LC - Lisa Corduff Rebrand 2023-06

CwL On the road Ep 22 – Trip rundown – The Logistics

LC - Lisa Corduff Rebrand 2023-19

Lisa has returned from her overseas adventure and is answering all the most-asked questions about the trip in a series of ‘Trip Rundown’ episodes.

First up – the logistics.

As a self-confessed hater of all things personal admin, it wasn’t easy to book accommodation and flights, trains, ferries, and buses – but she did it!

In this episode, she shares:

  • Her favourite accommodation apps
  • Her go-to websites for booking flights, trains and ferries
  • The ‘couldn’t live without them’ apps.
  • How she used AI to make moving around easier. 
  • The route they took and the accommodation she’d go back to in a heartbeat. 

Details of where she stayed (that she recommends):

Kerry, Ireland: Skellig View House: Ring of Kerry: Stunning Views

London, England: Apartment 302 Exchequer Suite – Notting Hill Gate

Naxos, Greece: Archipelagos

Mlini, Croatia: Apartments Andrijana

Split, Croatia: Dafne Apartment

Paris, France: St Germain Apartment

Kandersteg, Switzerland: Kandersteg

Phi Phi Island, Thailand:  PP Princess Resort- SHA Extra Plus

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Indulge in a collection of short stories from Lisa’s big overseas adventure. They are an insight into the transformative power of travel and the gift that new places, new people, and adventure provide.

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Prefer to read? Access the transcript here.

Okay. We are back from our big overseas adventure and look, I mean I sort of dropped off recording the podcasts in the end because I was so present to those final weeks and knowing that it was about to end that I just gave myself permission for everything other than being right there with the kids, soaking up those moments. It just fell off the radar and I feel totally fine about that. But now we are home and I know that there’s loads of questions that people have. I asked in my stories about what you would want to know about this trip. I want to make sure that if there’s anything that interested you about the trip or you’ve got your own trip planned or you’re just looking for a little bit of inspiration or information, then I’m going to pull it together over the next few episodes in a bit of a roundup.

And I thought, let’s just get the boring stuff out of the way first, let’s do logistics, which while it might be a bit of a boring topic, is totally essential, right? None of this actually happens without a fair bit of organising. And I must say I was daunted by the task, and I must say it’s one of the trickiest bits about the trip because I’m not someone who enjoys spending hours and hours and hours researching and scrolling through things. I just prefer it to be done and be there. That’s sort of my vibe. So I had to lean in hard into my organisational edges to make this happen. So let me break down just firstly how it actually happened, how it was all organised, and then I’m going to share with you some of the key apps that really helped and the places that I looked for things, and then I’ll share some of the accommodation that I found that I’d totally recommend.

There’s some that I wouldn’t, let’s be real. Some things were hit and misses. I loved every single place we went to. All of them had their charms, but whether I would sort of put them down as a must see or whatever is just not the case. So firstly, to just share in terms of organising the big flights. So the getting there and back, I got a travel agent to help me do that, so it cost me $250 to have a travel agent search for the best flights, and I was really, it was like the best money that I spent because what I was asking them to do was get us to Asia first. So we did Japan and then we flew over to Europe and then I wanted to come home via Thailand and then back to Australia. But before that, we had flights to Brisbane and Sydney, and then there were flights within Europe as well.

The first part of the trip was fully planned and the second part was all up to me. So those first flights, getting help to structure it to know that there was a leave date and a comeback date, and we, I think got a really, really cheap deal for anyone who’s interested. We actually flew different airlines, but to get from Europe to Asia, we actually flew Finnair, which was really affordable. It just meant that we were dropped in Helsinki and we had to fly out from Helsinki, but that didn’t bother me. The first part of the trip we did was Scandinavia, and then it’s pretty easy once you are in Europe, it’s pretty easy to organise cheap flights and I’ll share with you the website, the best website for that. So we did that first part planned, so Brisbane, Sydney, Tokyo, Helsinki to Copenhagen, and then we had flights from, we flew Stockholm to Norway and then we flew Copenhagen to Dublin, to London to Munich, and that was the first two months, and that was all pre-booked, so that was great. And then we were booked home, Helsinki, Bangkok, Melbourne, and getting a travel agent to help with that was super, super worthwhile just because that amount of logistics would’ve done my head in the beginning and she really did get a super great deal.

