Packing for my New Year holiday

Packing for my New Year holiday

I’m heading off to Gardaland and Europa Park this Thursday to see in 2020 – my first time abroad during this period. It’s certainly going to be a new experience for me having always stayed in the UK and avoided booking travel during the Christmas holidays. There’s a lot of things I am looking forward to experiencing including Europa Park’s Winter Season event and my first ever visit to Gardaland. So what exactly am I packing for my New Year holiday?

I am travelling with RyanAir using hand luggage only. Sounds like an impossible task right? Not really if you plan well when it comes to your clothes and toiletries. Not gonna lie, I’ve travelled using hand luggage for various trips to Europe in order to save costs on luggage, and sometimes travelling light can save you a lot of hassle. Whilst some people might wonder how I do it – whether through the fact I am a woman, or some people might call me crazy in general and can’t fathom the thought of travelling hand luggage only. I’m here to tell and prove to you it can be done.

packing new year holiday passport

So what exactly am I planning to take?

Before I even start getting the suitcase open and chucking clothes into it, I actually plan out my outfits for each day of my trip. This not only helps me to avoid overpacking but it actually helps when I am out travelling. Ever feel stuck trying to figure out what outfit you want to wear each day? You won’t have that issue any more! I will write down my list using the Notes app on my iPad. With this trip in particular, there’s going to be lots of theme park days so obvious choices will be t-shirts, leggings, shorts/skirts etc.

Mix and matching outfits is the key part to packing light with hand luggage. I also have a few evening meals planned so nicer outfits are required, whether that is a nice top paired with leggings or a nice dress with tights. Ensuring outfits are easy to fold and don’t take up too much space, like thin cotton t-shirts or dresses, will really help to ensure you can take the basics with you without weighing down your case.

packing new year holiday hotel kronosar europa park

Top Tips:

#1: If you can make some outfits split into multiple uses like transitioning from daytime to evening, this can really help with space.

#2: Packing cubes. If you haven’t used these before, buy some from Amazon – they are not even that expensive, but please give them a go. They have changed the way I pack my suitcase for any future trips. They really help to utilise the space in your case better – ideal for hand luggage trips.

#3: Having a designated travel outfit can really help avoid overpacking. Wearing bulky items when travelling will save you lots of space in your case – this includes hoodies & coats.

#4: Toiletries & make-up? Try to take the bare minimum and avoid anything that is liquid based. That 100ml limit and one liquids bag can be a pain in the arse but you can make it work – stick with eyeliner pencils, lipsticks, powders etc.

packing new year holiday europa park logo on floor

My packing list as follows…

Clothing

  • T-Shirts x5
  • Jeans/Jeggings x1
  • Shorts/Skirt x2
  • Leggings x1
  • Dresses x5 (Including NYE dress!)

Layers & Necessities

  • Underwear x9
  • Bra x1
  • Thermals x1 (Top & Bottoms)
  • Tights x2
  • Socks x4 (Thick socks mostly cause who wants cold feet when walking around a theme park?)
  • Scarf, Hat, Gloves
  • Leather Jacket (Evening purpose)
  • Superdry Jacket

It’s pretty basic but it’s amazing how I can fit 9 days worth of outfits in my carry-on suitcase without going over the 10kg from RyanAir. It’s not magic, it’s practical and sensible packing!

Have you travelled abroad only using hand luggage?

How do you pack? Do you create a list?

Do you shove everything in and hope for the best? What works for you?

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Year, see you all in 2020!

That’s all for now!

Lottie xoxo

How to prepare for a theme park trip abroad

How to prepare for a theme park trip abroad

how to prepare for a theme park trip abroad

As you can imagine, I love going abroad. Travelling + theme parks = a very happy Lottie! So much so I am off to Poland tomorrow! But does anyone ever wonder how to prepare for a theme park trip abroad? From the dreaded packing routine: How many outfits do you need? Is the suitcase going to be big enough? to the major essentials of planning (boarding passes, park tickets etc). You know you need to get your brain into gear so you don’t forget anything!

Trust me, I haven’t forgotten anything in the past but I do end up using all my energy getting prepared for my holiday. More so than when I’m actually on the road, travelling to that next theme park destination. Yes, preparing for a holiday is common sense but sometimes a little helping hand can help you be on your way. Read on for my top tips on how to prepare for a theme park trip abroad.

Park tickets

Now that we live in a world where technology is at the palm of our hand, gone are the days where you need to print everything. I love that you can now show off the PDF park tickets on your phone. Or if you’ve been to Hansa Park recently and own an iPhone, your ticket sits nicely in your Wallet app! It makes life so much easier as you’ll have your phone on you at all times.

