Prepare to travel

Cheers to a happy holiday

About me

Most of my life I worked as a journalist and this gave me a great opportunity to go to places and countries at no cost as long as I wrote articles about my travels. In journalism they say ‘there’s no such thing as a free lunch’ and that’s true. You go out, enjoy the people, cuisine, landscape  and atmosphere of the place, and then you have to sit in front of a computer or even typewriter in those days, and try and write something.

Place for filmstars

If it was a place that you hated, that was a tough ask. The tourist board or hotel would be looking for a positive review – so you had to come up with something positive. So, the swimming pool was cool, the shower, bed and room came up to scratch. You decided to eat out and not in the hotel restaurant. You get my drift?

Wow place destination

But if you REALLY liked the place, then that was a different story. Let me give you an example of a WOW place and destination. I stayed three nights in a five-star hotel in Dubrovnik called the Belvedere. Many years ago a glamorous actress called Bo Derek slept in that same hotel suite, in that same bed. Was I dreaming?  She was doing a film called 10 with the late English actor Dudley Moore.

Bubbly and chocs

Wow. That was an article that was going to be enjoyable to write back at the newspaper office. My editor would have to prod me to bring me back down to earth. The breath-taking view of the clear-blue Adriatic Sea. Standing there on the balcony feeling the warm night air from the balcony, and watching a steamer in the distance crossing the sea and tooting as it passed by.  There was bubbly and chocolates on the coffee table left to sample and to toast the start of a welcome break. After a few gulps it was easy to fall asleep in the king-size bed with my girlfriend, who I later married.

Dubrovnik dream

In those days Dubrovnik was in Yugoslavia, but later in the early 1990s, the country broke up into separate republics and it became part of Croatia. After the war, the hotel manager got in touch and wanted me to return and write a follow-up, but by then I had moved on.

Fairytale Fairmont

Years later I celebrated my 25th wedding anniversary at the magical Fairmont Chateau Hotel, by Lake Louise in Canada. When I told them it was my anniversary they went the extra mile. Not only did they upgrade us to the best suite in the hotel, but threw in a complimentary bottle of wine and free rowing boat tickets on the lake. Check out my review of the Fairmont Chateau Hotel on this link:

Got the travel bug

Once I got the travel bug, I couldn’t stop. I was one of the first people to be at Legoland in Windsor, England, when it opened. They let in a handful of journalists which meant that every ride had no queues. We were treated like royalty. I even managed to get a Legoland Driving Licence.

Alligators and cigars

My last big trip was in 2018 when the family visited Miami, USA.  One of the highlights being The Everglades, being driven on the lakes and dodging alligators. We also spent some time in Little Havana, where among many things we sampled Cuban coffee. I could have had a cigar but I don’t smoke.

Worn-out suitcases

But all these holidays had one thing in common. They all needed preparation. Old worn-out suitcases had to be thrown away and new ones bought. Then the night or two before, a list of things needed to be made up, so as not to forget anything.

Get packing NOW!

Each holiday was different and bags had to be packed accordingly. A trip to Ukraine, for example, where we had relatives, meant looking to buy presents. In the 1990s jeans with red tags were the hot commodity. Also, everyone was asking for chewing gum.

English teapots

When we visited our relatives in New Jersey, USA, the hot commodity there was anything English-looking. We bought some nice teapots for all our cousins. Who said the Americans didn’t like tea?

Prep work is crucial

So it wasn’t just the experience of the holiday that was important. But all the backroom work, the preparation that was needed. Filling up those pesky suitcases with the right stuff, from t-shirts, suits, swimwear, and those gifts for the people you would be staying with.

Ready for take-off

So check out my website, read some of my hotel and product reviews, and let’s see if I can steer you in the right direction, offer you some tips on what to buy, any great holiday deals. Learn from my mistakes and have that perfect holiday. is there for you.

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