Travels

Where we were, we are and would be.

Travel hotspots in Northern Italy

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Legends, Are They Born or Made?

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venetian las vegas

Postcard #12 – Venetian Las Vegas

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Vancouver Surprise

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Travel Essentials

Find Timeless and Versatile Style in Leather Bags

By on March 4, 2017

 

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One of the most overlooked elements of style relates to the way we accessorize. All too often we ignore the fact that our accessories will have as much, and perhaps even more, impact as the clothes that we wear. In the case of accessories such as leather laptop bags, these items are carried around daily, even when travelling, constantly reflecting your sense of style to the world. When you carry around a leather satchel for men, you are making a statement about yourself, and like it or not, people will take note. This is why it is very important to consider carefully the items that you choose to reflect your unique sense of style. Why carry around something that is mass produced and seen on every corner when you can more accurately reflect your sense of self through a hand-crafted and quality-made leather accessory?

Classics Are Always in Style

When you are making any purchase, you should consider a number of factors before you make a commitment:

  • Is it well-made, and therefore durable?
  • It is stylish now, but will it remain so in the future?
  • Will it meet my specific needs?
  • Is it functional?
  • Will this ultimately be a wise investment?

It should be fairly obvious that as you look for a leather bag it is important to invest in a quality product. The key word here is “invest,” as most purchases should be made with considerations to the long- and short-term benefits. Since you are indeed making an investment, you should also consider if what you are buying will remain stylish in the future. In this instance, sticking with the classics is always a safe bet, as the classics rarely, if ever, go out of style.

Versatility Is a Key Factor

Though versatility could easily refer to the bag’s ability to function across a variety of circumstances, in this instance it refers to whether the bag will suit your style when you dress both formally and informally. The versatility of a leather bag generally lends itself to this capability since it possesses a sort of rugged class that works well in almost any instance.

The Role of Functionality

Since this is an accessory that you will need to carry with you wherever you go, you must consider its versatility. Will this bag be able to handle a number of different tasks and be able to handle the demands that are placed upon it? You want to make sure that this bag will work well for you wherever you go, regardless of the circumstance.

Consider the Value of Craftsmanship

When it comes to matters of leather products, it is incredibly important to ensure that the craftsmanship is second to none. If you decide to invest in a leather bag that is hand crafted by a master craftsman, you are likely to find that the bag that you have bought will last for generations to come. That is certainly a worthwhile investment.

The proper investment in a leather bag can result in a lifetime and beyond of stylish functionality. High-quality and handmade leather bags often possess an everlasting style that is incredibly versatile. The investment in a hand-crafted leather bag is extremely likely to be a wise decision.

laptop bag
don’t lose your style

 

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Accommodation

Hotel Comforts for the Best Vacation

By on October 16, 2016

 

Whether you are staying overnight for a staycation or having a week-long vacation, you want to expect nothing less than the kind of accommodations that will make your stay truly worthwhile.  Your checklist of hotel must-haves would differ from one person to another.  It essentially depends on the kind of vacation you are planning to have.  If you do not want all the stuffiness of deluxe five-star hotels, you would no doubt find a smaller hotel in the countryside to be more comfortable.

 Novotel Bologna Fiera
our room at Novotel Bologna Fiera

Regardless of your preferences, here are some of the hotel amenities you might want to check out so you can have the vacation that you are looking for:

1. In-room amenities. The standard hotel room would have air conditioning, a comfy mattress with pillows and beddings, and a desk.  In most modern hotels, the standard rooms come with a phone, a television, and a bathroom with hot and cold water.  If you want extra pampering when you get back to your hotel room, you might want to choose one that has a bathroom with a bath tub or perhaps even a Jacuzzi.

2.  Services. Next to the rooms, the hotel staff and the kind of services that they offer are the ones that make your hotel stay more comfortable.  Room cleaning and wake-up call services are part of the standard package.  Other services like laundry, pressing, and shoe shine are also available in most full-staffed hotels.  For those who are out to explore, there are also tour services as well as transportation services in most hotels.   Food services are also important, although most people would simply look for a good breakfast buffet.  Room service and food delivery give vacationers the option to eat right in their own room if they are looking for some privacy or simply do not want to dress up to dine at the hotel’s restaurant.

