48hours in Miami- A guide to the US party capital

Palm trees, skyscraper hotels and a beautiful harbour.. It can only be M I A M I 🇺🇸🌴 #Florida #Miami #wanderlustwednesday

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Hi everyone,

On my American Adventure this summer I had the chance to explore the US party capital of Miami, somewhere I have wanted to visit for months and months! I only had two full days to explore whilst on my Contiki Grand Southern trip, but I definitely made the most of my short time there and it lived up to my crazy high expectations – Miami was INCREDIBLE! Two full days actually gives you enough time to see the main sights, although I would love to have embraced the beach life for a few days longer! Here is my list of must see’s and my guide on how to make the most of your time in the city…


Hit Lincoln Road Mall for the ultimate shopping experience


#tbt to M I A M I 🇺🇸🌴 #America #USA #contiki #grandsouthern #noregrets #throwbackthursday

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Lincoln Road Mall was the first stop of my Miami trip and it was the best way to get acclimatised to the city. We strolled up and down the boulevard checking out all the stores, picking up souvenirs and stopping for drinks whilst people-watching til our hearts were content! This place is THE premier shopping mall in Miami and stretches for miles with stores selling everything you can think of. I loved that the streets were lined with palm trees and there were market stalls on every corner – embracing the true Miami lifestyle was so much fun and it was one of the best shopping experiences I’ve ever had!

Take a thriller speed boat ride to Star Island


BRB, just gonna move in to ma new house 🌴🏡 #Miami #Florida #wanderlustwednesday #housegoals #agirlcandream

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This was an optional extra on my Contiki trip and I am SO glad I did it! I am usually really  bad with boats, or any kind of water based activity, as I suffer badly with both travel and sea sickness, so I really thought I’d struggle on this one, but the boat went SO FRIKKIN FAST that I don’t think my body even had time to start feeling sick! We sped across the ocean and sailed around Biscayne Bay before making our way over to Star Island to ogle at all the famous people’s houses that were on site! The 90 minute tour took us past amazing homes belonging to Will Smith, Julio Iglesias & Gloria Estefan before making our way back to the harbour where we were placed firmly back on the ground and came back to the real world! The boat tour was a really fun way of seeing Biscayne Bay – tours run every 2 hours departing from the harbour – and I’d 100% recommend it to anyone wanting to explore Miami from the ocean!

Embrace beach life


I'm in Miami bitchhh! 🇺🇸🎉🇺🇸🎉 #noregrets #grandsouthern #miami

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Miami is suuuuch a cool place and it has some of the best beaches I’ve ever seen! Both Miami Beach and South Beach were my faves; they were framed by skyscraper hotels, art-deco buildings and white sands with the bluest sea I have ever swam in! Beach life is a massive part of Miami, and these beaches are known to attract top celebs all year round – I tried my best to spot some A-Listers but sadly didn’t see anyone during my trip! After a hectic week exploring Florida it was so nice to just chill out on the beach and spend some time people-watching and seeing those ocean waves roll in… what I would give to be back there right now!

Take in the awesome skyline



So this kinda goes without saying, but as soon as you arrive in Miami you won’t be able to miss the incredible skyline that is present across the entire city. The best way to see it is by boat, look behind you and just gaze up at the sheer size of those buildings – they’re so iconic and you’ll pinch yourself to check whether you’re actually there or whether you’re just day dreaming! I know I did that, and I still can’t believe I’ve actually been to Miami, even four months after I got back!

Party like a local


Miami rooftops 🎉🇺🇸 #saturdaynight

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You can’t visit Miami without partying at least once, so go out like a local, hit the clubs and dance the night away! We had drinks on the rooftop of our hotel (Hotel Croydon on Collins Avenue – would highly recommend this as a place to stay) then headed out to the main strip and went in a few small bars first before getting into the clubs which were HUGE! Drinks and entrance charges were really expensive, think Vegas prices, but the venues are so luxurious and there’s no where else quite like Miami so it definitely has to be done at least once on your trip!

