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Money and Travel

Money and Travel

Considering the current climate, most of us would agree that it is much safer to pay by card or contactless payment when we are out and about. So, I thought I’d review a few cards I have used when travelling abroad and why I think they are great. FYI, this is just my opinion and is based solely on my experience. ( I am not a financial adviser so, if you need more information, please speak to a qualified professional ).

Monzo

This was the first mobile banking card I signed up for, and to be honest, it has worked just fine since. I still use Monzo today, especially when saving towards particular destination pots. The account is easily accessed through the Monzo mobile app and there is a feature that allows you to freeze your card if you lose it. One of the great things about Monzo is that spending abroad is free and you are only charged the exchange rate at the time of transaction.

The app is also good for monitoring spending, receiving notifications for paydays, setting up bill payments and saving pots. There is an option for your salary to be paid in a day early. The salary sorter is a great feature that helps organise your finances and prevent overspending. Monzo also allows you to earn interest on savings. (visit Monzo for more details). It is easy to switch your accounts to Monzo and use it as your main debit account if that is your preference.

Sterling Card

Sterling card works like a debit card or pre-paid cash card. It is free to sign up for and does not charge any annual fees. Like Monzo, it can be managed through a mobile app which is very easy to use. You can simply transfer money into it your Sterling account and use it as a pre-paid cash card or equally if you prefer, it can be used as a debit card.

Another key advantage of using the Sterling card is that there are no withdrawal fees when using this card abroad. So, you can withdraw and spend as much as you like. You will only get charged the local exchange rate at the time. The app also has a feature that allows you to freeze the card if you lose it.

Tandem

This card is also free and has no annual fees or international fees when spending abroad. It does, however, charge fees for withdraws, so, if you chose to use this card, avoid making cash withdraws. It is better to use the card for purchases instead. It gives 0.5% cashback when you spend. Like all credit cards, make sure you pay the balance back in full each month to avoid penalties or ruining your credit score. This one comes with an easy to use app that gives you notifications to help you track spending. You can also freeze your card if you do lose it. ( visit Tandem for more information)

Curve

This product allows you to add both your debit and credit card into on card. With a Curve card, you don’t need to carry all your cards around with you. They are all accessible through the Curve card. It is operated through a mobile app where you can add your credit and debit accounts, then simply chose which account you want the money you are spending to come from.  The account is free to open. Cash withdraws of up to £200 per month and spending of up to £500  per month is free with Curve. Like many mobile banking accounts, you will only be charged the exchange rate at the time of transaction. But please note that a 0.2% fee is charged if you exceed these limits.  The added advantage of using this card is that you will avoid any fees that your other cards might charge while travelling abroad. There are added fees for weekend travel spends. (please read terms and conditions). It may not suit weekend travel.

It is always wise to have spare money in cash when you travel in case of emergency. Please wear gloves to reduce the spread of Covid -19 and wash your hands regularly.

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Monaco

Monaco

Monaco is a small state that sits on France’s Mediterranean coast. It’s most famously known for its Formula 1 Grand Prix held on the Circuit de Monaco, as well as the luxurious lifestyle, yachts and famous casinos. Monte-Carlo is the most visited part of Monaco filled with everything that money can buy.

The best of view of the Grand Prix race track is from Fairmont hotel – which is where I stayed. Fairmont is also famous for Nikki beach club and has a great vibe over the weekends. The hotel has a unique design built like a luxury ship with an unbeatable view of the sea.

My dream is to have a beautiful old house in Monaco

Eva Herzigova

The Monte-Carlo Harbour is one of the best places to enjoy the view and people watch. You will see the most luxurious yachts, stunning views of the ocean and an endless selection of restaurants and cafes. It is the best place to enjoy a glass of wine while watching the yachts. The view at night is magical.

Jardin Exotique is a beautiful garden located on the edge cliff overlooking the bay of Monaco. Make time to visit these amazing gardens – great for families. It truly is worth the visit. Another place to visit is St Nicholas Cathedral – a beautiful catholic church and also the resting place of most of the Grimaldi’s including Grace Kelly. Port de Fontvieille hosts Monaco’s automobile museum which displays the world’s top car collection in Monaco, worth a visit.

