20 wild photos from the Wanaka flood in New Zealand


This spring in New Zealand has been a wild one, bringing on a flood in Wanaka.

Here in Wanaka, where I call home, in the heart of the Southern Alps, it’s been raining, raining and raining some more.

Considering it’s usually hot and dry and cold and dry as a general rule, this is rather unusual. Spring is generally windy but warm, teasing us for a beautiful summer ahead.

For all my fellow northern hemisphere inhabitants, spring in New Zealand runs from September to November.

With the snowmelt that feeds into the rivers, the lake level was already high.

Two weeks ago, the typically white beaches that outline our stunning Lake Wanaka were completely submerged beneath shimmering blue water, with the iconic Clutha River running high and fast.

Our mountains were bright green, lush and verdant, an unusual sight, but one that I love. Usually, a dry part of the country, come springtime our hills and valleys generally turn green with the snowmelt.

And then a week ago it began to rain properly. And I mean torrential rain for days, the likes of which we don’t usually see.

Cue the latest Wanaka flood.

Lake Wanaka has a history of flooding since the town was founded. Everyone was wondering if this year’s flood would top the 1999 flood when the lake came up so far that the New World was a meter underwater.

wanaka flood

Lucky for us, the rain has stopped just in time, as the water was spilling across the main road and lapping at the quickly stacked sandbags across the lakefront shops. Phew!

While the vibe of Wanaka is changing fast as the world catches on to how cool this wee mountain town of New Zealand is, the pride of the locals still runs deep. With everyone rallying together to protect the downtown and prep for the flood, it raised my spirits to see the community passion still alive and kicking.

Anyone who has ever visited Wanaka knows it’s unique.

wanaka flood

As the rain briefly stopped on Wednesday, December 4th, I made my way to the lakefront to have a good look at the state of affairs. The water was lapping over park benches, the jetties were gone, and the lakefront parking lot was covered in driftwood.

The clouds momentarily lifted, revealing snowcapped mountains and thundering waterfalls.

And our iconic Wanaka Tree, the infamous willow tree in the lake, looked like it needed a snorkel.

wanaka flood

Not only were all our beaches gone, but the lake was ever so slowly creeping across the grass towards the town in Wanaka.

Curious, I drove out to Treble Cone towards the Matukituki Valley, and I wasn’t disappointed.

By Glendhu Bay, the water was already spilling over onto the road. The waterfalls were thundering, much bigger than usual. The small wooden bridge in West Wanaka, which straddles the Matukituki River was shaking; brown water rushed down from the mountains into the lake.

It was terrifying, and I quickly returned home. A few hours later, the road was closed off from flooding.

wanaka flood

With the South Island doused in the rain, washing away roads and bridges this spring, it’s put it into a stark reminder that we are at the mercy of mother nature down here, especially in the mountains.

New Zealand is still a wild place, with big mountains, glacial rivers, and waterfalls galore. Hello, that’s why we all want to visit here. But it comes with a price. Mountain weather can be intense, and when it comes knocking, we have to listen.

It’s not all that uncommon for big storms to close roads and impact travel on the South Island. It’s happened a handful of times around Wanaka since I moved here six years ago.

If you’re planning to travel around New Zealand, I recommend checking NZTA’s (New Zealand Transport Agency) website for the most up-to-date maps on road closures.

wanaka flood

Australia’s wildfires are turning New Zealand’s glaciers red

Usually, I’m not the kind of person who goes out to photograph something like this. When I’m home, I am not always inclined to pick up my camera. For the past few years, camera = work.

But I’m hoping to feel more inspired this year. I’m looking to challenge myself to take photos of things I might normally would otherwise. So it was time to drag my lazy bum off the sofa and have a little look at what our lake was up to. Camera in hand and with no agenda, I headed to the lake

Here are some photos from the Wanaka flood this year.

Have you ever experienced a flood on your travels? Have you seen anything like this? Any stories from the Wanaka flood to spill? Share!

wanaka flood

wanaka flood

wanaka flood

wanaka flood

wanaka flood

wanaka flood

wanaka flood

wanaka flood

wanaka flood

wanaka flood

wanaka flood

wanaka flood

The post 20 wild photos from the Wanaka flood in New Zealand appeared first on Young Adventuress.



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Everything you need to know about solo female travel in Dubai


Dubai is one of those places that is almost tricky to capture in words. Why? Because there is nowhere else quite like it. And what’s it like to travel to Dubai as a solo female?

An extravagant playground built out of the sands of a desert, in perhaps one of the most hostile environments on earth, Dubai was imagined into reality and seemingly overnight has become one of the most vibrant cities on earth.

Somewhat lovingly nicknamed “the sandpit,” Dubai is a place where innovation and tradition smash together and create something new. It’s a place that will shatter your preconceptions about the Middle East to pieces. I love it!

25 photos that will inspire you to visit Dubai

solo female travel Dubai

Image by Lauren Bath

solo female travel dubai

For example, the first time I visited Dubai on a solo female travel trip was around 2013, and as I was crossing the street heading to a mall, a flashy Mercedes G-Class stopped in front of me with a cheetah in the front seat. 

Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.

Welcome to Dubai and the United Arab Emirates, a land of juxtapositions, where tradition meets the future in wild and weird ways that are always changing. Every time I come to Dubai, something new seems to have popped up.

Bright and bold, what can you expect from a place with man-made islands and the flashiest hotels on earth, where you can watch women in burkas climb out from the driver’s seat of a Maserati and head out to the desert on the back of a camel.

Solo female travel in Dubai

But what’s it like for the modern western woman traveling solo? Like yours truly?

Can women even drive in Dubai? Do you need to cover up? Do you have to wear a burka? Where IS Dubai? Do you have to be married?

These are only some of the many questions that people ask me when I explain how much time I spend in this buzzy heart of the modern Middle East. The lack of knowledge can be somewhat overwhelming, but I’ve learned a lot from my time in Dubai, a place I have come to love, in a weird way.

I’ve gleaned quite a bit of knowledge from my experience with solo female travel to Dubai over the years to share with you below. Enjoy!

Solo female travel in Dubai

Solo female travel in Dubai

1. It’s awesome for solo female travelers

First things first, I love to travel to Dubai as a solo female. Dubai is much more liberal than the rest of the UAE.

A committed, lifelong solo female traveler, Dubai is a city where I’ve always felt very safe traveling on my own. In fact, it’s one of the best places to begin visiting as a solo female traveler, in my opinion. Packed with tourists and foreigners, it’s an excellent introduction to the Middle East. 

The Solo Female Traveler’s Manifesto

Much more liberal and modern than its neighbors, Dubai is a place where I feel safe traveling solo. In Dubai, I tend to only talk to women first for help or questions, depending on where I am and what situation I’m in.

Solo female travel in Dubai

Solo female travel in Dubai

Dubai is also an exciting place because I see it having two sectors – the public space and the private space. In open areas (like malls or public beaches) you behave by the Sharia-inspired rules of Dubai. Be modest, act with dignity, no being drunk.

But in private spaces, like hotels and homes, things are super different. In hotels, you can drink and feel a lot freer, dress how you like, and follow a more lax set of rules.

It’s important to remember that. The rules here are very flexible and mobile and are changing. But when in doubt, err on the side of caution.

10 of the safest destinations for solo female travelers

solo female travel dubai

Solo female travel in Dubai

2. Dubai is perfect for layovers and stopovers

Being based in New Zealand at the very bottom of the South Pacific, when I want to travel overseas, I usually have to fly through Dubai. Because of this, Emirates has become my go-to airline through the Middle East. 

Wanting to break up the back-to-back long haul flights (17 hours to Dubai from New Zealand + 8 hours to Europe or Africa or Asia from Dubai) I generally stop in this glamorous city for a night or two. I use it as an opportunity to relax and pamper myself in a town, unlike any other in the world.

Honestly, it’s the perfect place to relax and recoup when you’re traveling. You can usually find me hiding away in a luxury suite at a 5-star hotel or the spa, occasionally venturing out to take in a bit of the sites, like the top of the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa.

solo female travel dubai

Solo female travel in Dubai

3. Crime in Dubai is super low

Dubai has a very low crime rate, and I’ve personally experienced no fear or had problems on my trips to Dubai. I’ve never been harassed or even felt uncomfortable.

Dubai is the most liberal and “western” place I’ve been in the Middle East, as it’s a massive hub for foreigners, but it’s still a place steeped in tradition, and it’s important to respect that. 

I imagine the main reason that Dubai is so safe is that they rule with an iron fist, and crime here is not usually a problem for visitors. You are always on CCTV (shivers), keep that in mind.

Things like drug trafficking can carry death penalties, so for god’s sake, be on your best behavior here.

