best tipi hotels moab under canvas

The world’s best Tipi Hotels… now with free WiFi and a spa bath, coming to a town near you…

As a kid, we all dreamt of living in a tipi. But with the traditional Indian dwellings now offering creature comforts like WiFi, solar-power, hip hopi-inspired interiors, queen-sized beds, fully-stocked fridges and even claw-foot baths (phewf), it’s more than okay for us adults to covet staying in one too… at least for a little bit, you know, while we’re channeling Costner from Dances With Wolves. And until we get sick of using port-a-loos. Check out these luxury tipi hotels from around the globe – they’ll have you in touch with your inner spirit animal in no time.

World’s Best Tipi Hotels

Dreamcatcher Tipi Hotel, Yellowstone National Park

This dream of a retreat located roughly 90 metres from the Yellowstone River and five miles from the northern entrance of the breathtaking park, opened just this month. Dreamcatcher Tipi Hotel has 10 enchanting tipis, but the standout is the luxurious bathhouse which offers 6 private bathrooms and steaming hot rain showers, gorgeous fixtures and finishes and heated floors, basically turning my least favourite part of glamping into the best! Cute dog not included. 🙂

A photo posted by Dreamcatcher Tipi Hotel (@dreamcatchertipihotel) on

A photo posted by Dreamcatcher Tipi Hotel (@dreamcatchertipihotel) on

Dunton Hot Springs, Telluride Colorado

Talk about two for the price of one…tipi. Bad jokes aside, this destination wedding and event favourite in the rockie mountains of Colorado is actually an old ghost-town with numerous cabins for rent individually or together. The tipi has come to symbolise the laid-back yet old world charm of the surrounding valley, the magical waterfalls and hikes.

A photo posted by Dunton Hot Springs (@duntonhotsprings) on

A photo posted by Dunton Hot Springs (@duntonhotsprings) on

Cherry Wood B&B Seattle, Washington

Located just outside Seattle, this retreat is for the horse-lovers out there who don’t mind a sip of wine (or five) on horseback. The property is a working farm, producing a variety of juicy apples, pears, cherries and grapes, and is also home to over thirty horses – most saved from slaughter. The farm’s inn-keeper

Inn Keeper and all-round awesome person, Pepper Fewel, was ranch-raised in the orchard and wine country of eastern Washington and says she “wanted to create a place where my husband, my daughter, my son and his wife could all share this land and our love for it and for each other. I wanted a place where people from different backgrounds and all walks of life could come and feel free to be who they are.”

Did I mention the tipis’ ‘twilight tubs’ are to die?! Beholdeth:

A photo posted by Britney Anne Shawstad (@mrs.shawstad) on

A photo posted by Erin T H (@etharshfield) on

A photo posted by Shela (@ny_she) on

Aurora Village, Yellowknife Canada

Being able to view the Northern Lights while seated in your very own heated swivel chair next to a gigantic lit-up tipi is my idea of happiness. And  Aurora Village, located on its namesake lake in northern Yellowknife, Canada offers just that. While not technically an overnight hotel with beds, guests can relax in the heated tipis during the night while taking a break from swivelling and giving their necks some much needed rest.  Aurora Village does offer packages that include hotel accommodations nearby.

A photo posted by Ivy Lam (@ivyhylam) on

Tipi Village Retreat, Oregon

Tipi Village is a little spiritual haven nestled in the Mohawk Valley near Eugene/Oregon. The tipis at the retreat are about as close to nature as you can get, surrounded by impossibly green pines and secluded woodlands. It’s unusual mix of dwellings includes seven tipis, all styled eclectically yet still offering complete and utter zen. Hikes, “finding yourself” and yoga retreats are the name of the game here, as well as gourmet breakfasts and healing workshops.

A photo posted by Cheryl Clarke Sampson-Dutro (@cherylsd) on

A photo posted by Mauricio Barreto (@mbarreto79) on

Moab Under Canvas, Utah

This glamping village, located on 40 acres just nine kilometre north of Moab Desert in Utah, is every gypsters mecca. Moments away from Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park, with sweeping, uninterrupted views of the sunsets towards Arches, the camp blends into its dramatic surroundings utilising only luxurious lodgings of the canvas kind. The 12 tipis and tents both large and small, offer guests the opportunity to enjoy Utah’s spectacular desert without giving up the comforts of home.

A photo posted by Under Canvas® Moab (@moab_canvas) on

A photo posted by Under Canvas® Moab (@moab_canvas) on

A photo posted by Under Canvas® Moab (@moab_canvas) on

AMW xx

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*Feature Image of Moab Under Canvas by Sessionswithstessie.com

It wouldn’t be at all far fetched to say that one of the reasons I venture to Bali is to bask in the unique and luscious outdoor bathrooms found in many lodgings on the island. As such, I fancy myself as a bit of a Bali bathroom connoisseur, and I’ve stayed in more than my fair share of places to know there’s a massive difference between the uber-luxe, design-driven bathrooms you can find in just about every 5-star hotel on the island and the charming, natural beauty of the bathrooms inside rented villas or smaller eco resorts. As a rule, my favourite Bali outdoor bathrooms always have a sort of ‘disheveled jungle chic’ vibe about them. The following are some of my favourite bohemian outdoor bathrooms offering total and utter relaxation. All of them are unique in their own right, but possess some unifying qualities: the clever use of natural materials, earthy tones, natural light and of course – an abundance of green!

My Favourite Bali Outdoor Bathrooms

Blue Karma Resort, Ubud

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Like a (very luxurious) page out of The Jungle Book, the bathrooms at Blue Karma Resort are surrounded with tropical palms, wood and a big-ass mirror that makes it seem gigantic in size. Um and also, look at that bath! Bliss.

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The Sandat Glamping Tents, Ubud

These safari-style tents are camouflaged in the rice fields, nestled in the natural and spiritual heart of Bali. The elegantly rustic bathrooms incorporate floaty muslin canopies as curtains.

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The Santai Villas, Umalas

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More of a modern take on the bali outdoor bathroom, but still incorporating the earthy fundamentals. Plus, the green wall! Enough said.

natura villa ubud bali outdoor bathrooms

Natura Resort, Ubud

natura resort ubud bali outdoor bathrooms

The luscious greenery and well-worn stone walls speak for themselves. One of my favourite bathrooms anywhere, ever. Plus the shower overlooks all of Ubud Valley. Bonus.

natura resort bali outdoor bathrooms

Bamboo Indah, Ubud

bambu indah ubud bali outdoor bathrooms

This resort if what gypsetters dream of. In 2005, eleven antique Javanese bridal homes were brought to Bali, restored, and decorated with the finest details. The traditional, yet luxurious outdoor bathrooms are built with sustainable bamboo and are the size of most New York apartments. The water is filtered and the bath products are organic.

bambu indah bali outdoor bathrooms

Villa Shamballa Moon, Ubud

Villa-Shamballa-Moon Bali Outdoor-Bathrooms

This gorgeous villa feels like a home away from home. The bathroom, with it’s white-washed walls, and Moroccan accents, is the perfect setting for a soak under the sea of trees.

