Shane McDonald Facebook pixel
Travel Packing Checklist | What To Pack for Holiday & Vacation – Pack like a Pro

Travel Packing Checklist | What To Pack for Holiday & Vacation – Pack like a Pro

Packing for vacation? Getting ready to travel?  Take a look at this travel packing list so you pack the important items for your vacation or holiday. The holiday and vacation packing checklist is all you need, whether this is your first vacation or you’re a seasoned globetrotter. This is a helpful travel packing checklist that has been updated in the past few weeks.

Travel Packing Checklist – helps you pack the important items for your holiday

One of the most stressful things you have to do before you even get into the car to head to the airport is packing for your holiday or vacation. You might have booked a cheap family holiday but imagine if you had to then spend a lot of money on items which you forgot to bring!

This handy holiday packing checklist might help you before you actually start packing and it might help you ensure that you don’t leave home missing essential items to pack into your suitcase for your holiday. 

This list is not complete nor will it suit everyone or every type of holiday since a checklist for a city break will be different from a packing checklist for a 3-stop long haul trip. You can print this and simply cross out items you don’t need or online you can tick off the items from the list by your suitcase as you pack for your holiday. 

The travel packing checklist below does NOT include clothes as everyone is different. Hopefully, this travel and vacation packing checklist will help with the other items that you may wish to bring. If you spot any omissions please make a comment and we can add it to the list.

Packing Essentials

Passports
Drivers License
Airline Tickets
Visas if required by your destination
Wallet – Debit and Credit Cards
Cash / Travelers checks
Emergency phone numbers
Hotel, rental car, confirmation details
Copies of travel insurance contacts
Guidebooks & Maps
Contact numbers to report lost credit cards
Electric Plug adapter
Cell Phone adapter
iPod / iPhone Charger
Books and magazines
iPod Earphones 
PowerBar & charger

Personal Items / Toiletries

Travel alarm and batteries Glasses, sunglasses, and contacts Tampons Birth control Anti-bacterial hand gel or wipes Hand lotion Small first-aid kit Smart Watch charger Travel pillow Toothbrush Toothpaste Shampoo and conditioner Hair Brush Comb Cosmetics & Soap Razor and shaving cream Sunblock & After Sun Deodorant Insect Repellant Face Masks Hand Sanitizer

Extra Items

Locks for your Luggage (and keys!) Luggage name tags (include phone and email) Sewing kit Hiking Boots (make sure they are very clean prior to packing if traveling to Australia or New Zealand) Camera, Flash & Lenses Camera Mini-Tripod (for the photo enthusiast) Batteries Camera Battery Charger (e.g. Canon DSLR type) Extra film or memory card Memory Card Holders (to keep them safe) Journal and pen (if you like keeping notes on where you were) Sweets / candies for the Journey

I hope this holiday/vacation and travel packing checklist helps you on your vacation

Some Final Points for Packing for Your Holiday/Vacation

Remember to pack all liquids and gels into your checked luggage – all must be less than 100ml.

  • Don’t forget your facemasks and any COVID-related items, if required.
  • If you intend to hire a car you will need your driver’s license
  • Your passport will need to have 6 months left before expiry or you may not be able to travel.
  • Don’t forget to remove any sharp items or liquids over 100ml packed into your hand luggage.  
    Move these restricted items to your checked luggage.
  • If you need some quality sleepwear check out my friend’s website the Cotone Collection.
  • If you have a smart lighting system, program that so it turns your lights on and off in the evening for home security.
  • Before you leave your home, check that all windows have been shut and locked and any unused plugs have been plugged out.
  • As you lave your home, ensure you have your keys with you and then double check that your door is fully locked – nothing worse than getting to your destination with the nagging feeling that you forgot to lock up correctly. (it has happened to me)
  • Perhaps ask a neighbour to check in on your house when you are away.

Have a good time on your trip.

Enjoy Your Holiday!