Sail around Miami Harbour


🇺🇸🇺🇸 #Miami #florida #contiki #grandsouthern #noregrets #starttheadventure #takemeback #traveltuesday

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So this was organised as part of my Contiki trip, but if you get the chance to hop on a party cruise and sail around Miami Harbour I would definitely recommend it! We saw the whole of the Miami skyline lit up at night which looked totally amazing, and sailing around the bay was sooo dreamy. Our big American flag flew proudly at the rear of the ship, and we had an on-board bar with our very own DJ which made for a brilliant party atmosphere! I know Miami is big on clubbing, but a party boat is suuuuch good fun and a really good way of getting to meet people if you’re travelling alone or in a small group, plus it’ll be cheaper than the clubs and less busy – winner!

So there we have it, my top tips on exploring Miami in a whirlwind 48 hours! Immerse yourself in the buzz of the city, visit the sites, relax on the beach and embrace the party vibe that is present throughout for the full Floridian experience. Hopefully this post inspires you for your trip to the city and helps with that all important planning!

Have you ever been to Miami? Tell me what you thought of it, I’d love to hear your comments!

Love Jess x

🇺🇸 M I A M I 🇺🇸 #wanderlustwednesday

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🏙🌊 #Miami #Florida #takemeback #wanderlustwednesday

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24 Hours in New York City – Competition for Accor Hotels!

Even if it ain't all it seems, I've got a pocket full of dreams 🏙🇺🇸 #newyork #NYC #bigapple #tbt

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That skyline tho 😍🇺🇸🏙 #newyork #america #USA #contiki #grandsouthern #noregrets @contiki @statravel_uk

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Hey y’all!

On my recent American Adventure I was lucky enough to be able to explore New York City, on the very special day of 4th July, somewhere and something that had been on my bucket list for YEARS! I literally only had one full day to explore before I hopped back on a plane to London, so I had to make the most of my short time in the City that Never Sleeps! When I heard that Accor Hotels were running a fab 24 Hours In… competition (you could win a 9night European city break to Amsterdam, Paris & Berlin- eeek!) I knew that I just HAD to write about my whirlwind visit to The Big Apple. One day is definitely not enough to see everything, but here are my highlights and suggestions on how to spend 24 hours in New York…

Getting Around



I knew I was on limited time during my short stay in NYC, so in true tourist style I decided to hop on a sightseeing bus to get around, and tick off as many landmarks as possible! A hop on bus is a really easy way of getting your bearings and exploring as much of the city as you want to, without the need to get off. I stayed on board for two of the routes and saw everything from Brooklyn Bridge to the Empire State Building without having to walk for miles! I’d highly recommend using a tourist bus to explore the area if you’re limited on time, otherwise you can flag down one of those big yellow taxis, or  use the metro to get around the city, which can be a cheaper (but not as fun!) alternative.

Where to Eat and Drink


These streets will make you feel brand new, big lights will inspire you 🇺🇸🏙 #Newyork #NYC #bigapple #timessquare #tbt

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New York is one of those cities where there are more food and drink places than anything else! The city is brimming with trendy bars, cafes and restaurants offering every kind of food you can think of. There’s pizza places, Chinese takeaways, Mexican kitchens, Sushi restaurants, fast food outlets, you name it, everywhere in New York has it, from Lower Manhattan all the way through to Brooklyn! As I was staying close to Times Square, I found this a really convenient area to base myself, and there were plenty of dining options to choose from. NYC is famed for its iconic food, including bagels, hot dogs, doughnuts, cupcakes and, of course, its classic New York Cheesecake. When in the big apple though, a good slice of hearty American pizza (thin base, lots of mozzarella cheese and lashings of marinara sauce), is an absolute MUST!


What to See



The Big Apple is brimming with landmarks, tourist attractions and thousands of things to see and do. One of the most popular activities is catching a Broadway show; from Disney showstoppers Aladdin and The Lion King, to classic musicals such as Wicked, The Phantom of the Opera and Miss Saigon. With shows running every day of the week, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to catch a performance during your short time in the city. Book online to secure your seat and avoid disappointment on missing out, as shows get booked up well in advance and are extremely popular, particularly on weekends.