villa shamballa moon bali outdoor bathrooms

Villa Shambala Seminyak

A villa in the heart of Seminyak with the most giant outdoor bath imaginable. Plus, have you seen those vanity bulbs? Amaze.

villa shambala seminyak bali outdoor bathrooms

Villa Ombak Laut, Cemagi

The vines creeping up the solid stone wall and the bamboo vanity take centre stage at this very exclusive villa located on 1 hectare of Bali’s rugged south-west coast.

villa ombak laut bali outdoor bathrooms

Villa Asli, Canggu

villa asla bali outdoor bathrooms

Nestled among rice paddies and fruit trees rests this unique bathroom inside a pretty breathtaking villa, where the bathtub is made out of hollowed rock.

villa asli bali outdoor abthrooms

SKA xx

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Images via respective hotel websites 

A little birdy recently told me my all time favourite Moroccan-inspired rental abode and event space, The Riad Byron Bay, went into private ownership. This means no more week-long retreats pretending I’m a literary bohemian in Northern Tangier and certainly no more Pinterest pins on my “wedding inspiration” board. Yes I have a board and I’m not engaged, don’t pretend you don’t either! Anyway I’m a little bit devastated, so to assist in expediting the mourning process I thought I’d gather all the images I have collected of this special oasis and share them with you all! Kind of like a digital shrine to what once was. BYO candles.

Built by an artist and shrouded in legends of parties and weddings worthy of the Great Gatsby himself, The Riad Byron Bay is an architectural smorgasbord of inspiration from Morocco, Bali and Thailand. It’s elegantly bohemian interiors are encased in natural stone and wood that would put any lodging in Marrakech to shame. But perhaps the most unique thing about The Riad is its position, hidden away in a forest so dense it’s hard to imagine you’re in Australia, let alone the Northern Rivers region…

The Riad Byron Bay: A Shrine…

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AMW xx

 

The whole *pop-up* glamping thing is old news in Australia. You can hire a standardised and categorised bell tent at most festivals these days, or you can pay one of the many glamping companies to set one up for you at your local campsite – a nicely decked-out canvas-palace ready and waiting for your few days of hands-off habitation. Pop-up glamping offers a step-up from the traditional camping trip, but what if you want an experience that’s even more…unique, even more…luxe than the mainstream? What if you want to have your proverbial glamping cake and eat it too?

Flash Camp’s Pop-Up Hotel, the new offering by Byron Bay based ‘Flash Camp’ founders Cameron Arnold, Brandon Saul and the Hutchings family (owners of Paperbark Camp in Jervis Bay) who started out servicing Falls and Splendour in the Grass Festivals in 2014 with tents-en-masse, might not provide the red velvet but certainly delivers the champagnes at sunset! The roving glamp, which ‘popped-up’ in Winton Wetlands, Victoria and Stradbroke Island, Queensland earlier this year and will soon frequent Kakadu National Park, mixes the inclusive vibe felt by revellers of a tent-city at a festival and the thoughtful, eco-luxe service of a small bespoke hotel, with different locations around Australia that WOW! And with large 5m tents decorated with designer furnishings like leather chairs, throw rugs and sustainable mod-cons, Flash Camp is the pop-up Glamp that keeps on giving.

I was lucky enough to visit both the Winton Wetlands and Stradbroke Island Glamps recently, and while the Winton Wetlands offering was going through some teething issues to be expected during the first crack at any new venture, many had been improved upon when I stayed at Flash Camp on Stradbroke Island. Where Winton was a relatively plain glamp-site, Straddy was a legitimate pop-up hotel with all the bell tents and whistles (pardon the pun) exclusively set-up on Adams Beach in Dunwich. There was a playfully rustic, Robinson-Crusoe-like reception manned by a helpful receptionist 13 hours a day and a communal area with bamboo and million-dollar views, free bikes to cruise around the bay on, and a yummy breaky with fresh seasonal muesli and fruit. With every single thoughtful extra, you could really feel the Flash Camp hotel experience starting to take shape. And I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the future!

Flash Camp Stradbroke Island Jan-March 2016

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flash camp stradbroke island glamping

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Flash Camp Pop-Up Hotel – Good To Know

Tents

  • 5m Canvas Bell Tents especially modified for Australian conditions – aka, you can stand up in them!
  • Beauty Packs provided by Biology Smart Skincare
    Large Queen-size comfy beds with soft linens and doona (can request twin beds)
  • Solar lamps
  • USB charger
  • Torch provided
  • Fresh towels daily
  • Clean, sheltered shared toilets and showers
  • Daily Housekeeping
  • BBQ Facilities
  • Ice provided for Eskies

Prices

  • Range from $110 to $250 AUD, depending on location and time of the year.

Miscellaneous

  • Flash Camp hotels usually pop-up in one location for a few months, depending on demand. You can also hire out the entire hotel for private events and weddings and choose the site.
  • Don’t forget the Esky and bug spray!
  • There is parking on-site close to your tent.
  • *A pop-up hotel is a hotel which is temporary, being at a location for a short time before being moved. Such hotels may be built from pre-fabricated modules which are plugged together on site or from collapsible structures such as tents or they may be fully mobile* – Thanks Wiki

Mokoan Flash Camp Winton Wetlands Jan – March 2016

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SKA xx

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Stefanie was hosted by Flash Camp at both the Winton Wetlands and Stradbroke Island Pop-Ups. As always, she’s keeping it real and all opinions are her own. 

Cover image via Concrete Playground

The location of a family getaway is always a cause for contention among its members. Aside from the obvious generation and cultural gaps, nobody wants to be living on top of their siblings for an entire week! A family getaway is all about space, compromise and knowing when to shut the hell up if the debates get heated! And if all else fails, read ‘How To Travel With Your Family Without Wanting to Strangle Them’ for some extra-effective pointers. 🙂

But… contrary to popular belief, a family getaway can be a chance to unwind and reconnect with those peeps you are bound by blood to love for the rest of your days – even if they are slightly neurotic crazy people. And what better place to bond than beautiful Byron Bay!

Byron Bay holds a special place in my heart as I used to visit it with my family growing up, so it was cool to be given the opportunity by Stayz.com to check out one of their gorgeous abodes in the heart of town with the fam-bam during Mother’s Day weekend.

We arrived on Wednesday and were greeted at the property, aptly named ‘Sandy Toes and Salty Kisses‘ by Helen, the Stayz property manager for the Byron Bay region. As luck would have it, my Mum knew her from way back during the aforementioned Byron Bay family getaways of yesteryear, so it was all giggles and catchups as she showed us around the unique and light-filled property. The bungalow-style, two-level, 4-bedroom refurbished retreat had more than enough space for an extended family of five – and its rustic air, wooden floorboards and modern touches kept the vibe fun and intimate. The bottom level was originally a garage which had been renovated and converted into another bedroom (with two bunk beds for the rug rats) and living area with a giant pool table which, of course, experienced more than its fair share of use over the duration of our stay. The house was very ‘Byron’; and it was perfect for our little family getaway.