Pro tip: To avoid those mishaps with WiFi or lack of internet, open up the PDF/e-mail ticket on your phone and take a screenshot. That way you can still show off your ticket at the entrance without worrying about no internet! Of course, certain theme parks around the world will send you park tickets in the post. Make sure you have these to hand when you are packing for your trip.

Park Opening Times/Info

Okay, you should do this in the trip planning stages. However sometimes a week or so before you fly out, it’s best to double-check park opening hours & extra information. We all know park hours are subject to change and even days can change. Although this is very rare! The last thing you want to happen is to arrive at your destination and find that you have less time at the park than you first anticipated. If you’re lucky, you might find hours have been extended!

Car Hire/Hotel Booking Confirmations

In a similar vein to park tickets, you can keep all your booking confirmations on your smartphone. Just remember to take screenshots of booking confirmation numbers, arrival dates, payment confirmation details etc. Your internet can be temperamental so don’t get caught out. Of course, printing off the confirmation details won’t hurt. I know that for hotels, especially if you have booked through Hotels.com, Booking.com or AccorHotels, you can view all your bookings on their apps – incredibly handy to have!

Sat Nav

Whether you choose to use your smartphone or an actual Sat Nav unit, make sure you update the maps. Don’t get caught short when you suddenly find a road or motorway no longer exists! My preferred app to use is Waze as it provides you with the most up to date maps, it’s super easy to set up and it’s FREE! Other options include Google Maps or Apple Maps (depending on your smartphone of choice). Don’t forget to pack chargers and any other accessories such as phone holders and USB car chargers. Whilst most new cars have USB facilities, you can’t guarantee you’ll get them in your hire car. Be prepared for any eventualities!

Public Transport Info (if travelling via Public Transport)

If you are travelling via public transport, make sure you’ve done plenty of research including bus/train timetables, stations near the attractions, any shuttle buses that need pre-booking etc. My preferred choice is to get a hire car where I can but if I need to travel anywhere by public transport, research is key. Make sure you know where you’re going. The last thing you want is to appear lost in a foreign country as this will make you a prime target for scammers etc. Stay safe at all times.

Essential Toiletries including First Aid Kit

Sounds like common sense right? But I’m sure there’s a handful of people who may have forgotten something for their trip. What do I class as essential toiletries? Anything from Shampoo, Conditioner, Shower Gel, Deodorant, Toothpaste, Toothbrush etc. Anything that is a basic need for your everyday routine. Also, add a First Aid Kit whilst you are at it. I might go overboard in this respect by packing a lot of first aid bits but ‘You never know what may strike at any given moment!‘ I’ll pack plasters, tissues, paracetamol, ibuprofen, vitamins, contraceptive pill (if applicable!), Strepsils, Bonjela, Anthisan etc. Ladies, if you know your time of the month is due during your holiday, make sure to pack your pads & tampons too.

Travel Money and Passport

What? I left the most basic and important thing till last?! Passport is mandatory, obviously! Pro tip: Put your passport in your suitcase when you start your packing and you won’t have to worry about it being left behind. Okay, I have left getting travel money to the last minute before – NEVER AGAIN! Obviously, the earlier you can buy your travel money, the better rates you will get. ALWAYS AVOID GETTING MONEY AT THE AIRPORT!

There’s plenty of comparison sites online where you can compare the different rates. However, just recently I’ve been introduced to Monzo (back in June!) and I bloody love it. Easy to transfer money from my own bank account and no need to worry about conversion rates. The standard credit card exchange rate fee applies. Plus you don’t need to inform them every time you travel. My favourite part is the spending notifications you get. Very easy to keep track of how much you have spent and converts it straight back into pounds from your destination currency. So fab!

I hope this has given you some handy tips on how to prepare for a theme park trip abroad. If you have any tips of your own, please leave them in the comments below. Sharing is caring.

That’s all for now!Lottie xoxo

September Holiday | Trip Lowlights

September Holiday | Trip Lowlights

So I may have written about my highlights to my September road trip last month, which you can read here. I don’t want to put a downer on what was a fab holiday. I feel the need to write down my thoughts on the disappointments during my trip. We visited some brilliant parks. Some of which were new to me and have been on my list of MUST VISIT parks. I was left feeling somewhat disappointed and wanting more from them. Just thinking about it makes me want to groan. So let’s crack on to my September Holiday trip lowlights below.

