Best Tips for Long-Distance Flights

Long distance haul, travel tips

How to Survive Long Flights in Economy

I regularly fly, though I do not think of myself as a frequent flyer. And, to be honest, long-distance flights are a bit of a pain for me. Though I am not a fan of long-haul flights, I have learned to deal with them and, with some tips/tricks, I sometimes realize they really are not that bad! Here are my tips on how to survive long-haul flights (if you do not have a business or first-class ticket)

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Preparation – Before Check-In

Before getting on a plane, try to be best prepared.

1. Get an Upgrade

Okay, I wrote I would give you tips to survive a long-distance flight without being in the first-class, but if you can try to get an upgrade. The reality is: I have never gotten any, nor did I ever book a business or first-class ticket (so, I will tell you more about it once I know how to score an upgrade). But I have read a bit on how to get an upgrade. These tips apparently were not successful as I have not been successful, but it does not hurt to ask for an upgrade once you are at the airport.

2. Check-in Online and Choose the Perfect Seat for Yourself

Window or Aisle seat? What do you prefer? What makes you more comfortable?

I prefer a window seat, some prefer an aisle seat, but apparently, no one likes the middle seat.

  • Pro window: Good view, easier to fall asleep, no one disturbs you when they get up
  • Pro aisle: Easier to get up and walk around

Close to the wings, at the end, or front?

Apparently, sitting near the wing has the advantage that the flight is smoother (especially if there is turbulence).

I personally try to have a seat at the end or front of the plane since it is easier and quicker to get out of the plane (at the front of economy class are often families with children, so this might be worth considering as well).

13 Tips for Long Haul Flights @shutterstock

3. Order a Special Meal

Since I am vegetarian now, I order a vegetarian meal, but I had always ordered meals without fish and pork even before I became a vegetarian/vegan. So, what does this have to do with a comfortable flight?

So I basically have always gotten my food first and could go to sleep quickly. If you do not eat airplane food, you could try to fall asleep straight away, but you do not want to wait for food impatiently if you are like me.

4. Move and Rest Before a Flight

If it is a night flight, try to rest a few hours before the plane takes off. Thrombosis is real, and putting your legs up helps prevent swollen legs (and serious health issues), though some light activities/exercises before a flight are also important. I actually try to avoid night flights these days because my legs just cannot handle 24 hours or longer of standing/sitting these days anymore. This might be something you want to consider, too.

What to Do to Survive During the Flight

Here are a few tips that help you survive once you are on the plane.

1. Clothes

If you want to feel good on a flight, dress comfortably. Long-haul flights are not about looking perfect (maybe just a bit) and being stylish. If the style is important to you, combine it with casual clothing.

Wear layers and wear comfortable clothes. The right choice of clothes are the foundation for a good flight:

  • Sweatpants. Nothing beats sweatpants, pants should not be too tight to allow good blood circulation and cotton is the best material to feel cozy and comfy.
  • Warm socks. Have you ever had cold feet during a flight, making you wear your shoes non-stop? Then I feel you. Shoes are the death of being comfy, so you should be able to take them during the flight. If you want warm feet, you need warm socks.
  • A big and warm scarf is my absolute must-have (which I can use for different purposes) – I use it as a scarf, as a blanket and pillow, or whatsoever. One of my must-have items on a flight.
  • Flat shoes which can be easily taken off. Bulky shoes that take forever to be put on and off are such a turn-off. I am less likely to get up and walk if it takes forever to put my shoes on.
  • A cardigan which I occasionally use as an extra blanket. I love something that can be easily taken off and which does not have too many buttons or even a zipper, so a minimalistic cardigan is another must-have for a good flight.

2. Snacks

I have to admit that I love airplane food (even in the economy class), and I strongly assume it is because I am bored and look forward to being busy. However, many people dislike airplane food and snacks and wind up staying hungry, so pack your snacks (I have a sweet tooth, so I always look forward to having my favorite snacks onboard).

By the way: Do you have food allergies? Then read this about with tips for people who travel with food allergies.

Long-haul flights are not the time to worry too much about the healthiest food – so, bring snacks you really enjoy and look forward to eating. However, keep in mind that too unhealthy food can make you feel sick (especially on flights).

3. Stay Away from Certain Food/Drinks

Yes, good food can make you handle long flights better. But everybody should know their bodies. For me, this means no alcohol, no caffeine (I do not want to go to the plane toilet all the time), and nothing I do not tolerate well in general (everything seems to be worse up in the air). Does this apply to you, too? 

4.  Sleep

If you are a lucky person, you will be able to sleep most of the time. Since not all people actually have that talent to fall asleep wherever they are, there are also some other things you can do to keep yourself happy during a long-distance flight on this list.

Taking a neck pillow is actually my most important travel tip for long-distance flights. It is often my lifesaver (extra tip: I do not wrap it around my neck but put it on backward, so my head won’t fall forward during the flight and wake me up, and it is way more comfortable).

I personally do not use a sleep mask but a must-have for many travelers. I often fall asleep before the plane even takes off  – so I seriously miss the take-off. I am aware that I am fortunate and know most are not “gifted” with such a talent, so some might need an eye mask and earplugs.

5. Entertainment

Before Netflix allowed offline downloads, I was sure that my iPad had been my worst “investment” ever – now that I can download my TV shows and watch them offline, long-haul flights have become much better!

Music: I could not survive a long time without my own music, so my iPod is one of my favorite items.

I have to admit that I still don’t have a, so a “real” book is often an essential as well as some other electronics (check which ones are allowed to take on board) since I never rely on the entertainment program of the airline, sometimes they are awesome (hello Emirates Airlines), sometimes they are not. So be prepared and take your own entertainment.

6. Pack all Necessary Items in a Carry-On Bag

Organize your carry-on like a pro, so you have easy access:

Find Out My Tips For a Perfect Carry-On

7. Stay Fresh

You are how you feel – so being hygienic makes you feel better for sure, so a toothbrush and toothpaste are my essentials, as well as some Refreshing towelettes and peppermint drops.

8. Change Your Watch Ahead of Time

Prepare yourself mentally, and adjust for the time difference. 

9. Exercise

It is important to get up and move so your blood can flow, and you´ll feel better (and kill time). Try to avoid crossing your legs as it is not good for your blood flow, and if necessary, get some compression socks.

I hope these tips on long-distance flights help you to enjoy your next long-distance flight more.

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Travel tips, 13 Tips for Long Haul Flights

 

More travel tips: How to Travel for Free Using Miles and Points

WHEN VISIT ICELAND – IN WINTER OR SUMMER?

Best time to visit Iceland, winter or summer Arzo Travels

BEST TIME TO VISIT ICELAND

Have you added Iceland to your bucket list and are now wondering about the best time to visit Iceland? Are you wondering whether Iceland in summer or winter is the best time for an amazing Iceland trip? Then read on, as there are things to know about the best travel time for Iceland. I share my tips on whether you should visit Iceland in winter or summer (and which months are the best for your Iceland trip).

HOW TO DECIDE WHETHER TO VISI IN WINTER OR SUMMER

Iceland is truly a magical place. With its many volcanos and glaciers, Iceland is known as the Land of Fire and Ice. It is also rich in many more natural attractions like hot springs, waterfalls, geysers, and more. So, this all is no secret. However, to experience Iceland at its best, you should carefully plan when to visit Iceland.

Iceland is located near the Arctic Circle. This location has many, many benefits – but also some “disadvantages.” You have a winter wonderland in winter with concise days, while in summer, you have endless days with 24 hours of daylight.

SEASONS IN ICELAND

There are actually four seasons in Iceland.

  • Summer in Iceland – June, July, August, and September
  • Fall in Iceland – September, October, November, and December 
  • Winter in Iceland – December, January, February, and March 
  • Spring in Iceland – March, April, May, and June

However, for this post, I refer to summer from May-September and to winter from November-March (just leaving some months out).

After visiting Iceland in winter (December and January), I knew I had to revisit. So, I revisited in the summer months. And both trips were unique and unforgettable – but could not have been more different.

Do I have a favorite time to visit Iceland? Yes and no. Visiting Iceland in summer or winter was extreme – both times. So, I have created a couple of categories that should help figure out the best time to go to Iceland.

ICELAND – WEATHER AND DAYLIGHT IN SUMMER AND WINTER

This category will be the longest because it is quite important.

SUMMER WEATHER AND DAYLIGHT IN ICELAND 

Summer in Iceland is perfect if you want to experience long days. 