From that point on though, after that organised time of which in Japan, my amazing coworker, Amy helped me find accommodation, my requirements were always pretty simple. If we could, I’d love everyone to be in a separate bed. That did not happen all the time. I shared a bed with kids a lot or there were two single beds and a bigger bed, and I made two kids share that bed, but we were in close quarters the whole way. Really. There’s a few places that I’ll recommend that were a bit more spacious, which was lovely, but I mean, you’re not really in the place all that often. I just wanted to feel safe. I wanted it to be close enough to a supermarket and transport, so we were carrying our backpacks on our back. I will do the next episode about what we packed, but I always wanted us to be within walking distance of food and a train station and to have it feel secure.

They were my requirements and Amy helped me do that in Japan. The accommodation there was pretty much all self check in. This is the thing that’s happening around there at the moment. You have to put in your details and your passport numbers and then they give you these codes and in you go and it’s people less a lot of the time, which was interesting. And we used to organise a lot of that accommodation,, Airbnb last sometimes to just check if anything was there. And luxury escapes were the places that I used luxury escapes really just came into being mostly in Thailand.

But was the main one that I used and Airbnb, because I didn’t want to be staying in hotels most of the time. I wanted a place with a kitchen that was the other requirement and washing machine if we could. So they were sort of the, if we can get those, we’re doing very well, but I didn’t want to be too far out of the action. So I would often compromise with loveliness for location, and it really, really does make a difference to be in an area that is close to stuff when you’re walking everywhere and when kids are tired, you don’t want to have to spend ages on a train or bus just to get to something. We did also on our trip, we were lucky enough to stay with people a lot of the time and people are so kind and so generous, and it was lovely to be in homes.

It really, really was, and it gave the kids an insight into how other people live and their rhythms and routines and foods. It was so wonderful to be embraced in so many places that we went. So when it comes to organising the other transport, especially around Europe, but then also flights really anywhere. I didn’t know about Skyscanner, so that website is the absolute best. I spent a lot of time on Skyscanner just trying to, it just delivers you the cheapest flights, really, really exceptional website, but sometimes I wouldn’t necessarily know what I was searching for. So our trip around Europe, once we got onto to Munich and did mainland Europe, I was doing it all on the fly and I ended up sometimes asking chat GPT prompts, like which Croatian airports fly direct to Munich? Or is there a direct way from Athens to Montenegro?

And it was brilliant. It’s not necessarily 100% current, they can only update you from 2021 or something like that, but oftentimes the information was good enough for me to then be able to make decisions. Even things like the ferries in the Greek islands when it’s sometimes hard to know what to search for, and you could just ask chat GPT ferry roots and it would just deliver you what goes where. It was really, really helpful. But I must say that the revelation for me when I found it was an app called Trainline, and that was really what got us around a lot of Europe. When we did I Germany to Paris, to Italy, to Switzerland and back to Germany, all of that was done using Trainline. Brilliant, brilliant app. Omeo was another one that I would look at often OMIO, but Trainline was my absolute go-to, it’s so great to have all of the interconnectedness of all the different countries and the train lines in one spot.

It was really fantastic. We loved catching the trains around Europe. It was so satisfying to figure out getting from one place to the next, and then you’d wait at a train and we’d be figuring out the track to go and find and all in different languages and oh, it was just take me back. But some other apps that were really, really helpful. The Flush app was great for finding toilets, so it’s flush as in flush the toilet and you can just show where you are and it will show you bring up all of the public toilets that are near you. Super, super helpful. Sometimes in the big cities when you’re walking around, I literally lived on maps. I have an iPhone and Maps was my life. It was my absolute life. I’m lucky that I love maps and I was trying just not to use too much data. I’d often in the morning just screenshot different places. It’s so amazing the way that you can put in your destination and then where you want to go. Choose public transport and it will give you the exact trains and buses that you need to take to get to where you want to go. And I just often screenshot that. I mean, in a place like London, it’s just so easy. Get off here, look for that, going in that direction. Get on, get off here. I mean, how did we used to travel with a lonely planet?

