Although I can say I’ve only really gotten the hang of travelling in the last few years, I’m certainly no stranger to road trips.

When I was nineteen, I headed off to Sunderland to study at university, a long five or six hour drive away. Although I didn’t drive at the time, I soon became used to catching the train home or long coach journeys with a decent book and perfectly curated playlists to keep me company. Five years ago, I grabbed some friends and headed off on my first mini road trip – following our favourite band around the UK. This was my first experience of planning a road trip and taught me loads. In April last year, I joined a TrekAmerica tour around Mexico which although I didn’t plan, was my first experience of a group tour/a road trip in another country. Then, finally, last summer, my ex-boyfriend and I did a road trip around Romania – and this included me learning how to drive on the opposite side of the road!

These were some of my favourite all-time trips and I feel like choosing to road trip/travel around each place gave me the opportunity to really get to know each country a lot better.

I also have a big road trip to plan for next year too, so I thought it might be time I do a blog post about my favourite tips for planning a road trip!

Formidable Joy | Travel | How to plan the best road trip | Lifestyle | Roadtrips

TAKE PLENTY OF TIME TO CHOOSE A VEHICLE
This is especially important if you’ll be roadtrippin’ around a different country where different rules apply. It’s tempting to go all out and book, say a classic convertible when travelling around the US but in reality, do you actually have any experience driving that kind of car? It’s really important to factor in these types of things because driving in a country other than your own is automatically going to make things a little more difficult. If it’s a long road trip, you might want to choose a car a bit more spacious. For example, here in the UK I drive a little Ford KA and have only been driving for three years now. In Romania, I had to learn to drive on the opposite side of the road in a giant minivan thing and let me tell you, drivers are crazy in Romania – especially in Bucharest! I was lucky enough to have three or four days to practice beforehand so depending on where you’re going and what you’ll be driving, it’s very important to put some time aside to practice beforehand. Take the time to research into hiring from a reputable source and, of course, ensure that if more than one of you can drive, all drivers are put on the insurance so driving time is shared out equally.

BE REALISTIC
A road trip can sometimes seem like a once in a lifetime trip so it’s very easy to get carried away with planning. Before you do anything, research and set a budget to stick to – this is easily done if you choose cheaper accommodation and stock up on food. Depending on how long the trip is, be realistic about time too – during our last trip, we thought one night in each place would be plenty of time but we didn’t take into account driving times at all. So some places we only saw very briefly in the evening – and with so much driving every single day, I ended up exhausted. Try to choose just a few essential places to stay at for more than one night and don’t be scared about being picky about where to go. Some places you’ll unfortunately just have to miss out (until next time anyway!) so make a list of must visit places and plan around these. Choose your travel partner wisely too – but no matter how well you pick, there will likely be one or two squabbles along the way. So it’s also important to pencil in some time out from each other too.

…BUT DON’T PLAN EVERYTHING
For longer trips especially, allow for some leeway. Pack a tent and allow yourself the opportunity to camp some nights or leave it closer to the time to book for some accommodation (and speaking of which, do mix it up with accommodation – it’s totally fun to book cheap and cheerful but this can also allow for one or two nicer hotel rooms which you’ll no doubt appreciate after a week of slumming it!) – you might try somewhere out of your comfort zone or get a better deal this way. Poke around and explore – in some cities, make a list of places you really want to go. For others? Allow yourself to just relax..you might find some interesting roadside attractions on the drive there or might rock up to find fun events going on. If you’re a bit of a control freak, it might be worth picking a friend who is a little more laid back than you so you can balance each other out. If they can encourage a night or two off the radar without freaking out, you could end up with some amazing memories!

GET APP SAVVY
There are tons of different apps to help you on your way – although it’s important to obviously plan in advance, gone are the days where you have to print of all your maps and directions in advance (although this could be a fun way to keep things old school!). I have had so much fun using Roadtrippers to plan my next big trip, as this includes tons of travel inspiration, offers realistic driving times and brings up a variety of quirky roadside attractions based on your journey. It also comes as an app too. I also love Waze – for journey updates – and Geosure – which helps you stay safe and find the safest locations during any trip. Oh, I’d also recommend checking out the Wish app in advance for some nifty little travel products like this little pouch for all your electricals (ideal when getting on and off of flights) or these cool car storage pockets.

AND LIMIT TECHNOLOGY USE
Plan ahead with your technology use – it’ll likely be worth getting a new sim for where you’re visiting and downloading maps and such to use offline whilst you’re on the road. Take photos, but try and limit using social media. Driving on the open road is a great excuse to connect back with nature and travel. Document your journey -do it old school with a notebook and polaroid camera! But if you really can’t give up your phone, there are plenty of apps that let you check in and add photos to an online scrapbook – just keep off Facebook and Twitter whilst you do so.

