Month: October 2015

Read This Before You Book a Budget Airline!

I once found a flight from Copenhagen to London for $16. Yes, $16. “How?” You might ask. Easy; Ryanair, EasyJet and Wizz Air to name a few, are airlines that can get customers to and from various places in Europe for very low costs, it almost seems surreal.

So, what’s the catch? Well, as an American, our version, if that, of “budget airlines” might be Southwest, as it usually is a great value. No cost for bags, relatively spacious seats, comfortable flights, the only restriction is the amount of airports it flies into, and it’s mainly domestic. But, otherwise a very great value for the price paid.

In Europe, totally different story. We bought most of our tickets to and from various cities before we moved to Copenhagen, under the impression that we were getting a great value for all of the flights we were booking! All of our friends who had been to Europe and done the same thing told us it was unbeatable, so we didn’t think twice.

A few things to note about European budget airlines:

  • Prices can be anywhere from $50-$250 roundtrip depending on time, dates, locations, etc.
  • Boarding processes are very different, it is a free-for-all system, so if you want overhead space to put bags in, make sure you are in the front of the boarding line. There are no boarding groups
  • You can pay for speedy boarding, however but you basically are just in the front of the line, you do not get any extra time on the plane to put your items away
  • Some airlines (like EasyJet) limit the number of carry-ons, personal bags, etc. to just one. So make sure you read all the rules on your ticket before you board, they will catch you!
  • They are VERY strict on carry-on size. We once had to and witnessed one flight attendant make each person put their carry-on in the bag measure box. If it didn’t fit by an inch or two, she made people check them
  • The planes are very packed, a lot of people book these cheap flights
  • In addition, seats are not as spacious as most planes (I am an average sized woman and my knees almost touch the seat in front of me)
  • Oh yeah, and often, the seats do NOT recline…
  • There are no complimentary drinks or refreshments–yep you guessed it, not even water
  • The boarding process and safety instructions are very monotone and streamline
  • You often board within 15 minutes of the incoming flight deboarding, and you usually leave a little after your departure time

All in all, budget airlines really are a “you get what you pay for” service. If you are going on a quick flight (<1 hour) these small inconveniences aren’t so bad, but flights longer than that like from Copenhagen to Croatia should probably be weighed with a pro and con list of comfort vs. price…Everyone has a different preference!

What are your thoughts on European budget airlines?

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LA Dreamin’

Daylight Savings Time was this past Sunday in Denmark (and most of Europe), meaning the sun is now setting at approximately 4:30pm, soon to be 3:30pm in a month or so. Not to mention the coolness of fall is well underway and temperatures are only dropping! So, in light of this adjustment, below are some pictures of the forever warm and sunny Los Angeles, our home away from home 😉

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If You Love Sherlock….

…Get to London ASAP and follow the below directions, you will be ecstatic you did!

  1. Hop in a cabbie (you’re in London, you have to at least once….) and go directly to the Sherlock Holmes Restaurant
  2. Order a pint of the Sherlock Holmes Ale on tap
  3. Sip
  4. Enjoy
  5. Repeat

As huge Sherlock fans, we stumbled across this English Pub around 4pm, exhausted and tired of walking, so we took this finding as a sign from the heavens that we should rest our feet 😉 We walked in and instantly felt like we were in 221B, the pub feels like what 221B Baker Street would be in pub form. [Secret: It even has a replica of the living room upstairs] We ordered said pints and then another….needless to say, this little pit stop made the British Museum a lot more entertaining!!

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It was just so good that we went back for lunch the next day. We ordered the “Hound of the Baskerville Toad in the Hole” (a traditional English meat and potato dish) and the classic “The Retired Colourman’s Fish & Chips”. Clever names! Check out the rest of the brilliant menu items here!

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Fish n Chips (top) Toad in the Hole (bottom)

Day Trip to Mons Klint

Mons Klint is a beautiful nature area in Southeastern Denmark that features natural cliffs made of chalk aka limestone. They are exquisite because they are the tallest cliffs in Denmark and they border the Baltic Sea, making for a beautiful view. To get down to the cliffs, you must climb 500 stairs down, and then 500 more to get back to the top. It is a bit of a climb but it’s definitely worth it!! See pics below…
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There are also some other things you can do at Mons Klint as well! Read more about it here!

Bike City, Denmark

Copenhagen’s bicycle culture is world famous and has been strong for over a century, making Copenhagen the Bike City. It’s very apparent, if you have ever visited, that biking is a way of life for many, many Copenhageners. As an American, the thought of the American people biking in the way the Danes do is so unfathomable, as a result I have become slightly obsessed with passing bicycles…EVERYWHERE….

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***Disclaimer, I had a bike and was so excited to be in a city where I could ride virtually anywhere! This was until I fell victim to the popular crime in Copenhagen that is bike theft…..

BEFORE 🙂

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AFTER 😦

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Buza I & Buza II – A Dubrovnik Must-Do

Nestled IN the cliffs of Dubrovnik are two restaurants/cocktail bars, Buza I and Buza II, it only makes sense to make 2 of them, one just isn’t enough. You would never be able to see these from the Old Town, so thank us later 😉

Basically, these little cocktail bars are places where you can sit with a cold drink in tow while having an unobstructed view of the Adriatic… and even make some friends with fellow travelers! It’s pretty hidden away so you have to finagle your way through the Old Town Streets, but once you find the sign “Cold Drinks” (with the appropriate arrow)…. JACKPOT, paradise awaits!