So I know you only have 24 hours in the city, but even if you don’t have time to go inside you must at least pass by the iconic American Museum of Natural History to take a photo!  One of the most famous buildings in the whole city, the museum attracts on average around 4 million visitors each year, and is extremely popular with locals and tourists alike.

There are hundreds of things to see and do in NYC, but if you only have 24 hours, here’s my top picks of the best of the rest:

Statue of Liberty | Brooklyn Bridge | One World Trade Centre & Ground Zero |

Central Park | Times Square | Madison Square Gardens | Hudson River


Where to Shop


Last day on tour 🇺🇸🎉 #NYC #timessquare #america #USA @contiki @statravel_uk #contiki #noregrets

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NYC is well known for its savvy shopping;  from giant department stores to high street shops and designer outlets, its a haven for every type of shopper. I started at Times Square and made my way down the many side streets, and the central plaza, the focal point of the square. You might only have 24hrs to spare, but if you have time, make sure you pick up an I Love NYC tank top, or pop in to Macy’s for a designer steal!

What Not to Miss


When you remember that this time yesterday you were in #newyork 🇺🇸🇺🇸 #America #USA #NYC #reflections

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So I am a TOTAL sucker for skyscrapers; I just love looking up and gazing in awe at the sheer enormity of them, and I was in love with New York before I even arrived after rolling past the iconic Manhattan skyline upon arrival. For me, NYC has it all. The Empire State Building, the Rockefeller, the Freedom Tower at the World Trade Centre; each are iconic, special and mesmerising in their own way, and encapsulate everything New York is about. During your whirlwind 24 hours I’d suggest trying to see as many skyscrapers as you can, and, if you have time, climbing up them is always fun too!


Empire State Building 🇺🇸🇺🇸 @contiki @statravel_uk #contiki #noregrets #america #USA #newyork #NYC #grandsouthern

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Hidden Gem


Experience the colors of the city—discover the sunset from #TopoftheRock. 📷: @jordbread

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There are hundred of hidden gems in New York just waiting to be discovered, but I’ve been told that this one trumps them all (ahem)… I guess most visitors would climb the most iconic building in the city for those spectacular panoramic views, The Empire State Building, but I’ve heard there’s somewhere else that offers an even better view… Why not head over to The Rockefeller Centre, where you can see the whole of New York AND the Empire State Building too?! The view is arguably better from the Top of The Rock, and it’s not hard to see why.

So there we have it, my top tips on exploring NYC in a whirlwind 24hours, and on Independence Day too! Immerse yourself in the buzz of the city, visit the tourist sites and get around like a local on the metro for the full New York experience. Hopefully this post inspires you for your trip to the city and helps with that all important planning!

Have you ever been to New York? Tell me what you thought of it, I’d love to hear your comments and I already cannot waittttt to go back as soon as I can! Oh and if you’re also entering Accor’s fab competition then GOOD LUCK!

Love Jess x

Jumping in my last big yellow taxi 🇺🇸🚕 #newyork

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Restaurant Review: The Fox, Great Barrington

Had the pleasure of #reviewing yet another gorgeous #Cotswolds pub last night – #blog #post coming soon! #burford #oxfordshire

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A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by a local PR company, the same one that asked me to review The Perch at Oxford, asking me to review yet another local Oxfordshire restaurant. I said yes (obviously) and headed over to The Fox Inn, located in the sleepy little Cotswolds village of Great Barrington, just past Burford, on a sunny Tuesday evening with one of my best friends.

The Fox Inn has been serving ale drinkers and food lovers for many, many years and it’s gorgeous riverside setting with large garden attracts tourists and locals alike. The pub is particularly popular with dog walkers, due to it’s fantastic location near the River Windrush and some of Oxfordshire best footpaths and bridleways, making it the perfect place to stop off and relax whilst enjoying a drink or a bite to eat in the most comfortable of surroundings. The Fox even caters for your canine friends with a unique Dining with your Dog Menu so your pooch will be just as satisfied as you are whilst you’re devouring your Sunday lunches!



