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Now, we've all packed a laughable amount of things for a holiday and been mocked by our travel buddies when we show up at the airport.

Many of us have brought a suitcase for an overnight stay, or added extra baggage onto our flights for no reason. Especially in this country, when we can never predict what weather we're going to have.

Forgetting a key item while packing is a deep psychological fear. What if we forget our core makeup items? Our medical bag? Our passport? Ourselves? It's a worrying time.

Statistics from QS Supplies have shown that 10 percent of people take bed sheets to hotel rooms with them, because they won't want to use the provided sheets. Um, okay?

The survey of 1,008 people revealed that many of the population (we won't name names) have taken their own bedding on holiday with them to avoid catching germs or contracting bacterial infections.

5.9 percent of the survey respondents also admitted to taking personal cutlery to a restaurant, meaning one in every 16 eaters in any restaurant you go to have possibly snuck in their own knife and fork.

We can't imagine using up vital bag space to stuff in our own sheets and bedding. Those people clearly have some strange priorities that don't involve bringing five pairs of shoes and a shop's worth of cosmetics.

12 percent of people apparently don't think hotel sheets are washed enough to warrant sleeping in them, but we wonder why?

Unless they're stained or have a weird odour or appearance, we're more than happy to sleep in a big, fluffy hotel bed with extravagant pillows and throws.

Now, if someone could just pay for us to head on a weekend away, preferably to a spa, that would be lovely!

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Now that the Christmas celebrations are beginning to wind down, we have been dreaming of hopping on a plane. We’re so tired of these freezing, dark evenings – we're desperate for some sunshine!

We find ourselves swooning over snaps of Bali and Hawaii on Instagram and scrolling through the Ryanair site to see what flights we can afford with the €16 in our bank accounts.

If you too are hoping to jet away with the gals in the coming months then we’ve got wonderful news for you.

Going away with the girlies is actually good for your health.

That’s right, booking a girls trip will boost your happiness and improve your health, according to researchers and who are we to argue with science?

Psychologist William Chopik discovered that our friendships have the biggest impact on our wellbeing. His study, which was published in Personal Relationships, found that spending quality time with your friends improves your mood.

He explained, “These are relationships of choice. You choose to hang out together because you enjoy each other’s company.”

He added:  “You can sit down, look them in the eye, have a true back-and-forth, and read each other’s body language. They can see you and your facial expressions. You’re emotionally responding to things, and you can pick up on their emotions. You don’t always get that through a phone call.”

Going away with your friends will help you spend pure quality time together. We don't get a chance to have heart-to-hearts during coffee dates or cinema trips so it is the perfect way to bond with your best pals. 

If anyone needs us we’ll be looking up Air BnBs with our besties. A holiday is well-needed!

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Are you planning a short get-away before Christmas arrives? Why not fly across the pond to the UK for some last minute Christmas shopping?

thortful.com have compiled a list of the most Instagram-worthy Christmas hotspots in the UK and you definitely need to check them out if you’re visiting over the next few weeks.

Manchester Christmas Market has been crowned the top Christmas market in the UK, followed by Edinburgh, Bath and London’s Winter Wonderland.

Birmingham and York also made the top ten list.

Manchester hosts UK’s most Instagrammable Christmas market in the UK, with the hashtag #manchesterchristmasmarkets being used a staggering 41,507 times. With more than 300 wooden chalets spread across 10 locations in the city, be sure to grab a picture on Albert Square with a backdrop of the huge light up Santa.

If you’ve completed your Christmas shopping (we’re very jealous) then you need to head to one of the UK’s top ice-rinks for a festive evening.

The Natural History Museum hosts UK’s most Instagrammable Ice Skating Rink, with the hashtag #nhmicerink being used over 2,600 times. With the charming architecture of the museum as your backdrop, this outdoor ice rink is too beautiful.

Competing with the top spot are Somerset house Ice Rink, London, Bath on Ice, Winter Wonderland Ice Rink, Cardiff and the Christmas Village Ice Rink, Aberdeen.

We’ll certainly be squeezing in a trip to the UK before December is over.

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Looking for a weekend break with a bit of a difference?

Why not look beyond Berlin and Amsterdam, and try some of the alternative destinations Europe has to offer.

Here's our top picks:

1. Bonn – Germany

Located on the banks of the Rhine in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Bonn effortlessly combines a nostalgic historical flair with a lively urban vibe.