Movie Park Germany

I didn’t have high expectations for this park. I thought I was going to have a decent day out here at least. Sadly, the weekend we visited the park it was also the Nickelodeon Slime Fest event. This meant the Crazy Cops Stunt Show was not running. GUTTED! I don’t really understand how a park that should have some standout rides (except for Van Helsing’s Factory & maybe Star Trek to some extent), can have some truly bad rides.

Yes, I’m talking about Bandit. It was SO bad and it’s been re-tracked. Dear god, I dread to think how bad it was before. I’ve never done a woodie that makes you rattle out of your seat so much. This made the woodies in Blackpool seem smooth. The John Cleese dark ride was laughably bad and insanely rough. High Fall, I’ll write about below. The general theming around the park looked great. We were lucky enough to see their Halloween theming too! I was left feeling marginally disappointed. I’m not in any real rush to return unless a decent cred is built in the near future.

movie park germany slc mp express

Spiteful SLC

MP Express at Movie Park Germany. CLOSED. Okay, this may be out of the park’s control. However, I have to include this in my lowlights. Any avid cred counting enthusiast knows being spited by a cred is not great, especially during a road trip abroad. I didn’t know whether to feel relieved or annoyed being spited by an SLC. On the one hand, I wanted to tick off all creds at the park. On the other hand, I’ve heard MP Express is one of the worst SLC’s out there. Maybe with the exception of Condor at Walibi Holland. I suppose this gives me a reason to return to the park for their Halloween event. Hopefully, I won’t get spited!

Bobbejaanland

The park was bland. It had bland rides, except maybe Fury. Honestly, it felt odd and uneventful. That is the best way for me to describe Bobbejaanland. I spent a total of 4 hours here. That was to tick off the 8 creds and experience some of the attractions around the park including Indiana River. It’s an Intamin log flume so just expect you WILL get wet. I don’t really have much to say about this park. There’s a pretty lake in the middle of the park and the new Land of Legends area looks pretty damn sweet theming wise. Other than that, it’s a basic park that reminds me of a creation I would make in RCT. If I had to rank the parks in order of my favourites, this would be at the bottom.

high fall movie park germany

High Fall, Movie Park Germany

Before I begin, I want to say that as I’m writing this (Saturday 21st September), my arse/tailbone is still sore from this monstrosity of a ride. I’ve had people tell me this wasn’t a nice drop tower. I bloody hate the things anyway. So why did I do this?! I always give new drop towers I haven’t done before a one time ride. BIG REGRET. High Fall shouldn’t exist, at all. For a stand-up style drop tower, this hurts. The forces as you lift from your seat during the descent, before you slam back into the hard plastic seat from the late brakes, makes you question how it’s still running. Whilst you get some fab views of Movie Park Germany and surrounding areas, I don’t think this was worth it. If you are visiting, don’t do it.

Loud school children

I know I have a low tolerance for children at the best of times. Why do school children on the continent feel the need to SHOUT to all their friends, everywhere they go. I’ve experienced school groups here in the UK. They are not nearly as loud. I understand that kids are super excited to go to theme parks for their school trips. Believe me, I loved the end of school year theme park trips I did! However, kids don’t need to shout across a ride station. Especially when their friends are literally feet away from them. It annoyed me slightly since I wanted to enjoy listening to the music of Fenix‘s station, and I couldn’t with the station being filled with kids from all directions. Maybe I’m just destined not to like kids at all ha!

These are only the main lowlights as all in all. The holiday was fantastic and I wouldn’t change it for the world. However, not all holidays are perfect. Sometimes your expectations get soured due to park availability or painful rides. Or SPITE. Sometimes you gotta let the bad things pass and focus on all the positives.

That’s all for now!

Lottie xoxo

 

June Road Trip | Best New Coasters

June Road Trip | Best New Coasters

I had quite a short hiatus on my blog during the summer. However, I went over to Germany in June to explore some new parks as well as visit some old favourites. It was a fun trip, to say the least. It provided some incredible views across the German Bavaria area. I cannot get over how gorgeous Germany is as a country. These road trips that we plan are one of the reasons I love travelling. You really get a chance to explore more than just the theme parks. I have major wanderlust! I wanted to reflect on some of the best new coasters that I got to experience on this trip. Also highlighting some of my old favourites that I couldn’t wait to re-ride.

