10 Travel Moments to stir your Wanderlust.

In 18 months of travelling one can gather a lot of memories and a LOT of photographs. A question I am asked often is, “Which is your favourite country that you’ve visited?” There isn’t one. When you travel you cherish moments and not always a place. So it got me thinking if it was possible to pick one moment and say, “That was it. That’s the one”. But of course there isn’t just ONE! The moments I remember are the ones I never planned. Those that were not in my itinerary from weeks of planning. The moments that captured me by surprise and stopped me in my tracks.

So, here are my 10 best unplanned travel moments (in no particular order) to stir some serious wanderlust in you.

1. Singapore

Escaping the chaos of Chinatown to discover peace and serenity right in the middle of  it. This prayer wheel in the roof top garden of the Buddha Tooth Relic temple in Chinatown, Singapore.

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2. Italy

Enjoying the full on hospitality of a Tuscan vineyard with the best beef ragu in the entire universe served with home made penne and lashings of parmesan from the farm.


3. Croatia

Climbing up a dark and narrow stairwell in the Old Town of Dubrovnik to stumble upon this view of the ancient city.

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4. Switzerland

Hiking to the top of Niederhorn mountain and spotting clouds cascading down mountain tops like a water fall.


5. Sri Lanka

Waiting for my lunch to arrive only to discover that it’s been served on a lotus leaf. Gasping at the purity of it all.


6. London

Enjoying a cocktail overlooking the Thames and Tower Bridge opening to let a boat pass. A childhood dream realised without getting stuck in traffic.


7. Qatar

Eating dinner while elevated 50 meters above the city with “Dinner in the Sky” in Doha, Qatar.

8. France

Capturing one of the most photographed landmarks in the world as if I were at a village fete. Looking at you Tour Eiffel, Paris.


9. Morocco

Walking around the medina in Marrakech and wondering if I will wake up from this dream. Red walls and riots of colour everywhere. Take me back.

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10. Thailand

Zipping through traffic on a motorcycle taxi and witnessing the pomp and pageantry which precedes a Muay Thai fight at the Lumpini Boxing Stadium, Bangkok.

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10 Ways to Navigate Marrakech if You’re Flying Solo.


Marrakech is a major city in Morocco on the edge of the Sahara beneath the snow capped Atlas mountains. Picture that if you will. Not that it needs any introduction. It is surely Morocco’s most memorable experience. Jemaa el-Fnaa, the main square, is a UNESCO heritage site. It’s densely populated and the locals are multi lingual – speaking a mixture of Arabic and French. The moment you touch down on this baked red city your senses will go into overdrive. So here are a few tips to help you get the best out of your time in Marrakech:

  1. Be respectful of local culture.

    Morocco is a Muslim country which follows Islamic traditions. I visited Marrakech during the holy month of Ramadan. Almost everyone I met was fasting. So, during my stay I did not eat and drink in public. When I had lunch, I sat inside a hotel or restaurant away from windows as a mark of respect for those who were fasting. Ramadan falls on the 9th month of the Islamic calendar (not the same as the lunar calendar). So, check your travel dates and be mindful if you are travelling during Ramadan or any other times of cultural significance.

  2. Carry a scarf.

    I found Marrakech to be liberal in terms of dress. However, if you’re a female traveller, carrying a scarf is a failsafe for many places in the world. It comes in handy when you least expect it. You do not need to cover your hair. I mostly use my scarf to protect my skin from the sun. In Marrakech I used it for covering my shoulders whilst out and about during the day. It’s a great way to communicate that you are aware of local culture which is always appreciated by locals. It also makes you look like less of a novice – useful for avoiding unwanted attention if you’re travelling alone.

  3. Download Citymapper.

    This is a brilliant app that works well inside the Medina (where you are most likely to get lost). Citymapper allows you to navigate walking routes via your smart phone. It also offers alternative routes to get to your destination. So if you like exploring on foot then this is a must and you will not be at the mercy of the locals to find your around.

  4. Remember landmarks.

    If you have no access to wifi or are unable to use apps for any other reason you can still navigate the city. It’s dotted with various distinctive landmarks. However, each narrow lane looks remarkably similar to the next. Try to remember names of particular hotels, a distinctive stall or a coffee shop and use them as landmarks to navigate your way through the medina and find your way back. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for directions – shop keepers are your best bet. Avoid faux guides who will offer to direct you as they will always expect to be paid for their trouble.

  5. Be Assertive – not rude.

    Some touts in Marrakech can be aggressive and aggressive begging is common. While 95% of locals are mild mannered and friendly a handful of touts were an annoyance. The three best ways to deal with aggressive touts are: a) Ignore them as you keep walking by. b) Don’t stop to talk as this will be taken as a show of interest. c) Always be polite but firm and avoid confrontation.

  6. Trust your instincts.

    Never follow anyone to a ”friend’s shop”, “best restaurant”, “cheap carpets/silver/leather”. Rule of thumb in travel is that if you follow someone to a place you don’t know, you will at best, have to buy something don’t need/want. At worst, this is too big a risk to your safety. No bargain in the world is worth this risk. If it doesn’t feel right then it probably isn’t – just don’t do it.

  7. Make friends with other travellers.

    I made friends with two solo female travellers whilst dining al fresco in Jemaa el-Fnaa. It meant that after dinner, instead of heading back to my hotel, I was able to stay out a little later than planned, soaking in the atmosphere. It’s a great way to get more out of a trip if you’re flying solo. You may also be able to go on join excursions making it safer and cheaper to travel.