Monte-Carlo Casino is a must-see when in Monaco. It is as grand as seen in the movies. My top recommendations for restaurants are Le Grill, Twiga, Nobu, Buddha-bar, Cafe de Paris, Le Salon Rose. For a great night out try The living room, Jimmy’z and Sass Cafe.

Larvotto Beach is one of the most popular beaches in the world. It is open to the public and only a short walk from Monte-Carlo. Be sure to get there early if you want to grab a good stop.

My trip ended with a lovely relaxing massage from Carol Joy Spa.

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My Bucket List

My Bucket List

I imagine that like me, you can’t wait to get out and enjoy the world again. I am already thinking about future travel and destinations that are on my bucket list. So I thought I’d share a few places I cant wait to see. (If you are planning future travel or looking for a UK staycation! Book with me or contact me for a quote). Here is my bucket list of the top 10 countries I can’t wait to visit

Malawi

Malawi has been a personal destination goal for me for a while now. All who have visited, have described it as a place that exceeds expectation. This list is in no particular order but Malawi is the number one destination on my bucket list. Located in East Africa, this beautiful country has it all from wild reserves to the scenic Lake Malawi. I truly can’t wait to dip my toes in the water.

Havanna – Cuba

I’m so envious of all who have been to this wonderful country. Cuba is located in North America off the gulf of Mexico. This historic country has had a complicated history, so if you planning to visit, I advise you to please check for any travel restrictions. There is just so much that excites me about Cuba, from the refreshing Mojitos to the rich Cuban music. I can almost already see myself dancing to salsa in the streets. I can’t wait to be transported to the 1950s and ride around in a vintage convertible. Next stop: Cigar store!

South Africa

South Africa is a must. My desire is to visit both Cape Town and Johannesburg. Over the years, I have seen countless pictures of the beautiful scenery from Table mountain, the penguins on the beach and the lovely coast which has made South Africa an anticipated adventure trip. I also look forward to touring the wineries. Did I mention how much I love South African wine. But more important than wine, is learning. This trip would be a great opportunity to learn more about the country’s history and culture. I look forward to seeing Robben Prison.

Tokyo – Kyoto – Japan

From the buzzing neon skyline of the city to the peaceful countryside, Japan is a country with a contrast that fascinates me. In all honesty, one of the main reasons I want to visit Japan is the food. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Japan is a massive country, so for this blog, I will concentrate on Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. There is just simply way too much to see in Japan, so I only list a few places I am excited to see: Tokyo -Temples including Senso ji temple, Meiji Shrine, Roppongi Hills, Shibuya crossing, digital art museum. Kyoto: Gion, Hanami Koji, nishiki market, Fushimi Inari shrine, Kamogawa river. Osaka– Food , Food and more Food

Nairobi – Mombasa – Kenya

Another East African paradise. Kenya is on everyone’s bucket list for good reason. It is a beautiful country that offers city life, safari, and beautiful coastlines. I have visited safari parks across different east African counties, so this will be a nice addition to the list. First stop Nairobi, then off to Mombasa. But the place I’m most fascinated to see is Watamu, not to mention the famous Treehouse hotel that I have been seeing in photos for years. I am looking forward to having a relaxing time in Kenya.

Argentina

Buenos Aires, which means Good Air or Fair winds, what more could one need! Bring on the Spanish vibes, the dulce de leche, rich wine flavours, mouthwatering steak and the dance-Tango! The rest is yet to be explored.

Brazil

If for no other reason, the visit to Brazil is worth doing just to see Christ the Redeemer towering over Rio de Janeiro, a truly humbling sight. If I am lucky enough to experience the Brazilian carnival, that would be awesome. I have been told that the view of the city from Sugarloaf mountain is unmatched. I can’t imagine a better place to try out hang gliding for the first time, than in Brazil. Brazil is also known for Capoeira. I look forward to enjoying a sunset cruise around Rio.

Seychelles

Another East African gem. I should just go ahead and change the title of this blog post to East African gems. But in all honesty, Seychelles is simply undeniable. It looks and feels like the perfect wedding or honeymoon destination for all you couples out there. Seychelles has some of the best islands in the world – Anse Lazio, La Digue, and Anse Source d’Argent to mention a few. This paradise is famous for its tortoises on Curieuse island. Moyenne has some of the best coral reefs, perfect for snorkelling. And to finish it all off jet skiing parasailing and zip lining on the beach.

