruciating hours on a bus with no toilet on board. In a desperate hurry, you grab your bags and head full steam ahead for the bathroom. Just as you enter the door of the bathroom, you realise no one is with you to look after your bag, meaning you have to stuff yourself and your two oversized bags into the cubicle with you. 

This situation isn’t unique to bus stations, though. Want to go to the toilet in Mac Donald’s? Better bring your bag. Want to check out that beautiful view at the top of the hill? Be sure to take your bag. With no one around to watch out for your stuff, you have to be extra vigilant and ensure you bring your luggage with you EVERYWHERE when travelling from one spot to another. 

Not speaking to anyone for a whole day (or more)

The thought of spending some time alone could seem appealing to some people thinking of travelling solo. Although not all people quite realise just how much time they will spend alone. It is pretty common to leave the hostel in the morning, explore the city all day, and return at night without having said a word to anyone. Especially if you are in a country with locals who speak little English. 

While this can sound like heaven to some people, others aren’t as keen on their own company. This can often induce feelings of loneliness in people. The best way to avoid this problem is to hang around the hostel bar – strike up a conversation with the barman and your fellow travellers. Ask about their time in the city, or their experiences travelling so far, you might just find out some useful tips. You could end up finding yourself the perfect companion to accompany you on your next exploration around the city. 

Relying on selfies

A common theme for most solo travellers is that their photo albums only consist of two types of photos: photos of incredible views; and selfies with said incredible views in the background. You want to capture this once in a lifetime moment, but also don’t want to look like an obnoxious tourist carrying a selfie stick around. 

The only solution to this struggle is to ask a stranger to take a picture of you. It could be helpful to learn how to ask for a photo in the local language. This might seem like an impossible challenge, but it could be the only way to get that photo you so desperately desire.

No one to split the bills with

Splitting the bill on holiday is a ritual many of us take for granted. We all have glorious memories of enjoying delicious meals with friends on holiday and not being able to believe how cheap it was when divided up in the group. 

This problem doesn’t just relate to your time spent eating out on holiday. That cab from the airport would be 1/2 the price if you had 2 friends with you. That private hotel room with two beds inside would also be 1/2 the price if you had someone else to share with. As a solo traveller, you have to get used to eating all the costs throughout your trip. There isn’t an easy answer to this problem, you can use tools like Uber Pool to split the cost of taxis, but you will need to find friends to dine with if you want some help covering dinner. 

Getting lost on your own

Having two heads instead of one when navigating your way around a new city comes with its advantages. When you get lost in a new place with a friend, it can be an exciting adventure that you will one day retell to all your friends. When you get lost in a foreign place on your own, it can quickly become a scary experience, especially as darkness starts to creep into the sky. 

The best thing you can do if you find yourself in this sort of situation is to remain calm and remind yourself that if you got yourself to this point, then you can yourself back to your hostel. It might be a good idea to carry a business card from your hotel or hostel or take down the address on a piece of paper. That way you’ll always have the address to get home, even when your phone has run out of battery. Another tip would be making the most of the free city maps you find in almost every hotel or hostel reception.  

Feeling sick with no one to look after you

It’s never nice getting sick, especially when you are on holiday, and even more so if you are alone. No one wants to be the person in a hostel dorm keeping everyone up all night, with there sneezes and coughs, not to mention the fear of spreading the illness. 

With no friend to confide in and tell you it’s going to be OK, you can find yourself calling your parents at awkward times to describe your symptoms in the hope they have the magic cure. If you do get sick while travelling solo, take the time to slow down, get some rest and take the break your body is clearly crying out for. It could be a solid move to treat yourself to that private hostel room to ensure you don’t alienate yourself from the rest of the backpackers by keeping them up all night.

Having no one to share the experience with 

There will be various times throughout your solo journey that something unbelievable will appear in front of you, you will be dying to discuss this phenomenon, but alas, you will be alone. This can often be a strange realisation for travellers when they find themself faces with incredible beauty but have no one to discuss it with. 

That is not to say these moments can’t still be enjoyed when you are alone. Times like this are perfect for self-reflection or journaling your experiences. It will also help you to appreciate your own company and eventually realise some moments are more special when only experienced by yourself.

If you are travelling solo and you are lucky enough to end up in one of the cities we operate in, why not choose Laundryheap as your new laundry companion. We are currently based in London, but our services are available in London, Manchester, Coventry, Birmingham, New York, Dublin, Dubai, Sharjah and Amsterdam. 


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Holiday Packing Essentials For Your Baby

When going on holiday with your baby, you’ll realise that you need to bring a lot of items with you to ensure that your baby will be comfortable, entertained, safe, warm and remain in good health during the trip.

Here’s a list of holiday packing essentials for your baby:

Food & Drink Supplies

  1. Formula: Of course it’s an essential! Be sure to bring enough for the trip, whether it’s ready made formula in the bottle or containers of formula powder, make sure you don’t run out. Also, bring extra bottles and a bottle warmer (if necessary).
  2. Breastfeeding equipment: If your baby is still breastfeeding, bring a shawl or scarf to cover for when you’re breast feeding. If your baby drinks breast milk from the bottle, take a breast pump.
  3. Snacks/ meals: Bring plenty of snacks and pack some jars of food (ready made or homemade) to keep your baby’s tummy satisfied! If you’re travelling by plane, you don’t need to worry about the food and drink restrictions as they do not apply to your baby.
  4. Feeding accessories: Take a few bibs to avoid spillage on their clothes. Use beakers for juices and water and don’t forget to bring baby spoons! Perfect for on-the-go feeding.
  5. Wipes: A must need for spills and messes!

Travel Accessories

  1. A baby bag! You’ll definitely need a bag to put all your baby’s things (and yours) in.
  2. A compact push chair: Easy to fold and bring around with you. For off-road and walks, compact push chairs are a must-need if you’ll do a lot of strolling around and sight-seeing!
  3. Baby sling/ carrier: For more adventurous activities or if you feel like you don’t need a push chair, then take with you a baby sling.
  4. A Compact travel crib: Your baby will need somewhere safe and comfy to sleep or play in. 
  5. Blankets: Always great for comfort, shade and warmth!

Toiletries

  1. Nappies! And lots of it! You can never have to many nappies. Don’t forget baby wipes and nappy bags too! 
  2. Cream/Talcum powder
  3. Changing mat: perfect for on-the-go nappy changes
  4. Plenty of clothes appropriate for the weather! 
  5. Bath sponge
  6. Baby shampoo, soap & lotion
  7. Bath toys

Entertainment

  1. Toys: Taking a few of your baby’s favourite toys will help keep them occupied for the journey.
  2. Stuffed toy

Other Essentials To Consider

  1. Medicine
  2. First aid
  3. Bottle steriliser
  4. Pacifiers
  5. Baby monitor
  6. Night light
  7. Car seat 
  8. Booster/clamp on seats

Take into consideration the destination you’re headed to and the activities you plan to do there. You might not need all of these things and you might want to bring extra things that aren’t on this general list such as swim floats or swim nappies if you’re thinking of going swimming.

Just make sure you pack everything in advance to minimise the risk of leaving important items behind. Make sure to wash and iron all clothes and blankets before packing. Your baby may WILL use a lot of outfits, so do take more than you think they’ll need. If you”re worried about having to wash them after the trip, you can always book a laundry service with Laundryheap.