Image courtesy of The Fox Inn


The Fox Inn.png

Image courtesy of The Fox Inn

Upon arrival we were greeted by bar manager Summer who looked after us during the course of the evening too. Summer was brilliant, she was super smiley, friendly and helpful and was attentive when asking our orders. The menu was eclectic with a number of options to suit every taste bud; diners could choose from hearty pub grub dishes including beef stroganoff, chicken curry, fish and chips or homemade pie. The starter menu was plentiful, as was the ploughman’s lunch menu which we will definitely return to try one day!


We both skipped starters but opted for the crispy duck and bacon salad (£16.50) and the mega knuckle of Cotswold lamb (£22.95) for our mains. Both dishes were served promptly and both were truly delicious! The sticky balsamic dressing and hot pitta bread really complemented my crispy duck and bacon salad, whilst my friend said her slow cooked, melt in the mouth lamb went perfectly with the rosemary sautéed potatoes and fresh vegetables that came with the dish.


The dessert menu was varied and offered a number of different delights for adults and a smaller ice cream menu for the kids too. We chose the waffle with maple syrup and ice cream and the sticky toffee pudding and toffee sauce; both puds were A-MA-ZING and I could’ve devoured both of them all in one go!


Overall we had a fantastic evening out at The Fox and will look to return with my little westie dog in the winter months.. I’m sure the Dog Menu will be a hit with her, and with us! The roaring fire will make this Cotswolds gem even more cosy and I’m looking forward to seeing what yummy dishes the winter menu promises!

A big thanks again to Summer for looking after us – we will be back! To book an evening, weekend, dinner or lunchtime meal at The Fox Inn please contact the pub directly.

NB. Thank you to Crimson PR & The Fox for sponsoring my visit. All views and opinions are my own.

September Newsletter

Hi everyone,

Another month has gone by and I’m reminded daily that we are in the latter part of the year now, with Christmas countdowns on and the nights drawing in it really does feel as if my amazing summer of 2016 is well and truly over! Noooooo!! I’ve had the best few months, and September has been no exception to that – here’s what I’ve been up to…

I had another announcement to make



So most of you will already know this, but this month I made ANOTHER exciting announcement and took a brand new step forwards in my travel career… I have been selected as an intern for UK Blog Awards and I couldn’t be more thrilled! As well as gaining bags of social media experience, I’ll also be expanding my blog writing and hopefully attending events and networking too, which will definitely boost my confidence. The internship is only for three months but I’m so excited to be working with such a fantastic company and I’m already hugely enjoying it!

I had the most amazing time on my Italian Escapade


Made it to the Collosseum! 🏟🏟 #Rome #twinnies #matchingeverythinggggg

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I literally flew back from Rome late Friday night and I had the BEST time on my Italian Escapade with my sister! We flew to Venice for 2 nights, then took the train to Florence for 3 nights before catching another train to Rome for 3 nights and then flying home on the 9th day of our adventure. We took a gondola ride in Venice, climbed the Cathedral in Florence and explored the ancient ruins of the Collosseum in Rome – more things ticked off the bucket list! We had SO MUCH FUN explore beautiful Italy and it’s left me already wanting to go back for more!

I attended the annual #bloggersfestival


Best backdrop ever 🌸🌸 #bloggersfestival @scarlettlondon #flowerwall

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It was my first time at the #bloggersfestival, hosted by Scarlett Dixon of Scarlett London Events, and I had such a lovely afternoon meeting new people and fellow bloggers! We were treated to goody bags galore by the sponsors and took part in competitions and fun events throughout the day. I left with tonnes of freebies and lots of new friends too – thanks for a wonderful afternoon Scarlett!

I collaborated with two local restaurants



This month I was lucky enough to be asked to review not one but TWO wonderful local restaurants, one in Oxford and one in a small village in Oxfordshire, and I was only too happy to oblige! I had two lovely evenings out tasting some fantastic food and enjoying lovely pub atmospheres; it was a pleasure to write the reviews and I know I’ll definitely be back to both places in the near future!

I continued to grow my brand new freelancing business



So my shiny new business is almost 2 months old, and I can’t quite believe it! I’ve been working my butt off to get things up and running; staying up late, having my lunch at my laptop and marketing myself on social media to gain new clients. I’m so pleased to say that it’s going really well so far and I’ve been maxed out with work for the past few weeks! I’m offering a range of services from social media management and content writing to Skype sessions for fellow bloggers and ad-hoc computer admin work for some of my larger clients. I seem to be getting busier as the days go on and am so pleased with how my little freelance life is turning out. Please contact me directly to see how we can work together!