Solo female travel in Dubai

Solo female travel in Dubai

4. Dubai is a cultural melting pot

Dubai is a very trendy and fascinating city for many reasons; one of the big ones being how international it is. Only about 10% of the population is local Emirati; the rest are foreigners here to play and work. And the locals are very well off, financially speaking.

You will see plenty of women covered from head to toe in burkas, but they’re usually visitors from more conservative places like Saudi Arabia.

Many big companies are based here with international offices and staff, and you’re much more likely to meet travelers and expats than locals.

But when you do get to meet locals, it’s a pretty unique experience too. If you’re a visitor, check out the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding for tours and activities to learn about the local people and culture respectfully.

Image by Lauren Bath

Solo female travel in Dubai

5. It’s mandatory to have insurance

I would hanker a guess that most people don’t know that it’s compulsory to have insurance to travel to Dubai.

I repeat, travel insurance is compulsory in Dubai.

But with many years of travel experience comes knowledge and foresight, and now I don’t take any chances. I can’t even imagine what a hospital stint would cost in the UAE.

I buy an annual policy – and after shopping around, Southern Cross Travel Insurance (SCTI) is now my go-to provider for all things insurance-related on all my travels around the world.

Read more about my experience traveling with SCTI in Bali and Spain. 

Solo female travel in Dubai

6. You don’t need to be married

No, you don’t need to be married to go to Dubai. Thank god, because that’s never been on my radar and I haven’t managed to trick a guy yet haha! Yes, solo female travel to Dubai is excellent.

However, while Dubai is undoubtedly the most “relaxed” spot I’ve been to in the Middle East about solo females, that doesn’t mean it’s on par with where we grow up in terms of freedoms and liberties, i.e. sleeping around, wearing what you want, and being your most wild and free feminine self.

Dubai still has laws that are not favorable to women, and while the enforcement of them is vague at best, it always pays to follow the rules outside your comfort zone.

Solo female travel in Dubai

Solo female travel in Dubai

Familiarize yourself with the different rules in Dubai.

The one that always has freaked me out has been the stories about female victims of sexual assault who have been detained after reporting an incident to police or seeking medical assistance.

But I also keep in mind in my own experience, this is super rare, and overall I’ve found Dubai a much safer and easier place to travel to than many other countries I’ve visited.

Solo female travel in Dubai

Solo female travel in Dubai

7. Yes, you can drive. But watch out!

Of course, women can drive in Dubai. If you stay in a flash hotel like I usually do, women will often climb out of the driver’s seat of a Ferrari on the regular.

Saudi Arabia is the only place I know of that forbids female drivers. However, they changed that law recently from what I understand.

One thing to keep in mind is that Dubai has a much higher rate of traffic accidents than in western places like Europe, likely due to the speeding. With so many supercars around, it’s not surprising, and I’ve found riding along in cars to be fine here. It’s not a comfortable place to get around without a car, which means you often shell out for Ubers, taxis, or shuttles.

Women who get taxis and Ubers should sit in the backseat. There are even women-only taxis and carriages on the subway.

Solo female travel in Dubai

8. You gotta play by their rules

The most significant risk when traveling in Dubai is not knowing or following the Sharia-inspired laws—this has landed a few dumb travelers in prison, with no way to get home.

Be on your best behavior and dress more modestly. The best piece of advice I got from local Emirati was to always behave with a G-rating in public. 

For example, drinking alcohol is illegal in the UAE, but it’s allowed in hotels. There are strict laws in the UAE on personal conduct, particularly around sex and relationships that are very different from New Zealand.

It’s your job to familiarize yourself with Dubai’s rigid rules (like your destination’s travel pages), which forbid drinking wine, crude language, aggressive gestures, taking someone’s picture without asking, taking photos of government buildings, possessing certain prescription medications, kissing in public, homosexuality, and a long list of other behavioral restrictions.

Solo female travel in Dubai

solo female travel dubai

To be honest, I don’t generally wear skimpy clothes in Dubai because for me it’s not comfortable. In Dubai, wearing sleeveless tops, showing your stomach or back, or wearing short skirts and shorts won’t get people on your side. I’m not here to have a feminist argument or try to change an entire culture.

You will definitely see western women wearing skimpy clothes (especially considering how hot Dubai is), don’t assume that just because they’re doing it, it’s acceptable. I’ve found that Emirati people find it rude, but they’re too polite to say anything.

All I can say is when I’m in Dubai, I play by their rules and put on my best behavior and dress modestly, but not as modest as when I’m in other Muslim countries that are much more conservative. I find it’s best not to parade my different sets of values here.

Also, be aware of Ramadan dates and potentially avoid staying in Dubai then. During Ramadan, the rules are much stricter and much more strictly enforced. Do your research.

What do you think? Would you travel to Dubai as a solo female traveler? Thoughts? Anything to add? Share!

Solo female travel in Dubai

Many thanks to SCTI for sponsoring this post – like always I’m keeping it real  – all opinions are my own like you can expect less from me!

The post Everything you need to know about solo female travel in Dubai appeared first on Young Adventuress.



Source link

Everything you need to know about solo female travel in Dubai


Dubai is one of those places that is almost tricky to capture in words. Why? Because there is nowhere else quite like it. And what’s it like to travel to Dubai as a solo female?

An extravagant playground built out of the sands of a desert, in perhaps one of the most hostile environments on earth, Dubai was imagined into reality and seemingly overnight has become one of the most vibrant cities on earth.

Somewhat lovingly nicknamed “the sandpit,” Dubai is a place where innovation and tradition smash together and create something new. It’s a place that will shatter your preconceptions about the Middle East to pieces. I love it!

25 photos that will inspire you to visit Dubai

solo female travel Dubai

Image by Lauren Bath

solo female travel dubai

For example, the first time I visited Dubai on a solo female travel trip was around 2013, and as I was crossing the street heading to a mall, a flashy Mercedes G-Class stopped in front of me with a cheetah in the front seat. 

Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.

Welcome to Dubai and the United Arab Emirates, a land of juxtapositions, where tradition meets the future in wild and weird ways that are always changing. Every time I come to Dubai, something new seems to have popped up.

Bright and bold, what can you expect from a place with man-made islands and the flashiest hotels on earth, where you can watch women in burkas climb out from the driver’s seat of a Maserati and head out to the desert on the back of a camel.

Solo female travel in Dubai

But what’s it like for the modern western woman traveling solo? Like yours truly?

Can women even drive in Dubai? Do you need to cover up? Do you have to wear a burka? Where IS Dubai? Do you have to be married?

These are only some of the many questions that people ask me when I explain how much time I spend in this buzzy heart of the modern Middle East. The lack of knowledge can be somewhat overwhelming, but I’ve learned a lot from my time in Dubai, a place I have come to love, in a weird way.

I’ve gleaned quite a bit of knowledge from my experience with solo female travel to Dubai over the years to share with you below. Enjoy!

Solo female travel in Dubai

Solo female travel in Dubai

1. It’s awesome for solo female travelers

First things first, I love to travel to Dubai as a solo female. Dubai is much more liberal than the rest of the UAE.

A committed, lifelong solo female traveler, Dubai is a city where I’ve always felt very safe traveling on my own. In fact, it’s one of the best places to begin visiting as a solo female traveler, in my opinion. Packed with tourists and foreigners, it’s an excellent introduction to the Middle East. 

The Solo Female Traveler’s Manifesto

Much more liberal and modern than its neighbors, Dubai is a place where I feel safe traveling solo. In Dubai, I tend to only talk to women first for help or questions, depending on where I am and what situation I’m in.

Solo female travel in Dubai

Solo female travel in Dubai

Dubai is also an exciting place because I see it having two sectors – the public space and the private space. In open areas (like malls or public beaches) you behave by the Sharia-inspired rules of Dubai. Be modest, act with dignity, no being drunk.

But in private spaces, like hotels and homes, things are super different. In hotels, you can drink and feel a lot freer, dress how you like, and follow a more lax set of rules.

It’s important to remember that. The rules here are very flexible and mobile and are changing. But when in doubt, err on the side of caution.

10 of the safest destinations for solo female travelers

solo female travel dubai

Solo female travel in Dubai

2. Dubai is perfect for layovers and stopovers

Being based in New Zealand at the very bottom of the South Pacific, when I want to travel overseas, I usually have to fly through Dubai. Because of this, Emirates has become my go-to airline through the Middle East. 

Wanting to break up the back-to-back long haul flights (17 hours to Dubai from New Zealand + 8 hours to Europe or Africa or Asia from Dubai) I generally stop in this glamorous city for a night or two. I use it as an opportunity to relax and pamper myself in a town, unlike any other in the world.

