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Dubbed the gateway to Australia’s glorious Red Centre, Alice Springs, or just ‘Alice’ as it is affectionately known, has been a popular pit stop for those venturing into the likes of Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon.

The seemingly small and remote area is the second largest town in the Northern Territory, following closely after Darwin. There’s a lot to offer, particularly for travelers — it’s home to an impressive wildlife park, various cultural points of interest and some pretty good dining options.

This place is definitely worth a drive by, so here are my top tips for visiting Alice Springs!

Getting to Alice Springs

Located at virtually the centre of Australia, Alice Springs is around a 16-hour drive from most areas. Prep properly if you decide to brave the long road!

There is also the option to fly in, with direct flights available from most major city airports (through Qantas or Virgin Australia).

Where to Stay

With every level of accommodation on offer, Alice Springs has something for everyone. Choose between desert luxury or a free site to pitch the trusty tent (like I did!).

Finding a place to stay is pretty straightforward in Alice. You are likely to see some familiar names, such as Hilton DoubleTree and Mercure. These are great options if you are playing it safe.

If you’re pulling through in your caravan or simply want some steady ground to set up your camp, I would suggest taking a look at Alice Springs Tourist Park.

Peaceful and generously equipped, this park caters to solo travelers as well as big families. Since you’re likely to be staying in Alice for just a day or two, make sure it is somewhere memorable.

Activities in Alice Springs Visit the Kangaroo Sanctuary: 

In my opinion, no visit to Alice Springs is complete without a visit to the Kangaroo Sanctuary. The experience is unforgettable!

This sanctuary is home to the cutest joeys and some of the toughest kangaroos of the region.

Journey on the Larapinta Trail:

While the full trail of 223km may not be on everyone’s list, Larapinta can be explored through one of its 12 different sections. It is definitely worth attempting at least part of the trek.

Enjoy scenic gorges, mountainous peaks and countless waterholes along the way.

Some parts are particularly strenuous, particularly in hotter months. I would advise walking on one of the guided tours which are usually less intensive and also offer great insight into the geology of the region.

Take a Trip to the Aboriginal Art Galleries:

Aboriginal art can be viewed throughout Alice Springs, with Papunya Tula Gallery and Araluen Arts Centre being of the popular choices for visitors. These traditional artworks are truly magnificent. You can choose to view them in the bigger galleries or in the tiny galleries located by Todd Mall.

Experience the Alice Springs Desert Park:

If you have the time, I would recommend taking an afternoon to explore the desert park for an educational and enriching experience.

The Alice Springs Desert Park offers visitors a unique walking experience through various environments.

These include the woodland, sandy country and even desert rivers. On these walks, you can get to know about all the conservation efforts they have in place to preserve and protect the native plants and animals.

 Stock Up on Food:

With Alice Springs being the only proper town in the heart of Australia it’s the perfect place to stock up on some essentials before heading back on to the road. With a decent sized shopping centre, you can easily pack in some supplies, stock up on snacks and even squeeze in a trip to the bank.

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Since stocking up on some summer activewear styles from Backcountry, I’ve discovered even more adventure apparel and gear on their website! It was perfect timing to stock up on some hiking gear and outdoor essentials as I took my first trip up to Banff National Park in Canada.

Backcountry has all the activewear, accessories and gear you might need for ANY size adventure this summer—from camping under the stars, to hiking, or just some morning yoga, they carry the top adventure and apparel brands.

Whether you’re planning your first outdoor adventure, or just upgrading your current gear, Backcountry is a one-stop resource!

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Links to My Outfit: Patagonia Jacket (in Pesto) // Hat // Daypack // Blanket // Boots

Another thing I love about Backcountry is that they have a dedicated customer service team of “Gearheads”. They have extensive experience in the outdoors, and are not intimidating about it, so whether you are a backpacking expert or buying your first pair of hiking boots or yoga pants, they can help you with any questions you may have!

Check out more activewear styles on Backcountry.com!

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Riding the Ghan Train in Australia’s Outback is one of the most charming and adventurous ways you can explore South Australia. Immerse yourself in the Northern Territory across the expanses of the Outback.

I’ve always been a lover of train travel so I was incredibly excited to explore the great outback from Alice Springs to Darwin/Katherine by train. Riding the Ghan Train is the perfect way to explore the center of Australia.

Ready to book your trip on the Ghan Train? Here’s everything you need to know about riding the Ghan Train in Australia’s outback!

Rooms on the Ghan Train

Sometimes during a busy trip, I crave a bit of privacy. Just some time in which I can be alone and recollect my thoughts.

I loved that with The Ghan Gold Service I was able to get away for a while in my private sleeper.

