Hi New Followers and Fellow Wanderlusters!

I’ve been getting a whole lot of questions that sometimes sound the same and have made a way for you guys to find out my answer quickly! I’ve compiled all of the previous queries and messages i’ve gotten into one page which you can find on the left hand side panel under the title Q&A

But if you don’t find what you are looking for don’t hesitate to ask me and i’ll answer or link you to a post that matches your query!

Erika xx

can you make a blog post about how you plan and everything in your europe trip. if you have a spare time tho :) God bless

My earlier posts pretty much tackle to main things i did in the lead up to my trip, and every post after that is a recount of what i did in Europe. But if there is anything else specific you would like to know just ask me again and i will do my best to answer or link you a post i think is relevant :) xx

so you payed for your europe trip? did you ask financial assistance from your parents? you are really lucky to be traveling and exploring the world. :)

Yeah i paid for it by saving as much as i could, but i did get lots of help from my parents and other family members and friends with birthday and Christmas money :)

Last day in London | 21st July 2013

My very last day in London was really jam-packed and so was my suitcase! My flight was at 9pm later that night so I needed to be ready by around 5:30pm to be at the airport at 6pm. The night before I had organised a car to bring me to the airport and it cost 19 Pounds. I did this instead of taking the tube because my bag was so heavy and I would have been too tired to drag myself to the station. I also opted a hired car over a taxi because the driver was registered with the hotel so it was extra safe. I suggest doing this if you are staying at the Royal National because it really makes your trip to the airport much smoother than other times.

The first thing I did was try and pack my bag and to go through the stuff I was going to leave incase I was overweight. I had to check out at around 11am so I left my bags with concierge and paid 2 Pounds I think, although I was told the night before that I would be allowed to leave it for free because I was already a guest of the hotel. Then I went down to get a light breakfast before heading out to do some shopping. I took the tube to Oxford street and started going around the major shops like H&M, Zara, Primark, Urban Outfitter etc. I had also planned to meet up with a friend from high school in front of Topshop and we also had a nice lunch at a little café. After we ate we just wandered around talking and catching up while we shopped.

I ended up getting a few things but I was really surprised at the difference in prices compared to those in other countries like France, Spain and Germany. I didn’t buy that much on the actually Contiki trip mainly because I wanted to keep my money so I cold do a massive shopping spree in London but I quickly realized that it wasn’t so smart because I ended up paying almost double the price that I could have paid if I bought the same items in the other countries. Oh well now I know!

After shopping with my friend we parted ways because I had to get back to the hotel to fix my stuff up to see how much it weighed. I then brought my bag down to the Contiki basement because they had a weighing scale there, but oh my goodness I had the hardest time lugging that thing down the steep stairs! The only inconvenient thing about the Contiki basement is that the only way you can get down there is to go down stairs because there is no elevator (at least I don’t think there is an elevator!). Anyway I weighed my bag and luckily I was exactly on the weight limit for Etihad, which was 30kg. I lugged myself and my heavy suitcase back to the hotel lobby to use the Wi-Fi while I waited for my car to bring me to the airport.

My driver was so cute she had my name on her iPad as a sign and was asking everyone in the lobby if they were me! Her name was Carmen and she was originally form Brazil and we talked about my trip and she talked about her sons and how she wished they would be adventurous like me and go on a big trip! It was such a nice way to end my experience and made me happy even though I was about to embark on a 14+ hour journey back home.

Once we got to the airport I said thanks and goodbye to Carmen then made my way to the check in desk ready to wait at the gate for my flight. I was there a good 1.5 hours before boarding so I just went around the airport and did some last minute shopping and picked up a Ted Baker shopper bag and a Big Ben charm for my Pandora bracelet. The airport terminal was pretty small compared to the other ones so there wasn’t much to do until boarding. xx

was that enrique gil in your philippines vblog?

Hahahaha yes that’s him! xx

so you have to be Enchanted River in Hinatuan? i love it there the place is so majestic :)

No haven’t but i really want to go! i’ll have to make a trip Hinatuan the next time i’m in the Philippines :) xx

how did you ask permission or convince your parents for you contiki adventure? I really wanna give a shot of asking my parents about it. but dunno how to begin.

