Planning To Travel Soon? My Tips For Planning A Vacation

Hi Guys!

This week I thought I would write another guide for you guys. Just after I first started my blog, I wrote a post called ‘How To Explore a New City as an Expat’ I wanted to build on this post, and add in a few more tips about traveling. Enjoy!

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  1. Be Organized: For the new-ish traveler one of my top tips would be to plan your trip in advance, book planes, hotels, and work out anything else you might need. Keep your tickets and passport ready, and make sure you have all the necessary documents and visas. Traveling is much more enjoyable when you don’t have to worry about the logistical side of it.
  2. Visit Places That Interest you: When you arrive in a new place, don’t feel pressured to go to all the museums, gardens, or parks. Go to places you’re interested in. If you like history then go to the museums, but if you like exploring don’t force yourself. There’s a multitude of things to do in one city, hiking, shopping, visiting monuments, people watching etc… Do things you’re genuinely interested in!
  3. Do a Little Bit of ‘Research’: Personally, before I travel I like to have an idea of a few places I want to visit, some restaurants to try, and some stores I want to see. Usually, I’ll take a look at Pinterest, read some blogs, and recently I’ve started looking through the hashtags on Instagram for wherever I’m going to get an idea of what’s popular in that area. I think it’s useful to have a handful of places that you want to visit and use them as a base to explore a city.
  4. Document Your Trip: Whether it’s taking photos, journaling, or even vlogging, I think it’s a fun idea to document your trip. Years from now you can look back to remember your travels and the fun times you had. Or you could show your photos to your friends back home and make them jealous!
  5. Live In The Moment: While I’m all for documenting the trip, sometimes it’s good to live in the moment, and really just focus on where you are. When I’m traveling I actually kind of like not having any data on my phone, so that I just use it to take photos. It’s a nice time to be detached from social media for a few hours, and fully enjoy the place where I am.
  6. Immerse Yourself In The Native Culture: For the most part, you’re only going to visit this place once, why not make the most of it? Take part in cultural activities and have a bit of fun! During Spring Break last year my family and I visited Japan, and we took part in a Tai Chi class in a park, and when we went to China, we had a traditional tea ceremony. It was interesting to experience their own unique cultures.
  7. Wake Up Early or Stay Up Late: Make the most of your jet lag! Use it to get up early in the morning to explore the city before everyone else, or to stay up in the evenings and see a different side to the city. You might be pleasantly surprised with what you see.
  8. Watch The Sunsets and Sunrises: Wherever I am in the world, I love doing something as simple as watching the sunset and rise. It’s beautiful wherever you are in the world, and it’s cool to see it in different places around the world.

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What did you think of my travel tips? What’s the most interesting place you’ve ever visited? Let me know in the comments!

Little Miss Expat

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Morning Adventures in Dubai – Hidden Gems of Dubai

Hey Everyone!

Yesterday I fought off the tiredness and woke up bright and early at 6am for a special adventure! My parents and I had originally just planned to go out for a quick breakfast, but we ended up going on a spontaneous adventure.

Mornings are my favourite time of day, I like being up before the rest of the city, and enjoying the peace. I also think you can achieve so much more when you start the day early, this whole adventure was over by 12, so I still had plenty of time to finish all my homework 🙂 This small guide will take you on our Dubai Morning Adventure, and hopefully inspire you to wake up early and explore your own city!

In my opinion, Fridays are the most peaceful day in Dubai. It’s like the whole city is asleep, so if you wake up early you’ll be sure to find some surprises. One of my favourite ways to spend the weekend is going to a market, even if I don’t buy anything, I just love the whole atmosphere, and the little stores you can find. We have a few markets open on Friday mornings in Dubai, but this weekend I visited a smaller farmers market in Business Bay, and I’d have to say it’s my favourite market in Dubai.

There is so much fresh produce in this market, I think it’s the best place to get fresh and organic ingredients. I also love the sandwich stand that Baker and Spice sets up, their breakfast sandwiches are AMAZING.

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Next up on the adventure, we stopped to grab a cup of Karak chai in the Al Satwa area (if you have no idea what I’m talking about, I wrote a whole post about Karak chai in Dubai here) And we decided to drive out into the desert.

The desert never fails to astound me, while other countries and cities have their own natural wonders, the desert is definitely Dubai’s wonder. We drove out, down the desert roads, searching for the Al Qudra Lakes. After stopping at a man-made oasis we made it to the lakes, and it was breathtaking.

There’s something about being out in the desert so early, it is utterly peaceful, and you just feel so at ease with the world. Here’s what it looked like:

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They built these observation decks that you can climb up.

