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Advice Luxury Outdoors

5 Beautiful Islands You Must Visit In 2020

If you are already planning your holiday for 2020 – then you will definitely want to look into some of the most beautiful islands you can choose as your destination.  We have done all of the work for you – so you can have some great ideas for your next trip.  

Seychelles

The Seychelles almost need no introduction.  Although there are seasons – generally you can experience great weather all year round.  One of its most attractive qualities is that the beaches are literally unspoiled – with blinding white sands and clear blue seas.  If you are a bit of an adventure seeker – you may also like some of the hikes you can take advantage of at the Seychelles. There are different trails for novices and more experienced hikers.  For those of you who are nature lovers – you will also get to experience some endangered species such as Aldabra giant tortoises.

There are 65 different endangered species that are home to the Seychelles.  If you are planning on a holiday later on in the year – you will definitely want to go the Creole Festival where there is a fantastic party atmosphere. If you are looking for looking for ultimate luxury – you can even rent your own private island.  

Mykonos

Despite its reputation – Mykonos isn’t only a place where you can enjoy a party atmosphere – it’s also a fantastic destination as a family holiday.  They have various beaches with golden sands that fit into any criteria. There are beaches to go to for DJ’s and parties – and quieter options for families. It’s also home to some amazing accommodation.  There are fantastic Mykonos luxury villas you can rent out that have epic views.

If you are going to stay in the island – we would recommend you definitely check out some of the Mykonos luxury villas instead of a hotel.  One of the things you will notice in Mykonos is that it is full of whitewashed houses which makes for a beautiful setting, and if you are a foodie – you will most definitely want to taste some of their local culinary delights such as baklava or amygdalota.  

Hawaii

Hawaii is on most people’s bucket list and is perfect for a romantic break away.  Much like The Seychelles – Hawaii has some of the beautiful beaches in the world. The waterfalls are also a sight for sore eyes.  The beautiful rainforests will have you feeling as if you are in an enchanted island. Maui is definitely best for that. Adrenaline junkies will love the activities that are on offer at Hawaii.  There are lots of water sports to enjoy such as scuba diving, snorkelling, surfing and more.  You can even go on an underwater cruise.

Hawaii is also home to Haleakala, which is one of the most famous volcanoes in the world, based in Maui.  If it is a romantic vacation, you are looking to enjoy – then you will love the scenery. As well as the lush beaches, you will find spectacular sunsets and sunrises that look as if they have come straight out of a postcard.  

An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii

Capri

If you haven’t been to Capri – it should definitely be on your list of destinations for 2020.  There is so much to enjoy including the world famous Piazetta.  Here you will find different cafes that are open for early risers to enjoy an early morning cappuccino – to those of you who would like a late-night glass of wine. 

If you really want to experience the island of Capri, you should do you can do so by boat. You could spend a few hours exploring their coves and grottos and experience something a little different.  There are also regular boat tours that you can enjoy to take you around the island. You can indulge in some fantastic food dishes when you head to Capri. There is of course the caprese salad that contains, mozzarella, basil leaves, tomatoes and olive oil which can be fond pretty much everywhere you go.  The home of pizza also isn’t too far away. In fact, it’s an hour away in Naples. There is also lots of nightlife in Naples. Dinner time is normally around 10pm – and you will find that some of the nightclubs don’t even open until 12am. Most people who stay in Capri tend to have a bit of a disco nap during the day so they can stay out later at night.  If you love your wine, then Capri should also be on your list of destinations. Sit back, relax and enjoy a Chianti.  

The Most Picturesque Hotels In Italy

If you want to make your next holiday a bit more special – then make sure you research these fabulous islands for a trip of a lifetime.

Beaches Guides Insider Tips North America

An Insider’s Guide To Oahu, Hawaii

An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii

Name a tropical holiday destination more iconic than Hawaii. Oahu, the capital of the Hawaiian islands, welcomed me with such warmth and loveliness. It’s hard to imagine a better place to recuperate! Upon landing, I knew I was ready to dive deep into the relaxed lifestyle the islands are most known for. But to my surprise, my time in Oahu showed me a different side to the iconic Hawaiian vacation we’re all familiar with. Certainly its beloved beaches are gorgeous, but in my short time exploring I discovered Oahu’s excellent food scene influenced from both east and west (Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Filippino and Thai), nature trails, historic culture, street art, boutique hotels and more. Today, I’m excited to share an insider’s guide to Oahu, Hawaii.

