WES ANDERSON WANDERLUST & HOW TO TRAVEL MORE IN ASSOCIATION WITH AMERICAN EXPRESS
Over the last year, travelling has become a really big part of my life. Since working for myself, I’ve hopped on more planes in the space of 6 months than I did in 5 years of working for other people. If I’m not making travel plans or have something in the diary, I make sure that gets rectified immediately.
Last weekend, I attended a special screening of Wes Anderson’s simply beautiful Grand Budapest Hotel thanks to Stylist Magazine in partnership with American Express® and British Airways. If you’ve not seen it, I highly recommend a viewing. It was my second time watching the film and without a doubt, I enjoyed it a million times more the second time. It had me dreaming of escaping reality and packing my bags to go explore the beautiful wide world that we live in. If there’s ever a film that fuels adventure, Grand Budapest Hotel is it – Wes Anderson manages to make the most mundane thing look stupidly pretty and had me itching for my passport and camera. Providing you with the perfect dose of wanderlust dreaming, it opens your eyes to the fairytale like world that’s out there and teaches you to see the beauty in the most simple of places.
For this sponsored post in association with American Express, I’m going to share with you some of my favourite travel destinations from last year (and ok – India’s in there too, but just let me have that one please?) and my tips on how to travel more (tips that I myself use to hop on a plane that bit more often!) I’ve tackled my top list with Wes Anderson tinted glasses on, so yes, the countries I loved the most just happen to be the most instagrammable too.
Coincidence? I think not.
F R A N C E - P A R I S
There’s a reason it’s one of my favourite cities in the world – I visited Paris three times last year and I would have happily visited ten times more if I could! From the picturesque streets to straight-out-of-a-fairytale shop facades, Paris has something for every kind of wanderlust dreamer. Head straight to the Pigalle and Montmartre areas of the city for colourful buildings and winding streets – Wes would approve, I’m sure.
D E N M A R K - C O P E N H A G E N
Copenhagen is one of my favourite places to visit around Christmas time – if you’ve never been during the festive time of year, bookmark it for this year. There’s something so magical about the city – there was even a part of me that thought about packing my bags and moving to the Danish capital whilst I was there! It has pockets full of charm around every corner – even in winter, cafes overspill onto the street and airy lights light up the night sky.
S O U T H A F R I C A - C A P E T O W N
I promise I’ll get round to writing up my South African adventures very soon. But for now, I’ll whet your appetite here. Bursting with bright hues and candy-coloured houses, Cape Town is surprisingly Wes thanks to the strong Dutch influence. For the ultimate wanderlust, head to Bo Kaap in the centre and the picturesque (and very Pink) Mount Nelson Hotel for a spot of afternoon tea.
I N D I A - R A J H A S T A N
A colour pot of a city, India was a dream to photograph. My favourite part was by far Rajhastan (don’t worry I had so many people ask me for full blog posts detailing my trip – they are coming soon I promise!!) But if you can’t tell from the photos below it was straight out of a Wes Anderson film. The light, the colour, the energy – my recent trip caused quite a few people to re-consider holiday plans and also to pop India on their bucket list. Wise folk.
M O R O C C O - M A R R A K E C H
For ever and ever, Marrakech has been on my bucket list and finally, last October I made it happen. And did I love it? Of course I did! In fact, there was pretty much nothing about the city that I didn’t like. Visually it’s stunning – from the bustling spice markets to the dusty side streets, evening in Marrakech is beautiful without even trying. Marrakech is a place I could happily visit every year, twice a year. And I think that’s perhaps just what I’ll do this year! Stay tuned.
A U S T R I A - V I E N N A
The final city I feel for the first time last year was Vienna. I’d never been to Austria before but I can certainly recommend you visit now. The capital draws similarities to Paris for me but there’s something very distinctive about it that gives Vienna its own identity. Whenever I visit a new city for the first time, I always spend time just walking around, getting my bearings, and usually cramming in as many sights as is physically possible. Four days is about the right amount of time for exploring Vienna without having to rush to fit everything in and find yourself overdoing things on the first day, and of course, a trip to the city isn’t complete without visiting the fairytale setting of Schönbrunn Palace. Very Wes indeed.
5 TIPS ON HOW TO TRAVEL MORE:
1. TRAVEL OFF SEASON
It’s common logic that the most popular season to travel in is going to be the most expensive which already is a no-go for me. But also, it means it’s going to be the busiest time to visit a place and that to me, is a big fat no. There’s nothing worse in my opinion than feeling herded along from one tourist spot to another only to be greeted by a mass of selfie sticks. I prefer not to travel at peak times for that very reason, so for me, travelling off season is a no-brainer. If you can plan your trips outside of school holiday times – you’ll find your travel costs and patience won’t be stretched to the limit.
2. PLAN AHEAD & BOOK IN THE SALES
It’s not always the easiest thing to do but it makes a lot of sense. Most airlines participate in January and summer sales and that’s when the bargains happen. Sometimes, a little bit of organisation is key to saving yourself a few extra pounds.
3. MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR EVERYDAY SPENDING
Used by pretty much everyone I know the British Airways American Express® Credit Card is a genius way to get you travelling more. You can use it for everyday purchases like your daily cup of coffee or weekly food shop, and by doing so, build up Avios to use against reward flights and upgrades. For every £1 you spend, you get 1 Avios – and as a bonus to new members, you receive 5000 Avios if you spend £1,000 in your first 3 months of Cardmembership*. When you think about how much that is per month, it’s actually pretty do-able right? And with no annual fee it’s a savvy way to spend your money (sensibly please!) Find out more about the Card by searching ‘BA AMEX’.
4. USE YOUR HOLIDAY ALLOWANCE WISELY
If you look at the year ahead and note down the bank holidays, you can sometimes find cheeky ways of taking the most time off without taking off many days. This isn’t rocket science and you won’t be the first to do this – so make sure you get in there quick at work before anyone else! You’ll be the envy of the office, you wise owl, you.
5. EXPLORE BEYOND THE TOURIST HOT SPOTS
Before you head off on holiday - PLAN your trip. Take the time to plan where you’re going to eat and what you’re going to do - following local instagrammers and blogs for recommendations means you’re less likely to fall into the tourist traps. It also means you’re likely going to get to experience a city like a local, finding the best hidden gems along the way.
If you have any more tips on how to travel more, I’d love to hear them! Drop me a message over on Instagram @clairemenary
I hope this has fuelled your wanderlust for 2018 – where’s on top of your list this year?
I have a feeling 2018 is going to be a big year of travel for me. Ticking off both India and Sri Lanka already in the first month alone!
Where’s next on my list?
The Algarve, Malta, Barcelona, Provence, Morocco, South of France, Hong Kong and South Africa (again!)
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