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After enjoying the lakes and oasis, we spotted some camels on our way home! I know, only things you would see in Dubai. How cool do they look?

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And that wraps up our morning adventure in Dubai. I love living in a city where there’s always something going on, and something to do. Hopefully, I can drag myself out of bed early enough next weekend for another adventure. Please let me know if you liked this post? And what you do to explore your own city!

See you next week,

Little Miss Expat

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The Vienna Eating Guide

Hi Guys,

So, if you’re one of my regular readers you’ll know that over winter break I visited Vienna, which meant that I ate lots of yummy Christmassy treats and snacks. One of the things I really wanted to do on this trip was to visit Christmas markets, instead of going to the big tourist attractions. And because I LOVE FOOD, I got to try lots of different fresh and delicious street food snacks at the markets.

I tried a mix of traditional food and general street food, but I wanted to share it all with you. Here you go!

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You have got to have roasted chestnuts, they’re my all-time time favorite winter street food!

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You CAN NOT go to Austria without trying an Apple Strudel!

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This chocolate cake is traditional to Vienna, it’s called the Sachertorte… it’s a must-have if you’re visiting Vienna. 

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How beautiful do these strudels look?

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I WANTED TO EAT EVERYTHING… I’m not joking…

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In one of the dessert shops, we could see the chefs working on their cakes.

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Finding yummy snacks at the Christmas markets.

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Chocolate covered fruits and nuts were sooooo good! And it made me feel like I was being a little bit healthy.

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And of course, because it was Christmas time, I had to try all the gingerbread!

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I didn’t try this cheese, but how cool does it look?

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These sweet pastry rolls were delicious

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And of course, you can never go wrong with fries and onion rings…

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I’m literally drooling looking at this sandwich right now, it was amazing!

These are all the different foods I tried when I was in Vienna, I hope the pictures aren’t making you too hungry!! Have you ever been to Vienna, if so, what did you try? And if you could try one of these foods, which one would it be?

Little Miss Expat

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24 hours in Paris with a local – Winter Edition

Heya Guys!

I visited Paris a couple of days ago and it was AMAZING. I’ve been to Paris a few times before, but this time I think I can safely say I’ve fallen in love with the city!! From the sugar coma, I was in because of all the macarons, cakes, hot chocolates and pastries I ate,  to walking down small cobbled streets in St Germain, I loved every moment of it. One of the reasons the trip was so fun was because I got to spend time with a friend of mine that recently moved to Paris. (hence the ‘local’ part of this post) She showed me some of her favorite places to visit in Paris, and we got to chat and catch up over cups of hot chocolate and huge salads.

I wanted to share what I did and where I went with you guys in this post, but bear in mind that we didn’t visit many tourist spots, so if you’re going to Paris for the first time it might be wise to save another day to visit spots like the Louvre and Eiffel Tower, and then you can try this ‘off the beaten track’ guide and visit the places I went to.

  1. Explore Paris on foot first – One of the first things I like to do when I visit a city is to take a walk and get a ‘feel’ for the place. You get to scout out some places you might want to visit later, and might come across some very cool sights. We walked down the Champs-Élysées and got to see a beautiful view of the Arc de Triomphe.DSC_0878
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    Isn’t this view of the Arc de Triomphe amazing?

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    We stumbled across this view of the Eiffel Tower covered in the morning mist.

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  2. Lunch at La Carette – I wanted to let my friend decide most of where we went because after all, she is the ‘local’ and she certainly picked out the perfect places. Out of all the times, I’ve visited Paris, I can’t believe I’d never eaten at Parisian Cafe until we went to La Carette. La Carette is exactly what a Parisian Cafe should be like, bursting with people and filled with pastries and macarons. It also has a magnificent view of the Eiffel Tower as soon as you step outside! I had a salmon salad (my attempt to be healthy) and we had a mille-feuille and a traditional French Christmas cake called Buche de Noel after, which were AMAZING (I’m drooling right now, just thinking about those desserts)
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    The salmon salad I ate

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    A box of macarons I brought back to London with me.

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    By far the best macarons I’ve ever eaten…

  3. Take touristy pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower – I mean… of course, you have to do this. My friend and I enjoyed a good few minutes trying to perfect the picture where it looks like you’re holding the Eiffel Tower (cringe, I know) But how can you go to Paris and not take embarrassing photos?img_5198.jpg
  4. Visit the St. Germain area – One of the things I really wanted to do on this trip, was to visit some smaller ’boutique style’ French shops because I think you can find nicer items in little local stores. I also had to buy a few Christmas gifts, so I wanted to see if there were more unique gifts I could buy in the boutiques. And, I was not disappointed! We visited the St. Germain area which was full of little-cobbled streets with small boutiques and shops. We saw some of the cutest shops in this area, as well as most of the big branded stores. For anyone who wants to do a bit of shopping in Paris, I would recommend St. Germain.IMG_5246IMG_5242 2IMG_5251IMG_5254
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    I absolutely loved this boutique, you can take a look at it here.