I had a fun girly day out at Ascot Races!


Best day at the races with my girl 🐎🎉💖 #ascot #raceday #winners

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So today me and one of my best friends are attending a fab day out at Ascot Races, one of the most popular racecourses over here in the UK! We’re dressed up to the nines and are praying that the sun continues to shine for us and that our good fortune comes in when we pick our horses… wish us luck! 😉

Pheeeew, another month of madness over – and it’s time for October already! I’m looking forward to Halloween, especially as I’m going to Thorpe Park’s Fright Night for the first time EVER and I’m also planning a little visit to beautiful Bath in a couple of weeks too. How was your September, what did you get up to? I’d love to hear about your upcoming winter plans too!

Love Jess x


Arriverderci #Venice – you've been beautiful! 🇮🇹 #Italy #venizia

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How to plan the perfect Italian Escapade!

Hi everyone,

So as you’ll probably know, I’ve just returned from yet ANOTHER trip of a lifetime; a wonderful Italian Escapade visiting some of the country’s most beautiful cities. My sister and I flew from London to Venice, and then caught the train to Florence and onwards to Rome before flying back to London. We had an incredible 9 days filled with lots of fun, laughter and SO. MUCH. SIGHTSEEING!

We effectively did three city breaks all in one go and, you know the best part? We planned it all totally by ourselves! No fees, no appointments in store, everything was booked online ourselves and we saved £500pp compared to quotes we received from a well known travel agent! £500pp?! That’s a whopping £1000 between the two of us – say whaaaatttttt?!-  I’m here to show YOU exactly how we did it, without the need for a travel agent! And as if by magic you can now BOOK the exact same trip I planned in one easy step – scroll down and read the last paragraph for details! In the meantime though, here’s what we got up to, and how you too can plan the perfect Italian Escapade…

So we've made it to #Venice and it is BEAuuuutiful 😍😍😍

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The cities

Italy is such a beautiful place, with tonnes of cities up and down the country brimming with history, culture and a whole host of iconic landmarks that are just waiting to be ticked off the bucket list! We chose the top 3 most visited; Venice, Florence and Rome, but you can pick whichever cities you like and work your itinerary around them. I’ll do full city guides on all three in the coming weeks and post these separately on the blog, but for now I’ll introduce you to them briefly:

Venice – the city of love; think candlelit al-fresco dining, gondola rides and bridge after bridge crossing the Grand Canal. Venice is a city unlike any other I’ve ever been to before;  its unique, pedestrianized centre is full of tourist attractions and getting around the city by boat is an experience in itself! Venice certainly isn’t cheap, but it’s well worth a visit – we stayed for 2 nights and felt that was definitely enough time to see everything.

Ok so I can't leave #Venice out – just LOOK at it 😍🇮🇹 #Italy #ig_italy #venezia

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Florence – ah beautiful Florence, this place has it all! From climbing the to the top of the cathedral for panoramic views across the city, to strolling along the Ponte Vecchio bridge on the River Arno and watching the sunset cast its shadow, Florence is as pretty as a picture and offers a range of things to do. We stayed for three nights and used the Hop on Hop off bus as a way to explore and find our bearings. The city’s cobbled streets and lively piazzas are a haven for locals and tourists alike and there’s something happening on every street corner.

Rome – the eternal city, and my absolute FAVOURITE! I wouldn’t normally go back to somewhere I have been to before, as I’m a firm believer that we should always try new things and experience new places, but I will make an exception for Rome. I fell in love with it from the minute our taxi passed Piazza Repubblica on that sunny Tuesday afternoon! Think London and New York, but with thousands of years history instead of just a few hundred and you’re pretty much there. Rome is like an open air museum, there is something to discover on every road, in every alleyway and down every side street. The Collosseum and Trevi Fountain were personal highlights for me, but I guarantee you will fall in love with every aspect of Rome if you choose to visit!