It’s just so easy these days. I loved it. Even in Japan, I mean, wow, we would just never, ever truly lost because I could access maps and find us and see where we are and get to the next place. It was so, so good. At the beginning of the trip, I was using Papago, PAGO, the Papago app, and I loved it for translation. And then my kids are like, you should just be using Google Translate. And I actually found Google Translate a bit easier, so Google translate, we used a lot. There would be times where I needed to give directions maybe to an Uber driver or if we were getting a taxi somewhere and I would put the directions that I had in English or the name of a place we were staying in English and then it to be in their language. So it would make it easier for them to find it on their maps and even to just have conversation.

I mean, I remember one time we were leaving Kyoto and we’d been out in the morning just doing a final bit of seeing the sites and I realised we were going to miss the train if I didn’t get us back to our hotel. Quick Smart. And I didn’t use taxis very often, but that day I did, and it took us back. And so I put into Google Translate, we need to go straight to the train station. We were getting the bullet train back to Tokyo and I said, could you wait for us to collect our bags and take us to the main station? And I put that in Google Translate. He was able to read it and he waited and took us there. So it was brilliant. You can just speak into it and it will translate for you. So helpful. I always think it’s a wonderful idea to try and use the language as often as you can, but obviously not knowing it.

Even menus and stuff in somewhere like Japan, the menus were very, very rarely in English. So it was super helpful to be able to just use Google Translate to scan over a menu, see what things actually were, and then order. Another really helpful app that one of my followers on Instagram shared with me was the SunSmart app that is actually global now. So I was able to find out what the UV situation was wherever we were. We got roasted in Japan one day. Absolutely. So burned. It was one of those motherhood moments where you think, well done, well done, Lisa. I just had not realised how strong the sun was. We double applied, that didn’t matter. The kids and I were in the water for hours because it was so, so hot, and we’d found a lake to swim in and we were just all the fun and games until we had to put our backpacks on the next day on head to Asaka.

That really, really hurt. Anyway, lesson learned and someone mentioned the SunSmart app, and it was actually really interesting to see how it changed in lots of different places depending on where we were. I’m always careful in the sun that’s a given. It was more what the peak times were and whether we were going to need to be hardcore about it or not. So I found that really, really helpful as I did the all Trails app. So I love finding little walks and getting out into nature. It’s one of my favourite things to do, and all trails shows you walks that are in a certain area. I loved knowing that that was there, that we could use it. I just love exploring. So it was always good to see, even if we didn’t do them, what was available around where we were. And then, I mean the Duo Lingo app I is like the soundtrack of the trip for me. The kids were all learning a language and it was like, I can’t go to sleep until I’ve done Duolingo and the sound, I dunno if you’ve got that app, the sound of it. It’s just every time I’ve heard it since I come home, they’re still trying to keep up their streak. I just hear duo lingo, it just takes me right back to the kids. I sort of started and then I just didn’t really finish. I thought maybe it would be good to learn French alongside my son and then not this time.

So yeah, they were the main sort of apps and the other two for communication. I moved everything from texts and all that sort of stuff was on WhatsApp so that we could just use data to communicate with everybody. So there was a lot of WhatsApping going on and that’s how we made all our phone calls back home and with my team and also Slack, which is what we use for communications in our team. So they also got a bit of a workout as well. A lot of people have asked me about creating content, the content that I create on social media and if I do it or someone else does it and how, and really I am just so genuinely basic about it all. I just use the actual Instagram reels function. So nothing about that is fancy at all and it’s all me. So that was something that I had actually wanted to outsource on the trip.