With a huge selection of top-rated museums and a picturesque riverside setting, Bonn is the perfect city for a relaxing weekend away.

Oh, and it's also home to a number of cherry blossom tunnelled streets, which are every bit as magical as they sound. 

2. Riga – Latvia

While Latvia's capital may have held onto its classic Gothic aesthetic, it's flamboyant art, trendy bar scene and youthful population give this vibrant city a fresh and modern vibe. 

The streets of the pedestrian-only Old Town are steeped with culture and seeing as art nouveau architecture makes up roughly one-third of all the buildings in the city centre, it's the ideal destination for art lovers who aren't afraid to let their hair down. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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3. Vilnius – Lithuania

This charming and compact city is the perfect destination for anyone looking for incredible value for money.

Visitors can immerse themselves in a warming sense of historical awareness, or simply soak up the culture in the city's bustling cafe scene.

What's more, the cobbled streets boast some of the most Instagrammable graffiti eastern Europe has to offer.

 

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4. Girona – Spain

Located just over 100km North East of Barcelona, the so called “City of the Four River” serves as the capital of the Girona Province in Catalonia.

Its winding streets and old city walls offer the perfect base for travellers who wish the explore the surrounding areas, and with Ryanair offering Irish passenegers a direct flight from Dublin, it's be rude not to, really.

5. Sintra – Portugal

Often described as a Portuguese fairytale, this picturesque town is nestled among the pine-covered hill of the Serra de Sintra.

A popular destination for those looking to take a day trip away from Lisbon, this magical resort is famous for its hilltop 19th-century Pena National Palace that boasts a whimsical design and spectacular views.

 

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6. Utrecht – The Netherlands

Often overlooked by tourists who instead flock to the neighbouring cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam, this vibrant student centre offers all the charm of a mediaeval Dutch city – minus the stag parties.

Its canals are some of the prettiest in Europe and with world-class festivals, hip cafes and fascinating museums, it is truly The Netherland's hidden gem.

 

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Look, we'll lay it on the line here  – Vienna has a reputation for being a bit… well… uptight.

As European destinations go, it's not quite up there with the likes of Berlin, Madrid or Prague, and yet as cities go, it is easily one of the most captivating and breathtaking on the continent.

Chock-full of stunning parks, awe-inspiring architecture and some of the most decadent dining experiences you can imagine, Vienna is a cultural dream.

Austria's capital city straddles the traditional and the modern with an ease not seen in every major city, and can ultimately provide any tourist with both a glimpse into the past and a glance into the future.

And here are 5 hidden gems if the capital city is next on your to-do list.

Beach in the City

It's not often you get to experience beach life in a landlocked country, but Austria manages it.

Along the Danube Canal, tourists visiting Vienna can get their chill on in a deckchair on the sandy beaches which run along the city's canal.

Most people just happen upon the area, but those in the know are a little more savvy.

Kolar

If flatbreads float your boat, you have got to check out Kolar while exploring the city.

Famed for their delicious (and inexpensive) fladenbrote, excellent service, and chill atmosphere, this restaurant is an absolute must.

(Oh, and be sure to check out their Nutella version!)

Kleeblattgasse 5, 1010 Wien, Austria

Downstairs Cocktail Bar

Located just off Mariahilferstrasse – one of the city's main shopping thoroughfares – Downstairs is a cosy bar which sells some of the best cocktails in the city.

Unlike other cocktail bars where a smart dress code is a given, Downstairs is super chill, and the perfect place to grab a few cocktails and kick back, or get competitive over a few games of pool.

And with some cocktails coming in at just €4.70, it's definitely one to keep in mind.

Theobaldgasse 15, 1060 Vienna, Austria

Sigmund Freud Museum

Unlike other museums in the capital, a trip through the Freud's home and place of work makes for a particular intimate experience.

Considered the father of psychoanalysis, the small apartment allows the visitor more than a passing peek into the environment where the famous physician lived and worked.

From personal effects to official plaques, this museum combines the various aspects of Freud's life, and will definitely make an impact.

 

Прикоснуться к источнику #psychologyst #freud #sigmundfreudmuseum

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Berggasse 19, Vienna 1090, Austria

Vienna State Opera

OK, the opera is hardly a hidden gem of Vienna, but the uber-reasonable price at which you can get tickets for some of the world's best-known operas definitely is!

