How to deal with the Travelling Blues – Don’t let them ruin your trip!

The travelling blues are more common than you’d imagine and it’s time we started talking openly about how travel can affect mental health – both positively and negatively.

You see depression, anxiety and low mood don’t just affect us when the cards are turned. In my other job as a GP doctor, I see people every day who are suffering from mental health problems despite life being pretty damn good in just about every other department. This can leave them feeling frustrated, sometimes even guilty, as well as low.

Similarly, being on the trip of a lifetime doesn’t necessarily protect you from experiencing the travelling blues. Depression, low mood and anxiety can affect you at any time, in any country and sometimes being away from home can make it seem even more overwhelming.

Since I am passionate about travel health, I wanted to start a discussion about the travel blues. What are they? Why do we get them? How can we avoid them? How can we treat the travelling blues if they do occur?

I will also be touching upon the post-travel blues and also how travel can actually help cure depression and help us cope with trauma.

We’ll also hear from some other travellers about their own experiences with the traveller’s blues.

girl experiencing the travelling blues sitting on a cliff

What you can expect from this article…

What are the travelling Blues?

We all have good and bad days regardless of our mental well being, regardless of our activities. There will always be days where we roll out of bed the wrong side and it seems like luck is just not on our side. That’s normal.

However, someone experiencing the travelling blues will find the bad days start to outweigh the good ones. Getting dressed and leaving their hotel room becomes a real effort. They may feel lonely, isolated, anxious… They may find themselves feeling sad despite being somewhere they’ve dreamt of visiting for many years. They should be jumping for joy but instead, they feel flat and apathetic.

What is the difference between the travelling blues and the post-travel blues?

More people are familiar with the post-travel blues. This post-travel depression occurs after you return home from a trip. Life back home has lost its gleam and readjusting to normal life can be a challenge.

The travelling blues by comparison occur whilst the person is away from home. They are more unexpected as most people imagine they will feel really happy whilst they are travelling. They are having once-in-a-lifetime experiences every day so the person may not understand why they feel so low.

But as you’ll see below, there are many reasons why a person might experience the traveller’s blues…

man with the travel blues sitting on a rock in a lake at sunset

Why do we get the Travellers blues?

Loneliness

The most common reason for people experiencing traveller’s depression is loneliness. Sometimes travelling solo can actually help us make lots of new friends especially if you are staying in a hostel or taking lots of day trips. But if you are staying in hotels or are somewhere off the beaten track, you may feel isolated, especially if you don’t speak the local lingo.

I regularly get the travel blues. I’m single and although I’m quite used to travelling alone, it can be really hard when I find myself in some stunning location with no one to share it with. It’s even worse when I’m somewhere incredibly romantic, surrounded by loved-up couples. In Santorini I must have seen about six weddings in a single day, while in Uganda I stayed in the most impossibly romantic luxury safari lodge where I sat on the veranda overlooking this incredible view and cried. But when this happens, all I can do is let it pass, remind myself how lucky I am to be there, and then find something to do to distract myself until the blues go away again. By Bella from Passport & Pixels

Although travel has always been something that makes me feel happy and fulfilled, once my husband and I started travelling full-time I started to realize that I needed certain things in order to stay happy. We both work from home teaching English online, which has made our life of travel possible but also started to trigger my depression. It became difficult to leave the house except for grocery shopping when we were travelling long-term in Turkey. I didn’t have much of a link to the local community and felt pretty isolated and without much of a reason to go outside. After a while, I realized that in order to stay happy I needed friends and something to get me out of the house since that wasn’t required for work. Now when we travel to a new place, I have a personal list of things that help me avoid depression. This list includes things like joining a gym, going to a local church on Sundays, making sure to shower every other day, etc. Having a list like this has made travel so much more enjoyable and makes it possible for me to stay happy even while travelling for long periods of time.” By Dayna from Happily Ever Travels

Exhaustion

Another super common reason is exhaustion. I’ve felt this myself. I have to fit my travel in and around my job as a doctor often meaning I’m short on time and have to travel quickly. I am very prone to trying to cram too much and moving too quickly between places. Constantly packing and unpacking and rushing between places makes me feel jaded and the gleam starts to wear off. Every time I tell myself I’ll travel slower next time. Yet it never happens…

Everyone has their travel breaking point, it might be after 2 weeks, 3 months, or even a year, but everyone will get travel fatigue at some point! For me it came a couple of months after beginning long term travel. I suddenly wanted to do nothing more than stay in and watch Netflix, eat comfort food and Skype friends and family back home. 
The worst thing I did was try and ignore it and push on! If your body is telling you it needs a break, take one! Sometimes you just need to lay in bed all day watching Netflix
By Ashlea from Dashing Around The World.

