Hello lovely travelers!
I have been getting loads of emails from you guys, asking for advice on your trip to Brazil – Great news, I’ve got plenty of advice to give! Over the next few weeks I will be writing about everything you need to know before your trip, including topics like safety, food and drink, things to see and do, as well as little hints and tips that I picked up along the way ; )
Let’s get started! Today’s blog post is about Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro (otherwise known as my favorite places in the world!). This stunning beach is a must see, with its soft golden sand, deep blue waves, and buzzing atmosphere. Not interested in spending a whole day there? Why not grab one of the city bikes and go for a ride along side this 4.5 km beach!
Here are the top 5 things you should know about Copacabana before your trip.
1. Swimwear is TINY, but it is 100% required
The majority of Bikini’s in Brazil would look more like a thong to a European. Even my Brazilian Boyfriend laughed at me when I pulled my bikini out from my suitcase! I think his exact words were “But it completely covers your butt?!?”.
However, unlike a lot of European countries, going topless to the beach is not acceptable.
2. How to keep your bags safe
If you are planning on swimming at Copacabana, it is important to think about the safety of your bags. Obviously you should not bring any valuables to the beach but if you are planning on bringing a camera or money etc, you might want to consider renting a locker. Just look out for the stairs that take you down to the bathrooms along side the beach (There is someone there to watch the lockers during the day)
3. People will try to sell you stuff (weird stuff!)
Someone will try to sell you sun cream, someone else will try to sell you sunglasses, then there is the ice cream guy, the beach wrap lady, the guy selling random paintings and of course the guy who will sing to you for bit of cash. If you are not interested, just shake your head and say ‘Obrigado’ (Thank you in portuguese) – but bear in mind that sometimes these people are out in the sun carrying a ridiculous amount of boxes on the shoulders and bags hanging off each arm all day long! If you have a little bit of cash to spare, buy something small and make their day a little easier : ) )
4. Don’t bother bringing a beach chair
There are plenty of people renting out chairs, tables and umbrellas all along the beach for a good price. This is their job, and generally, they are very good at it! They will serve you for the day, bringing food and drink if you request (for the same price as all the local bars).
5. Weekdays will always be less busy
Again, this might seem obvious, but I can’t recommend it enough! People will travel from all over Brazil to visit Rio on the weekends, especially if they have a holiday on the Friday or Monday. If you can, go during the week!
There is no question about it! If you want to see the true beauty of Brazil, taking a road trip is the best way to do it! There are so many different routes you can take, depending on what part of Brazil you are visiting, so make sure to do a bit of research before your trip to plan out the best route for you.
This road trip was easily one of the most incredible experiences of my life, and it has really shown me the importance of getting off the beaten track. This video only shows a tiny glimpse of the stunning locations we visited, but I hope that it will encourage you to take a look outside of Brazil’s tourist hot spots. Rio de Janeiro is one of the most magical cities I have ever visited, but the further away you get from these big cities, the more you will understand about true Brazilian life and culture.
If you only have 1 night in Rio, Rio Scenarium is the place to be! Located in the famous nightlife hot spot of Lapa, the alluring sounds of samba will draw you in at the door. It’s the perfect place to introduce you to Rio nightlife, with delicious food, a fantastic selection of drinks along with the endless supply of Brazilian culture.
whether you are looking for somewhere with a relaxed atmosphere to sit and enjoy a good drink with good company, or maybe you are looking for somewhere where you can dance the night away, Rio Scenarium has got something for everyone! No matter what your interests are, you are guaranteed to have a night you will never forget.
The club has 3 floors, with every inch of the walls covered in incredible objects from the past. It is as if you are sitting in a museum – Bikes hanging from the ceiling, dozens of clocks, mirrors, televisions, suitcases, even a knight in shining armor? (You have to see it to believe it!). You won’t be able to stop your eyes from staring at the art covered walls, for fear that you might miss something spectacular!
PRICES – Entry into Rio Scenarium is R$25 (which converts to approx 10 US Dollars or 8 Euro), and if you want to get a good seat it’s really important to get there early! Realistically no matter where you sit, it’s going to be a good seat, but if you want to see the Samba players doing what they do best, definitely get there early to get your seat on the ground floor.