Honestly, it’s the perfect place to relax and recoup when you’re traveling. You can usually find me hiding away in a luxury suite at a 5-star hotel or the spa, occasionally venturing out to take in a bit of the sites, like the top of the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa.

solo female travel dubai

Solo female travel in Dubai

3. Crime in Dubai is super low

Dubai has a very low crime rate, and I’ve personally experienced no fear or had problems on my trips to Dubai. I’ve never been harassed or even felt uncomfortable.

Dubai is the most liberal and “western” place I’ve been in the Middle East, as it’s a massive hub for foreigners, but it’s still a place steeped in tradition, and it’s important to respect that. 

I imagine the main reason that Dubai is so safe is that they rule with an iron fist, and crime here is not usually a problem for visitors. You are always on CCTV (shivers), keep that in mind.

Things like drug trafficking can carry death penalties, so for god’s sake, be on your best behavior here.

Solo female travel in Dubai

Solo female travel in Dubai

4. Dubai is a cultural melting pot

Dubai is a very trendy and fascinating city for many reasons; one of the big ones being how international it is. Only about 10% of the population is local Emirati; the rest are foreigners here to play and work. And the locals are very well off, financially speaking.

You will see plenty of women covered from head to toe in burkas, but they’re usually visitors from more conservative places like Saudi Arabia.

Many big companies are based here with international offices and staff, and you’re much more likely to meet travelers and expats than locals.

But when you do get to meet locals, it’s a pretty unique experience too. If you’re a visitor, check out the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding for tours and activities to learn about the local people and culture respectfully.

Image by Lauren Bath

Solo female travel in Dubai

5. It’s mandatory to have insurance

I would hanker a guess that most people don’t know that it’s compulsory to have insurance to travel to Dubai.

I repeat, travel insurance is compulsory in Dubai.

But with many years of travel experience comes knowledge and foresight, and now I don’t take any chances. I can’t even imagine what a hospital stint would cost in the UAE.

I buy an annual policy – and after shopping around, Southern Cross Travel Insurance (SCTI) is now my go-to provider for all things insurance-related on all my travels around the world.

Read more about my experience traveling with SCTI in Bali and Spain. 

Solo female travel in Dubai

6. You don’t need to be married

No, you don’t need to be married to go to Dubai. Thank god, because that’s never been on my radar and I haven’t managed to trick a guy yet haha! Yes, solo female travel to Dubai is excellent.

However, while Dubai is undoubtedly the most “relaxed” spot I’ve been to in the Middle East about solo females, that doesn’t mean it’s on par with where we grow up in terms of freedoms and liberties, i.e. sleeping around, wearing what you want, and being your most wild and free feminine self.

Dubai still has laws that are not favorable to women, and while the enforcement of them is vague at best, it always pays to follow the rules outside your comfort zone.

Solo female travel in Dubai

Solo female travel in Dubai

Familiarize yourself with the different rules in Dubai.

The one that always has freaked me out has been the stories about female victims of sexual assault who have been detained after reporting an incident to police or seeking medical assistance.

But I also keep in mind in my own experience, this is super rare, and overall I’ve found Dubai a much safer and easier place to travel to than many other countries I’ve visited.

Solo female travel in Dubai

Solo female travel in Dubai

7. Yes, you can drive. But watch out!

Of course, women can drive in Dubai. If you stay in a flash hotel like I usually do, women will often climb out of the driver’s seat of a Ferrari on the regular.

Saudi Arabia is the only place I know of that forbids female drivers. However, they changed that law recently from what I understand.

One thing to keep in mind is that Dubai has a much higher rate of traffic accidents than in western places like Europe, likely due to the speeding. With so many supercars around, it’s not surprising, and I’ve found riding along in cars to be fine here. It’s not a comfortable place to get around without a car, which means you often shell out for Ubers, taxis, or shuttles.

Women who get taxis and Ubers should sit in the backseat. There are even women-only taxis and carriages on the subway.

Solo female travel in Dubai

8. You gotta play by their rules

The most significant risk when traveling in Dubai is not knowing or following the Sharia-inspired laws—this has landed a few dumb travelers in prison, with no way to get home.

Be on your best behavior and dress more modestly. The best piece of advice I got from local Emirati was to always behave with a G-rating in public. 

For example, drinking alcohol is illegal in the UAE, but it’s allowed in hotels. There are strict laws in the UAE on personal conduct, particularly around sex and relationships that are very different from New Zealand.

It’s your job to familiarize yourself with Dubai’s rigid rules (like your destination’s travel pages), which forbid drinking wine, crude language, aggressive gestures, taking someone’s picture without asking, taking photos of government buildings, possessing certain prescription medications, kissing in public, homosexuality, and a long list of other behavioral restrictions.

Solo female travel in Dubai

solo female travel dubai

To be honest, I don’t generally wear skimpy clothes in Dubai because for me it’s not comfortable. In Dubai, wearing sleeveless tops, showing your stomach or back, or wearing short skirts and shorts won’t get people on your side. I’m not here to have a feminist argument or try to change an entire culture.

You will definitely see western women wearing skimpy clothes (especially considering how hot Dubai is), don’t assume that just because they’re doing it, it’s acceptable. I’ve found that Emirati people find it rude, but they’re too polite to say anything.

All I can say is when I’m in Dubai, I play by their rules and put on my best behavior and dress modestly, but not as modest as when I’m in other Muslim countries that are much more conservative. I find it’s best not to parade my different sets of values here.

Also, be aware of Ramadan dates and potentially avoid staying in Dubai then. During Ramadan, the rules are much stricter and much more strictly enforced. Do your research.

What do you think? Would you travel to Dubai as a solo female traveler? Thoughts? Anything to add? Share!

Solo female travel in Dubai

Many thanks to SCTI for sponsoring this post – like always I’m keeping it real  – all opinions are my own like you can expect less from me!

The post Everything you need to know about solo female travel in Dubai appeared first on Young Adventuress.



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5 myths about traveling to Antarctica


“Is it just like snow and stuff?” Sigh, so many myths about traveling to Antarctica.

Yes, that is a direct quote I heard more than once when I told people that it was my dream to visit Antarctica. The last continent. The Great White South. The land of penguins NOT polar bears.

Nothing can compare to the wild and untamed grandeur that is Antarctica. Here vast white mountains drop down to the sea, icebergs the size of islands slowly drift pass your ship and the wind is so strong it can knock you over.

There’s actually a lot to see in Antarctica. The Antarctic Peninsula — where the majority of tourists go — is a continuation of the Andes Mountains from South America, meaning it’s quite mountainous. Peaks often rise out of the ocean, interspersed by enormous glaciers. It’s one of the most pristine places on Earth, in no small part because it’s mostly untouched by humans.

And yes, you can go on holiday to Antarctica, and yes it’s pretty freaking awesome. And there is more than just snow and stuff. Listen up and let me break down some myths about traveling to Antarctica.

25 photos that will inspire you to visit Antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

Because Antarctica is one of those ultimate adventures, you likely won’t find too many people who have journeyed the very bottom of the world before. Yeah yeah yeah, I can already hear the ones going “well I know so-and-so.” But seriously, most people haven’t been. It’s not Disneyland or Paris. There’s no Tripadvisor here.

It’s never been easier to get the elusive golden ticket down to Antarctica, but that doesn’t mean that myths surrounding this mysterious land aren’t abundant, because they are. And in fact, even down there you’ll hear them repeated a lot. Crack a book, people. Read a blog.

There are no polar bears in Antarctica. Wrong hemisphere. I repeat, there are NO POLAR BEARS IN ANTARCTICA.

So let me take this opportunity to clear up some of the most common misgivings and half-truths I’ve heard and bust some of these myths about traveling to Antarctica. Enjoy!

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

1. It’s too expensive to visit Antarctica

Perhaps one of the biggest myths about going to Antarctica is that it can be mind-blowingly expensive, but there are still ways to make the trip more affordable too.

Alert the press – it’s not as expensive as you think it is. Most trips I’ve seen run for less than $10,000 USD for around two weeks with Intrepid Travel or Peregrine Adventures. And if you’re smart, you can get it a lot cheaper. Whether you’re a penguin fanatic like me, or you want to set eyes on the raw and beautiful landscapes, there’s an Antarctic expedition to suit you.

Yes, that isn’t cheap, I know. But it’s also not unachievable either. And remember that’s all-inclusive – activities, accommodation, food, heaps of adventure. Just not alcohol or any extras.

Because there has been a lot of growth in the tourism industry in Antarctica, prices have come down quite a bit and just with like most travel; there’s quite a bit in between budget and luxury. On my first trip down, I was huddled down in with three other girls in a little bunkbed while a friend who was on another chartered ship had her own suite with a king-size bed and bath! It varies widely.

