24 gorgeous gifts for travel lovers

It’s nearly time for Christmas shopping, so I’ve put together this list of gifts for travel lovers, which would also work for birthdays and special occasions all year round to be honest. As someone who loves travel, I’d be made up with any of these things. In fact, I already have quite a few of them, so I can vouch that they actually are nice things to have.

Before you settle in to peruse my travel-themed present ideas, I just want to assure you that this list does not contain scratch maps, novelty passport cases or any other useless stuff that’s been done to death… Enjoy!

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3 days in St Petersburg, Russia: a complete city guide and itinerary

3 days in St Petersburg, Russia: itinerary | PACK THE SUITCASES

This mammoth 3 days in St Petersburg itinerary (and city guide in general) has taken me ages to write up. But it’s been so worth it to share all of my recommendations on what to do, see and eat in this gorgeous Russian city. Having spent an incredible 2 weeks in Russia this year and absolutely LOVING it, I’m now ready to convince everyone I know that they have to go. 

I actually spent nearly a week in St Petersburg after visiting Moscow, but only had a solid 3 days of full-on itinerary blocked in. The rest of the time, we winged it and found extra things as we went. So although you could cram all of this into 3 days and whiz through the city using it, you could also spread it out over longer. St Petersburg involves a lot of walking and you might want a few ‘rest days’.

Anyway, enough waffle from me. Get your glass of vodka and get reading the St Petersburg itinerary and city guide…

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10 things to do in Okayama city, Japan

I wanted to put together this list of things to do in Okayama city, Japan, because there’s very little out there about it. When researching the city for my own visit recently, I managed to find loads about Okayama the prefecture, but hardly anything about where to eat, what to see or things to do in Okayama city itself. So here I am, filling a wee gap in the market.

Okayama is a quiet and small city compared with others across Japan, so it’s probably not that surprising I couldn’t find much on it. It’s not very well known and people visiting the general area tend to go straight to Hiroshima, Takamatsu or the incredible art island, Naoshima. But Okayama actually makes a good base for visiting these places and is a nice little city, worth spending a day in in itself. I wouldn’t go mad and say you must visit Okayama like your life depends on it, but there’s plenty to get up to in one or even two days there.

Anyway, here are some of the things to do in Okayama that I enjoyed and a few places to eat as well (because when is food not the priority in Japan?!). Pour yourself a glass of sake and have a read…

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How to do a day trip to beautiful Burano island from Venice, Italy

How to do a day trip from Venice to Burano, Italy | PACK THE SUITCASES

Here’s how to do a gorgeous little day trip from Venice to Burano, Italy – the island that’s home to a famously rainbow-coloured fishing village. Burano island is unmissable if you’re visiting Venice. Seriously. I’ve never seen anywhere like it and I absolutely get why tourists flock to it.

Originally, Burano’s fishing families painted their houses these bright colours so that they could find their way home on their boats after a heavy night out when thick fog descended on the Venetian lagoon. There’s not as much fishing going on these days, although they do still have some. But the bright colours have remained, much to the joy of photographers everywhere. Burano gives Cinque Terre a run for its money on the picturesque and vibrant front, and it’s only little so it makes the perfect morning or afternoon out on the water bus from the centre of Venice. 

Here’s my little guide to how to get to Burano, things to see there, when to visit, what to eat and just generally what to get up to on a Venice to Burano day trip…

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2 days in Venice itinerary and guide to what to see, do and eat

Here’s a quick itinerary for spending 2 days in Venice as a first-time visitor to Italy’s magical lagoon city. To be honest, I’d recommend more than 2 days in Venice if you really want to explore beyond the big sights. But if you’re on a time limit, there’s plenty you can cram into a weekend or short break.

Venice is obviously one of the most popular destinations in the world, on everyone’s bucket list, and it’s easy to be tempted to skip it thinking it’ll be disappointing or overrated. I think this is especially the case if you’re a seasoned traveller and prefer going to more unusual locations. However, Venice is like nowhere else on earth. Yes, it’s busy and popular. But it’s so worth it. I mean, it’s a floating city made up of islands in a lagoon, full of grand history and a unique way of life. What could be more intriguing than that? There are no roads, only canals and footpaths, so you get a lovely break from dodging traffic like on other city trips. And everywhere you look is the original ‘shabby chic’ style of architecture. It’s stunning and photos don’t do it justice. You have to go there.

So settle down with a bellini (when in Venice…) and enjoy picking what you like the look of in this itinerary for spending a beautiful 2 days in Venice…

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45 things to do in Moscow, Russia

Things to do in Moscow, Russia | PACK THE SUITCASES

Here are 45 of my favourite things to do in Moscow, Russia. I fell in love with the place and spent a good amount of time there so I feel I can give some decent tips on how best to spend your time in this amazing city.

I’ve avoided including anything I didn’t fancy myself and I’ve only focused on the city of Moscow itself rather than looking at the entire Moscow region/day trips… Otherwise, this will turn into a million things to do and no one will have the patience to read it. I’ll be impressed if anyone actually reads all 45 things to be honest.

Anyway, read on if you want some tips from a fully fledged Moscow fan. Enjoy.

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