While many tourists might assume they'd have to pay an arm and a leg for a night at the Vienna State Opera in the heart of the city, you can actually get tickets for some shows for as little as… wait for it… €10.

Definitely something to look into when tapping into the cultural side of things!

 

#viennaopera vs #bolshoitheatre впечатляющая #травиата

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Opernring 2, 1010 Wien, Austria

 

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Ireland’s roads provide a great opportunity to see the country in all its glory, particularly during the autumn months. This bank holiday weekend, take a road trip with family or friends and explore all that the Irish landscape has to offer.

We have put together a list of the best scenic driving routes which are perfect for this time of the year. Use this list as road trip inspiration and hop in the car and take a spin over the long weekend:

The Sally Gap – Wicklow

The Wicklow mountains are home to the Sally Gap, perfect for a family drive. The drive features some incredible landscapes, lakes and mountain scenery. The route is close to Dublin so perfect for those who don’t want to travel far from the city, simply take the R759 east across the mountains and head north on the R115 to complete the drive.

This drive brings you past some of Wicklow’s most famous land marks like the stunning Powerscourt Waterfall, House and Gardens. You’ll also find the Great Sugar Loaf along the way, providing a great excuse to get out of the car and stretch your legs. The climb to the top of the Sugar Loaf is suitable for everyone and provides 360-degree view of the Dublin mountains and Dublin city.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Galway to Westport via Clifden

Head west on the Wild Atlantic Way and enjoy a road trip along the rugged west coast. Starting in Galway, you’ll make your way north-west winding through the stunning Twelve Bens to the picturesque town of Clifden where you’ll find plenty of great restaurants, pubs and shops. From Clifden head north to County Mayo to Doo Lough Valley which  has some breath-taking views along the route between Delphi and Louisburgh. Those interested in history should stop at the Doo Lough Famine Memorial. Continue your journey on to the lively town of Westport, a vibrant, colourful place with endless things to see and do.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The Ring of Cork

If you want to unveil a hidden gem this Bank Holiday forget the Ring of Kerry, try out the Ring of Cork.

This drive takes you through the spectacular coastal views and stunning landscapes of County Cork. It travels along rural roads which connect at various stages to national routes and its advised to allow plenty of time to take in the scenery. The towns of Cobh, Midleton and Youghal are also located along the route and are the perfect for a stop along the way.

Experience all East Cork offers, as you travel through Killeagh and Castlemartyr, down to the delightful seaside towns of Shanagarry and Ballycottton. From there, you can follow the coastal roads along to Cobh, Crosshaven, Carrigaline and Cork Harbour. The final leg of the journey will take you to Watergrasshill and through the serene riverside drive from Glanmire and Little Island on to Carrigtohill and Midleton.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The Mourne Mountains

This landscape around The Mourne Mountains is simply breath-taking and provides spectacular coastline views for a perfect weekend road trip. Take in the beauty of the coastline and its quaint towns and villages by simply following the brown-signed Mourne Coastal Route, which runs between Belfast and Newry. Drive to St John’s Lighthouse and to take in impressive sights across Dundrum Bay towards the Mournes. A must see is the Slieve Gullion Forest Park which offers stunning views of the surrounding volcanic landscape.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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If you love haunted houses, spooky places with f*cked up histories, listen up.

As the holiday for thrills and chills are almost upon us, ditch the local creepy haunt and stick these on your bucket list.

For a real scare, Holiday Guru has hooked us up with some of the most terrifyingly haunted places on the planet. 

1. Island of the Dolls, Mexico

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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First up is one you might be familiar with, chilling on a small island outside Mexico City is probably one of the most freakish tributes to a young girl.

A man named Don Juliano Santana Barrera was the caretaker and lone inhabitant of the island, and legend tells that he found a young girl's body who had drowned in the canals

In the 1950s, he hung her doll to a tree to remember her little life, and supposedly many believe the man was then possessed by the girl's spirit – JUST, NOPE.

He began decorating the place with more and more dolls, turning it into a bizarre wonderland of cracked, dirty toys.

If you want to see this little hellish island, grab a boat and get ready to see one of the weirdest collections of dolls in the world.

2. Poveglia, Venice

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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If creepy dolls ain't your thing, why not try the bubonic plague?

This island in the Venetian lagoon was home to imprisoned people suffering from the disease in the late 18th century, which means there are thousands of pissed off souls lurking here.