Rome's Collosseum- colossal in every way! 🏟🏟 #Rome #Italy #ig_italy

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Other Italian cities that I REALLY wanted to visit were Pisa, Milan and Verona, but we just didn’t have the time. We were thinking of doing a day trip on our last day in Florence, either visiting Pisa and it’s legendary leaning tower, or hiking the stunning Cinque Terre and ticking 5 more Italian villages off our lists, but sadly we couldn’t make it work in our already packed schedules, so decided to spend more time exploring Florence instead. If you have a few extra days though, I’d highly recommend taking a day trip from Florence as you can see everything you need to there within 2-3 days and have an extra day for exploring somewhere new. You could also take a day trip to Pompeii from Rome and discover the historical volcanic site, which is now one of the most popular tourist attractions in Italy with over 3 million visitors per year.

**TOP TIP – If you are planning a day trip away from your cities, book online before you go for the best deals, don’t leave it until the day as many trips are full day ones starting at 7 or 8am and they get booked up fast!**

Beautiful by day ….

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#Florence sunsets 😍🌅 #Italy #visitflorence #nofilter #takemeback

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The transport

Once you’ve flown to your first city, getting around Italy is super easy, and we used the well organised, high speed trains during our visit. I booked train tickets a few weeks in advance to get the cheapest rates, but you could just turn up at the station and buy a ticket if you needed to, I don’t think there was too much difference in price. I’d highly recommend trainlineeurope and goeuro – they also offer reduced tickets for those under 26 which is well worth taking advantage of. It was around 50 euros for both of us to get between Venice and Florence and then between Florence and Rome.

In terms of flights, good old EasyJet worked a treat for us, it cost £70pp for a one way from London Gatwick to Venice Marco Polo and then £79pp for a one way from Rome Fiumicino back to London Gatwick. Just bear in mind that you’ll need to book your airport transfers too – especially in Venice. We booked a private shared water taxi (super cool speed boat just for us and two other ladies) online with HolidayTaxis for £70 and this got us there in next to no time. We could have just turned up and taken the public ferry for just 15euros each, but this would have taken well over an hour and the ferry’s get so full, especially with peoples suitcases. If you’re on a budget, go with the ferry but if you prefer to arrive in style definitely pre-book a water taxi; it started off our holiday so nicely!

Arriving in style by private water taxi! Bonjourno #venice 🙋 #Venezia #Italy #wanderlustwednesday

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We also pre-booked our train tickets from Rome Termini station to the airport for just 14euros pp – much cheaper than a 50euro taxi, and we arrived in half the time! We used standard cabs when getting between Florence’s Santa Maria Novella train station and our Florence hotel, and between Rome Termini and our Rome hotel, and they weren’t too pricey but, depending on where your hotel is, I’d avoid cabs if you can as they can be very costly.

**TOP TIP – Save money on luggage if you’re traveling with airlines like EasyJet as they charge per bag. We took one 20kg suitcase (£38) plus one carry on case (free of charge) between us and this was more than enough!**

**COST – £140pp for flights there and back, booked separately with Easyjet. £38 for one suitcase. £70 for private taxi in Venice. 10euros for private taxi in Florence (each way). 5 euros for private taxi in Rome (each way). 25euros pp for train between Venice and Florence. 25 euros pp for train between Florence and Rome. 15euros pp for train transfer between Rome Termini and Rome Fiumicino airport. **TOTAL – approx. £265pp on transport.**

Sometimes a Hop on Hop off bus is the best way to see the #city #sights! #Rome #italy #wanderlustwednesday #citysightseeing

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The accommodation

This is something that should be entirely down to your personal taste, depending on if you prefer hotel or hostel and luxury or budget, but I found that having a nice hot shower and a lovely warm bed to come back to after a long day of walking was soo nice and I wouldn’t have swapped our hotels for the world! We knew hotels in Italy were going to be pricey, so we gave ourselves a maximum budget of £300-£350 for the two of us for 3 nights. Granted, Venice cost us that for just two nights, but we did expect that.