 

Updated by Shane on March 2024

List of Things to Do in Lanzarote

List of Things to Do in Lanzarote

I have spent a bit of time in Lanzarote. It is a wonderful holiday location and Lanzarote has many great places to go and things to do. I thought it might be good for the health to get away. Lanzarote is definitely the best of all the Canary Islands, having been to Gran Canaria and Tenerife previously. If you are going I have listed a few recommendations for you.

Trips & Excursions in Lanzarote

Ignore your Travel Rep and go with Last Minute Travel. Last Minute Travel has offices all over Puerto del Carmen and we went on 2 trips with them, The Grand Island Tour (€40 to €50 ea) and Playa Blanca Markets (€7 to 10 ea). All of these trips and excursions were excellent and had very knowledgeable guides who spoke multiple languages.

You should certainly take some time to explore the Timanfaya National Park which is one of the key volcanic areas of the island; this is an ideal area for hiking. When you are in the Timanfaya National Park it is like a moonscape. There are many tours to Timanfaya National Park which can be organized from your hotel.

Another must-see is the Jameos del Agua. This is a volcanic cave system that has been commercialized and has been used in the past for shows and performances. There is a magical secret that will be demonstrated when you do the official tour of the caves. It’s a wow moment and a must-see.

You should also visit Los Ajaches which is a nature-centric area that is actually a protected area of the island, it is a perfect place to do some exploring.

My Top 10 Things to do in Lanzarote

In no particular order, my top things to do in Lanzarote are as follows;

  • Timanfaya National Park
  • Haría Village
  • César Manrique Foundation: Taro de Tahiche
  • Playa de Papagao
  • Jameos del Agua caves
  • Teguise
  • Arrieta
  • Jardín de Cactus
  • El Golfo
  • Museo Atlántico

Just a note that Teguise and Costa Teguise are 2 totally different places, Teguise is a beautiful village in the center of Lanzarote but Costa Teguise is a coastal area with a lot of hotels and apartments and not much to see at all. 

Where to Stay in Lanzarote

I would highly recommend Hotel Fariones located at Calle Roque del Este, 1, 35510 Lanzarote, Las Palmas. It is a 5-star hotel which provides excellent service and great food. A private area where you can relax and enjoy wonderful views and yet you are only minutes from everything. I have stayed here a few times so if you have questions please leave them in the comments and I will do my best to answer as many as I can for you.

Food in Lanzarote

Lani’s has many restaurants in Puerto Del Carmen and other areas. Their restaurants are very well run and the food is great – not to be missed! Also, if you are near the Fariones Hotel, the New World Chinese Restaurant is amazing and again should be experienced, if only for the excellent Dim Sum selection. The variety of food styles on the island is vast, everything from Italian and Chinese to Thai, Sushi, and Indian food but there are also some great restaurants serving traditional food.

Electrical and Technology Items

You can be ripped off in some stores by people who will try to sell you non-branded goods or items that fail to work when you get home. I got excellent services from Monty in PhotoVision (Avda de las Playas, 14 local 1, 35510, Puerto del Carmen), one of the stores on the seafront. He has lots of Irish customers and even deals with a few FairCity celebrities (I was shown photos as proof and a huge customer book) – so I bought a few iPod things there and it only cost me €20 for the attachments I bought.

Harbour in the Old Town, Puerto Del Carmen, Lanzarote

 

Conclusion

The Island of Lanzarote is a wonderful Holiday Location and there is a lot to do. I would recommend doing all of your research before you go so that you can enjoy your time there rather than having to look up or research things while you are on holiday.

5 reasons why you should plan a trip to Crete next time you visit Greece

5 reasons why you should plan a trip to Crete next time you visit Greece

As someone captivated by the allure of Greece’s diverse attractions, the journey to discover its hidden gems led me to a place that transcends the ordinary – Crete. While the iconic allure of Athens and the romantic vistas of Santorini are undeniable, Crete, with its untold stories and unspoiled landscapes, emerged as a revelation. This narrative unravels why Crete deserves a prime spot on your Greek adventure itinerary.