3.  Facilities and activities. The advantage of staying in hotels is that there are already facilities and venues right in the hotel where you can have fun.  Among those that you can find in most hotels are gyms, swimming pools, and a souvenir shop.  The bigger resort hotels would also have recreation centers with various activities for vacationers of all ages.  Groups and families out to have quality bonding time would find these facilities comfortable and convenient to have all under one roof so they don’t have to spend time or money for transportation.

 

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Travel Tips

A Travel Experience that’s One for the Books

By on March 25, 2016

 

IMG_1288-61
at Schloss Laxenburg

Have you ever come back from vacation more exhausted than you were when you left for vacation? That’s not what vacationing is about. Daily life can be hectic and stressful. Vacations should be a time when you can escape from all of the busyness. Ideally, a vacation should be a balance between adventure, fun, relaxation and restoration.

While that seems like a lot to expect from a vacation, if you carefully select your vacation destination with those aspects in mind, you can arrive back at home with renewed energy, a rested body and an absence of stress that you hope will last long after you return home. When you begin searching for a weekend get away location, a place to spend a week of vacation with the family or a romantic escape you should visit BrokenBowLakeCabins.com to see what they have to offer.

Vacationing in an area where you can enjoy the peace and tranquility of a natural setting is an experience unlike any other. That same natural setting can also provide you with some wonderful outdoor exercise. Nature hikes, a day of fishing, a kayak adventure, a canoe trip or possibly a day of horseback riding are wonderful outdoor adventures that are sure to make your hectic everyday life seem temporarily non-existent.

horseback
horseback-riding at the palace grounds

There’s nothing quite like ending a day of outdoor adventure lounging on the deck listening to the night sounds coming from the woods. If you’re lucky enough to vacation when there’s a chill in the evening air, snuggling in front of the fireplace in your cabin could be the perfect way to end the day.

If your family members live a distance apart, planning a vacation together could be a great way to reunite and make some wonderful memories. You’ll want to find a place such as Broken Arrow Cabins where there are activities for children, teens and seniors. Picnics, play areas and activities such as paddle boating and miniature golf are family-friendly activities that everyone can enjoy.

Sometimes, just getting away for a weekend can give you a new perspective on things and allow your body some much needed rest. It can also be a wonderful diversion from the stress you may be experiencing at work or as a family caregiver. There’s no reason to endure until you have time for an extended vacation. Make a quick escape and enjoy it to its fullest.

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Schloss Laxenburg

 

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America

Take a Romantic Vacation in Florida

By on August 11, 2015

 

Stunning Florida Sunset

If you want to add some sizzle to your love life, travel with your beloved to Florida. There are few sights and sounds more romantic than ocean waves crashing on a sandy beach. The sunshine state has even more to offer than the beauty of the seashore, however. When you and your sweetheart travel to Florida, you two can stroll through art galleries, enjoy candlelit dinners, and play at amusement parks.

Experiencing art together during your vacation can be enriching and memorable. You two can view paintings in galleries, hear musicians play, and may even find some sculptures or paintings to bring back home as mementos of your trip. Bradenton is a vibrant artistic town and home to Village of the Arts, where you’ll find art walks and live music. Dining spots in Bradenton and other Florida cities range from formal to casual. You can find an array of menu choices ranging from lobster to Cuban and American dishes. You can picnic along the shore or eat by candlelight; the choice is yours depending on your mood. Laughter can get your endorphins pumping, which is always a great thing for stoking the flame of romance, so for some playtime, head to Disney World. You don’t have to be a kid to don Mickey Mouse ears and ride a roller coaster. For more ideas to help you plan your vacation, take a look at this infographic.

florida infographic

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Dubai

Tips When Planning Your Trip to Dubai

By on April 1, 2015

 

Burj Khalifa, dubai
Burj Khalifa

Want to book a vacation to Dubai? Whether it’s a family trip or a romantic getaway, here are some tips to consider to make the best of your trip.

Make sure you have medical insurance

Before leaving, you need to get a traveler’s insurance policy that covers any medical issues you may have while in the United Arab Emirates. Although the UAE will cover an emergency visit to the hospital for a tourist, any other medical treatment that is needed, you are responsible for. However, traveler’s insurance is not expensive, and it will also cover such things as lost or stolen luggage as well as cancelled flights to and from your destination.