But to my surprise, my time in Oahu showed me a different side to the iconic Hawaiian vacation we’re all familiar with. Certainly its beloved beaches are gorgeous, but in my short time exploring I discovered Oahu’s excellent food scene influenced from both east and west (Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Filippino and Thai), nature trails, historic culture, street art, boutique hotels and more. Today, I’m excited to share an insider’s guide to Oahu, Hawaii.

An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii

What To Do

Unlike the unspoiled smaller Hawaii islands, Oahu’s positioning is the perfect place to kick back while also getting the perks of a larger city. (As a New Yorker, you know I loved that!) The easiest way from the airport to the city center is through Speedi Shuttle. So often, when I get to a more remote, tropical location – it feels completely disconnected from modern conveniences. This is definitely not the case here! Here are some of the must-do activities I’d recommend first timer’s experience when exploring Oahu!

An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii

Take A Helicopter Tour

To get a completely new perspective of the island, take the Complete Island Oahu helicopter tour with Blue Hawaiian Helicopters. I loved seeing the epic landscapes unfurl below! It’s a total bucket list experience.

An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii

Book A Sunrise Photo Walk

Wake up for sunrise and join Oahu Photo Tours for a full day tour around the island, catching some of the most photogenic spots. There’s nothing like the crisp air of a new day and seeing the most loved spots of the island before the crowds settle in.

An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii

Baydo-In Temple

The Baydo-In Temple is a non-denominational temple nestled at the ​​​​​​​base of the Ko’olau Mountains in Valley of the Temples Memorial Park. Come for a meditative walk around its gorgeous koi ponds and some simple, solitary moments enjoying its endless beauty.

An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii

Waikiki Aquarium

The Waikiki Aquarium on the end of the Waikiki Trolley line is one of the most popular tourist attractions to do! It’s actually perfectly situated next to a living coral reef, too.

An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii

Walk Along Kalakaua Ave

Kalakaua Avenue is where you’ll find tons of cool, boutiques, shops and malls edging right up to the beach. It’s a shopper’s Hawaiian paradise!

An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii

Kapi’olani Farmer’s Market

If you’ll be in Oahu during on a Saturday (or a Tuesday), check out the Kapi’olani Farmer’s Market! Hawaii’s agricultural industry has really zeroed in on the benefits of locally sourced foods – this is the place to try some of the freshest foods, local honey, coffee, fruits and flower bouquets!

Snorkle at Hanauma Bay

What’s a Hawaiian vacation without snorkling? Even if you’re not the most proficient swimmer, I’d highly recommend taking a dip and seeing the colorful, tropical fishes in Hanauma Bay. It’s so spectacularly beautiful!

An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii

Dole Plantation

Although it may be a bit touristy, the Dole Plantation is a must-do! The pineapple soft serve and everything else pinapple that you can imagine is lifechanging. Guinness calls it the world’s largest maze, and I couldn’t agree more. It’s a massive space! The plantation itself is beautful and you can take an express train to explore it. 

An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii

Visit the Brooklyn of Oahu, Kaka’ako

This hip, up and coming neighborhood has a ton of street art murals. I loved soaking in all the unique art! Plus, this neighborhood is home to Paiko and the popular Avocado Toast Aussie cafe, Arvo. 

An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii

Hike Diamond Head – Sandy Beach

Escape the crowded shores and head to Diamond Head, around the bend from Hanauma Bay and the Blowhole (a favorite of Pres Obama!). ​​​​​​​The south facing views are simply stunning.

Where To Eat

With a dynamic range of cultural influences, Oahu’s food scene is incredible. You’ll find flavors from all parts of the world, fresh fruits and drinks in incredibly designed spaces. Here are some of my favorite foodie discoveries in the city!

Waikiki​​​​​​​

Beachhouse at the Moana

If you’re looking for an ocean front view with noshing on fresh seafood, look no further. Kona Lobster bisque, amazing Ahi tuna? Count me in!

An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii

Duke’s

This is a fun spot for drinks! The atmosphere is super lively on the beach. I’d imagine it would be a great spot to hang out with a gaggle of girlfriends over great cocktails!

Mahina & Suns

Located in the iconic Surfjack Hotel, Mahina & Suns does home cooking with a twist. All their dishes are inspired by the local food customs and use only the very best, fresh ingredients.