The thing about planning a road trip is that the planning of the trip is half the fun! Curating the best playlists and choosing the perfect snacks are surefire ways to get prepped for an amazing trip – so I tend to save these until last – or at least until I’ve got all the boring stuff out of the way like car insurance, buying flights etc. These are just some tips to help plan that perfect road trip – and everyone should take a road trip at least once in their life!

What are your road trip tips? Let me know!

 

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For my third and final day in Copenhagen, I decided to venture a little further afield and took an hour bus ride to the National Aquarium Denmark. I enjoyed my bus ride because I felt a lot less like a tourist – driving through the more local areas of Copenhagen.

Formidable Joy | Travel | 72 Hours in Copenhagen | Day Three | Copenhagen | Denmark | Europe | Budget Travel

The stunning aquarium was more than worth the hour’s journey – although it was overpacked with kids. However, it was nice. It was large and divided into four sections, including a giant glass wall to see into a large tank (where I watched a feeding show) and a transparent tunnel, to help get up and close with all the fish.

Formidable Joy | Travel | 72 Hours in Copenhagen | Day Three | Copenhagen | Denmark | Europe | Budget Travel
Formidable Joy | Travel | 72 Hours in Copenhagen | Day Three | Copenhagen | Denmark | Europe | Budget Travel
Formidable Joy | Travel | 72 Hours in Copenhagen | Day Three | Copenhagen | Denmark | Europe | Budget Travel

There was also a small outside jungle like area which reminded me of the Eden Project – here, there were another underground tunnel, small waterfalls and even piranha!

After this, I took a bus back into the town centre to just enjoy the scenery. I also ended up shopping…

Formidable Joy | Travel | 72 Hours in Copenhagen | Day Three | Copenhagen | Denmark | Europe | Budget Travel

My flight was really early in the morning (meaning I had to get up and leave my hostel by 4:30 am), so after shopping I took a final (slow) stroll to a local newsagents in the area and enjoyed seeing all the nice bars and graffiti -I’d definitely stay in the area of Nørrebro again – and probably the same hostel too!

So I grabbed some food and got an early night. I do wish I’d been able to make some friends whilst there to go to a few of the bars with, but there’s always next time of course.

Formidable Joy | Travel | 72 Hours in Copenhagen | Day Three | Copenhagen | Denmark | Europe | Budget Travel
Formidable Joy | Travel | 72 Hours in Copenhagen | Day Three | Copenhagen | Denmark | Europe | Budget Travel

What really surprised me was how settled I felt even by my second day. Two girls I was sharing a dorm with spent one day on their laptops and ringing around to book rooms for their next adventure…and I just looked at them thinking how easily I could do that!

Once upon a time, the thought of travelling scared me so much, especaially travelling alone. But now that I have more experience, I could very easily vision myself sitting there, making bookings for wherever I was going next..not panicking because I wouldn’t yet have a room. Eating at budget places or hitting up a place’s equivalent of ALDI…I can do it!

Maybe some long-term travel will be my next adventure.

Overall though, Copenhagen was really lovely. It was slightly expensive – but easily done on a budget – and I’d love to return one day for Christmas.

Have you ever been to Copenhagen? Let me know!

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I know we’ve still got a few months left of 2018 but with no plans to travel anymore this year (because a) the cold and b) I’m skint), I’m already looking ahead to my travel plans for 2019.

Now is really the time to start looking and planning; this far in advance flights are just that little bit cheaper (I use the Hopper app to keep an eye on flight prices), Christmas is coming up so it’s the perfect opportunity to ask for travel accessories/travel money as a gift and, when the nights are long and cold, there’s nothing better than snuggling up warm and planning ahead for sunnier days.

Here’s what I’ve got in mind for 2019 – both already booked and wishful thinking!

Formidable Joy | 2019 Travel Plans | Lisbon | Portugal | Trek America Mountie Tour | Canada | Romania | Edinburgh[Source]

LISBON, PORTUGAL
I finally got to visit Portugal briefly this year with work but that was just to Porto; Lisbon is still high on my must-visit list. I’ve been wanting to go for years now – so many people have told me how amazing it is and so when I saw twenty one pilots had a date their for their Bandito tour, I snapped tickets up quickly. This will probably just be a long weekend solo in March so it’ll be more sightseeing and less partying, even though I’ve heard great things about Lisbon’s nightlife. Still, it’s an excuse to go back again though!