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

If you can be flexible on timing, there are bargains to be had to get a spot on an Antarctica trip, so sign up for emails from a few tour operators and keep an eye out for any specials.

Most trips are released a few years in advance, and often there are sales early. The cheapest tours run for about ten days while longer ones are almost a month-long, like my trip with Intrepid that also included subantarctic islands. If you want my opinion, spend all the money you can on a journey that includes going to South Georgia. 

Your best bet for saving money is to book at least a year in advance, going early or late season. If you have a couple of friends who want to do the trip, a triple-share or quad cabin aboard a research-style vessel can make things a lot cheaper too.

You can also hang around Ushuaia during the summer in Argentina, the port city where most of the Antarctic ships depart from, and often there are deeply discounted last-minute sales to fill the few remaining beds, where you can book in less than a week before for a couple of thousand dollars, even on the priciest trips.

Because it’s so expensive to operate these trips, companies often make sure there are no empty spaces on board.

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

2. Antarctica is only for explorers and scientists

Protected by the Antarctic Treaty, since the Cold War Antarctica is preserved as a scientific reserve with freedom of scientific investigation with no military activity permitted on the continent. That’s why most of us only know of Antarctica from the scientific research conducted down there on the various scientific bases.

And it’s true that there are boatloads of scientists and researchers spending extended periods in Antarctica – just under 4,000 in the summer months, dropping to 1200 during the harsh winter months.

But the frozen wonderland and its wildlife is also a huge tourist drawcard, bringing in more than 50,000 visitors each year. But don’t freak out (yet). All reputable operators are members of IAATO (International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators, which was founded in 1991 to advocate and promote the practice of safe and environmentally responsible travel to the Antarctic.

This means that tourism is HIGHLY regulated there in order to protect and preserve this magnificent place.

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

3. It’s way too cold

Before I went to Antarctica in 2018, I fully expected the cold to be unbearable. Sadly, that’s not true. This is another one of those myths about traveling to Antarctica.

While it’s true Antarctica is the coldest place in the world, with the lowest-ever temperature recorded at -89.4ºC, NASA reports. But the tourism cruising season takes place during the Southern Hemisphere summer, between November and March when the sea ice has melted enough to allow landings and access from ships there.

With long hours of daylight during mid-summer, the temperatures can range between a more bearable -2ºC and 8ºC.

On my first day there I was amazed I didn’t even need a parka. It was sunny and warm hiking around on the snow. I had been way colder in Canada in winter. But of course, Antarctica is home to the wildest weather on earth, and sometimes it was so windy it could blow you over, and it snowed often. It varies!

What to pack for a trip to Antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

4. It’s dangerous to visit the white continent

Antarctica’s harsh environment certainly makes travel to the area more challenging, so it’s essential to choose an experienced operator who is a member of IAATO, but in terms of danger, the companies are experts and super skilled to make sure nothing terrible happens. 

Crossing the stretch of ocean between Cape Horn and Antarctica, known as the Drake Passage, can be rough, so if you’re prone to seasickness, prepare yourself. There are even some options to fly across the Drake. I would imagine most accidents on the ships happen from people falling over in rough seas. 

Even though you don’t have to be super-fit to go on a guided Antarctic expedition, but it’s essential to have a right level of mobility. This means being able to remain stable on your feet on sometimes slippery decks and gangways, as well as getting in and out of Zodiacs if you’re going ashore.

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

You’re required to have a very high level of travel insurance (I recommend SCTI, and it’s what I use) to go to Antarctica because if a severe accident happens, you’re up a shit creek and the whole trip gets canceled as the ship returns to shore. That’s gonna cost a fortune, so your insurance needs to usually have a medical evacuation cover of over $500,000 dollars. There aren’t any hospitals or rescue choppers for you here.

As for the wildlife, the penguins are harmless but make sure you don’t slip in their abundant poo. Orca and leopard seals are top predators (one even killed a scientist once) but because the ships maintain safe distances from the wildlife and is super on guard, I was never worried even when a few rogue seals chased me, though you definitely don’t want to get bitten by a seal, their mouths are full of bacteria.

And while crime is nonexistent, there are some very fascinating stories of people going batshit crazy; like an Argentinian doctor who once burnt his entire science base down as to not have to stay another winter.

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

5. You’re mostly on the ship

Because you can only visit Antarctica on boats (for the most part) and you’re required to sleep and stay on the ship, some people think that it’s more like a cruise or that you’re stuck on board the whole time, which isn’t the case at all. There are no hotels or places to stay in Antarctica apart from the few science bases, but tourists aren’t allowed to stay there. A few companies have the option to let you camp for a night on the ice.

Size matters when it comes to choosing an Antarctic trip, as the number of passengers on your ship will determine how often you get on to terra firma. Choose a smaller vessel for the best experience. Bigger ships aren’t allowed to make landings in Antarctica.

No more than 100 passengers should go ashore at one site at the same time. In some places that is even more restricted. With smaller ships (up to 100 passengers), getting on and off the boat and into Zodiacs or on land is quick and efficient, giving you more time to explore.

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

Antarctica is a place that can and will change your life. The myths about traveling to Antarctica have got to go!

Wild and remote where the weather is in charge and nature is at its most abundant, Antarctica is an incredible place. It is worth every penny spent on a voyage there. It can have a profound impact on you and inspire.

And remember, Antarctica is so much more than just snow and stuff. And there aren’t any polar bears.

Any myths you’ve heard about Antarctica? Is this the kind of trip you’d splurge on? Spill!

myths about traveling to antarctica

Many thanks to Intrepid Travel for hosting me in Antarctica – like always I’m keeping it real – all opinions are my own – like you can expect less from me!

The post 5 myths about traveling to Antarctica appeared first on Young Adventuress.



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5 ways to land a free flight upgrade next time you travel


This is something I get asked about ALL THE TIME (especially on my Instagram). Liz, how are you always flying in business class? How did you nab that flight upgrade? You must be rich.

Well let me tell you, I’m not.

The past few years, I switched from being miserable cramped up in coach to stretching out and enjoying all of the comforts of flying premium WITHOUT paying full fares. Yes, you read that right. I almost always fly in business or first class but I only pay for economy fares, if at all.

And it only took me 10 years to learn how. Show me the champagne. Let me spill all the tea.

Tips for surviving long-haul flights from a professional flyer who hates flying


It’s totally possible to fly premium without paying premium fares if you know how to hack the system. A flight upgrade is totally possible if you know how the system works.

Sure there are always the same tips flying around about how upgrades work, like getting to the airport early or flying alone or offering to take the next flight if yours is overbooked, but honestly, those aren’t concrete tips. Sure they might work here and there, but not regularly. You just have to get really really lucky.

I’ve found it’s a perfect storm of a few things to be able to get that very expensive upgrade without shelling out thousands of dollars. Follow along as I share below.

1. Ask and you shall receive but don’t be thirsty

Long gone are the days of random, spontaneous upgrades, that almost never happens anymore. A flight upgrade got a lot harder to get.

Airlines have tightened up the purse strings considerably for upgrades, and you’ve gotta play their dance if you want a cozy seat that makes you smile instead of cry.

I can tell you just by asking about upgrades is the first start.

Your chances of getting upgraded move up considerably by just asking.

No one is just gonna give you an upgrade just because they feel like it – don’t act entitled at all.

Have you ever met a flight attendant before? They’re busy and overworked and see whiney travelers every second of every day. They don’t give a shit about you or your desire for an upgrade, and they sure as hell aren’t just gonna hand them out like candy.

And be careful how you ask too. No one likes anyone asking for free upgrades. It’s so annoying.

Use sentences like “are there any opportunities for upgrades on this flight” or “are there upgrades available?” to show that you’re serious and might even buy one (which you should consider – see #4). Often there are upgrades at check-in at drastically reduced prices.

I’ve often paid a couple hundred bucks at the check-in counter for a long haul flight upgrade (that’s usually $4,000), and a few times they even just gave it to me for free for asking nicely. Boom

flight upgrade
2. Dress the part – don’t look like a hobo

Look like a business traveler and act like a business traveler is key to getting an upgrade.

Often airlines still have a dress code to access lounges, and if you don’t look the part, your chance of an upgrade goes out the window.

You’ve often got to fit into their mold of what an affluent, business traveler would look like and your Uggs, Lululemon leggings while wearing a neck pillow with shitty attitude from long travel days doesn’t cut it.

Look professional, act professional, and it goes a long way.

flight upgrade

3. Build loyalty with an airline

From my experience, you have a much better chance of getting upgraded with you already have loyalty with an airline. As soon as you have status with an airline in terms of mileage, they almost immediately begin treating you better. They want to look after their premium customers first.