Gold Service cabins come in two options; you can choose between a two-berth, if you’re traveling with someone else, or a single-berth, if you’ve decided to explore the outback solo.

History of The Ghan

I love knowing the history of places I travel to, so this was a special experience for me! The name “Ghan” originates from 19th-century folklore when cameleers established paths in the Red Center.

At the time, the cameleers were believed to have come from Afghanistan. However, it’s now known that they were actually from modern-day Pakistan.

The Ghan was originally called the Afghan Express in 1929, but the name was eventually changed to The Ghan.

Originally, The Ghan was used to transfer people and supplies to Alice Springs. In the early 2000’s the tracks were replaced, and the train received a modern look. Today, the north to south cross-country journey covers 2979 kilometers and passes through diverse landscapes from the stunning South Australian plains, to the rusty reds of the MacDonnell Ranges, to the tropical greens of Katherine and Darwin.

The Ghan train is now one of the worlds’ most iconic rail lines.

Riding from Alice Springs to Katherine on The Ghan

The Ghan is specifically designed to evoke the golden age of rail travel. I felt this as soon as I got on board! The Ghan from Alice Springs to Katherine is a two day journey through the heart of Australia’s Northern Territory.

From the Red Center through the lush Top End, you get to experience the best of Australia’s Outback.

For the ultimate experience, book The Ghan Expedition, a three night and four day adventure, that takes you coast to coast (2,979km) between Adelaide and Darwin.

Food on The Ghan Train

Anyone who knows me also knows how much I enjoy good food! The Ghan serves amazing regionally-sourced Australian food that is both tasty and fresh.

Complement your food with beer, wines and non-alcoholic beverages. Experience all kinds of Australian cuisine from Margaret River cheeses to Top End barramundi.

Depending on the class of your booking, you can have all meals and beverages included, as well as off-train excursions.

Experience the Australian Outback

You cannot help but feel completely taken in by the spectacular scenery that the Outback has to offer on board The Ghan. Trust me when I say that you’ll find it a struggle to stop staring, as you’ll be afraid that you’ll miss something great.

It is an incredible experience to be transported from the gorgeous rusty hues of the Red Center to the amazingly lush green hills surrounding the Adelaide. Plus always be on the lookout for kangaroos!

The post Riding the Ghan Train in Australia’s Outback appeared first on The Blonde Abroad.

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While most people are familiar with Uluru, not as many are aware of the other red gem that resides in the great outback. Visiting Kata Tjuta and hiking Valley of the Winds is as impressive as its more famous neighbor.

The site is estimated to be over 500 million years old!

In fact, when you visit Uluru, you are actually entering the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. For this reason, people visiting Uluru factor in a trip to Kata Tjuta as well.

Here is my experience exploring the majestic Kata Tjuta and hiking Valley of the Winds!

Discovering Kata Tjuta

Kata Tjuta is a series of 36 domes around 564 meters above the ground. It’s taller than Uluru and is believed to have been one giant formation that weathered down over the years.

The result? A series of unusual and magnificent peaks. Referred to as The Olgas for some time, it was restored to its original name as a respectful gesture to the Aboriginal people.

The area was originally owned by the Anangu people for around 30,000 years. The local Aboriginal people and Parks Australia now manage the area.

Located just 30km from Uluru, Kata Tjuta forms a part of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. The park is also classified as a UNESCO world heritage site. With both natural and cultural significance, the area represents one of the oldest civilizations on earth. It also has some of the most fascinating geology discovered to date.

When you get to Kata Tjuta, you can either choose to admire it from the road or venture into the region on one of the two accessible routes. Although there are several tracks in the area, only the Anangu tribes can roam freely.

The land is extremely importance to the natives. With the high tourist traffic to Uluru, Kata Tjuta has become the primary location for tribal ceremonies by the Anangu.

Should you opt to take a walk, I recommend the Valley of the Winds over the Walpa Gorge (which is the shorter and easier route, but less satisfying).

Valley of the Winds Hike

Having braved the 7.4km circuit route myself, I can assure you it’s worth the steep incline. The hike is likely to take you around 3-4 hours and you need to be moderately fit to manage.

Remember that it also gets extremely hot here! It’s best to start early to avoid the harshest sun.

Allow yourself time to absorb the scenic surroundings and take some picture perfect shots for the gram. And be sure to wear comfortable shoes! Hydration is essential, so stock up on water beforehand. There is a less strenuous hike to the Karu lookout that is just 2km from the starting point.

Though I strongly advise getting to the Karinga Lookout if you can manage. The views are so worth it!

