Weekend Wanderings: The Quick Travel Guide To San Francisco

Weekends are there to be discovered. Making the most of your time off each week is the perfect way to travel further, expand your horizons and see a little more of the country. While jetting off to an exotic location might not be exactly in your remit, there are tons of places in the local vicinity just waiting to be discovered.

When it comes to wonder spots, there are few places as well kitted out as San Francisco. Offering up its fair share of city hangouts, seaside spots and hiking zones, the city has a little bit of something for everyone. Culturally vibrant and packed to the rafters with foodie spots, San Francisco is just begging to be explored over the course of a weekend. All you need to do is pack your bags, note down your favorite travel spots and get exploring!

Hotels come in many shapes and sizes in San Francisco and there is something to meet any kind of budget. In terms of budget spots, you might be hard pressed to find anything quite as luxe as the Mayflower Hotel. A family owned establishment, the hotel dates back to the Victorian times, boasting a more than impressive history. Inside, rooms are vintage and plush in style, kitted out with all of the essentials for an overnight stay.

If, however, you’re choosing to go a little more upmarket with your sleep spot, San Francisco is a real melting pot of different spots. The Parker Guest Hotel is a fantastic mid-range budget spot, offering up airy rooms with an impressive amount of space. The hotel is within a five minute walk of the Mission Dolores Park, giving you a great excuse to get out early and explore the local area. Hotels on the higher end of the spectrum don’t disappoint, either, and if you’re going to spend a little more on your stay, you should do so in the vicinity of The Fairmont. Within walking distance of all the essential districts, the hotel makes getting around a real breeze. If you don’t want to spend a night in the hotel, you can still get the Fairmont experience by popping in for an afternoon tea experience.

Hotel sorted, it’s time to cast your net a little further and get acquainted with what the city has to offer in terms of entertainment. Riding a cable car is a great activity to undertake just after having arrived in the city. The transport is cheap, spans most of the city’s essential districts and is quintessentially San Franciscan. If you’re heading to the bay, you have to stop in to take a look at Pier 39. While it might be one of the more touristy places in the city, the area serves up all the best parts of bay living, helping you kick back like a real local.

Culture is high on the cards in San Francisco and there are plenty of spots worth checking out. If you have a little more time on your hands, a trip to Alcatraz Island should be high up on your list. Make sure you plan your trip ahead to get the best out of your experience and take a good pair of walking shoes with you. You can also try taking your wanderings a little off the map with a trip to Chinatown. The largest of its kind outside Asia, San Francisco’s Chinatown is buzzing with life at any point in the day, serving up a whole other sort of local culture.

Rural spots abound in the city and if you’re looking to kick back, there are plenty of picturesque walks to be had. While you might want to head to the Muir woods for a stroll amongst the trees, you would do just as well to take a peek at the Sutro Baths. A local favorite, the baths are located at the end of a picturesque coastal walk, letting you take in all the marine beauty that the city has to offer.

Eating is just as a big deal in the city, so make sure you have all of your foodie facts before heading out into San Francisco. If you’re on the lookout for a few sweet treats, heading to the Tartine Bakery should be high up on your list. Kitted out with a fantastic selection of pastries, breads and baked goods, the spot is the perfect place in which to sip on a morning coffee. If on to go food is more your thing, try turning your attention to The Mission area of the city. Delicious street food abounds in the area, so make sure you have plenty of cash to take with you. You also can’t leave the city without taking a visit to Hog Island Oyster Co. A classic San Franciscan seafood experience, the restaurant is bursting with local goodies and always worth a try.

San Francisco is a city waiting to be discovered and whether you have just one day or a long weekend, you can really lose yourself in the coastal Californian spot.

Staycation: How To See More When You’re Staying At Home

Vacations are a great way to see the world, get out of your comfort zone and expand your horizons. What happens, then, when you’re staying at home? With everyone jetting off at all times of the year, it can begin to feel like you’re getting left behind. It turns out, however, that adventure could be waiting for you. Your hometown is bursting with opportunity and even if you’re staying at home for your holidays this year, you can still have a great time. It’s all about adjusting your perspective. Once you take off your resident hat, you can see your town through the eyes of a tourist. There is a whole world out there to be discovered and it starts with where you live!