TREK AMERICA MOUNTIE TOUR, CANADA
I am a big fan of Trek America tours – despite having only gone on one last year – and have been looking for an excuse to go on another ever since. I have always liked the look of Canada with its stunning scenery and beautiful mountains and lakes – plus, let’s not forget the actual Lake Louise! So I’m going to aim to save up and do this tour late next year if I can get the time off work.

ROMANIA
I’ve wanted to visit Romania again for a while now, but was kind of put off the idea because of the big break up and was worried I’d find it too upsetting. Then I found out my ex took his new girlfriend back to Romania on the exact same trip/road trip we went on to all the places we went to then decided I didn’t give a sh*t anymore if he didn’t (#sorrynotsorry). So now I’d like to go back and re-create my own memories that don’t remind me of him. I mentioned in a recent blog post that I love the sound of The Dracula Experience tour with Untravelled Paths, but I also really, really want to go for Untold Festival and Electric Castle Festival. So maybe I’ll combine the tour with a music festival in the summer.

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND
I say this every year, but I really just want to meet a nice boy and celebrate NYE with him (and friends) in Edinburgh because it’s meant to be one of the most amazing places to celebrate NYE. The street parties look amazing, plus there’s so much to do in Edinburgh anyway, from the castle and the quirky Camera Obscura museum, to the many, many pubs. A Christmas or new year trip here would be terribly romantic.

SOMEWHERE WARM
Finally, although this is a vague choice, I’d actually like to just go somewhere warm for maybe a week or long weekend next year. I don’t care where, I just want somewhere plush and relaxing. I tend to choose adventure holidays over relaxing ones but this year has been so demanding that I feel like I need somewhere where I can just take a time out and take my time to, well, do nothing apart from read, eat and enjoy the sun…so if you have any recommendations, hit me up!

Are you looking ahead to your 2019 travel plans yet? Let me know what you’re planning!

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I know I praise London a hell of a lot – especially for Halloween-related events – but London isn’t local for everyone. Luckily, there are plenty of cities other than London you can visit to still get your spook on, even if you aren’t close to the capital.

Here are five must-visit cities (around Europe) worth visiting this Halloween…

Formidable Joy | 5 must visit cities to visit for Halloween | Halloween | Travel | Bran, Romania | Berlin, Germany | Prague, Czech Republic | Budapest, Hungary | Edinburgh, Scotland

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND
Edinburgh is a town that’s rich with history and, paired with its old grey buildings and narrow winding pebble stoned streets, it’s the perfect setting for a horror story. For something a bit different (but traditional), there’s folklore, fire, music and street theatre performances at the Samhuinn Fire Festival (aka the pagan celebration of the end of the harvest season and arrival of winter), or for fun spooks, there’s the Edinburgh Dungeons. Too touristy? Try a visit to The Real Mary King’s Close, a warren of underground streets and spaces: creepy enough without the added scares! Elsewhere, Mercat Tours offer scary walking tours of haunted streets and graveyards, and for something totally authentic: Edinburgh Castle. There are no Halloween specific events running but don’t the best scares occur when you don’t go looking for them..?

BERLIN, GERMANY
Berlin is a place filled with culture and, come nighttime, many clubs with a fetish edge. But if you head just outside of the city, you’ll find Filmpark Babelsberg, an immersive theme park-come-giant film set. At Halloween, it transforms into their annual Horrornaechte celebration which sees the entire park transformed into another reality with Halloween horror, props, actors and performances. In the actual city of Berlin, however, trick-or-treating is still as popular as ever, and head to the clubs for the best Halloween parties in all of Europe.

BRAN, ROMANIA
Why not go straight to the source this Halloween and visit the Dracula’s Castle? Untravelled Paths offer The Dracula Experience – a four-day tour across Romania which includes a visit to Bran Castle. Day one begins with Romania’s lively capital Bucharest, which is filled with bars, cafes and shops, before a transfer to Transylvania the following day. On this day, you’ll visit the tomb where Dracula was buried before visiting his infamous castle (but if you prefer your scares jumpy, make sure you make time for a small but hilarious horror house a stone’s throw away from the castle). Then it’s over to the beautiful medieval town of Brasov for traditional sightseeing and charming bars. The following day includes visits to Rasnov Fortress and a stay in medieval Sighisoara (the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler). The last full day features a transfer to Balea Lake for lunch (travelling via Transfagarasan!) before a visit to Poenari Castle, the supposed ‘real’ Dracula’s Castle. A final night in Bucharest before your flight home the following day. As someone who has travelled around Romania, I can safely say this tour includes some of the most beautiful places in the region of Transylvania. I’d recommend reading Rhian’s account of the tour. Alternatively, G Adventures offer a shorter tour which includes a party at Bran Castle, if that’s more your thing.