It was after winning a travel award and being overwhelmed by press trips that I first experienced homesickness.  I’d been to India, Sri Lanka, Portugal, Spain and France.  I had one more invite that I was really looking forward to.  A health and fitness gulet cruise around the Mediterranean with just a few other members of the press.  The itinerary took us from Rhodes to Marmaris around a stunning coastline, stopping off in deserted coves and small village harbours, kayaking, hiking and swimming in the sea.  Idyllic.  But, I couldn’t stop crying.  It was beautiful and yet I wanted to be home – in my own bed.  I understood for the first time that phrase ‘the company of strangers’.  And though I’ve made a lifelong friend from that trip I know it just didn’t work for me.  Through no fault of the tour company – and through nothing more than inexperience on my part.  Now I pace myself and try to avoid overbooking!By Fiona from London Unattached.

Missing Home

Often going travelling means extended time away from our loved ones. Whether that’s your parents, friends or a partner. Sometimes we don’t realise how much we rely on these people until we can’t lean on them. Even with decent wifi access, we still rely on being in similar timezones to be able to stay in regular contact. As well as our loved ones, we may miss home comforts such as familiar food, a comfy bed, a more comfortable climate…

I experienced homesickness when I was living in Australia for a few years. Although I visited home regularly, it really hit me how far away I was when we lost my grandfather and I couldn’t get back for the funeral. Around the same time, my Mum also had some worrying test results and I couldn’t be there to support her. (Don’t worry, she’s fine now!)

The first time I travelled overseas was for 6 weeks through France, Germany and Poland with my now husband and his family. While it was the most amazing first international travel experience, with my first time seeing snow and celebrating a white Christmas, it was also my first time away from my own family for Christmas. By this point, we had been away for almost a month and I really felt the distance over those festive days. Sometimes I needed to take time out and read a book or something else on my own when the homesick feelings kicked in. However, I am completely grateful for that trip and we have done many as an extended family since.By Holly from Four Around The World.

It was some time in my second year of travelling with my daughters in East Asia, when one morning I woke up with the realisation I cannot do this any more. I cannot have another portion of rice, I cannot have another deep-fried chicken and sleep in another hotel bed. I was living exactly how I wanted to live and it was a strange thing to complain about, but I just simply and suddenly got tired of travelling and had to go back home. I called my husband and in 3 day’s time, I was back home in Muscat.  The next day I went to the doctor and it turned out that I had anaemia. Soon enough I was back up and out.  Now I’m ok and have been back to travelling for the past three years – but paying more attention to stay well-nourished when we travel.By Ania from The Travelling Twins.

My best friend and I once ditched traditional British Christmas to spend Christmas in Lagos in the Algarve, Portugal, eager to escape the mundane reality of family Christmas as single ladies. I’ve been to Lagos a few times and it’s always bustling, but this was late December and it was a ghost town. Many bars and shops had closed for the season and come Christmas Day, although we did get to devour a mouthwatering three-course Portuguese meal, it wasn’t the same as a roast turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Walking back to our hotel, we peered into warmly wit windows to see families huddled around their tables eating Christmas dinner. A wave of sadness came over me and at this moment, I knew I’d never spend Christmas away from home ever again.” By Kacie from The Rare Welshbit

girl sat in a field looking sad with the travellers blues

Strain on relationships

If you are travelling with someone, it can feel really intense. You will be in each other’s pockets 24/7. This can put pressure on relationships and you start to worry that means there are cracks beginning to show. This can lead to problems with your mood or anxiety.

I once travelled with a friend who wasn’t an experienced traveller. When things went wrong, she needed to moan and vent. My approach was to laugh it off and cope using humour. We clashed in a way we never clashed back home. When things went wrong like the airline losing our luggage, it was harder to cope with as I was already feeling sad that my friendship was suddenly so precarious.

Sickness

When I was in Peru, I got really sick. I very narrowly avoided admission to hospital and spent an entire week confined to my hotel room. I was so dehydrated but I was too sick to leave my hotel room to collect water. When I eventually did, I felt like I’d climbed Everest.

I’m usually a really independent person and I cope with sickness without leaning on other people. But when I knew that there was no one to lean on and I had to rely on myself despite being so sick, it was pretty scary. I just wished I was at home being looked after by my Mum like when I was a child!

Unresolved Conflicts back home

Sometime’s we travel to avoid problems back home. Sometimes that can help us gain perspective and improve our mood as we will discuss shortly. But if there is a big problem you are avoiding back home, this can hang over you like a big black cloud. Make sure you are travelling for the right reasons.

man sat on a jetty on a bleak day suffering with travel depression

When things go wrong on holiday

Travel does not always go smoothly. It may be dealing with lost luggage, dirty accommodation, sickness, problems with tour guides or disagreements with your travel companions. You may even experience something much worse like a natural disaster. Things that you may cope with well at home, may feel a lot harder when you are alone and away from your loved ones.

You can get the travel blues even when you’re visiting a world wonder. I had dreamed about visiting Machu Picchu in Peru, but my experience was far from being perfect. Getting to the town from which you take the bus to Machu Picchu requires a 7-hour van ride from Cusco and a 3-hour walk, and the same goes for the return on the next day. With such horrible weather on both days, nightmare van rides, and the worst guide in the world, it didn’t matter I was looking at an iconic piece of history. I was completely miserable, and I was so happy to go back to Cusco. By Or from My Path in the World

Money worries

Travelling invariably costs more than you initially budget. There are always unexpected costs involved although there are of course many ways you can save money on travel. But running into money worries on the road is not uncommon and can cause travelling blues and additional anxiety.