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Temperatures in Iceland are not comparable with temperatures in Central Europe or even Southern Europe. Temperatures can rise to 20-25 °C (68-77 °F), but most of the time they are about 10-15 °c (50-59 °F) with strong winds on the coast and a lot of rain (especially in Reykjavik). 

The best about visiting Iceland in summer is the looong summer days – you might have heard about the magical Midnight Sun in the nordic countries. 

So what is the midnight sun? It is a natural phenomenon that occurs during the summer in places south and north of the Antarctic Circle – including Iceland. The Earth rotates at a tilted axis relative to the Sun, and near the 21st of June, the north pole is tilted toward the Sun, and the northern hemisphere experiences summer solstice. For several weeks, the Sun never sets above the Arctic Circle, and the Sun remains visible even at Midnight.

  • The peak of Iceland’s Midnight Sun is usually the 21st of June
  • You can experience the Midnight Sun in Iceland between mid-May until mid-August
  • You can see the Midnight Sun everywhere in Iceland
  • Iceland’s daylight hours on the longest days of the year are 24 hours per day (May-July)
  • Iceland’s daylight hours increase by 1-3 minutes every day between the 21st of December and the 21st of June, and then it decreases every day by 1-2 minutes.
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So, what does it mean for visitors? Endless days that allow you hours of hours and hours of exploring. You can start your days very early and avoid the crowds – you can do all the “sightseeing” during the night and sleep during the day. And have places all (or almost) to yourself.

WINTER WEATHER AND DAYLIGHT IN ICELAND

Iceland in winter is not as cold as many think (and I thought) because the Gulf Stream flows along the west and south of Iceland and brings some “warmth”. 

Reykjavik is in the southwest part of the country, and the average temperature is around 1-2°C (33-35°F) – but it can also drop to -10°C (14°F) in winter.

The further north you go, the colder it will get. Isafjordur, in the Icelandic Westfjords, can be inaccessible due to heavy snowfall at times. Isagjordour is just one of several places which gets isolated.

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But the weather is something you can prepare for – dress accordingly, and you should be fine. However, short days are something that might be troublesome.

  • Short days in Iceland in the winter because of the country’s high latitude
  • The shortest day of the year is the 21st of December – there are only around 4 hours of daylight (depending on where exactly you are)
  •  The longest day in the middle of December is only 5 hours of daylight. Sunrise is around 11 am and sunset between 3 and 4 pm
  • Iceland’s daylight hours increase by 1-3 minutes every day between the 21st of December and the 21st of June, and then it decreases every day by 1-2 minutes.
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So, how exactly does that impact exploring Iceland? I had known about short days, but nothing prepared me for THAT short days. After nine or ten days in Iceland, my mood went down rapidly. If you start your day at around 9 or 10 am, you cannot see much. If you sit in a car/bus and want to enjoy the scenery…you just cannot see much. The picture above is shortly before 11 am and the reason you can see a little bit, is because the street is lightened by the car lights. It just starts getting lighter before 11 am. You cannot do any outdoor sightseeing before 11 am, and you have to finish at around 3 pm. That honestly sucked. 

Here is my packing list for your Iceland winter trip.

CONCLUSION: BEST WEATHER IN ICELAND

Given Iceland’s vastness, it will be impossible to see a lot in winter in 5 days just because of the little daylight. I loooooved the long days. This way, I could see much more of Iceland – I did not feel the need to hurry. Usually, I woke up at around 6 am and did some exploring, went back to my van, took a nap, explored again in the afternoon, and then continued my journey and arrived at the campsites only before Midnight. I mean, that is a perfect life for me.

I heard from people not being able to sleep because of the long days. Though I visited in July in a camper van, I slept well and had no issues with the long day. I loooooved the long days and think summer is an amazing time to visit Iceland.

ICELAND SCENERY IN WINTER OF SUMMER

Iceland’s scenery is impressive. But is Iceland more beautiful in summer or winter? This time, I will show you mostly photos and keep the talking to a minimum.

ICELAND SUMMER SCENERY

Iceland in summer means you have almost 24 hours a day to explore the country. See the greenery, moss-covered waterfalls, and more (only trees are a rarity in Iceland).

Iceland in winter or summer Arzo Travels

WINTER SCENERY IN ICELAND

Iceland is a winter wonderland – snow-capped mountains, frozen waterfalls, and more. Iceland in winter and summer could not be any more different – I visited places in summer and winter. Compare yourself.

Iceland in winter or summer, Arzo Travels

CONCLUSION: IS ICELAND MORE BEAUTIFUL IN WINTER OR SUMMER

I have to say that Iceland in winter looks better than in summer, much better. It is more magical and special. 

Polls of my Instagram followers, however, showed a tie for most places. So, like most things, it is just about your personal preferences, but I 100% root for the scenery in winter.

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BETTER ICELAND ACTIVITIES IN WINTER OR SUMMER

Summer and winter offer both wonderful activities throughout the year. Most main sights in Iceland can be visited throughout the year. The Blue Lagoon, Diamond Beach,  Gullfoss Waterfalls, Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, hot pools, and more – so, regardless of the time of your visit, there is no lack of attractions to visit and activities to do.

Solheimajökull in Iceland is one of the best day trips from Reykjavk

SUMMER ACTIVITIES IN ICELAND

See puffins, visit Glaumbaer, see Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon, do a boat Tour on the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, go whale watching…There are a few attractions/activities you can only do in the summer months. Also, hiking in the summer months is possible. It will be too icy and dangerous to visit some of the beautiful attractions. This beautiful waterfall can only be visited in the summer months (if you do not want to risk your life). So, bring your hiking clothes and plan some epic hikes for snow-free hiking paths.

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WINTER ACTIVITIES IN ICELAND

See ice waterfalls, celebrate NYE in Reykjavik, see the Northern Lights… for some attractions, it is best to come in winter. The Northern Lights might be the main reason for many to visit Iceland in the winter months. My take on it is: If the Northern Lights are your main reason to visit, then re-consider. I stayed in Iceland for 12 nights and just saw a very thin light…In pictures, they still looked amazing. Because the camera is able to catch the Northern Lights, the eye is not that great. So, in Iceland, you might experience wonderful lights dancing, but chances are much better in other parts of the world.

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CONCLUSION: SUMMER OR WINTER ACTIVITIES

So, Iceland has some fantastic places and attractions to visit year-round. But if you want to experience a lot and do many attractions/tick off bucket-list items, then the summer months would be the better time to visit because more places are accessible and more unique activities are offered. So, in summer, add places like the secret Nauthusagil Waterfall, the pretty Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon, or Bruarfoss Waterfall to your Iceland itinerary.

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GETTING AROUND ICELAND IN SUMMER AND WINTER

Iceland is quite extensive, and its attractions are spread throughout the country. The bad news is that public transportation is pretty bad in Iceland. You can use it for Reykjavik or some other towns, but it is challenging to use it as the only or the main mode of transport.

There are basically only two ways to get around in Iceland: booking guided tours or doing a road trip.

HOW TO GET AROUND ICELAND IN SUMMER

Summer is the perfect time to explore Iceland on your own. Rent a var (and bring your own over) and do a Ring Road road trip (if you have at least 7-10 days) or a Golden Circle Tour plus a few detours if you have less than seven days. Many streets are in good condition, it is easy to drive and navigate, and there are sooooo many stunning stops along the way (that you have not even heard of). It might be a bit busy during the summer months, but if you leave the Golden Circle and Southern Iceland, fewer people are on the streets. This makes road tripping in summer even more fun.

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Some parts of Iceland – especially the highlands (the famous F-roads) and some dirt roads- are only accessible via 4WD. But in summer, most places are accessible with a regular car, and if you want to drive the F-roads, you can.

As great as guided tours are, there are not comparable with driving yourself and stopping whenever you want.

You do not enjoy driving? Then do guided tours. I did a handful of guided tours in winter, and because it was dark until 11 am, I could not enjoy the scenery, but in summer, you can have fantastic window views if you do guided tours.

GETTING AROUND IN WINTER IN ICELAND 

Winter is a challenging time to drive – while Reyjkavik is still pretty okay to drive ( I saw cars sliding a couple of times, though). Outside of the capital and main routes like the Golden Circle, driving is not an easy task. Heavy snow and icy roads are only for experienced winter drivers. I did a lot of research on driving in winter (because road tripping in winter was my initial plan). It is possible to drive, but most people (especially locals) do not advise road tripping Iceland in winter. 

Also, many streets and towns can become isolated and cut off from the rest of the country – meaning you might be stuck in a place for days.

