Hello to anyone reading! I wanted to write today about something that can often seem very daunting – travelling alone. The idea of travelling alone has always attracted me and it was often something that I talked about doing, however the fears surrounding it really put me off for a while. Obviously as a lone female traveller there seems to be many more warnings and things to avoid, and of course these warnings should be taken into consideration, but I realised that this shouldn’t get in the way of going on a great travel adventure! So about a month ago it seemed the right time to take the plunge and book a trip alone – I travelled to the South of France, so not too far from home but still a big step that I’m glad I took!



Staying in a hostel is my number one tip for travelling alone. I stayed at the wonderful La Maioun Guesthouse, in a mixed gender dorm on this trip, which I was so nervous about at first! However this place was lovely, I felt welcomed and at home and it gave me the opportunity to meet so many new people, many of whom were also travelling alone. I met people from South Korea, Australia, the Netherlands, France and the USA, and made a new close friend called Rebekah, who took some of the photos in this post! Its incredible to meet people from across the globe, and explore a new place alongside them, which is something that is harder to find when staying alone in a hotel. To find the best hostel for me I used reviews from, Kayak and TripAdvisor and eventually booked with I’d avoid booking on ‘hostelworld’ as this can often be overpriced.



Finding things to do alone when travelling is super easy, and can often be more enjoyable as you can do exactly what you want when you want! I stayed in Nice on my trip to the South of France but also visited Monaco and Cannes as they are a short train/bus ride away. My hostel provided a list of recommended restaurants and attractions which was very useful, but of course the internet is your best friend here and TripAdvisor is especially good for finding the best places to go as a lone traveler. Eating out is a great way to explore the local cuisine and I did this both on my own and with new friends from my accommodation. I would highly recommend visiting La Rossettisserie when in Nice – situated in the old town, this restaurant has a simple menu of roasted meats and a selection of sides (choose the mash potato its amazing!) and everything is local and super tasty. Another recommendation for the low budget traveller is Chez Pipo which serves local food and wine, with the ‘best Socca in Nice’, at very low prices. In Nice you can also explore the local markets in the morning which have great food as well as flowers, gifts and other local specialities.


In many European cities, companies offer free city tours in which you tip the tour guide an amount of your choice at the end. These can help you to learn a lot about a city in a few hours, especially if you have limited time on your trip. I only had one full day in Nice therefore this was super useful for me to learn lots of fun history about the city which I otherwise wouldn’t have found out! Make sure to sign up online before your tour so they are aware of the numbers attending.



Traveling in Europe gives the opportunity to see many different cities and countries in a short space of time, especially when there is good train links available. If you are travelling to Nice, or any of the main cities in the South of France, I would recommend using their train service to explore outside of where you are staying. I went to both Monaco and Cannes and both were in easy reach at a reasonable price. To get to Monaco from Nice, simply take the 500 train from the port at only €1.50! The bus journey provides amazing views as well, so sit on the right hand side when travelling to Monaco for the best sights. If you stay on the bus it will take you right up to the Monte Carlo Casino, which is open for tours during the morning and then for general access in the late afternoon. Monte Carlo and Monaco are both gorgeous and definitely worth visiting – just be aware that these two places seem to be a bit more expensive, so avoid eating out here to save money. Cannes is another beautiful city, famous for it’s world renowned film festival. I’d recommend visiting here on a sunny day as there is a great selection of public and private sand beaches here. There is also a beautiful old monastery from which you can get an incredible view over Cannes.




Travelling alone is something that everyone should experience at some point, however it’s always good to know the risks too! Make sure you are very aware of your surroundings when travelling to a new city alone, for example knowing exactly where your hostel is and large public spaces such as railway stations, shopping centres etc. Know your emergency numbers and have an ICE number saved on your phone for people to contact, as well as your medical ID saved on your phone (option on iPhones) if you are comfortable with this – this is really useful if you have health conditions or allergies and get yourself into an emergency situation. Know your areas, where is safe to be walking alone and where is not, and use your hostel/hotel staff for local information! It’s all pretty simple and common sense knowledge, however it is important to have that extra awareness when you are alone.

