By now, you probably know that Italy is one of our favourite countries to visit in Europe. Therefore, we’ve come up with a guide to our top 5 Italian city breaks, located on the mainland!

The thing with Italy is that no two cities are the same. Each of them is very different making them equally exciting to explore.

The below list details our top 5 cities on the Italian mainland, rather than what we would consider villages or an Italian island!

To read our top 6 Italian coastal towns, click here!

Italian city breaks…

#1 Venice

The thing about Venice is that it is so unique. We visited the city three times and each time managed to fall in love with it even more. It’s a city built on water, it’s pretty incredible.

It is, however somewhere you can very easily get lost in! Whether you have a map or not, the winding cobblestone alleyways, many bridges connecting one side to another. Getting lost is one of the beauties about Venice, you will no doubt end up somewhere you hadn’t planned like we did. We had the most delicious meal in Venice, and if we hadn’t of gotten lost, we would never have found it (and I’m not even sure if we’ll be able to find it again!).

If you jump on a boat, you can be at one of the gorgeous colourful surrounding islands, Murano or Burano, each as beautiful as the next and known for their glass making or lace products.

thewelltravelledman top 5 italian cities to visit

If you’re really looking for that romance in the city that is filled with love, then you should certainly jump on a gondola ride.

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#2 Milan

Milano, the fashion capital of the world. Although, if you’re not into fashion, like us there is plenty more to see and do in Milan. The iconic Duomo is the number one thing to see in this city, it’s simply impressive! Click here to see our top 5 things to see in Milan.

If you have extra time, why not tack on a trip to the amazing Lake Como! Click here for information on travelling to Lake Como from Milan.

#3 Naples

Now, the city itself doesn’t have a great deal to offer, but you can’t visit Pompeii without going to Naples. Pompeii is just incredible, the size of the area is unbelievable. Just imagine back in 79AD, the entire area being buried in meters of ash and pumice after Mt Vesuvius erupted!

thewelltravelledman top 5 italian cities to visit

And, if you need something a little lighter to help you relax after that day, you can always duck over to the Amalfi Coast to unwind! Click here to read about the Amalfi Coast.

#4 Rome

The capital of Italy, Rome. This city is truly historical and you can really submerge yourself in the history of this place. There is, of course, the Colosseum where you can let your imagination run wild at the gladiators and events held at this impressive place!

thewelltravelledman top 5 italian cities to visit

Another spot you must visit is, of course, the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel. Just some things you can’t miss when you visit Rome.

#5 Florence

The capital of the Tuscany region! Florence is an absolutely gorgeous city. From here, you can explore Tuscany if you have the time, or you can spend a weekend just enjoying Florence. Be sure to check out Galleria dell’Accademia to see Michelangelo’s ‘David’.

There are plenty of leather shops to pick up a nice Italian leather jacket, or bag or anything leather for that matter!

thewelltravelledman top 5 italian city break

What’s your favourite Italian city break? Comment below!

Do you have travel insurance?

Before travelling, make sure you get a travel insurance policy – you never know when you might need it! Click here for information on travel insurance, what company we recommend and a link to get an instant quote.

Alternative accommodation

If you’re looking for alternative accommodation to either save some money or share with friends or family, click here for information on Air B&B ($50 discount on your first booking), hotel price comparison websites etc.

“It is not down in any map; true places never are.” – Herman Melville

 

 

 

We’ve had so many people come up to us and ask us …

“How do you pack up everything and relocate across the other side of the world?”

For us, the answer was quite simple… We wanted to experience as much of this world as we possibly could.

This post is the 3rd in a series of posts that we will be publishing about our journey of relocating from Australia to the UK.  Our blogs will cover the following:

Part 1:  Our story

Part 2:  Relocating from Sydney to the UK, including visa information as well as packing and logistics

Part 3:  This post! Arriving in the UK.  Where to live?  How to set up internet and utility bills, bank accounts, National Insurance Number and a guide to the NHS

Part 4:  Living & Working in London.  How to find work, Driving in the UK, day-to-day shopping, transferring money to and from the UK & Public Transport

Part 5:  Travelling Europe and how to make the best of your available time, including many travel tips!


Moving to London

Before you arrive, make sure you’ve set up some sort of accommodation. Whether it be staying with friends, an Air B&B, hotel or temporary accommodation – just something. The last thing you want to do is get off a long haul flight and not have somewhere to for a nice shower and sleep!

We had two weeks temporary accommodation provided to us through work where. Having this meant that we could set ourselves up and start looking for a place!

thewelltravelledman Moving to London

Finding somewhere to live

Having temporary accommodation was a big relief, but we did need to lock something in quickly before our arrangement ran out! We used a relocation agent to help us find a property, help us with the paperwork and negotiate with the property agent.

We spent quite a bit of time before getting to London liaising with our agent to make sure we had the right areas locked in for inspections. If you’ve started looking at properties on the market, there is a good chance the property won’t be available. The property agents’ don’t tend to take properties off the market, especially if they were well priced and nice to lure more potential to their agency, yes, pretty annoying if I must say so myself.

We narrowed our search down to West Hampstead. I had work commitments in a couple of offices, both central London as well as St Albans and also tend to work out at my client’s premises – a well-connected location was a must! West Hampstead had the National Rail direct to St Albans, the underground, the overground and plenty of buses should we ever need that!