Rwanda

Named the Singapore of Africa – I know that when Rwanda is mentioned, we tend to think back to the genocide that happened in 1994 but this beautiful country has come a long way since then. I have been to Rwanda before but never really toured it. This time around, I look forward to visiting the museum to learn more about Rwanda’s rich history, experience the culture, learn the graceful dance, visit the booming art scene and buy lots of Mushananas – (Traditional Rwandan dress)

Costa Rica

This tropical destination requires no introduction. Costa Rica is truly unique. I look forward to walking across the Genius river bridge, attempting to climb El Arbol Hueco and zip-lining while enjoying the view of the tropical rain forests. Costa Rica is home to the famous Rio Celeste, has breathtaking waterfalls and beautiful beaches. There is no better place to take a mud bath from black volcanic sand – absorbing all the natural minerals. Did I mention that he rich Costa Rican coffee, and rum is not bad at all. Pura Vida

Singapore

I know I said ten, but I had to give you just one more entry – Singapore. This dynamic city is melting pot of cultures. From the Gardens by the bay to dining at Clarke quay, I definitely want to do and see it all. Merlion Park, Marina bay, and Sentosa island are but a few items on my itinerary.

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Why Zanzibar should be your next destination

Why Zanzibar should be your next destination

Location: Tanzania – East Africa

Flight Time: From Europe: 9-10 hour to Dar es Salaam, then 30 min flight to Zanzibar

Language: Kiswahilli, English, Arabic

Located off the coast of Tanzania is Zanzibar, a small island covered in white sands and crystal blue water. It is the birthplace of Freddie Mercury and the home of the spice trade. I often recommend 7-10 days for a visit to Zanzibar simply because, there is so much to see and do. March-May is the rainy season, try to avoid these months because the weather might ruin your beach plans. If you planning to visit in December for the New year, book well in advance. This is a very popular time for people to travel and hotels get booked up very quickly. Zanzibar has a conservative culture and the majority of the residents are Muslim. While they are used to seeing tourists, it is always better to respect the culture by covering up when out and about. The locals are very friendly and greeting is part of the culture. Be sure to say Jambo or Mambo when greeted by locals. Island life is slow and requires some adjusting, try to be patient.

Getting there

There are two ways of getting to Zanzibar (Zanzi) from Dar es salaam. You can either take a 30 min flight or a 2-hour ferry ride. When I fly to Zanzi, I normally use Coastal aviation. I have flown with them very many times and it’s always been pleasant. I have also taken the ferry with Azam Marine – Kilimanjaro Fast Ferries. Taking the ferry is a great way to enjoy the fresh ocean air and the view on your way to Zanzi. It’s also much cheaper than flying. The ferry terminal is a bit chaotic, so here are a few tips when booking the Ferry to Zanzibar.

There are four ferry departures a day: 7AM, 9AM, 12PM, and 4PM. Try to book your tickets a day or two in advance. If you decide to book on the day, make sure you get there very early as the tickets often sell out and there are very long queues. You can also reserve your ticket online but will need to collect and pay for it at least 3 hours before departure. There are four types of tickets to choose from, Economy, Business, VIP and Royal class. Prices vary for residents and non-residents. For non-residents the prices range from $35 to $60 per adult depending on the class of travel. You could also get your tickets booked through an approved booking agent.

Stone Town

You will arrive in Stone Town, which is a great place to start. Stone Town is an ancient city which was declared a UNESCO cultural heritage site in 2000. The food market in the main square -Forodhani comes to life at night. You will be spoilt for choice – from fresh seafood to fresh sugarcane juice, there is plenty to satisfy the appetite. Emerson on Hurumzi Hotel is a great Tea House that offers the Zanzibar tea ceremony from the rooftop with Tarab music. It is a great way to enjoy the view as the sunset.

Walking through the narrow roads and alleys of Stone Town is a great way to see the city, local art, clothe shops and mini markets – Darajani market is worth a visit. You will also come across the resident of the late Sultan of Zanzibar, ‘Tip Tip House’. For a deep dive into the slave trade history, visit Zanzibar Slave Chambers – The Anglican cathedral Church now stands on the sight of a past slave market. Then head over to Prison island – this is where slaves with contagious diseases were kept to recover before being returned to the mainland . The island itself is very beautiful and worth the visit. To get there, go to Forogani where there a ton of boats that can take you. You will need to haggle the price.