Little #Italian hotels with cute Italian decor! #Venice #Venezia #Italy #wanderlustwednesday

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We found that all our hotels were very centrally located; close enough to get to where we needed to get to without being noisy at night. Our Venice one, Hotel Gorizia, was located right in the middle, and we were surrounded by bustling shops and restaurants down every tiny side street. Our Florence one, Hotel De Rose Palace, was a little further out than we thought it would be, and was a good 15-20 minute walk to the historical centre, but we could walk along the River Arno past all the wonderful bridges so it felt we weren’t too far from the charm of the city. Finally, Hotel Opera Roma was a 4* luxurious property right at the heart of Rome, just seconds from via Nazionale, the main strip of the city. Bars, restaurants and shops were within easy reach and the landmarks were all within a 10 minute walk – I’ll be posting a full review of this hotel on my blog in due course.

Another city, another hotel! 🛌 #Florence #firenze #italy #hotel #wanderlustwednesday

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Depending on your budget, I would say hotels are definitely a great option giving you a place of comfort each night after a long day’s walking! Some days we walked between 12 and 16km exploring our new surroundings, so it was lovely to be able to get some decent sleep and have a nice hot shower before we got up and did it all again. If hotel’s aren’t your thing though, have a look on Air BnB or see which cheap hostels you can find if you have less of a budget.

**TOP TIP – Don’t forget that almost everywhere in Italy (and other parts of Europe) now charge a city tax per person for each night of your stay. This is charged upon check out and the cost varies depending on the class of your hotel ie. you’ll be charged more if your hotel is a 4 or 5* as opposed to a 2 or 3* property. Make sure you leave yourself with some cash upon check out as it is mandatory to pay this tax – ours was around 3-4 euros per night per person.

**COST – £350 for 2 nights at Venice hotel. £300 for 3 nights at Florence hotel. £350 for 3 nights at Rome hotel. **TOTAL – £500pp approx. on accommodation**

The food

Where do I even BEGIN?! Not gonna lie, the food was one of the main reasons I had always wanted to visit Italy – gimme all the pizza, pasta and gelato! Eating out can be expensive though, especially as the recommended service charge is at least 13% – not as pricey as America, but not as cheap as it is back here in the UK! I can, however, see why that charge is necessary; the restaurant trade is huge in Italy, yet the wage packets of waiters and waitresses are next to nothing. When the food is as good as it is in those little authentic restaurants though, you really don’t begrudge paying it!

Ending the day with gelato by the Trevi Fountain… Bellissimo! 🍦🇮🇹 #beautifuldestinations #ig_italy #italy #rome

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I’d say the food felt a little more ‘mass produced’ in Rome and Venice than it did in Florence, although don’t get me wrong it was still lovely and fresh, it just felt like it was served more promptly and they wanted us in and out quicker as opposed to the more relaxing vibe we felt when we were in the Tuscan capital. Make sure you try some proper Italian Prosecco during your visit – it’s not like the cheap stuff we get at the supermarket back here! And it’s reasonably priced too, approx 4 euros a glass, I paid over 5 euros for a glass of sprite one night (!) – that’ll teach me to think I’m better off avoiding alcohol 😉

**TOP TIP – Try an Aperol Spritz, one of the signature drinks over in Italy and it’s especially popular with tourists in the cities. Grab a table at a local bar overlooking the piazza and people-watch  whilst sipping on your new favourite tipple; it’s quintessentially Italian and will leave you totally refreshed!**

**COST – a meal for two with drinks and service charge ranges between 35 and 45 euros, depending on what you choose for main; fish and meat are more expensive than pizza and pasta.** TOTAL – 50- 60 euros per day on lunch, snacks and dinner.**

When in #rome – fine dining is a must! #pizza #pasta #prosecco #aperolspritz #gimmeallthefoodndrink 🍴🍸🍾🍕

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The excursions

There are plenty of trips that you can do during your time in Italy, and most can be done within the cities you are actually staying in, as opposed to venturing further out and potentially incurring more costs. In Venice we took a gondola ride for half an hour for a total cost of 80 euros. YEP – you heard me right, 80 euros!!! I know, expensive right? Butttt we had decided that it was pretty much the only touristy thing we were going to do during our 2 nights in Venice, and you can’t NOT visit the city of love without hopping on a gondola- us sisters had a wonderfully romantic time 😉