So, in summer, road trips are excellent, in winter not so much. But how to you get around in Iceland in winter then?

Guided tours in Iceland are pretty good. Tours to most attractions are offered, and you can relax and enjoy the scenery while you are on a bus. I did a good number of guided tours. There was Wifi in all buses, knowledgeable guides and we visited the main places. But it was also a hassle – waiting for people of my group, not seeing all the places I would have loved, spending too much or too little time at a place…

CONCLUSION: HOW EASY IT IS TO GET AROUND IN SUMMER AND WINTER

In winter, tours are the best option to see the country. Tours have their advantages but also their disadvantages (at any time of the year). In summer, you can do guided tours or road trip Iceland. Winter in Iceland makes it really hard to get around on your own. Either you are brave and rent a car or you do guided tours only. So, Iceland in summer is the winner in this case.

P.S: There are tours for several days where you can see more of Iceland.

December in Iceland, Golden Circle with Arzo Travels

PRICES IN ICELAND 

Iceland is expensive. Like really expensive. At any time of the year. BUT, Iceland is cheaper in the winter months.

PRICES IN ICELAND IN SUMMER

The summer months, especially June, July, and August, are the most popular months to visit Iceland, spiking prices for accommodation and rental cars e.g. 

PRICES IN ICELAND IN WINTER

Visiting Iceland in winter is usually cheaper. However, visiting in December can be pricy because many people come here for NYE. If you visit in November or January/February you can save tons of money. For more info on costs, check out my post with how much I paid for my Iceland trips.

CONCLUSION: IS IT CHEAPER IN SUMMER OR WINTER

Iceland will always be a costy travel destination. Avoid June, July, and August and also December. The shoulder season is the best time to visit for a budget-friendly trip (even if it is in spring or fall). So, this time, an Iceland winter trip wins against an Iceland summer trip.

BEST MONTHS TO VISIT ICELAND

Iceland is a fantastic country to visit year-round. However, it feels like two different countries in summer compared to winter.

Above mentioned categories might have helped you decide whether you should visit in the summer months or winter months (or even in “Spring” or “Fall”).

Personally, I think Iceland looked MUCH better in winter compared to summer. It had something more magical and more unique. I will never forget the winter trip because it was extreme. The good and the bad were extreme.

However, considering all the factors, especially daylight, summer is the better season to visit Iceland. It is more accessible and welcoming. The long days make it a perfect country to see.

You see, I am struggling making a final, an ultimate decision because Iceland. 

If you want to visit Iceland in the summer, I suggest visiting in June/July (despite the crowds and prices, just for the midnight sun) or late May or August. I recommend visiting November, January, or February (the days are longer, prices drop, and it is still winter wonderland) for the winter months.

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PACKING LIST FOR A SUMMER VACATION

What to pack for you next summer trip

WHAT TO PACK FOR A SUMMER TRIP

Are you super excited about your summer vacation? Are you planning to spend time at dreamy beaches, hiking in stunning landscapes, or doing some sightseeing in one of the pretty towns and cities throughout the world?

Flights are booked, accommodation is safe (or if you are like me, you book last-minute?), and now you only need to make sure you have all you need, and your packing list for a summer trip is complete, and you have not forgotten anything? Well, here is: the complete packing list for a summer vacation.

Disclaimer: This post was written by me but in cooperation with TahariASL.com. This post contains affiliate links – this means I will earn a small commission when you buy a product/service (at no extra cost to you. More about it HERE.

Check out my list to see which things you should not forget to pack for your next trip. By the way: if you are still looking for travel inspiration, check out my post about 15 colorful cities in Europe or my favorite top 10 cities in the world.What should I pack for a summer trip? Find the ultimate summer packing list.

Okay, let´ get started with the ultimate packing list for your summer vacation.

Luggage/Bags/Organizing

As a traveler or tourist, luggage is essential. Cheap is more expensive – sometimes, and this can be applied to luggage. Though I would not spend thousands of $$$ on luggage, I prefer buying decent luggage, so it prevents me from buying it twice.

  • Depending on where you are traveling to and what kind of traveler you are, either a suitcase or a backpack is the better choice.
  • A wheeled carry-on suitcase or a weekender is also always part of my travels.
  • Handbags or a small backpack?  It really depends, what kind of traveler you are. I love my handbags, but I actually have a backpack as well. When I do short hikes, etc. prefer cross-body bags (it is more practical and secure). Click here to see some more affordable bags, or here, if you are looking for more extravagant and luxurious handbags, find some cool, stylish backpacks here.
  • Cotton Bag – Cotton what? If you decide to travel in Europe (and particularly in Germany), you will notice that plastic bags most often cost money- for grocery or other kinds of shopping. Actually, this is great for the environment (and travelers), though not very handy. So, some cotton bags are very cool and fun, so this is actually a good “investment,” and you could also use it for the beach as well. Check out some cotton bags here.
  • Have you noticed that many people (aka bloggers) recommend packing cubes lately? It is because travel packing cubes are actually convenient, so get the packing cube before your next summer trip.
  • Laundry bags are great if you travel for longer and don’t want your dirty and clean clothes to mix up.
  • I constantly lose stuff (also jewelry), so probably I should put a small travel jewelry case on my list, so it does not happen anymore.
  • If you travel abroad, you probably need your passport – my passport does not fit into my regular wallet, so I have a passport holder wallet which I take with me. This travel passport wallet comes in great, fun colors, too (p.s. talking about passport holders, your passport/ID is, of course, the most important item you have to take).

General / Electronics to Pack for a Summer Trip

Traveling the world is amazing. However, some items help make traveling even better: Whether it is a camera that helps you capture beautiful moments or some entertainment gear to keep you staying alive if you have a long-distance flight, etc.

  • I have my laptop with me whenever I fly, as I can work etc. New TSA regulations are stricter now, so you can probably not take your laptop as a carry-on item, so double-check before you fly.
  • A while ago, I thought my tablet is the most useless item I bought in a while – since I can download from Netflix (and thus watch my shows offline), I have found one good argument bringing my tablet with me whenever I travel.
  • My phone– without doubt one of my most useful and important (travel) item
  • A power charger – how long does your phone battery last? Not long? Neither does mine, so this is essential.

Beauty/Health/Hygiene Products to Pack for Summer Holidays

If I travel for 10 days or shorter, I take travel-sized toiletries that I refill with my natural and organic beauty products from home (shampoo, conditioner, hair masks, cleaning water, and cleansing milk). If I travel for longer, I take the original sizes.

More products that I recommend for a summer holiday (okay, that looks like a looooong list, but most items are just small things that do not take a lot of space)

Forget all the different small bags for shampoo etc. – get them all packed in a Toiletry Kit.

  • My favorite hairbrush (especially for longer hair)
  • Refreshing towelettes– though they are not eco-friendly, they are sometimes just essential and a must.
  • Face cream (which I also use as a hand cream, so I do not have to take another cream)
  • A small cosmetic bag for your makeup
  • Peppermint drops or chewing gums (though I heard chewing gums are not good when you fly, so probably stick to peppermint drops.
  • Deodorant– I don’t think I need to explain this further 🙂
  • Invisibobble hair ties – I hate my hair open when I am on the plane
  • Toothbrush & paste  should also be self-explanatory as well as mouthwash
  • I do not wear much makeup normally. Rouge & mascara are my lifesavers.
  • I have dry eyes, and so eye drops are a must for me
  • I am normally sick when I fly (not sure why this happens, but I always have a cold!) and always have some tissues with me

Clothes to Pack for Your Summer Trip

As you have probably noticed from my Instagram pictures, I love beautiful dresses and clothes – and I like to be dressed nicely when I get my pictures taken. These pictures are everlasting memories and will help me reminder places and moments – in case I should forget them.

Here are some colorful and lovely dresses I found at Tahari – an Online-shop for women with clothes for all kinds of women, starting from petite size to women´s plus. These are some items I have fallen in love with and which I would love to get for myself.

  • I had a yellow skirt with me on my last summer trip to Italy/Switzerland – I think it was one of my most loved clothes by my followers. Summer means to wear bright colors, so pack a bright and fun skirt for sure.
  • Pack some colorful and lovely dresses
  • Oh, my favorite part is to pack colorful skirts, tops, and dresses. White (or bright) tops and pants are essential – it seriously helps not to melt sometimes 🙂
  • Since I lose regularly lose jewelry (it is really awful) and thus mostly wear watches and bracelets, I love tops that are so beautiful that no jewelry is required.
  • Summer in jeans can be horrible. I prefer lighter clothes – and again, I try to avoid black as much as possible (not always possible, I know) and prefer white pants.
  • Summer usually means more casual dressing, but it can never harm to have a lovely cocktail dress, or?