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Oh yeah, and people actually jump from these cliffs, so it’s something everyone watches from the Buza bars!!

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Our Trip to Loch Ness – Do You Believe in Nessie?!

Although we didn’t see Nessie 😦 we did find an adorable little village where we had lunch that is right off the loch (which is beautiful by the way!) Loch Ness is the perfect day trip, the loch itself is beautiful and large and the backroads to its location provide beautiful views! Definitely recommend you take the road trip with your travel buddies or Significant Other whether you believe in Nessie or not! Who knows, maybe you’ll be the lucky person and see her 😉

Pics from the loch…

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And the little village…

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You’re Never Too Old for a Zoo :)

The photos say it all….

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Lemur mid-air jump!

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Up Close Lemur..

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TARANTULA

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He touched the SNAKE…

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Making Friends 😉

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Photos taken at Skansen Open Air Museum in Stockholm, Sweden.

Saving Money in Stockholm!

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Sightseeing in Europe is really fun, educational, but often pricey. Every city features its own “Pass” or “Card” that you can purchase at the airport, or any tourism center, and it basically grants you access to X attractions for X price.

When deciding on whether to purchase a Card for the city you are in, you need to do a little research. Check out online before you go, where the Card allows you access and what kind of access it allows you. Also, you need to plan realistically what you are interested in visiting, what is feasible in the time you are there, and pricing out those options versus the price of the ticket you are purchasing. Most of the Cards grant you public transportation access, but not always, so be sure to read the small details!

For the Record, Stockholm is definitely a city to purchase their Card! We purchased a 72 hour card for 895SEK (approx. $110USD) per person. Sounds pricey, but once we got there, we didn’t spend another dollar on any attraction, and all of our bus and metro transportation as paid for which definitely made travel much easier! Read more about the Stockholm Card pricing here.

See a few photos of our adventures below:

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Just for fun, we documented the price of each attraction we visited as if we had to pay it. We wanted to see how far our money went! See our findings below:

Attraction Price(SEK) per person
Royal Palace 150
Royal Treasury 150
Armory 100
Nobel Museum 100
Vasamusseet 130
Spirit Museum 100
Drottingholm 120
Aquarium 120
Skansen Open Air Museum 130
Canal Tour 185
City Hall 130
Coronation Cathedral 40
TOTAL PRICE 1415

Overall, we saved 520SEK, approximately $65USD each, AND this is not including the amount we would have paid for transportation, which we estimated to be about $60USD for both of us. All in all, we saved about $95USD per person, we were thrilled!!

Now, if you’re going to visit Stockholm and want to use the Stockholm Card, visit before December 31, 2015–after this day the card will be discontinued–I guess it was discovered what a great deal it was!! Ha 🙂

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Wonderful Windsor

We recently stayed at a beautiful little Airbnb right outside of London, in Windsor. We fell in love with the quaint little town and really got used to the beauty of Windsor! Our host was a wonderful woman who was so friendly and full of British humor. She chatted with us about everything from the Windsor Castle being “the only important castle” (ha!) to the Last Night of the Proms (which by the way, we had no idea the UK did such a cool little event, why doesn’t America have this?!?!) We had tea and coffee with her and she really gave us a true English experience 😉

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While we weren’t drinking tea in the Sitting Room, we were exploring Windsor (and of course London). Some things you must do in Windsor:

  • The Windsor Castle (beautiful!) but go early, the queue gets very long by the time it opens at 10:00. (see the queue below!!)IMG_5662
  • See the changing of the guard, it happens every other day, and they march right down the middle of High Street. It is a big deal, roads are closed and people stand watching on either side of High Street to catch a view. It is opposite of the Buckingham Palace’s schedule. It usually takes place around 11:30 with streets closing around 10:45.IMG_3900
  • Any of the parks/gardens, there are a few optionsIMG_5627
  • We heard the following were wonderful as well: St. George’s Chapel, Windsor and Eton Brewery, Theatre Royal, Horse Stables (the following is a photo taken from the outside on High Street)IMG_5651

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AND of course, there is a beautiful little pedestrian-only street right off of High Street with a slew of restaurants and great shopping! On our last night, exhausted from walking around London, we ate at a little Italian restaurant called Carluccio’s. Highly recommend. It was very intimate and romantic, yet delicious and filling. It also has a separate deli shop that is open during the day.

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Transportation to London is a breeze. You would take the rail from Windsor to London, with one easy change in between. The rail from Windsor Central Station is a direct route, only stopping in Windsor and Slough. Simply take the rail to Slough, then change platforms (we went to London Paddington) and simply hop on the Paddington rail! It will take you to Paddington, and from there you can go anywhere. This is the simplest route, although there are many options. For the two of us, it was approximately $25USD, not bad for a full day in London 🙂 If you are going from London Paddington to Windsor for the day, it would be the reverse (at Slough, hop onto the Windsor Central Station rail).

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