Social Pressures

In this day and age where social media is an integral part of most people’s daily lives, there can be a lot of additional social pressures. People upload photo’s of them ‘living their best life.’ This can put pressure on people to feel like they need to compete and showcase that they are able to do the same.

Reading about other people’s experiences and seeing their heavily-photoshopped photos can build a certain amount of expectation. It’s possible the trip will not live up to your expectations, leading you to compare your experiences resulting in frustration and the travel blues.

How can we prevent the travel blues?

The travelling blues often strike us when we least expect it but there are ways we can try to prevent them.

Set realistic expectations…

Firstly we need to set realistic expectations. If all we know about a place is from the photos from Instagram, you may have a biased view of a place. Instead, read blog articles, join in forum discussions and speak to friends who’ve been to get an idea of what reality is.

Keep in touch with loved ones…

Find a way to keep in regular touch with friends and family. Work out what the time difference is and let them know when the best times will be to contact you. Make sure you have all your loved one’s numbers and email addresses stored somewhere safe. You could set up a Whatsapp group to keep people updated or get yourself a skype account so you can ring home on the wifi.

keep in touch with loved ones when you have the travel blues - man on the phone

Allow yourself rest days…

Allow yourself time to rest and don’t try to travel too fast for too long. Factor in rest days, especially either side of long flights and travel days. Sometimes you need a day to just relax and read a book or watch a film and that’s okay.

Avoid too much time on social media…

Avoid spending too much time on social media. Seeing what’s going on at home can make you feel homesick and lead to travel blues. Instead, focus on ‘being in the moment.’ You can tell all your friends all about it over a pint in the pub when you get back!

Make new travel friends…

Look for ways to meet people when you travel. Stay in the occasional dorm room or hostel, take day tours or join a group tour (I always recommend G Adventures.) You can also use websites like Tourlina and Backpackr.org to find travel buddies or use meetup.com to connect with locals with things in common.

making friends when you travel - picture of 3 girls laughing

How can we treat the travel blues

If you are unlucky enough to experience the traveller’s blues, there are various ways you can start to feel better, quicker.

Get plenty of exercise

Exercise is a brilliant treatment for any type of depression or anxiety and I recommend this to all my patients regardless of the cause of their low mood. Often it’s easy to incorporate exercise into your travels. You could hire a kayak to explore the coast, hike up a mountain or join a cycle tour around a city. Even just going for a brisk walk can help increase your heart rate which in turn gives you a little serotonin boost.

getting exercise can help you  bet the travelling blues - girl kayaking in the ocean

Learn Mindfulness skills

Try some mindfulness. Based on relaxation, meditation and breathing techniques, Mindfulness can help improve sleep, regulate moods and reduce anxiety. You can access Mindfulness via apps on your phone, websites, youtube videos or you can buy yourself a Mindfulness workbook. This makes it one of the easiest ways to manage depression and anxiety when you are travelling.

Try some online CBT

Another great resource for persistent travel blues, especially for those who are travelling longterm, are CBT websites such as Moodgym or Moodjuice. CBT or cognitive behavioural therapy encourages us to analyze our own patterns of behaviour, identify vicious circles and make changes to improve our wellbeing. You can do this anywhere as long as you have access to the internet.

Get some rest and look after yourself

Get plenty of rest. This might involve taking a break from travelling to stay in one place for a while until you are feeling better. Avoid drinking too much alcohol as it’s actually a depressant and make sure you fill your body with nutritious foods. Take time to enjoy the things you love such as curling up with a good book.

relaxing in a hammock

Get in touch with your loved ones

A quick chat with a loved one can make you feel so much better. So send them a message to schedule a time which works for you both with the time difference and have a good chinwag with someone who knows you well. Often they can offer some words of wisdom to help put things in perspective for you.

Make some friends

If loneliness has been one of the triggers for your travelling blues, then get out and meet some people. It can be hard when you are feeling low as you may be lacking motivation. But it will be worth it. Join a group tour – either a day trip or an extended tour – or find a sociable hostel where you can meet new people.

Find a community which will understand

If your friends and family don’t travel much, they may find it hard to understand why you are feeling low when you should be having the time of your life! But remember there are plenty of people out there who will understand. There are lots of online communities which you can look to for advice and support or just to get some reassurance that you’re not alone. Girls Love Travel and The Lonely Planet Traveller’s Group on Facebook are a couple of my favourite places to connect with like-minded people.

Seek professional help

If you’ve tried all the above suggestions and your mood is still not improving, it may be time to seek professional help. Sometimes the traveller’s blues can progress into a full-blown case of depression. Make sure you have travel insurance so that you can always get medical advice when you are abroad if you need it. I recommend World Nomads for insurance.

And finally, just be kind to yourself…

girl jumping in air on a mountain finally free of the traveller's blues

How to cope with Post Travel blues

Let’s take a moment to talk about the post-travel blues. They are even more common than the travelling blues. They can range from mild apathy following a brilliant holiday to full-blown post-travel depression.

