I have seen these questions circulating on various travel blogs and Youtube channels and thought it’d be fun to participate! I will share my answers, then a list of the questions for you to use. Feel free to write your answers in the comments, or share a link to your own blog if you answer them there.
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The Wanderlust Tag
1. What is your favourite, most treasured passport stamp?
Most of the countries I’ve visited haven’t stamped my passport, as I either entered using an electronic passport (which gets scanned, rather than stamped) or they were within the Schengen zone, where you can move between particular European countries without having your ID checked. Although I wouldn’t say it’s my most treasured stamp, there was a feeling of satisfaction receiving a stamp in China. The visa paperwork was a tedious process for myself and my family, so it was good to finally enter the country and put the bureaucracy behind us!
2. Can you recite your passport number by memory?
I could have a good go at reciting it but would probably jumble some of the numbers. I definitely know the date of issue and expiry date!
3. What is your favourite means of transport: trains, planes or cars?
Planes, although it really saddens me how terrible they are for the planet in terms of carbon pollution. When travelling by plane, I try to fly directly instead of having stopovers. Although I can drive, I don’t have a car and hardly any of my friends do either, so I rarely get inside one nowadays. I enjoy travelling by train, but unfortunately train fares in England (where I’m from) and Germany (where I live) are very expensive unless you manage to find a special 2-for-1 offer or group ticket. When I can, I travel by coach for shorter distances (for example, National Express or Flixbus).
4. What are your top three travel items?
Besides essentials like cash and my passport, my first choice is my phone, which also serves as a camera and GPS. I always download Googlemaps offline so I can navigate my way around without relying on public WiFi or patchy data. I also download a lot of blog posts and articles onto my phone about the place I’m visiting.
My second item would be comfortable shoes. Blisters suck! I haven’t got a shred of elegance when it comes to heels; I stumble around like a drunk elephant with poor eyesight. Therefore I always choose comfort over style; my trainers accompany me on every trip and in warmer climates, I have a pair of sturdy, sensible flat sandals (which also look nice!).
My third item would be my kindle. Fortunately I don’t suffer from travel sickness and am able to read on planes and public transport. I am an avid reader; currently undertaking the Goodreads challenge to read 30 books in 2019! Travelling provides me with the most downtime to become engrossed in a story. My kindle keeps me
sane company while waiting at airports or for delayed buses and trains to arrive. It’s also a fantastic space saver, currently holding 200+ books! Imagine dragging that many around in suitcases!
5. Hotels or hostels?
I’d actually choose secret option C – rental apartments like Airbnb – because I enjoy living like a local, having access to fully-equipped kitchens and washing machines. I like to visit nearby supermarkets, fill the apartment’s fridge with local snacks and save money by eating in some of the time (usually at breakfast).
From the hotel or hostel option, I would choose hostels (preferably a private room). I feel that many of the services provided by hotels are not necessary for me; freshly laundered bed linen and towels, minibars stocked with overpriced beverages, room service and front desk/concierge assistance. I always do a lot of research before I travel, especially about where to eat and drink, and would rather trust in that than a concierge’s recommendation (which could be to a substandard restaurant owned by a friend of theirs!). Hostels suit me better as the ones I’ve stayed in have been sociable, safe and secure, without the frills and extra services provided by hotels.
6. Are you a repeat visitor or do you like to visit new locations?
The majority of the time, I visit new locations. The planet is expansive and fantastic and I want to see as much of it as I can. However there are some places I revisit: namely London (where my family and several good friends live) and Rome. London is such an exciting, dynamic city; there are so many museums, art galleries, historic monuments and events, along with new restaurants opening on a weekly basis. Rome is just magical; la città del mio cuore. I will never tire of it.
There are some places I visited as a child that I would like to see again, as some I barely remember and others I’ve completely forgotten (My long-term memory is shockingly bad!). Since moving abroad, I’ve met lots of people from all over the globe. Some have since returned to their home countries and I think it’d be fun to visit them there, even if it’s somewhere I’ve been before. That way we could catch up and I’d have a more authentic experience with someone who is really familiar with the local area (and language!).
7. Do you read up on your destinations or do you just wing it?
I’m not really the wing it type! I do my research; watching Youtube videos, reading blog posts, scouring articles and exploring Instagram hashtags. As I said earlier, I don’t often revisit places so want to make the most of my time there. Of course I enjoy some spontaneity and flexibility while I’m exploring a new place – I certainly don’t create a rigid itinerary of what I’m doing every hour on the hour. However I like to be in the know about the main tourist attractions, recommended local restaurants and drinking holes and any hidden gems I’ve heard or read about.
8. What’s your favourite travel website?
Skyscanner is my go-to site for great flight deals. I always access it in incognito mode to avoid cookies registering my interest in certain routes (and the airlines bumping their prices as a result). I don’t know if this actually happens or it’s just an urban legend… but I don’t want to risk it!