Rich History and Culture

Stepping onto the sun-soaked soil of Crete feels like entering a living museum of antiquity. Exploring the remnants of the ancient Minoan civilization at the Palace of Knossos, I couldn’t help but marvel at the tales etched into the timeworn stones. 

Beyond the archaeological wonders, the island embraces you in its local traditions and customs. During my visit, stumbling upon a village festival became a serendipitous encounter with the soul of Cretan hospitality, leaving an indelible mark on my travel memoirs.

Breathtaking Natural Beauty

5 reasons why you should plan a trip to Crete next time you visit Greece, Beaches

(Source: Pexels)

Samaria Gorge, a name that had echoed in my travel dreams, unfolded before my eyes, revealing a spectacle of nature’s grandeur. The rugged terrain, the verdant landscapes, and the ethereal beauty of the gorge left me breathless. Elafonissi and Balos provided a sanctuary for relaxation with their powdery pink sands and crystal-clear waters. Wandering through mountain villages, each with its unique character, and hiking through diverse terrains, I felt intimately connected with the island’s natural heartbeat.

Culinary Delights

My palate was treated to a symphony of flavors as I indulged in authentic Cretan cuisine. Every meal felt like a celebration of culinary artistry, from the robust taste of locally produced olive oil to the exquisite notes of indigenous wines. 

In the warm embrace of Cretan tavernas, I savored delicious dishes and experienced the locals’ genuine warmth, making me feel like an honorary member of their community. The revelation of the health benefits associated with the Mediterranean diet added a layer of appreciation for the cultural significance of the Cretan culinary experience.

Adventure and Outdoor Activities

(Source: Pexels)

For someone who seeks adventure in every journey, Crete offered a playground that exceeded expectations. Engaging in water sports along the coastline, I felt the adrenaline rush of windsurfing against the Cretan breeze. 

The White Mountains, a rugged playground for trekkers, unveiled panoramic vistas that seemed straight out of a postcard. Exploring underwater wonders through scuba diving adventures and participating in eco-tourism initiatives allowed me to witness and actively contribute to preserving Crete’s pristine landscapes.

Affordable and Authentic Travel Experience

Intrigued by the promise of an affordable and authentic travel experience, I compared Crete to other Greek destinations and discovered a treasure trove that didn’t break the bank. 

More than the economic value, the authenticity of local experiences struck a chord. Interacting with locals, I found a genuine openness and friendliness that transformed a mere visit into an immersive cultural exchange. Navigating the island was a breeze, enhancing my journey’s ease and enjoyment.

Amidst this exploration, another facet of authenticity seamlessly blends into the Cretan experience — the renowned Aquila Hotels. Strategically situated in locations that complement the island’s diverse attractions, Aquila Hotels offers exceptional accommodations, seamlessly blending modern luxury with traditional charm. Imagine unwinding in the comfort of an Aquila hotel after a day of exploring Crete’s rich history and culture, ensuring every moment is as memorable as the ancient tales etched in the stones of Knossos.

Conclusion

In conclusion, my vacation in Crete was not just a checklist of attractions but an odyssey of personal discovery. The history, natural wonders, culinary delights, adventurous spirit, and the warmth of local interactions created a mosaic of experiences defining Crete’s essence. 

As you contemplate your next Greek adventure, let Crete be the canvas on which your travel dreams unfold. Its allure is not just in the places you visit but in the stories you collect, the flavors you savor, and the connections you forge. Don’t merely visit Crete; let it become a part of your journey, weaving its unique and enriching experiences into the fabric of your travel narrative.

PopUp Hotel Glastonbury – Luxury Glamping at Glastonbury Festival

PopUp Hotel Glastonbury – Luxury Glamping at Glastonbury Festival

Glastonbury Festival Glamping Accommodation

The Pop-Up Hotel, Glastonbury Festival

We went to the Glastonbury Festival 2013 but went with one thing in mind … we were not slumming it, we had luxury glamping in mind.