It’s common to feel a little lost when you get home. Nothing feels quite as exciting. You’re friends don’t want to chat travel 24/7 like you do. Household chores, food shopping and returning to work replace hiking up mountains and relaxing on beaches. You feel like travel has changed you and yet nothing has changed back home.

There are various ways to cope with the post-travel blues. Here are just a few suggestions to help you get back to normality;

  • Keep busy and surround yourself with people you love.
  • Explore your local area like a tourist, travel doesn’t always have to involve an international flight…
  • Reflect on your trip by building a scrapbook or photo album.
  • Start planning the next trip even if it’s just writing out an adventure bucket list and sticking it to your fridge door.
  • Take up a new hobby to keep you focussed and excited about life.
  • Cook your favourite foods that you missed whilst you were away.
  • Write a list of all the things you missed whilst you were away and work your way through the list.

I’ve never experience the traveller’s blues whilst travelling but certainly coming back from long term travel can be difficult! Travel represents everything I love in life; excitement of meeting new people, seeing new things and experiencing the sites and sounds of a new place! Coming home to the monotony of route and work and household chores can be tough! For me the best way to get over these blues is to book more travel. But if annual leave, bank balances and life gets in the way, I find exploring things closer to home and having home adventures can be a great tonic!By Leona from Wandermust Family 

“When I came home after a year in Australia I was definitely not prepared for all the emotions that came with it. I was excited to see friends and family but somehow I felt like I’m not in the right place. No one seemed to notice how much I had changed in the past year and I couldn’t understand what was going on. Thing is, back home things aren’t moving so fast and often people are jealous of our adventures. Even if they don’t admit it. My journey of getting over this post-travel depression taught me gratitude and acceptance. And I discovered a whole new love for my hometown. Basically, you just want to treat your life back home as if you were still travelling. Having a happy and exciting life does not depend on the place we physically live in, it starts in our head.” By Valerie from Valeries Adventure time.

How travel can actually treat depression

It’s not all doom and gloom. In fact, travel usually lifts the spirits and can in some case help you heal after a personal trauma, recover from a breakup and can even help beat depression.

Travel gives you something to look forward to. Your increased activity levels can help lift your mood. Achieving goals like climbing a mountain at high altitude can give you a sense of purpose.

Two of my extended trips abroad were soon after a breakup. I didn’t exactly fly out the next day to avoid grieving my relationships but I did start planning my trip a month or two afterwards which helped give me something fun to think about rather than dwell on what had happened. Travelling solo built my confidence and made me realise I was okay on my own and that life as a singleton had its perks too.

In 2012 a close family member passed away and I was left in a state of grief for over a year. During that time my partner decided to do something nice by booking a trip to Belgium for my birthday. Whilst away, I was happy for the first time in a long time. Experiencing a new culture and activities was what I needed to help break out of my depression. I wasn’t ‘cured’ by any means but only weeks later I felt well enough to come off antidepressants. Travelling helped me see the joys in life again and gave me a new sense of enthusiasm for the things I was passionate about. By Rio from Opposite tourists

4 years ago I broke up with my first love. It was a difficult decision but essentially we drifted apart. He wanted to stay home and I wanted to travel. Shortly afterwards, I started to have panic attacks on every subway station I associated with him. Good thing I didn’t forget why we broke up. That summer I went to France and Serbia. Once I was on my way I was very sceptical that I made the right decision – maybe I should have settled down? Once I arrived at the hostel I got to speak to new people who were also traveling solo. We talked about our broken hearts and funny stories and so on. After that, I knew that I will be alright.By Albi from Ginger Around The Globe.

When my father passed away suddenly in 2017, I was destroyed and unable to handle the grief so I booked a trip. I had my first taste of healing in a cemetery in Mixquic, just outside of Mexico City, Mexico during Dia de Los Muertos. I watched silently as families all came together washing, repainting, and decorating the tombs with food offerings and bright orange Marigolds. There were some tears but there was joy and laughter as the children ran around as children do, memories were shared, songs were sung and the air was thick with love. Travelling as it had many times in the past, saved me yet again. Bringing me back to myself by showing me the beauty of the Mexican culture’s time-honoured tradition of remembering and cherishing those we have lost and miss so dearly.” By Courtney from Coco Betty.


I hope that if you are reading this whilst suffering from the travelling blues, that you are feeling more positive about ending the cycle of this travel depression. Don’t be too hard on yourself, it happens to all of us from time to time. But you will need to be proactive to get yourself back on track and enjoy your trip in the way you deserve to!

Happy travels…

How to avoid the travel blues when you are on vacation. Avoid gettign travel depression with these top tips to help your mental health whilst traveling

Top Tips for Visiting Hamburg

Many tourists visiting Germany often tend to head straight to the capital Berlin, which is, after all, the largest city. The country has a lot more to offer though, so why not choose to visit one of the equally stunning cities peppered throughout the country – a city just like Hamburg.

As Germany’s second largest city, it boasts plenty to see and do. Unusually in a country with only one strip of coastline, it is also is a port, of course on the North Sea Coast. If you’re planning a trip to Germany or simply want to find a little inspiration for where to take your next holiday, check out the tips for visiting Hamburg below.