Get out your ghostbuster gear, as the island also hosted a mental asylum in 1922, and the doctors were reportedly d*cks, as they tortured patients.

The story goes that they would perform crude lobotomies and using hammers and drills as surgical instruments. – which is probably why the island is said to have a morbid atmosphere.

Tourists have reported screams and if your travels aren't entertaining enough, why not risk becoming possessed, as some people say visitors to the island have been – joyous. 

3. Aokigahara, Japan

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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At the base of Mount Fuji, forget the compass as the paranormal activity is rife. 

Aokigahara, is better known as Japan's ‘suicide forest’. The forest has sadly become known as the world’s second most popular place to take one’s life. 

The forest’s malevolent energies are said to swallow up unfortunate visitors and the atmosphere is unlike anywhere else.

And, if you do frequent the forest, just don't make a Youtube video about it – *cough, cough*

4. Centralia – Pennsylvania Ghost Town

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Don't fall for the pretty colours in the image, this used to be a high way and there's a very good reason why nature is reclaiming this city.

The town of Centralia, Pennsylvania is a modern-day ghost town because they suffered a coal mine fire in 1962 – which is still burning today.

It's a real-life horror story as people began to fall ill as lethal levels of carbon monoxide billowed towards the surface.

Sinkholes literally appear in people’s back gardens – one of which nearly killed one young boy. Fewer than 10 people live here today.

While the town isn’t necessarily haunted, it does get an influx of curious, seek-thrilling tourists around Halloween. 

5. The witches of Salem, Massachusetts

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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In the late 17th-century, the children of Salem Village, Massachusetts experienced something rather baffling. Cue the young ladies going into fits, making strange noises, throwing objects and contorting their bodies.

Instead of looking for a logical explanation, witchcraft was the obvious cause.

Hysteria erupted which led to the infamous Salem Witch Trials when over a dozen people were executed.

The judges involved in the trials and future sheriffs died under mysterious circumstances and today, strange noises and mysterious floating lights have been reported at the local cemetery. 

6. Greyfriars Kirkyard, Edinburgh

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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You couldn't pay me enough money to visit this place. Why I hear you scream? – Well, only controlled visits at night for ghost tours are allowed – which sends alarm bells ringing.

Would you actually risk being abused? Visitors often leave with bruises, scratches, bite marks and burns and fainting is a regular occurrence – that's some serious head rush.

But why is this place so locked with a dark aura? Well, it is said that the hundreds-year-old graveyard is protected by the ghost of George McKenzie, a ruthless judge who imprisoned and starved over 1,000 Scottish Presbyterians in the 1600s – So don't f*ck with him.

7. Ballygally Castle, Northern Ireland

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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This tale involves one evil husband and the male ego. Lady Isabella Shaw was unfortunately wed to James Shaw and couldn't produce a male heir – it's your swimmers, mate. 

When she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, James snatched the child and locked Lady Shaw in the room, leaving her to stave.

In a bid to escape, some say she fell from the window, others say she was pushed – either way, it's a grim way to die.

She has remained in the hotel ever since, gently knocking on bedroom doors and walking the corridors, looking for her child. Today, you can lap up luxury in the hotel and visit the “Ghost Room”.

8. Lawang Sewu Semarang, Indonesia

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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A truly spooky place, Lawang Sewu translates to “a thousand doors”.

During WWII, the Japanese used its basement to imprison, torture and kill Indonesian nationalists and Dutch colonials.

Among the ghostly residents, there's one badass b*tch, a Dutch woman who supposedly committed suicide inside as well as the beheaded rebels who were killed by the Japanese.

 9. Château de Brissac, France

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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You really couldn't get more cliche than this: in 1477, Lady Charlotte de Breze was caught doing the dirty on her husband with Jacques de Breze. 

In a fit of rage, her husband murdered her and since the incident, guests have reported seeing the ghost through the window of the tower room of the castle’s chapel, with holes where her nose and mouth should be.

Her moans are said to be heard throughout the chateau early in the morning.

10. Bhangarh Fort, India

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Last but not least, we meet an abandoned 17th-century fort, known as one of the most haunted places in India. So much so, tourists and locals under government orders are forbidden to enter the fort after the sun sets. 