It seemed perfect, and it was.

thewelltravelledman moving to london

When you’re looking for somewhere to live, it needs to have the things you like around you for it to work. For example, we were able to take a walk up to Hampstead Heath on weekends, enjoy a nice run through the heath and grab breakfast at a nice cafe on our way home.

There were local bars, pubs, restaurant, grocery stores (three to be precise to choose from!) and plenty more things. It was super convenient.

You will find a lot of Aussies head to Clapham Common or Wimbledon, so it depends on what you’re after as to where you look. If you have friends already living in London, I’d suggest living close to them as getting from one side of London to the other can be extremely time-consuming!

Setting up a National Insurance Number & Bank Account

We had absolutely no idea what a National Insurance (NI) number was when we first moved over. It is essentially your Tax File Number which you need to have when you’re working.

In most cases, you may be able to start work without it but just be cautious as you don’t want your employer to withhold your pay because you don’t have your NI number. You really need to get this done as soon as possible after moving to London. Click here for info on how to apply for this.

thewelltravelledman moving to london

Photo credit: www.movebubble.com

Not only do you need this for work, but if you plan on using the NHS you will need it for this as well.

And then comes the bank account… you obviously need this before you start work as you will need something for your pay to be deposited in. We went with NatWest international  simply because it was the easiest account for us to open while still living in Australia, in particular as NatWest International is based in Jersey and familiar with Expatriates.

We had no issues with them overall, however… because they are an International bank, they don’t have any physical branches in London, it is not to be confused with NatWest bank (affiliated but not the same!).

The only hurdle we had to overcome was getting cash out in our first week of getting to London. The issue was that we needed to pay the bond and fees for our apartment and at that stage had not received our new bank debit cards and given the value did not want to use our Australian credit cards. NatWest International was, however, able to provide authority to a NatWest branch (via fax) to provide us with funds after the internal paperwork and funds transfers were complete – a little confusing and very stressful but once we got our bank cards we were set.

thewelltravelledman moving to london

Photo credit: mirror.co.uk

The only issue you may have when setting both your NI and bank account up is the fact that you normally need proof of address before applying (a bit of an issue!). Many of you probably won’t have an address until after a few weeks of moving so you’re in a bit of a pickle.

I would strongly recommend reaching out to a friend, ask permission and confirm their address to use on the forms, at least you will have a trustworthy (hopefully) location to have your documents mailed. If you don’t know anyone, an alternative may be to use your work address (although this may not work) or to speak with the staff at your hostel or hotel and ask if you can use their address.

Once you have your address sorted, there is a good chance the bank will seek proof of you actually living there. This is normally in the form of a bank statement, or utility bill. If you can change your billing address on your Australian bank account, you can then get a statement printed with the new address and you will be able to use that… If you have any other suggestions – comment below!

Once you have everything sorted, make an appointment with the bank and get everything locked away. You will need proof of ID, so take your passport with you and if you have been lucky enough to secure a job, take in your contract as well.  They normally need to complete a 100 point check to confirm your ID so maybe take your licence, credit card or any other cards or documentation with photo ID and details present – the more information you take the less chance of any issues.

A guide to the NHS

This was probably one of the most frustrating things we had to deal with when we moved to the UK. In Australia, we can go to any GP, any location and not have to worry about it. In London, you need to be registered with a GP and a practice (close to your house) and you can normally only be registered with one GP at a time.

The last thing you want is to be caught out, need a doctor but realise you’re unable to book an appointment because you haven’t registered yet. So, as soon as you have moved in and found a place, find your local GP and read the reviews to ensure you’re happy and then go ahead and make an initial appointment which is usually with a nurse and get yourself registered. Once you’re registered, you can then make an appointment to see a doctor.

thewelltravelledman moving to london

Photo credit: http://food.ndtv.com

Our GP was pretty good, they kept appointments available for walk-ins on the day which was fantastic as there were bookings for weeks or even months in advance (I guess depending on where you live!). Our GP ran 10 minutes appointment slots and never ran over – it was fantastic. The other great thing about the GP’s over in London is that if you have a repeat prescription, and if you’ve been a few times before you can normally just phone up and they’ll leave it at the reception desk for you to collect – no appointment necessary!

Walk-in Clinics: If you’re travelling within the UK and you fall ill, don’t panic! There are walk-in clinics around which are available to everyone and you don’t need to be registered. The downside to this is that the wait time can often be a few hours.

Hospitals: If your GP refers you to the hospital, the chances are it won’t cost you anything. The treatment is typically free for residents of the UK and extends to those people who are legally allowed to be living in the UK.

A&E (Emergency): A&E is what they call the emergency room – it stands for Accident & Emergency. If you’re looking for your closest A&E, click here. You might need to make a visit if you’re stuck out of your GPs opening hours and you have an urgent issue! But, expect to wait for a few hours as you would any other emergency department.

Dentist: This is an area we didn’t have great experiences in. To be honest, we only went when we needed to for a check up and waited until we got back to Australia for our more serious dental work to be done. If you go to a dentist that is part of the NHS then the costs will be lower than that of a Private dentist.

Jenna went to a private dentist first up and it cost a small fortune. I guess we are used to having these things covered in our private health back in Australia so having to pay a couple hundred pounds out-of-pocket was a bit of a shock… especially given not much was actually done!

We then went to a cheaper private dentist and it was a disaster. The equipment they were using seemed from the 90’s and he said he didn’t do white fillings… only silver ones – who does that anymore!! Anyways, needless to say, we never went back. I suspect if you went to the NHS dentist you may get similar service with a longer waiting time. Click here for a guide on pricing for the NHS dentist.