Having done the loop trail through the region, I can safely say it’s the most meaningful way of exploring Kata Tjuta. With an overwhelming amount of beauty surrounding you, it’s quite difficult to pinpoint a specific moment as a favorite.

One of the most spectacular moments for me was when we arrived at a split between two of the rock formations. Steep wall faces open up to showcase distant rock domes while the valley below is splattered with greenery. The sight of the red rocks and green plant life against the bright blue skies is magical.

Also planning to visit Uluru? Check out my post on Australia’s Great Big Outback!

The post Kata Tjuta and Hiking Valley of the Winds appeared first on The Blonde Abroad.

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Uluru is taller than the Eiffel Tower and is made of arkosic sandstone. A magical trip to Uluru in the Outback is likely to near the top of most traveler’s bucket lists when venturing to Australia.

I had the pleasure of exploring Australia’s Outback back in 2013, and I definitely see myself revisiting the region. Planning a trip to Uluru, or Ayers Rock as it is sometimes known, requires a fair amount of thought.

Being among the top attractions in Australia, there are tons of ways to experience Uluru. This guide will help you plan your trip to Uluru with ease!

 Be Aware of the Aboriginal Requests

Although the signs around the site are hard to miss, I would suggest you take a look at what is requested of visitors by the native people who consider this massive sandstone formation theirs. The site holds historical significance to the native people of the area (known as the Anangu).

Uluru is a very sacred place to the Aboriginal people of Australia.

There is a lot of controversy around climbing Ulurum, though it is permitted by Australian law but strongly discouraged by the Aboriginal people. The Anangu feel personally responsible if someone is hurt when attempting the ascent.

A majority of visitors respect this request, though a handful still choose to undertake the risky climb which has claimed around 35 lives.

There are also requests to refrain from photographing certain areas and not capturing the native Anangu in images. There are many chilling tales of misfortune at the Visitor’s Center cautioning visitors to respect these requests.

Be Wary of the Distances

I drove through from Alice Springs which takes around 5 hours. I discovered that there are long distances to cover traveling to and from the rock itself. It is essential that you take these factors into account when deciding on the duration of your stay.

You will be doing yourself a real injustice if you visit Uluru without experiencing it entirely. The accommodation area is around 20km’s from the rock which is a significant 40km journey roundtrip.

The journey around the base of Uluru is 11km and can take a while longer because of various photo stops or a trip to the Visitor’s Center.

Plan a Trip to Uluru

Taking into account the amount of traveling involved and the different experiences to indulge in, I recommend a two or three day stay at Uluru. A 3-day itinerary will safely allow you to experience a sunrise AND sunrise, plus a trip to Kata Tjuta (about 50km from Uluru).

Be sure to include a visit to the cultural center and some time to venture onto one (or two) of the many amazing walking experiences offered. Anything shorter is likely to feel rushed.

Top Ways to Experience Uluru Experience the View from Lasseter Highway Sand Dune

The unofficial viewing area from this spot provides a spell-binding first look at the rock. Located around 20km from the entrance into Uluru-Kata Tjuta park, it is unmissable when driving in.

Set your Sights on a Spectacular Sunrise and Sunset

This one tops the list by far. One of the most magical things about Uluru is that it looks completely different at dawn, during the day and at dusk.

Natural light influences the color of the colossal rock formation, so it’s impossible to choose a favorite time!

Sunrise shows Uluru off in a flaming red which then settles into the terracotta hue for the day. At sunset, it all changes again, bearing a striking reddish hue before settling into a dusky pink for nightfall.

Sunrise and sunset tours are very popular at Uluru with great photo opportunities and good wine.

Do the Base-Walk Around Uluru

Uluru is best experienced by venturing on a walk around the base. The base walk is 10.6km and mostly flat.

Apart from a small area of sandy footing the walk not too demanding. There are a few drinking stations along the way and no shade on the back side of the rock. I suggest taking a hat, lots of water and comfortable shoes!

It’s also a good idea to get started early to avoid harsh sunlight. A camel ride around part of the perimeter is another an interesting way of experiencing Uluru.

You can also rent bicycles for more adventures!

Visit the viewing deck at Kata Tjuta

Kata Tjuta is a marvel of its own. Whilst there be sure to look out for Uluru from the dune viewing area. The captivating site provides yet another view of Uluru and is a great option for sunrise or sunset as well.

Decide on Activities

With so many different options, it’s a good idea to get a head start on choosing activities beforehand. Camel rides, sunset drinks, outback cycling, sand dunes and guided walks are just a handful of what is offered.

I suggest putting together a list of your personal must do’s. It’s also a good idea to book certain activities in advance and confirm the day before.