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Over the course of the long weekend, we did a whole bunch of stuff together and apart. That’s the beauty of a family getaway, the ability to balance the bonding and the down time, and our Stayz retreat was a perfect reprieve for both. If you’re thinking of taking the family to Byron Bay, here are a few highlights I would recommend you do together:

Relaxation Time at The Kiva Spa

Grab your Mum and drive inland to Mullumbimby for a relaxing spa treatment or massage at the award-winning Balinese-inspired Kiva Spa. Women’s night is Wednesday’s between 7 and 9pm!

Freshly Shucked Oysters at The Balcony Bar

Incase you’ve been living under a rock the past few months, The Balcony Bar has had a facelift – and it’s all festoon lighting, palm trees, white-washed walls and mod interiors! It’s the perfect place to grab a booth outside and order a feast of oysters with your loved ones – washed down with one of the best Bloody Mary’s Byron Bay has to offer!

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Beachside Yoga

Take a stroll to the Beachside Yoga and Massage studio located above the Byron Bay Surf Club and do your sun-salutations to the sea instead! With panoramic ocean views of Clarke’s Beach directly in front of your mat, and daily sessions suitable for all ages and abilities, there’s no excuse not to bring the whole family!

Family Day at The Farm

What’s not to love about The Farm? It’s got animals, it’s got wide-open spaces, it’s got an award-winning restaurant, it’s got a florist, it’s got yoga and it’s got bloody great coffee, not to mention a blissful vibe. This collaborative farm in Byron Bay is really something special, so grab a spot and make an afternoon of it!

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Prawn Feast At Home

Ballina is about a 30 minute drive south of Byron Bay, and it just so happens to be the place to visit if you want to pick up the freshest-of-fresh prawns in the region. Ballina’s Fisherman’s Co-Op sells locally-caught King Prawns a-plenty, so make it a destination and take a mini-roadie along the inland route rather than the freeway for better vistas!

Lighthouse Walk at Sunrise

There’s something magical about walking up those steps to see the sun peak up behind the horizon at the most easterly point of Australia. There’s something even more magical about sharing it with your loved ones…

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Stock Up on Local Wares at Newrybar Merchants

Next to the old Antique Store in Newybar, and across the road from Harvest Cafe, is a collective of local creative artisans and curators of find goods who’s passion for what they do shines through their products! Fifteen minutes drive inland from the beaches of Byron, the collaborative concept store houses wares from the likes of Sibella Court, Driftlab, Wolf + Maiden, Mister Zimi and more.

 Lunch at Doma in Federal

Whenever anyone asks me where to take their family for lunch in the Northern Rivers I always answer unequivocally with ‘DOMA’ Cafe. This rustic spot is the brainchild of Takayuki and Takahashi – the former Oh Sushi chefs from Byron and the culinary cool kids behind the awesome Japanese food at the Mullumbimy Farmer’s Market. DOMA consistently serves up some of the best and freshest Japanese food I’ve had this side of the equator, and no matter if you take your family or friends here they will all thank you for it in equal amounts!

AMW x

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Stefanie stayed in Byron courtesy of Stayz.com. All opinions are her own. 

 

When I think of Melbourne travel I think boutique hotels. You know the ones I’m taking about, the little gems tucked away on inconspicuous laneways or roads just far enough from vibing main high-streets to feel like you’re in it but not actually on top of it…

More specifically, I think of the Art Series Hotel Group. These three 5-star hotels are like cool party guests – always nailing fashionably late but never the last to leave! They are synonymous with the edgy and artful nature of Melbourne, and while it’s difficult to choose between them, I’ve always been drawn to the vibrant and unexpected personality of The Cullen Hotel Melbourne, situated in the thriving inner-city suburb of Prahran, just off Chapel Street. So when I was flown down to Melbourne and invited to review it by Jetstar Australia, I jumped at the chance!

Having been on the scene for just over six years now, The Cullen Hotel Melbourne is a perfect example of a true small-scale boutique hotel that has stood the test of time. It still feels shiny and, well, shocking, but it’s outlasted any designer fads precisely because it shunned them from the very beginning. The Cullen remains relevant because it’s stayed true to its particular (and somewhat peculiar) theme: showcasing the slightly wacky artwork of Adam Cullen and building an edgy, yet luxe hotel around the pieces.

And I mean that literally. The hotel is a virtual gallery of the Archibald Prize winner’s cartoonish work, with 450 pieces throughout. Huge murals of nightmarish horses, human-like donkeys and Ned Kellys’ gone deliberately wrong snake through corridors and line the rooms – there’s even two life-size colourful cows in the lobby. It all sounds a bit Alice in Wonderland on steroids but I assure you it works. The Cullen errs on the side of cool rather than crass with a tasteful, minimalist vibe brought to the fore by the pared-down interiors and one of the most comfortably luxurious beds I’ve ever slept in!

I can’t decide whether the real standout is the beautifully designed and super buzzing Hutong Dumpling Bar housed on the ground floor, or the well-thought out mini-bar brimming with everything from booze to Panadol – everything one could ever want or need pre and post an awesome night out!

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Cullen Studio Room

The Cullen Hotel Melbourne – The Lowdown

Vibe
vibe

Down-the-rabbit hole luxe, eclectically cool
Think
think

Alice through the looking glass meets Andy Warhol shock-value
Sound
sound

The Chromatics – ‘Night Drive’
Crowd
crowd

Creativeprenaurs; Business peeps, couples on city weekenders
Highlights
highlights 1

  •  The mini-bar with everything you could ever want or need for a good night
  • Hip, modern larger-than your average rooms with views of downtown Melbourne
  • Hutong Dumpling Bar! Best dumplings south of the Yarra! ’nuff said.
  • Just off famous Chapel St and opposite the Prahran Markets
Lowlights
lowlights

  •  The service at Gramercy Bistro (one of the connected Cafe’s) is a little slow
  • No pool on-site
  • You have to pay for the WiFi! Are we really still there Australia?
Opened In
opened-by

 December 2009
Amenities
amenities

Gym with yoga deck
Bikes
Smart cars for hire
WiFi throughout (AU$9.95 a day).In rooms: LCD flatscreen TV with Foxtel, DVD player, preloaded iPod and iPod dock, Adam Cullen artworks, art books, Art Series toiletries, minibar, kitchenette.
Price
price
 From $184 AUD

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The Cullen Melbourne Evo Products

The Cullen Melbourne Lobby Art

The Cullen Hotel Melbourne – Need to Know

ROOMS

119, including eight suites.

CHECK–OUT

11am, but flexible subject to availability. Check-in, 2pm.

RATES

Double rooms from AU$184.55, excluding tax at 10 per cent.

TRAVEL TO MELBOURNE

Jetstar Airways offers competitively-priced daily, direct flights from all major cities in Australia to Melbourne. For more information, please visit the Jetstar website.

AMW xx

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Stefanie was a guest of The Cullen Hotel courtesy of Jetstar Airways – Thanks Jetstar. All opinions are her own. 