Many employers in the UK will also have medical insurance available, check what you’re covered for and see a proper private dentist if you can. It is worth the extra if you’re there for a long period of time… you only get one set of teeth (well… unless you replace them all and have endless amounts of money!!)

Contact details: The emergency number in the UK is 999 and that is for the typical emergency services such as Ambulance, Fire Brigade and Police. If you need to contact the NHS for medical advice or help (that is not life threatening) then you can call them on 111. They can also advise what service you need so give them a call if you need.

Setting up utilities

Before you even get a place, you will want to arrange a UK Sim card. You can then use that while you’re living abroad. There are a few providers you can choose from, I was with O2 and Jenna was with EE. There is also Vodafone. Check out each of them and see which provider can give you the best deal.

Gas & Electricity: We went with British Gas and had no complaints. Their online service was great and was quick and easy to set up.

Water: We chose Thames Water and again had no issues with them.

Internet: We went with BT. Also, no issues and they had great, fast internet!

TV Licence: Yes, I know… seems a bit archaic doesn’t it? If you plan on having a TV in your flat, you will need a TV licence. If you don’t and get a knock at the door, you will need to pay a fine. My advice, just pay the licence fee!

There are other companies out there so just make sure you check rates and pick one that suits your budget.

thewelltravelledman moving to london

Photo credit: mycustomer.com

Click here for all posts London related!

“The gladdest moment in human life, me thinks, is a departure into unknown lands.” – Sir Richard Burton

Do you have any tips? Comment below!

Heading towards Margaret River from Perth? Check out the longest wooden jetty in the world, Busselton Jetty!

The jetty is just under 2km long and for those either not keen, or simply short on time, you could even hop on a cute tourist train to experience first hand just how long the jetty is.

Busselton Jetty

Where is Busselton Jetty

Located 2.5-hour drive south of Perth, you will find Busselton. It is a beautiful seaside town and by the looks of the construction happening, will be a popular place for holidaymakers.

If you type Busselton Jetty into Google Maps, you will have no trouble finding it!

How long to spend at Busselton Jetty

If you’re passing through, you could have a quick stop and it would still be worth it, but if it’s a nice sunny day you’re likely going to want to stay longer. There is plenty on offer in Busselton with museums, train rides along the jetty and an underwater observatory. Click here to read about what is on offer.

The best time to visit Busselton Jetty

If you’re looking for that perfect photo, I would suggest Sunset. We had a cloudy afternoon when we visited on our way down to Margaret River so didn’t quite get the photos we were hoping for!

You won’t be disappointed, no matter the time of the day. With perfect skies, you will really see the colour of the water and how beautiful it is.

What to do at Busselton Jetty

If you have a bit of time then you have plenty of options for things to do. These include

  • Charter Boats
  • Diving
  • Busselton Visitor Centre
  • Busselton Museum
  • Bike Hire
  • Forest Adventures

Heading to Margaret River?

If you’re looking for somewhere to stay in Margaret River, click here to read about the Pullman Bunker Bay and watch this space for our tips on what to see and do in Margaret River!

“The gladdest moment in human life, me thinks, is a departure into unknown lands.” – Sir Richard Burton

 

 

If you’re planning a holiday over the festive season in Europe, it won’t be a surprise to you that it will be pretty cold! You will need to be well prepared, well dressed and organised. Our top 6 tips for travelling through Europe in winter time will help get you on your way to your European winter holiday!

Travelling through Europe in winter

Wear layers

If there is only one thing you take from this post, this is the one.

Travelling in Europe in winter, you’ll need to be rugged up and wearing plenty of layers. You will be outside a lot, probably most of the day moving from sight to sight. If this is your first European winter, you will have the shock of your life! It is freezing and don’t underestimate how cold it stays even throughout the day.

The main reasons for layering up is because the moment you get inside anywhere, restaurants or museums or shops – they are extremely well heated so you will need to start taking layers of clothing off to be comfortable!

thewelltravelledman what to wear in europe in winter

Click here for our packing guide for packing for a winter European holiday.

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Plan ahead

Because you’ll most likely be travelling over the festive season, it is a good idea to plan ahead to make sure everything is going to be open when you’re there and the opening hours as some places may have reduced hours due to the holiday time. I’d recommend pre-booking your tickets in advance, make sure they are open and you may even be in luck with shorter queue times as winter is often a lot less busy than the summer time!

If you’re going to be away for Christmas Day, you will need to book in advance. You also may want to include booking in advance for Christmas Eve. We found Christmas Eve to be far more busy than Christmas Day in Europe so best to book ahead.

Mooser christmas dinner - Skiing St Anton am Arlberg by the well travelled man

Mooser Christmas dinner – Skiing St Anton am Arlberg by the well travelled man

Are you spending Christmas abroad? Here are our top ways on how to spend Christmas abroad!

Give yourself some extra travel time

The one thing about travelling in winter is that the weather can be unpredictable. We have been caught out before in St Anton, getting to Zurich. The train was delayed due to the snowfall. It may seem frustrating at the time but allowing an extra couple of hours ‘just in case’ is worth it. For us, it meant we didn’t miss our flight (we made it by 2 minutes!!). Despite us making the airport on time, our flight was delayed by 3 hours due to the weather!

thewelltravelledman tips for travelling europe in winter

Another example is our bus from Geneva to Val Thorens. There was a blizzard. So instead of taking a few hours, it took over 12 hours. It was a disaster but thankfully we were going to our ski destination rather than heading to the airport. For this reason, I would always recommend staying a night at your airport destination at the back-end, to allow for these disruptions. It may seem overkill, but paying for a new flight, in the peak holiday period is also not ideal!

thewelltravelledman travelling through Europe in winter

Taking public transport

If you’re someone who likes to hire a car when travelling (like us), you may want to re-consider the winter. Driving on icy and snowy conditions can be tricky, not to mention driving on the other side of the road (click here for tips on that!).