Ride a gondola in Venice – TICK! ✅✅ Next stop Florence 🚂🚂 #bucketlist #italianescapade #tourists

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Florence was the least touristy of all the cities we stayed in, but we did pay 15 euros each to discover the Cathedral in the centre and climbed the bell tower as well as exploring the baptistery, museum and the beautiful basilica as well – a great price for an all in one ticket! Most people climb the Duomo for panoramic views of the city, but we climbed the bell tower (414 steps up & 414 steps back down again) and were able to see the Duomo as part of the Florence skyline which was arguably better, in my opinion! Don’t forget to take a Hop on Hop off bus (23 euros pp for a 24hr ticket) to make your way around the entire city, and you can also explore the nearby town of Fiesole and climb Michaelangelo’s Piazza, a must when in Florence!

Panoramic views over #Florence? Yasssssss 🙌🙌 #Firenze #michaelangelo #italy #ig_italy #sundayfunday

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Rome felt like it had the most excursions on offer, particularly with the vast amount of museums and ancient sites that we were able to discover. We paid for a 1 day Hop on Hop off bus (20 euros pp) which enabled us to get around from place to place; it’s well worth getting one as Rome is huge!  You obviously don’t need to pay to see the big landmarks in Rome, such as the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps, but we did pay to gain access to the world famous Collosseum -when in Rome, right?! I’m a massive history fan and I LOVE anything to do with the ancient Romans so couldn’t wait to explore one of the oldest buildings on the planet. We turned up without booking and were sold two tickets (30 euros each) by Gladiator Tours which granted us access to both the Collosseum and the Roman Forum, both with guided tours in small groups. I found both tour guides to be really interesting and informative and it was much better than going in alone, not knowing about the facts and the history etc. Each tour lasted for around an hour and you could then spend time wandering around the attractions at your own leisure.

Made it to the Collosseum! 🏟🏟 #Rome #twinnies #matchingeverythinggggg

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**TOP TIP- If you’re using the CitySightseeing Hop on Hop off buses save your tickets and get discount off your next ticket purchases in your next city! We did this in Florence and Rome and saved 4 euros each. You can also use the buses as a way of getting from one stop to the next without feeling the need to get off – use it as your method of transport and save money on taxis and the metro etc.**

**COST – Gondola in Venice, 80 euros. Hop on bus & cathedral all in one tickets in Florence, 23 euros and 15 euros pp. Hop on bus & Collosseum/Roman Forum tour in Rome, 18 euros and 30 euros pp. **TOTAL – approx. 130 euros pp on excursions.**

The breakdown

We booked the entire trip for just over £800pp, with £400 (500 euros) extra for spending money pp when we were over there. We felt this was a fair price for a 9 day holiday, with decent flights, good accommodation and transport between each destination and airport included. If you really scrimp on meals and souvenir shopping when you’re over there you won’t spend much money at all, apart from on excursions and tours etc.

Italy offers some wonderful history, culture and architecture and you can tick plenty of wanderlust inducing landmarks off your bucket lists day after day! Getting around by train is a really efficient way to explore as many cities as possible, and you’re guaranteed to have a smooth journey between each destination. The whole trip can be as luxurious or as budgeted as you wish, but embrace the Italian culture and enjoy some of La Dolce Vita when you’re there!

So, there we have it, you’re now fully informed and able to book your epic Italian Escapade! Remember, the above was focused on our itinerary of Venice, Florence and Rome, but you can pretty much tailor this to suit your needs depending on which cities you choose for your trip.

As mentioned above, you can now book the EXACT trip I did in one easy step – just click on the link below for more details and to request a quote!

Get a quote for this trip

What did you think of my itinerary? Would you consider going on a holiday like this, and would you book it yourself just like I did? Call me crazy but I loved the whole process from start to finish, from the research to the booking to the reservations, that I’m even toying with the idea of offering my services to people just like YOU – let me know if you’d consider employing someone like me to take the stress out of booking your travel plans.. I’d love to know what you think!

Love Jess x

T H I S P L A C E 🏟🏟 #Rome #collosseum #italy #ig_italy

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