Consider staying at a western hotel

This type of a five star hotel is one that caters to westerners. They offer private beaches, so women can wear the same swimsuits they do in the United States. The staff at these western hotels is familiar with the customs of western people, and they are better able to assist you in having the most pleasant stay possible. If you find yourself confused about the rules and customs of the people of Dubai, staff members will be able to explain the differences between what you are accustomed to and the rules in Dubai.

If you enjoy drinking, understand the rules in Dubai

Alcohol is forbidden in Dubai except in licensed areas such as restaurants and hotels that cater to western tourists. Under no circumstances should you drink outside of these designated areas. You should also be prepared to stay in these areas if you have consumed alcohol. Public intoxication is not tolerated in Dubai.

Pack appropriate clothing

It is very hot is Dubai, so you will need to pack cool clothing. Keep in mind that although the UAE is a liberal country compared to other countries in the Middle East, they are still a Muslim country. If you are a woman, you will not be required to wear a scarf or cover up the way women are seen elsewhere in the region. You should, however, try not to wear any clothes that are too revealing. You will attract unwanted attention. Dubai is not Las Vegas.

Prepare for intense heat

Make sure that you have the necessary sunglasses and sunscreen to protect yourself. You also should consider a hat for your head. Unless you have spent a lot of time in the desert, you may not be prepared for the intense heat in this part of the world. Although the water is safe to drink, most westerners find themselves drinking bottled water. If you are not someone who normally drinks a lot of water, you need to prepare yourself ahead of time to become a water drinker. There is no substitute for water when keeping your body hydrated in the desert.

Get the best deal possible on your hotel

There are several outstanding hotels in Dubai. All of them are in direct competition to get as much of the tourist dollar as possible. The best way to make sure you are getting the best deal available is to compare prices side by side on a comparison website. This type of site will give you up-to-date information on the prices for each hotel, according to the size of the room you want and the dates you are planning to stay in Dubai. There are many good sites that provide this service. Hipmunk is one example of this type of price comparison website.

Dubai Miracle Garden

 

This article was contributed by Fiona Moriarty of Hipmunk, a complete travel platform that allows you to do everything from comparing charter flights and train rides, to finding the best resort hotels and Airbnb rentals.

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Australia

How to Migrate to Australia – Three Steps to Make the Move Easier

By on November 29, 2014

 

That perfect sunrise view.

Many are contemplating a move abroad. Many families and businesses dream and discuss a relocation from the UK to Australia — and they do so for various reasons. Unfortunately, most people will never follow through with the move. Because moving so far away can be intimidating, and help and advice is lacking; ones desiring a move to Australia are unsure of where to begin. Although the thought of moving to another country is thrilling, it can also be tremendously overwhelming, and locating support from experts can mean turning the dream into reality. Below you will find three tips on accomplishing your move to Australia, with expert advice and tricks on how to make the move easier and less costly for you and your family or your business

  1. Request a Moving Guide for Australia: When hearing the word ‘Guide’, travel books, pamphlets and tour guides may come to mind. Although traveling books and literature can be exciting to read and somewhat helpful in your move, you will need a much more detailed guide in progressing with the actual move. In regards to asking for a ‘Moving Guide’, you should locate a personal guide; one who will have expertise on the legalities of the move, as well as tips and tricks to overcoming obstacles, necessities and much more. Finding a personal moving guide will make your move to Australia from the Uk a more pleasant experience.
  2. Plan, Plot & Prepare: For a successful move, you will need to have an organised plan-of-action, a strategy and plot for the trip itself, and be prepared for the move – both financially and emotionally. Researching the location of the move, as well as the area in Australia you intend to live is a critical step in the process. The more effort you put into the relocation before you move, and you will be prepared and have a general plan and prospect for what to expect. Having made plans and steps to ensure your housing, travel and work; the closer you are to realizing your dream.
  3. Prepare Yourself Mentally: Once you have made all of the necessary plans for your move – finding a job, packing, saying your goodbyes – you will need to prepare yourself, your family or your business for the mental aspect of the relocation. Keeping your expectations in check, keeping check on your mindset, and keeping a good attitude with improve your first impressions and prepare you for accepting the unexpected when you arrive in Australia. Stressing yourself out over the move, and blind optimism will negatively affect your transition. Taking the steps to formulate a plan and to manage your expectations will ensure that your move goes as smoothly as possible.

