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Travel hacks for couples 

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Whether its your first, second, or hundredth time travelling as a couple, make sure that it isn’t your last by following these handy travel hacks.

  • Create an itinerary together
  • Split the responsibilities
  • Use 1 suitcase 
  • But separate packing cubes
  • Share toiletries
  • Get a charger with dual ports 
  • Consider twin beds
  • Share meals
  • Always split the money
  • Enjoy your time together

Create an itinerary together

When travelling as a couple it’s important to remember that it’s not just your holiday. You may have a list of things to see and do, but so may your partner. To ensure that you both enjoy your holiday to the fullest create an itinerary together, making sure that your time is split equally between things that you both want to do. This may mean that you won’t get to see everything that you wanted to, but it’s the fairest way. 

Photo by Polina Kovaleva from Pexels

Split the responsibilities 

There is a lot to think about when travelling. Transport, accommodation, insurance, packing, the list is endless. That is why it’s best to split the responsibilities equally. You cover half of the tasks and your partner covers the other half. Not only does this mean that you are equally responsible for the holiday, but it will also mean that you get through your list of responsibilities quicker. Remember, 2 hands are always better than 1. 

Photo by Marina Leonova from Pexels

Use 1 suitcase

Arguably, the worst part of travelling is having to lug your suitcases around. When travelling in a couple, why bother with the hassle of packing 2 suitcases when you can just take 1. Between yourself and your partner, pack 1 suitcase, and take 1 backpack with essentials as a carry on. This will limit the amount of luggage weighing you down, and make travelling a lot more enjoyable for the both of you. 

Photo by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels

But separate packing cubes 

To prevent any bickering about sharing the space in 1 suitcase, assign packing cubes for yourself and your partner. To ensure that you are equally sharing the suitcase space, give yourself and your partner the same number of packing cubes, perhaps with 1 cube left for items that you can share. Not only will this help eliminate space arguments, but it is also a great way to help you be brutal with what you want to bring on your travels

Photo by SHVETS production from Pexels

Share toiletries 

The issue with taking 1 suitcase for both you and your partner is that you have limited space. To save you both some space consider sharing toiletries. Items, such as toothpaste, shower gel, shampoo, and conditioner, can be shared between yourself and your partner, allowing you additional space for clothes, shoes, or electronics. Just make sure you that you take your own toothbrush.

Photo by Sarah Chai from Pexels

Get a charger with dual ports

Although small, another great space saving idea for travelling couples is to buy a charger with dual ports. This will allow both you and your partner to charge your electronics at the same time, without the hassle of bringing two charging plugs. In addition, having a dual port charger should prevent yourself and your partner from losing your chargers as you will both be looking after the same one. 

Photo by Steve Johnson from Pexels

Consider twin beds

Accommodation can be incredibly expensive when travelling, especially as a couple. Although you probably want to share a bed with your partner whilst on holiday, you may want to consider paying for a twin room rather than a double. On average, twin rooms are less expensive than their double alternative, so it may be an easy way to save yourself and your partner money. Once you are in the room, you can easily push your beds together to form a makeshift double. 

Photo by A Koolshooter from Pexels

Share meals  

Another great way for couples to save money whilst travelling is to share meals. If you find that you and your partner aren’t often finishing your full meal, it may be a good idea to share one main meal with a selection of sides. Not only will this save you money, it will also prevent food waste. 

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Always split the money 

Regardless of whether you are using cards or physical cash, it’s important to split the money equally between both you and your partner. You never know what can happen whilst travelling, so splitting the money equally ensures that you will always have some money with you regardless of if any gets lost or stolen. 

Enjoy your time together 

The most important things to remember when travelling with your partner is to enjoy your time together. Enjoy being on holiday, alone, with no interruptions. It may be hard to find moments like that when you get back to your normal lives. 

Photo by Asad Photo Maldives from Pexels

Whilst you enjoy travelling with your significant other, we’ll take care of your laundry. Book your Laundryheap order today by heading to the Laundryheap website or downloading the free Laundryheap app.


