Blog of the Day: A Girl and Her Passport

I love travel blogs – they give me an insight into parts of the world that I have always wanted to visit from a first hand perspective, and if I am planning a trip I will spend lots of time reading travel posts from some of my favourite bloggers to gain ideas of things to see, do and eat that are not part of the usual tourist hotspots.

Tiffany is one of those bloggers. An American ex-pat currently living in Qatar, she is the creator of A Girl and Her Passport, a travel blog that documents her travels and experiences of countries from all over the world. What I like about Tiffany’s blog is the fact that she varies her posts to incorporate all areas of travel, from reviews of hotels that she has stayed in, individual activities in cities that she has visited (I particularly loved this one about a Thames boat trip in London), what to pack for specific activities, and, my favourite of all of them, humane and ethical encounters with wildlife in places that I would consider to be exotic – her Elephants in the Wild post in Sri Lanka made me incredibly envious. I love her photographs from her travels: Continue reading

Terms and Conditions

Those of you who follow the blog regularly will know that I travel via train fairly frequently. I’ve learned to be fairly savvy with it – I know that one of the biggest train and travel companies in particular will hike up their prices by as much as £100 for travel on the same day as booking, so making sure that tickets in advance are essential unless you want to take out a second mortgage just to pay for travel costs.

So, when they sent me an email informing them of their summer sale, with tickets on offer for £4.00 between Birmingham and London, I eagerly planned a day trip for The Bloke and I, feeling really pleased with myself for obtaining tickets for both of us for the grand total price of £16.00. Bargain.

That is, until I discovered that I’d gone and booked tickets for the opposite journeys that I wanted – I’d done London to Birmingham instead of the other way around. Idiot. Totally my fault, and I was irrationally super-angry with myself for not concentrating and making a rookie mistake.

Now, it’s only £16.00, but for the principle of it I set about getting a refund. After 5 phone calls during which I was waiting for a total of about 45 minutes and eventually resorting to Twitter because nobody answered the phone, I was informed that my tickets were non-refundable because they had been purchased in the sale. Not that this is made clear anywhere on the booking page in advance, but they got me with the fact that they had included this in their Terms and Conditions, at the bottom of a long list and buried in their website.

So, we have had to book another set of tickets, ultimately paying the same price that we would have done without the sale. I wouldn’t mind, as it was my mistake, but I am a bit cross at the fact they have made extra money from me and won’t give it back, which is always covered by the crappy Terms and Conditions. Hopefully, they can use my money (and I’m sure the money from other idiots like myself) into improving the service and getting the trains to actually be big enough to accommodate the amount of people that use them…

What about you guys? Have you ever made a mistake and then been screwed over by the Terms and Conditions?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks, my Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks and my Instagram page http://www.instagram.com/suzie81speaks.

A ‘Hidden Gem’ Travel Link-Up with A Girl and Her Passport

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Are you a travel blogger? Looking to connect with the travel blogger community?

Tiffany, over at A Girl and Her Passport is guest hosting a travel link-up along with a few other bloggers, which is open to all travel bloggers long as the post is relevant.

For those of you who don’t know of Tiffany’s beautiful blog – she is the creator of ‘A Girl and Her Passport,’ she is an American ex-pat living in Qatar, and she describes what she does in her About page:

Hi, I’m Tiffany… From here, I travel the world exploring countries’ culture, art, history, and food and to share it with my readers through stories and photography. My focus is on independent travel with an eye for finding the uniqueness of each place I visit.

The theme of the link-up is ‘Hidden Gems,’ and the post that she created about her own hidden gems has some really beautiful images. Continue reading

Blog of the Day: A Girl and Her Passport

I’m always envious of travel bloggers, in particular when I see their beautiful posts of all the places they have visited and the experiences they have had.

Tiffany is one such blogger. The creator of ‘A Girl and Her Passport,‘ she is an American ex-pat living in Qatar, and she describes what she does in her About page:

Hi, I’m Tiffany… From here, I travel the world exploring countries’ culture, art, history, and food and to share it with my readers through stories and photography. My focus is on independent travel with an eye for finding the uniqueness of each place I visit.

I absolutely love her images:

Continue reading

Suzie in the City

After a truly brilliant weekend with a lovely bunch of bloggy friends, I prepared myself for the trip back to Birmingham. As Sacha lives quite a distance from me (three trains and a tube connection), I thought that I had everything organised, and as I had made it relatively unscathed (despite the unexpected detour) I was at the station with what I thought a spare twenty minutes until the first train of my journey was ready to leave. The main part of it was from London Euston, and I thought my train left at 1.00pm, only to discover that it was actually at 3.40pm – the train the day before had been that that time instead.

That meant that, by the time I arrived at Euston, I had about three hours to kill before my train left. So, as it was a glorious day, and I’m never one to miss an opportunity to be a tourist, I purchased an all-day tube travel pass and went off on a little jolly around London, setting myself a challenge to see as much as I possibly could in the time limit. Continue reading

What a Carry On!