Visiting Uluru is going to leave you spellbound. While taking pictures and documenting your time is important, don’t forget to take a step back and revel in the beauty of it all. Remember to enjoy every second of your trip!

The post Tips for Planning Your Trip to Uluru appeared first on The Blonde Abroad.

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Call me partial, but I think my home state of California is one of the greatest places in the world. I’m always thrilled to get a chance to be back home stateside to explore the Golden State.

During my latest adventure home, I decided to go for a good old-fashioned American road trip. Hitting the open road, I explored my fave California coast road trip destinations on an extended tour.

From living it up in the big city to unplugging at beach campsites, the California coastline offers an impressive diversity that few places on the planet can compare to.

Ready to feel the wind in your hair? Here’s my 10-day California coast road trip itinerary.

Day 1-2: San Francisco

I have had so many incredible trips to San Francisco, but this summer I got the chance to see the famous Golden Gate Bridge on its 81st birthday! Every time I visit the bay I love it even more.

Another site I never get tired of is the Painted Ladies. You can’t see these adorable houses without dreaming about living a quaint little life in one of these gorgeous Victorian and Edwardian homes.

Of course, in San Francisco, it’s all about the coastline. If you’re an SF newbie, make a beeline for Pier 39.

Full of one of a kind souvenirs, local eats, and beautiful views, this is a must-do. From there, take your time walking down to Fisherman’s Wharf.

This is the place for ultra-fresh seafood and breathtaking views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz.

As you are walking away from Fisherman’s Wharf, you’ll run into Ghirardelli Square. This former chocolate factory is now filled with restaurants and shops. And, yes, you can still get mouthwatering local chocolate there!

If you have time, you could easily spend more days here exploring all that SF has to offer.

Day 3: Drive from SF to Big Sur Take the US 101-South for 3 hours

The trip from San Francisco to Monterey is just under two hours, and, in this case, the journey is just as incredible as the destination.

Start early to get to Pebble Beach. From here, you can explore the famous 17-Mile Drive for some of the most beautiful landscapes in the United States. Be sure to check out the iconic Lone Cypress at Pebble Beach!

Another stunning little spot, Carmel-by-the-Sea, is full of historic sites, boutiques, and fairytale cottages. Plan at least a quick stop here to explore.

Finally, once you get into Monterey, head over to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. This impressive place will offer you a window into local marine life. Before you hop back in the car, take a stroll down Cannery Row to experience the heart of Monterey.

From Monterey to Big Sur, it’s only about an hour drive. I’d recommend staying in Big Sur overnight so that you can start early there.

Day 4: Big Sur

On my trip to Big Sur, I had a magical stay at Ventana Big Sur, and it was the perfect place to start the day. Camping and hiking around Big Sur’s California State Parks is a must.

Gorgeous places like Limekiln Beach State Park, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, and Andrew Molera State Park will take your breath away. With dramatic cliffs towering over the ocean and sparkling waterfalls, you’ll fall in love at first sight with this place.

Before you go, grab a coffee and snack at Big Sur Bakery to get fuel for a long day out.

Tip: Before you arrive at Big Sur, check out the Esalen Institute to look at their program options. They’ve also got a 6,000-year-old cliff-side hot spring that you’ve got to experience.

After a long day of exploring, stop at the Big Sur Taphouse. This taphouse is an excellent spot to try creative local cuisine and craft beers.

It’s a grocery store as well, so it’s a handy place to pop in before you head out for a picnic. When night falls, visit the Henry Miller Library for an evening concert or movie screening; they’ve always got a full calendar.

Day 5: Drive from Big Sur to Paso Robles Take the US 101-S for 3 hours

As you leave Big Sur, stop by the beautiful McWay Falls (?) in McWay Creek at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park to snap some pics.

After a couple more hours on the road, you’ll come by Hearst Castle, which is a striking spot to get out and stretch your legs. This National Historic Landmark was the illustrious mansion of William Randolph Hearst, and it’s crazy beautiful.

Not far from Hearst Castle, Piedras Blancas is a must see. Lie out with the elephant seals sunning themselves and snapshots of the Piedras Blancas Light Station.

WARNING: Highway 1 is currently under construction, so the highway doesn’t connect south of Big Sur. You will have to go back up through Monterey, then south on Highway 101.

Day 6: Wine Tasting in Paso Robles

Famous for its wineries and olive groves, you need at least one full day to experience all of the incredible wines of Paso Robles.

We sipped our way through Venteux Vineyards and Family Wines, both of which are family-owned and specialize in incredible Rhône varietals, then we went over to Brecon Estate, an artisanal boutique winery with a range of varietals like Syrah, Petit Verdot, Albarino, and Mourvedre.