Cocktails average at R$14 (Approx 6 US Dollars or 4 Euro). They also have a great selection of food to nibble on throughout the night, prices vary.
Every night they have different people playing music so make sure to check out their website to see who is playing while you are there.
Check out our Video Diary from Rio de Janeiro to get some more ideas from your trip! : )
As if your skiing holiday wasn’t good enough already, it’s time to head down the slopes for your last run of the day and get your seat at the bar for the Après ski !
But what is Après ski ?
I’m so glad you asked! Après ski is French for ‘After Ski’, and it is basically any type of social activities or entertainment in the bars, restaurants, nightclubs and hotels near the ski slopes.
You will meet everyone at the bar for Après ski - Your friends, family and even your ski instructors! It’s the perfect way to end a great day on the slopes. Depending on your location, you might find a more relaxing atmosphere, or a totally crazy, singing, dancing and drinking session!
What should I wear?
Your ski gear! It might sound odd, but everyone goes for Après ski straight after their last run, which means they are still tucked up in their lovely warm winter wear. And you will be thankful for it too, because a lot of the time you will be sitting outside (enjoying a delicious hot chocolate with rum maybe?)
Different people prefer different things, but i’m not 100% sure about this explanation : P Anyone up for giving it a go?? haha
All you need is your wallet, and your stories to share, and your all set for a night you will probably never forget! Test out the local drinks, meet new people from all over the world, and most of all, enjoy the traditional Après ski wherever you may be in the world!
Have you ever tried out the Après ski on your snow holiday? Tell us about it in the comments down below! Maybe you have some photos of the crazy antics that went on ? Use the hashtag #TheGapYearGuru on Instagram or facebook so that we can take a look! ; )
Are you thinking of going on a Snow holiday for the first time and not quite sure what to bring? I’ve got you covered!
There are 10 essential items to pack when you are going Skiing or Snowboarding. Why not print off this page and tick each item off when you are getting everything ready? : )
ALWAYS REMEMBER – If you are buying new clothes for the occasion, there are 2 things that should be on your mind.
- Is it WARM?
- Is it WATERPROOF?
If you keep this in mind, you will be sure to stay warm and dry for the whole holiday!
Top 10 Essentials for Snow Holidays:
- Ski Jacket – Ski Jackets should always be warm and waterproof. Have some fun with it and pick a jacket with bright and bold colours! When you are on the slopes, the brighter your gear the better. It also makes it easier to identify your family and friends when you are skiing/snowboarding.
- Salopettes & Leggings – Salopettes are thick, warm and waterproof trousers (yes, everything on this list will be warm and waterproof! ) Both men and women should wear a pair of leggings under their salopettes to keep extra warm.
- Hat, Scarf and Waterproof Gloves
- Long sleeve tops
- A Jumper (Hoodie)
- Ski Socks – These are extremely tick socks that usually go up to your knee. They must be worn when skiing to prevent the boots from rubbing off your feet and legs. (Trust me you don’t want to get a nasty blister!)
- Snow Boots – Waterproof Shoes are essential for when you are off the slopes. There is nothing worse than wet and cold feet! I have a pair of snow boots while Arua wears his hiking boots, and both are just as good!
- Moisturizer – The cold winter breeze can be quite harsh on your skin so make sure to treat it to some pampering in the morning and evenings. I used tinted Moisturizer with SPF in it (I don’t recommend the tinted moisturizer for the men) : P
- Sun Cream – You would be surprised just how much sun you will get while skiing! I forgot to wear suncream on the first day and ended up coming back with little burnt cheeks (ouch!)
- Lip Balm – As mentioned in number 8, your skin can dry out from the coldness so be sure to keep a little lip balm in your pocket to prevent your lips from getting chapped.
So there you have it! Everything you need to pack for the perfect Snow Holiday! If you have any more questions about your trip send me a mail on Facebook HERE : )
Any more recommendations on what to pack for the perfect Snow Holiday? Leave a comment down below.