Let’s Talk Accommodation

In a city romantically filled with canals that really do lend something to the atmosphere, ideally you want to be located close to one. And happily there is a great choice of locations to pick from. The Altstadt area is preferable as it is the oldest part of the city and one of the most picturesque. Accommodation like Fraser Suites Hamburg is ideal, since it is not only located in this charming area, surrounded by canals, but it is also conveniently close to a train station as well as the underground system.

And Getting About

Speaking of getting about the city, thanks to the extensive and efficient public transport system, visiting all of the sights is easy. Boasting buses, trains, the underground and even ferries, you can traverse the whole city without having to worry about taxi fees. Before your trip take a look at the HVV site, which has all the information about transport in Hamburg that you’re going to need for your trip.

What about the Sights

As a port as well as a large historical city, there are plenty of sights to take in during your visit. Hamburg is a charming mix of the old and the new, with large portions of the city having been rebuilt following WWII. For imposing Gothic architecture check out some of the churches or the Rathaus. For more modern German design, there is the Speicherstadt, which translates as ‘the warehouse district’. And don’t forget that Hamburg is often lauded as the Broadway of Germany, so it can be the perfect spot to take in a show too.

And Any Tasty Bites

Like any metropolis, you are always going to be able to find superior dining options, so it is well-worth taking advantage of them. The traditional cuisine of Hamburg tends to feature fish more heavily than elsewhere in Germany, so give Aalsuppe (eel soup) and Pannfisch (pan-fried fish) a try when you’re in the city. If you’re looking for what you know as a hamburger though, prepared to be disappointed – it’s an American invention! For the best restaurants, head to the HafenCity area which offers a great selection of restaurants to suit any tastes.

It’s a city that’s easy to visit and get around in, and boasts lots of things to see and do, so why not consider the vibrant and beautiful city of Hamburg for your next trip!

Security lines are about to get shorter for US…

Airport security signA sign reads "airport security" at an airport.

Colicaranica/Dreamstime

TSA workers are being redeployed to help with immigration at the Southwest border, CNN reports.

For some domestic travelers, airport security will soon become a whole lot easier.

Ninety-four per cent of people in the Transportation Security Administration’s PreCheck lanes clear the scanners in under five minutes, and now even more passengers are set to benefit from the agency’s expedited screening program. On Monday, the TSA added five international airlines to its roster of participating carriers: Austrian Airlines, Canada’s Swoop, PAL Express (Philippines Airlines), and the Mexico-based Viva Aerobus and Interjet.

Letting pre-approved fliers skip through security lines without the hassles of separating out their liquids, taking off their shoes, or pulling out their laptops, PreCheck is available for passengers on 72 domestic and international airlines, provided they’re US citizens, nationals, or permanent residents who’ve gotten the all-clear. (Members of the US Armed Forces are also eligible.) After being fingerprinted and passing a background check and an in-person interview, applicants pay US$85 for a five-year membership, gaining access to express lines on US departures and domestic connections after US returns. (For smoother reentry from overseas, Global Entry costs a little bit more, but it streamlines the customs process and includes PreCheck benefits, while SENTRI and NEXUS cover the Mexican and Canadian borders.)

With some 2.2 million passengers and crew members passing through TSA checkpoints daily, the agency recommends travelers arrive two hours early for domestic flights and three hours early for international—time that could be better spent on the ground, enjoying a destination, rather than waiting on line. Of course, PreCheck doesn’t completely guarantee expedited service either (the agency reserves the right to implement additional screening measures), but for many frequent fliers, the likelihood of an easier airport experience is worth the risk.

To learn more and to apply, visit tsa.gov.

Planning a Fantastic Hen Do: My Top 5 Destinations

I have to say I have attended hen dos but I am yet to plan one. Being in my late twenties and most of my friends being in long-term relationships, I’m expecting this to change at some point! I am actually looking forward to organising my first hen do for one of my friends and I have even given it some thought to which destination I would pick. Here are some of my favourites.

Barcelona

I have been to Barcelona on several occasions and always love the laid-back atmosphere of the city. If you’re looking to have a fantastic night out, the city is renowned for its many bars, restaurants and clubs – the perfect place for a hen do! Flying from the UK is pretty easy and depending on when you’re looking to go, the trip can be reasonably priced. I probably would avoid going in the middle of Summer but late Spring or early Autumn would be great times to go for a hen do weekend.

Dublin

If Dublin hasn’t been on your radar for a weekend away, I would highly recommend you take a closer look at the Irish capital. Whether you’re using the help of a company or organising the weekend yourself, there are many activities you can try. From silent disco to distillery tours or party buses, you’ll be able to have a great day and night out whatever you’re looking for. And if you’re looking to spend some time in a classic Irish pub, many like McGowans pub have spaces to hire so you can fully enjoy the experience.