9. What place you are mostly likely to recommend for a friend to visit?
It depends what kind of holiday my friend enjoys; whether they like wandering around cities, relaxing on beaches, hiking up hills or skiing down mountains! It also depends on their budget and how much annual leave they have. My favourite country that I’ve visited so far is Italy; fascinating history, delicious food, beautiful scenery, sandy beaches and gorgeous weather for most of the year. However so many places have their own, unique charm and appeal that I would try to personalise a recommendation as much as possible.
10. If money was no object and you were leaving tomorrow, where would you go and why?
Oh how I wish this was true! The majority of countries at the top of my wishlist are in East Asia (such as Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea and Japan, to name a few!) so I would jet off on an incredible tour of the continent that intrigues me the most!
The Wanderlust tag questions
- What is your favourite, most treasured passport stamp?
- Can you recite your passport number by memory?
- What is your favourite means of transport: trains, planes or cars?
- What are your top three travel items?
- Hotels or hostels?
- Are you a repeat visitor or do you like to visit new locations?
- Do you read up on your destinations or do you just wing it?
- What’s your favourite travel website?
- What place you are mostly likely to recommend for a friend to visit?
- If money was no object and you were leaving tomorrow, where would you go and why?
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my answers. I look forward to seeing yours!
The Curious Sparrow
Ooh fun! Really enjoyed reading this one. I’ll play!
What is your favourite, most treasured passport stamp?
It’s so annoying that European countries don’t stamp anymore but maybe post-Brexit we can start collecting them?! I have a full page visa from Uganda in my passport that has a photo of me printed on it which they did on arrival in Entebbe. I’d been on two long-haul flights and look like a zombie in it, but it’s kinda funny and is stuck in my passport forever more, so I’ll go with that one!
Can you recite your passport number by memory?
Unlike you, I have no idea what the numbers are!! I have it saved on my computer and phone and do a lazy copy-paste…
What is your favourite means of transport: trains, planes or cars?
I love travelling but I hate the journey. I get travel sick (especially on coaches, so they’re a no-go for me), I don’t really enjoy driving, and find trains boring. I fly a lot but I’m a nervous flier. Travel for me is definitely about the destination!
What are your top three travel items?
I always take a travel guide book for a longer trip where I’m travelling around a country so I have a reference point for all the places I’m visiting, and because I love reading the history and culture sections when I am in a place. I take a notebook and pen to journal. Lastly, my Nikon camera has to come, along with my spare lens and a rucksack that I can carry it around in, especially on hikes.
Hotels or hostels?
Totally agree with hidden option #3 – I much prefer AirBnB and experiencing a place like a local as well, and it’s a good way to meet locals and get tips from them. I’m also a big fan of camping or hiring a campervan – I love sleeping in nature. However I’d pick hotels over hostels if I had to choose between the two. I’ve done a lot of hostelling in the past and I’m over the dirty communal showers and people snoring in dorms!
Are you a repeat visitor or do you like to visit new locations?
Oooh it depends. I’m probably mostly a repeat visitor to a country, but to see different parts of it. There are some countries I don’t tire of – there’s so much to see in places like the US and Canada, simply because they are very vast and diverse and culturally different in different areas. There are also some cities in Europe I love returning to – Berlin, Vienna, Paris, for example.
Do you read up on your destinations or do you just wing it?
If it’s a long-haul destination where we’re travelling around, I do shed loads of research. If it’s a city trip I wing it. I love just wandering around a city and discovering it. However I’ve recently learnt that some research on restaurants and booking tables in advance is sensible if you want to actually have dinner, a mistake we made in Prague last year!
What’s your favourite travel website?
I am with you on Skyscanner (and I am also wary of the rumour about the cookies!) . I also love the Trip Advisor forums and always use them – it’s so useful being able to ask location experts for help on itineraries, especially as when we travel, we are always travelling around a place.
What place you are mostly likely to recommend for a friend to visit?
I agree with you Isie, it depends on what they like to do. I’m really adventurous and appreciate that hiking through the rainforests of Africa isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time. However two places that have something for everyone are New Zealand and Canada (B.C and Alberta.) . Both places are safe, have metropolitan cities, the most incredible nature you’re going to see, are good to travel with or without kids, are easily drivable, have good food scenes, and offer a range of activities whether you want something cultural or something that involves being in the Great Outdoors.
If money was no object and you were leaving tomorrow, where would you go and why?
I’d go to Kamchatka, on the very eastern side of Russia. It’s a true wilderness and you need a lot of money to visit it as much of it is only accessible by helicopter. Or I’d go to Antartica. That is a stamp I want in my passport!
Thanks for playing 😀 Why did I not think of writing my passport number onto my computer/phone and simply copy & pasting it each time?
I forgot to mention pre-booking restaurants; we do that too with restaurants we really want to visit. Especially in a foodie hotspot where there are so many great restaurants we want to squeeze into a limited number of days.
When you journal during your trips, do you write about what you did/saw/ate/drank during each day?