I’d recommend taking public transport – leave the transport up to the locals and professionals. They know what they are doing and will most likely get you there safer than if you were to do it yourself!

Do you have travel insurance?

Before travelling, make sure you get a travel insurance policy – you never know when you might need it! Click here for information on travel insurance, what company we recommend and a link to get an instant quote.

Alternative accommodation

If you’re looking for alternative accommodation to either save some money or share with friends or family, click here for information on Air B&B ($50 discount on your first booking), hotel price comparison websites etc.

“I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

Rottnest Island, also known as the home of the Quokka! Do you know where the name Rottnest came from? Turns out, a Dutch captain mistook the Quokka’s for giant rats (which let’s be honest, they sort of look like that!) so he gave the island the name Rotte Nest which translates to Rat Nest in Dutch.

Historically, the island was also home to army barracks, a penal colony and a prisoner of war camp. Nowadays, the island is a beautiful holiday destination for locals and tourists.

Getting to Rottnest Island

There are a number of ways to get to Rottnest Island, and they include helicopter, seaplanes, or if you’re just a regular person, then you can take the Ferry from either Perth or Fremantle.

There are a couple of companies to choose from, Rottnest Express or Rottnest Fast Ferries. You can choose to depart from Perth City, North Fremantle, Fremantle (Victoria Quay) and Hillary’s Boat Harbour in North Perth.

We departed with Rottnest Express from Fremantle and the journey is direct and was only around 30 minutes. I would absolutely recommend you pre-book your seats on the ferry. We went on a Monday and even then, our ferry was fully booked.

If you are someone who gets seasick, I would highly recommend taking something for that before you get on board.

Optional Activities – Adventure Boat and Cycling

When you book with Rottnest Express, you will see several options to choose. We chose the Adventure tour with bicycle hire. This package includes a 90-minute adventure boat tour and bicycle hire.

Again, I would absolutely 100% recommend booking these options before you get on the boat. I happened to sit next to the counter on board, the morning tour was fully booked and there were only a couple of seats left on the afternoon adventure tour. These were snapped up in seconds and a number of families missed out on the fun.

The 90-minute Adventure boat was a heap of fun. We spent around half of the time whale watching and we also spent some time checking out the New Zealand Fur Seals.

We were lucky on our way back to the dock and saw some whales having a play! As you can imagine, trying to get a photo of these guys in a boat that is rocking side to side with 1m swells was not easy. This is the best photo I could take!

Again, I would recommend taking some motion sickness tablets if you happen to get seasick.

The best way to get around Rottnest Island

Cycling! Absolutely the best way to get around. Not only can you do things at your own pace, but it is relatively an easy riding island with only a few hills (which Jenna had to walk up!).

If you’re not into cycling, you can opt for the local hop-on-hop-off bus that operates on the island.

How long to spend on Rottnest Island?

We took the 9.30am ferry from Fremantle and arrived at around 10.15 am. We collected our bikes, put them on the bike rack and hung around for our 11 am Adventure Boat.

After the Adventure boat, we had some lunch in town before jumping on our bicycles and exploring the beaches. We then got on the 4.30pm departure ferry, getting us back into Fremantle at 5 pm. It was just the right amount of time for us for a day trip.

You can, of course, spend the night on Rottnest Island if you want to relax a little. We did notice a heap of accommodation options, some of which have perfect ocean views.

When to visit Rottnest Island

If you’re wanting to go swimming, then a visit in summer is a must so you’re looking at November/December until around February. We visited at the end of September and the water was still a bit cold for us to jump in, although plenty of people were swimming!

I have also been told that mid-November isn’t ideal unless you want to be surrounded by Schoolies (Schoolies are kids who have just finished high school and spend a week celebrating and partying!).

What to bring with you

You will need enough battery on your phone to present your ferry ticket on the way home, if there is a chance you won’t then make sure you have a printed copy. Definitely take sunscreen regardless of the season, sunglasses, swimmers and I would also recommend motion sickness tablets. You can buy lunch and drinks from the town and there is a general store if you need to top anything up.

Rottnest Island Beaches

The beaches on Rottnest Island are simply beautiful. They look like beaches that are in Italy or Greece, only the water is slightly cooler! Our favourite beaches were:

The Basin:  Just a short cycle from the settlement you will find the Basin. It’s the most popular not just because it is so close to town but because of how beautiful it is!

Longreach Bay: It is a beautiful white sandy bay, gorgeous water and popular with the boats! You also have some accommodation over looking the bay, which I could imagine would be very relaxing!!

Georgie Bay:  Absolutely adorable! There was only one person enjoying this small bay which would be perfect if you’re trying to escape the busyness of the other beaches.

Parakeet Bay: A lovely secluded beach. If you’re looking for some quiet time then this is the spot for you.

Little Armstrong Bay: One of our favourites! The water was perfection, crystal clear and calm. Just the way we like it!

We also cycled past:

Pink Lake:  It wasn’t pink!! We read that it is only really pink over the summer months so maybe you will have better luck than us!