Last but not least, you will need physical help with your move to Australia. With a big move like this, you will need extra hands for physical and mental support. Moving to Australia will most likely be the biggest change of your life. A personal guide – one with knowledge of this type of move, as well as the expertise of making your dreams a reality – will guarantee that your new-found life will be both exciting and everything you hoped it to be. You will need help with the big migration to Australia from the UK, and the Expat Concierge has the expertise and know-how to help you with your move from the UK to Australia. Visit their website at http://www.theexpatconcierge.co.uk/ for professional assistance with your transfer.

icons

 

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Apartments

Tuscan Home Plans for City Dwellers

By on November 15, 2014

 

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Walking in Pisa, Tuscany, Central Italy, last summer (finding the leaning tower)

The madness that surrounds city living has always been the reason why urban residents desire to experience a relaxed and laid-back way of life. Inspired by the style of country homes that dot the hills of Tuscany, Italy, city dwellers have always aspired to have their own tiny Tuscan home tucked in the middle of downtown. The typical characteristics of simplicity, warmth and elegance speak well of the Italians’ passion to celebrate life with family and friends within the comforts of home. This domestic orientation has influenced even non-Italians to adhere to Tuscan home plans in constructing or redecorating their houses to have a little feel of Italy at home.

Creating a Tuscan-inspired concept for any home is not difficult since the materials needed are readily available in most hardware and décor stores. You can even order kit homes, which are ready to build, and fashion them into a quaint Tuscan home. However, the most important thing to consider in getting as close to obtaining the desired Italian feel is to be motivated by Tuscan home plans. This can ultimately lead to the knowledge about structures, features, furnishings and accessories that typically consists Tuscan homes and which can be duplicated in any location one opts to reside.

Modernized Tuscan style home

Typical Tuscan Home Features

• One of the best Tuscan home plans always feature stucco, stone or earth-toned brick along the exterior walls that make them rustic and nostalgic. Even the roof can sometimes be made of tile bricks to continue the same intimate feel all over. The roof is pitched lower than usual with wider eaves to catch rainwater. The fondness for the outdoor living and dining is best evidenced by reserving an open space in one part of the house. These verandahs or porticos are made of the same stucco or brick materials separated from the main house by arched windows and doors accentuated with wrought iron grills as defense against intruders.

• The walls are one giant work of art with large frescoes or murals depicting stunning Tuscany pastoral scenes. For the affluent ones, some artworks of the masters hang prominently on the walls. Other empty spaces are filled with tapestries or colorful quilt works to display the family heirloom for generations.

• The furniture that fills Tuscan home is often made of hardwood or stone. They are massive yet inviting and indicative of strength to support any weight that rests upon them. It is just all right to mismatch because it even brings out the rustic and aged look amidst the disorganized setting. Remarkable to note, however, is the absence of clutter despite the informal atmosphere.

hanging pots above a countertop that doubles as a table

 

• Tuscan home plans are always designed for family gatherings. That is why a Tuscan kitchen is considered the heart of every Tuscan home. This part of the house is given much importance because that is usually where the family prepares and eats their meals. It is also the place to gather around for chatting. A large hardwood table serves as countertop and dining table as well. Overhead, a massive pot rack hangs containing an array of cookware, herbs, or native blooms from the hillsides. The kitchen cabinets are also very simple as they overlap the terra-cotta walls with colorful designs.

• Rich fabrics are splattered as drapes for the windows, upholstery for the furniture, rugs for the floors or runners for tables. They are in bright but warm tones of yellow, orange, red, green, and gold. Traditional patterns are flowers, fruits, and vegetables superimposed on stripes of various widths.