An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii

Steak Shack

Steak Shack is just what it name states – a shack right on a stunning beach that serves the most delicious steak with rice for under $10! Can’t beat it. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii

Waiola Shave Ice

If there’s one place you MUST go in Oahu… it’s Waiola Shave Ice. It’s a MUST. The best shave ice on the island. There’s seriously nothing more refreshing!

An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii

Diamond Head

Ono Seafood

Ono Seafood has the best poke in town! But heads up -they’re closed on Monday and Sunday… so plan accordingly.

Leonard’s

Head over to Leonard’s for an incredible malasadas (Portugese fried doughnut). It’s the perfect treat to start your day with.

An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii

Ars Cafe

This artsy cafe celebrates the art of the local area while also serving up some delicious coffee from around the world, gelato and sweets!

An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii

Where To Stay

I obsess over lodgings that are committed to fun, luxurious or quirky details, while also giving visitors a cozy place to call their own. So, you can imagine my excitement when booking some of the coolest hotels filled with colorful island touches in well connected areas. Hotel Tonight is my go-to resource to find these stellar places, as they always do a great job listing each establishment’s unique qualities – including its architectural beauty or how photogenic the spaces are. (P.S. If you’re a meticulous hotel-lover like me, you can use the code “nyakoub” for $25 off your next stay!)

Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club

A true homage to the Waikiki spirit, the Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club is a vintage-inspired, visionary hotel. From the mid-century architecture and art bedecking the walls, their creative take on a local “swim club” and their perfect location on the island – there’s no aesthetic like it. Each room is totally unique and absolutely vintage inspired, making you feel like you’re inside an episode of Mad Men. Their commitment ​​​​​​​to celebrating artists was an awesome bonus too. I also loved that each evening there was some kind of cool event going on within the space, including movie screenings. It really feels like a space both visitors and locals alike love to meet up in!​​​​​​​

An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii

Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach

The Alohilani Resort is an absolute serene oasis. The design of the interiors and exteriors are pristine, fresh and totally relaxing. Cabanas, shallow water pools, open air lobbies, steps from the shore… heaven, I tell you! There’s a reason it was named after the last queen monarch of the Hawaiian Kingdom. I could totally see honeymooners loving this space to call home for a few days!

Alohilani’s Longboard Club and daily scheduled activities also had me completely smitten. I loved coming to their space to grab a light bite – whether it was for something to get me going in the morning or an afternoon snack – as well as dabbling in their scheduled activities, like sunset yoga, live music, Lei making and exercise classes. Not to mention, the hotel also offers two restaurants by critically acclaimed chef, Morimoto.

An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii

Oahu showed me a new side to Hawaii‘s delightful culture… and I’m so grateful for it. I can’t wait to return again soon!

Stay sponsored by Hotel Tonight.

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. All opinions are my own.

Advice Europe Pack Perfect What to Pack

Pack Perfect: How To Not Look Like A Tourist In Greece

Greece is the ultimate chic summer getaway… don’t you think? Think glamorous, warm nights sipping local white wine, soaking in the sun with your girlfriends while noshing on fresh fruit and exploring the iconic white-washed coastlines. Should you find yourself booking a dreamy trip to Greece, it’s important to pack items that will keep you cool while also looking lovely and put together. After all, the refined style of European women is so incredible. Here’s how to not look like a tourist in Greece!

Pack Perfect: How To Not Look Like A Tourist In Greece

A Cool Slip Dress

We love a midi dress for travel because it’s the perfect combination of glamorous, yet conservative and cool. This v-neck style is effortless and can be worn alone, as a slip under a layered tee or underneath a cardigan after the sun sets. Plus, the pop of teal will have you looking one with Santorini/Greece’s iconic architecture.

Pack Perfect: How To Not Look Like A Tourist In Greece

A Midi Eyelet Skirt

A fit and flare skirt ripped right from an old black and white film. We love this flirty, feminine little number – especially because it pairs well with so many different looks and is super lightweight. It’s the perfect choice for wine tasting or shopping in boutiques.

Pack Perfect: How To Not Look Like A Tourist In Greece

Vintage Inspired Sunglasses

Greece’s harsh sunlight is no joke – so be sure to pack a pair of vintage-esque sunglasses with great UVA/UVB protection!

