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Welcome to the first blog post in my new series on Lea Bella Blogs; Flying With.
In this series of blog posts I plan to share with you my experiences of what to expect when flying with different airlines all over the world. I will also be accepting guest posts for this series, so, if you have an airline that you particularly loved (or hated!) please do not hesitate to share your story with me at email@example.com.
ADAARAN Exclusive Water Villas - Maldives
Today’s post is a guest post written by the lovely Helen from www.hked.me where she creates a wide range of content from travel and lifestyle from the modern woman. You can find her on twitter @hkedtweet Instagram: @hkedgram go and follow her for more amazing content on Hooked!
Today's post is a guest post written by Georgia from What's in my Wonderland . Georgia is an avid bookworm, and blogs about her recommended reads and more over on her website.
This post is written from my own experience and perspective and I am in no way affiliated with P&O minicruises or P&O Ferries. All views and opinions are my own.
The P&O Mini-Cruise to Amsterdam On Board The Pride Of Hull Ferry
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24 Hours In Naples: Itinerary
Naples, Italy (or Napoli for the culture vultures amongst us) was not one of the cities that was initially on my places to visit in 2019. However, after downloading the Lucky Trip App (not an #ad!) Naples came up as one of the lower cost, trips to take in January. Being the wanderer that I am, I thought 'why not?' and booked it.
As the time grew nearer, I started to doubt whether or not this trip would be rushed - we were going to be flying in from the UK for only one night. I double checked the flight times - by the time we landed on the Saturday and were to take off again on the Sunday, we literally had 24.5 hours in Naples in total. My question was: 'Can I enjoy this short amount of time in Naples?' - the answer is whole-heartedly yes.
Here is how I did 24 Hours in Naples:
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7 TRavel essentials that will make travelling easy
If you’re anything like me (a last-minute superstar) you’ll get to the night before your travels begin and have a bit of a flap on, worrying about what to pack and what you need for your trip away. Have no fear - I have put together 7 Travel Essentials that you will most definitely need. Here we go...
1) Your Passport
If you forget this, you can forget going to another country. I keep mine in a different ‘safe place’ each time... and I can never remember where. To make my life easier I put my passport in a cute and eye catchingly bright passport wallet as to not miss it in the cupboards! Here’s the one I’ve got below, but there’s loads of different ones on amazon for a decent price that will jazz up the boring passport look and help you find it in the black hole of Calcutta that may be one of your cupboards or drawers.
2) Travel Documents
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An Enjoyable Day on the Sea
There is a back story to how we ended up on Robinson's Catamaran on a random Wednesday during our holiday to Alcudia... But I will create a separate post on this as it's a long (and quite funny!) anecdote.
The Maldives... Paradise on Earth
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Holiday Dates: 9th October - 19th October 2018
Adaaran Select Meedhupparu Beach Villas - rated at 4*+
Stepping off the seaplane and getting my feet on the ground after what felt like an eternity of being in the air felt like I had just won the jackpot. No-one could have prepared me for the turquoise blue waters, the bright white sand, but most importantly the friendliest of welcomes I have ever received when arriving at a resort for the first time.
Golf buggies collected us from the jetty on the South of the island and whisked us away to the main bar where we were greeted with a refreshing pineapple drink and a cool cloth to wipe away the last three flights. The 30 degree sun was beaming down on my face as I thought 'people are right....this is paradise!'. I had not even seen the half of what this Island had to offer yet...
I should probably mention here that I had not seen our luggage yet since stepping onto the seaplane (you can read my seaplane experiences here) and at this point I didn't care. We were given the all important safety briefing, a map of the island and was told that we could go and get some lunch on the all-inclusive while we waited for our room to be ready. So that is what we did!
The Accomodation - Beach Villa 4*+
We had booked a beach villa initially, with a view of upgrading to the water villas over the next few days - read my tips on how to save money on your upgrades here. We were chauffeured once again by a friendly Sri Lankan guy who showed us our room. The first thing I noticed about the room was the amazing view... believe me when I say that it is absolutely breath taking. Our patio doors opened out onto a wooden terrace with our own sunbeds and a seating area, and then the beach and the ocean, like right in front!! It's really hard for me to explain exactly what seeing this for the first time is like, but I will never ever forget how I felt. I don't actually think I've ever felt as excited, overwhelmed and knackered all at the same time! HA.