Transforming your house and decorating it along the details of Tuscan home plans can give your house a brand new appeal. It is not only in dressing up the windows or in changing the house decors, but it is also in lending a cozy and inviting atmosphere, which makes Tuscan homes famous. Whether you have Italian blood flowing in your veins or you are of any descent, creating a Tuscan-inspired home can fulfill your desire to experience that provincial living within an urban setting. Your city friends will surely love to feast on your pasta and freshly baked bread in your brand-new Italian kitchen.

Al fresco dining

 

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Travel Tips

Finding Inspiration for Your Next Travel Plans

By on November 9, 2014
westminster, london, abbey
Went to London recently…

Many people have a desire to leave the cares and concerns of their daily lives and to take a fabulous vacation that is filled with adventure and relaxation alike. While this may be your goal, you may be challenged by the task of trying to find someplace amazing to head to for your vacation. Until you make a decision about where to go to for your getaway, you will not be able to book reservations and make your travel plans. Clearly, you want to find a fabulous location to head to for your next vacation, and you can find inspiration in a few key ways.

Online Blogs
Blogs can cover a wide range of topics, and many people have blogs dedicated purely to travel. Others may talk about their annual vacations and other trips taken throughout the year. Through their blog posts, you can learn more about exciting attractions and activities. You can consider making a list of places that you want to visit throughout the year as you read blog posts, and you can refer back to your list when the time comes for you to make your travel plans. In order to find inspiration through blog posts, you do have to regularly read at least a couple of great blog posts.

red bus
London’s iconic red bus

Social Media Sources
Another idea is to pay attention to social media sources throughout the year, and you can get great ideas to add to your list of potential travel spots through social media outlets like Pinterest, Twitter and others. You may consider following a few popular travel companies, such as Outdoor Traveler. You may also simply notice places where your friends and family members are heading to throughout the year. The best social media sources are those that provide you with the ability to see and hear about the experiences that others are having in different locations. This gives you the ability to find places to go that most appeal to your desired travel expectations.

Articles and Reviews
Once you get closer to planning your trip, you may refer to your list of potential places to go as a starting point. Conduct research on each location to learn more about the top attractions, resorts, tours, cruises and more in each location. You can read articles, but make sure that you pay attention to the source of the articles. Some articles are written as promotional material from the companies themselves, and others are independent sources that provide you with information based on their own experiences. Both can be great sources of information, but you need to keep in mind the source as you form your opinion.

The destination that you choose to visit for your upcoming vacation will truly set the tone of your entire experience. You certainly want to spend some time making a great decision. You may consider researching several different options to compare the experiences, costs and travel requirements for each option. This will give you a better idea about which option is most appealing and suitable for you. While choosing a destination to head to can be challenging, the fact is that the process can also be fulfilling and even interesting. Take time to follow these tips, and you will have plenty of inspiration to draw from when you plan your next trip.

 

st.james park, buckingham
St.James Park, Buckingham palace

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Travel Tips

Travel in style – on a budget!

By on September 20, 2014
make it comfy

Fancy getting away from it all but strapped for cash? Youth travel accounts for 20 per cent of the global travel market and that’s set to double by 2020. With so many young people and younger couples looking to travel across the world they’ll have to budget accordingly to get the most from their adventures abroad.

But where’s the fun in that? Travelling around the globe is an experience to treasure and never forget. So, what’s the best way for budget-conscious people to travel in style?

There are all sorts of ways young travellers, singletons, and couples can relax in comfort and class when they’re globetrotting, such as:

Planning in advance

The nature of the travel industry means the closer a flight gets to departure, the more of a premium there is on seats with prices typically rising. If people are looking to go away somewhere and want to keep the cost of flights low plan and book well in advance – 60 days is typically a good time to find a low-cost flight online.

Try and upgrade for free

Believe it or not but it’s not unheard of for some airlines to upgrade people’s flights free of charge. How? Ask! If people are well-dressed or it’s a special occasion, such as a honeymoon or anniversary, then the airline may be happy to oblige if asked nicely enough.

There’s always the chance that the airline will be more than happy to upgrade – a survey in July showed that 16 per cent had been upgraded for free. A cause may be helped by racking up frequent flyer miles and other loyalty scheme points.

Keep an eye out for incentives

A number of airlines and operators often have incentives and special offers for flights and similar packages running all the time. Keep an eye out on their websites and sign up to mailing lists to keep an eye on bargains, vouchers, coupons, and other special offers they may be promoting.