Day 7: Paso Robles to San Luis Obispo

After getting our fill of wine, we started the day with a trip to Pismo Beach, which is famous for its Monarch Butterfly Grove that is filled with butterflies from late October through February (though it’s worth visiting at any time of year).

Another jaw-droppingly photogenic stop is the volcanic mound at Morrow Bay. This is the perfect pit stop for getting out to enjoy the sun and natural beauty on your way to San Luis Obispo.

No trip to San Luis Obispo is complete without a stay at the Madonna Inn. I’ve been to this place a few times now, and am head over heels for its glam vintage vibe.

Day 8: San Luis Obispo to Santa Barbara Take the CA-154 E/San Marcos Pass Rd to the US-101 S for 1.5 hours

On your way down to Santa Barbara, stop in California’s Little Denmark (AKA Solvang). This quaint European style town will transport you to the other side of the world. Wander around with your camera, then stop by one of their many wine tasting rooms.

Once we arrived in Santa Barbara, we stayed in one of my fave areas, The Funk Zone, at the Hotel Californian. This well-appointed Spanish Colonial property is in the heart of it all so you can do and see as much as possible in Santa Barbara.

Day 9: Santa Barbara to Los Angeles

You can’t go through So Cal without hitting the beach! I adore Venice Beach, and you could easily spend a weekend exploring this cool town, but you can also hit the main spots in just a quick stroll down the beach.

After exploring Venice, see Santa Monica. The best way to take a quick tour through town is to get out and stretch your legs with a bike trip along the coast.

Finally, end your day in West Hollywood. I have a love hate relationship with WeHo and, while the traffic gets crazy, it’s a fairly walkable area so you can explore or take short Uber rides to get where you want to go.

Day 10: Los Angeles

One day is hardly enough to see all of LA, but you can hit the best of the best. Of course, it all starts with a hike up to the Hollywood sign!

Once you’ve worked up a sweat, get down to Melrose Street for an afternoon stroll and incredible food. To get a full retail fix, stop by Abbot Kinney Blvd to experience the home of the “coolest block in America.”

If you happen to be there during the first Friday of the month, come hungry for an impressive lineup of food trucks.

After exploring the city, transport yourself to another world at the Griffith Observatory, then make your way down to Malibu to get off of your feet for a while to unwind after a whirlwind road trip.

Trip Additions

If you have more time, I’d highly recommend staying longer in LA to see more of this incredible city. I’d also recommend checking out Orange County, to experience Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, and Disneyland.

San Diego is another one of my favorite places on the planet, and it’s the best city for gorgeous beaches, beautiful botanical gardens, and second-to-none Mexican Food!

It’s well worth getting into the desert too if you have time.

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Of all of the travel experiences I’ve had over the years, some of my best memories are from trips I’ve taken alone. While I love traveling with friends and family, there is something so empowering and liberating about going it alone.

Whether you are considering your first solo trip (if so, read my article on 10 Tips for Taking Your First Solo Trip before you go) or you’re a seasoned explorer, there are so many amazing experiences out there just waiting to be had. And, going it alone doesn’t have to mean being alone!

There are countless adventures that’ll connect you with other travelers.

Ready to hit the road? Here are my top 10 experiences for solo female travelers around the world.

Walk Camino de Santiago

Spain is an ideal place for solo female travelers. It’s been ten years since I went to Spain to study abroad, and the country will always have a special place in my heart.

If you want the see Spain, there’s no better way to do it than walking the Camino de Santiago. Also, known as the Way of Saint James, there are several different paths to follow that’ll show you the authentic side of Spain.

Common paths will take you through Santiago de Compostela, San Sebastián, Bilbao, and Santander. Whichever way you go, though, you’ll find many solo travelers on the path, so it’s a good way to connect.

Go On a TBA Escapes Retreat in South Africa

Another ideal way to meet other likeminded ladies is on a TBA Escapes. Why not enjoy a trip with yours truly and an amazing group of ladies?

We’ve had such a good time on previous trips! You can explore South Africa, hone your photography skills, and make connections from around the world.

Trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

I spent four incredible days hiking up the Inca Trail to finally reach Machu Picchu. It is an intense hike but SO worth it when you finally reach Machu Picchu!

I joined a hiking group with guides, which is a good way to connect with other travelers and get help along the way.

A European River Cruise

Explore the rivers of France, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, The Netherlands, and Hungary with U by UNIworld. A travel company specializing in creating travel experiences for millennials, these guys do it all.

U by UNIworld organizes trips to the best festivals in Europe and other specialized options. Take their travel personality quiz to find out which cruise fits you best.