But overall, after doing it myself, travelling alone is an opportunity you should definitely take, even if it is a small trip close to home! You can meet new people, have some valuable thinking time to yourself and explore a new place on your own terms. Thank you to La Maioun Guesthouse for making my trip so wonderful, and to Rebekah and everyone else I met for making some special memories!


Thank you to anyone who’s still reading! The support for this blog has been incredible, with my viewer number reaching nearly 1,300 which I never expected! I hope you all continue to enjoy my posts, and feel free to email me at, comment down below or follow my Instagram: elenaredmond. 



As the weekend comes to a close I wanted to share with you some of the pictures from an amazing St Patrick’s Day weekend, here in Tokyo! This is by far the best St Patrick’s Day parade I’ve been to – it even tops New York.

Firstly on Saturday Tokyo produced a super fun ‘I Love Ireland’ festival with pop up Irish bars, music and dancing. This was free to get in to and such a good day out, you could even get Guinness, Magners and special green cocktails here. Even better than this was today’s St Patrick’s Day Parade! This took place in Shibuya and attracted huge crowds in the Japanese capital. People from all over the world stood and watched the biggest St Patrick’s parade in the whole of Asia. It was so well put together and included pipe bands, ceilidh dancers, traditional Geisha women, and even three Santa’s dressed in green white and gold! It was the ultimate Irish celebration especially with the final group who solely celebrated Niall Horan which was hilarious for us to see. With so much variety in this parade I would definitely rate it above the New York parade which I was able to see in 2011. See below some of the photos I took today!

The opening line of the Parade included St Patrick himself and both Japan and Ireland’s Miss World Contenders. The parade was jam packed and did a loop around this Main Street in Tokyo so everyone had a good view.

Pictured below are some brilliant traditional dancers who had endless energy to perform throughout the parade!

Now we can see some of my favourite representations of Ireland including the U2 supporters, Irish dancers, Dubliners Irish pub and a man running around on a leprechaun.

There was lots of support for both Japanese and Irish culture in the parade including the beautiful Geisha girls.

And the best part of the parade: a team of samba dancers in green feather costumes lit up the parade with both the amazing dancing and drumming that came with it!

Being in Tokyo and seeing the parade end with a Niall Horan supporters group was hilarious. Clearly Niall seems to be one of the most important worldwide aspects of Irish culture and he was celebrated here with a banner, music and his face printed on paper masks!

What an incredible day we have had! Thank you so much to the I Love Ireland group for organising a great celebration of St Patrick’s Day and to all those who took part in the Parade! I hope I get to experience this amazing parade again in the future.



Starting my tour of Japan with a day stop off in Beijing! So here’s what we managed to do in under 24hours:

First of all we flew with Air China. I was super impressed with the plane and the service on board. Flying economy class, my expectations were low however it was comfy and there was a decent amount of in flight entertainment on offer, although the screen does take a while to get used to. The flight was around 10hours and I had a very positive experience on board.

We landed in Beijing at around midday – be aware that this airport takes a long time to get out of, especially if you are looking to get a 72hr visa, so do prepare for that! I’d also advise against booking quick transits from here as it’s such an enormous airport that I think making another flight quickly would be a struggle.

From here you can get the train straight into the centre of Beijing! This is so cheap – I think it cost around £2.50 for 5 of us to travel, amazing prices especially compared to London. We stayed in a hotel close to airport – the Beijing Aulympic Airport Hotel – and this was great for early morning transfers, especially as there is a complimentary bus service to and from the airport. This was included when we booked with Air China, and I think this is a great option if you’re looking to save money, be close to the airport but also have a night in good quality hotel. I was very impressed by the service here – there’s plenty of freebies in the room, WiFi, tea, TV and comfy beds. Considering it’s close to the airport I didn’t feel disrupted by this at all during the night!


With limited time we decided to pick one place to visit and that was the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. Security is strong here so be prepared to queue to get into the square and make sure you have ID on you! Sadly for us we could only see the outside as there was a conference about to commence, however it’s well worth seeing and if you have limited time I suggest this is the best place to pick. Finding food is super easy, we went to the Raffle City shopping mall where there was so many cheap food options. Ramen is probably the best option if you’re looking for a good meal at a low price! It’s so easy to get out an about in Beijing, and with our particular hotel you could get the train back to the airport and take advantage of the free shuttle bus! If you’re on a stop off, a hotel near the airport is a must, especially with the large amounts of traffic on the roads and queuing in the airport.