Fly with just hand luggage

A lot of flight operators claw back the costs of offering cheap flights by charging elsewhere, usually when it comes to passenger baggage. Stowing luggage in the hold per case return can add up to an astonishing £150 to travellers’ costs, and sometimes more.
Instead check the baggage stipulations of each flight and the weights allowed on-board. Travelling with hand luggage only can help save on costs, and a lot of people can fit more than they think into a 10kg bag.

The best way for travellers to travel in style and on-budget is to plan properly, look ahead, and keep an eye out for bargain flights and prices to their favourite destinations. Leaving a booking until the last minute usually costs flyers more than they bargain for…

If you’d like to learn more about travelling across the world on a budget and want to get hold of some of the cheapest air fares on the market visit Blue Air today to find out more.

venice
Booked Venice in a hurry, learned the lesson as is wasn’t as cheap!

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England

7 Camping Essentials You Can’t Do Without

By on September 5, 2014

 

Ladram Bay
Ladram Bay

Any camping trip you make with your family will be an education, and invariably every time you camp you will pick up some tips from the people camping around you that you will file away to remember for your next outing. There will always be a number of camping essentials that you really cannot live without. Here are Ladram Bay’s top seven suggestions to get you going.

Rubber wine glasses

rubber glasses

Obviously when we’re camping, especially with a family, we forgo glass, and yet when space is at a premium, the last thing you need is lots of hard plastic everywhere. However, plastic tends to be rigid and when it gets squashed it invariably breaks. Investing in rubber glasses is a great idea. They don’t break if you drop them and you can squash them in order to store them. If you’re taking your children with you these are perfect for holding their squash, juice or fizzy drinks too.

Woolly Hat

wooly hat

A woolly hat is just made for campers everywhere. Primarily it helps cover up those awful hair days – when the campsite showers have failed to rinse the conditioner out of your hair – or you’ve spent too long on a windswept coast. Besides covering up horrendous hairdos and cold ears however, they are perfect accessories to help keep you warm in bed. Regardless of whether you’re a duvet or a sleeping bag camper, wearing a hat to bed will ensure that the uppermost part of you keeps cosy too so bag a beanie and bung it on your bonce.

First Aid Kit

We’re of the mind that it’s better to be prepared rather than to hoof it, so a first aid kit is an obvious essential camping resource. You can buy first aid kits from most pharmacies or online or you can personalise your own. Simply buy a waterproof bag (a toiletries bag would be fine) and fill it with plasters, bandages, antiseptic cream, adhesive tape, diarrhoea rehydration sachets, bite and sting cream and perhaps allergy tablets (such as Piriton), spare inhalers or other family medication – but do of course remember to keep any tablets out of the reach of your children.

Head torches

lamp

You might look like a complete geek but a head torch is a definite camping essential for family camping trips. Picture the scenario – it’s eleven at night and you have one child who has vomited and another who wants to visit the loo. You have to take both of them, a towel, shower gel, toothbrush and clean clothing to the shower block and getting there requires navigating a bumpy field in the pitch black. You will worship your head torch! Alternatively it’s great if you’re playing cards with no other means of lighting available.

Zip lock bags

While any plastic bag that you acquire from a supermarket will come in handy while you’re camping, the joy of zip lock bags is that they secure your items, you can see into them and they come in a variety of sizes. You can keep maps in them if you’re going out in the bad weather, or you can keep matches in small ones to save them from getting damp.

Baby wipes

As you will not have access to running water, every time you need to wash your hands or wipe anything down you will find yourself in a quandary. Baby wipes (or their equivalent) are a brilliant camping essential. You can mop up small spillages, wipe down tables, wipe out mugs and beakers, clean down other surfaces, smarten up children’s faces or even attack your own mucky feet before you get into bed.

 

Bedside Storage Caddy

caddyThere’s nothing worse than waking up in the night and not being able to find your water, mobile phone, tissues or your torch because they’ve rolled away. Having something like this bedside storage caddy is the perfect solution, although any waterproof, semi-solid bag would do. Keep all of your essentials safely tucked up right next to you for instant access when the occasion demands it.

 

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