You will also need underwear, some socks (probably?), pajamas, etc., but I think I do not need to go into detail here :).

What Fashion Accessory to Pack for Your Summer Vacation

Sometimes fashion accessory is not only a fashion statement but also essential for the health.

  • To me sunglasses are more than an accessorize – it protects your eyes and can help you stay healthy. So invest in proper sunglasses which actually really protect your eyes from sun rays.
  • I am not a hat addict. But when it is really hot and sunny, a hat can be a lifesaver, so a hat should be in your bag even when you aren’t a huge fan.

 Footwear to Pack for Your Summer Trip

  • Summertime means flip-flops time – so don’t forget to pack at least one pair (or, as I do, several of them).
  • Sandals and flat shoes should be on your list well because, as cool as flip-flops are, they are sometimes inappropriate to wear.
  • If you plan to do a lot of walking, consider getting Birkenstock sandals to treat your feet. I own two pairs of Birkenstock, and after one day breaking in time, they do a fantastic job.

What to Pack for a Rainy Summer Day

Summer does not always mean sun and heat- at least not in Europe. In Europe (at least in the northern parts), summer can also mean some (or a lot) of rain once in a while, and it can get chilly.

So, check the weather forecast and be prepared to take:

  • A jacket
  • A scarf
  • A rain jacket
  • Rubber boots & trainers
  • Mini umbrella

Though many people might expect rainy days in the UK, the truth is that even Switzerland and Germany (and other countries) experience (heavy) rain during summer. The umbrella can serve as sun protection (I wish I had one back in Dubai – but that is a different story).

What to Pack for a Day at the Beach

  • Beach bag – I love bags. It´s like a wonderful addiction. Beach bags are so cool because they are light, big enough, and fun. So a day at the beach without a beach bag is only half as good, so
  • If you have a great hotel with a private beach section, you probably do not need a towel. If this is not the case not it should also be on your list. If you do not have any beach towel yet,
  • Do you prefer lying at the beach all day, or do you like to be more active? Though I do not do a lot of sports most of the time, beach sports are much more fun, and if you agree, bring your beach ball or a floating unicorn. Unfortunately, this is not part of most hotels’ essentials yet, so you need to get them yourself.
  • I am in love with kaftans – a perfect item for the beach
  • Last but not least: A bikini, Burkina, or any swimsuit should not be missing on your packing list for some lazy days at the beach.

P.S. Don’t forget to bring your sunscreen & co to the beach as well.

What Else to Pack for Your Summer Holidays

If I travel for longer, I get a travel guide -the internet is not always guaranteed throughout the world, so this is actually great to have. Lonely Planet guides are more detailed guides, while Marco Polo ones are less comprehensive.

A foldable, reusable water bottle is pretty handy, which you can get here. In countries like Switzerland, there are fountains with free clean water, which can save you money and it´s much better than plastic bottles.

Do you have more items on your summer vacation packing list? If so, how does your ultimate packing list for a summer vacation look like?

So, wherever you are headed – enjoy your trip and stay safe! Arzo

Pin me for later and use this as a summer holiday checklistUltimate Packing List: The Perfect Summer Packing List - find a list with all things to pack for you next summer holidays.

Best Places to See Dubai from Above

Dubai best view points -

BEST VIEWS OF DUBAI – HOW TO SEE THE CITY FROM ABOVE

Given the many skyscrapers (and rooftop bars) in Dubai, it is not difficult to see Dubai from above. Actually, seeing this super city from above is an amazing way to fall in love with the city. And while those rooftop bars offer scenic views indeed, here are some other ways to see Dubai from above.Dubai best view points

See Dubai From Burj Khalifa “At the Top”

The classic! Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, is not only a popular site to photograph but is also a popular place to take pictures from and offers perfect views from above.7 days in Dubai - best vintage pointsThe view from level 124+125 (456 meters high) or level 148 (555 meters high) is the most iconic in Dubai, and you´ll get wonderful views of the city. 

You will see how much construction work is still going on, you´ll get to see the desert (which is very close to the city center), but you´ll also have some stunning views of Dubai Fountain.

Overlooking Dubai this way is indeed a unique experience. Unfortunately, you won’t be the only one who thinks that visiting the Top of Burj Khalifa is a good idea – it is quite busy most of the day, so booking tickets in advance can be quite helpful.

Ticket prices depend on the time of the visit – it’s just a few € difference in ticket prices, but if you don’t want to stand in line and have access to level 148, you have to pay a few more extra €.

The building will not be the highest building for long – a new tower will break the record, but for now, book yourself tickets for Burj Khalifa if you want to experience the taller building in the world.

See Dubai from Dubai Frame

One of Dubai´s newest attractions is the golden Frame, located close to Zabeel Park.Views from Dubai FrameThe Frame opened in January of 2018, and this frame allows you to overlook the city and have great views of Burj Khalifa.

But you also have a unique view if you walk the glass floor – looking 100 meters down while casually strolling along. What to do in Dubai in 7 daysThis place is as nice to visit at night as during the day, and the entrance fee of about 12€ is worth it.

Actually, the views from here are almost better than from Burj Khalifa – because you can see the tallest building. Also, it is a great alternative if you are on a budget or want to have some adrenaline rush when walking on the glass and look down.

Enjoy Amazing Dubai Views From a Helicopter Flight

While 15 minutes seem extremely short, it is enough to get some of the best views of Dubai.Best view posts in Dubai Flying over the beaches, the Palm, Burj al Arab, and Burj Khalifa, a helicopter ride gives you the chance to see all the iconic places of Dubai. You can book longer helicopter flights and even get to Abu Dhabi by helicopter – probably the fanciest way to get around in Dubai.

Flying over Dubai was probably one of the best things to do – a unique experience I will never forget. Click here to read my review of a helicopter flight in Dubai.Arzo Travels Heli Dubai Fligh

See Dubai From Flying Cup

The newest attraction in March of 2018 opened at JBR Walk. This fun Flying Cup definitely offers great views of JBR – The Walk and the Beach.Places to see in Dubai in 7 daysYou do not even need a drone to get amazing shots of the pristine waters of the Persian Gulf. Whether you do it by yourself or in a group, it is something different and, by Dubai standards, quite affordable (for about 20€, you can buy your ticket at the counter just in front of it). 

You get 40 meters above the ground, and the capsule rotates, so you have a panoramic view.  Bring your camera to take these shots, and if you are feeling brave, get a drink and enjoy it up there while your feet are dangling in the air.

You do not have to be scared, though – a belt secures you. The experience lasts about 10 minutes, and you can even book the whole capsule and have your birthday celebration up in the sky.  If you travel to Dubai with kids, you can either take them with you or enjoy JBR, one of the best places to visit in Dubai.

See Dubai’s Desert on Hot Air Balloon Ride

One of the most beautiful rides you can take is a hot air balloon ride.Sunrise perfect timing for hot air ballon rides

A balloon ride above Dubai´s desert is gorgeous and unique – seeing the sunrise in the desert (yes, it means waking up very early). At the same time, passing dunes is an exceptional way to experience Dubai.High in the air-how to do a hot air balloon tour in Dubai

While there is no guarantee how high you will soar above the ground (as it depends on the weather conditions), it is a fun thing to do and one of the best views you will have from above. Duration: about 40 minutes, but the whole trip takes a few hours, including hotel pick-up, etc. So if you have a few days in Dubai, add it to your itinerary.

Have Thrilling Views at Dinner in the Sky

The concept of having dinner in the sky (and we are not talking about plane flights) has arrived in Dubai as well. 7 days in Dubai itineraryHead to Dubai Marina and have a fun dinner (or lunch or afternoon tea) experience. There are some similarities to the Flying Cup, but in this case, you get up even higher (about 50 meters) and have a different view. 

You´ll overlook Dubai Marina, Zero Gravity – the hip beach club in Marina, and have views of the beach! Hold your cutlery and especially your camera tight, so you do not see it falling 50 meters down, as there is no ground under your feet.Dinner in the Sky Dubai with Arzo Travels (8 von 24)Oh, I should, of course, mention that food and drink are included (prices depend on the dining option, but the activities start from about 120€ for the afternoon tea, which includes sandwiches and snacks and some non-alcoholic drinks). Click here to read my review “Dinner in the Sky.”