Next stop was Japan! We flew from Beijing to Tokyo, again using Air China. This flight was just under 3 hours but there was still a meal and in flight entertainment included so that was great! We took advantage of the tasty food at Tokyo Haneda airport before heading to Kyoto. You’ll find that prices in Tokyo are higher than in Beijing, however it’s still easy to find a reasonably priced meal which is great quality.



Then onto Kyoto! On this trip we are using Japan Rail passes (JR PASS) which you can purchase in advance and use on mainline rail – not including the subway. We took the Shinkansen from central Tokyo all the way to Kyoto, a journey of around 3 hours. The Shinkansen is so easy to travel on with loads of room for luggage, and recliner seats to relax after a long day of travel. Staying a few stops out of central Kyoto is a great idea to save money and have a peaceful evening. We were lucky to stay near the Fushimi Inari Shrine which is Kyoto’s most well known destination. This is incredible – there’s something really special and peaceful about being here. You can walk through the 10000 gates, explore the shrine, buy blessings and wishes and taste some amazing street food.



Our next stop in Kyoto was the Railway Museum. This is also a popular destination and is very busy! It was actually so fun and interesting, a great place to take children if you want them to be entertained all day! Here you can see the history of Japan’s famous trains, with many full size ones to look around. You can have a ride on a steam train as well for around £3 per person. It’s hard to see everything here as it’s so enormous, but the main centre of the museum is enough of you’re looking for a fun day out.



And our final stop. As we only had one full day here we just picked one more place to visit and that was the Imperial Palace. You can buy tickets to look around the outside of the palace and it’s gardens on your own or with a guided tour. It is so beautiful here and if you like history and beautiful architecture then go and visit! You can get here by subway from Kyoto station and then there’s a short walk under 5mins. Definitely check entry times and prices before going!



During our time in Kyoto we found the best places to eat at the Porto dining area which you can access from Kyoto station!


An amazing start to this trip of a lifetime !! Next stop: Nagasaki. Keep checking for more posts in the next two weeks and sign up via email or WordPress by clicking my sidebar! Let me know what you think by commenting or liking down below x

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DEEP SOUTH: 5 States in 14 Days


It’s been a few years now since I’ve visited the USA, however it is here that I had one of my most memorable travels – a road trip of the Deep South. We were able to cover Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Arkansas and Tennessee in under two weeks (one of these states were slightly cheated as you’ll find out later in the post!) Road trips are an amazing way to cover a number of places in a short amount of time – because lets face it, travelling to the US from the UK is pricey, so you might as well use your time wisely! Obviously first you need a good driver who’s willing to cover long distances and is pretty good with direction. We also did a road trip in California, one state over two weeks, and so it really depends on where you’re going and how much you can cover in the time you have.

In this post I mainly focus on Tennessee, as that is where we spent most of our trip. All hotels, museums and other recommendations are linked so just look out for the blue words!



We flew into Atlanta, Georgia, and drove straight to Chattanooga in Tennessee (just over a two-hour drive). Here we stayed at a brilliant hotel, Chattanooga Choo Choo, with rooms inside the famous Terminal Station and actual train carriages! From this area we did a six-hour round trip on the Tennessee Valley Railroad, with a two-hour stop off in Chickamauga, known for the ‘Battle of Chickamauga’ in the American Civil War. Both the hotel and the train ride are top recommendations from me, especially as you love quirky places to stay and great history! We also had a fantastic tour guide on the train which made all the difference and his knowledge seemed never-ending. There is also a great incline railway offering amazing views. A top food recommendation is Urban Stack in Chattanooga – I am yet to taste a burger better than the one I had here so definitely worth a visit.