Obviously this means booking most of your flights with the same airline or same alliance network.

If your flight is overbooked, the top ranking status fliers are generally the first people who get bumped up a class to make room. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve been bumped up at the gate on an Emirates flight from Auckland to Dubai because the economy cabin is full. Usually it’s right at the gate when they swipe my boarding pass and it goes “beep beep” and flashes read, only then to have flight attendant rip it up and hand me a business class ticket.

Trust me, it feels so GOOD!

4. Keep an eye out for last-minute upgrade options 

Often I get an email a few days before a flight offering a very cheap offer to upgrade which I often take depending on the trip. Usually it reads something like “book now for $400 and you can upgrade with this special offer into business class.”

Normally on my long-haul flights from New Zealand, the difference between an economy fare and a business class fare is around $3,000 – $4,000 this is quite a deal!

Some airlines, like Air New Zealand, let you bid on upgrades in advance, so you can put in how much you would pay for an upgrade in a cabin class and depending on other bids and the flight, you might get it!

Often I’ve found the cost of an upgrade might even equal out what I would pay in extra baggage, seat select, food, lounges and internet anyways, so I might as well pay for an upgrade and get all of that anyways.

flight upgrade
5. Use your miles, points and dollars strategically

Many of my upgrades come from strategically cashing in my miles I’ve saved, often from credit cards I use – worth it!

Nowadays since I’m no longer flat out broke, I generally book all my flights with either Emirates or Air New Zealand, the two airlines most relevant to me and the ones I both love the most and use the most. I strategically rack up my miles, often buying the most expensive economy fares knowing I am getting a lot more miles out of it.

And then I use my miles to upgrade cabin classes when I really need them.

How to fly for free (for real!) using credit card points

I’m also super on top of when my airlines are running deals like double miles or bonus miles on certain dates and I certainly take advantage. And trust me, when you’re on hour 8 of a 17 hour flight, you want to be sprawled out in business class in custom pajamas with endless champagne than cramped up in economy.

You gotta be in the game if you want those upgrades. Are you?

Have you ever been upgraded on a flight? Do you have any upgrade hacks while flying? Share

flight upgrade

The post 5 ways to land a free flight upgrade next time you travel appeared first on Young Adventuress.





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5 myths about traveling to Antarctica


“Is it just like snow and stuff?” Sigh, so many myths about traveling to Antarctica.

Yes, that is a direct quote I heard more than once when I told people that it was my dream to visit Antarctica. The last continent. The Great White South. The land of penguins NOT polar bears.

Nothing can compare to the wild and untamed grandeur that is Antarctica. Here vast white mountains drop down to the sea, icebergs the size of islands slowly drift pass your ship and the wind is so strong it can knock you over.

There’s actually a lot to see in Antarctica. The Antarctic Peninsula — where the majority of tourists go — is a continuation of the Andes Mountains from South America, meaning it’s quite mountainous. Peaks often rise out of the ocean, interspersed by enormous glaciers. It’s one of the most pristine places on Earth, in no small part because it’s mostly untouched by humans.

And yes, you can go on holiday to Antarctica, and yes it’s pretty freaking awesome. And there is more than just snow and stuff. Listen up and let me break down some myths about traveling to Antarctica.

25 photos that will inspire you to visit Antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

Because Antarctica is one of those ultimate adventures, you likely won’t find too many people who have journeyed the very bottom of the world before. Yeah yeah yeah, I can already hear the ones going “well I know so-and-so.” But seriously, most people haven’t been. It’s not Disneyland or Paris. There’s no Tripadvisor here.

It’s never been easier to get the elusive golden ticket down to Antarctica, but that doesn’t mean that myths surrounding this mysterious land aren’t abundant, because they are. And in fact, even down there you’ll hear them repeated a lot. Crack a book, people. Read a blog.

There are no polar bears in Antarctica. Wrong hemisphere. I repeat, there are NO POLAR BEARS IN ANTARCTICA.

So let me take this opportunity to clear up some of the most common misgivings and half-truths I’ve heard and bust some of these myths about traveling to Antarctica. Enjoy!

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

1. It’s too expensive to visit Antarctica

Perhaps one of the biggest myths about going to Antarctica is that it can be mind-blowingly expensive, but there are still ways to make the trip more affordable too.

Alert the press – it’s not as expensive as you think it is. Most trips I’ve seen run for less than $10,000 USD for around two weeks with Intrepid Travel or Peregrine Adventures. And if you’re smart, you can get it a lot cheaper. Whether you’re a penguin fanatic like me, or you want to set eyes on the raw and beautiful landscapes, there’s an Antarctic expedition to suit you.

Yes, that isn’t cheap, I know. But it’s also not unachievable either. And remember that’s all-inclusive – activities, accommodation, food, heaps of adventure. Just not alcohol or any extras.

Because there has been a lot of growth in the tourism industry in Antarctica, prices have come down quite a bit and just with like most travel; there’s quite a bit in between budget and luxury. On my first trip down, I was huddled down in with three other girls in a little bunkbed while a friend who was on another chartered ship had her own suite with a king-size bed and bath! It varies widely.

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

If you can be flexible on timing, there are bargains to be had to get a spot on an Antarctica trip, so sign up for emails from a few tour operators and keep an eye out for any specials.

Most trips are released a few years in advance, and often there are sales early. The cheapest tours run for about ten days while longer ones are almost a month-long, like my trip with Intrepid that also included subantarctic islands. If you want my opinion, spend all the money you can on a journey that includes going to South Georgia. 

Your best bet for saving money is to book at least a year in advance, going early or late season. If you have a couple of friends who want to do the trip, a triple-share or quad cabin aboard a research-style vessel can make things a lot cheaper too.

You can also hang around Ushuaia during the summer in Argentina, the port city where most of the Antarctic ships depart from, and often there are deeply discounted last-minute sales to fill the few remaining beds, where you can book in less than a week before for a couple of thousand dollars, even on the priciest trips.

Because it’s so expensive to operate these trips, companies often make sure there are no empty spaces on board.

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

2. Antarctica is only for explorers and scientists

Protected by the Antarctic Treaty, since the Cold War Antarctica is preserved as a scientific reserve with freedom of scientific investigation with no military activity permitted on the continent. That’s why most of us only know of Antarctica from the scientific research conducted down there on the various scientific bases.

And it’s true that there are boatloads of scientists and researchers spending extended periods in Antarctica – just under 4,000 in the summer months, dropping to 1200 during the harsh winter months.

But the frozen wonderland and its wildlife is also a huge tourist drawcard, bringing in more than 50,000 visitors each year. But don’t freak out (yet). All reputable operators are members of IAATO (International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators, which was founded in 1991 to advocate and promote the practice of safe and environmentally responsible travel to the Antarctic.

This means that tourism is HIGHLY regulated there in order to protect and preserve this magnificent place.

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

3. It’s way too cold

Before I went to Antarctica in 2018, I fully expected the cold to be unbearable. Sadly, that’s not true. This is another one of those myths about traveling to Antarctica.

While it’s true Antarctica is the coldest place in the world, with the lowest-ever temperature recorded at -89.4ºC, NASA reports. But the tourism cruising season takes place during the Southern Hemisphere summer, between November and March when the sea ice has melted enough to allow landings and access from ships there.

With long hours of daylight during mid-summer, the temperatures can range between a more bearable -2ºC and 8ºC.

On my first day there I was amazed I didn’t even need a parka. It was sunny and warm hiking around on the snow. I had been way colder in Canada in winter. But of course, Antarctica is home to the wildest weather on earth, and sometimes it was so windy it could blow you over, and it snowed often. It varies!

What to pack for a trip to Antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

4. It’s dangerous to visit the white continent

Antarctica’s harsh environment certainly makes travel to the area more challenging, so it’s essential to choose an experienced operator who is a member of IAATO, but in terms of danger, the companies are experts and super skilled to make sure nothing terrible happens. 

Crossing the stretch of ocean between Cape Horn and Antarctica, known as the Drake Passage, can be rough, so if you’re prone to seasickness, prepare yourself. There are even some options to fly across the Drake. I would imagine most accidents on the ships happen from people falling over in rough seas. 

Even though you don’t have to be super-fit to go on a guided Antarctic expedition, but it’s essential to have a right level of mobility. This means being able to remain stable on your feet on sometimes slippery decks and gangways, as well as getting in and out of Zodiacs if you’re going ashore.

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

You’re required to have a very high level of travel insurance (I recommend SCTI, and it’s what I use) to go to Antarctica because if a severe accident happens, you’re up a shit creek and the whole trip gets canceled as the ship returns to shore. That’s gonna cost a fortune, so your insurance needs to usually have a medical evacuation cover of over $500,000 dollars. There aren’t any hospitals or rescue choppers for you here.