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    We came across this cute little florist

  5. Hot Chocolate at Cafe de Flore – You can’t come back from Paris without having a hot chocolate! There’s something about the French hot chocolate that’s so special, it’s super creamy and chocolatey and the atmosphere of a Parisian cafe adds to the whole effect. My friend said that Cafe de Flore was her favourite hot chocolate in Paris, so of course she took me to try it! It was soooo good. Wow. Parisian cafes are so simple in their layout and decorations, but it’s the food and people that make them so special. I think laughing and sharing stories over cups of hot chocolate had to be one of the best parts of the trip.IMG_5262IMG_5273 (1)IMG_5267

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    It tasted sooooooo good

Those are the highlights of my trip, and things that I that think you need to try if you’re visiting Paris soon. Honestly, I had such a great time in Paris and I got to experience the more unique side of the city which I loved! What’s your favourite city?

Little Miss Expat

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10 Things You Didn’t Know About The UAE – UAE National Day!

Hey Guys,

Today is UAE National Day! Exactly 46 years ago the United Arab Emirates was founded. As I live in Dubai, which is part of the UAE I thought that I would take some time today to share some facts about the UAE with you, for those of you who don’t know it that well.

When I first moved to Dubai I was pleasantly surprised with all the festivities that surrounded UAE National Day. Living in London, we never had a national day. We had a few bank holidays, but there isn’t a specific day where we celebrate our country. I think it’s amazing how the whole country comes together to celebrate this day, and I can tell you from what I see in Dubai, they certainly celebrate it well!!

  1. The UAE is made up of 7 Emirates: Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Sharjah, Dubai, Fujairah,  Ras Al Khaimah, and Umm Al Quwain.
  2. We usually get a day off school and work for UAE National Day 🙂
  3. The Dubai police have a Lamborghini, Ferarri, and a Bentley (SO COOL!)
  4. Only 13% of the population of the UAE is actually Arab! Lot’s of expats 😉
  5. Abu Dhabi’s Ferrari World is home to the worlds fastest roller coaster, which travels at 150 mph. (I was too scared to try it when I visited)
  6.  25% of the worlds working cranes are in Dubai. What can I say? Dubai is a fast growing city!
  7. The hottest it’s ever been in the UAE was 52.1 degrees Celsius in July 2002. Yes, summers here are REALLY hot.
  8. The UAE used to rely heavily on pearl trading, we even have a museum to learn about this in Dubai.
  9. In 2020 Expo is going to be held in Dubai (the same year I graduate from high school!!)
  10. It only rains approximately 5 days in a year in Dubai! (trust me, we get really excited when it does rain)

I hope you found these facts interesting and you learned a bit more about the UAE and where I live. Happy Birthday to the UAE!

Little Miss Expat

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The Ultimate Iceland Travel Guide

Hey Guys!

So if you follow me on Instagram (@little.miss.expat) you would know that I recently visited Iceland!! It was AMAZING and I’ve been posting some seriously cool photos from my trip. I had so many photos and experiences I wanted to share with you guys, so I thought what’s better than putting them all into one huge travel guide for you to read?

So… I’ve made a list of the ‘must see’ destinations in Iceland and included photos that I have taken at these places. Enjoy!

Note: I visited Iceland in late November so a lot of the activities I did during my trip may look different during other months.

Northern Light Hunting: I mean it’s obvious. You can’t go to Iceland and not look for the Northern Lights! We went towards the end of November and it was a pretty good time to see the Northern Lights. Northern Light Hunting consists of driving out into the countryside of Iceland where it is completely dark and looking for lights in the sky. Make sure to dress really warm for these tours because it is VERY cold and you can be outside for a long time. I’ve included some of the photos I got of the Northern Lights, but bear in mind, I just took these with my regular camera. If you google the Northern Lights you will find much clearer photos.

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Like I said, my photos of the Northern Lights aren’t the best because I didn’t have all the equipment you need to get a clear photo. But you can start to see the Northern Lights in this photo. 