You’ve seen the mesmerising pictures plastered all over Instagram, the twinkling lights and suspended peter-pan-like footbridge set amidst lush foliage and pine trees. The romantic Airbnb Treehouse is a real-life fairytale you can visit for a relaxing few days holiday. But where exactly is the world’s most “wish-listed” listing, and what’s the story behind it? Lucy Wang, writer for Inhabit gives a little insight 

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Located in the leafy suburban neighbourhood of Intown Atlanta, Peter Bahouth, former Greenpeace executive director and current executive director of the U.S. Climate Action Network designed and built the secluded Airbnb Treehouse after six months of design and six weeks of construction. Made up of three small tree houses in total, they were originally built as a way for Bahouth to enjoy more privacy away from his glass-centric modern home. Inspired by his previous environmental activism work, Bahouth constructed his grown-up Airbnb treehouse from recycled materials, like the 80-year-old windows salvaged from a Masonic Temple in South Carolina. He named the three treehouses “Mind,” “Body,” and “Spirit,” and crafted different personalities for each. The “Mind” treehouse serves as a living room and comes with cozy seats, a rustic coffee table, and other antique knickknacks collected from flea markets. The “Body” contains the bedroom with an indoor/outdoor wheeled bed that can slide out onto a platform to let guests sleep beneath the stars and above a burbling creek. The third space named “Spirit” is a circular deck with seating for ten built around a 150-year-old Southern Short-Leaf Pine. Seeing its potential to bring the childhood fantasies of others to life, he decided to share it with the public as an Airbnb listing, and it’s now available to rent from $330 AUD per night.

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AMW xx

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Images via Treehouse Map

 

The top Airbnb listings for 2016 have been announced, and guess which dwelling made the list? None other than the unique Pioneertown architectural marvel I first wrote about back in March 2013!

A seamless blend of location, design and sustainable initiatives make this tranquil holiday home in California’s off-the-grid Joshua Tree National Park an Oasis within the desert… Let’s jog our memories shall we…

airbnb top listings grid house

Recently noted by Dwell as one of the the best homes in America, this stunning off-grid construction reminds us all of the natural glory that stretches out before our very eyes, pulling the outdoor elements in for both aesthetic and energy. 

Designed by Taalman Koch, the home utilises a modular, prefabricated system to cut down on waste and labor,  and beautifully melds the indoors with the surrounding landscape, all while maintaining a footprint as light as a feather on the delicate site.

Gridit House airbnb top listings

Settled within one of the most unique, naturally formed areas of the Golden State, Pioneertown sits nearby Joshua Tree National Park and the Coachella Valley. The area is remote, serene and free from distractions, making it the perfect site for a modern refuge from the city. Light natural finishes and ample daylighting blur the lines between the indoors and out and give the home a large, open and free-flowing feel despite its small size.

Gridit House California airbnb top listings

Usually homes like these are reserved for the rich and famous but for a surprisingly modest fee, you can rent it out via AirBnB. Brings a whole new meaning to sleeping under the stars..

AMW xx

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This article was initially published on AMW in March 2013

It’s official, the writing’s on the wall – K-Town is the new mecca. The infamous Los Angeles neighborhood just west of Downtown is littered with world-class Korean BBQ joints, edgy street-art and design hotels. It’s hard to imagine only two decades ago this low-rent area was ground zero for the LA riots and basically engulfed in flames! These days it’s home to more hipsters than hell-raisers and boasts some really cool rejuvenated buildings that house them.

The great thing about KoreaTown Los Angeles is you can experience the best of this compact three-square mile community in a day. And with its rich Latin and Korean influence this cultural hot spot has a die-hard work ethic so you’ll have a whole 24 hours to explore!

Start The Day Off With A Sunny Solarium Breakfast…

At The Commissionary Café [featured]. Located on the rooftop of The Line Hotel, this little cold-brew coffee mecca is actually inside a greenhouse with epic views of the surrounding city skyline.

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Take Yourself Back To The 1930’s Golden Age…

And bask in the architectural delight that is the Pellissier Building, towering above the Wiltern Theater. Best known for its vast rainbow auditorium and big-name acts, don’t be surprised if the next lineup includes Ellen or The Stones.

Wander the Streets and Uncover Some Art…

By underground creatives like D*Face and WRDSMTH. Mosey around Wilshire and Normandie and you’ll stumble upon iconic works perfect for those requisite Instagram pics!

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Join the Asian Cognoscenti For Lunch…

At Park’s, the undisputed Korean BBQ favourite among local families, celebrities, corporates and hipsters who swarm to this strip-mall restaurant for fun-filled open grills of bulbogi beef, octopus and shrimp. Don’t forget the Soju!

Decompress and Digest…

At Wi Spa after stuffing your face full of meat and kimchi. Why spend a fortune on Hollywood spas when you can save on saunas and massages at this 24-hour labyrinth of pampering in K-Town? In-the-know Korean families and fashionistas swear by the traditional dome “bulgama” sauna and the “misutgaru” multigrain shake.

Gangnam Style…

At the Koreatown Plaza, a 1980’s mall filled with colourful supermarkets, Hello Kitty bits and bobs and retro everything. Visit the downstairs food court which doubles as a makeshift mini Koreatown filled with exotic bakeries and noodle shops.

AMW xx

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Featured image by MyBelonging
Street Art by Edorii

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This article by Stefanie Acworth was originally published on StudentFlights.com

There are a lot of places that are absolutely perfect for romantic getaways. But what if things aren’t going so swimmingly on the relationship front? What if the last thing you want to do is contribute to Hallmark’s world domination by purchasing a cutesy little love-heart card?  Well, dear readers, I promised you the world and I’ve delivered. Without further ado, here is a list of the most unromantic destinations in the world for those singletons that really couldn’t be bothered with Valentine’s Day. Repeat after me, your mantra: “Valentine’s Day, what Valentine’s Day? Give me stinky Rotorua or hedonistic Vegas any day…”

Anti-Valentines Day: The Least Romantic Destinations in the World

Ixmiquilpan, Mexico

Is there anything more romantic than spending a night in the open country, floundering in panicked terror while being ruthlessly hunted down and shot at by border guards? That’s the experience on offer at Parque Eco Alberto (www.parqueecoalberto.com.mx), a theme park which promises to give a proper taste of what it’s like for Mexican immigrants illegally trying to enter the United States. The guards are actors, and the shots are blanks, but it’s about as far away as you can possibly get from canoodling in a private beach bungalow with heart-shaped pillows.

Rotorua, New Zealand

It would be easy to think that Rotorua, with its idyllic countryside and award-winning spas, was the backdrop for extreme romance. Except for one enormously significant issue: it smells. Like I mean really, really smells. Rotorua just happens to be situated on a massive thermal hotspot, thus ensuring geysers keep popping up and omitting the kind of gut-wrenching egg-stench that’ll send you sprinting from that nice romantic dinner for two.