Dinning in Stone Town

There are plenty of restaurants from which to dine in Stone Town but The Beach House is one of my favourites. With a terrace deck that overlooks the beachfront, the Beach House is one of the best places to enjoy a cocktail and watch the sunset. Try the Beach House G&T cocktail. As the sun goes down, there is a DJ set and on some nights live entertainment.

My recommendations

The Bougie Experience

Nungwi and Kendwa

For the best parts of the beach, head up north to Nungwi or Kendwa. This is also where you will find majority of the 5 star resorts.

Swimming with dolphins

This is one of the reasons why Zanzibar should be your next destination – swimming with dolphins. The water north of the island is crystal clear which makes it great for snorkelling, taking great photos of the coral reefs and of course swimming with dolphins. Sadly I wasn’t able to capture the moment because I run out of battery but it was truly magical.

Shabuta spice farm

Make time to visit the spice farm in the western region of the island- Shabuta spice farm grows tropical fruits and spices. Beware, you may have to book in advance of your trip if you would like to do the full tour. The spice market is a great place to shop for your favourite spices. I usually stock up cinnamon, turmeric and nutmeg

Baraka natural aquarium and buggy riding

Another magical place to visit in Nungwi is swimming with turtles. Yes, swimming with turtles at Baraka natural aquarium. You get to see, swim and feed theses amazing animal. It’s an amazing experience and one that I highly recommend.

For the adventure seekers, enjoy a four hour off road buggy tour in Nungwi and some local towns. This a great way to experience the local lifestyle, get to know the culture and see the island.

Mnemba Island

For a more exclusive luxurious experience, try a few days on Mnemba Island which is located off the north east part of Zanzibar. This place will truly change your life. The water here is so clear that you can literally see the boat’s shadow on the ocean floor. There are a variety of activities to indulge from jet skiing to kite-surfing on the Island but why not try yoga on the beach or just sit and watch the sunset. This is the ultimate relaxing place. A few days here is bound to refresh the soul. But don’t just take my word for it, go visit it yourself.

Full Moon party

For a bit more excitement, look out for Zanzibar’s Full Moon party. This is normally planned around the full moon and occurs monthly on Saturdays . The party has live performers from fire eaters & acrobats to music on the beach until late. its a great way to unwind.

Yacht day and Nakupenda sand bank

For the ultimate relaxation I often finish my trip off with a chilled afternoon on a yacht. A great place to sail to is Nakupenda sand bank or any of the other islands. Watching the sunset on the boat deck is the perfect way to end your trip.

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Marrakech

Marrakech

LocationMorocco, Marrakech, North Africa

Flight timeLondon Stansted to Marrakech – 3 hours

LanguageArabic, French, English

The first thing I felt when I arrived in Marrakech was the heat. It was 36C but that sunshine felt so good on my skin.  After a few minutes outside, the cold air-conditioning from the taxi I entered was just what I needed. The taxi took me straight the Movenpick Mansour Hotel located in the new town which is just outside of the Madina. The city is split into New Town – where a majority of the hotels and resorts are located, and Old Town – where a majority of the Riads are located.

The city itself felt like stepping into the past while remaining very much in the present.  (It no doubt reminded me of Cairo). On arrival, I was immediately taken up with the gorgeous decor of the hotel. There was a hidden revolving door that opened as soon as I approached it. Through the doors, in the middle of the space, was an amazing large hand sculpture painted in white with beautiful unique patterns. That lead to the main reception and lounge area. The check-in process was swift and the staff were very welcoming. I arrived at the hotel around 10 am and although my check it was not until 2 pm, the friendly staff allowed me to check in early and enjoy the hotel’s full facilities at no extra cost. As soon as I finished unpacking, I booked a spa treatment for my last day and headed straight to the pool for some much-needed relaxation.

TIP: Always book your spa treatment in advance of travelling or as soon as you arrive because the slots get filled up quickly.