Okay well first thing i did was research! it shows that you are committed and know what you want to do, then i saved as much money as i could so i could also let them know i was ready to pay for it myself. Also i always told them that i wanted to travel to Europe after i graduated from High school so they already knew it was one of my main goals so when i put the idea to them they weren’t that shocked. Actually i was suppose to go traveling with a high school classmate but she couldn’t commit to the trip so i really had no choice but to go it alone. My parents were skeptical but with all the preparation i had done and all the responsibility i had shown them they let me venture off into the world! i am so thankful that they let me go and i am actually glad i went alone because i could do all the things i wanted to do without having to worry about someone else xx

what tour package did you got in your contiki europe trip? :)

I did the European Explorer plus Greek Island Cruise, which is a 33 day “time out” tour. We stayed in hotels for the entire trip and the cruise was 4 days i think :) xx

how did you plan your entire Europe adventure? or and set everything in place? did you get a schengen visa?

Hi there! well i really wanted to go to europe after i graduated high school but it took a lot of saving an convincing my parents to let me travel alone but i got there eventually! i took time to research the places i wanted to go and decided to do a contiki tour since it was my first time in Europe and it was a safe environment for me to join as a solo traveller. I am an Australian citizen so i didn’t need a visa for any country i visited but if you from a different country and are unsure check your government’s website or ask your local travel agent for advice and information on visas :) xx

you're so lucky to be travelling around the world. <3 <3 btw, love all you post :)

Thank you so much for the sweet message! made my day! xx

London | 20th July 2013

Today was probably one of the loneliest days I had on my trip, mainly because most of the people left in London were heading home on this day. I woke up pretty early this morning because I wanted to get as much into the day as possible. First up was breakfast, which was pretty bland but sustained me for the morning, then after that I got ready for my solo bus tour around London.

The tour company that I got a ticket for was the Original Bus Tour and it was pretty cool because it had a stop right in front of the hotel and came around every 10 – 15 minutes or so. Also you had the chance to hop on and off at any stop at anytime of the day. The ticket was good for 24 hours so I made marks on my map of the places I wanted to see in particular. First thing I wanted to see was Buckingham Palace and watch the changing of the guard, which was scheduled for 11am. I was really good with timing and got the hang of the route changes pretty quick, but when I got to Buckingham Palace there were so many people, I was getting worried I wouldn’t be able to see anything. But I managed to bob and weave my way through all the people and get to a spot right up against the gate. I don’t know if I got the times mixed up but we were standing there for quite a while before anything started and once it did everyone had bunched up again so it was hard to get a spot where you could see things clearly. I did get some photos but I also had to ask some random person to stick my camera through the gat to get a clearer one!

After that I got back onto the tour bus and headed for the ticket office on Leicester Place, where I could claim tickets for a show on the West End. The tickets that come with the package are usually for smaller shows but I was told that I could use them to get a discount off of other shows so I chose to get tickets to Wicked for 7:30pm. I think I ended up paying 50 Pounds or so extra for the ticket but I wasn’t too fussed because I always wanted to watch it anyway and what better way to watch than in London!

Back on the bus I just rode it around the city taking pictures of the big tourist attractions and listening to the audio information as we saw each landmark. I really wanted to get down and take a closer look at most places but I didn’t have enough time to really see everything up close because I still wanted to eat and make it back to the hotel so I could get ready for Wicked.

I did however make time to go to Harrods! I hopped off the bus at Hyde Park and took a little walk around then went to Pret to grab a fruit salad and a drink. I was a bit confused as to where Harrods actually was from the place I got off the bus so I had to ask one of the people in the shops near to point me in the right direction. If ever you’re lost, seriously don’t hesitate to ask people because they all seemed so happy to help out and it made me feel super safe while I was going around by myself. After walking down a really long road and doing some window shopping in the high end designer brand stores I finally cam to Harrods! It was just a big as I expected and the outside looked exactly like in pictures I had seen, with the green tarps with Harrods written in a goldish colour.