Just a tip to always be careful of the local animals that are around. There are two types of snakes that are native to Rottnest Island, one of which is the Dugite and it is venomous. We saw one slithering across the pathway… just be careful!

Here is a map of the beaches on Rottnest Island and cycling tracks.

The Rottnest Quokkas!

And of course, probably the main reason anyone decides to visit Rottnest Island is of course to see the Quokkas! To be honest, they are a giant looking rodent… BUT are super cute…

They are all around the island and if you pick up an island map from the ferry, they mark out where the Quokka’s tend to hang around.

Keep in mind that it is illegal to feed or touch the Quokkas. They eat berries off the ground and should not be eating human food. They are a vulnerable species and the last thing we want is to make them extinct so everyone does need to respect these rules.

Getting a selfie with a Quokka is on everyone’s list (well nearly everyone I am sure). Sometimes easy, sometimes not. We didn’t want to get too close to them.. although they are friendly I am not sure they are that hygienic… one of them had a tick in its ear which gave us enough reason to stay away!

Do you have travel insurance?

Before travelling, make sure you get a travel insurance policy – you never know when you might need it! Click here for information on travel insurance, what company we recommend and a link to get an instant quote.

Perth Accommodation

If you’re looking for accommodation in Perth, we recommend Crown Towers! Click here to see our full post review.

Photos from Rottnest Island

Here are a few more pics of our time on Rottnest Island.


“Remember that happiness is a way of travel – not a destination.” – Roy M. Goodman

What to pack for a European Winter? That is the question I often asked myself. There are a few things you need to know when packing for a winter European holiday and I wish I had this list before I started travelling around Europe!

Click here for a printable version of the below.

Click here for a check list for your carry on luggage!

So, what to pack for a European winter?

Jacket.. a good jacket

A jacket is an obvious choice, but you really do need a good quality jacket, not a cheap one. Not only will it last you several years, but it will keep you warm in the winter. Your jacket also needs to have enough room to be able to layer up underneath with a jumper, scarf etc.

When looking for a jacket, I’d probably recommend buying two depending on your holiday. The first would be a long coat, one that comes past your butt. This is because when you bend over, you don’t want your back showing and getting cold.

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The second jacket would have to be a windproof and waterproof jacket. This is an absolute must and we learnt the hard way. We travelled Iceland in April and it was windy and rainy every day. We didn’t have the right jacket so we sat in wet clothes all day every day for 4 days! Not ideal.

thewelltravelledman what to wear in europe in winter

Tip: Look for your jacket at the end of winter so pick up a bargain. It is worth paying good money for a decent jacket, so hit the outlet stores or wait until after winter to pick up a bargain.

Shoes … boots … waterproof shoes…

The next most important thing alongside a jacket is your shoes. In the winter, it is likely to be rainy or even snowing so the right shoes are a must.

I purchased myself some men’s ankle waterproof boots from Geox in London. They are absolutely amazing and worth every penny. They go with most outfits as well so you don’t look ridiculous.

Jenna also picked up a pair of black waterproof boots from Geox. She wore these on our way to the snow, stepped off the bus into snow that came to the top of the boots. They are a suede sort of boot and she was worried about how they would cope with that amount of snow. She got inside and the snow just fell off and shoes 100% dry – they are amazing.

She also has some brown leather just below the knee Clarkes boots. These are also amazing and keep her feet dry.

thewelltravelledman what to wear in europe in winter

Buying the right shoes are important – you really need to keep your feet dry!!

Tip: Wellie’s/Hunters (gumboots) are NOT good for winter. Jenna learnt the hard way out in Zurich one evening, she couldn’t feel her toes!

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Gloves, Scarves and Hats/Beanies

Keeping your head warm is another must! You don’t have to wear a beanie, you can also buy lovely winter hats which are not only fashionable but do the job.

Wearing gloves are also pretty important. You can get different styles depending on what you’re doing during the day. You can get nice full leather gloves, or you can get some knit glove and gloves where you can fold over the fingers so you can keep your hands warm while your fingers are exposed to do other things (like take photos, or use your phone!)

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Scarves are not only a fashion statement (for both men and women) but do a great job at keeping your chest and neck warm.

Tip: For women, a nice knitted wool snood. They are amazing and do a fantastic job at keeping your warm. Not to mention they look amazing!

Thermals

Depending on where you’re going, thermals are a great idea. I personally don’t like to layer up too much as a guy, so I would normally wear jeans and a jumper or jacket and that’s about it. To get away with this, I will wear thermal pants and long sleeve thermal underneath to keep me warm. The downside to this is of course when you’re inside a restaurant or shop, you do get warm quickly!

You will obviously need good thermals if you’re off on a ski holiday. We experienced -20 degree days while we were in Val Thorens so we doubled up our thermals under our snow gear. Skiing in St Anton was only around 0 – 2 degrees so one set of thermals did the trick there!

thewelltravelledman what to wear in europe in winter

Tip: The thing about thermals is you want good quality ones. We recommend Merino Wool thermals. I know when you’re looking at the price, you will notice they are a fair bit more expensive, BUT they do not smell.. which means you could wear them for a full week and they don’t pick up odours.

Jeans… tights…. something warm on the bottom

You all probably know jeans don’t really keep you that warm. This is why we often wear some thermals underneath to keep us warm!