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Top areas to stay in Dublin

Photo by Luciann Photography from Pexels

There are plenty of beautiful areas to stay in Dublin, but these are our top 5 picks.

  • Grafton Street
  • Merrion Square
  • Portobello
  • Smithfield 
  • The Docklands 

Grafton Street 

If you enjoy a spot of retail therapy, than Grafton Street is the ideal place for you to stay. As one of Europe’s busiest shopping streets, you will find almost every popular shop you would ever want. Nestled between the abundance of shops are independent cafes, restaurants, and pubs, ready to welcome you inside. When/if you are ready to escape the hustle and bustle of the street, St Stephen’s Green is located at the top of Grafton Street. An idyllic 22 acre park of lush gardens, blooming flower beds, and beautiful sculptures. If you are looking to stay in the centre of Dublin’s hustle and bustle, with the opportunity for peacefulness, than Grafton Street is the perfect place for you to stay. 

Photo by Lukas Kloeppel from Pexels

Merrion Square

Merrion Square is perfect for those who like a slower pace. Those who are creative and artsy, who enjoy observing their surroundings. The square is one of Dublin’s grandest squares. Georgian houses line 3 sides of the square and the other homes 2 museums and the garden of Leinster House, the seat of Irish Parliament. Merrion Square was once home to some of the worlds most renowned artists, including Oscar Wilde and WB Yeats. Holding on to its historic past of artistic greatness, the square hosts various events throughout the year where artists will hang their paintings for people to buy. Merrion Square is beautiful area of Dublin, rich in history and home to some of Dublin’s biggest sites, including The National Gallery. Additionally, it is only a 10 minute walk from Grafton Street, so you can experience the hustle and bustle of Dublin in mere minutes. 

Image by Pastor Sam

Portobello 

Portobello is Dublin’s up-and-coming area. It’s where Dubliners come to meet and where the iconic playwright George Bernard Shaw was born. Portobello is the perfect place to stay for those who are looking for something different. Away from the commercial high streets, Portobello is overflowing with innovative restaurants, contemporary galleries, and unique bric-a-brac boutiques. As you wander from shop to shop, you can take in the street art that covers almost every building, enhancing the areas quirky atmosphere. Although not home to any of Dublin’s iconic landmarks, Dublin city centre is only a 15 minute walk away. 

Image by William Murphy

Smithfield

Smithfield is located on the northside of Dublin, surrounded by the legendary Temple Bar, beautiful Phoenix Park, and lively Stoneybatter. The focal point of the area is Smithfield Square, a bustling central quarter of independent restaurants and artisan cafes. One of the most notable landmarks to be found in Smithfield is the Old Jameson Whiskey Distillery, which you can tour whilst sampling their famous whiskey. Located moments away from Phoenix Park, one of the largest enclosed parks in a European capital city, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy relaxing in nature. Alternatively, Temple Bar is just one of the many bars you can find in and around the Smithfield area, so there are plenty of opportunities for nights out.

Image by William Murphy

The Docklands 

The Docklands are fast becoming one of the most popular locations for tourists to visit and stay whilst in Dublin. Due to the high number of businesses that operate around the area, the Docklands was once aimed solely at business travellers, but has since expanded to meet the needs of tourists. One of the highlights of staying at the Docklands is the interactive Irish Immigration Museum where visitors can learn about the rich history of Ireland and its impact on the world. There are also an abundance of restaurants and cafes where you can enjoy an eclectic selection of delicacies. The Docklands is close by to Merrion Square and the centre of Dublin, making it the perfect place to stay and enjoy a slightly quieter area, whilst still being able to enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city. 

Image by William Murphy

No matter what area of Dublin you decide to stay in, don’t let your laundry prevent you from exploring. Book your Laundryheap service today by heading to the Laundryheap website or downloading the free Laundryheap app. 


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Free things to do in Rotterdam

Photo by Steshka Willems from Pexels

Holiday’s are expensive, so finding free things to do is a great way to save money. Luckily, Rotterdam is brimming with fun, free, things to do, see, and explore. 