As the tale goes, a magician, Singhia fell in love with the beautiful Princess Ratnavati. The tantrik attempted to use magic to win her over, but the Princess learned of his plan and sentenced him to death. Before Singhia died, he cursed the fort's residents to die and for the surrounding houses to remain roofless forever.

Nowadays, the surrounding village is abandoned and Bhangarh Fort attracts plenty of curious tourists who have reported hearing the screams of ghosts and seeing strange lights. 

You couldn't offer me enough to get me to willingly go to any of these places.

But if you're brave, adventurous and curious, these are a definite in the travel plans, but remember – BE RESPECTFUL.

If restrictions exist, they're for your own safety – don't be that person.

 

Feature image credit: Josh Perrett/Instagram

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I took a trip to Edinburgh for the first time a couple of years ago, and was absolutely blown away by how amazing it was. 

(I've been back twice since). 

It is a city so rich in culture and beauty, combined with friendly people, good food and great fun at every turn. 

The city is buzzing with excitement, and countless things to see and do – from dungeons to castles and everything in between.

Here are the experiences in the Scottish capital that you cannot afford to miss: 

1. Dinner at The Witchery

This place is not exactly somewhere you would dine on a budget, because it is pretty fancy – but you seriously need to have an evening out for yourself and the gals here. The Witchery by the Castle has developed a world-wide reputation for its exceptional dining experience, showcasing the very best of Scotland's produce in the most magical of settings.

Now in its fourth decade, the Witchery is a Scottish dining landmark, much loved by loyal locals, its celebrity fans and visitors to the city alike. Alongside the Scottish seafood, beef, lamb and game you'd expect to find, you'll also see the Witchery's legendary Angus beef steak tartare, briny-fresh seafood platters, wild game and even some haggis featuring on the menu.

 

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2. Take in the scenery at Linlithgow Palace

Explore the magnificent ruins of the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots with a trip to Linlithgow Palace! The royal retreat was built and added to over two centuries by the Stewart kings, resulting in a superb Renaissance residence. 

High towers look out over lush greenery and a loch brimming with wildfowl, which is today a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Several monarchs were born in this royal ‘pleasure palace’, surrounded by its peaceful gardens and grounds. 

Take a jaunt around the grounds of the Palace, enjoy the lovely gift shop and explore the quaint village of Linlithgow – which is filled with cosy pubs and fun little boutiques. 

3. Experience The Real Mary King's Close

Beneath the City Chambers on the Royal Mile lies Edinburgh's deepest secret, a warren of hidden streets where real people lived, worked and died between the 17th and the 19th centuries.

The Real Mary King’s Close is a warren of underground streets and spaces, where, back in the 1600’s, Mary King’s Close and neighbouring Closes were at the heart of Edinburgh’s busiest and most vibrant streets. Once open to the skies and bustling with traders selling their wares to the Old Town’s residents, discover why would this street find itself underground 400 years later?

For years, the hidden Closes of Old Town Edinburgh have been shrouded in myths and mysteries. With a costumed character tour guide based on a one time resident, your group will explore this underground site, hearing these fascinating stories

4. Have Afternoon Tea in The Signet Library

If you manage to find yourself in Edinburgh on a weekend away with the gals then head to The Signet Library for the most wonderful afternoon tea in Scotland. You’ll discover the finest seasonal ingredients in sandwiches, delectable savouries and decadent cakes – all served on bespoke silver tea stands – so fancy.

Surrounded by vintage books and beautiful artwork, you will find yourself in ambience like no other – prepare to sit back, relax, and indulge. 

 

A rainy day in Edinburgh meant high tea at the Signet Library….

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5. Explore at Edinburgh Castle 

Edinburgh Castle is one of the most exciting historic sites in Western Europe, and not even torrential rain can dampen the experience (my god, did it bucket down!)

Set in the heart of Scotland's dynamic capital city, this most famous of Scottish castles has a complex building history. The oldest part, St Margaret's Chapel, dates from the 12th century; the Great Hall was erected by James IV around 1510; the Half Moon Battery by the Regent Morton in the late 16th century; and the Scottish National War Memorial after the First World War.

The castle houses the Crown Jewels of Scotland, the Stone of Destiny, the famous 15th century gun Mons Meg, the One O' Clock Gun and the National War Museum of Scotland.

 

Glorious sunshine at the castle tonight. Summer is that you? #sunshine #edinburgh #scotland #thisisedinburgh #sunshine #summer

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6. Eat haggis (yes, really!) 