And then as soon as I was gone, I thought, oh, I actually just really getting to the end of the day, telling a bit of a story, putting something together. It was like I was crafting my own photo album or something, but obviously this was the one for the public and there is also one for me privately. But yeah, there’s nothing fancy going on there. I’m really sorry to say I have experimented with other tools, but I am pretty basic when it comes to that stuff. I have worked in video production, I know Final Cut Pro I’ve been, there’s way more sophisticated stuff I’ve done before and I just find the easier it is, the better. I’m sorry to disappoint you on that one. So I hope that that covers a lot of the logistical kind of stuff. And now with the accommodation, I will be sharing with you below the places we stayed that I definitely recommend.

So for sure, I think that the places in Japan were good and really handy. I don’t know if any of them were particularly standouts at all in Sweden, the first place we went to in Europe, we had accommodation that whole time, which was just so wonderful. But I definitely recommend the place we stayed in Oslo. The kids really liked arriving there. You had to walk up lots of stairs, so I was always so glad we didn’t have suitcases, honestly, just being able to throw the backpacks on and walk anywhere, it was just the best, but it was up quite high. But it was this loft style apartment and we had a big kitchen and there was a balcony if you were following along in stories, this is where Wasp Gate happened, which was pretty funny, but it was really close to shops and a train line, and it was great if you followed along.

It was also the place where I was sleeping with a very, very low roof over my head, and it hadn’t quite occurred to me I could just turn the bed around and I would be with a higher roof over my head. It was so great to be sharing this trip with people who were following along and being genuinely helpful. That was a great little place to stay for sure. And then we headed to Ireland and we had accommodation for all but two nights of the few weeks that we were there and we stayed at a place in Kerry that honestly, it made me cry as soon as we got there.

It was the place that had the most extraordinary view. Even as I’m talking about it, I am imagining it in my head, and I don’t know if I’ll ever get over the level of wonder of the view of that place. It wasn’t an extraordinary house. It was just a nice simple house, had a washing machine, which was great, and the loveliest woman came and met us and she lived in the house next door on the same sort of property. And I could have, I did just spend hours just looking out, just thinking, what am I even looking at and exploring. Kerry was wonderful. I mean, it’s just a phenomenally beautiful place. And I’ve actually doing the Kerry walk on my bucket list, I would really like to go back and do that actual walk. You can walk, there’s heaps of trails around, there won’t be easy, but bucket list vibes.

And then from there we went to London and I think I didn’t know whether to recommend the place we stayed at in London. It wasn’t super amazing. It was just in a really great location. It was in Notting Hill Gate and they broke up the beds for us. Well, we had actually an extra bed put in there and it had a tiny, tiny little kitchenette thing, but we were just so close. We were basically in Notting Hill and there was a tube right on the end of the street. There was Marks and Spencer around the corner. It was fabulous. It was really a great location, super easy to find, coming straight from Heathrow. And that’s what you need really in those. I just needed close to getting off a train because as soon as we’d get off if I told them that we had to walk for ages and ages, I’d be met with misery and no one wants that. So I will pop those details there. And then we headed to Munich where we had a wonderful time staying in, staying with my friend Tony Anne.

And then we headed to Naxos and that was great accommodation. It wasn’t very central though, but it suited us and no kitchen, but it was so cheap to eat and it was so wonderful. We did have a fridge, you do need to buy your own water. You can’t drink the water from the taps on Naxos. So we had to be mindful of that and buy water, which kills me. And if anything, I would probably do that differently next time. Maybe buy something that purifies water. There’s very fancy things that you can get. But anyway. And then for sure, I would recommend the place we stayed at in Malini, in Croatia because it was actually above the house. It was part of a house of a Croatian family. We arrived, there was cake and homemade lemonade waiting for us, just laid out waiting for us. And that place was just stunning.