 

Visiting the Blue Lagoon: For me, visiting the Blue Lagoon was higher on my bucket list than seeing the northern lights. I love natural beauty, face masks, and anything to do with relaxation and I think it’s so cool how the Blue Lagoon encompasses it all. For those of you who don’t know, the Blue Lagoon is a geothermal pool filled with minerals that do wonders for your skin, there’s even a special facemask that you can leave on for around 10 minutes that detoxifies your skin. It’s naturally heated so you can be swimming in this warm pool, but the air around you can be freezing. The Blue Lagoon was so relaxing and calming, and I’m pretty sure it was the highlight of my trip.

 

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From the entrance, you can see the steam rising from the lagoon.

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We visited the Blue Lagoon early enough to see the sunrise, so I managed to get some cool pictures of the sunrise and the Lagoon!

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Here’s the Lagoon after sunrise (what you will see in most photos) You can really tell why it’s called the Blue Lagoon. 

 

Visit a Geyser: I wasn’t really sure what a geyser was before this trip, but we visited a few and they are SO COOL. I think the thing that always astonishes me everytime I think of Iceland, is that all these wonders I visited happen naturally. The geysers are small hot springs where water boils and shoots up for you to see. They’re really fun to watch, as everyone stands around wondering when the next spout of hot water will spring up. I took a video of one of them for you to look at.

 

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Here’s a photo so you can get an idea of what the geysers looked like, but you might want to watch the videos. 

 

Visit the Black Sand Beach: I posted a few photos from the Black Sand Beach on my Instagram so you might have already seen those, but let me paint the picture… The stacks of basalt rocks on one side, and the ocean on the other, with the black sand beneath your feet (mixed with a little snow!) is truly unique. You can climb the rocks to get some cool pictures and walk along the sandy beach. For someone who has never seen anything other than regular beaches, this was pretty cool.

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Play in the snow: I mean, I live in Dubai, a desert. It never snows here. I’ve experienced a little snow when I used to live in London and on some holidays. But never in my life have I seen this much snow. A whole blanket of untouched snow spreading out for miles is something that even a camera can’t capture for me. It’s nice to take a little time to play in the snow (you’re never too old for this!), throw some snowballs, and make some snow angels. Be sure to bring sturdy, waterproof shoes with you because trust me, your toes will freeze otherwise.

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Visit a Waterfall: I think I must have visited around five waterfalls during my week in Iceland, and I can say I’ll never get tired of them. Some are tall, some are wide, and you can even climb up and behind others. My favorite was Skógafoss waterfall where I climbed 370 steps to reach a breathtaking view at the top, the climb was definitely worth it! Some of the other waterfalls I visited are the Gullfoss, Seljalandsfoss, Hraunfossar, and Barnafossar waterfalls.

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The view from the top of a waterfall.

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These are a few of the highlights of my trip to Iceland, that I think you HAVE to see if you’re going there anytime soon. I’m thinking of writing a few more posts about my travels in Iceland, let me know if you would be interested? Also, if you have visited Iceland before please let me know what your highlights were and where you would recommend going!

Have a great weekend!

Little Miss Expat

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Lisbon Photo Diary

Hi Guys,

Welcome to the Lisbon Photo Diary!

Over Summer I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Lisbon for a few days. It was really amazing and so different from any European city I’ve ever been to. There are a tonne of unique things to do in Lisbon, and I’m going to try and share them all with you in this post!

Firstly, we landed in Lisbon early in the morning and headed to the Time Out Market. I had read about this online, and I thought it would be a good place to start and get some food.
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After getting a bite at the market, we headed outside and were met by a group of tour guides. Except… these tours were tuk-tuk tours. So unusual to any typical tourist-traps, we decided to try a tuk-tuk tour, as I mean it’s not something you see every day.

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After cruising around Lisbon in a tuk-tuk for a while, I started to get a feel for the place. One of my favorite things about the city was the small, quirky streets. Filled with people and cobbled stones, the whole city was bursting with culture.

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Lisbon is a city of art. One of my favorite things were the walls, every building was covered in ornate tiles, from top to bottom. There were also amazing street art murals on the side of buildings.

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As we drove up the winding, narrow streets of Lisbon, we stopped at many viewing points. The views were breathtaking, as you turned a corner the city opened up beneath you.

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At the top of a viewing point, we stopped for some fresh lemonade, fruit, and custard tarts! Custard tarts or pastel de nata are a Portuguese specialty and they are DELICIOUS.

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With the history, culture, and hidden surprises of Lisbon, we continued to have an amazing trip!

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I hope you guys enjoyed reading about my trip to Lisbon! Have you ever been? What’s your favorite city that you’ve traveled to?

Let me know if you guys enjoyed this kind of post by leaving me a comment!

Little Miss Expat

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