For the ladies, Jenna can recommend wearing some tights underneath your long pants. It just gives you that extra layer without being too thick. You can also pick up thermal tights which you can wear as tights under a skirt if you like and then pop some boots over that. What she really liked was fleecy tights – this is where the inside of the tights are fleecy – keeps you super warm!

thewelltravelledman what to wear in europe in winter

Tip: If you’re buying tights, pick some up that have the built in socks. This means your feet will stay warm, you don’t have to add socks and they won’t roll up which then get uncomfortable under boots!

Long sleeved shirts

Buy a heap of these and keep them on stand buy! It is good to layer up, so you can always chuck a vest or jumper over the top of a long sleeved shirt and then a jacket. That way, you can start to peel the layers off and still make sure you’re comfortable.

thewelltravelledman what to pack for a european winter

Tip: Jenna often wore two long sleeve tops over each other and it worked very well.

Socks

I know it sounds silly, but having the right socks is important. Your feet will be cold, even wearing good shoes so you need to make sure you keep them as warm as possible. Thermal socks are a good idea, and they aren’t too thick and chunky either so makes wearing them under your boots easy enough.

Tip: you may even like to double up on your socks to keep your feet extra warm!

Accessories

Umbrella: Not sure if this is an accessory or not, but you will need to carry one with you. We would recommend a small one you can fit in your backpack or handbag.

Waterproof bag: When you’re walking around and it starts drizzling, there is nothing worse than things getting wet (like your camera). For ladies, this is easier! Pick up a Longchamp Nylon Le Pliage bag. These are super light weight so fold up to nothing, and also water repellent so will keep your goods dry if you’re stuck in some rain!

Do you have travel insurance?

Before travelling, make sure you get a travel insurance policy – you never know when you might need it! Click here for information on travel insurance, what company we recommend and a link to get an instant quote.

Alternative accommodation

If you’re looking for alternative accommodation to either save some money or share with friends or family, click here for information on Air B&B ($50 discount on your first booking), hotel price comparison websites etc.

Planning on a white Christmas?

If you’re planning on spending Christmas abroad, click here for our top 5 tips!

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” – Gustave Flaubert

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hotel: Pullman Bunker Bay

Location: Margaret River, Western Australia

Room: One Bedroom Lake View

Perfect for: Couples

Category: 5 Star


Located in the Margaret River Region, the Pullman Bunker Bay Resort is a 5-star luxury hotel with a prime beachfront location. If you’re thinking about spending some time in the south west of WA, then you should read this post!

We booked two nights at this hotel, one of which was our complimentary night as part of our Accor Plus membership.

Our welcome experience at the Pullman Bunker Bay…

After a quick stop in at Busselton Jetty on our way down from Perth, we arrived at the hotel.

The Room…

Massive. Just massive! Equiped with a large dining room, kitchenette, lounge room, laundry facilities, extra large bedroom and spacious bathroom. It was pure luxury. I could actually live there!

You enter into the living area and immediately look down to one of your private balconies overlooking the lake.

When you make your way through to the bedroom, you will notice another balcony here and also the bathroom.

The bathroom has a beautifully placed bathtub designed for pure relaxation.

A separate shower is also very spacious.

Looking back onto the room from the pathway leading to the beach, you can see just how private the rooms are.

Meals…

Other Side of the Moon: If you have breakfast included, you will have this at the main restaurant at the hotel. There is a large range of fresh food available, including a kids buffet which by the looks of things, they really enjoyed!

There was also a fresh juicing station there for you to make your own with recommended recipes there from the kitchen.

We ate dinner at the restaurant on both evenings. Because we have the Accor Plus membership, meals were 50% off. Bargain! We ordered some delicious food and the service was pretty good as well. We would recommend dining here at least one of your evenings.

Health and Fitness…

For those who like to stay active on holidays, there is a fully equipped gym which includes some cardio machines and weights. The gym overlooks the pool which is always a nice way to exercise.

Hotel Grounds

The pool area is lovely and a great way to relax or cool off after a day of exploring!

Good to know…

There is plenty of complimentary parking available at the hotel.

If you need help with getting luggage to your room, let the concierge know, it won’t be long before concierge arrives via golf cart to take your luggage (and yourselves included if you need help!)

The hotel grounds also have some lovely grassy areas equipped with a BBQ so you can always bring your own food and cook up a storm!

Checking out…

As always with Accor, check out was simple, quick and easy!

Above and beyond…

Nothing out of the ordinary to mention here for us other than the spacious and luxurious room.

The not so good…

Nothing to report here either.

The verdict…

Overall, the hotel and grounds are really quite lovely. It is a perfect spot to relax and explore the Margaret River region. The hotel also offers great options for families as well. It’s a big yes from us!

Do you have travel insurance?

Before travelling, make sure you get a travel insurance policy – you never know when you might need it! Click here for information on travel insurance, what company we recommend and a link to get an instant quote.

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta

If you’re looking for great lookouts, amazing beaches and a relaxing weekend, Port Stephens is the answer. Below are our recommendations on what to do if you’re planning a weekend getaway.


Port Stephens long weekend itinerary

Friday: Arrive Friday evening and check in to your hotel

Saturday: Take a drive to Seal Rocks, Blueys Beach & Forster

Sunday: Explore Salamander Bay, Nelson Bay, Shoal Bay, Tomaree Head


Seal Rocks

About 1.5 hours north of Nelson Bay you will find Seal Rocks. I know, it sounds like such a long drive, but trust me – it’s worth it!!