Just a little seaside town. It’s considered sort of Dubrovnik area, but it’s not Dubrovnik. It’s further south than that. And we absolutely loved it there. The view from that place was extraordinary. It wasn’t particularly a lovely place. The kids actually didn’t really like staying there. I did. It was just quaint and I just felt nice. It felt warm and inviting and we could just walk down to the beach and back. Lots of steps, lots of steps from there. We were in split. And once again, I thought that that was a brilliant place and it was a nice little apartment, not super fancy, but the person who, I think it was Airbnb, that one. And they’ve done a really good job in leaving a lot of stuff there for you so that you’re not arriving to absolute bare minimum. I really liked that when places did that.

It was a nice touch and split is a great place to explore lots of history. Amazing. And then back to Munich and Paris, I would definitely recommend the place we stayed at in Paris. It was actually the second thing I chose. The first one that we did fell through and then we ended up where we did. And it was just so quintessentially Parisian that I almost passed out. It was wonderful. Although for us, there was the two kids were on a foldout bed, like a couch bed. So we had to pull that sofa bed, what the heck am I saying? A sofa bed. And then another kid and I shared the double bed. So it was a tight squeeze, but once again, you’re actually never inside in Paris. You’re just out all the time. We just needed a place to stay and it was in a brilliant location.

From there. We were in Villa France, Sumer, and I loved where we stayed there. The kids would not necessarily recommend, I don’t think it was a highlight, highlight place to go, God so gorgeous. Just outside of Nice. And then we were in Montero, so in Chiqui Terra and the place that we stayed at was good. It was a great location, but it wasn’t super nice. And I mean it suited us, but I wouldn’t recommend it because of the mean, just for a few different reasons. I wouldn’t recommend that place. I will absolutely recommend where we stayed in Switzerland, in Canice Egg, those little, that place just blew my mind. Absolute highlight of the trip for me being in the Swiss Alps. And yeah, one of my favourite days of the trip was there and the place that we stayed at was just a perfect little shack thing, cabin maybe, I dunno how to describe it, but it was fantastic.

In Thailand, I would absolutely recommend the PPP Princess where we stayed on PPP Island, which was, if you are following in stories, the second place that we stayed, the first place just was dodgy. Dodgy. And then we stayed at PP Princess and it’s the stuff dreams are made of just the view at breakfast, just the beach right there, the pool right there. Bed’s very hard, very hard beds. But this was the resort sort of style vibes going on and it was wonderful. So I’ll put details of those places underneath and you can use those links if you like. I am not getting anything from that. I just thought so many people asked and I know it can be really, really tricky to find. Just keep in mind, we are a family of four with where there’s four individual people needing beds, so not a couple and two kids.

And oftentimes we had to share beds and that’s fine. But my ideal was always when I could have a bed to myself. That is for sure. And then it stopped any fights as well. We slept also on planes and we slept on ferries and one night even an airport floor. But overall, I am super pleased with what we chose and where we found ourselves. I feel immensely lucky to have taken the path that we did and I was really just making it up sometimes for that last European bit. I was booking where we were staying the day before we got there. That was also happening in Thailand too. That’s how I roll. I just gave up thinking I was going to be all ahead and all organised and just went with the flow. I loved being able to stay places longer if we wanted or get somewhere and think, no, no, no, no, no.

It was good. I just think I was glad to have that first bit organised and I was very glad to be able to create our itinerary based on what I’d learned in that first part. And what I learned was I can want to go at a certain pace, but you actually need downtime in places. Well we did. And it feels like you don’t actually get weekends when you go go going and you need those times. Munich, we were there three times heading back there each time was kind of a great chance to catch up on schoolwork, a great chance to not have to do anything. We were in my friend’s house, so I was making dinner for eight of us every night. And it was lovely. It was lovely to have a kitchen, eat beautiful vegetables and just reset. I really, really valued that. It was a really, I’m really pleased that I organised the trip that way and that we also had the last few weeks of relaxing beach home and we honestly just lived in our bathers in Thailand and it was the best. So hopefully that helps. Logistic wise, I’ll be back with some info on all the packing.

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