Rotorua Thermal Springs New Zealand

The River Danube, Austria (featured image)

There’s nothing unromantic about the Blue Danube, in fact it’s the perfect setting for that quintessential lovey-dovey cruise.  Sleeping in a drainpipe however, is an entirely different story, as is the offering at the Das Park Hotel. The uncomfortable cement-littered accommodation is literally a series of drainpipes that can be hired out for the evening. Very sexy.

Las Vegas, USA

This list wouldn’t be worth it’s chops without adding Sin City into the mix. Vegas celebrates living life in the fast lane, and being single is almost a pre-requisite! Gambling, over-the-top shows, getting married in an Elvis suit only annul it the next morning when you’ve sobered up – is the name of the game here.

Belgorod, Russia

This town in western Russia has banned Valentine’s Day shenanigans in schools and government offices, claiming that it promotes promiscuity rather than true love. “It’s designed to swell the emotions, and you know what kind of teenage liaison happens then” said Grigory Bolotnov, a spokesman for the governor of Belgorod. Ain’t love band?

Linfen City, China

Fancy wearing a gas-mask while you sightsee? Tourists are faced with this fact (pardon the pun) on a daily basis in one of the world’s most polluted cities. So polluted in fact, that the rivers, chock-full of rubbish, almost look radioactive with their fluoro green tinge. Linfen is at the heart of China’s coal-producing Shanxi Province. The city is dotted with an obnoxious amount of power stations and iron foundries and is generally agreed to have the worst air quality in the world. Why would I come here, you ask? The ancient city has plenty of history and acts as a stopping-off point for nearby waterfalls and temples. So basically, you have no choice.

Linfen City Power Plant

Cancun, Mexico

They don’t call it the Spring Break capital of the world for nothing. Hoards of American college students descend on this fabled resort town located on the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula in search of cheap margaritas and cheap luurve. The kind of love that only lasts one night is hardly the setting for a Mills and Boon type romance.

AMW xx

~~

Featured image via iscreamsundae.com 

Sometimes all we need is a little change of scenery to get the creative juices flowing! If, like me,  you’re a freelancer working on a project and you’re close to pulling your hair out with frustration (I’m sure I’m not alone here people), why not take advantage of the super cheap flights to Bali and book a couple of weeks in paradise at a place entirely your own? Thanks to the exchange rate and AirBnB, hosts are offering budget, boho homes for the imaginative traveler craving inspiration in creative meccas like Canggu and Ubud. They also offer every freelancer’s holy grail – free and fast WiFi!

An AMW curated selection of Bali Creative Homes for under $80 AUD per night

Brandnew “old” wooden 1 BR house

Canggu , Bali, Indonesia

SPECIAL OFFER in February until April. Please ask for details … Brandnew wooden house with open kitchen, ensuite bathroom, terrace with an amazing view of ricepaddies Hot water and a/c and W-l…

Short Term Home Rentals in Canggu

Beach close house Berawa

Kuta Utara, Bali, Indonesia

Beautiful 2 bedroom Prana House  in Canggu / Berawa beach – built/renovated in 2015 . NEW 40 square meter wooden terrace with bean bags and BBQ grill and a Few minutes to the beach…

Kuta Utara Villa Rentals

Co-Working Space ++ Conference Room

Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Co-Working space, conference centre, meeting area with all luxury accessory for a successful gathering or retreat. We provide a full air conditioned working space with 3D projector and 10mbit wifi…

Ubud Villa Rentals

Rumah Bebek – A Garden Spot.

Ubud, Indonesia

Our two-story western upgrade home is in quiet Penestanan. Upstairs bedroom opens to a balcony w rice field views. Downstairs is a Bali style bathrm, sleeping nook, well-equipped kitchen and plenty…

Holiday Rentals in Ubud

ARTIST gazebo in trendy Penestanan

Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Lovely bamboo gazebo-cottage with workshop in Penestanan-Ubud for rent. Suitable for creative people. The gazebo is part of a balinese compound and is located in the center of Penestanan, next to s…

Holiday Rentals in Ubud

Charming villa in rice fields

Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

A spacious 1-br on the Tjampuan Ridge- beautiful garden, great views, nice open air bathroom w/unlimited hot water, bright & clean interior, equipped kitchen & quiet neighborhood. Fiber optic, fa…

Holiday Rentals in Ubud

Funky cottage rice field view

Canggu, Bali, Indonesia

Bali Short Term Apartment Rentals

Prime Canggu Surf! 1 bedroom house

canggu, Bali, Indonesia

Lovely 1 bedroom house with separate kitchen, ac and garden on Jalan Batu Bolong. Super location for surfers, beach lovers and anyone who wants to experience “real” Bali life!

Holiday Rentals in canggu

WORLD TRAVELER’S STUDIO by RIVER

Ubud, Indonesia

STUDIO for TWO –
(+ 1 extra Futon for child)
Recently renovated, clean, artsy, comfy, very good value – shared kitchenette on terrace, covered garage and quick access to the River Valley
Perfect for easy-going, low-key World Travellers, digital nomads & Backpackers on a budget. 
WIFI: great Optic fiber up to 10Mb

Holiday Home Rentals in Ubud

AMW xx

A Paris Weekender: What To Do In Canal St-Martin

It was Canal St Martin’s colourfully cosmopolitan streets and cast-iron footbridges that stole viewers’ hearts in Amelie, Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s 2001 quirky Parisian blockbuster. These days the eclectic neighbourhood is a character unto itself – filled with shabby-chic bars, boutiques and hidden laneways. Take a stroll down the banks, devour some artisan cheese and watch the (extremely well-dressed) boho crowd walk by. Got 48 hours in Paris? Here’s some things to do in Canal St Martin.

Eat a renowned “escargot” pistachio and chocolate pastry at Du Pain Et Des Idees Boulangerie.
34 Rue Yves Toudic, 75010 Paris, France

things to do in canal st martin Du Pain Et Des Idees Boulangerie

Pick up a fresh pineapple and mango juice at Bob’s Juice Bar.
15 Rue Lucien Sampaix, 75010 Paris, France

Buy some wine and cheese from Miam Miam and picnic along the banks of the canal.
6 Rue Thouin, 75005 Paris, France

Meander along the small footbridges like Amelie did in the film and gaze at all the canal love locks.

things to do in canal saint martin

Brunch and people watch at Chez Prune, an institution on the banks of the Canal.
36 Rue Beaurepaire, 75010 Paris, France

Get your caffeine buzz from Ten Belles or geek-chic Café Craft.
10 Rue de la Grange aux Belles, 75010 Paris, France
24 Rue des Vinaigriers, 75010 Paris, France

Make a Dinner Reservation at charming Hotel du Nord and order the order something quintessentially French!
102 Quai de Jemmapes, 75010 Paris, France

Get some shut-eye at Le Citizen Hotel, Paris’ first “green” design hotel offering rooms with views overlooking the canal.
96 Quai de Jemmapes, 75010 Paris, France

Check your emails and collaborate with likeminded creatives at CRAFT co-working space.
24 Rue des Vinaigriers, 75010 Paris, France

things to do in canal st martin paris craft co working space

Browse designer threads, handmade leather goods, books and jewelry at concept store Centre Commercial.
2 Rue de Marseille, 75010 Paris, France