Inside was even more amazing, with an emphasis on the ‘MAZE’! it is so big that they even have information desks with maps and booklets letting you know what is on each level and where you can find everything. I walked around for quite a bit looking at things that have been on my “lust” list of things to buy when I win the lottery and seriously even the displays are just so memorizing I could have spent the whole day there! But I did want to buy some souvenirs form the gift shop and yes they have their own gift shop! I always wanted one of those shopping bags that had Harrods written on it and boy were there many to choose from! The original bag is the green on with gold writing, much like the tarps outside of the building but there were so many other pretty ones it took me a good hour to decide which one I wanted to buy! I ended up getting a pink shopper bag with gold writing and crowns and I also picked up the white one with the building illustrated on the front. They were pretty pricey but I can’t buy them anywhere else so I just got them and was so excited to take them back home to Sydney. Before I left the store, I made my way to the food hall and was just so shocked at its size. Everything looked and smelled amazing! I was particularly fond of the pastry section because I love sweets! There were gigantic meringues and donuts on display, making my mouth water so I ended up buying some of those. They were by far the best I had ever tasted and if ever I go back there those will be the first things I would buy!

Up next was Piccadilly Circus, which is kind of like London’s time square and some shopping on Oxford street! I didn’t actually buy much on this day because I was pressed for time so I pretty much just made a mental list of the shops I wanted to go to the day after so I had a good idea of where the shops were. After I walked around for a bit, I don’t know why but I got back to the hotel via the tube. I think it may have been because the bus stop was pretty far away and the station was just near where I was standing so I opted for the lazy way back.

When I got back to the hotel I got ready for the show and just got some dinner at Nandos which was in the same shopping place we had Japanese the night before. After eating i took the tube to Victoria station. By this point I wasn’t worried about taking public transport or walking around in a new place on my own because I had gotten use to it from the big Contiki tour. The theatre that Wicked was being held at was the Apollo theatre and it was pretty small compared to other theatres I have been to. Nonetheless the play was outstanding and the actors were amazing in it too! Fiero was really hot and I don’t blame Glinda or Elphaba for falling for him! I’d actually really like to see it again someday if I can maybe here in Sydney! I picked up a t-shirt from the show and took some photos of the headline posters out the front then walked back to the tube station to get home. There were lots of people on the train coming from different shows and a lot of them were heading back to the Royal National, so again I felt pretty safe even though it was dark. The show ended late at night so I just went straight up to the room and fell asleep, ready to do some major shopping before my flight home the next day! xx

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Hi there, just wondering where in Dubrovnik you stayed?

We stayed at Hotel Adria in Dubrovnik on my Contiki Time-out tour :) it’s a really nice place and was one of the best hotels we stayed at on the tour xx

Hi Erika! Thank you so much for putting all your time and effort into making your blog so wonderful. I'm off on contiki/travelling Europe for 3 months. I leave in 8 weeks and whenever I'm in need for a little reminder why I'm working my butt off 24/7 I read your blog. I was just wondering how much spending money you took? If you don't mind me asking, and whether you took a bank card, travel passport or something similar? x x

Hi lovely! Thanks for the cute message! You lucky thing, a three month holiday sounds amazing! 

I budgeted around 150 Euros for each day of my tour (i went for about a month and a half) which included food, drink, shopping and emergency costs. The suggested amount if 100 Euros a day but i know how much i spend usually on holidays so i over budgeted. In your case since you will be going for a long time, i suggest aiming for 100-150 euros each day so that you have money left over in the end to spend big! but with this in mind, many of the meals are included like breakfast and most dinners so you will just need to pay for lunch/snacks. most of the time you will be running around exploring and just want to eat gelato or something so you might save that way or like me and some of the others, we took fruits and bread from the hotel breakfasts when we could. I actually came home with quit a bit of money because i over budgeted but it was good because when i was in london i did lots of shopping :)

I took a commonwealth bank travel card (Australian Bank, incase you’re not from where i live) and it worked well for me. I loaded my money onto it around a week before i left for Europe and had Euros and Pounds on there. if you are a student there are no load or initial card fees but when you want to reload i think its $15 for the fee. i brought cash with me for the first week so i had emergency money, but when i wanted to withdraw i would take out enough for the next 4 or 5 days because the ATM charges a fee and i think $2 gets taken off of your card for the commbank fee. I had no problems with it and they give you two cards, one is the primary card and on is a back up card. But you hold know that some countries are a bit behind and still ask you to sign and some shops ask for ID with signature to check so make sure you bring your photo ID with you when you go out :)

If there’s anything else, you know where to find me! xx