You’ve seen millions of photos in magazines, you’ve read about it in stories, you’ve watched endless amounts of movies scenes, you know it so well you’d swear you’d been there before! Everyone has a very detailed image of what Venice looks like in their minds. Are you picturing it right now? The tiny streets, the Gondolas, the rivers, the food, the wine, a place where romance fills the air. Well guess what… That’s exactly it! There really is very little difference between the Venice in your dreams and Venice in reality. It is everything you ever imagined it to be! (*except for the extra thousand tourists that come along for the ride too!)
I’ve read plenty of blog posts about how ‘Venice is over rated’ or ‘its too expensive’ etc etc. The truth is, Venice is an experience. It is unlike anywhere else on this planet! YES it is expensive and YES it is a total tourist trap, but who cares?? It’s frikin VENICE!!! For once in your life you can engage in a totally lovey dovey/cheese-tastic trip with friends, partners, even by yourself if you like, and its totally acceptable – Your in VENICE, embrace it! Sometimes i’m convinced the whole city was made for the sole purpose of book writing and movie making.
It’s just a crazy city, full of crazy stuff that you would never do at home (Like paying 80 quid for a Gondola ride – but totally worth it when your in Venice!). You just have to be open to it. Try not to worry too much about the silly prices or the tourist traps, just enjoy it. All of it. Forget about your ‘morals’ for a little while ; ) The city is sinking at a rate much faster than they expected, so get it before it’s gone!
Have you ever been before? What did you think and what advice can you give to people who hope to visit in the future?
You know those days that you will always remember – the days that seem to incrust themselves into your brain for eternity. You remember every little detail, right down to what you had for breakfast! Well, February 12th 2012 was one of those days. Thinking back now I can laugh at the whole situation, but back then… Holy Macaroni I had never felt pain like that before in my life. EVER!
Lessons? HA! no way ho zay, I’ve been skiing plenty of times before, I definitely don’t need lessons.
Im going too fast? HA!
Flying down the slopes in Austria, I lost control of my speed, and plummeted down, what felt like a NEVER ENDING SLOPE OF DOOOOOOOOOOM!! I lost my balance and found myself skidding head first down the mountain, my body twisting and turning as I clenched my eyes shut, hoping it would all be over (and hoping I would make it out alive!).
Now for the gruesome part… When you fall, your ski’s are supposed to pop right off your feet. Unfortunately, one of my ski’s thought it would be really super hilarious if it just stayed on my foot for the whole falling process and as I rolled down the mountain, it came with me. The top of the ski got caught in the snow while my body continued to twist. Yep. You guessed it, my knee went one way and my body went the other way and thennnn…. SNAP!!!
You see the truth is ladies & gentlemen, I am not as invincible as I originally thought. I snapped my ligaments in my right knee. did I forget to mention this all took place on the FIRST day of my holiday…
- Be Careful – Remember, you are not invincible, and just because you are away from home, it doesn’t mean that you have to be the wildest and craziest version of yourself. you don’t have to stand in the corner and surround yourself with bubble-wrap, but you should always be careful in new surroundings and situations.
- Be Prepared – If I had have even completed just 1 day of lessons, I could have re-familiarised myself with the slopes and definitely could have prevented my accident from happening. Wherever you are going in the World, make sure you are prepared for what is in store. You can’t prepare yourself for everything, but giving your mind the basic knowledge it needs will definitely help.
- Laugh it Off! – So you were careful and prepared, but somehow you still managed to have a travel disaster… uh Oh… Not to worry! : ) The most important thing, is that you don’t let it get you down. If you can keep a positive mind frame, then your travel disaster wont seem like such a big deal after all! – When I snapped my ligaments in Austria, my family showed me how to keep a positive attitude, and I still had an amazing holiday (“How?”) I swapped my ski’s for some quality time at the Spa! A week full of massages, facials and manicures worked a charm ; )
UPDATE: My mam told me to add in something – TRAVEL INSURANCE! Thank god for travel insurance! You never think you are going to need it, but my god when you do, you will be so thankful for it! Thank you for reminding me Mumsy
Have you ever had a travel disaster? (I hope not!) Leave a comment down below!