Buy some vintage wares from the districts newest concept store, Babel.
55 Quai de Valmy, 75010 Paris, France

Pick some flowers for a friend at Bleuet Coquelicot, an elegant little florist on a cute canal side-street.
10 Rue de la Grange aux Belles, 75010 Paris, France

things to do in canal saint martin Bleuet Coquelicot paris

Salivate over the 27 euro lunch menu at Hai Kai, the canal’s coolest eatery created by popular tewenty-something chef Amelie Darvas.
104 Quai de Jemmapes, 75010 Paris, France

Stock-up on small-producer unrefined and unfiltered artisan olive oils at La Conservatoire de Cedric Casanova, a Sicilian epicerie which also accommodates five to eight lucky diners for a daily Sicilian picnic (reservations by email only).
casanova@latetedanslesolives.com (try to email in French)
14 Rue Sainte-Marthe, 75010 Paris, France

Reflect on the day and listen to some rock-n-roll over an original and innovating absinthe cocktail at Le Coq.
2 Place du Trocadéro et du 11 Novembre, 75116 Paris, France

things to do in canal st martin le coq

AMW xx

~~

Featured photo by Pascal Benard Photographies

Star light, star bright,
First star I see tonight,
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have this wish I wish tonight…

Joshua Tree National Park at night is a whole new world.

Far, far from anywhere else in California, gazing up at the light-show painted in the sky is one of the more magical experiences on earth.  Lying on your back wrapped in a warm wooly throw, fire crackling in the distance, experiencing this fantasy land of galaxies and stars for the very first time is almost spiritual.

It’s even better if you’re lucky enough to capture some beautiful shots on your DSLR.

I used a Canon EOS M3 with a 18mm lens for these shots. The EOS M3 is the newish 2015 offering and a compact DSLR with interchangeable lenses and a perfect pint size for travelling. I should mention Canon Australia kindly lent this camera to me (thanks Canon peeps) to try out on my journeys, so I decided astrophotography was the perfect performance test for this nifty little camera.

canon-eos-m3-review

 

If you want to capture images of the night sky anywhere in the world, these are a couple of my tips:

General DSLR Astrophotography Camera Settings:

* Shoot as wide as humanly possible (in layman’s terms, this means zero zoom).
* Use an ISO setting no higher than 1600. Try to get even lower if you can.
* Use a sturdy tripod if available.
* Shots longer than 25 seconds with an 18mm lens may produce visible star trails. If you don’t want to produce visible star trails then you will need to have your MANUAL FOCUS on point. (see below for tips on focussing).
* Use the self-timer to reduce camera shake during exposures.

Canon EOS M Series Specific Astrophotography Camera Settings:

* Use MANUAL setting (M) on your EOS-M.
* Try setting your White Balance to “Tungsten” for some of your shots. Night skies and lightning often look more vibrant with the WB set to Tungsten as it enhances the blue tones in the sky. You can always shoot in Auto WB but the brown-reds are more dominant.

General Tips on Astrophotography

*It goes without saying that you need to get away from as much “light pollution” as possible. Fine particles in the air around the cities reflect the light from the street lights, so it’s best to shoot in open fields, in high elevations or by the sea.

* Download “Star Walk” App on your iPhone. You can use it to tell when the brightest parts of the night sky are visible for you to photograph.

And Finally, here’s the best advice I’ve read about how to Manually Focus your EOS on the LCD screen…

“You can do one of two things… Get yourself a $14 jeweller’s loupe. This enables you to check your manual focus. Pick a star that looks bright and aim your EOS-M towards it. Then use the “Magnify Feature” on the EOS-M to zoom closer to that star. If your focus is too much to the left or right (blurred) there will be either a red or blue hue to the edges of the star. This is Chromatic Aberration. When your focus is nearly perfect, there will be very little red or blue visible through your loupe around the star. Another method is to bring some inexpensive magnifying reading glasses with you. Anything around 3x is very strong magnification.” [taken from a DPreview.com forum here]

Joshua Tree National Park At Night: In Photos

Joshua tree national park at night 1

joshua tree national park at night 3

joshua tree national park at night 4

AWM xx

~~

The Canon EOS M3 was on loan to AMW from Canon Australia. All opinions are the author’s own.

The first thing you’ll notice when walking into Palihouse Santa Monica – apart from the vintage-chic décor in the lobby and the perfectly manicured gardens out the front – is the scent. The smell of fresh linen and lavender lingers in every nook and cranny, as if to signify a kind of welcoming warmth a lot of the larger and to-cool-for-school boutique hotels tend to lack. And let me tell you, it works a charm…

Combining comfort and livability with a chic design is no mean feat these days. But the folks at the ever-on-point Pali Hotel group hit this historic 1927 Mediterranean Revival masterpiece with a makeover that brings old-Hollywood kitschy-cool into the 21st century. In the Lobby, old-world artwork and ornate fireplaces collide with wooden bench tops and leather loungers, and the rooms rock an almost French Provinicial cum Hipster vibe. But somehow it all seems to work!

During renovations, Pali Group slapped the rooms with a fresh coat of paint, knocked down many walls, installed some gorgeous brass fixtures and fittings and generally made the rooms as light and airy as humanly possible (thank god, because there’s actually no air-con throughout the entire hotel..Ummm????), but it’s the little things that make Palihouse Santa Monica stand out as a functional, yet stylish addition to the neighbourhood. Book anything above the entry-level “classic” rooms and you’ll get a proper pied-e-tette, complete with a fridge, a cooktop/oven and a full-stock of high-end kitchen appliances. This is a godsend should you wish to take a break from exploring the surrounding eateries to stay at home to cook some produce you bought from Trader Joe’s down the road. Or, if you can’t be bothered cooking but still want a lazy night in, the enormously large bedrooms are perfect for chilling out and watching the flat-screen. You can hire 24-hour room service or nibble on the in-room treats from Dean & Deluca.

palihouse lobby

palihouse santa monica courtyard

palihouse santa monica gate

Palihouse Santa Monica: The Lowdown

Vibe
vibe

 Chic yet liveable home away from home.
Think
think

 Unassuming French Chateau meets vintage beach lodge.
Sound
sound

 Your favourite old-school vinyl
Crowd
crowd

  • Artists and Actors (who are clearly commercial enough to afford the price-tag)
  • People who work in the creative and advertising industries in LA on business.
Highlights
highlights 1

  • The breakfast courtyard set out the back of the hotels ground level.-Cute little bikes for guests to use.
  • Waaay too many Dean and DeLuca goodies as snacks in the room.
  • Santa Monica beach is a 2-minute walk. Santa Monica Pier is a 20 minute walk. Bars and Eateries on Wilshire Blvd are a few blocks away.
  • The large, airy windows in the rooms.
Lowlights
lowlights

  • NO AIR-CONDITIONING. Period.
  • The room cost is a little on the expensive side; especially being set back a couple of blocks from the beach. You don’t get all the bells and whistles you might be accustomed to in a 5-star hotel but you still pay for it at Palihouse Santa Monica. In the hotel’s defence though, the rooms are like mini-apartments!
Opened In
opened-by

 2013
Amenities
amenities

  • 100% non-smoking hotel
  • 24 hour concierge
  • 24 hour front desk
  • Adjoining rooms
  • Babysitting (on request)
  • Bicycle rentals nearby
  • Free wi-fi
  • Garden
  • Luggage storage
  • Multi-lingual staff
  • No pets allowed
  • Offsite gym facilities
  • Room service
  • Shopping area nearby
  • Valet parking (charges apply)
  • Wake-up service
Price
price
 $500 USD + taxes

palihouse santa monica room

palihouse santa monica kitchen

palihouse santa monica bathroom

palihouse santa monica bedroom

AMW xx

~~
Stefanie from A Modern Wayfarer stayed courtesy of Palihouse Santa Monica in October, 2015. All opinions are her own.