FREISCHÜTZ | BAYERN PARK

In a weird way, I really enjoyed this coaster at Bayern Park. The park itself was a surprise in terms of how beautiful the surroundings were. There were lots of unique and gorgeous German details that you don’t tend to get with the mainstream parks in the UK, for obvious reasons. Not only was this coaster my 350th cred. I also enjoyed this ride even if it is the biggest coaster in the whole park. This Maurer X-Car Flying Launch coaster provides some great elements of hangtime and a fairly punchy launch. Okay, the X-Car designs aren’t the most comfortable or easiest to get into. Despite all that, this is by far the best coaster at the park!

FEUERDRACHE | LEGOLAND DEUTSCHLAND

What, one of the best coasters I did was at a Legoland? Yep, this is by far my favourite of the Dragon coasters I’ve ridden. Out of Windsor, Billund & Deutschland. Being a Zierer coaster, I was sceptical over how good this ride would be. What ticked the box for me was that fun little drop before the lift hill, after the indoor dark ride section. I’ve never seen a POV of this ride. Of course, this means I didn’t expect the unexpected. This then took you into the fun coaster you can see from the park. If you are heading off to a Legoland park abroad, make sure to visit Legoland Deutschland and experience this coaster for yourself.

EUROSAT CAN CAN COASTER | EUROPA PARK

Okay, you could say I’m cheating by saying that this is a new coaster. Especially as the layout is exactly the same. The experience is completely different, and I am living for this new style. I was nervous when the retheme was announced. Boy, I didn’t need to be. The Can-Can retheme fits perfectly with the France area. I love how the Mack’s continue to surprise us all. The homage to the original EuroSat coaster around the queue line, the original theme in the lift hill music, this left me with a huge smile on my face. It may be a complete re-track but it’s still the same fun coaster we all remember and love. Minus the crazy brakes at the end – BRAAAAAAAAAKES!

Honourable mentions need to go to some of my old favourites that I was super excited to get back on including:

blue fire megacoaster europa parkBlue Fire @ Europa Park

expedition geforce holiday parkExpedition GeForce @ Holiday Park

karacho coaster tripsdrillKaracho @ Erlebnispark Tripsdrill

wodan timbur coaster europa parkWodan @ Europa Park

That’s all for now!

Lottie xoxo

September Holiday | Trip Highlights

September Holiday | Trip Highlights

Well, last week flew by! I’ve returned to work today and already getting this blog post written up. I had a bloody good time visiting some fab theme parks across Germany, Netherlands and Belgium. And I gained a total of 48 new creds. Not bad for a week long road trip. It is refreshing to visit new parks and see how different they are to my home parks. Believe me, our UK parks could learn a thing or two about throughputs and theming. I’m definitely suffering from the ol’ post holiday blues right now. So let’s boost my mood with a reflection of my September holiday trip highlights, here on Lottie Travels.

HANSA PARK

I did no research for Hansa Park before I visited last Tuesday. I should do this more often because the park exceeded my expectations! Obviously, I knew about Kärnan and what the ride did. That wasn’t much of a surprise. Although I must say that sensation on the lift hill was incredibly unique. I’ve never felt so scared before getting on a rollercoaster in all my life. Except for when I was a small kid.

It was more about how beautiful the park was. Some areas were more picturesque, with great theming compared to other areas. I think I was expecting more of an amusement park vibe. It has a very deceiving entrance. Plus, the fact the car park is across the road and you need to cross a bridge to get to the park. I’ll definitely return for their next big investment. It’s a park I highly recommend visiting if you are in the Hamburg area. It’s only an hour drive away!

FLUCH VON NOVGOROD @ HANSA PARK

Where do I begin with this ride? I had no clue about this ride at all. I haven’t seen any pictures, although the park are very strict on the no photo policy of their rides. They definitely have a sense of secrecy and mystery. Which I’m all for to be honest. The queue line is understated with some theming elements here and there. However as soon as you enter the station building, this is where the theming comes alive. It felt like you were entering a scare attraction so I definitely got those Halloween vibes!

Now, I’m not a huge fan of Gerstlauer Eurofighters. I get Gerstache regardless so I was slightly apprehensive as to whether I would enjoy this ride or not. In all fairness, this is possibly my favourite Eurofighter I have done. There’s pre-show scenes before you enter the launch – and that is one hell of a snappy launch! – before you take on the outdoor section which is visible in the park. Then it’s the vertical lift hill with more thematic scenes. Before long you’re completing the layout with what seems like very steep overbank, before you enter the station again. I loved this ride despite the slight Gerstache I got. I wish SAW The Ride at Thorpe Park was like this!