Paris

Paris is a great place for a hen weekend away. Whether you’re looking for that French flair and luxury feeling or expect to have a great night out, Paris has it all (if you’ve seen my recent post, you’ll know that I’m a big Paris fan)! Relaxing spas, chic boutiques, hip bars and clubs, the choice is yours. Paris is also very easy to get to, particularly if you live in London as you’re only a couple of hours away by Eurostar. If you’re flying from anywhere else in the UK, Paris Charles De Gaulle is a major airport so you shouldn’t have issues to find a direct flight.

Berlin

If Berlin is further North and not everyone’s idea of a sunny weekend, it’s a beautiful city that should not be overlooked. From late Spring to early Autumn (which is the heart of hen party season anyway) the weather can be glorious so you can make the most of the many parks. Berlin is a very welcoming city that has a rich history as well as many food spots and bars, perfect for learning more about history, satisfying your foodie friends or enjoying a good night out! Germans are pretty good at speaking English too, so there’s no need to brush up on your Deutsch too much before leaving.

Edinburgh

Why go far when you have the Scottish capital ready for you? Edinburgh is a stunning city with a fabulous atmosphere, lovely small streets to stroll along and a bustling nightlife. Scottish people are well-known to be very welcoming (I should know as I live here!) and the city has many things to do for hen parties. Organise a spooky outing to the Edinburgh Dungeons or satisfy Harry Potter fans with a tour of the different shops of the capital or have a coffee where J.K Rowling wrote part of the books!

I hope this will inspire you for your next weekend away, hen do or not! And if you have any inspiration for other destinations or activities for hen weekends, I’d love to know!

Reducing your stress: ways to be more mindful

I’ve always been into ‘mindfulness’ as a concept – even though I had never really done anything to put this into practice. However, I recently have been trying to actively reduce my stress levels and improve my quality of sleep. If that’s something you’d like to look into as well, here are a few things you could try.

Yoga classes

Usually, the first thing that comes to mind when I mention Yoga is a series of perfectly executed poses that require a lot of flexibility whilst opening all your chakras. Truth is, you don’t have to be flexible or spiritual to try Yoga – you don’t even have to register to a class! If you’re looking to get started, there are plenty of videos on Youtube that are adapted to complete novices. I quite like Yoga With Adriene as she has a simple approach to Yoga and has a few videos for beginners. After a few weeks, you can also try joining a class to see how it feels!

Turn off your screens

Between phones, laptops and tablets, our lives are pretty much surrounded by screens. Most of us work all day on computers then go home to watch TV then browse social media on our phones before going to bed. Sounds like you? Having too much screen time can really affect sleep – which can lead to increased stress and is generally not great for our health. Try reducing your screen time outside of work hours (even better if you can take quick breaks from the screen during the day!): avoid starting your day on your phone and set up a cut off time for all devices at least one hour before going to bed. Since trying this out, I can really notice the difference and feel it’s a lot easier to fall asleep when I haven’t spent so much time on my phone in the evening.

Try meditation

I feel that most of us don’t have an accurate vision of what meditation is. Before trying it out, I just imagined something like a Buddhist Monk clearing his mind of all thoughts to achieve absolute peace. After some research and trying the app Headspace, I realised this wasn’t at all what I thought. Meditation is a great way to get some quiet time during your day, wind down, learn to reduce your stress and even get better sleep. The app makes it really easy, so even if you have no idea what you’re doing, it’s accessible to all.

Find a physical activity you love

Exercise is one of the best remedies against stress – so next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, instead of scoffing a pack of crisps in front of your favourite Netflix show (although there is nothing wrong with that!), try going for a run, a cardio class, or any sport you enjoy practising. After exercise, our ‘happy’ hormone is released, endorphins, giving us that amazing feeling after a workout. If running on a treadmill isn’t your thing, just find something you love so you’re always looking forward to it! My favourites include dancing and kickboxing.

Tai Chi

If most people think about Yoga when it comes to relaxing and practising mindfulness, Tai Chi is rarely on the list. I find it a great activity for people who are constantly busy and need to slow down as all movements are made slowly and with extreme mindfulness about how it is executed. You’re likely to find a class in your area so I would recommend giving it a try to see if that’s something that would suit you. I have tried it a few times and found that focusing on slowing down, relaxing and really paying attention to the movements was a very relaxing experience.

Learn something new

Whether that’s a new hobby or a new skill, learning something new through activities or courses is great for mental health and is an important part of mindfulness. I tried a ceramics class a while back and thoroughly enjoyed the experience of learning new things, meeting new people with similar interests and spending a couple of hours focusing on nothing else but the present moment in the class. You could join a crafts class or set to learn something by yourself like a new language! With the abundance of resources online, you can easily get started on your own.

I hope you found these tips useful and that they will help you on your journey to greater mindfulness. Do let me know if you try any of these of if you have any other tips!

My Top Food Spots in Paris

I recently went to Paris for 4 days for a work-related event. I had very little time to do any sightseeing – although I have been to Paris before, I never grow tired of a walk along the Quais de la Seine. I did, however, have some time to check on some of my favourites food spots in the French capital.

So whether you’re planning to go soon or if you needed any good reason to visit Paris, here are my top 5 places for food in Paris.