So you want to find your culinary bliss in Bali on the cheap? The good news is you won’t have to binge with the bogans in Kuta to keep your bank account (and tummy) happy. The small, yet culturally diverse island off the coast of Indonesia is a mecca for frugal foodies and let’s be honest, those who like the odd cocktail or two! Here are some of the best and most affordable eats and drinks in three of Bali’s coolest suburbs.

Where to Eat in Bali on The Cheap (but oh so good)

Ubud

Café Pomegranate (pictured above)

Set-up under a huge canvas canopy in the middle of a field full of rice paddies, this ‘pop-up’ Ubud café is the perfect place to chill and refuel with a chai after a flow session at The Yoga Barn. About a 20-minute walk along a narrow, awkwardly paved street from the local Ubud Markets, Pomegranate is certainly an enchanted place in its own right. And that’s what makes this place so serene. On a clear day you can spend hours gazing at Mt Agung in the distance while sipping on a Bintang.

 Jl. Subak Sok Wayah, Ubud

Warung Babi Guling Ibu Oka 3

This modest eatery located on the main drag in Ubud serves up fast food, Bali style. A never-ending supply of fresh roasted suckling pig (with the crackling on top, bonus!) is served on paper-plates to the hoards of in-the-know tourists and locals patiently sitting cross-legged and shoeless on floor mats. Everyone salivates over the cheap-as-chips special Babi Guling (suckling pig), which comes with rice and sayur, vegetables cooked with coconut milk and shallots. Some even call it the best in Bali!

 JL Tegal Sari 2, Ubud

Three Monkeys Cuisine and Art Café

Three Monkeys is a real feast for the senses. From the moment you walk in to find the counter brimming with freshly baked cakes and cookies to the time you spend sitting out the back underneath frangipani trees and ornate water-fountains overlooking endless rows of rice paddies. The inviting ambience is rivaled only by its gourmet, globally influenced pizza and pasta dishes with a modern, yet authentic twist.

 Monkey Forest Road, Ubud

Canggu

Green Ginger

green-ginger-canggu

Green Ginger is a cosy blink-and-you’ll-miss-it café, hidden away in the streets of residential Canngu. The Asian-inspired cuisine is some of the best in the neighborhood, with favourites including the Pho, Laksa and homemade dumplings. The eclectically styled café is a perfect place to meet your mates for breaky or, if you’re feeling a bit antisocial, the corner table in the tiny garden is the perfect place to blend-in with your laptop and earphones.

 JL Pantai Berawa 46, Canggu

Betelut

As any Canggu expat or hip-traveller will tell you, Betelnut Café is like raiding your mumma’s fridge full of goodies… except the fridge is a menu full of delectable health-conscious goodies and your mum is the best vegan chef around! The rustic two-story restaurant is a reliable home-away-from-home, offering comforting seasonal vegie stacks, raw salads, fresh juices and burritos.

JL Batu Bolong 60, Canggu

Seminyak/Kerobokan

Sea Circus

sea-circus-2

With its signature pastel-coloured louvers, bright yellow chairs and hot pink menus, Sea Circus is the quirky, cool kid of the Seminyak dining scene.  Hangover breakfasts come with Berocca or Panadol and Margaritas with cheeky names like Holiday Pash are served in milk bottles. The taco-bar is something to write home about too – filled with scrumptious pork and seafood fillings. The service is fun and full-of-life and come weekends, the place is the proverbial beehive of activity.

 JL Oberoi, Seminyak

 Naughty Nuri’s Warung

Naughty Nuri’s has the best American style pork ribs going, extremely potent cocktails and too-cool-for-school interiors. This legendary joint is the triple threat of dining, and it’s been reeling in Ubud customers for the past 16 years.  The recently opened Naughty Nori’s sister restaurant and bar down south in Kerobokan has the same mischievous attitude and doesn’t disappoint on the ribs front. You can’t miss the Warung, just look for the sidewalk BBQ and the line out the door!

JL Batubelig 41, Kerobokan

Petitenget

The main food drag of Seminyak can get pretty overwhelming at times. But Petitenget is a mainstay on the street simply because it serves up a mouth-watering menu of seafood and salads at very reasonable prices compared to the other trendy eateries around the area.  It’s got a casual yet sleek sidewalk vibe, and walking into the restaurant one gets a sense that every little thing is styled and cared for, right down to the type of flowers filling the many vases that dot the tables. It’s this professional attitude to hospitality that makes the eatery worthwhile. It’s never going to be filled to the brim like your Metis’ or Sardine’s, but it’s always going to be a favourite among locals and returning travellers. Grab a crab risotto or a goats-cheese and beets salad. They also make killer cappuccinos.

JL Petitinget 40X, Seminyak

Read more about AMW’s bohemian Bali travel tips here.

AMW xx

~ This article was written by Stefanie Acworth and originally published on StudentFlights.com.a/blog 

You’ve heard airlines described as elegant, classy, safe, and – on some frustrating occasions – cramped and delayed! But I’d be willing to bet you’ve never heard an airline described simply as ‘fun’? Well, that’s exactly how I’d define my experience as a passenger flying high in the sky with Cebu Pacific Airlines. Everybody knows the Filipino travel tagline “It’s more fun in the Philippines”, so  it’s only fitting the countries’ leading domestic carrier be as far from boring as humanly possible! As a budget, no frills airline (now flying direct from Sydney to Manila), you’d imagine the experience might be a bit of a bleak one. Get on, knock yourself out with some Valium and get the hell off. Not the case. As the following list explains, there are more than a few awesome reasons to fly Cebu Pacific Airlines to the Philippines (and domestically while you’re there). And for the price of a dinner out, you’d be silly not too.

5 Reasons To Fly Cebu Pacific Airlines to the Philippines

No Entertainment System Doesn’t Mean No Fun
Cebu Pacific Airlines are well know for their in-flight interactive games. And when I say interactive, I don’t mean iPads or entertainment systems. What I’m referring to is good old-fashioned verbal quizzes… do you remember those from school? During each flight, the air hostess’ will ask the passengers a series of questions about the carrier, and award prizes to the winners. On occasion, they’ve also been known to dance and sing mid-flight. Case in point:

Largest Philippine Flight Network

CEB has flights to more destinations and routes with higher flight frequency within the Philippines than any other airline – which means if you really want to find that deserted island then a CEB flight is your best chance to get there! CEB also operates flights to 29 cities in 18 countries in North Asia, ASEAN, Australia, and the Middle East.