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
Often dubbed as the Gothic capital of Europe, you’ll be spoilt for choice with this city’s castles, medieval lanes and stunning architecture. Halloween celebrations may not be big there, but there are so many creepy attractions to be found in the city such as the Torture Museum, the Old Jewish Cemetery (not necessarily an ‘attraction’ but you get my point), and the Sedlec Ossuary. The city has a history of vampire lore too. Prague is where to be for the best creepy Insta photos by far.

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY
You wouldn’t expect it, but Budapest is fast becoming one of the best places to celebrate all Hallows Eve. It’s extremely cultural with various lantern festivals and tons of Halloween parties in trendy bars and pubs. There’s also Holnemvolt Castle (and zoo!), an interactive underground horror tour AND a pumpkin festival…to name just a few things going on. Plus, Budapest is just a super pretty place to visit anyway.

If you’re looking to travel somewhere this Halloween (or the next!), this list has you covered. Of course, each city around Europe has its own celebrations and traditions so I’ve just picked some of the most fun sounding ones, but we’re really spoilt for choice around Europe.

Have you ever travelled outside of the UK to celebrate Halloween before? Let me know!

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Following on from my first travel post about Copenhagen, on day two, I tried to take it a little more easy – especially as the weather wasn’t great. Although I tried to take my bad hip into account (god I sound old!), I still ended up walking loads.

Formidable Joy | Travel | 72 Hours in Copenhagen | Day One | Copenhagen | Denmark

I spent the morning exploring inside Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! which was absolutely fascinating. It’s a place I’ve always wanted to go to – because everyone knows I love weird and oddball stuff – and I had a great time, but, looking back, I realized it wasn’t really a ‘Copenhagen’ related thing to do. They have Ripley’s museums all over the world and the ‘artifacts’ inside aren’t even related to whichever city you’re in, so walking round I could have been anywhere.

Still, it was raining at the time and I did really enjoy myself. The things on display were super interesting, ranging from giant matchstick buildings to vampire hunting kits! It was a nice place to duck into out of the rain.

I found most of the museum really funny too! For example, in one bit, it was based around celebs and there was a sign pointing to a celeb’s dressing room. On the door however, it had the toilet sign but it was like a tiny cupboard! I opened the door out of curiousity and got the fright of my life when I saw a man with his back to me peeing! I apologized and shut the door quickly, my heart beating fast, but he didn’t even react. I walked off ever so confused, even more so when I watched a worker at the museum do the same thing as me but then just stand there for like, two minutes, watching. Was it a trick? I don’t even know!

Formidable Joy | Travel | 72 Hours in Copenhagen | Day One | Copenhagen | Denmark

At the end of the museum there was a smaller add on museum all about Hans Christian Anderson fairytales and this was really sweet to walk around, learning about the history of the author and his stories. For example, I didn’t even know he had written Thumbelina which is one of my favourite childhood movies. I also learned this sweet but so sad story about a girl with a matchstick..seriously, it was so depressing!

Formidable Joy | Travel | 72 Hours in Copenhagen | Day One | Copenhagen | Denmark

When I left the museum it was still spitting lightly but was super warm so I took a slow stroll to the other kind of sister museums; the Guinness World Records museum and The Mystic Exploratorie. Out of the two, the Guinness World Records museum probably wasn’t my kind of thing but, like Ripley’s, the ‘sets’ and themes of the rooms were more than enough to keep me entertained.

The Mystic Exploratorie was super fun though – it was like a creepy mini museum filled with optical illusions. I just wish it was a little bigger – it probably only took me about half an hour to walk around but it was well worth the visit because it was so oddball and fun.

The weather had cleared up a little by the time I left so I did more exploring; I did a little bit of shopping along some of the main high streets and eventually somehow made my way to the beautiful Nyhavn which, though overran with tourists, was really beautiful. All along the waters edge were loads of really beautiful seafood restauraunts too, many offering blankets against the cold.

Formidable Joy | Travel | 72 Hours in Copenhagen | Day One | Copenhagen | DenmarkFormidable Joy | Travel | 72 Hours in Copenhagen | Day One | Copenhagen | Denmark

After a quick bite to eat somewhere a lot less busy, I hobbled back to the hotel for happy hour and to rest my hip!

Though I did most tourist attractions this day that could have been anywhere really, I still really enjoyed my day. Plus, I got to spend some more time just exploring.

Would you visit any of these museums in Copenhagen? Let me know!

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