Hop On a Seaplane flight

Something for the bucket list (even mine) is to see Dubai´s attractions from a seaplane.

Dubai - The Palm @shutterstock
@shutterstock

The trip starts from the water, and you´ll get to see Burj Khalifa and Palm Jumeirah before landing back in the Persian Gulf.

Each of the passengers has a window to look out from, which gives you perfect views of the Dubai skyline. Though the views from a seaplane are supposed to be amazing, I, myself, still have to experience it, but as I have heard positive reviews, I have added it here for you.

Enjoy Thrilling Views and do Sky Dive

A unique way to overlook Dubai is from a jump from the plane for the fearless ones. 

Best areas to stay in Dubai
@shutterstock

At 120 miles per hour, you fall freely, and while you probably will not be able to enjoy the view at the beginning, you might do so once you are more relaxed and soaring rather than falling.

I am not that brave – are you? Apparently, the “crown prince” of Dubai is a fan of skydiving, so you might even meet him up in the sky. Though chances are low, you can still enjoy incredible views that not many others do experience.Dubai from above - best views in Dubai

Whether you decide to go on a tandem skydive or do it solo, skydiving allows you to see Dubai in a way only a few have – so do it (easy said as I would not, but maybe you are braver than me :).

Great Views From Rooftop Bars

So, if you want to enjoy a drink while having great views, here are some rooftop bars with some of the best views in Dubai (though I have not been to all myself, these are known to be the best bars that come with a view).

Level 43 Sky Lounge at Four Points by Sheraton

For 360-degree views of the city, head to this rooftop bar located 155 meters above the ground.

Tomo at Raffles Hotel

This rooftop bar and Japanese restaurant is located on the 17th floor of Raffles Hotel in the older part of Dubai, so you can enjoy the views of the “new” skyline (which includes Burj Khalifa).

Shades at Address Dubai Marina

For beautiful views of Dubai Marina, head to this rooftop bar. It is open in the daytime, too, and was a perfect choice for my lunch. But the views were even better than the food. I did not use the infinity pool there – but you can buy a day pass and enjoy these views while relaxing in the water.

Dubai accommodation in Dubai Marina IC Dubai MarinaThere are some more amazing viewpoints in Dubai – many of the skyscrapers offer stunning views of the city and Burj Khalifa. However, the above-mentioned places are pretty great if you are looking for the ultimate, the best views in Dubai because each offers quite a unique experience.

Dubai is a fun city but to really understand the city, you have to see it from above – and if you pick a few of the places/activities mentioned in my post, you will get to see Dubai from its best side.Safe Travels, Arzo

The Most Beautiful Christmas Markets in Bremen, Germany

Christmas in Bremen, Germany, The most beautiful Christmas Markets in Germany

VISIT THE BEST BREMEN CHRISTMAS MARKETS

Bremen´s Christmas Markets are the most beautiful ones in Germany (and thus, in Europe). Yes, you may have thought this prize would go to other Christmas Markets, but if you visit, you will see why this is the case.

Okay, I might be biased because I am from Bremen and adore this city (btw: have I mentioned that Bremen is the most beautiful city in Germany?) 🙂

But seriously, the Bremen Christmas Markets are really special and were voted the most popular in Germany (yes, this is a fact – I did not make that up).

So, this guide will offer you some help – why to visit the Christmas Markets, which markets to visit, what to expect, what to see and do (and eat), and of course, about the opening hours and times.

The two main Christmas Markets are at Market Square and the Schlachte (a promenade next to the Weser River named Schlachte Zauber).

Bremen Christmas Market at Market Square

Let´s start with the first one – the one at Market Square.Bremen, Christmas Market at Market Square, Weihnachtsmarkt

Dates – Bremen Christmas Market

In 2021, it should be at the end of November until Christmas Day. But of course, at the moment, nothing is certain.

Opening Hours – Bremen Christmas Market

Mondays to Thursdays: 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Fridays and Saturdays: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Sundays: 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Christmas Market at Market Square

You will find many stalls spread over the city center. 

How to Get to the Market Square

I highly recommend getting to Bremen by train from Hamburg or another city and avoid arriving by car before Christmas. You can either take a tram or a bus from the train station and get off at Domsheide or Schüsselkorb station. Or you can walk from the main train station to Schüsselkorb (15-minute walk).

It is a lovely walk, and you will find some stalls along the way – and you will also get a good idea of what else to expect. Head to Sögestrasse (big sign) and then head to Market Square. 

You can easily walk from one market square to the other (it is just a few hundred meters from the Market Square Christmas Market to Schlachte Zauber).Bremen, Christmas Market Tree

Things to Do and See at Christmas Market Bremen

There are a few special activities, which are listed later. It is mostly about getting around, eating your weight in sweets and fast food, and drinking delicious hot drinks. Oh, and buying last-minute Christmas presents.Bremen, Best Christmas Markets in Germany_

Depending on where you come from, I suggest starting from Sögestrasse (a shopping street) and heading towards Market Square.

The Market Square Christmas Market houses 176 stalls – food, snacks, drinks, and shops!  There are even carousels for kids. 

In front, behind, and next to the stunning town hall (which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site), you have all kinds of stalls – get your mulled wine and other hot – or cold – drinks. 

Mulled wine (Glühwein) is big. I, personally, don’t like the smell of it and haven’t even tried it, but I guess I am one of the few who doesn’t enjoy a warm mulled wine on a cold day.

Prices are about 3-4€ for a mug of mulled wine (you have to pay a deposit for the mugs, but get it back if you bring the mug back). Bremen, Good Christmas Markets for children

But don’t feel bad for me. I am all about the sweets – crepes, waffles, Poffertjes, and Schmalzkuchen. Anyone with a sweet tooth will be in heaven. Pssst: Vegan options are available quite often.Bremen, Christmas in Germany,what to eat

Do you prefer some heavier and heartier foods? Well, you will love it here, too.

Say hello to Santa: Santa Claus is in Bremen, each day until the 23rd of December.Bremen, Christmas in Germany, for children Next to the Cathedral, he can be found reading to children in his little hut (near all the carousels).  I went there with my little nephew, and though we did no hear him reading, he actually had a little present for all the kids, so it might be worth visiting.

Every day at 4 pm, with a few exceptions. 

Watch the Winter Fantasies: Five fantasy characters with illuminated robes will stroll through the Christmas market – something for adults as well as kids.

Listen to the Turmbläser playing from the balcony of the Town HallBremen, Christmas Market

Bremen, What to eat, Christmas MarketsBremen, Christmas Market at Market SquareBremen, Christmas in Germany, for kids

Bremen, Christmas in Germany, Best places to visit in December in Germany

Christmas Market at Schlachte Zauber

Okay, here is a bit of info on the second main Christmas Market – Schlachte Zauber.Bremen, Germany , Schlachte Zauber

Dates – Bremen Schlachte Zauber

From the end of November until the 23.December

Opening Hours – Bremen Schlachte Zauber

Mondays to Thursdays: 11 am to 8:30 pm

Friday and Saturday: 11 am to 9 pm

Sunday: 11 am to 8:30 pmBremen, What to eat, Schlachte Zauber

How to Get to Schlachte Zauber

Schlachte Zauber is located right at the Schlachte, a lovely promenade at the Weser River. You can get here by walking from the train station or the Market Square (closest tram station: Am Brill). I highly suggest visiting the Christmas Market at the market square and then walking from there and seeing everything in between (it is just a 5-10 minutes walk).Bremen, What to buy, Christmas Market

Things to Do and See at Schlachte Zauber 

While it is also a Christmas Market, it is totally different from the one at Market Square. Its location is what makes it unique. Situated next to big trees, which are illuminated in blue color, it has a special charm. It looks like a winter wonderland (even though there is no real snow).Schlachte Zauber in Bremen

Schlachte Zauber in Bremen, Germany

About 100 “snow-capped” wooden huts are selling drinks, all kinds of food, and merchandise. Although this Christmas Market has only been held for the last 15 years, it has a historic charm. It seriously feels like a Christmas Market in the Middle Ages (though there probably were none back then…).

Given its location next to the river, there is even a shipwreck – built just for the Schlachte Zauber. Musicians and other performers offer a program to entertain visitors. 

 There is actually a different program and activities scheduled each day (some of them are free, and some theater plays require a ticket).Bremen, Best Christmas Markets in Germany , Schlachte Zauber If you are looking to spending some time at a beautiful Christmas Market in Germany, add Bremen to your Germany itinerary – whether for 2021 or 2021.