Pack Perfect: How To Not Look Like A Tourist In Greece

A Nautical-Inspired One Piece Swimsuits With A Feminine Twist

This one piece has the perfect amount of coverage, while still remaining classic and subtly sexy. It’s the perfect choice to wear underneath a coverup or airy dress knowing that you’ll be near the oceanside later in the day. When choosing a swimsuit for Greece, I like to ere on the side of slightly conservative (for my own comfort) with unique details, like a cool belt or a ruched fabric detail like this one. If you’d rather rock a two piece, I love this athetlic option with denim looking fabric!

A Romantic Ruffled Top

This crisp white, ruffled top has a nod of romanticism while also being functional. Pair it with denim on a cooler day or layer it over a swimsuit after dipping into a pool during the mid day heat. Greece is well known for its romance (it is considered to be one of the ultimate honeymoon destinations for a reason), so be sure to dress in tandem with its vibe!

Pack Perfect: How To Not Look Like A Tourist In Greece

Packable Sunscreen Spray

To protect your precious skin during your long walks around Santorini’s beaches or the harsh sun while exploring ancient sites like the Acropolis, be sure to pick up a packable sunscreen spray. We love this one because it can easily slip into your bag and is TSA approved! (P.S. if you’re looking for eco-friendly products we love, check this post out!)

Pack Perfect: How To Not Look Like A Tourist In Greece

Platform Wedges

We love wedges for travel because they inconspicuously add some height while being comfortable enough to wear all day. European women are known for wearing sky high heels (even on cobblestoned streets), but you won’t be looking like a tourist in these bad boys. These wedges are so comfy because of their thick ankle straps support your ankles and keep your feet from sliding around.P

Pack Perfect: How To Not Look Like A Tourist In Greece

A High Waisted Bikini

Go for a vintage look with a chic high waisted, belted bikini bottom for the perfect amount of coverage, paired with a classic, supportive top. The paradise blue color will have you blending in with the Santorini skies with ease!

An Easy Mini Bag

This chic little bag is has ultimate cool-girl look. The crochet detail feels artisan and its mini-size won’t have you feeling weighed down.

Pack Perfect: How To Not Look Like A Tourist In Greece

Hoping you have the most glamorous, romantic time in Greece! With these looks, you’ll be looking like a local in no time. Happy packing!

Caribbean

8 Must-Visit Islands In The Caribbean

When it comes to island hopping, unless you have the use of a private jet (don’t we all wish!), cruising is the perfect way to go. From respites filled with lush beaches and historic sites to locales peppered with modern amenities and yachts galore, here are 8 islands not to miss in the Caribbean Sea.

Antigua

Antigua is peppered with soft sandy beaches next to clear waters with an aqua hue. The Caribbean wouldn’t have it any other way! Heading out to any of the beaches via car rental (which is less expensive and more readily available than you might think) allows you to experience multiple beaches for lounging, seeing beautiful views, and experiencing the sunset.

Not to be missed is Nelson’s Dockyard, which is a set of older buildings that now house shops and restaurants. Because of the historical aspect, it is associated with the parks system, which includes a few vantage points such as Shirley Heights. It’s a must for your list as the area truly offers some of the best views in the Caribbean. They will take your breath away!

Bequia

This little-known island is…well, little. At only 18 square km, Bequia is small on size, but big on views. A leisurely pace is kept by expats and locals alike, and quaint, beachside villas are available for those who would like to stay a while.

One favorite spot is Princess Margaret Beach. A walkway made of wood and stone takes visitors to a sandy beach with gorgeous views of the boats in the harbor. Beachgoers can relax in either the sun or shade as they look out onto the aqua waters.

The island is popular with expats, some of whom create and sell artisan wares, such as lovely paintings and wooden, miniature boats that float. Those who like rum punch will be thrilled with the many two-for-one offerings at the ocean side restaurants where you can stop and grab a bite.

Grenada

The port of St. George’s has the typical shops and activity of a town, yet it also houses museums such as the Grenada Museum and the House of Chocolate (yum!). Venturing out from the port showcases a lovely inland harbor filled with colorful boats.

One of the highlights of the island is the impressive Underwater Sculpture Park. Snorkeling or scuba diving allows visitors to view underwater statues where sea life has begun to take residence, creating a delicate balance between art and nature. Feeling adventurous? Head to Annadale Falls to relax by the sounds of falling water.