I know what you're thinking, but just hear me out for a second. When one of my lovely pals suggested that I try the Scottish delicacy of 'haggis, neeps and tatties,' I initially was disgusted, at the sheer idea of it.

However, I gave in, and decided to give the sheep stomach a whirl, and it was DELICIOUS. The meal was served like a small cottage pie of sorts, and was genuinely so tasty. Arcade Bar is the spot to try this famous dish – you won't regret it! 

 

Lunch with mam

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Anyone getting ready to get married knows that picking where to go on the hen party is important.

It needs to be cheap, have a selection of bars and restaurants, good weather and a party buzz.

Can you guess where the top destinations are?

Mecca Bingo ranked them and the first is…the gorgeous city of Prague. 

1. Prague

The Czech capital is good for nights out and cheap food, with the average price of a meal around a fiver. 

It has an enormous 620 bars and clubs, making it an excellent night out. 

You could have a spa weekend and choose from one of Prague’s 161 establishments.

2. Barcelona 

The Spanish city is good for sunny weather, relaxing spas a there is also a beach nearby.

With 531 bars and clubs, and the average price of a bottle of wine is just five quid, so it’s also a great night out.

Image result for barcelona city

3. London

It is chock-a-block with bars, clubs, and restaurants as well as many spas.

However, meals, taxis, and bottles of wine could really chip into your bank balance. 

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4. Madrid

This city is good for bars, clubs, and cheap taxi fares.

The city boasts 613 bars with cab prices starting at just three Euro and a good choice for sun-worshipping hens too.

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5. Budapest

This Hungarian city is great for cheap food and alcohol, with the average cost of a bottle of wine just five quid and main meals around the same.

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6. Sofia

This Bulgarian city is home to outrageously cheap taxis and eating out is affordable also.

Image result for sofia bulgaria

7. Berlin

The German city is good for cheap booze and nights out.

Berlin has 515 clubs – what more could you want?

 

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Believe me when I say that I love to travel, seriously I'm on a plane every bloody chance I get.

Hell, I'm on a plane right now. 

Anyway, I'm ALWAYS looking at places to visit and places to stay, even if I genuinely have no intention of going there. 

This has resulted in what I call 'Airbnb binges' where I spend hours looking at amazing places to stay all over the world. 

Here are some of my BEST discoveries:

1. Secluded Intown Treehouse, Atlanta, Georgia 

Because who hasn't dreamed about sleeping in a grown-up treehouse?

From €312 per night, Sleeps 2.

2. Tile House, Twentynine Palms, California, US.

This one is like something out of a movie – we love it! 

From €154 per night, Sleeps 4.

3. Romantic Cabana with view, Armenia.

Perfect if you want some quality time with the love of your life. Beautifully rustic. 

From €33 per night, Sleeps 2. 

4. Dairsie Castle, Fife, Scotland 

From €653 per night, Sleeps 14. 

Have you ever wondered what life would be like as a royal? Well, now is your chance. 

5. Luxury, cosy and private villa, Bali.

Heaven. Absolute heaven. 

From €32 per night, Sleeps 2.

6. Laura's Cottage, Redford film spot, historic, Savannah, Georgia, US.

You can actually taste the history here. How cool?

From €132 per night, Sleeps 4. 

7. Cuckoo Wood Hexagon, Westpot, Ireland.

Cheeky staycation anyone? How cool is this? 

From €74 per night, Sleeps 2.

8. Yui Valley-Traditional House , Fujieda, Japan.

The real Japanese experience, and not a bad price either. 

From €88 per night, Sleeps 6. 

9. A Pirate's Life For Me – Houseboat!, Charleston, South Carolina, US. 

I've ALWAYS wanted to stay on a house boat, and honestly this is the coolest one I've ever seen.

From €173 per night, Sleeps 4. 

10. The Woodcutters Cabin, Collooney, Sligo. 

The perfect country getaway with fishing, hiking and mountain bike trails on your doorstep. The hosts are also AMAZING! 

From €77 per night, Sleeps 2. 

 

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If your social media feed is to believed, glitter and wellies are the only things you need to call your Glastonbury experience a success.

Unfortunately, as many festival newbies quickly learn, glitter is the last thing you care about when your phone is dead, your tent is leaking and your back is painfully sunburnt.