Bougiebelles

Le Jardin Majorelle and Yves Saint Laurent Museum

My first stop was the Yves Saint Laurent museum and Le Jardin Majorelle Garden. Sitting on two and a half acres, is this botanical garden – Le Jardin Majorelle will take your breath away. It truly is the best place to recharge. This paradise has plenty of fountains and beautiful flowers. I spent an afternoon there, taking lovely photos and enjoying the splendour of the space.  Like most places, the afternoon is a popular time for tourists to visit so it was crowded.

TIP: Consider visiting attractions earlier in the day to avoid large crowds

Good travel sense

The Yves Saint Laurent museum houses beautiful works and collections from Yves Saint Laurent. The display takes you on a historical journey of some of his best works from inception to present day. He designed his haute couture collection in Marrakech and throughout his career, his pieces were influenced by the colours in Morocco. 

Quad biking in the desert

I am definitely an adventure junkie, so the idea of quad biking in the desert sounded like a day well spent. It was an exhilarating experience. Palmgrove and rock desert itself was absolutely stunning. We drove for the first forty minutes through the pure desert at approx. 30 mph. It felt a lot faster because of the quad bike. Our first stop was up a hill where you could see the entire desert horizon and the mountains in the distance.

We were then guided to what looked like camp in the middle of the desert – and given traditional Moroccan mint tea with a snack. It was all laid out on these beautiful old Arabian cushions and tables inside a tent. What a great way to spend a day.

Hammam treatment

I highly recommend the Hammam bath experience when you visit Morocco. I enjoyed mine at  Lotus privilege spa. After my quick wash, I was sent into a warm room for five minutes, and then to a very hot room were my bather (she) was waiting to begin the treatment. She poured water all over me and began to slather my skin with black soap made from black olives. I instantly felt my skin soften up. I sat there for some time while the soap soaked deeper into my skin. Then she began the exfoliation all over my body with a rough textured glove called a kess. Then the rinse began and I could see all the dead skin cells wash off my body. After the exfoliation, she applied a clay masque rich in minerals that tightened the pores. Once that was rinsed off, she washed me in water that smelt like lemon and oranges. Did I mention that at this point my skin felt like a baby’s bottom! I was then taken to the cool room and offered mint tea before my sixty-minute argon oil massage. I must confess, fell asleep. It truly was a relaxing way to spend the day.

Shopping in the Medina

Jemaa el-Fna is located in the main square of Marrakech. It is the most popular souk for tourists to Shop. I visited during the late afternoon and stayed until the evening. The night souk has a completely different vibe. It’s super vibrant and lights up like a scene from Aladdin. From jewellery & perfumes to carpets & tea, it is every shopper’s paradise. I bought some black soup, a few scarves and kaftans for myself and my family. There are several restaurants and cafe to enjoy that will keep one occupied for hours.

Food, cocktails and dancing

Below is a list places I would recommend for food and a good vibe:

Rooftops, lounges and clubs

Remember to always stay safe

My Headspace

My Headspace

I would like to use this space to share my personal growth journey, from books I am reading, to podcasts, quotes, music, health and well being etc. ”To stop learning is to stop growing.” One of the things I have learned during the lockdown is to invest in myself – invest in my mind, body and soul. Being in quarantine has also given me plenty of time to do exactly that and over the next few blog posts, I would like to share what I have found inspiring.

An investment in knowledge pays the best interest

Benjamin Franklin

Be Kind to Yourself

A friend once asked me; ‘Belinda would you be friends with a person that talked to you the way you talk to yourself?’ I had to think about that for a minute. To be honest, up until that moment, I never realised how much negative self-talk was going through my mind. I have constantly talked down to myself and always been very self-critical. This negative self-talk hasn’t served any purpose but always left me feeling defeated. Without realising it, I have truly been living in the realm of ‘CAN’T’ and as a result, it feels like I only ever come across things I cant do.

Your mind is a powerful tool. To overcome the negative self-talk, I have been on a journey of reprogramming my mind to always say – ‘Yes, I can and I will.’ Easier said than done I know, but, I have found that with constant repetition, my mind has slowly begun to say yes I can. Like I said, this is a daily journey.