We found the Pop-up Hotel online and saw that this would be the ideal Glastonbury Glamping Accommodation. Having visited the website, we decided on our accommodation; So on the morning Glastonbury tickets went on sale we were hopeful of getting tickets…. and so we did. Immediately we called the Pop-Up Hotel and secure our glamping accommodation with a deposit. Once booked we waited for June 2013 to come, paying the remaining amount in the previous months.

Even before we arrived we had lots of contact from Jessica and Graham from the Pop-Up hotel. We had been given directions to the designated Pop-up Hotel Car Park near to the Glastonbury festival site. When we arrived we were helped with our bags and driven to the Popup Hotel site by a very plush Land Rover (which I was very well impressed with).

On arrival, our check-in was processed very quickly and we were shown to our pre-erected tent, which would be our home away from home for the next four nights while at the Glastonbury Festival. I had been very impressed by how well our booking had been dealt with, nothing was too much trouble for the staff.

It is a family-friendly hotel ideal for festivals. I have gone past the stage of slumming it and trying to do Glastonbury without this sort of quality accommodation would be tough (I would probably have gone home as it was raining on the evening we arrived and some poor guys, first-timers, were struggling trying to erect a tent …. for me, no thanks).

There is a strict no drug, no noise, no trouble policy at the Popup Hotel and the public area is bright, secure, lively and has free WiFi (always useful and a nice touch).

Top Notch-Glamping at Glastonbury

This glamping is top notch. The deluxe rooms had charging points ideal for me so that I could charge my phone and DSLR camera battery etc. The inside of the tent was very homely with lots of very nice finishing touches such as fairy lights, a bottle of lavender pillow mist, storage box, full-length mirror, deck-chair, mats and complimentary toiletries. The tent is warm and the beds are very comfortable and you are guaranteed a good night’s sleep.
There was even a spa and hairdressers available at extra charge.

The Pop-up Hotel is only 10-15 minutes from Glastonbury entrance and it is an easy walk to and from the hotel.

There were hot power showers in luxury blocks with clean toilets serviced regularly which was a real treat after a long day at the festival.

If you are looking for something to eat before heading to the festival, great hot breakfasts were available from about £9 per person.

The areas are well-lit areas at night with a security presence, therefore, only those staying get into the hotel property. There is also some nice music (normally acoustic sessions) in the evenings if you didn’t have enough music during the day and food is served almost all day.

The staff at the Pop-up hotel are very friendly and we would like to thank especially Nevin, Joe, Graham, and Jennifer who were all very helpful to us during our stay and couldn’t have done enough.

We loved our stay and we will certainly return to the Pop-Up Hotel at Glastonbury. If you are looking for a luxury accommodation option during the Glastonbury Festival then check out the Pop-Up Hotel Glastonbury!

2015 Updated

For Glastonbury 2015 we stayed once again with The Popup Hotel. There were a few new items such as more lounge areas near reception, there was even a swimming pool at one point. Wifi Continued to be a feature which was widely appreciated.
Overall this is a wonderful glamping experience and if you are going to Glastonbury, or indeed any of the other festivals which to Pop-up Hotel are in attendance, then certainly book it.

Contact Details for The Popup Hotel

Website: http://www.thepopuphotel.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/thepopuphotel
Address: Rubbery Farm | Rubbery Lane, TA11 7HE, England

Pop-up Hotel Glastonbury

This review of Popup hotel glamping is my opinion of the service and I was not paid or in any way compensated for this post. This post is on my site as I feel it is important to spread the awareness of products or services which I myself and tried and which I feel are good quality, good value or worth trying. I have no personal or financial association with the Pop-up Hotel.

We did try for tickets in 2024 but, unfortunately, there was no joy in getting tickets.