1. Bakeries

Ok so the first one isn’t a specific spot, but I just couldn’t NOT include french bakeries in this list. From fresh morning croissants to your lunch baguette, tasty pastries and quiches, finding an artisan boulanger or pâtissier is very easy. Whether you’re sticking to big avenues or strolling in smaller streets, you’re bound to find them in pretty much every corner.

If you want to do some research before you go and make sure you’re not missing on anything, you can always look for some of the best bakeries ahead of your trip.

2. Patrick Roger

Again, this isn’t particularly a lunch spot – unless you’re like me and are perfectly content stuffing your face with chocolate for lunch – but Patrick Roger is one of my favourite chocolatiers and every time I’m lucky enough to cross the Channel I make sure to visit to get some of my favourite treats. Their assortments are on the pricier side (but most renowned chocolatiers are over there) but these would make a lovely gift for a special occasion or if you really fancy treating yourself.

3. Les Freres Bretons

A regular feature among the best-rated restaurants in Paris on TripAdvisor, Les Freres Bretons is a traditional crêperie Bretonne where you can eat savoury crepes (galettes) as well as sweet ones as is the tradition in the west part of France. This place is a great choice, not only is it very affordable and with a casual atmosphere, but the service has always been fantastic every time I have visited. As a bonus, it is actually pretty close to the Eiffel Tower so if you’re visiting, this restaurant is a great option.

4. Pierre Hermé

Aside from chocolate, macarons are another favourite of mine! If La Durée is one of the most renowned names when it comes to these colourful treats, my personal favourite are actually from Pierre Hermé. They do have a shop (maybe even 2, I’m not sure but I have definitely seen one in Covent Garden) but I have made a rule never to visit when I’m in London. There something about strutting in Parisian streets with a carefully tied box of macarons that just makes me happy. Macarons are usually present in most bakeries so feel free to try different shops to find your favourite!

5. Le Train Bleu

Le Train Bleu is a fine dining restaurant in Gare de Lyon and as renowned for its food as it is for its name, having featured in several movies including the hilarious – my opinion here! – Mr Bean’s Holidays. Don’t expect adventurous cuisine here, but perfectly executed French classics in a sumptuous decor. It’s not far from the Jardin des Plantes, a lovely botanical garden next to the Seine, so if you fancy treating yourself before or after visiting I would highly recommend the place.

 

I’m hoping to go back to Paris soon so I can try more food and more places – I would love to hear your recommendations!

Prostate Cancer and Your Treatment Options

If you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, your treatment options are dependent on whether or not the cancer is localised and contained within the prostate, has become locally advanced and spread just outside the prostate or has become advanced and spread to other areas of the body.

In some cases, you will be given a choice of treatment options, which a specialist nurse or doctor will explain to you and help you choose the right treatment options for you. 

When it comes to your treatment options, your final choice is usually dependent on a several things, including:

  •     How quickly your prostate cancer is growing
  •     What stage your cancer is
  •     The advantages and disadvantages of your treatment options
  •     What each type of treatment entails
  •     The potential side effects of the treatment options available
  •     Your overall health and wellbeing

Localised prostate cancer treatment options 

Localised prostate cancer typically grows slowly and may not require treatment.  In some cases, your cancer can be monitored with regular check-ups. If you do decide to have cancer treatment, then this will aim to completely get rid of the cancer.  Both watchful waiting and active surveillance can be used to monitor the growth of localised prostate cancer. 

The main treatment options for localised prostate cancer include: 

In some cases, you may also be offered cryotherapy treatment, however, this is less common.

Locally advanced prostate cancer treatment options

This cancer stage refers to cancer that has started to spread outside of the prostate.  The main treatment options for this cancer stage include:

  •     Hormone therapy
  •     A combination of hormone therapy and external beam radiotherapy
  •     Surgery, followed by radiotherapy and hormone therapy
  •     Watchful waiting

Choosing a treatment option

Your treatment options will be highly dependent on how far your cancer has spread.  If you do have a number of treatment options to consider your doctor will be able to talk you through the treatment options and help you choose the right treatment for you.  

Advanced prostate cancer treatment options 

This cancer stage refers to prostate cancer that has spread from the prostate to other parts of the body.  If you have advanced prostate cancer, treatment will be unable to cure your cancer. However, it will be able to keep the cancer under control and help manage any symptoms.

If you are diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, the following treatment options may be available:

  •     Chemotherapy
  •     Clinical trials
  •     Hormone therapy

Top questions to ask your doctor 

Before your next appointment, you may find it useful to make a note of any questions you have for your doctor relating to your treatment options.  You may find it useful to ask some of these questions:

  •     How effective will your chosen treatment be?
  •     How quickly do you need to choose a treatment option?
  •     What treatments are available to me?
  •     Is the aim to completely get rid of my cancer or just keep it under control?

Getting into running

Whichever way you look at it, running is a pretty cool sport. From pushing to the fastest speeds, to mighty endurance battles, it really is amazing what the human body can do. And since you don’t need a huge amount of equipment to get into it, anybody can try it out.

If you want to get a bit leaner, stronger, and faster, then running can be the ideal way to do it, although you can’t expect to be running 5km straight away with ease, especially if you are not as fit as you could be. Follow these tips to get into running and keep running.