This place was absolutely stunning! Just put Seal Rocks into google maps, otherwise, you can search for North Coast Holiday Parks Seal Rocks as the beach is opposite the park!

There is a rocky mountain just out which you can go explore on or jump off the rocks into the ocean. It is a great spot to spend a few hours catching some rays.

Blueys Beach

Another 20 minutes north of Seal Rocks you will find Blueys Beach. It is a massive stretch of beach, plenty of space to relax, play some beach cricket or have a swim.

 

Forster

Forster is a gorgeous coastal town. There isn’t a whole lot happening here, but if you are there when there are markets, it is worth a quick stop in!

Soldiers Point

If you want to see some Pelicans, this is the spot! There are heaps of fisherman here and the pelicans hang around to get the scraps.

thewelltravelledman port stephens nsw long weekend

Nelson Bay

Nelson Bay is where you will find the marina. Plenty of boats, an information centre if you’re looking for things to do!

Shoal Bay

Shoal Bay is really quite beautiful. There is quite a lot of beach and cafés if you decide to grab a bite to eat.

Tomaree Head

This is an absolute must see and do in Port Stephens. The views are breathtaking.

The walk has a few stairs to get up, but not super difficult. There are spots you can stop along the way to catch your breath if you need to!

You overlook Shoal Bay and Zenith Beach and there are plenty of spots to stop along the way for some photos.

Barry Park Walk

This is a gorgeous walk! You can do part of it or the whole thing, depending on how much time you have.

Salamander Bay

We stayed at Salamander Bay and spent a bit of time exploring. There really isn’t a lot here to see, but if you’re out this way you may as well!

Where to stay

We stayed at the Ibis Styles Salamander Shores. The hotel itself was fine but had a sort of model feel to it and was a bit dated. However, the bed was comfortable which was the main thing. We booked here simply because we are Platinum Accor members.

Where to eat

We actually ate at the Ibis Styles restaurant both nights. Honestly, the food was fantastic! It was quite a pubby atmosphere but the food was good value. However, breakfast wasn’t amazing so I’d recommend eating out somewhere!

Do you have travel insurance?

Before travelling, make sure you get a travel insurance policy – you never know when you might need it! Click here for information on travel insurance, what company we recommend and a link to get an instant quote.

Alternative accommodation

If you’re looking for alternative accommodation to either save some money or share with friends or family, click here for information on Air B&B ($50 discount on your first booking), hotel price comparison websites etc.

Here are a few more snaps from our weekend in Port Stephens.

“The life you have led doesn’t need to be the only life you have.” – Anna Quindlen

Surrounded by the Alps and Jura Mountains with incredible views of the highest mountain in the Alps, Mont Blanc, you will find Geneva on the southern tip of Lake Geneva (Lac Léman).

We had the pleasure of stopping into this Swiss beauty on our way to Val Thorens, France for some of the best skiing Europe has to offer.


Geneva two day itinerary

Day 1: Geneva Old Town

Day 2: Day trip to Annecy, France


Day 1: Geneva Old Town

We spent a day enjoying Geneva’s Old Town before our ski trip. As most Old Towns in Europe, there is a lot of history and charm that comes with it.

The Floral Clock (Horloge Fleurie)

More than 6000 flowers and plants, which change depending on the season, you will no doubt be impressed! But why the floral clock? I’m sure you’re probably all aware that Switzerland is famous for their watches and this is a symbol of that and was created back in 1955.

You can find the Floral Clock on the edge of the English Garden (Jardin Anglais).

The beauty of the clock is that it actually keeps the correct time. A fun fact about the clock is that the second hand is a whopping 2.5m long which makes it the largest in the world!

The Fountain (Le Jet d’Eau)

It is kind of hard to miss when you’re walking near the Floral Clock and along Lake Geneva! Le Jet d’Eau, translated to ‘The Fountain’ is the large fountain located in the middle of the lake and is Geneva’s most famous landmarks! It was even used on the official logo for Geneva’s hosting of the 2008 UEFA Championships.

It also happens to be one of the largest fountains in the world and sprays the water into the air at around 200km/hr – you better hope the wind doesn’t pick up or you may get a little wet!

St Peter’s Cathedral (St. Pierre Cathedral)

Who doesn’t love a panoramic view over the city? St Peter’s Cathedral is where to get that experience in Geneva. But, you do need to be prepared to walk up the 157 stairs!

Geneva

It is also known in French as the St. Pierre Cathedral and is located in the old town. Construction commenced on the current building in 1160, however, there is evidence to prove that the site was occupied in the 4th Century.

Day 2: Day trip to Annecy, France

Annecy, France

If you have a hire car, we recommend visiting Annecy, France for the day. We absolutely loved this quaint town and was a worthwhile day trip. To read more about Annecy, click here.

Click here to read tips and information on driving in Europe.

When to visit Geneva

We stopped over on our way to our ski trip so it was the end of December and cold. We actually woke up on our first morning to around 10cm of snow! If, however, you are after long days with plenty of sunshine, you should visit between June and August.

Language spoken in Geneva

As I’m sure you’re aware, Switzerland has four official languages – German, French, Romansh, Italian. Geneva is close to the French border so the most common language spoken is French. In saying that, pretty much everyone speaks fluent English.

Do you have travel insurance?

Before travelling, make sure you get a travel insurance policy – you never know when you might need it! Click here for information on travel insurance, what company we recommend and a link to get an instant quote.