  8. Let your hotel staff know your daily itinerary.

    Excursions should only be booked through an operator who has an agreement with the local authorities. They must be able to display an official badge. Leave the name and contact details of your guide AND details of the company with hotel staff / concierge. If you are braving the trip on your own be vigilant and keep your valuables safe. Also inform hotel staff of your itinerary and let them know that you are travelling alone and get their advice. However, trekking alone is not advisable and you should consider joining a group.

    Guides can be hired through most hotels and riads. A basic guideline of costs is approximately £12 for half a day and £30 for a full day. However, private operator and riad charges may range from £50 – £90.

  9. Write down your hotel’s telephone number, address and location in Arabic.

    English is widely spoken in Marrakech. As you venture a little further outside the city, it will definitely be useful to have the name and address of your hotel AND directions written down in Arabic in case of an emergency. Always carry this with you to make yourself understood in an unexpected situation. It is unlikely that people outside the medina will have heard of your hotel no matter how reputable a chain it may be.

  10. Relax and enjoy!

    Marrakech is a breathtakingly beautiful place. It has a magnetism and allure that is hard to describe. It will charm the most ardent traveller into a spell. So be prepared to soak in all this wonderful city has to offer. Over 600,000 Brits visit Morocco each year and most visits are trouble free. So be safe, relax and enjoy!


How to do New York on a Budget.

By guest blogger – Leandi Schoonraad

New York is not somewhere you go, it’s not something you see. New York is something you do. The Big Apple. There is no other city like it on earth. The bright lights from the adverts throw colours that dance across the night air to indulge the awestruck spectator. There is absolutely no doubt that like Alicia Keys and Jay Z sing – this is the concrete jungle where dreams are made. Unfortunately, finances are often what stand in the way of us chasing those dreams. We don’t want that to be the case with New York, so we’ve put together a few suggestions for how to do New York on a budget.

Explore Central Park


Most people enter Central Park from the south, walk around for 20 minutes and think they’ve seen Central Park. Not true. This enormous space can take a week to explore if you wanted to. Museums flank the east and west of the park, and the children’s zoo is in the south-west corner. Meandering walkways are everywhere and it’s easy to lose yourself in your thoughts as you amble through the oasis of peace. Don’t miss the pretty lakes throughout the park. You might recognise the Loeb boathouse in the middle of the park; it’s one of Central Park’s most iconic spots. In winter, release your inner child by spending some time ice skating on one of the temporary rinks.

Be Part of an Audience

Many of the TV shows – such as The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon – air from New York and have a live studio audience. Most of these shows are completely free to attend; you just need to apply online and in advance for a ticket. If that doesn’t work for you, check it out on the day. Some have first come first served standby tickets available to fill the seats of no-shows.

See a Discounted Broadway Show


There are literally dozens of Broadway shows a day, and all of them are fantastic. Does it really matter which one(s) you go to see? Some of you might have a strong preference, and that’s OK. But if your goal is just to see an award-winning musical on Broadway, then I’ve got great news. In Times Square, there is TKTS; a red booth which sells discounted (up to 50% off) tickets to same-day shows. It’s open from 4pm to 7pm and there’s almost always a line, so get there as close to 4pm as possible. That means you have the most shows to choose from and first pick at the best seats still available. If there’s a particular show you’re desperate to see, it might be worth approaching the theatre ticket office directly. Some shows will sell standing room only entry for sold-out performances.

Retail Therapy for the Cash-Strapped

It would be criminal to visit New York without indulging in some shopping. Now while NYC is considered cheap for international travellers, we know not everyone can afford the big brand names. Enter Century 21. Our favourite branch is the one in the Financial District, where several floors are jam packed with designer brands at heavily discounted prices. There’s nothing wrong with the stock; it’s just last season’s supply of clothing, accessories and homewares. We’re talking Emilio Pucci dresses, Armani jackets, Juicy Couture tracksuits and everything in between. At around 70% off. It’s also a great place to pick up a new suitcase. You know, just in case the shopping was so good that you went a bit overboard.

The Statue of Liberty


Most tourists wanting to see the great Lady Liberty take a dedicated ferry trip to Liberty Island. Mistake. Not only is the ferry ride expensive, ($25.50 per adult) but waiting times are long, so it’s potentially going to waste hours of your day. True travellers know that the best view of the Statue of Liberty is from the Hudson itself, not from underneath the statue. Jump on the Staten Island ferry instead. It gives you an excellent view of the Statue of Liberty as you sail past it and take your iconic photo. Best of all? It’s completely free. Look back too; the Manhattan skyline is incredible.

Look for Promo People


Along 7th Avenue, there are normally plenty of people handing out promotional fliers advertising various evening entertainment. Keep an eye out for something you might be interested in going to. A little friendly conversation and some back and forth banter is always very well received, and we’ve scored free tickets to comedy shows or gotten back-stage invites more than once.

Walking through the Districts

Plan your route to pass by green spaces such as Bryant Park, which has some cute cafes where you can grab a coffee. Hit the High Line, which is a long elevated walkway offering superb views of Chelsea. While you’re there, pop into the Chelsea Market and browse some of the unique offerings in the boutiques. Little Italy, SOHO and the meatpacking district all have their own charm and are just as worthy of a visit. Actually, every corner of New York is different and amazing. For much more detail on each individual area, our favourite book is “New York: The Big City and its Little Neighbourhoods”.

Now you have some top tips on how to do New York on a budget, so stop dreaming and start planning!


Leandi Schoonraad was born in South Africa but is now a citizen of the world. She has been to 61 countries on 6 continents and loves to inspire others to go travelling too. Leandi and her best friend share their photos, stories and top destination tips on their website; WhistleStops. You can also follow them on Facebook and Instagram