Walk and run

Getting the right movement and breathing rhythm can take a little bit of practice, and if you’re not used to running, you can quickly find yourself losing your puff. That’s why to begin with you should start out with walking and running intervals. This will mean the time that you run is smoother, and give you a recovery spell. As you progress in your training, shorten the walking periods and lengthen the running ones, until one day you find all you’re doing is running!

Get a good pair of trainers

It doesn’t matter really what you wear initially, but do invest in a good pair of trainers if you are planning on taking up running. Not only will they protect your feet, but they’ll help cushion your joints too, and minimise the potential for repetitive injury strains.

Try the treadmill

Running outdoors can actually be tougher than running on the treadmill, so take things easy and try the treadmill at the gym first. Since you’ll be paying some sort of membership or fee too, it is a great motivation to keep at the running!

For a great exercise buzz, it could be time to get into running.

Keeping it light – holiday style essentials

Are you one of those people that have a serious weight problem when it comes to their luggage? Do you always have a tendency to over pack just in case, yet never have anything useful to wear when you do arrive at your destination?

Especially for summer travel or travel to warmer climates, the key is to keep it light though. With the right essentials you can enjoy the hotter weather without regretting your luggage choices! Check out a few of the essentials you need right here.

Cotton

In hot places, cotton is your friend – it’s cool and airy and will help you to feel more comfortable when the temperature does rise. Cotton shorts, skirts and trousers and all great pieces that can be both dressed up and down, and a light cotton jumper is perfect for cooler evenings. And for layering up, don’t forget a classic pinstripe shirt.

All-purpose sandals

Happily enough, sturdy, sporty looking sandals are back in fashion, and they are such a versatile piece for your holidays. You can wear them during travel, to the beach and even for small hikes and site-seeing. And since shoes are one thing that can eat up both space and weight in your suitcase, it is really handy being able to take such a functional pair with you.

A great swimsuit

Your summer swimsuit deserves some serious consideration. It should be comfortable and flattering in all the right places, without leaving you feeling exposed. For the guys, board shorts are often the best choice since you can easily wear them to and from the beach too. And for the ladies, just pick a bikini or swimsuit that gives you the perfect coverage and support that you need, whilst leaving you feeling fantastic.

These are all small things that really help to lighten the load when it comes to luggage, so invest in them before your hols!

Top Reasons to Visit Oman in 2019

From scuba diving in beautiful tranquil waters to exploring ancient forts and reliving your best Laurence of Arabia memories in extraordinary desert camps, there are many reasons why Oman should be at the top of your 2019 travel bucket list!

We’re sure you’ll agree that a beach holiday in the beautiful Muscat will easily top the sophisticated travellers wish list, but Oman is also the go-to place for desert camps, scuba diving, fossil hunting like Indiana Jones, ancient forts, frankincense and spectacular turtle hatching.

Here’s our top 5 reasons to visit Oman this summer!

A land steeped in diversity

From the rolling lush green south to the desert-scape of the Empty Quarter, Oman offers a truly diverse landscape that is bound to impress nature lovers.  This beautiful country also has the highest mountain on the peninsula, along with hidden canyons, sparking seascapes and enchanting cities.

Get ready to experience authentic Arabia

It’s easy to see how Oman’s rich cultural heritage as a key trading post has created a strong sense of pride in the country’s ancient culture.  You’ll be pleased to hear that towns typically retain their classic Bedouin values and traditional charms. As well as getting to know the friendly locals, you should also enjoy the local cuisine which serves up history on a plate.  Get ready to sample spices from the sea trade with preserved fruit from the impressive Arabian Peninsula.

Fall in love in Muscat

We’re sure you’ll agree that romantic retreats certainly come in luxurious forms and none more luxurious than the accommodation in Muscat.  As well as offering five-star accommodation the city also plays host to a number of wonders. You can find out more about the top things to see in Muscat here.

Amazing sand-filled adventures

Get ready to enjoy the beauty of the desert at Wahiba Sands.  Here you’ll be able to enjoy camel trekking, dune-basking as well as camping under the spectacular starry night sky.

You can also enjoy hikes in the mountains, as well as spot fossils and you’ll find cliffs galore, making it a paradise for rock climbers. If that’s not enough of a reason to enjoy an activity-filled Oman adventure, the pristine waters surrounding this country offer some of the best scuba diving in the world.

A nature lover’s paradise

It’s easy to see why Oman has quickly become a haven for eco-tourists, as its diverse landscapes are home to an incredible array of birds, fauna and flora.  Unspoilt coastlines are teeming with vibrant marine life and if you’re lucky you’ll be able to spot both whales and dolphins!

As you can see, Oman is a welcoming year-round destination that offers exciting adventures for would-be travellers.  This land boasts palm-lined beaches, lush green mountains, towering deserts and impressive cityscapes where ancient charm meets luxury modern comfort.

Regardless of whether you’re looking to chase breath-taking scenery, enjoy your latest thrill-seeking adventure or in need of a serious culture fix, Oman will likely exceed any expectations!