Whilst focusing on Tennessee, we visited my favourite city of the trip – Memphis. There is SO much to see in Memphis that I think you could do it as one trip. First of all Graceland – probably the most famous of our visits. As the former home of Elvis Presley, this is such an exciting and beautiful day out. Not only is it decked out exactly how Elvis had it, but it is also packed full of original records, costumes and a beautiful burial garden. Whether you’re an Elvis fan or not, this is one of my top recommendations of the trip.









Beale Street is of course another top destination in Downtown Memphis. Most well-known for its history, especially in Blues music, this is the main hub of the city where you can go to Blues clubs and restaurants for the best live music. Our personal favourite was BB King’s Blues Club: this is popular with tourists and in high demand, so make sure you book in advance! Another quirky destination is the Peabody Hotel – a ‘legendary 12-story hotel famed for its resident flock of ducks’. Yes that’s right, ducks. Every morning these ducks walk out of the lift and through the lobby to their fountain for the day, and when evening comes they perform again, this time heading up to their home on the top floor. This is both hilarious and unbelievably cute. You don’t need to book at the hotel, just head in and get a drink in their lobby bar. You can also go up to the roof and get an amazing view over Memphis. However, be aware that this can be super busy so just get there early for a good view of the famous ducks! And if it’s within your budget, I would definitely recommend staying here as it’s classic, beautiful and right in the centre of town.







The Mississippi River runs through Memphis so be sure to get on one of the boat rides here. As I said earlier, we did kind of cheat one of the states on our trip, as we reached ARKANSAS by boat along the river! This was a great day out, with the best views from the rooftop seats of the boat.





Now onto some top recommendations for music fans: Sun Studios and Stax Studios. Both are in Memphis and can be done in one day. I’d definitely recommend doing both if you’re a fan of music, as you get to see where different artists and styles of music were recorded in history. Sun Studios is known for being the ‘birthplace of Rock N’ Roll and home to the ‘Million Dollar Quartet’ of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. Stax Museum is located in the former Stax Studios, home to American Soul music, with previous recording artists including Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding. There’s also footage of non-Stax artists including Aretha Franklin an Marvin Gaye. The staff here were also so helpful and friendly.







Now onto my number one recommendation of the whole trip – the National Civil Rights Museum. I can easily say that this was the most incredible museum I’ve ever been to. It’s located within the Lorraine Motel, the place of Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination. I don’t have many words to describe this place other than breathtaking, earth shattering and emotional. I don’t think you can fully understand the impact of this museum until you have been there and there is something about it that has never left my heart. If you are ever in Memphis, or anywhere near, please go here! You will learn so much and be so greatly impacted to continue the movement that these people began.










After watching Nashville on TV and also being a country music fan this was a dream come true! The Grand Ole Opry is just such an amazing venue. On the tour you get to go backstage and see who stayed in the gorgeous dressing rooms, including Dolly Parton. Then of course you get to go on the famous stage and pretend you’re a country star yourself, something I enjoyed far too much. Again, this is a great place for those who love music and those who don’t!





Like Memphis, Downtown Nashville is the hub of the city with great live music, shops and bars – most of these can be found on Music Row, well-known for its great entertainment. You can also see the famous AT&T building from the city centre! Personal favourites were Betty Boots and Ernest Tubb Record shop.








We stayed in Montgomery, Alabama. This is one of the most famous cities for the Civil Rights Movement, with the Montgomery Bus Boycott and Martin Luther King Jr. preaching at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. For us this was a really important place to visit for these reasons, and the wealth of history and culture here is unbelievable. Our two top destinations here were the Civil Rights Memorial and the Rosa Parks Museum. At this museum you can see the exact location where Rosa Parks was arrested after refusing to give up her seat on the bus, and the museum itself is informative, moving and breathtaking – a must see!




We also stopped in Birmingham, Alabama to see the memorial to the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing – this is definitely worth stopping by if you decide to road trip.


Mississippi was stopped by shortly on our road trip to see Elvis’ childhood home in Tupelo. This is worth stopping by even if it’s just to get a great picture by the memorial, as my parents show below!