Sure, festivals are an incredible opportunity to get creative with your look as well as being the perfect chance to kick back with your mates for an entire weekend, but that doesn't mean the practicalities of daily life stop applying.

From protecting your skin from sun damage to ensuring you remain connected to the outside world with a fully-charged phone, here are six festival essentials every die-hard music fan will be carrying this weekend.

1.  Antiseptic wipes

We hardly need to spell this one out, but unless you've encountered your own personal hell in a festival toilet, you may not fully appreciate the importance of a pack (or three) of antiseptic wipes.

From helping to make your chosen portaloo that little bit easier to use, to saving the day when the sinks outside are overrun with people, antiseptic wipes are your best friend. Forever and always.

2. Sunscreen

Whether or not the forecast looks good for the weekend ahead is beside the point. You're going to be spending the vast majority of your time outdoors (rain or shine) and that means you need to protect your skin against any pesky sunrays that break through.

Opt for P20 with its unique composition of extremely photostable UVA and UVB filters,which are very slowly degraded by the sun. The ingredients in P20 adhere to the skin and remain on it, and the combination of these two factors makes P20 Sunscreen last for up to 10 hours

And remember, the average adult needs to apply 30-40mls of product during each application to ensure sufficient coverage and effective protection, so make sure that goes in your rucksack.

3. Portable charger

Anyone who has spent even a moment praying their battery will last long enough to locate their friends by the main stage will attest that a portable charger is an absolute must-have at any festival.

Yes, it costs a few quid, but when you've splashed out on a festival ticket, the last thing you want is to hand over more cash to charge your phone or spend hours queuing to charge your phone thereby missing the act you paid to see.

Divide the cost between a few pals, and check one worry off your list for the coming weekend.

4.  Duct tape

Whether it's for a hole in your tent or a leak in your welly, you will not regret packing a roll of duct tape.

You never know when you'll use it, but trust us, there will come a point at some stage over the weekend, when you actually will need it. 

5. Binliners

Like duct tape, you may question why you need it when you're already spent money on a quality tent, hardy wellies and expensive rain jacket, but trust us on this one.

Whether it's simply for using to collect rubbish around your tent or as a makeshift rainjacket when you lose your own, a roll of binliners weighs next to nothing, but will always, always, always come in handy.

6. Folding chair

After you've spent one festival sitting in the lotus position for three days straight, you'll soon realise that a folding chair is one of the most important things on your 'To Pack' list.

The floor of the tent is all well and good for a few hours, and sprawled on the grass definitely works for a while, but there will come a point in the weekend when you'd step over your own mother just to get five minutes on your neighbour's folding chair.

 

 

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Solo travel is a goal many of us have on our bucket lists, but unfortunately, the world isnt always safe and accommodating for women. 

Thanks to Holidayguru, we now have a concise list of the best places for solo female travellers, compiled by their travel experts. 

'Travelling solo as a woman can seem daunting. While loneliness, organisation and crucially, safety, are valid concerns, we see it as a rite of passage and experience you can be proud of.'

Australia

Cosmopolitan cities, sandy beaches, rugged wilderness and the Great Barrier Reef. Is there any reason why you wouldn’t want to see Australia? Of course, it’s expensive to get to but this shouldn’t put you off taking the plunge down under for your big solo adventure along its famed coasts. “There are so many backpackers there that the tourism industry is really tailored to solo travel,” according to Online editor for Holidayguru Netherlands Willeke van Doorn, who’s been twice. Willeke says: “If you are open to meeting new people, you'll never really be alone. It's safe too – I always felt comfortable going out and about on my own. Plus, koalas are adorable!”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Cam Alex Horne | DRONE (@camalexhorne) on

The South of France

For first-time solo travellers, European cities are probably a good way to test the waters. But who says you have to see just one? Head to the South of France to enjoy some beachside glamour in and delicious food – both Italian and French! Inland, there are beautiful wildlife parks and mountain-top medieval towns. Astrid Klaver is an SEO manager at Holidayguru. She recalls: “I booked a one-way ticket to the South of France. "I went to a different town every day. Monaco, Nice, Cannes and the artist village of Saint-Paul de Vence. I didn't get bored for a second and at the end, I just booked a flight back.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Côte d'Azur France (@visitcotedazur) on