  • Stroll along the harbour
  • Explore the Markthal
  • Wander the markets
  • Sail on the SS Rotterdam
  • Learn about Rotterdam on a walking tour 
  • Visit De Ster
  • Take in the views at Lührs viewpoint
  • Enjoy the peace and quiet of Eiland van Brienenoord
  • Cycle the city 
  • Visit Rotterdams iconic structures 

Stroll along the harbour

Rotterdam is home to the largest harbour in Europe. As you journey along the harbour, you will come across some of Rotterdam’s most famous landmarks, including the Erasmus bridge, Hotel New York, and the SS Rotterdam. If you find yourself stuck for something to do on a clear, dry, day in Rotterdam, a stroll along the harbour is the perfect solution. 

Photo by László Hegedűs from Pexels

Explore the Markthal

In the heart of Rotterdam you will find the Markthal, a quirky take on the classic market square. A large arch of 228 apartments covers a central market hall of 96 food stands where you will sample some of the best food you will find in Rotterdam. From classic cuisine to exotic eats, the Markthal is a culinary lovers dream. Whilst sampling Rotterdam’s finest foods, look around at the mural painted on the arch covering the square. “Cornucopia” shows enlarged food items alongside flowers and insects in reference to Dutch paintings from the 17th century. The masterpiece was created by artists Arno Coenen and Iris Roskam, and provides a glorious view to enjoy with your food. 

Image by Paul Arps

Wander the markets 

The Markthal is not the only market in Rotterdam. There are an array of street markets running 6 days a week, selling all manner of fresh produce, trinkets, and flowers. The biggest market in Rotterdam is at Binnenrotte near the Rotterdam Blaak train station. Here you will find more than 250 stalls selling everything including fresh fruit, fish, cheese, flowers, vintage goods, and even furniture. If you are visiting the city during the Christmas season, there are plenty of Christmas markets selling perfect stocking filler gifts and traditional Danish food and drink. 

Sail on the SS Rotterdam

The SS Rotterdam is iconic. Launched back in 1953, the ship sailed for 41 years, ferrying passengers from Rotterdam to New York. In 2000, the SS Rotterdam was returned to the city, where the ship has since been turned into a hotel, restaurant, event space, and tourist attraction. You can explore the ship for free, learning about it’s rich history and tales of it’s transatlantic voyages. If you are willing to splash out on dinner on the boat, there are plenty of options for you to indulge in. Whether you fancy a relaxing afternoon tea, suave fine dining experience, or simply some greasy finger food, there is something to satisfy everyone’s tastes on the SS Rotterdam. 

Image by Frans Berkelaar

Learn about Rotterdam on a walking tour  

The best way to get to know a new city is by exploring it with the locals. Free Walking Tour Rotterdam is run and conducted by volunteers who live in Rotterdam and truly love their city. The tour begins at the Markthal and takes you to some of the most iconic areas of the city where you will learn about the history of Rotterdam. The tour runs every day from 1:30pm and there is an additional morning tour on a Saturday beginning at 10:30am. 

Image by Zairon

Visit De Ster

Did you really go the the Netherlands if you didn’t visit a windmill? The Kralingse Bos forest is a beautiful recreational area, perfect for running, cycling, or simply taking a stroll. The forest encases Kralingse Plas lake, along which you can find windmill De Ster (the star). Dating back to 1866, windmill De Ster is a fully functional windmill which is still used to grind tobacco leaves to create snuff. Guided tours of the windmill are available every second Saturday of the month between 10am to 4pm. Entrance to the windmill is free, however any generous donations made do go towards maintaining the windmill. 

Image by Jchmrt

Take in the views at Lührs viewpoint

Lührs viewpoint is a Rotterdam hidden gem. After hiking up a 40 meter hill you will be rewarded with a stunning view of the Rotterdam skyline and, on a clear day, The Hague. It is the perfect place to escape the city, enjoy nature, and unwind with a beautiful view. 

