60 things to do in the Isle of Man

Things to do in the Isle of Man | PACK THE SUITCASES

After a recent brilliant long weekend there, I wanted to share some of my favourite things to do in the Isle of Man with you all. As usual when I start writing a list, it got a bit out of control… It is just a list though, so if you like background and detail, I also have a more in-depth guide to visiting the Isle of Man from last year. And I’m going to write an itinerary for a long weekend without a car there because I didn’t half cram a lot in during my latest visit.

Like I’ve said before, the Isle of Man is a totally underrated destination. I don’t know why more people don’t know about it, although that’s part of its charm. The Isle of Man’s scenery rivals that of the Lake District and Highlands but it doesn’t have the same volume of tourists, which makes it much better. It’s often even quiet enough for you to get beaches or glens entirely to yourself. And as we all know, there is nothing better than being away from other people.

Anyway, onto 60 of my personal favourite things to do in the Isle of Man…

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One week in San Francisco itinerary: for 7 days exploring without a car

One week in San Francisco: itinerary for 7 days | PACK THE SUITCASES

I’ve been raving to everyone about how amazing this city is since I visited in May, so I wanted to share my San Francisco itinerary for a one week/7 day trip. It was my first time visiting the USA (more on that here) and San Francisco was quite the place to start with. I have to admit I spent the first couple of days wandering around gawping and in a bit of a daze, which was a mixture of jetlag and the general overwhelming nature of the US. But after I’d adjusted and got into it, I was able to take it all in more. San Francisco is definitely one of the most interesting and unique cities I’ve ever been to.

We hardly ever drive and SF has public transport, which is one of the main reasons we picked it as our starting point for our first trip to the USA (Boston, MA was our second port of call). That and the fact it’s laid back, left wing and very cool with loads of stuff to do and a thriving veggie/vegan food scene. It ticks all my proverbial boxes.

So here’s my 7 days in San Francisco itinerary, featuring everything I did/saw/ate each day (with emphasis on the eating). I hope it’ll be handy as a general travel guide for anyone’s first time there or for anyone planning a week in San Francisco who is overwhelmed by everything there is to do…

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Travel lovers: here’s how to reduce your carbon footprint by planting trees

Reduce your carbon footprint by planting trees | PACK THE SUITCASES

Bit of an unusual post here, but this is one way you can reduce your carbon footprint (and guilt, sort of) caused by air travel. Planting trees (in the UK). I’m sharing this idea because I find that the major downside of being a frequent traveller is the huge negative impact it has on two things: my bank balance and my carbon footprint. The financial impact is way beyond salvage, but we can at least try to do something about the impact on our planet.

A couple of years ago, just after starting this blog actually, me and my other half bought a grove of trees to offset the carbon emissions we cause with our air travel. Every month since then, we’ve donated towards growing this little grove. Whenever I mention this to other people who travel/go on holiday a lot, they’ve been dead interested. And I think it’s important to at least try to travel in a greener and more ethical way. So I thought I’d write a post about it to share what I do. Hopefully regular readers won’t mind the slight diversion from my normal posts.

ANYWAY, if you travel a lot and do anything good to give back to the planet, let me know in the comments. I’m always up for trying to stop killing the earth.

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36 unusual, alternative European city breaks for your next holiday

36 unusual and alternative European city breaks | PACK THE SUITCASES

I wanted to put together a post about alternative European city breaks because so often when people say ‘city break’, it’s just a byword for going off to the classic Paris/Rome/Barcelona/Berlin/Amsterdam options. But there are so many other alternative, more off-the-beaten-track cities that can still give you all the culture, sightseeing, shopping and (of course) eating that you want from a city break.

This post is a bit different from my usual inane ramblings. As well as sharing some destination ideas that I’ve loved myself, I thought I’d use it as a chance to get some inspiration for my OWN future city breaks in Europe.

So I asked around a load of fellow travel bloggers and they obliged me with a whopping 29 unusual European city break ideas. Always keen to have my own say, I added another seven of my own favourite up-and-coming city break options. And voila – here you have this huge list of 36 alternative European city breaks to give you some food for thought for your next holiday…

Put the kettle on. It might take you a while to get though.

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I’m shortlisted for a Northern Blog Award! And I’m begging for your vote in a totally not desperate manner!

So… I’ve somehow ended up shortlisted for a Northern Blog Award for this here travel blog! What is going on in the world?! I don’t know how this has happened. But obviously now here I am begging you, my lovely readers, for your vote (and not sounding at all desperate, right?).

Here’s a bit of background to it and how you can vote for me. If you want to. No pressure. I just won’t ever speak to you again if you don’t. Ahem…

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42 first impressions and weird things about America

Weird things about America you might find on your first visit | PACK THE SUITCASES

Before I start this huge post about all the interesting, surprising and weird things about America that I found on our first ever trip there recently, I just want to do a bit of a disclaimer. Here it is:

DISCLAIMER!!!

1. These things are based on my first ever trip to the USA. We went to San Francisco and Boston, with a few day trips to their nearby towns. So this first impression is gathered from visiting just two cities out of a whopping massive country that’s completely different from one area to the next. I’m very much aware that no one, two, three or even 10 cities can be representative of an entire country, especially one that ginormous. However, ‘Amusing first impressions and funny/weird things I found when visiting San Francisco and Boston and some of their nearby towns’ doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. And who doesn’t love sweeping generalisations about everything from toilet water quantities to the pronunciation of ‘herbs’?!
2. Also, I absolutely loved both places we went and had a right hoot there. So this is a highly positive/light hearted post for the most part. There are of course, some negative aspects to the US – like anywhere.

Disclaimer over, here are 42 (I tried to stop at 40, soz) weird things about America, or rather things that I found amusing/odd and general first impressions on my first ever trip to the USA…

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