Read more travel tips for Bremen – written by a local.Bremen, Christmas in Germany,_Safe Travels, Arzo

Reasons to Love Switzerland And Why Not To

Travel Inspiration Switzerland

REASONS TO VISIT STUNNING SWITZERLAND

I love Switzerland. Yes, even after all my travels, Switzerland is probably my favorite travel destination. And I have visited many times. Many, many times but I can tell you that there are many reasons to visit Switzerland and you will not tire.

Read about my favorite reasons to fall in love with Switzerland and find out why not to visit Switzerland.

HERE IS WHY VISIT SWITZERLAND

Click here to find out about the best areas to stay in Switzerland.

Let´s get started with the reasons why to go to Switzerland.

Beautiful Lakes

What is Switzerland known for? Among others the gorgeous lakes: Lakes wherever you look at. (Geneva Lake, Lake Zurich, Vierwaldstaettersee (Lake Lucerne), Lake Brienz, (my favorite) but also Lake Thun, Blausee, Lago Maggiore, Lago di Saoseo, Oeschinen Lake and many more are beyond beautiful. Click on the links to read and see more of the places.Why love Switzerland

There are estimations that Switzerland has about 7000 lakes. 7000 lakes! And they are not your average lake. No, even the “ugly ducklings” are pretty, clear, and clean.

I haven’t heard of any Swiss lake that you cannot swim in because of its water quality. Yes, there are some lakes where swimming is forbidden (like Blausee), and some Alpine lakes are probably quite cold.Oeschinensee hike, Heuberg a top thing to do in Interlaken, Arzo TravelsI am all about #ChasingLakes, and Switzerland never fails to impress me – as they come in so many colors: green, blue, dark and light blue, turquoise…Lago di Saosea - underrated places in SwitzerlandHowever, there are many more reasons to visit Switzerland.

Mountains / Swiss Alps

Yes, the Alps are stunning – they are the highest and most extensive mountain range system that stretches approximately 1,200 km across eight European countries. Only 15% of the Alps are actually located in Switzerland, but honestly, they have gotten the best parts of it (okay, the Dolomites are pretty superb, too). If you love nature, you will be in awe.

Cat walk round the First cable car top station over snowy Alps above Grindelwald, Switzerland.

My favorite mountains? That is hard, but Niesen is pretty unique (it comes in the shape of a pyramid), Matterhorn (of course), Jungfraujoch with the highest trains station in Europe, or the Swiss Skyline with the three mountains Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau, and many more). If these beautiful Switzerland pictures do not inspire you to visit Switzerland, I am not sure what will.Best places to visit in Interlaken Switzerland

The mountains in Switzerland are not all part of the Alps. Actually, the Swiss Alps, along with the Swiss Plateau and the Swiss portion of the Jura Mountains, are just one of its three main physiographic regions. And though I still cheer for the Swiss Alps, the other mountains are beauties, too.

Accessibility

It might have charm if places are not really accessible – maybe it means fewer crowds and more authenticity. However, accessibility is also an amazing thing.

Given its location, bordering amongst others Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, it is easy to get to Switzerland. Whether you drive, take a train, or fly – getting to Switzerland doesn’t cause headaches.Mount Pilatus with the Swiss Travel PassAlso, you can reach mountain peaks – often – very easily because cable cars and funiculars are getting you up. While there are parts of Switzerland that are not easily accessible, it is very easy to get around and enjoy stunning mountain views without much effort.Mountain stops in Switzerland

Public Transportation

One main reason for the accessibility is the AMAZING public transportation in Switzerland. I yet have to visit a country that has as good public transportation as Switzerland.

RHAETISCHE BAHN: Bernina Express- Albulalinie
swiss-image.ch/Peter Donatsch

Trains and buses are clean, reliable, and punctual – many routes run regularly, and you can get to any part of Switzerland with public transportation. Okay, it is not really cheap, but if something is as good as public transportation in Switzerland, it is okay to charge a bit more (though I would not mind a price reduction on Swiss Travel Passes).

All You Need to Know About the Swiss Travel PassTip: Take the “Express” trains for the most scenic routes and window views.

Road Trip

Yes, public transportation in Switzerland is great, but so is road tripping. I couldn’t choose which is the better way to get around because both are pretty good ways to see the country.

I have road-tripped Switzerland many times, and I never tire. The mountain passes, the streets and of course the views… Switzerland is made for driving (but watch out for speed cams, the penalties for speeding are high).

Check out my Switzerland road trip guide for more info.

High-Quality Food

Switzerland has good and high-quality food: I have the feeling that the food is of much better quality than in Germany and that quality has the highest priority. Yes, Maggi (or many other Nestle products) is not fresh or high quality, but there is a reason why food is so expensive in Switzerland.

I am against eating animals (unless your life depends on it), but I appreciate that there is no mass production of animal products. You will see many cows in the mountains who roam freely. So, if you are on a budget, you might have to reduce your meat intake, but the meat does not come from tiny barns.

Zurich has awesome vegan and vegetarian restaurants with great food, which many omnivores (though the normal diary of a Swiss is not very vegetarian or vegan-friendly). But apart from those cities, it is a bit tough for vegetarians.

Good Time to Visit all Year Round

What is the best time to visit Switzerland? Switzerland is ideal for all seasons: Decide whether you want to enjoy the summer and take a swim in one of the lakes or if you prefer skiing in winter.Where to visit in SwitzerlandIf you love snow, you should definitely visit in the winter, and you will experience a winter wonderland. I have seen Norway and Iceland in winter – covered with snow – but Switzerland probably is the most beautiful country to see.Bernina Express in Switzerland in the winter, Valposchiavo

Outdoor Adventures in Switzerland

Switzerland is heaven for outdoor fans. Hiking is only one option for visitors. Whether you are a beginner, more experienced, or want to go on multi-day hikes to explore the stunning nature. Switzerland has something for everyone. Trift Bridge in Grimselwelt as a main place near Interlaken with Arzo Travels

I never liked hiking until I hiked in Switzerland. The views offered along the hikes are worth the “pain.” So, if you do not believe in hiking, Switzerland might convince you to try it! And you will see places like the Trift Bridge.Paradise for Outdoorlovers in EbenalpBut of course, there is so much more outdoor adventure – paragliding, white water rafting, bungee jumping…  The list is endless!

Waterfalls

Let´s talk waterfalls. Switzerland might not be Iceland (in terms of waterfalls), but some amazing and impressive waterfalls exist. You do not believe me? Well, think about the biggest waterfalls in Europe – the Rhine Falls.Arzo Travels in Schaffhausen, Rhine Falls

Or the Giessbach Waterfalls – or the Staubbauch Waterfalls in Lauterbrunnen near Interlaken. There is no shortage of waterfalls and just one more reason to visit Switzerland.

where to visit in Switzerland
@shutterstock

Many Free Activities

Yes, Switzerland is amongst the 5 most expensive countries in the world. BUT Switzerland also has many free activities – you can visit many places (lakes, parks, etc.) for free and do not have to pay an entrance fee.View from Brienzer RothornInstead of taking (expensive) cable cars to get up mountain peaks, you can hike and see some of the most beautiful places on earth for free.

Influences from Many Cultures

Influence of several countries: At least German, French, Italian influences are very present, making Switzerland not only one country but actually it feels like visiting several countries at once.

Quick Getaways to Other Countries

Where is Switzerland located? It is ideally located for a quick getaway to other countries and borders Germany, Italy, France, Austria, and Liechtenstein.

If you visit Switzerland, you can do day trips to beautiful places in Austria or Germany. From northern Switzerland, you are in a quite short amount of time in Bavaria and can add places like Neuschwanstein Castle to your itinerary.Things to do around Neuschwanstein Castle, Waterfall near MarienbrückeIf you are in southern Switzerland, e.g., Geneva, you can do an amazing day tour to beautiful Annecy in France.Annecy: one of the many bridges

What about Italy? Yes, if you are in southern Switzerland, you can easily visit Lake Como and explore some of Italy’s northern parts.

Beautiful Cities

Does Switzerland have nice cities? Yes, it does have charming and romantic cities and towns: Zurich, Geneva, Lucerne, Lugano are just some of them.

Safety

Is Switzerland safe? Does it have a high crime rate? Is Switzerland clean? Switzerland is one of the cleanest and probably safest states I have been to, the crime rate is, compared to Germany and many other countries, not high, and I felt safe all the time. Switzerland is also a great place for (first-time) female solo travelers.

Friendly Polite

People from Switzerland are called Swiss, and yes, Swiss people are extremely friendly, polite though a bit shy and reserved.