As for the wildlife, the penguins are harmless but make sure you don’t slip in their abundant poo. Orca and leopard seals are top predators (one even killed a scientist once) but because the ships maintain safe distances from the wildlife and is super on guard, I was never worried even when a few rogue seals chased me, though you definitely don’t want to get bitten by a seal, their mouths are full of bacteria.

And while crime is nonexistent, there are some very fascinating stories of people going batshit crazy; like an Argentinian doctor who once burnt his entire science base down as to not have to stay another winter.

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

5. You’re mostly on the ship

Because you can only visit Antarctica on boats (for the most part) and you’re required to sleep and stay on the ship, some people think that it’s more like a cruise or that you’re stuck on board the whole time, which isn’t the case at all. There are no hotels or places to stay in Antarctica apart from the few science bases, but tourists aren’t allowed to stay there. A few companies have the option to let you camp for a night on the ice.

Size matters when it comes to choosing an Antarctic trip, as the number of passengers on your ship will determine how often you get on to terra firma. Choose a smaller vessel for the best experience. Bigger ships aren’t allowed to make landings in Antarctica.

No more than 100 passengers should go ashore at one site at the same time. In some places that is even more restricted. With smaller ships (up to 100 passengers), getting on and off the boat and into Zodiacs or on land is quick and efficient, giving you more time to explore.

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

Antarctica is a place that can and will change your life. The myths about traveling to Antarctica have got to go!

Wild and remote where the weather is in charge and nature is at its most abundant, Antarctica is an incredible place. It is worth every penny spent on a voyage there. It can have a profound impact on you and inspire.

And remember, Antarctica is so much more than just snow and stuff. And there aren’t any polar bears.

Any myths you’ve heard about Antarctica? Is this the kind of trip you’d splurge on? Spill!

myths about traveling to antarctica

Many thanks to Intrepid Travel for hosting me in Antarctica – like always I’m keeping it real – all opinions are my own – like you can expect less from me!

The post 5 myths about traveling to Antarctica appeared first on Young Adventuress.



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5 ways to land a free flight upgrade next time you travel


This is something I get asked about ALL THE TIME (especially on my Instagram). Liz, how are you always flying in business class? How did you nab that flight upgrade? You must be rich.

Well let me tell you, I’m not.

The past few years, I switched from being miserable cramped up in coach to stretching out and enjoying all of the comforts of flying premium WITHOUT paying full fares. Yes, you read that right. I almost always fly in business or first class but I only pay for economy fares, if at all.

And it only took me 10 years to learn how. Show me the champagne. Let me spill all the tea.

Tips for surviving long-haul flights from a professional flyer who hates flying


It’s totally possible to fly premium without paying premium fares if you know how to hack the system. A flight upgrade is totally possible if you know how the system works.

Sure there are always the same tips flying around about how upgrades work, like getting to the airport early or flying alone or offering to take the next flight if yours is overbooked, but honestly, those aren’t concrete tips. Sure they might work here and there, but not regularly. You just have to get really really lucky.

I’ve found it’s a perfect storm of a few things to be able to get that very expensive upgrade without shelling out thousands of dollars. Follow along as I share below.

1. Ask and you shall receive but don’t be thirsty

Long gone are the days of random, spontaneous upgrades, that almost never happens anymore. A flight upgrade got a lot harder to get.

Airlines have tightened up the purse strings considerably for upgrades, and you’ve gotta play their dance if you want a cozy seat that makes you smile instead of cry.

I can tell you just by asking about upgrades is the first start.

Your chances of getting upgraded move up considerably by just asking.

No one is just gonna give you an upgrade just because they feel like it – don’t act entitled at all.

Have you ever met a flight attendant before? They’re busy and overworked and see whiney travelers every second of every day. They don’t give a shit about you or your desire for an upgrade, and they sure as hell aren’t just gonna hand them out like candy.

And be careful how you ask too. No one likes anyone asking for free upgrades. It’s so annoying.

Use sentences like “are there any opportunities for upgrades on this flight” or “are there upgrades available?” to show that you’re serious and might even buy one (which you should consider – see #4). Often there are upgrades at check-in at drastically reduced prices.

I’ve often paid a couple hundred bucks at the check-in counter for a long haul flight upgrade (that’s usually $4,000), and a few times they even just gave it to me for free for asking nicely. Boom

flight upgrade
2. Dress the part – don’t look like a hobo

Look like a business traveler and act like a business traveler is key to getting an upgrade.

Often airlines still have a dress code to access lounges, and if you don’t look the part, your chance of an upgrade goes out the window.

You’ve often got to fit into their mold of what an affluent, business traveler would look like and your Uggs, Lululemon leggings while wearing a neck pillow with shitty attitude from long travel days doesn’t cut it.

Look professional, act professional, and it goes a long way.

flight upgrade

3. Build loyalty with an airline

From my experience, you have a much better chance of getting upgraded with you already have loyalty with an airline. As soon as you have status with an airline in terms of mileage, they almost immediately begin treating you better. They want to look after their premium customers first.

Obviously this means booking most of your flights with the same airline or same alliance network.

If your flight is overbooked, the top ranking status fliers are generally the first people who get bumped up a class to make room. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve been bumped up at the gate on an Emirates flight from Auckland to Dubai because the economy cabin is full. Usually it’s right at the gate when they swipe my boarding pass and it goes “beep beep” and flashes read, only then to have flight attendant rip it up and hand me a business class ticket.

Trust me, it feels so GOOD!

4. Keep an eye out for last-minute upgrade options 

Often I get an email a few days before a flight offering a very cheap offer to upgrade which I often take depending on the trip. Usually it reads something like “book now for $400 and you can upgrade with this special offer into business class.”

Normally on my long-haul flights from New Zealand, the difference between an economy fare and a business class fare is around $3,000 – $4,000 this is quite a deal!

Some airlines, like Air New Zealand, let you bid on upgrades in advance, so you can put in how much you would pay for an upgrade in a cabin class and depending on other bids and the flight, you might get it!

Often I’ve found the cost of an upgrade might even equal out what I would pay in extra baggage, seat select, food, lounges and internet anyways, so I might as well pay for an upgrade and get all of that anyways.

flight upgrade
5. Use your miles, points and dollars strategically

Many of my upgrades come from strategically cashing in my miles I’ve saved, often from credit cards I use – worth it!

Nowadays since I’m no longer flat out broke, I generally book all my flights with either Emirates or Air New Zealand, the two airlines most relevant to me and the ones I both love the most and use the most. I strategically rack up my miles, often buying the most expensive economy fares knowing I am getting a lot more miles out of it.

And then I use my miles to upgrade cabin classes when I really need them.

How to fly for free (for real!) using credit card points

I’m also super on top of when my airlines are running deals like double miles or bonus miles on certain dates and I certainly take advantage. And trust me, when you’re on hour 8 of a 17 hour flight, you want to be sprawled out in business class in custom pajamas with endless champagne than cramped up in economy.

You gotta be in the game if you want those upgrades. Are you?

Have you ever been upgraded on a flight? Do you have any upgrade hacks while flying? Share

flight upgrade

The post 5 ways to land a free flight upgrade next time you travel appeared first on Young Adventuress.





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Going to Southeast Asia? Please be kind and don’t ride elephants.


It’s World Elephant Day, August 12th, which means it’s time for some real talk about riding elephants. Are you ready?

There was once a time, not even a decade ago, where riding an elephant in Southeast Asia was a pinnacle accomplishment in one’s travel diaries. The dreamy pictures of exploring the jungle on the backs of these massive wild giants.

Don’t get me wrong, that’s something that was always on my list to do one day, and live out all of my colonial safari fantasies.

It’s an idyllic image that has appealed to hundreds of thousands of tourists for a long time, me included, and no one really questioned it. Where did these elephants come from? How were they being treated? What was their quality of life?

riding elephants

In the late 1980’s, after logging was banned in Thailand, local elephant trainers turned their talents to tourism, inciting the elephant tourism boom we’ve seen on all of the travel blogs and in our Instagram feed today.

To the untrained eye, it looked harmless. You’d ride an elephant just like you’d ride a horse right?

How different can it be? What’s so different? If you’re like me, you grew up going to the circus and visiting the zoo, interacting with animals was fun and exciting, not many thought much further.

Even now, many of what we see online is slated with a “conservation” agenda designed to deter us from digging further. But how many baby elephants or lion cubs are really in need of rescuing?

In June National Geographic launched a massive exposé around the cruel reality of wildlife tourism.

riding elephants

The truth is what you might expect if you begin asking questions, hard and cruel.