And finally lovely Georgia! Sadly we only had time to see Atlanta in Georgia as we returned to fly home. This is a great city that I would have loved to spend more time in, however we did go to one big attraction and that was the World of Coca-Cola. This is absolutely brilliant and I loved every part of it. On a guided museum tour you get to see the history of Coca-Cola in a fun interactive setting – this even includes tasting some of the crazy drinks flavours Coca-Cola produce for the world, some of which are not very appetising! This is a fun, easy and family friendly day out which was a highlight on our trip. It’s approximately two hours long so easy to fill a day before flying too. Such a fun museum and actually really interesting too.







So that’s our trip! Our days were also filled with general city exploring and driving but these are the overall highlights! It’s such an incredible trip to do. I would recommend if taking children to wait till they’re in their teens so that they can fully appreciate the history and culture. But overall, if you’re fans of music and history this is most definitely the trip for you!! Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments, or by filling in a contact form below.

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DUBLIN : Budget-friendly long weekend

I want to tell you guys how I did a pocket friendly long weekend in one of my favourite cities in the world – Dublin.


We booked this out of school holiday time which is always a money saver if you are able to do it! Our flights were booked with Ryanair which I find offer amazing discounts when booking in advance however make sure to use sites such as Kayak and Expedia to find the best deal for your time and airport. Dublin is such an easy trip from the U.K. only around 50mins on the plane. Also with a bus from the airport for €7 it’s easy to get right into the city within about 30mins.

We booked with Hotel St. George,  which cost us around £90 for one room over two nights – a great price for Dublin especially as we could divide it between the two of us. The hotel exceeded my expectations – Dublin is an expensive city to visit and so for this price I didn’t expect much. However the Hotel St. George is lovely and quiet with cosy, well decorated, clean rooms including room service, free tea and coffee, TV, WiFi and toiletries. The staff are super friendly and are there to help with any problems, including printing of boarding cards should you need it. The one downside is that breakfast isn’t included, however you can pay £10 per day for this which isn’t a bad price. We opted to go to Bewley’s instead, which I’ll go on to later in the post!

Dublin is an absolutely fantastic destination for culture and history and also for its great nightlife including live music sessions at many of the Pubs throughout Temple Bar and beyond.

Now onto our trip and how you can make this a pocket friendly getaway!

Things to do in the day:

As the no.1 tourist attraction in Dublin, we thought it was only right to go the Guinness Storehouse! For any Guinness fans out there this is well worth the visit, however for €17, it is quite a pricey attraction. However this does include a free pint, poured by yourself, that you can drink in their Sky Bar with a fantastic view of Dublin. I would recommend checking out what time sunset is and booking your tour about an hour before, this way you can view the sunset over the city! Definitely book online to ensure availability and a good price –








Dublin has a wealth of history to explore. For those interested in the history and culture of Ireland I would recommend visiting GPO Witness History and Kilmainham Gaol. First of all GPO Witness History is one of the best museums I’ve ever visited. Built within the General Post Office, occupied in the Easter Rising of 1916 , this is an incredible historic venue as well as a highly interactive and informative museum. As with all of my recommendations ensure to book online in advance to save money! Kilmainham Gaol is a budget friendly day out: tickets online for the jail tour are only 8 euro for adults and €4 for students, and the museum is FREE! Another incredible historic visit – sadly the tours of the jail were booked out however that is definitely on my list for the next time I visit! However the free museum is not worth missing, it’s brilliantly detailed, with raw, harrowing accounts of the jail when it was open. It is however a bit out of town, but just catch the bus from the centre which will only cost you under €3!





Food, drink and night-life:

Now I won’t lie to you, Dublin is a huge tourist destination and therefore food and drink in the centre are pricey! Temple bar is definitely worth visiting to experience great pubs and live music, however to make your visit pocket friendly I would say find restaurants and pubs a bit outside of this central area for better prices! On our first night we went to The Lott’s Cafe Bar, a good restaurant for reasonably priced Irish food. Not an incredible eat but perfect if you want some wholesome food in your belly. One great find I found in Temple Bar was Pho Ta, a tiny little gem serving great Vietnamese food at an affordable price! Definitely a great spot for Lunch or dinner if you’re looking for something tasty and pocket friendly. My no.1 recommendation for food is Bewley’s. We went here for breakfast twice. Although it is slightly more pricey than other cafe options, it is so worth it for the great quality food and impeccable service you receive! Eat beautifully crafted food by a cosy fire and see the cooks make fresh pastries downstairs – the perfect breakfast location. And finally, for the a great evening atmosphere there are plenty of bars with live music sessions in the centre. Dublin has an amazing night-life which you shouldn’t miss.