After a long month of blogging-meltdown, It’s time to pull myself together, get the head down and get the pen writing! (*Thanks to my parents and my love for the encouragement!). To give you all a little update, after I returned from Brazil, I started an internship here in Dublin. It’s my first ever 9-5 job! After the long days I am just too exhausted to even open my laptop (JK LOL, i’m lazy). But that ends here!!
I’ve been having some difficulty with my blog, and to be honest, I just don’t know what I want to write about anymore… I thought that I was just going through some weird phase and it would all come back to me after a while, but its not. Because it’s not a phase, it’s just me, being a great big pain in my own ass!
Last friday, I was driving to work when I found myself smiling. I don’t know wether it was the fact that I love my job, or that it was so close to the weekend, or maybe it was because I was listening to christmas songs for the first time this year – but I was smiling uncontrollably. I thought to myself ‘this is life!’ – even better ‘This is MY life, and I am very happy with it!’. And that is when it hit me. I know what i’m going to write about. I’ve been doing it all along, I just got lost along the way. The Gap Year Guru is a space for me to write about my life, my adventures, my stories, the things that make me the happiest in life as well as the things that make me the saddest. It is my space to share my thoughts and listen to others. It’s a place to help others and make new friends!
I spend so long worrying about what I should write that I end up not writing anything! (Bloggers, I don’t recommend it!)
So today I am asking, have YOU ever lost your way? Have you ever had to take a step back to ask yourself ‘where am I really going with this?’. If you have, thank baby jesus i’m not alone Just kidding! I’d love if you could share some advice in the comments down below
For now, i’m just going to keep writing! I have to get back into the habit, and build up my confidence in blogging again. I am also going to try to read more blog posts too! So if you are a blogger, I would love it if you could leave a link to one of your posts in the comments
It’s as simple as it sounds!
I have randomly picked out 10 websites from the business cards I recieved at TBEX Dublin : ) All you have to do is close your eyes & let your mouse wander… Pick a link, and I guarantee you will find an awesome travel blog that will inspire you to travel somewhere you had never imagined! : )
The thought of travel makes you so excited that you put every inch of your mind, body and soul into it! When you arrive at your destination it just blows your mind, & it just keeps getting better and better from there, right?… Emmmm… Not quite!
What happens when it’s all over? When your visa ends and it’s time to go home? You slip right back into your old life of course!… Ummm…. Wrong again
Unfortunately, for some it’s not that easy. Moving back home after a long time abroad can be a stressful and emotional experience. It is normal to feel a very strange mixture of happy and sad all at the one time! And although you are safely wrapped up under your blankets in your own bed, for first first time in god knows how long, it’s easy to feel lost, confused and sometimes even a bit lonely. But here are some useful tips to make the transition from long term travel, to home, a little bit easier and stress free!
- Keep Busy and Distract Yourself
Coming home after a long time abroad can leave you feeling emotional & bored (never a good combination!). So make sure that you don’t just sit around waiting for something to happen. No matter how sad you may feel, pull yourself out of that bed and do something fun! (heck it doesn’t even have to be fun, just do SOMETHING!) Keep yourself distracted, and you wont even have time to feel emotional!
- Set Goals
This one is really important! You need to have an idea of what you are doing and where you want to get to. Sometimes, coming home after such a long time can leave you feeling lost and confused. So spend some time actively thinking about what your next goal is. Give yourself something to aim towards.
- Discover Your Own Culture!
So your just back from a round the world trip, but have you ever actually discovered the true beauty and culture behind your own home?? Take some time to be a tourist in your city and remind yourself of all the great things about it! It’s great to get to see the world, but sometimes the most beautiful things are right in front of our eyes!
- Surround yourself with Positive People
It’s completely normal to feel a bit fragile after a big transition like that, so make sure you are surrounded by the people who love you most. There is nothing better than a bear hug from your best friend when you are feeling down (Don’t even try to deny that!) or a caring cuddle with your parents after a long time spent apart – Its important to catch up on some quality time with your family and friends, and they are the people who will support you during this difficult transition : )
As cliche as it sounds, time heals everything. There will always be exciting times ahead, new people to meet and new places to see : )
Have you ever been abroad for a long period of time? How did you feel when you came home? Feel free to leave your advice in the comments below for othe travelers!