I am intentional about cultivating a positive mindset and turning negative talk into positive thoughts. I now always look at ways I can do things instead of ways in which I cant. One of the things I enjoy doing the most first thing in the morning is having my shower while listening to Happy by Pharrell William. This song works like magic to reset my mind and attitude

Decide who you want to be, then show up as HER

Another thing I have been working on since lockdown is building my confidence. Life has ways of knocking you down from time to time and you do need to take the time to work on your confidence. I make it my mission daily to thrive in confidence. Honestly, it’s challenging at times, but I decided a while ago to be intentional about who I wanted to be. I never really recited affirmations before this confident journey, and in the beginning, it felt uncomfortable looking in the mirror and saying these out loud. But the affirmations have really helped boost my confidence and made me believe in myself a lot more.

Below are a few books that have helped me through my journey. I highly recommend these for spiritual growth and confidence building.

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Miami and Art Basel

Miami and Art Basel

I first visited the great city of Miami in 2013 to see my brother Brian, who at the time was training to become a pilot. Needless to say, I fell in love with Miami. Unlike some other cities in the United States, Miami is an international city filled with Latin, Caribbean and Afro flavours. The vibrancy of the city deepens with every culture you encounter which makes your experience there all the more special. South Beach, in particular, is very art deco which is one of the reasons why it is so unique. You get an instant tropical feel from all the surrounding palm trees and the beach itself.

Once a year in December, the world descends upon Miami for Art Basel. But what exactly is Art Basel, I hear you ask! It is an international art festival that attracts the largest gathering of artists, galleries, dealers and collectors from all over the globe. It is a great way for galleries to reach the American audience. Basel also takes places in Switzerland and Hong Kong. In addition to the main Art Basel exhibition, there are several satellite fairs, private collector events and parties all around the city. Art Basel is a great way to discover new art but also appreciate historical artists such as Picasso.

Now, I am no art expert, so this is just an account of my humble experience at Art Basel Miami 2019. One of the reasons why I have developed such an appreciation for art over the years is because it is open to interpretation from the viewer. There are no right or wrong observation, only how the work makes you feel. Your interpretation of the work and its depth is subjective. In other words, you do not have to be an expert to have an equally special experience with the piece.

Majority of the works I saw were new and reflected on the world’s current climate. Some of the pieces challenged stereotypes while other pieces reinforced topical world themes from climate change to politics. I was able to visit many other Art Fairs that displayed an array of works including Untitled Miami Beach, Pulse Art Fair, Prizm, Scope, Art Miami, Design Miami and NADA. Courtesy of TAFETA gallery in London (specialising in contemporary African art), I was privileged to have a VIP pass to the main fairs.

Wynwood remains one of my favourite places to visit when in Miami simply because of its street art. Compared to modern art, street art or urban graffiti is something that anyone can get into – it feels free. The Wynwood Walls are major art statements that display murals of street art from artists around the world. The streets and galleries are truly a wonder to experience. Wynwood has its own vibe and comes to life at night, with plenty of bars, clubs and food trucks.

Beside visiting Art Fairs and galleries, there is plenty to do during Miami Art Week. From yoga on the beach to brunches and pool parties, I have listed a few spots worth checking out:

Restaurants:  • MC KitchenBeaker and GrayMeat marketLe Sirenuse at the surf clubGianni’s at the Versace MansionLeyniaMandolin Aegean BistroSantorini by Georgios

Lounge Bar: • Sugar The living room – Faena • The 1 hotelDream hotel FreehandSwan MiamiBlind Barber Le Sirenuse Champagne bar

Clubs: • The Miami EditionE11evenClub LIVCoya Taco – Wynwood has a hidden club bar • Rockwell StoryDream

Best for Pool Parties:  • Hyde Beach at SLS hotelMondrain South BeachW South BeachDelano HotelFontainebleau1 Hotel South Beach

Miami is a city of flash. People want to be seen and spare no expense. During Basel week you will find yourself rubbing shoulders with celebrities and high society. One of the great nights I had was Rum rooms sponsored by Barcadi hosted by Swizz Beats. If you are in Miami for Basel, be sure to look out for this party.

I hope to attend Art Basel 2020 if the worst of Covid-19 is behind us. I am staying positive.

Travel in style with Bougie Belles

Travel in style with Bougie Belles

I recently published a blog about travel essentials (please check my blog page), but I would like to expand on that list by sharing my travel experience with you. Below are a few essential as well as luxurious things I carry with me when I travel.