AVALON & FENIX @ TOVERLAND

I couldn’t help looking at the pictures of this area as soon as it opened. Honestly pictures won’t ever do it justice. Toverland is a truly magical place that needs to be seen through your very own eyes. The theming is so beautiful. And let’s take a moment to appreciate how gorgeous Fenix is as a coaster. Yes, I’m a B&M fangirl but honestly, it is truly a beautiful sight to behold – as it sweeps over Merlin’s Quest and around the area.

I loved how many photo opportunities there were in this area alone. It’s almost as if Toverland planned this and I WISH MORE PARKS DID THIS! I love photography and there are some unique angles you can get. Fenix is one hell of an awesome Wing coaster – my favourite of the 3 I have ridden. Sorry The Swarm! I was not expecting to get that much airtime from the airtime hill after the first drop! All the inversions and elements on this ride blend together to create a truly fun experience for the whole family. I definitely preferred the back row to the front.

FLUG DER DÄMONEN @ HEIDE PARK

Okay, this one is more sitting under the B&M fangirl part of me but who cares, I loved Flug der Dämonen at Heide Park. I’m amazed at how well it fits into that compact space in the Transylvania area. I love the music by IMAscore. I love all their music to be fair, so call me a fangirl again! The trains are the same as The Swarm, just with fangs instead of guns. Honestly I loved this ride more.

The ride experience itself certainly packs some great inversions and elements. Not as many near miss elements as I would’ve liked but it’s still a great coaster. My 2nd favourite wing coaster after Fenix. My one gripe is the lack of places to take photos of this ride. With it being a quiet few days on park last week, I couldn’t take advantage of taking photos within the queue line. A bit of a bummer but couldn’t be helped! Still, Flug Der Damonen is a solid coaster at Heide Park.

UNTAMED @ WALIBI HOLLAND

My new number 2 coaster, Untamed was a beast. No POV will ever do justice as to how much frigging airtime you get on this coaster. Seriously, get yourself down to Walibi Holland and ride Untamed before making judgement from a POV. And yes, your thighs will hurt after several goes with your hands up. Seriously, who keeps their hands down on an RMC? I may not have gained massive bruises. But after 6 goes, I honestly felt like my thighs were going to fall off.

My favourite moment was the double up section and barrel roll towards the end of the ride. I’ve never experienced a coaster where that much airtime made me cry with laughter. It’s so fab and I’m glad this coaster isn’t too far away from me travel wise. It didn’t quite beat Wildfire at Kolmården for me. Wildfire didn’t make my thighs hurt so Untamed loses points in that respect. The station was pretty cool looking with all the foliage. I think I spent more time looking at the trains – they’re so pretty!

VAN HELSING’S FACTORY @ MOVIE PARK GERMANY

I’ve wanted to get myself to Movie Park Germany for a good 7 years now. That time finally came last week. I love the Van Helsing genre and film, so I was incredibly excited to try this out for myself. With it being an indoor coaster, POVs doesn’t give too much away. So you can’t really work out what happens. It may only be a Gerstlauer bobsled coaster but honestly, the theming in this ride is so damn cool.

They even sell some epic Van Helsing merch in the gift shop at the exit, including an axe! The coaster might be somewhat mediocre on its own if you stripped it of it’s theming but as a whole package, it’s one hell of a fun ride. I almost found it hard to keep an eye on all the theming as you rush by, and those mouse turns with the sneaky dip in between was unexpected – quite a nifty little trick there! I would go back to this park just for this ride alone.

excalibur rapids movie park germanySource

EXCALIBUR RAPIDS @ MOVIE PARK GERMANY

Going along the same theme, I didn’t do much research into these rapids at Movie Park Germany. Again, I’m glad I didn’t. The only thing I knew was that the station was indoors. The rest of the ride I had no clue what to expect. The theming was incredibly impressive right down to the finale scene. Add in the cute and magical music from IMAscore and you’ve got yourself a ride to be proud of.

You really cannot see much of this ride from the exterior at all. Even the warehouse building is hidden by trees and foliage as you walk to the entrance. This really gives us ‘new visitors’ a chance to build up the anticipation when riding. The rapids themselves, manufactured by Intamin, were pretty fun too. It might not be a soaker like River Quest at Phantasialand but they’re incredibly fast. Perfectly enjoyable for the whole family! Don’t miss out on Excalibur. Make sure to head towards Nickelodeon Land and they’re right at the back near the new Paw Patrol area!

Looking back now, I have a lot of memories to take away from this holiday. Hopefully this has given you some insight into the parks & coasters. Thanks for reading my September holiday trip highlights on my blog, Lottie Travels. More holiday content will be written up in due course!

That’s all for now!

Lottie xoxo