Travel | Getting The Most From Your Short Break

[This post contains a gifted stay and a number of gifted experiences. Each will be denoted with a *]

For the past few years, I have lived in a world of chaos where two week long holidays in the sun are a distant memory, getaways are booked with the immediacy of a very immediate thing and the planning of...well...something really badly planned. 

With all of this in mind, here is some of my advice for a Short Break
You absolutely do not have to take it, your life is your own, I'm not the boss of you but, listen, it's nice to work together on these things - Let me make your mistakes for you.

Use Trip Advisor
Look, I know we all want to think we were the first to discover that jazz club, tapas bar or art gallery. But thanks to the internet, best kept secrets aren’t quite that any more. You can buy guidebooks aplenty but they’ll never be as up to date as our friend Trip Advisor

Just make sure you check when the last review was - Small restaurants can change ownership in the blink of an eye and what, yesterday, was a quaint little pizza joint is, today, a tattoo parlour that doesn’t even sell crisps. 

Read what people are saying - For example, an utterly stunning spa that we visited in Seville had numerous reviews of people saying they were confused as to where they needed to be and when. Because of this, I was extra careful to check the exact details with the staff when we arrived, it's an ideal way of sharing the "I wish I'd known"s whilst still making your trip your own.

Hop on Buses
Despite how joyful he may look in the picture below, Matt hates these. He hates looking at them, being near them and their very existence. Most of all, he hates when I pretend to be looking at souvenirs whilst actually galloping off and screaming “TWO TICKETS TO THE HOP ON BUS PLEASE” at anyone who’ll listen.

Things I like:
> Seeing things
> Sitting down

The hop on buses allow this in abundance. Yes, they’re more expensive than a normal bus or coach or bicycle or whatevs but you can stay on them FOREVER. Plus, inside those headphones lives a little person who can tell you all about what your eyes are seeing. Done the full circuit and listened to everything the little person says?
Listen again in French/Spanish/Japanese. Informative AND educational! 

The best thing about these buses is as follows: Like something you’ve seen? You can go back. You could even do it on the bus. 
It’s like reading a book on the place you’re visiting, only you’re inside it. 

Top Tip: Be sure to check the time that the hop on bus route ends, quite often they’re a lot earlier than you’d think…

Book a Tour
I’ve historically been put off the idea of a tour - You have 48 hours somewhere and choose to spend 3-5 hours of them TRAPPED WITH OTHER PEOPLE. 
No thank you. 

Well, except YES PLEASE. In a similar way to the Hop On buses - A tour lets you get a taste of what to expect, with the option of going back later on your own time, armed with more information than ever before. 
We were very lucky that on our previous trip with Bookings For You, we went on not one, but TWO tours, a glorious food tour with LivItaly food tour*, and a fabulous Arte al Sole* Art tour of Certaldo. The joy of a tour is that you’re the very lucky audience of someone (In this case, Lisa) who really knows what they’re talking about, is passionate and wants you join in that joy.
Whether it be food, art, culture or wine, I'm now a little bit hooked on a good tour (I've just booked one for Madrid) They really are a great use of limited time. 
Plus, solo traveller who doesn't hate people? TRAVEL FRIENDS!

Make Sure You Chill
As mentioned previously, I do love a good sit down and I would wholeheartedly recommend booking accommodation that gives you the opportunity to properly chill, enjoy the local delicacies and make your plan of action. 

Our stay at Villa Le Tornaie saw some mega early mornings and superbly late nights, but the option to lay by the pool, bubble in the hot tub or sweat in the gym (No thank you sir, this is a holiday) were very welcome additions to an otherwise super fast paced few days. 

At the very least, make sure you are going to feel safe (Check the neighbourhood) and can get there reasonably easily form the airport or train station - You don't want to spend half your short break trecking through the middle of nowhere just to drop your bags off.

Bonus Tips: Take An Anorak and Stay Hydrated
I don't care where you’re going. It will rain. Take an anorak.

Here, I did not take an anorak. Fool.

Also, STAY HYDRATED YOU MORON. Buy one of those gallon water bottles as soon as you get there and keep your reusable bottle topped up. If you don't, you will get a headache and your skin will look like crap. Don't risk it. 

I'm off for a short break Madrid in a few weeks and plan to show you what I'm packing (!) so, as always, keep your eyes peeled!

Em x