I predicted that I would be shattered, but nothing prepared me for just how much my feet would hurt on the train heading back home.

Those of you who regularly follow the blog will know that I’ve spent the past three days in London, touring all the Carry On sites of interest outside Pinewood Studios. As an early birthday present for my mum, who is quite possibly the world’s biggest Carry On fan, I mapped out loads of the blue plaques, grave sites and filming locations in and around the London area.

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As an extra gift, I had managed to purchase a print from the extremely talented British Comedy and portrait artist Steve Lilly (@Stevelilart), who just happened to live about ten minutes away from me, which I gave Mum when we arrived in London. She loved it!

It was exhausting, but we pretty much managed to cover everything I had planned.

On the first day we visited Maidenhead Town Hall, which was used in several of the films, and walked just around the corner to the high street, where a few of the scenes from Carry On Camping was filmed. Continue reading

An Amazing Few Days in Scotland

Wow.

It only seems like five minutes ago since I published my engagement post, but since then The Bloke and I have been busy exploring the incredible sights that this area of Scotland has to offer. We’re staying at Creel Cottage in the coastal village of Johnshaven, and as well as relaxing and enjoying the views and calm atmosphere here, we’ve been able to go and see some things that have been on my Bucket List for a long time. It’s like something from a film set – everything is just beautiful – and the people are open, warm and friendly.

Here are just some of the highlights: Continue reading

On a Train… Again

imageI’m on a train up north to spend a few days with the family as its my sister’s birthday. I’m not a fan of travelling this way during the week – my normal routine is to get one around 6.00am at the weekends, as nobody else has got out of bed at that time and it means that I can sit where I like and not be disturbed by screaming kids or poncy businessmen talking in buzzwords on their phones. As you can see from the image, it’s a cold and miserable day, but this is nothing new – it always seems to rain whenever I go up to Manchester.

As predicted, the train is rammed, but I shoved my way to the front, got on first and bagged a seat that doesn’t have a reservation. I have learned over the years that it doesn’t pay to be polite, unless you wish to stand for the entirety of the journey (how sad, but unfortunately a fact of dealing with the British general public), and I’m currently sitting by myself, listening to Bon Jovi (I had to put my headphones in to drown out the noise of the person opposite playing an online gambling game really loudly on his phone), eating my breakfast and watching a whole bunch of people squabble about who is sitting in each other’s seats. It’s quite amusing – I must look intimidating for some reason because a family have just had an argument about sitting next to me – apparently none of the them want to, one of them remarking that they would rather stand up. Fine by me! Hopefully, I’ll be left in peace to put my make-up on, and get on the blog, when the internet signal permits. Continue reading

Travel Blog of the Day: A Girl and Her Passport

Over the last few years I have been lucky enough to visit a number of places that are on my bucket list, and my enthusiasm for travel has certainly grown because of it. However, when I saw Tiffany’s adventures over on her blog, A Girl and Her Passport, I was immediately jealous!

Tiffany is an American expat living in Qatar. From there, she travels the world exploring countries’ culture, art, history, and food and she likes to share it with her readers through stories and truly fabulous photography. Her focus is on independent travel with an eye for finding the uniqueness of each place that she visits. She also blogs a little about things to do in Qatar.

What I particularly love about her blog is that she doesn’t just write about all the wonderful places she has visited, she offers advice, hints and tips on how to travel, which I have found really useful, and dispels and worries that potential travellers may have about certain areas of the world that may have unjustly have a reputation for being potentially dangerous. Tiffany’s posts are easy to read, informative and the photographs that she shares has meant that my bucket travel list has now doubled!

Check out her blog here.

You can follow her on Twitter at @agirlpassport

Totally worth your time…

 

Tips When Visiting Barcelona

Barcelona TipsChoose your hotel wisely. When going on a city break, it’s more than likely that you will spend most of your time outside, but, for me at least, it’s important that the room is clean and you feel safe to leave possessions behind while you are out exploring. We did very little research on this, but were extremely lucky with what we booked. The Hotel Sant Augusti was exactly that – clean, safe and in a fabulous location, being right next to one of the main metro lines, La Bouquiera Market, the beach, The Gothic Quarter and La Rambla. It also served a buffet breakfast every morning from 7.30am – 11.00am and had free wi-fi, which was useful when keeping in contact with loved ones.

Work out in advance what it is that you really want to see, and where possible, book tickets online before you go as there are enormous queues and long waits for the main attractions. For example, we arrived at La Sagrada Familia early, but had to queue for about half an hour to buy a ticket and then waited a further three hours before we were allowed in as there were timed entrance spots. It may be also useful to take a guidebook and print off maps of the areas you wish to travel to in advance – we had to buy a map when we were there and soon discovered that it was poorly labelled and many of the sights were in the wrong place. Continue reading