Go On The Yacht Week

I’ve been on several The Yacht Week trips, and they are an awesome way to connect with other travelers. For solo travelers, I’d say that The Yacht Week in Greece is the best experience.

When you sign up for TYW Greece, you’ll be paired with another solo traveler, so you meet people on your yacht and get the chance to connect with people from other yachts during the parties.

I met so many wonderful friends during TYW, and couldn’t recommend the trip enough.

Backpack Europe

Traveling around Europe is great for solo female travelers. I got a Eurail Pass while I was there and it gave me the chance to get around to a wide range of different places.

It’s easy to hop from city to city, and you quickly meet people at every destination.

UK Road Trip

The United Kingdom is a prime destination for a road trip. Self-driving through England brings you through fascinating places like London and Stratford-upon-Avon.

It also offers you the chance to continue up into Scotland and even take a ferry over to Ireland.

Explore Iceland

This gorgeous destination is one of my favorite places in the world. Iceland has so much to see and do. There are countless tours that you can join, and stay in hostels which will give you the chance to meet other travelers.

Iceland is also one of the best diving destinations on the planet, and it’s another dream destination for a road trip.

Backpack Southeast Asia

Thailand was my first solo trip, and it’s one I’ll never forget. It’s such a beautiful country, and it’s perfect for solo travel. With flawless beaches, unforgettable food, and friendly people, this place ticks all of the boxes.

I also had a great time in Cambodia exploring the temples of Angkor, and my recent trip to Indonesia for a diving liveaboard was a dream come true. I met so many interesting people from all over the planet.

Adventure through New Zealand

Another place I’ll always love is New Zealand! This is an ideal country for solo female travelers.

You’ll meet an endless stream of people who are backpacking around the country. If you stay in hostels, you’ll find countless travelers looking to swap stories.

Plus it’s such a safe place! You never have to worry about stumbling into a bad neighborhood, and it’s easy to get a car or hop on a bus.

The post Top 10 Experiences for Solo Female Travelers appeared first on The Blonde Abroad.

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  This post was written by expert vagabond, Ana, from The Art of Epic Living!

Bali, as you may know, is a beautiful and lively island located in the Asian country of Indonesia. It is known for its surf beaches, breathtaking rice terraces, lush jungles and AMAZING VEGAN FOOD!

Yes, my friends, it is true; Bali is the holy grail for delicious and nutritious plant-based meals. From smoothie bowls to gourmet salads, to vegan pizza to coconut ice cream- Bali is home to a diverse range of incredible vegan options for herbivores and omnivores alike.

Whether you are a vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian or meat-eater, these places will be sure to satisfy. Here is where to find the best vegan food in Bali!

The Seeds of Life Cafe in Ubud

The Seeds of Life Cafe is my personal favorite restaurant in all of Bali. The Seeds of Life redefines raw vegan cuisine and features a fully-raw menu with a variety of enticing options for any breakfast lunch or dinner.

The signature dish at Seeds of Life has to be the SOL Bowl, and I highly recommend that you give it a try. The Sol Bowl features a surprising combination of interesting ingredients including coconut jerky, homemade hummus, nori paper, kimchi, tempeh and fresh spirulina atop a bowl of greens and veggies.

As far as breakfast, the acai bowl is my go-to. In addition to its amazing food choices, guests can enjoy one of the many tasty elixirs, juices or teas served in SOL’s tonic bar.

The Tonic Bar’s lengthy (non-alcoholic) drink menu features a plethora of delicious concoctions, from mushroom teas to frozen mocktails.

The Spell Creperie in Ubud

Right down the street from Seeds of Life, lives a magical, treehouse-like eatery known as The Spell Creperie. The Spell is known for its mouth-watering sweet crepes and savory galletas, which come in just about every flavor combo you can imagine.

The Spell serves up savory crepes featuring fillings such as marinated jackfruit, vegan foie gras, vegan bolognese, sautéed mushrooms/onions, vegan cheese, Balinese veggies and more.

The Spell’s sweet crepes are the perfect choice for a yummy breakfast or dessert.

Sweet filling choices include homemade caramel, vegan chocolate sauce, coconut whipped cream and of course a variety of tropical, local fruits. Be sure to sip on one of their delicious vegan-friendly smoothies, “potions” or fresh coconuts as well!

Earth Cafe in Ubud & Seminyak

You have to see this place to believe it! Earth Cafe boasts page after page of unbelievable vegan dishes in its large menu.

The only thing that I dislike about Earth Cafe is deciding what to order. With options such as build-your-own bowls, vegan burgers, soups/curries, sandwiches/wraps, falafel, Indian dishes, vegan tacos and more, one can feel overwhelmed (in a good way) with all of the delicious options.