Glastonbury Tickets Sold Out
Free things to do in Barcelona

Free things to do in Barcelona

Barcelona is a beauty to behold. It has amazing architecture that will leave you in awe. You may be tempted to think it was sculpted by the gods of architecture themselves. It is also rich in history spanning hundreds of years. The city is sandwiched between the sea and the mountains contributing to its excellent weather.

There are many attractions you can visit in this city. But this article focuses on the free things you can do and still enjoy Barcelona. To move around you will require a means of transport. A car is the best thanks to the convenience it comes with. There are several companies offering van rentals in Barcelona that you can check out. Compare prices from at least three and settle on one that will best suit you. To further save some money, you can also compare the Barcelona airport van rental rate and the off-airport rate to find the cheapest. Let’s now look at some of the free things you can do when you visit Barcelona.

Take a Free Walking Tour

The best way to experience Barcelona and get to know your way around is by taking a walking tour. It allows you to interact with the locals and experience what it is like to live in Barcelona. It also exposes you to more attractions as the tour guide is a local.

Visit a Museum

If you love history and arts the sheer number of museums in this city will leave you spoilt for choice. Every first Sunday of the month entry fees are waived in most public museums. Some of the public museums also waive entry fees every Sunday afternoon. Ensure you confirm first before visiting as this may change from time to time..

Barcelona Art Gallery

Barcelona Art Galleries are a great way to enjoy free activities in the city

 

Attend the Magic Fountain Show

The show features an amazing display of outdoor lighting combined with awesome music and has been going on for almost a century. It takes place after dark. In summer because of the longer days, it may start a little late. Hoping you rent a van in Barcelona you can chill as you wait for darkness to fall for it to start. The show, however, takes a break for two months at the beginning of the year for maintenance.

Visit the Local Food Market

Free things to do in Barcelona include visiting a Food Market

Barcelona: free things to do in Barcelona

This will give you a first-hand experience of the local food culture. It is also a good opportunity to shop around for fresh food that you can later cook for yourself. Most of the food markets are open from Monday until Saturday 3 pm.

Conclusion

The number of free activities you can engage in while in Barcelona is large depending on your interests and passion. Some have been discussed in this article which you must try. To move around, keep in mind a few car rental tips as you settle on one rental company from the several Barcelona vans for rent companies and get yourself a van to move around in as you enjoy this beautiful city.

 

 

Best Things to do in Prague

Best Things to do in Prague

Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, is a wonderful city to visit.  If you are visiting, you will want to know what to do in Prague? This guide will bring you through the best the amazing city of Prague has to offer, where to eat, and where to stay.

Prague has a long and interesting history going back over millennia. Prague is up there with other cities like Paris and Vienna when it comes to culture, architecture, and history. The Vlatava River runs through the city and with Prague’s many world-class museums and baroque-style churches and bridges you will cross the river a few times on your trip.

The ideal amount of time to spend in Prague would be at least 3 to 4 full days but I have spent 8 days in Prague and still felt there was more I wanted to do. If you enjoy walking you can certainly get all these 20 sights visited in 2 days. Bring good walking shoes and if you are visiting from October to March, check the weather and dress accordingly. I once visited in mid-February and it was 8C but feeling like 3C with a slight wind chill factor – scarf, hat, and gloves very much required. I also visited at the end of October and it was very pleasant, around 11C on average, with light showers and some days had a breeze but still very pleasant – again, bring layers so you can change your clothing to suit the conditions.

The Czech Republic does not use the Euro and has the Czech Koruna as the unit of currency. It is located about 2.5 hours from Ireland and about 2 hours from the UK. Most budget airlines fly directly to Prague’s Václav Havel Airport about 12km west of Prague. Connections to the city are available by bus and taxi or private car transfer. We organised our travel from our Hotel, at the Grandior Hotel, more on that later.

I recommend the use of The Revolut Card for excellent exchange rates. I use it all the time and I got about €2 per €100 transferred due to the beneficial exchange rates on Revolut.