In my carry on cabin bag:

A mini blanket is essential because it can get very cold on planes. I always carry a light fluffy one to ensure I am kept warm throughout the flight. Alongside my blanket, socks are essential. If you are flying Business or First Class, you will always be given a care bag for your flight. I still always carry my own socks with me regardless. An eye mask is essential to block out light and ensure you get some rest. I always carry an empty water bottle which I can fill up once I have gone through security. It is important to always keep hydrated especially on long flights. Don’t forget your tablet or laptop for entertainment. Make sure you download all your favourite programs beforehand, and also, carry a good book to keep you occupied – I never travel without The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz and The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra, (book review blog coming soon). Do not forget to pack your camera in your carry on luggage so that as soon as you land, you are ready to start taking pictures. A power bank is vital to ensure your gadgets don’t run out of battery. And lastly my personal favourite, noise cancellation headphones. If you are anything like me, sometimes only silence will do.

In my hand bag

Aeroplane air conditioning can really dry out the skin. To manage this, I carry a good quality long lasting face moisturiser and an eye cream/ serum. As soon as I’m settled in on my flight, I clean my face with a makeup removal face-wipe, then put on my moisturiser and eye cream, A face spray will work wonders for skin hydration throughout the flight. (For extra freshness- keep it in the fridge overnight so that it’s nice a cool to use the following day). My lips remain moisturised with a good lip balm. During the fight hair tends to get messy and you don’t want to land with ‘plane hair’, so, I always carry a hairbrush or comb with me, and my toothbrush with a mini toothpaste – to ensure that I am always minty fresh once I arrive at my destination. It’s only good hygiene to have a mini deodorant and wet wipes so that you can freshen up.

Dress to impress

I always dress to impress. The key is to look stylish but make sure you are comfortable for your trip. I tend to always mix high with low. A comfortable pair of sneakers with some stylish sweats- especially for long flights or a pair of leggings with a louse blouse and a tailored blazer. If you choose to wear a dress, be sure to pack a pair of leggings for when it gets cold on the plane. If I am travelling somewhere hot and sunny which is very often the case, I always carry an extra top to change into just before landing, a fan, sunglasses and a hat.

A girl should be two things: Who and What she wants

Coco Chanel

Duty-free and Champagne

Before you fly, make sure to take the time to visit your favourite stores and enjoy the airport duty-free. I always eat before any flight and if it’s after midday – order a nice glass of Champagne to go with it. This is also a great time to discover new products at my favourite beauty counters. If my flight is longer than 5 hours, I always make sure I book a mini-massage before the flight. There are several therapy services you can enjoy at the airport so be sure to check before you travel. Mini-facials are great for your skin before a long flight.

Aside from shopping at duty-free stores, I recently discovered personal shopping. I know! Where on earth have I been? This is a great way to purchase new items before your trip. It’ honestly a great experience and you are always treated to a glass of bubbly. Item range from high street to luxury, the chose is yours. Please make sure you book this at least 2 days in advance.

Travel Post Covid-19

I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the challenging times we are facing and how this might change the way we travel. Following the Covid-19 global pandemic, we are all going to have to take extra care when travelling. So, I put a shortlist of items, I think might be essential for future travel:

  • Face-mask
  • Travel laundry detergent (to watch any cloth masks)
  • Gloves
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Pocket tissues
  • Anti-bacterial wipes (to disinfect surfaces)
  • Isopropyl wipes (to disinfect your phone)
  • Thermometer – to monitor your temperature
  • Vitamin C tablets – This is my personal choice. Please seek medical advice before you use any type of medication

Remember to always wash your hands. Do not touch your face. Keep your distance at all times. Handle any cash with gloves. Make sure your disinfect your credit and bank cards

Remember to always stay safe and seek advice from a qualified medical professional

Don’t forget your essentials

Don’t forget your essentials

It is always better to be safe rather than sorry, which is why a travel checklist is essential to ensure that you have all you require for your trip. There are so many free travel templates online. Below is the one I put together for peace of mind. Feel free to use this as a guide and adapt it according to your personal needs. The categories have been simplified for general use. I have shared a more detailed travel experience on my blog. (check it out)