There are more reasons, but these are pretty good reasons to visit the tiny country in Europe.

Wondering what I don’t like about Switzerland? Find out and scroll down.

WHY NOT VISIT SWITZERLAND

Okay, though I am a fan of Switzerland, it doesn’t mean I am wearing (only) rose-colored glasses. Yes, there are a couple of issues even with Switzerland.

Price-Tag

Is Switzerland really expensive? Switzerland is one of the most expensive countries in the world and spending holidays there can eat into your budget.

Political situation

If you have read my blog, you know I am very liberal and anything else than conservative, so the xenophobic parties, which are quite strong, scare me. Depending on how strong they will eventually get, it might be a reason not to visit Switzerland anymore. The good thing so far is that the people are still super friendly.

Have you ever been to Switzerland? What do you think about this tiny country in Europe? Love to hear your opinions about Switzerland.

Review: Dinner in the Sky Dubai

Review Dinner in the Sky Dubai

IS DINNER IN THE SKY IN DUBAI WIRTH IT?

Best afternoon tea in Dubai

Seen Burj Khalifa? Spent a day at the new hotspot, La Mer? Done all the typical sightseeing things, and now you are looking for something more unique to do in Dubai?

Then, it is time to enjoy dinner in the sky! Dining in the sky, with your feet hanging 50 meters up in the air, is surely something special, and you’ll have great views of Dubai Marina, too!Dinner in the Sky Dubai with Arzo Travels

In this post, I will share my experiences for my dinner in the sky in Dubai. Please find out how to book tickets, where to go, and what to expect, plus my unbiased conclusion of Dinner in the Sky.

WHAT IS DINNER IN THE SKY IN DUBAI?

Dinner in the Sky is a floating dinner table and a trendy way of eating while having amazing views (and often being a bit scared). These days, you will find Dinner in thy Sky in more than 60 locations – and one of them is in Dubai.

A big dinner table, lifted 50 meters in the sky by a crane, can host up to 22 people (plus the staff that stands in the middle and serves food, entertains, and mostly takes great pictures).

When I saw this activity for the first time (on GetYourGuide, I’m sure), I knew I had to do it – and so I did.

Dining in the Sky is a new invention, and some places offer the experience, but it is still unknown amongst many travelers. When I asked my followers on Instagram about whether I should opt for a helicopter ride or dinner, it was a tie. 

However, most people were thrilled to hear about this activity. If you are interested in having a lunch/dinner or afternoon tea in the sky, here are my impressions and some important information for this experience in the city of superlatives.Review Dinner in the Sky Dubai

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which mean I might earn a small commission when you buy a product (at no extra cost for you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.

HOW TO BOOK DINNER IN THE SKY IN DUBAI

I booked Dinner in the Sky via GetYourGuide – I often use this website (or Viator) and hardly ever book my tours directly. 

I know the cancellation policy is very generous (we never know what could happen, right?), and if something happens, they could help me.

WHAT OPTIONS FOR DINNER IN THE SKY IN DUBAI?

You can either book lunch, afternoon tea, or dinner. Afternoon tea is the least expensive, while dinner is the most expensive.

Depending on the season, you can see the sunset from up there if you book an afternoon tea. Keep in mind that it could be quite hot if you book lunch in the warmer months.

I opted for the afternoon tea (I ended up booking the helicopter tour), and prices vary greatly.

Also, the timing suited me better (it starts around 4 pm).Book Dinner in the Sky

MORE THINGS TO KNOW FOR YOUR DINNER IN THE SKY EXPERIENCE

  • You have to be at least 1,20 meters to be allowed to take part.
  • There are lockers (without any charge) to stow your items you do not need (do not forget to take out your cameras and mobiles).
  • The activity lasts about 60 minutes (plus 15 minutes of preparation time), and, personally, I found it to be neither too long nor too short.
  • It allows you to eat while also taking a lot of pictures from different angles and also have pictures taken of you (more on that later).

WHERE IS DINNER IN THE SKY IN DUBAI

The activity is located in Dubai Marina, next to SkyDive Dubai and Zero Gravity. Where is Dinner in the Sky DubaiI was in this area already, so I just walked from Dubai Marina. Public transportation does not drop you there directly. So either get to Habtoor Hotel (or close to Grosvenor House) and then walk (about 10 minutes) or take a taxi and ask to be driven to SkyDive or Zero Gravity.

If you have other activities like skydiving planned, or a day at the popular Zero Gravity, you can schedule dinner here around that.Online tickets for dinner in the sky

Review: Dinner in the Sky Experiences Dubai

Okay, here are my impressions – things I liked and things I did not like when I had my afternoon tea in Dubai. I arrived early. There was no wifi, and the toilets did not work, so I went to Zero Gravity for an hour to kill time.

Food

I found out that my request for vegetarian snacks did not go through. It was not a great start, but the staff managed to organize vegetarian food for me last-minute. The catering is by Westin, one of Dubai’s best hotels, so the food is great and of high quality.Afternoon tea in the skyYou get some snacks, juices (not fresh, though it was written in the description), soft drinks, tea, and coffee for afternoon tea.

It can easily replace a meal (you get some more than you see on the tablet here), so I recommend not having lunch right before or planning a big dinner afterward.

The staff, especially onboard, is great. Friendly, fun, with great photography skills (not sure if it was only the person responsible for us, but they did take great pictures and put some effort into it).Unique activities for Dubai They did everything they could to make sure that we had a great time up there, including nice music that was perfect for a fun time.

With a crane, you get lifted 50 meters above the ground, and the table rotates slowly, so you get amazing views from all angles.

I felt safer than I thought I would. Since you get moved to the table very closely and have some arm support on the left and right side, it is not as scary as some people might expect and less thrilling than you might think.

However, if you are scared of heights or faint-hearted, this might be an extreme challenge though. But I am sure you (yes, you) will be able to handle it even if you think you will not.Dinner in the Sky Dubai with Arzo Travels (8 von 24)

I was holding my glass, etc., with two hands, though, and had my camera wrapped around my neck. I had a necklace/wrist strap that made me feel much more comfortable taking pictures.How to book Dinner in the Sky Dubai You can turn the chairs around, which is cool. Unfortunately, not 360 degrees, which is a pity, but it still allows you to enjoy better views, and you can lean back.

Seeing the Marina skyline from this perspective is definitely unique and amazing. Seeing the beach underneath you and Zero Gravity while the sun is setting was a wonderful experience.Where is Dinner in the SkyReview of Dinner in the Sky Dubai

Fun things in Dubai

IS DUBAI´DINNER IN THE SKY WORTH IT?

The experience was great, and I am happy I went for it. It is probably a great one-time experience, and if you want to try something new, this is a unique thing to do.

If you are looking for an extremely thrilling activity, then this is not for you – skydiving might be the better option, but it does not have to be extremely adventurous to have a great time, right?

I wished the crane was positioned differently, though, so the metal bar (sorry, I do not know the technical term) would not be in the way when taking pictures of the Dubai Eye.

However, it is fun and nerve-wracking initially, but the staff makes you feel safe, so even those who are normally terrified should try this out.Book a sunset dinner in Dubai

Check out prices at Get Your Guide for Dinner in the SkyLunch in the sky Dubai - Review: Dinner in the Sky Dubai

Find out about the 50 best things to do in Dubai

If you have not booked your hotel yet find out about the best areas to stay in Dubai for each budgetSafe Travels, Arzo

HOW TO VISIT THE RHINE FALLS IN SCHAFFHAUSEN

Rhine Falls @shutterstock

TRAVEL TIPS FOR A DAY TRIP TO RHINE FALLS

The Rhine Falls in Schaffhausen, Switzerland (actually it is between the towns Neuhausen am Rheinfall and Laufen-Uhwiesen) are the biggest waterfalls in Europe.

It is not very high with a height of 23 meters, but with over a width of 150 meters, up to 700’000 liters of water fall over the rocks every second – making the Rhine Falls the biggest waterfall in Europe.

Schaffhausen makes a wonderful day trip from Zurich or Lucerne, but the town center of Schaffhausen is also charming and worth a visit.

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@shutterstock
Rhine Falls @shutterstock

TIPS FOR VISITING THE RHINE FALLS

I visited the Rhine Falls in Schaffhausen three times and used two different entrances – each entrance offers different activities and views of the Rhine Falls. If you have time you can see the Rhine Falls from different angles – if you ask me, I deeply believe it is one of the best places to visit in Switzerland.