Thailand

While Thailand is a well-worn backpacking trail, its undeniable beauty, friendliness, affordability and ease make it perfect for the solo adventurer. Rosella di Gioia from Holidayguru Italy says: “Whether you want to explore the North with its amazing temples and wild nature or the paradise beaches in the South, you will never feel lonely.” "Travelling in the country by bus or plane is super easy and if you enough have time, you could also easily reach Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar or Laos with low-cost flights.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Sarah Magliocco (@sarahmagliocco) on

Sweden

Sweden’s modern cities, coupled with its reputed safety and laid back atmosphere, make it a great place for a solo city break. You’ll be enchanted by Stockholm’s waterside buildings and modern touches! Ella Carroll from Holidayguru.ie recommends adding in a trip to the North as well. She says: “It is an incredibly remote and wild region, but in the end, it was my favourite part of the trip. “People were so welcoming – people were happy to tell you about life there and will be more than happy to help you if you're a bit stuck.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Nammiami39397979 (@nammiami39397979) on

Turkey

As the meeting point between Europe and Asia, Turkey offers plenty of architectural treasures from empires past. The Turkish Riviera offers the perfect sun holiday, while Pamukkale offers the chance to see Roman ruins amongst white travertine terraces. Istanbul’s international vibe makes it a great place to party after a day of sightseeing. Nerea Gutiérrez Ruiz is an online editor for Holidayguru Spain. She says: “If you prepare your trip a bit in advance the language doesn't need to be a problem. I've been in four different cities in Turkey and the people will try to help you all the time. She has some advice for counteracting unwanted attention too: “You just need to know how to be polite, and tell them you would like to be alone.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Türkiye En Büyük Tatil Sayfası (@travelturkeyy) on

Slovenia

From the eco-friendly elegance of Ljubljana to the Venetian beauty of seaside Piran, Slovenia’s cities are perfect for the any budding photographer on the go. Omega Love, founder of lifestyle blog Love Scribe, says: “The streets of Ljubljana are buzzing because of the university but the city isn't boisterous – it’s subtly elegant and charming. “In Piran, there's a gorgeous castle and centuries-old cathedrals dotted around the city. The main square is an Instagrammer's dream. “I went over the border to Trieste in Italy too. The highlight of Slovenia is that you can travel around so easily and that made me feel really empowered.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Willabelle Ong (@willamazing) on

Canada

Canada’s mix of bustling urbanscapes and woodland charms give it constant variety. You can go hiking in the mountains of Alberta or be astonished at the picture-perfect lakes in Banff National Park. Want to practice your French? Go to the East Coast and visit Quebéc and Montreal. Marit Houben from Holidayguru NL says the “mind-blowing” North American country lives up to its reputation of friendliness. “Canadians won’t hesitate for a second to help you out or have a chat with you,” she said.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Wander Vancouver (@wandervancouver) on

Costa Rica

With a population of less than five million, Costa Rica is small, but it certainly packs a punch. This critter-filled Central American country is home to a variety of ecosystems and exotic landscapes. Chill on tropical beaches, hang out with a sloth or zip line through clouded forests. Marit says: “Costa Rica has it all. People are friendly and helpful and will do anything to make you feel welcome. “Travelling around the country is super easy and safe because you can usually book a direct shuttle to your next destination from your hostel.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by (@janikrobichaud) on

Tanzania

Tanzania must have been the inspiration behind Toto’s “Africa”. From lounging on the tropical islands of Zanzibar and Mafia to marvelling at the Big 5 in the Serengeti, Tanzania will have you singing at the top of your lungs. English teacher Daire Louise Ni Dhubhda has taught in Abu Dhabi, Australia and Vietnam and has mastered the art of solo travel. She says: “Tanzanians are so welcoming and hospitable. 'Karibu Sana' is their local phrase in Swahili, meaning you are most welcome. “My only advice is to make friends with a local and get a driver – they will haggle on your behalf!”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Exploring Islands (@exploringislands_) on

Japan

This is a destination for the more advanced solo traveller. You won't get very far with English in Japan, but the good transport in and between the cities and the famously low crime rate make this Asian country a must for a solo holiday. Enjoy a meal for one at a city ramen counter. Challenge yourself as you navigate signage and maps. Grab the bullet train to travel cross-country. Stay overnight in hostels to save some costs and meet other travellers. Be warned, it is a bit isolating but ultimately rewarding.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Beautiful destinations (@placesincolours) on

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