Guadeloupe

A favorite stop of many, the port of Les Saintes in Guadeloupe is both quaint and filled with shops and restaurants. There is plenty to do within walking distance. A short, but steep hike will take you up to Fort Napoleon, where there are lovely views of the harbor. Walking to the other side of the island offers a different view of lovely homes, interesting cemeteries, and a beach area with vigorous waves.

Especially endearing are the swimming areas, which are spread along working beaches peppered with fishing boats. The folks on this French-speaking island are sweet and accommodating, but be prepared to do a bit of hand signaling as native English speakers in Les Saintes are few and far between.

Martinique

Those who love shopping and artisan wares will adore the port of Anse Mitan, which has many local restaurants and boutique shops to peruse. Also of note is the smattering of artisans with their handmade wares. Patrons can purchase one of their ready-made items or have a custom piece made as a souvenir.

To avoid crowds, head to one of the lesser-known beaches, such as Pointe du Bout, which has shade, palm trees, and clear water that is perfect for snorkeling. For those who want to venture out, a ferry is available to other points. A ride on the ferry affords beautiful outlooks and a relaxing experience.

St. Barthelemy

Want to experience living like the rich and famous – even if only for a day? Then this island, more commonly known as St. Barts, is where to head. The port of Gustavia is filled with impressive yachts and upscale stores.

ATV rentals are available at a few shops around the port, which opens up a whole host of areas to explore. The secluded Rockefeller Beach is a 20-minute hike from the road, but the once private beach is the perfect place to sunbathe and swim in clear waters.

St. Kitts

Although your cruise ship may offer excursions, this island is easy to navigate if you are daring enough to rent an ATV in the port of Basseterre. Encompassing 175 square km, the views from the coastline are breathtaking. Brimstone Hill Fortress is a worthy vantage point while adding a bit of history to your stop.

Also of note is Wingfield Estate, which showcases sugar cane processing ruins. Romney Manor is next door, where patrons can view the delicate process of making batik fabric.

Heading along the coastline will also cause you to encounter Black Rock Beach, which is just that – a beach line filled with stately black rock formations. St. Kitts has plenty of lounging beaches around the island for you to discover, and if you have time, popping over to the nearby island of Nevis is a possibility.  

St. Lucia

For those who crave a bit of adventure, Pigeon Island is a fabulous stop.  It is filled with rainforest canopies, so heading one to one of many ziplines is a thrill. Line guides watch for safety and also take photos and videos with your phone as you whiz by.

The port itself has a fort that overlooks the harbor and white sand beaches with clear water like only the Caribbean can offer.

If you are headed to the sunny Caribbean, any of these stops (or all of them!) are worth your while for exploring or relaxing the days away.

Asia Beaches Photography

Chasing Sunsets and Escaping The Crowds In Railay Beach, Thailand: A Photo Diary

Railay Beach is a small but popular beach town on the coast of the Krabi province in Thailand. Known for it’s towering jungle-covered karst mountains, it is home to some of the country’s most scenic rock climbing.

But what makes Railay Beach special is its location. Nestled on the neck of a peninsula surrounded by beautiful peaks, the town is isolated from the mainland – only reachable by long-tail boat. Even within Railay Beach there are no roads, only a handful of walking paths that connect the east and west sides of town, each of which face a different part of the Andaman Sea.

It didn’t take me long to fall in love with Railay Beach. As soon as I caught a glimpse of it from our long-tail boat, I knew our time here would be nothing short of extraordinary. And I was right.

The view arriving at Railay Beach East

Long-tail boats wait in the shallow waters on Railay Beach West

On our first night in Railay Beach, we were gifted with the most stunning sunset. Dare I say it is the most incredible one I’ve ever seen. There is a rain storm in the distance over what looks to be Phuket. The long tail boats bob up and down in the water as deep yellows and orange hues take over the sky. It started to rain but that only seemed to add to the amazingness of this moment. In that moment, it finally started to sink in that we were in Thailand. A country that has been number one on my bucket list for years. What an incredible welcome.

Admiring the view and the crystal clear water at Phra Nang Beach

By mid-morning Phra Nang Beach is packed with tourists from nearby islands. But the long-tail boats on display are picture perfect.

The ribbons and hanging garland on the tail of the boat are offerings to the Thai goddess of safe journey – to ask for good luck and protection

Early bird gets the worm. Enjoying Phra Nang Beach in the early morning, when no one else was around, was like a dream.

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