For example, elephants who are broken in a process referred to as “the crush,” are trained to parade tourists around in a circle, receiving some of the worst treatment of all captive animals in the world. If you’ve done what I’ve done and gone down a rabbit hole of videos of this, you’ll be beyond shocked.

There are only 40,000 Asian elephants left in the wild, and more than half of Thailand’s 7,000 elephants still live in captivity, enduring daily beatings. So why do tourists continue to ride on the backs of captive elephants?

The main culprit is simply lack of awareness.

riding elephants

As travel has become more and more accessible over the past few decades, tourists and travel industry leaders have come face to face with the ethics of visiting a foreign country and what activities cross the line of being irresponsible and exploitative.

How is cuddling a lion cub or playing with an elephant or posing with a tiger anyway ethical?

In 2010 Intrepid Travel took the lead against standing up against elephant cruelty by partnering with World Animal Protection (who conducted extensive research on the treatment of captive elephants).

The results were shocking and Intrepid Travel became the first global travel company to ban riding elephants on their trips. Intrepid used to make a lot of money riding elephants until they realized how cruel a practice it was, and they stopped, heralding in a new era of responsible travel.

I really admire how Intrepid has owned up to this mistake; it speaks volumes about their ethics and backbone as a company. And hundreds of others have followed in their footsteps since and have banned riding elephants too. Talk about inspirational.

riding elephants

So what’s all the fuss about? Are elephant rides really that bad? 

I’ve been privileged enough to experience wild elephants on safaris in Africa and Asia, and trust me, you can’t get near them. In fact, elephant – human conflict is still a very real issue in many parts of the world.

People often think that an elephant in captivity is domesticated, and so somehow it’s okay to have them under human control.

But the reality is that elephants never have been domesticated. Even if born in captivity, they are still a wild animal and need to be ‘broken’ to accept human control.

 

If “breaking” an elephant sounds harsh to you, you’re not wrong. Baby elephants are taken from the wild and begin training immediately. Many times their mothers are killed in the poaching process, and if you’ve observed elephants in the wild you’ll see how cruel it must be to separate them – elephant babies stay with their moms for years, and the herds are incredibly social.

They are tied up and beaten with bullhooks until their spirit is broken and they obey their trainer to avoid more injury.

riding elephants

They spend their days carrying humans around on a tourist path which is not nearly enough exercise for these giant animals. Despite their large size, their anatomy is not suited to carry humans on their backs and many sustain long-term spinal injuries.

When the elephants aren’t working, they are usually kept in shacks and they’re bound by chains that can be so tight they can barely move. These social creatures are kept isolated from other animals and kept in solitary confinement until their next job.

Is it surprising some of them go berserk?

riding elephants

How can you help?

It’s truly an awful practice but as travelers, we have the power to change this.

You, right there, reading this blog. You hold the power. Elephant tourism simply cannot exist without the tourists so if it’s on your travel bucket list, it’s time to remove it.

Know a friend traveling to Thailand? Gently inform them of the severe cruelty captive animals face.

riding elephants

Most people who have ridden on the backs of elephants simply didn’t know anything about the animal’s treatment. Spreading the word works. Just 10 years ago riding elephants was incredibly commonplace but now, most seasoned travelers know the cruelty that lies behind the practice.

The more we talk the better. Many of my friends have ridden elephants in the past and regret it now. Many didn’t know better, and we’re not here to shame people, but rather use our collective voices to try and change how elephants are treated now and in the future.

riding elephants

So what to do if you’ve always dreamed of seeing elephants?

Keep this one rule in mind: If you can ride or touch an elephant, or watch it perform, chances are the elephant has been subjected to cruel training and is living in poor conditions and you should not further encourage the practice.

Thankfully, public awareness of cruelty to captive elephants has increased but unfortunately, many attractions are trying to dupe tourists by adding words such as “sanctuary,” “rescue center,” “refuge,” and “retirement facility” to their names.

riding elephants

HOW WE CHANGED THE ELEPHANT RIDING INDUSTRY

But the abusive training methods and deprivation are often the same and make the elephants follow the trainers’ commands to let people ride, feed, touch, or bathe them.

All those trendy Instagrammers standing by elephants at sunset? Think what it took to have that mighty creature beaten into submission to allow a person to stand there with them peacefully.

Do you research before visiting these places; riding elephants is cruel.

riding elephants

What can we do?

It can be hard to truly pin down the ethical tourism operators from the frauds but trust me, it’s worth doing the research.

Intrepid Travel is an industry leader when it comes to prioritizing animal welfare during their programs and if you still really want to have elephants be apart of your Southeast Asia trip, they offer programs that do so ethically. They are also inspiring many other tourism operators to follow in their footsteps, and they’re trying to change an entire industry.

Intrepid works with places like Elephant Valley Thailand, Mahouts Elephant Foundation (MEF) and Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary (BLES), three of the high welfare venues doing great things for captive elephants.

At these venues, you can observe elephants from afar, where they are free to just be elephants and not performers.

Trust me, the best way to see an elephant is when it’s wild and free, just being happy funny creatures. I mean, elephants are hilarious! I love watching the babies trip over their trunks and getting scared by birds. They are so smart and fascinating to watch.

Consider joining safaris that are responsible and traveling with operators that put animal welfare first. I’ve seen elephants in the wild many times on my travels in Asia and Africa, and it never gets old. These are old and special creatures, with wise eyes that deserve respect.

We are living in an era when animal cruelty is being tolerated less and less and while we have made significant progress in the past decade, there’s still so much more work to be done with riding elephants.

riding elephants

Help us spread the word today on World Elephant Day by using #StopElephantRides and #WorldElephantDay but most importantly, speak with dollars by only supporting organizations who prioritize animal welfare and want to #BeKind.

Spill – have you ridden an elephant before and would you now? Have you seen some of these dodgy wildlife sanctuaries on your travels? Are you committed to protecting elephants too? I would love to hear more. 

riding elephants

The post Going to Southeast Asia? Please be kind and don’t ride elephants. appeared first on Young Adventuress.





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Going to Southeast Asia? Please be kind and don’t ride elephants.


It’s World Elephant Day, August 12th, which means it’s time for some real talk about riding elephants. Are you ready?

There was once a time, not even a decade ago, where riding an elephant in Southeast Asia was a pinnacle accomplishment in one’s travel diaries. The dreamy pictures of exploring the jungle on the backs of these massive wild giants.

Don’t get me wrong, that’s something that was always on my list to do one day, and live out all of my colonial safari fantasies.

It’s an idyllic image that has appealed to hundreds of thousands of tourists for a long time, me included, and no one really questioned it. Where did these elephants come from? How were they being treated? What was their quality of life?

riding elephants

In the late 1980’s, after logging was banned in Thailand, local elephant trainers turned their talents to tourism, inciting the elephant tourism boom we’ve seen on all of the travel blogs and in our Instagram feed today.

To the untrained eye, it looked harmless. You’d ride an elephant just like you’d ride a horse right?

How different can it be? What’s so different? If you’re like me, you grew up going to the circus and visiting the zoo, interacting with animals was fun and exciting, not many thought much further.

Even now, many of what we see online is slated with a “conservation” agenda designed to deter us from digging further. But how many baby elephants or lion cubs are really in need of rescuing?

In June National Geographic launched a massive exposé around the cruel reality of wildlife tourism.

riding elephants

The truth is what you might expect if you begin asking questions, hard and cruel.

For example, elephants who are broken in a process referred to as “the crush,” are trained to parade tourists around in a circle, receiving some of the worst treatment of all captive animals in the world. If you’ve done what I’ve done and gone down a rabbit hole of videos of this, you’ll be beyond shocked.

There are only 40,000 Asian elephants left in the wild, and more than half of Thailand’s 7,000 elephants still live in captivity, enduring daily beatings. So why do tourists continue to ride on the backs of captive elephants?

The main culprit is simply lack of awareness.

riding elephants

As travel has become more and more accessible over the past few decades, tourists and travel industry leaders have come face to face with the ethics of visiting a foreign country and what activities cross the line of being irresponsible and exploitative.

How is cuddling a lion cub or playing with an elephant or posing with a tiger anyway ethical?

In 2010 Intrepid Travel took the lead against standing up against elephant cruelty by partnering with World Animal Protection (who conducted extensive research on the treatment of captive elephants).

The results were shocking and Intrepid Travel became the first global travel company to ban riding elephants on their trips. Intrepid used to make a lot of money riding elephants until they realized how cruel a practice it was, and they stopped, heralding in a new era of responsible travel.