Earth Cafe also features a ton of delectable desserts, tasty smoothies, juices coffee and teas.

Earth Cafe has locations in Ubud as well as Seminyak, so that gives you two opportunities to enjoy all that this restaurant has to offer.

Sayuri Healing Foods

Sayuri Healing Foods believes in the healing power of food and understands that food is energy (we are what we eat). Every dish at Sayuri is created with intention and serves to nourish the body.

Sayuri offers predominately high-vibe raw food but also prepares delicious cooked dishes which incorporate the wisdom of Ayurveda and Ancient Chinese nutrition.

Sayuri is meat-free, dairy-free and wheat-free. Its menu creations take conscious eating to a whole new level, and it is a restaurant which proves that eating healthy can be an exceedingly enjoyable experience for your taste buds!

Cafe Organic

Cafe Organic is a restaurant which includes a wide variety of vegan breakfasts, appetizers, burgers, salads, smoothie bowls and more.

Whether you are in the mood for a light bite or a food coma, you will be sure to find your perfect meal of choice within the contents of Cafe Organic’s impressive menu. Cafe Organic also includes homemade plant “mylks”, local kombuchas, juices and other healthy drink options.

This is “garden gangsta” paradise for sure!

Peloton Supershop in Canggu

Peloton Supershop is vegan heaven! This 100% plant-based restaurant makes for the perfect breakfast spot and features all of the classics, including avocado toast, smoothie bowls and breakfast burritos.

Peloton’s diverse lunch/dinner menu items feature meals such as jackfruit tacos, superfood power bowls, green Thai noodle curry, veggie burgers and vegan lasagna!

Whether you are a herbivore or an omnivore, Peloton Supershop will definitely satiate your appetite! Who knew that fueling your body could taste so good!

Kismet in Ubud

Kismet is a funky and beautiful restaurant/bar which offers many vegan-friendly options. Choose one of Kismet’s masterpiece salad bowls or charcoal-bun burgers.

Kismet also offers vegan sandwiches, wraps, soups, appetizers, veggie sushi, pasta dishes and desserts. I can personally recommend the 666 Southwest Bowl, which features spicy marinated jackfruit and an avocado-corn tartare.

The tempeh burger is another popular choice among guests!

La Pacha Mama in Ubud

If you are in the mood for vegan-Mexican, then La Pacha Mama is the choice for you! La Pacha Mama features an all-plant-based menu for its vegan guests.

Choose from delicious dishes such as coconut tostadas, beet carpaccio, vegan burritos or shiitake tacos. La Pacha Mama also features a vegetarian menu, from which you can also create vegan options- simply ask for no cheese and/or no sour cream, and you can find additional vegan dishes such as nachos and quesadillas.

The Shady Shack in Canggu

The Shady Shack is a breezy, open-air cafe/restaurant with food which is just as healthy as it is delicious.  All-day breakfast, power bowls, vegan burgers and sharing plates make The Shady Shack an excellent choice no matter your level of hunger or food cravings.

Enjoy the food as well as the beautiful location!

Alchemy in Ubud

Alchemy is one of the most well-known vegan eateries in Ubud and is the first 100% raw vegan restaurant in Bali. Alchemy is a gorgeous restaurant/cafe/shop, which features a giant make-your-own-salad bar and large fully raw menu.

Food options include items such as raw pizza, vegan sushi, miso soup and vegan nachos. Alchemy also offers delicious sweet treats, such as raw vegan cheesecake and vegan chocolate truffles, as well as a variety of homemade beverages.

Honorable Mentions

Read Next: The Ultimate Bali Travel Guide

The post Where to Find the Best Vegan Food in Bali appeared first on The Blonde Abroad.

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Easily one of my favorite places on the planet, the tropical paradise that is French Polynesia deserves a place on every traveler’s must-see list. While this far-flung destination is definitely remote, it’s not actually that hard to get to.

Air Tahiti Nui flies direct from Los Angeles to Tahiti. If you haven’t been to French Polynesia before, you might not have heard of the airline, but they are actually just about to celebrate their 20th anniversary.

I flew Air Tahiti Nui Business Class from LA to Tahiti and was impressed. It was a comfortable flight, especially for a long haul trip, and I’m looking forward to checking out the new fleet of Tahitian Dreamliners, which are coming out at the end of this year.

Ready to experience this exceptional island nation? Here are some essential tips for getting to French Polynesia.

Island Hopping

The best way to get started on your French Polynesian adventure is to spend the first few nights in Tahiti. It’ll give you a chance to settle in and explore this gorgeous island before moving on.

Tahiti is the largest island in French Polynesia, and it is a beach lover’s dreamland.