Alternative accommodation

If you’re looking for alternative accommodation to either save some money or share with friends or family, click here for information on Air B&B ($50 discount on your first booking), hotel price comparison websites etc.

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” – Andre Gide

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hotel: Crown Towers Perth

Location: Perth, Western Australia

Room: Deluxe Villa

Perfect for: Couples, Executives

Category: 6 Star, Exclusive Luxury


From the moment you drive into the entrance of this exquisite hotel, you know you’re in for a treat.

Below is our full review of our stay at Crown Towers Perth.

Our welcome experience at Crown Towers Perth…

We walked up to the concierge desk and were directed to the Crystal Club for our express check-in. The staff at the Crystal Club were welcoming, friendly and gave us a tour of the Crystal Club and what is included as part of that package. Keep reading below for more information on the lounge!

The Room…

Our room was a Deluxe Villa and from the moment you walk into your villa, it feels like a home, this is not simply a hotel room.

As you enter, you have a dining room area followed by a lounge room.

This, of course, would not be complete without a Whiskey bar, mini bar, coffee machine.

All of this is overlooking the beautiful skyline of Perth.

The bedroom has an extremely comfortable King bed, chaise lounge, study desk (with an Apple MacBook) and the same magical view, what more could you want?

As you walk past the wardrobes towards the ensuite, you will notice plenty of cupboard space, a dressing table with hairdryer and a GHD hair straightener.

The moment you walk into the ensuite, you will be mesmerised by the sheer size of the bathroom. Dual vanities, plenty of mirrors, large bathtub and a TV.

A separate shower complete with a built-in seat for those who want to sit under the rain shower for a little longer.

The room had plenty of other perks which are absolutely worth mentioning… the sheers and drapes are both automatic.

If you’re in bed and realised you left the lights on or the drapes open – just turn over to your Samsung tablet on the side table and at the press of a button you can control all of these as well.

The Butler…

Our room came with a Butler service. We had only been in our room for 2 minutes when the doorbell rang. It was Ian, our Butler.

Ian introduced himself and asked if we had any requests. For those who are unsure what a Butler can do for you, it can be just about anything:

  • unpacking your luggage into the wardrobe
  • running a bubble bath at any time
  • pouring your bottle of champagne
  • arranging for your towels by the pool
  • dinner reservations, even at the busiest of busy hot spots
  • coffee to enjoy shortly after your wake-up
  • and so much more

Imagine this… You’ve spent an entire day out exploring, say for example Rottnest Island. You’re on the ferry on the way back to Fremantle and driving back to the hotel. You’re exhausted and all you want to do is get into a nice warm bath to relax and soak your muscles after riding a bicycle all day. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the bath ready for you when you get back to your room and not having to wait for it to fill up? Yep… that is one of the perks of having your own Butler.

Crystal Club…

With our room came Crystal Club access. It is worth noting upfront that you can actually pay for access if it is not included in your package. So, if you feel like enhancing your Crown Towers experience, then for $90 per person, you can experience all that the Crystal Club has to offer.

Located on the 15th floor, the Crystal Club is where you can check in / check out and avoid the queue in the foyer. It is a one-stop shop concierge service. The welcome lounge is inviting, bright and spacious with incredible views over Perth city.

The Crystal club provides guests with complimentary breakfast, afternoon tea and evening drinks and canapes. You can choose to have this inside or outside on the covered patio overlooking the incredible sunset.

Breakfast is available daily and you can order off the A La Carte menu. Monday to Friday it is available between 6.30am – 11am and on weekends from 7am until midday.

After you check in, why not enjoy complimentary afternoon tea between 2pm – 4pm. There is a nice selection of afternoon tea that would suit everyone.

Once you’re settled and had a chance to enjoy the grounds, definitely head up to the Club for evening drinks, canapes and an amazing sunset over the Perth skyline. These are daily from 5.30pm – 7pm and include a variety of hot and cold canapes as well as alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

To be honest, if you didn’t have dinner plans you won’t need it as there is plenty to keep you going here!

Health and Fitness…

For those who like to stay active on holidays, there is a fully equipped gym which includes some cardio machines and weights. It is by far the most impressive hotel gym I’ve come across. It is just massive.

Hotel Grounds

The pool area is massive! There are multiple pools, lifeguards and bars/restaurants around. You could very easily spend a day (or two or three) relaxing by the pool. I know we wished we had extra time to enjoy the resort!

Also attached to the precinct is the Casino. If you feel like a quick bet then take a wander over to try your luck! We managed to pick up a quick $100 which paid for a few drinks!

Good to know…

The Deluxe Villa includes complimentary valet parking – this is service that we found extremely useful. When you phone to get assistance with your luggage upon check out, give your parking ticket to that person and they will arrange for your bags to put into the boot for you. Makes things so simple!

Checking out…

Checking out couldn’t be easier at the Crystal Club. It was efficient and we had no issues at all.

Above and beyond…

A massive shout out to Ian, our Butler. He was helpful and provided us with a heap of information and made our stay really enjoyable.

The not so good…

This heading is pointless from our opinion. The hotel, hotel grounds and staff were on point. Everyone was friendly, professional and helpful.

The verdict…

A massive thumbs up from our point of view. Whether you’re a professional on a business trip, fellow travellers who are looking for a touch of luxury or locals who are looking for a staycation – Crown Towers has it all.

Do you have travel insurance?

Before travelling, make sure you get a travel insurance policy – you never know when you might need it! Click here for information on travel insurance, what company we recommend and a link to get an instant quote.

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta

 

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