Throw Your Routine Away

Your vacation time is your chance to kick back, relax and forget about who you are for a little bit. If you’re going to make the most of traveling where you live, you need to throw your normal routine to the wind and explore your local area in a different way. Forget about the places that you normally go to and look to a different part of town. To make your task a little easier, you can try renting an Airbnb or hotel room in a different part of town. Treat yourself to the things you normally would if you were on holiday. Get up late, take a long bath and make yourself a special breakfast. Give yourself a cultural task to do for the day and try that bakery on the other side of town. The aim is to explore further, so don’t be afraid to think outside of the box.

Turn Off Your Emails

Just because you’re still at home, it doesn’t mean that you should make yourself available to work emails at every moment. While staying at home might make you feel like you have to keep checking in with work, you should try and take a break from your usual schedule in order to kick back. Turn off your email alerts and put your out of office on your phone. Give any pressing information to your colleagues and tell them to phone you only in the case of an emergency. This is your time to relax, so you should make the most out of it.

Eat Out, Often

It is so often the food that makes our holidays memorable. If you’re used to eating in when you’re at home, try treating yourself to a few great meals out when you’re on your staycation. Make a list of all the places you’ve been meaning to try and make a few reservations. Try choosing somewhere a little more expensive than normal, or stopping in for a coffee and a pastry on your way home. Making each meal an event of sorts is a great way to really kick back and feel like you’re having the vacation of your dreams.

Make A Local Bucket List

We all have a number of places in our local towns that we’ve been meaning to try but simply have never got around to. Your staycation is the perfect opportunity in order to get more done. Before your holiday comes into effect, try making a list of all the places that you’ve been meaning to try. Experiencing your hometown through the eyes of a tourist can help to up your appreciation of where you live. Add as much as you like to the list and get exploring!

Keep Your Camera With You

A staycation isn’t really a staycation unless you capture a few of your memories along the way. Reaching for your camera when you’re on holiday might be second nature but when you’re in your hometown, you might struggle to find an opportunity to take a snap or two. To create a memorable experience, try taking a camera with you wherever you go. The chances are that if you do, you will begin to look at places in greater detail and spot areas that you had never seen before. Taking the time to document small details will help to boost each experience and help you to capture the essence of your staycation!

Treat Yourself

One of the joys about going on holiday is the opportunity to splurge a little now and then. While you don’t need to drop huge amounts in order to have fun, you can allow yourself a little extra spending here and there in order to make the most out of your time off. Try going for a nice meal, treating yourself to a new clothing item or seeing every museum in the local area. You’ve already saved a huge deal on flights and hotels, so don’t be afraid to go the extra mile for yourself.

The Girl’s Guide To Berlin

When it comes to European cities, you can’t find a much cooler place than Berlin. Home to some of the most creative individuals this side of anywhere, the city is bursting with inspiration and one of a kind finds and if you venture there, you might just end up not coming back. While it is great to visit the city at any time of the year, it really comes alive during the summer months, the locals spilling into the many parks and public places after weeks of bitter cold. Thanks to longer days and warmer nights, there are also a ton of summer events taking place in the city when the sun comes out, giving you even more reasons to prolong your stay in Berlin. With outdoor spaces galore, independent galleries, food markets and music events, the city might just be the best European all-rounder out there.

First things first, you’re going to want to take a serious look at Berlin’s coffee scene. The number of independent, ethically sourced cafes that have sprung up in recent years is simply staggering and now, the locals are as up to date on their brews as some of the best baristas in the world. Starting your day at Kaffebar is always a safe bet and is sure to keep you going for a long day of activities. While the cafe is normally packed with freelancers and creatives, if you get there early enough you’re guaranteed a spot inside. The coffee is a must but if you really know what’s good for you, then you will will stock up with a full breakfast. Serving a variety of cakes, fruit plates and cooked breakfasts, the cafe serves some of the best food in the area and is a favorite amongst locals.

If you want to experience a lesser known side of city life, then you can try making a beeline for the Turkish market. Located in Kreuzberg, the market takes place every Tuesday and Friday and pulls in many of the local Turkish population. Taking place alongside the city’s canal, the market is a great place to take a stroll on a sunny day, offering a wide range of fruit, vegetables and items for the home. You’re bound to find a real treasure amongst the stands.

Those on the hunt for something a little more filling, however, should look to Markthall IX for inspiration. A covered market, the place sells a range of homegrown products put forth by a variety of local vendors; if you’re looking an authentic picture of Berlin’s creative scene, then this is it. If you’re in the area on a Thursday evening, you will find yourself in the midst of one of the biggest foodie events in the city, as a group of food vendors take over the stands. The produce on sale is from all across the world, letting you taste whatever you have in mind.