I really admire how Intrepid has owned up to this mistake; it speaks volumes about their ethics and backbone as a company. And hundreds of others have followed in their footsteps since and have banned riding elephants too. Talk about inspirational.

riding elephants

So what’s all the fuss about? Are elephant rides really that bad? 

I’ve been privileged enough to experience wild elephants on safaris in Africa and Asia, and trust me, you can’t get near them. In fact, elephant – human conflict is still a very real issue in many parts of the world.

People often think that an elephant in captivity is domesticated, and so somehow it’s okay to have them under human control.

But the reality is that elephants never have been domesticated. Even if born in captivity, they are still a wild animal and need to be ‘broken’ to accept human control.

 

If “breaking” an elephant sounds harsh to you, you’re not wrong. Baby elephants are taken from the wild and begin training immediately. Many times their mothers are killed in the poaching process, and if you’ve observed elephants in the wild you’ll see how cruel it must be to separate them – elephant babies stay with their moms for years, and the herds are incredibly social.

They are tied up and beaten with bullhooks until their spirit is broken and they obey their trainer to avoid more injury.

riding elephants

They spend their days carrying humans around on a tourist path which is not nearly enough exercise for these giant animals. Despite their large size, their anatomy is not suited to carry humans on their backs and many sustain long-term spinal injuries.

When the elephants aren’t working, they are usually kept in shacks and they’re bound by chains that can be so tight they can barely move. These social creatures are kept isolated from other animals and kept in solitary confinement until their next job.

Is it surprising some of them go berserk?

riding elephants

How can you help?

It’s truly an awful practice but as travelers, we have the power to change this.

You, right there, reading this blog. You hold the power. Elephant tourism simply cannot exist without the tourists so if it’s on your travel bucket list, it’s time to remove it.

Know a friend traveling to Thailand? Gently inform them of the severe cruelty captive animals face.

riding elephants

Most people who have ridden on the backs of elephants simply didn’t know anything about the animal’s treatment. Spreading the word works. Just 10 years ago riding elephants was incredibly commonplace but now, most seasoned travelers know the cruelty that lies behind the practice.

The more we talk the better. Many of my friends have ridden elephants in the past and regret it now. Many didn’t know better, and we’re not here to shame people, but rather use our collective voices to try and change how elephants are treated now and in the future.

riding elephants

So what to do if you’ve always dreamed of seeing elephants?

Keep this one rule in mind: If you can ride or touch an elephant, or watch it perform, chances are the elephant has been subjected to cruel training and is living in poor conditions and you should not further encourage the practice.

Thankfully, public awareness of cruelty to captive elephants has increased but unfortunately, many attractions are trying to dupe tourists by adding words such as “sanctuary,” “rescue center,” “refuge,” and “retirement facility” to their names.

riding elephants

HOW WE CHANGED THE ELEPHANT RIDING INDUSTRY

But the abusive training methods and deprivation are often the same and make the elephants follow the trainers’ commands to let people ride, feed, touch, or bathe them.

All those trendy Instagrammers standing by elephants at sunset? Think what it took to have that mighty creature beaten into submission to allow a person to stand there with them peacefully.

Do you research before visiting these places; riding elephants is cruel.

riding elephants

What can we do?

It can be hard to truly pin down the ethical tourism operators from the frauds but trust me, it’s worth doing the research.

Intrepid Travel is an industry leader when it comes to prioritizing animal welfare during their programs and if you still really want to have elephants be apart of your Southeast Asia trip, they offer programs that do so ethically. They are also inspiring many other tourism operators to follow in their footsteps, and they’re trying to change an entire industry.

Intrepid works with places like Elephant Valley Thailand, Mahouts Elephant Foundation (MEF) and Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary (BLES), three of the high welfare venues doing great things for captive elephants.

At these venues, you can observe elephants from afar, where they are free to just be elephants and not performers.

Trust me, the best way to see an elephant is when it’s wild and free, just being happy funny creatures. I mean, elephants are hilarious! I love watching the babies trip over their trunks and getting scared by birds. They are so smart and fascinating to watch.

Consider joining safaris that are responsible and traveling with operators that put animal welfare first. I’ve seen elephants in the wild many times on my travels in Asia and Africa, and it never gets old. These are old and special creatures, with wise eyes that deserve respect.

We are living in an era when animal cruelty is being tolerated less and less and while we have made significant progress in the past decade, there’s still so much more work to be done with riding elephants.

riding elephants

Help us spread the word today on World Elephant Day by using #StopElephantRides and #WorldElephantDay but most importantly, speak with dollars by only supporting organizations who prioritize animal welfare and want to #BeKind.

Spill – have you ridden an elephant before and would you now? Have you seen some of these dodgy wildlife sanctuaries on your travels? Are you committed to protecting elephants too? I would love to hear more. 

riding elephants

The post Going to Southeast Asia? Please be kind and don’t ride elephants. appeared first on Young Adventuress.





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Surround yourself with amazing women who believe in you


Honestly, what did I do to deserve having the two most amazing women in my life?

And they still *mostly* trust me on a scooter even after the great cement ditch crash of 2019 in Bali, a day that will live in infamy, a moment I cannot ever hope to live down, a memory that will live long in Georgia Rickard’s iCloud library.

No matter how far I’ll go in life, these two amazing humans will always remember me upside down in cement hollering for help.

I’m so lucky (pinch me!) knowing these ladies always have my back, and I can count on them to pull me out of any hole I find myself in, literally and figuratively.

women business support

Lauren Bath, Georgia Rickard and I are all polar opposites but somehow we managed to find each other in the colossal chaos that is today’s internet age AND manage to launch a successful business together – The Travel Bootcamp in 2016.

We had this crazy idea that we wanted to teach people how to build a career in travel just like us. We all managed to build fulfilling lives and create jobs that enable us the freedom to travel the world and get paid for it, all while tapping into our most creative selves. Now it’s our turn to send the elevator back down and show you how you can do it too.

Now with 6 events under our belt and a 7th in the works in Queenstown for October 2019, we have firmly set our eyes on continuing down this crazy journey of showing you guys how you can live the life of your dreams too.

women business support

The coolest part of the business is how much we’ve learned about ourselves and grown together. Trying to run a business with two other bossy ladies who are also run their own business at some points seemed impossible. We are all so different and over the years we’ve had to really learn how to communicate to be able to work together as a team.

In some ways I’m closer to Georgia and Lauren than anyone else in my life. In fact, I call them sister-wives, which is, I believe, highly accurate.

Georgia is a dreamer, like me. The editor at large of Virgin Australia and a a multi-award-winning travel editor, journalist and content producer, she’s the traditional writer of our trio and is one of the most respected journalists and editors in this part of the world.

Beautiful and intelligent, with the biggest laugh you’ve ever heard, she’s a dreamer and big picture leader, the voice of us and an inspiration to anyone she meets.

women business support

Lauren on the other hand, is more practical less whimsical, and she’s the organizer and logical soul of the group.

Deemed “Australia’s first professional Instagrammer, she’s pioneered the influencer industry over the past five years and is one of the most respected photographers and creatives out there. Highly ethical and professional, I often channel her in my day to day activities: what would Lauren do?

It’s really crazy how much I love and respect these two powerful women, and I can’t imagine my life without them now.

I recently read this amazing article on Forbes about the power of women supporting other women in business and it really resonated with me. I’ve learned a lot about kindness and lifting up other women in my work over the past few years, and how important it is to surround yourself with a good tribe.

Yes, I said tribe. And I almost wrote squad, so be thankful.

women business support

The writer. The photographer. The blogger.

In true millennial fashion, Lauren, Georgia and I have taken to co-working in Bali together a couple of times a year; a cheap creative hub, we love everything about working in Indonesia, especially the endless coconuts and cheap nasi gorengs.

The past few years working with these women has taught me so damn much, but most of all just how important it is to surround yourself with people who lift you up. Working so closely with some of the most badass women I’ve ever met inspires me every single second of every day to be the best version of myself, to work smarter and better, and even to shine.

I don’t know how exactly to put my finger on it, but I can’t recommend enough the power that comes from surrounding yourself with encouraging, kind women in business. It’s magic!

women business support

While we are are wildly different, we all share the same core values and deep belief in following your dreams and inspiring others to find their own paths of joy. Whether that’s getting paid to travel the world or create a job that gives your the freedom to create and do what you want, we are here for you guys.

Lauren, Georgia and I all came together in a veritable Big Bang moment that we still don’t quite understand, that has led to so many amazing things. Sometimes you have to take big risks for big rewards.

So go on, tell me. Who’s your pack? Do you have a good community of collegues to lift you up to? Have you felt the power of surrounding yourself with good women too? Spill!

Come join us at the Travel Bootcamp Queenstown – tickets on sale now!

women business support

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