no.1 tip: buy a packet of taytos






If you live in the UK or elsewhere around the world, Dublin is great for a short break. You can definitely save money by using the sites I recommended and booking in ADVANCE! All the places I visited are linked throughout the post. Dublin is so rich in it’s history and culture that you can spend days walking around the city completely free of charge and still have an incredible trip. Top recommendations: Trinity College, O’Connell Street, Temple Bar and the docks.

Let me know if you’ve visited Dublin, have any recommendations, or any questions down below in the comments! Make sure to subscribe on WordPress or via email using the links in my sidebar if you like my posts!



 I kicked off my 2018 travels with 4 nights in Marrakech! We landed during the most amazing sunset and already I could tell this was going to be quite the adventure. We stayed in the RED Hotel Marrakech which was the perfect place to relax after our busy days out, especially with the poolside bar from day to night.

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Our first day was spent at one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city, The Jardin Majorelle – Yves Saint Laurent museum. Queues are long to get in so I would suggest planning to get their a bit before your preferred time, or booking tickets in advance. However, it is so worth the wait to see inside such an incredible building, containing some of the best clothing from Yves Saint Laurent over the years, as well as brilliant artwork, sketches and architecture. A great cultural visit if you’re interested in art, history and most importantly fashion! Furthermore make sure you take a break in the outdoor cafe ‘Le Studio’ for an iced tea before heading on to the gardens.

The Jarden Majorelle (Majorelle Garden) is certainly not worth missing! Created by French artist Jacques Majorelle the garden contains a maze of plants, palm trees, cacti, and a stunning villa painted with vibrant blues and yellows – keep your camera to hand for the great photo opportunities! The garden was restored by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge and is now a hugely popular public attraction and well worth a visit.




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After breakfast, the morning of our second day was spent at the famous Jemaa el-Fnaa market! We had visited a night before however going at the time of evening prayers was definitely too crazy for us! However during the day this is a wonderful market to visit. Be prepared to haggle your way to better prices and look at lots of different stalls before making a final decision. We were lucky to find a lovely man who took us to watch the dyeing process of fabrics for scarfs, using all natural dye there on site. You will most likely get lost here, it seems like the stalls and alleyways are endless, but eventually you will find your way out. Make sure to stop off and get some freshly squeezed orange juice – only 30p.







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A great destination to visit is Le Grande Cafe de la Poste. This is an incredible historic cafe set up in the old post office of Marrakech. The interior architecture is beautiful, very low lit and calm, perfect for a midday coffee or a special dinner. I would recommend going for dinner, the food is gorgeous and you are seated in the top floor of the post office with comfy sofas, a burning fire and great views of Marrakech. It is a bit more pricey than other restaurants in the city however it’s well worth the money, and still cheaper than what you would pay back in the UK. 

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And finally, a very special moment of our trip was a camel ride! This was out of the city in a rural area, and we were able to watch the sunset over the palm trees during our ride! It was a very surreal and scary experience, one I would not recommend if you’re scared of heights. However it was also so incredible to travel around the countryside with these amazing animals. One concern I had was with treatment of animals in tourist attractions, as bought to attention in the media with Thai elephant rides. However all I could see was a very positive environment in which the camels took part in two 1hr rides a day, and the rest of the time were relaxing. If you would like info on who we booked through then let me know!


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So overall an amazing trip to Marrakech. We did this in four days, and I would say this is the right amount of time for this city, with more time I would say explore the rest of Morocco such as Casa Blanca. My one recommendation is to just immerse yourself in the culture! It is so brilliantly different to our culture in the UK so enjoy it – walk around the streets, go to the markets, talk to locals and explore every part of the city. Also, there are plenty of rooftop bars and great restaurants to visit if you want to capture the beautiful African sunset.