THE RHINE FALLS – FACTS

Facts & figures
Width of the Rhine Falls 150 meters
Height of the Rhine Falls 23 meters
Depth of the basin 13 meters
Age of the Rhine Falls approx. 15’000 years
The capacity of flow in summer approx. 600’000 liters per second
The capacity of flow in winter approx. 250’000 liters per second
The lowest capacity of flow 1921, 95’000 liters per second
The greatest capacity of flow 1965, 1’250’000 litres per second

HISTORY OF RHINE FALLS

Let´s go back many thousand years ago, but I will keep it very short.

Due to tectonic shifts in the Ice Age, the Rhine River was forced into a new riverbed over 15,000 years ago. The Rhine Falls came into being at the transition point where hard chalk turned into soft gravel.

LOCATION OF THE RHINE FALLS

The Rhine Falls are located in the very north of Switzerland – close to the German borders. The falls are actually not in Schaffhausen but Neuhausen.

HOW TO GET TO THE RHINE FALLS BY CAR

It depends whether you want to visit the Northern banks of Southern Banks of the Rhine Falls.

1. Southern bank (Laufen Castle): GPS address: Areal Schloss Laufen, 8447 Dachsen

2. Northern bank (Schlössli Wörth): GPS address: Rheinfallquai 32, 8212 Neuhausen am Rheinfall

  • FROM BASEL ABOUR 2 HOURS
  • FROM ZÜRICH ABOUT 1 HOUR
  • FROM KREUZLINGEN ABOUT 1 HOUR

Walking from one car park to the other takes about 10-15 minutes.

HOW TO GET TO THE RHINE FALLS BY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

The Rhine Falls are easily accessible by public transportation. You can get from many cities, like Zürich, to the Rhine Falls, without changing trains (or changing trains max. 1 time).

The train station is in front of the Rhine Falls (you can see them from the train already), and there is not much walking included.

TRAIN STATION:

Southern river bank (Schloss Laufen): SBB train station «Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall»

Northern river bank (Schlössli Wörth): SBB train station «Neuhausen Rheinfall»

HOW TO GET TO SCHAFFHAUSEN BY RHYFALL EXPRESS

There is a little train that brings you to the Rhine Falls from several places close by.

Ride from Schaffhausen to the Rhine Falls and back (takes about 30 minutes, one-way ticket around 6€)

Operating hours: 2 April to 17 October 2021

How to visit the Rhine Falls

There are two main ways to see the Rhine Falls – from the northern banks and the southern banks.

This will make a difference in parking, entrance fee, and more, so you might want to think about how to see the Rhine Falls. I suggest visiting both sides of the Rhine Falls.

If you plan to visit the Rhine Falls, you can either use the “entry” Schloss Laufen (Site Dachsen/Zurich) or Schlössli Wörth (Site Neuhausen/Schaffhausen).

SOUTHERN BANKS OF SCHAFFHAUSEN – SCHLOSS LAUFEN (SITE DACHSEN / ZURICH)

On my first trip, I decided to use the entry at Schloss Laufen. And here is what you need to know if you choose this entry.

  • Parking is free
  • Dogs are permitted (and free)
  • Wheel-chair friendly to the most part (there is a lift to get to the platform)

RESTAURANTS / SHOPS

There are some souvenir shops, cafes and an older castle – Schloss Laufen. If you are hungry or thirsty, you will not have to worry. Of course, everything comes with the typical price tag, but you can also bring your own snacks and drinks.

SCHLOSS LAUFEN + Historama

On this site of the Rhine Falls, you can visit the castle and also see the historama – an interactive exhibition about the Rhine Falls. It is included in your ticket.Rhine Falls how to get to Rhine Falls in Schaffhausen Neuhausen To get to the platform, you have to pass the castle.

VIEWING PLATFORM:

The highlight of the Rhine Falls is surely the platform’s view – this is why I suggest paying the entrance fee and use this entry. It is quite impressive because you get quite close to the waterfall.Rhine Falls are the rhine falls free

What to do at the rhine Falls

Rhine Falls where are the

Rhine Falls best places to visit in Schweiz

Rhine Falls in Neuhausen

Powerful wateralls Rhine Falls

NORTHERN BANKS OF RHINE FALLS: SCHLÖSSLI WÖRTH /SITE NEUHAUSEN / SCHAFFHAUSEN

Another option is to see the waterfalls from Schlössli Wörth. Schlössli Wörth is the other entrance – there is no entrance fee, but the parking fees are quite high. 

  • No entrance fee
  • Parking fee (first 1 hour= 5€, each additional hour 2€)

How to see the Rhine Falls in SwitzerlandIf you choose to see the Rhine Falls this way, you can do the boat tours from here. If you have enough time, I would recommend seeing it from both sides, especially because it is not that far from each other and you could walk.

MY TIP: Park your car at the southern shores for free and get on the viewing platform before doing a stroll to the northern banks.

BOAT TOURS:

There are a number of boat tour options available on this side of the Rhine Falls.

Here are some popular ones:

  • Rock tour: 30 minutes including climbing – the rock
  • Rhine crossing: 3 minutes
  • Short tour: 15 minutes
  • Audioguide: 30 minutes

Hours of operation:
April + October (11am to 5pm); May + September (10 am to 6 pm); June, July, August (9:30 am to 6:30 pm)

I was with a dog, so I could not do the rock climbing boat cruise (the huge rock in the middle of the waterfalls), though it would have been my preferred choice.

Instead, I did the 15-minute boat tour (about 6€), and it turned out that the heavy rain of the previous days was my luck because the waterfall was much more powerful than on my last trip. I got actually also got scared about the people on the platform as it seemed they would be washed away by the water.

WATERSPORTS:

There are plenty of other activities (soft rafting, canoeing, etc.) you can do. But with a dog that is easily scared and not well behaved (so I could leave him alone), I was not free in my actions and just walked around a bit. Okay, honestly, I am also not into watersports, but if you are, plan accordingly.

RESTAURANTS:

There are also restaurants where you can have drinks/food with great views of the waterfall. There are also spots where you can picnic.

ADVENTURE PARK: 

On this side, you will one of Switzerland´s largest forest rope courses, where you will have unique views of the Rhine Falls – there are courses for beginners to advanced ones.

Hours of operation:

Open daily from April to the end of October from 10 am to 7 pm

PLAYGROUND

For the little ones, you will also find a playground on this side of the waterfalls.

RHINE FALLS ILLUMINATION

I have yet to see it myself but every night, the waterfalls get illuminated. I saw the Niagara Falls illuminated years ago and it looked spectacular so I guess, it is worth getting here before the sun sets, walk around and then stay until it gets dark and the spectacle begins. Check out the times for the illumination here.

Rhine Falls in Schaffhausen @shutterstock
 @shutterstock

Things to do Around Rhine Falls

The Rhine Falls are a must for any Switzerland itinerary – they are easy to visit and make a great day trip from places like Zurich, and they can be visited at any time of the year. So, a quick recap of what to do at the Rhine Falls.

  • Admire the Rhine Falls
  • Do a boat tour
  • Do a castle tour of Schloss Laufen + Historama (interactive exhibition about the Rhine Falls)
  • Visit the Adventure Park
  • Eat and drink in restaurants / Picnic (at both sides of the waterfalls possible)
  • Rent canoes
  • Hiking options around Rhine Falls
  • See the illumination of the waterfalls

Whether you do a boat trip, walk around the waterfall, stand on the platform or have a picnic/dinner around the Rhine Falls, there are a couple of things to do at the Rhine Falls.

But what happens once you have seen the waterfalls from all the different angles?

You can then visit places nearby, including the beautiful town of Schaffhausen, the fun city of Zurich, the art city of Basel, or even do a day trip to Lucerne.

If you see the Rhine Falls from the southern and northern banks (and do a boat tour), I assume it will take 2-5 hours.

IS IT WORTH VISITING THE RHINE FALLS?

I love the Rhine Falls and I think, they are great to visit if you are close by. As mentioned, I have visited three times already and will probably visit again in the future. However, I visited as day trips from Zurich or when I came from Southern Germany to Switzerland.

I do think, it is a great place for the family – the Rhine Falls are free (if you visit from the northern banks at least), pretty at any time of the year, and very accessible. Would I travel to the waterfalls from Southern Switzerland? I guess, I would not. It is worth it if you combine it with a trip to Schaffhausen or/and Stein am Rhine and stay for 2 days or so.

Stay safe and enjoy!Safe Travels, ArzoArzo Travels in Schaffhausen, Rhine Falls

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