While Tahiti and Bora Bora often steal the spotlight, there is so much more to French Polynesia than just these couple of places! I had a fantastic time in Taha’a, Rangiroa, and there are so many other incredible islands off the beaten path.

From Tahiti, you can take a 30-minute ferry to Moorea, which is an island well worth visiting. In fact, a Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers Choice Awards called this place the third best island on the planet.

I’d definitely jump at the chance to get back and explore further. I’ve been drooling over pics of islands like Maupiti, Nuku Hiva, Hiva Oa, Fakarava, and Huahine.

Ultimately, the best pick for you depends on your travel style. You’ll find a lot of all-inclusive resorts and other options where you would be spending all of your time within a resort.

So, that means that choosing the right resort for you is just as important as choosing your island. Fortunately, good resorts are easy to find in French Polynesia.

Save Money with a Package Deal

While island hopping is a must in French Polynesia, there can be a lot of logistics to plan, and it can get pricey. The easiest way to make it happen is with an Air Tahiti Nui package.

They’ve partnered with different travel providers to offer good deals on multi-island vacation packages that include all of your travel, accommodation, and some options are all-inclusive with food and drinks.

French Polynesia is made up of 118 tropical islands and atolls. The more time that you have to spend exploring, the better.

You can choose between Air Tahiti Nui packages like the five-day intro to diving package that’ll take you from Los Angeles to Tahiti then teach you how to dive off the beautiful shore of Tahiti.

Or you can go all out with a 10-day trip from Tahiti to Bora Bora and on to Tikehau. They offer first-rate popular resort option at a good price so I’d definitely recommend checking out options that you can get with Air Tahiti Nui.

Travel in November or April

The best time to travel to French Polynesia is during the shoulder season, which runs from November to April. The average temperatures all year long is 80 degrees, so there’s not a cold season.

Best of all, the islands average 2,500 to 2,900 of sunshine per year. While you will see more rainy days from November to April, it’s unlikely to wash out more than a couple of days.

The high season in French Polynesia is from May through October. If you come after this time, you will save some cash and beat the crowds, so I’d highly recommend looking into dates during this time if it’s an option for you.

Shop my Style Essentials for French Polynesia!
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Read Next: 10 Day Itinerary for French Polynesia

The post Tips for Getting to French Polynesia appeared first on The Blonde Abroad.

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Italy is one of the greatest places in the world. With a diverse landscape and rich culture, you can see a world of incredible sights all within one country.

From the breathtaking Mediterranean coastline to ancient ruins to culture-defining art and fashion, Italy is a place like no other.

A gorgeous destination year-round, this southern European country has it all. From festivals to sun-soaked streets, summer in Italy is incredible.

Autumn is gorgeous and the perfect time for visiting tourist faves like Rome, Florence, Venice, and the Amalfi coast. You’ll find fewer tourists after the summer months (typically starting mid-September). Local food and wine festivals are a-plenty here, and will give you a taste of the local culture with artisan chocolate, wine, truffles, and chestnuts.

Winter is lovely as well, thanks to laidback ski resorts. Meanwhile, spring offers you the chance to see the country as it comes into bloom with fresh flowers and mouthwatering food. Summer is of course a popular time to visit Italy, but prepare for sweltering temperatures in the cities and lots and lots of crowds.

Italy is such a diverse country. Once made up of a range of states and kingdoms, each area of the country has a distinct culture and atmosphere. From Venice to the Amalfi Coast, there are so many amazing places to see.

Best of all, it is easy to travel around Italy by train and see the highlights of the country. I took a one-week train trip across Italy and saw some of the country’s biggest highlights.

After I arrived in Rome, I took a Walks of Italy trip to explore the Amalfi Coast for the first time and visit the town of Positano along with the ruins of ancient Pompeii.

The scenery from the winding streets along the crystal blue coastline was picture perfect while seeing the ruins of Mount Vesuvius was truly unforgettable.

Of course, one of the best things about Italy is the incredible food. Pasta, pizza, gelato… just thinking about Italy makes me drool!

One of my fave Italian adventures has been exploring Rome for a food tour and pizza making excursion. I’d highly recommend checking out one of these tours because it’ll take you around to all of the little hole-in-the-wall spots and give you insider foodie tips.

Italy is the kind of place that you could visit over and over. There’s just always something more to see.

Take an urban adventure through the ancient streets of Rome, then come back and sip your way through the vineyards of Tuscany. Whatever you love, Italy has it!

SHOP my favorite Italy travel essentials!

READ NEXT: How to Travel Italy on a Budget

The post 20 Photos to Inspire You to Visit Italy appeared first on The Blonde Abroad.

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