Image by Kristoffer Trolle

Enjoy the peace and quiet of Eiland van Brienenoord

Under the Van Brienenoord Bridge in Rotterdam you will find a slice of peace and tranquillity- Eiland van Brienenoord. Grassy plains, open waters, and a forest make up the island, giving a home to a multitude of plants, birds, and animals. The island was created in the 19th century when silt plates formed in the Nieuwe Maas and became overgrown. Whether you are looking to do some bird watching, enjoy a gentle jog, or simply stroll around the island, Eiland van Brienenoord is the perfect place to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. 

Photo by Annelies Brouw from Pexels

Cycle the city 

There are many ways that you can enjoy the city of Rotterdam, but none are as fun as cycling. You can spend hours cycling across the city, from the city centre to Delfshaven, exploring the hidden gems that the city has to offer. There are cycling routes that you can take, or you can make your own route, following the harbour and simply seeing where you end up. 

Photo by TRAVELBLOG from Pexels

Visit Rotterdams iconic structures 

Rotterdam is renowned for its quirky architecture and iconic structures. Spend a day charting the structures of the city, roaming from one icon to the next. From the Cube Houses to Hotel New York, the Witte Huis to the Euromast, create yourself a route to all of the famous landmarks in Rotterdam and spend the day exploring. 

Photo by Claudia Schmalz from Pexels

There are so many fun, free, things to do and see in Rotterdam that you won’t have time to do your laundry. Luckily, Laundryheap are here to help. Book your Laundryheap service today and have your laundry picked-up, laundered, and redelivered to you within 24 hours. To book your Laundryheap order today head to the Laundryheap website or download the free Laundryheap app.


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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 

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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

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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

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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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Clothing to avoid wearing to the beach

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A day at the beach is the ultimate way to relax. Lying back on the golden sand, cooling off in the glittering sea, staying refreshed with a delicious ice cream. Before heading to the beach, make sure that you are wearing the right clothing for ultimate relaxation by avoiding these items. 

  • Jeans
  • Dark colours 
  • Tight clothes
  • Expensive jewellery 
  • Shoes

Jeans

Jeans, along with any heavy clothing, should be avoided at all costs when heading to the beach. As a material, jeans are too stiff and heavy to possibly be comfortable to relax on the sand in. Wearing them will only result in your legs becoming unbearably sweaty. As well as this, you want to wear something to and from the beach that is easy to remove and put back on, not a pair of jeans that will only stick to you if you aren’t completely dry from your recent dip in the ocean. 

Photo by Mica Asato from Pexels

Dark colours

As a rule of thumb, avoid all dark colours when heading to the beach. Dark colours absorb more heat than their lighter alternatives, making your body temperature rise rather than trying to cool it down. When you are on the beach, exposed to the sun for long periods of time, it’s best to opt for white or lighter colours as these reflect the sun.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Tight clothes

A day at the beach should be relaxing and comfortable, something that won’t be achieved if you are wearing tight clothing. Even if you aren’t on the beach, tight clothing should be avoided when it is warm as the material clings to your body and raises your temperature. Instead, opt for light, breathable materials, such as cotton and linen, that are looser on the body and will aid in regulating your body temperature. 

Photo by Artem Beliaikin from Pexels

Expensive jewellery 

A dip in the sea is the perfect way to cool off from lying on the hot sand all day. Unfortunately, the salt from the water can erode gold, silver, or platinum jewellery, causing irreversible damage. Before going for a swim make sure to remove ALL of your jewellery if it is particularly sentimental. Alternatively, leave your jewellery at home so there is absolutely no risk of it being damaged or stolen whilst you are swimming. 

Photo by Leah Kelley from Pexels

Shoes

Sand is a natural exfoliator and will lift dead skin cells and smooth the soles of your feet. It is also incredibly irritating and will find its way into any small gap possible. When heading to the beach, always opt to wear flip flops or sandals rather than shoes. If you wear shoes you will be trying to get sand out of and off of them for days, maybe even weeks, after you leave the beach. If you wear sandals, you can easily shake the sand from them once your day is done. 

Photo by Nathan J Hilton from Pexels

Whilst you’re having fun in the sun, let us take care of your laundry. Simply head to the Laundryheap website or download the free Laundryheap app. 


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Where to shop in Doha

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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

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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.