Of course, there is plenty of history and culture to be experienced in the city and taking a trip to Boros Bunker will show you a side of Berlin life you might not have ever seen. Once acting as a bunker for the city’s inhabitants following the Second World War, the building was later taken over by the Red Army, serving as as a working prison. Since the fall of the Berlin wall, the bunker was the site of a number of techno parties, giving way to the city’s famous party scene. Now, the place is home to one of the most varied contemporary art collections in the world, all presented in one of the most unique locations in the city.

If you’re lucky enough to enjoy Berlin during the summer months, then you can enjoy a late afternoon drink by Görlitzer Park, one of the most popular in the city. Drawing in crowds of people from across Berlin, it is one of the most thriving areas during the summer months and offers a great deal of space within which to relax and enjoy the sun. Many people flock to the area after work with a picnic in tow so don’t be afraid to make like a local and kick back.

Berlin truly is a city that offers something to everyone and in every corner of the place, there is something new to be discovered. A place as laid back as they come, it is up to you to decide how you enjoy your time in the city. You might just fit in like a local.The

To Market: The World’s Best Local Bazaars

Visiting a city these days is about so much more than hitting up the same old tourist traps. Those looking to discover what foreign places really have to offer might find themselves wandering off the beaten track and directly into the heart of the best spot any city has to offer: The market. While the contents of each city markets can vary hugely, you’re pretty much guaranteed a great flavor of local life in each one you attend, whether it be food, culture or clothing centered.

Around the world, there are some markets which blow the rest out of the water and if you’re on the hunt for something really special, then you might want to refine your search a little bit. While these markets are by no means exhaustive, they do offer up a version of international life that is unlike anything you’ve ever tried before. Hold on to your shopping bags; things are about to get really interesting.

Borough Market, London

Foodies from across the world flock to London’s Borough Market, and it’s really not hard to see why. Located in a booming industrial hall, the market specializes in almost every type of cuisine, and is a great place in which to try something new. While twists on classic British food are widespread, you can also expect to find great variations on exotic foods, seafood, baked goods and local produce. The full market is open all day from Wednesday to Saturday, and is a great place to sneak to if you’re fed up of all of the crowded tourist dining spots. While it is almost always busy, it is for good reason and as long as you’re willing to fight for your supper, you’re guaranteed a plate of something interesting.

Kashgar Bazaar

Nestled at the intersection between Central and Western Asia, Kashgar is a real mix of cultural influences and to journey there is to experience a place unlike any other. If you really want to understand what it’s all about, however, you will make a beeline for the city’s mammoth bazaar, which is packed full of every type of product imaginable. Bringing together local food, trinkets, handmade goods and cultural items under one roof, the Bazaar is the perfect place to fully understand the myriad of local cultures that influence the place. Locals make their way to the market on Sundays to stock up for the week, so while the day can be incredibly busy, it is also a great window into Kashgar life.

Chatuchuk Market, Bangkok

Thailand is a city renowned for its street food and local markets and while there are a huge number of incredible spots around the country’s islands, there’s no arguing that Chatuchuk in Bangkok is the best. One of the largest markets in the entire country, Chatuchuk is also one of the most diverse and whether you’re hunting for handmade clothes, local food or cultural trinkets, you’re bound to find something incredibly unique. With stalls winding every which way in the market, it’s easy to spend hours simply wandering through the labyrinth, taking in everything on show. It might sound overwhelming but don’t worry; the market is broken up into themed sections, making shopping there much less intimidating.

Pike Place Market, Seattle

Of course, there’s a lot of great stuff going on elsewhere in the world and in some cases, you don’t have to journey too far to experience something extraordinary. At nearly 100 years old, Pike Place Market in Seattle is one of the oldest in the world, and has clearly perfected the market formula over the years. While there are a few “tourist friendly” stalls set up, the majority of things on sale are bought by locals, so the market is a great place in which to slip into community life. Fresh food stands attract large crowds, especially at the weekends, so if you’re in line to buy, make sure you have your eyes on the prize. While the market isn’t the biggest of its kind, it is one of the most diverse and shoppers there are bound to come away with something truly unique.

Stanley Market, Hong Kong

Quite possibly the most popular market in the whole of Hong Kong, Stanley Market is worth visiting at least once in your life. While it is located a little way from the center of things, making a trip there is more than worth it. On arrival, you can expect to be greeted by hoards of clothes, paintings, silks and local foods, all dotted around the many restaurants and cafes inside.