Top Things to do in Prague

This is my list of the best things to do and see in Prague. Prague has a lot to offer and in my view gives Paris a run for its money as it has tons of history, and architecture and has great food and is wonderful value for money.

The Astronomical Clock

The Prague astronomical clock, or Prague orloj, is a medieval astronomical clock that is over 600 years old and it is located in the Old Town Square in Prague. you will often find tours of the area and you can get guided tours around Prague which explain the history and the mechanism of this 600-year-old piece of medieval engineering. You can also go up in the tower for great views.

Old Town Square

Old Town Square, in Czech, known as Staroměstské náměstí, is the main central square of the historic part of Prague. Old Town Square is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Prague, along with Charles Bridge and Prague Castle. It is almost impossible to miss it if you’re coming to Prague as a tourist.
Franz Kafka, a German-speaking Bohemian novelist, and short-story writer was born very near here. If you are in this area, look for some great museums in the area, including the Banksy Museum, the Museum of Steel, and the Illusions Museum.

Astronomical Clock Prague
Charles Bridge Prague

Charles Bridge

Known as Karlův Most in Czech, Charles Bridge is a medieval stone arch bridge that crosses the Vltava River in Prague. Construction of the bridge began in 1357 under the order of King Charles IV, and construction finished in the early 15th century. Because King Charles ordered its construction, the bridge has his name.

This was the only means of crossing the river Vltava River until 1841 as it was an important connection between Prague Castle and the city’s Old Town. You can actually go into the Towers at both ends and you get great views of the city, giving the best Sunset Views. The tower near the lesser town is actually better if you only want to do one.

The Palace and Cathedral Grounds

The castle and palace grounds are visible from the river. Simply head up the hill from Charles Bridge you can enter the castle grounds and enjoy the area. You may also see the changing of the guard. At night, don’t forget to say hello to the ghost (I got a spooky and unexplainable picture here many years ago).

St. Vitus Cathedral Prague is situated entirely within the Prague Castle complex.

Wenceslas Square

Wenceslas Square is the main square in the center of Prague. However, it is not actually square but more like a 700m long boulevard with many shops and restaurants along the length of it, Wenceslas Square reminds rather of a boulevard full of shops, focusing on various products from fashion to technologies. The square has been the place where many of the most famous demonstrations have taken place in Czech history. The focal point for Wenceslas Square is the National Museum which was founded in 1818 and was built in the neo-renaissance style. When I was here in 2002 the building was quite dull and ravaged by the elements but on my return in 2020 the building had been cleaned and sandblasted and looked amazing.

Some other of the Best places to visit Prague – in short

If you are in Stare Mesto take a look up as you are walking the street and you may just see the Golden Statue of Sigmund Freud. You can also get a great view of the city if you take the Petrin Hill Funicular. Finally, if you are interested in literature then you just have to visit the Franz Kafka Museum.

Food in Prague

The Food in Prague is amazing. If you want to try the local delicacies then you have to try Knedlíky, or Czech Dumplings, and the best place to find these is Deminka at Škrétova 1, 120 00 Nové Město, Czechia – wonderful service, 5-star food, and you have to pair the food with a Pilsner Urequel. If you are looking for a 5-star snack then try the Grand Cafe Orient for its strudel and coffee. One of the other 5-star recommendations for traditional Czech food is Restaurace Mincovna located in Old Town Square; the food is amazing and I recommend making a recommendation. I also recommend Restaurant Mustek, a 4-star recommendation  (at the bottom of Wenceslas Square opposite the entrance to the Mustek metro stop) – they serve great food, we visited 3 times, and 2 times were excellent but on the 3rd visit our server had a problem when we asked for tap water (refused it) with the meal, which was the only reason our server was not tipped. 

Prague is a wonderful city and I have traveled there about 4 times now, each time I found something new to enjoy. The food and the friendliness of the people are real selling points of the city.

A view of Prague from the Palace side of Prague taken at Dusk