Beyond Cheap Flights
You can fly from Sydney to Manila direct for as little as $143 return. Yes, you did read right. But being el cheapo doesn’t mean they skimp on safety – CEB has had an immaculate safety record for 10 years.

cebu airlines review

The New Website Is Super Easy To Navigate
The Cebu Pacific Airlines website is fun, fast and easy to navigate. Bookings are complete within minutes and help is always a phone call away.

Friendly, Hospitable Service
I was once on a low-budget carrier in Australia (*cough* won’t name names), and the air-hostess practically threw me the food I ordered and paid for with such hostility it was as if I was inconveniencing her with my terribly complex request. That type of scenario won’t happen on Cebu Pacific Airlines. The cabin crew embody the signature Filipino hospitality and always have a smile on their face!

AMW xx
~~
Stefanie Acworth was a guest of Cebu Pacific Airlines and the Philippines Tourism Board in August 2015. All opinions are her own.

So a whole bunch of you want to know my top tips for long haul flights? Well, I’ll start with a little story…

I look back on my first long-haul flight many moons ago with equal amounts of pleasure and pain. It was the 15-hour leg from Brisbane to Los Angeles and I was about as prepared as a girl-scout on steroids. Or so I thought. I had my spotted travel pillow and my foam earplugs. I had every late-90s technological gadget you could think of packed away in my little Samsonite carry-on. Still, seven hours later I was bored out of my brains. I was the kind of bored that only constant fidgets with overactive imaginations would understand. I’d practically given the in-flight entertainment system an aneurism from all the episodes of Buffy I’d been watching and people were beginning to think I had Restless Leg Syndrome from repeatedly walking up and down the aisle.

Sleeping was never an option for me. Shit no. This was a luxury for those lucky schleps in first class who didn’t have a tween shoving a foot into the back of their chairs at 40-minute intervals. No legroom and annoying children did not a good slumber make.

But boredom and sleep deprivation weren’t the only things keeping me from enjoying my inaugural trans-pacific plane experience. Other enlightening things that happened on my first long-haul flight, and numerous ones thereafter, have provided fodder for the pre-plane-planning arsenal I adopt today.

So here are six unconventional tips for long haul flights you can adopt next time you’re imprisoned in a large metal tube for an ungodly amount of time.

Do order a special meal

Picture this: it’s an hour into your flight and you’re starving. You paid good money for this ride and you’re going to milk it for all its worth. But the vinos aren’t cutting it and you’ve just noticed a couple of people dotted around the cabin already have their meals. Light bulb moment! Order a special meal in advance or wait decades to be fed. With a simple tick of a box when booking your flight (or up to 24 hours prior to boarding) you can be one of the chosen ones too! I always go for the GF option because I’m actually Gluten Free, but hey, there’s no harm in going Vego for the day. It’s worth noting that your tray won’t be taken away any earlier though. Oh well, you can’t win everything.

Do bring mini-toiletries with you in a see-through case

In the days of airline wars and budget-cuts, some carriers are becoming increasingly stingy with the overnight essentials. Now I’m not going to name names, but a select few have done away with the complimentary wet-packs completely. Epic fail.

Why play Russian-roulette with your face? In the interest of sparing yourself utter disappointment upon realising there’s nothing to stop your teeth from growing fur or your next-door-neighbours reading light making you go blind, it’s best you pack a toothbrush, some toothpaste, sleeping mask and deodorant. And remember, no more than 100ml’s per bottle.

Do bring spare knickers

You probably think this goes without saying but you’d be surprised to know just how many people forget to pack that extra pair of unmentionables in their carry-on. Frankly, I think those people are disgusting. And shame on them for not changing your undies daily like a normal person would.

Do wear shoes when you’re going to the loo

Never, I repeat NEVER, use the plane toilets without wearing shoes. Don’t tiptoe into the cubicle.  Don’t wear socks. Just make the effort to slip some proper, loose shoes on when you need to do your business. I’m not knocking Flight Attendants – they do a pretty bang-up job keeping the toilets squeaky clean – but they can’t be hyper vigilant the ENTIRE time. And I’ll let you in on a little secret: those splashes on the floor? Yeah, they’re not from the basin… that shit is nasty. So, um, if you don’t want to walk in someone else’s pee then wear shoes.

Do absolutely everything you can to get an upgrade

Use frequent flyer miles, check-in early, sit near a baby, dress smart or sleep with the Pilot if you have too! If you manage to land an upgrade into business or first class you’ll pretty much have the best day of your life. Not only is the food better (and the alcohol a lot more free-flowing), you’ll have one of those fancy lie-flat beds and quite possibly the best sleep of your life.

Do pick your seat in advance

If you don’t manage to get an upgrade (I feel for you), then make sure you login to your online booking up to 72 hours before the flight (for most airlines) and choose your seat. Choosing the right seat can mean the difference between having to jump over people to get to the aisle or the amount of recline your seat has. A great starting point in finding everything there is to know about aircraft seating is seatguru.com. You can actually search specific flights (including carriers and models) and see real people’s feedback on different seats, entertainment systems and service.

AMW xx
~~
This article by Stefanie Acworth was originally published on The Vine. 

 

Ever wanted to veer away from the typical Asian tourism-route and bask in the natural beauty of Palawan’s eco-friendly islands? Or maybe you’re keen to try out Manila’s new gourmet foodie trail (and hunt for some good shopping bargains while you’re at it).  Well if the stars align and you’re feeling lucky you just might win a trip to the Philippines! AMW is partnering with Cebu Pacific Air to giveaway two return tickets to the Philippines!

Simply follow @amodernwayfarer Instagram or Facebook, and answer the question “how many islands make up the Philippines” by commenting on the posts which have the pale peach sticker! All correct answers will go into the draw to win the 2 tickets! Entries close this Sunday 11th October, 2015. Refer below for Terms and Conditions.

There are so many glorious reasons to visit the Philippines, you might never want to come home!

manila gourmet food

Terms and Conditions:

1. You and your travel partner must be permanent residents of Australia to be eligible for the prize.
2. Competition Closes Sunday 11th October, 2015.
3. The winner will be drawn, at random, on Monday 12th October.
4. The winner will be notified via Direct Message on Facebook or Instagram.
5. The return flights will be SYD – MNL direct, however if you are from another capital city in Australia, Cebu Pacific will cover transit costs to SYD.
6. tickets are only valid for travel until August 2016 and that the below blackout dates apply:

  • 27 Oct – 4 Nov 2015
  • 18 Dec 2015 – 6 Jan 2016
  • 18 Mar – 31 Mar 2016
  • 4 May – 15 May 2016

AMW xx
~~
This article/competition is in collaboration with Cebu Pacific Airlines and the Philippines Tourism Board.
~~
Image of Streat Maginhawa Food Park via Travels with Gusto

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