Once I had gotten over staring at the beautiful clear blue ocean, I checked out the rest of the Villa. OK, so my first impressions were 'WOW... this is loads bigger than I expected!'. The main room has a large bed, bigger than our King Size bed at home for sure, a TV, fridge, tea and coffee making facilities and then the bathroom. The bathroom was half outside and half inside! WHAT! There are his and hers sinks, a loo (obviously), and then the spectacle, the outdoor shower. Amazing - and boy did it get used! There is an indoor shower too, which I only used on the first night and the rest of the time we were in the beach villa we totally utilised the outdoor shower. Why not - you're in the Maldives after all!
Exploring the Island
Once our luggage had been delivered to our room, which was only around 10 minutes after we had been delivered to the room, we immediately got changed into our beach wear and went for an explore. Being the avid researcher that I am, I had read that the whole island was approximately 3KM in diameter, and it should take around an hour to walk the circumference. In our experience, it would only take an hour to walk around the island if you stopped at every bar you passed along the way (there are 5 in total). We walked it in around twenty minutes. Everywhere you look, you are greeted with amazing views. Whether you are looking inland at the beach villas and the beaches, or if you are looking out into the Indian Ocean, which stretches for miles. It is when you take a minute to breathe and take in the blue views when you realise you are actually on an island in the middle of nowhere. The good thing about Adaaran Meedhupparu Island is that there are actually three other islands that you can see - but you couldn't swim to them! But they are there in the distance, just to comfort you and remind you that your not completely isolated from the world.
'I think I would get bored in the Maldives' was one comment that I received from many people before visiting. How far from the truth can you be! Don't get me wrong, the Maldives is famous for being a honeymoon destination and a luxurious relaxing style holiday for the obvious reasons. But there is also, surprisingly lots to do! There are many excursions that you can do - we opted for the Dolphin Safari which was hands down one of the most amazing excursions I have ever done. You are picked up from the island in a Dhoni, (a traditional Maldivian fishing boat) and taken out in to the Indian Ocean for a spectacular show of Dolphins in their natural habitat. What's more amazing than seeing wild dolphins in the Maldives? There are other excursions that are all advertised in the Main Reception and they all come at a cost, and they are quite a cost too - but totally worth it.
At Meedhupparu, there are five bars in total to relax and chill out in. One bar, Café Mass, is the only 24 hour bar and was right near our villa (room 223 for anyone who is interested) and this serves all your all-inclusive drinks, tea, coffee and the premium drinks for those who are on half board or Bed & Breakfast options.
The Main Pool Area
The infinity pool is perfect for photo opportunities at Meedhupparu. The pool faces the beach and the ocean and makes a perfect back drop for those romantic pictures, and for just sitting and collecting your thoughts whilst the sun is beating down on your back. The pool bar here serves all drinks in plastic glasses so you can take your drink wherever you want to in the swimming pool and sip on a Pina Colada whilst relaxing in the water. The sunbeds here all have mattresses and the pool boy gives you a towel and then replaces if for you after lunch.
The main bar / lounge area is also located next to the swimming pool. This serves all your drinks, daytime snacks and tea/ coffee and fruit juices. The main stage area is here but you won't find an animation team bouncing around here!! Not even in the evenings. The vibe to this island is ultimate chill.
The main reception is also located close by and there is a child's play park too.
The All-Inclusive Food
Adaaran Select Meedhupparu Round-Up
This was our first time in the Maldives, and realising I have no other island to compare this too, I had the best honeymoon holiday of my life. So much so that we have booked to go back next October! See my travel plans for 2019 here. I would highly recommend the beach villas for first timers to the Maldives and if it’s affordable luxury you’re looking for you won’t be disappointed here. I should also mention here that the staff are brilliant, all of them. From the gardeners to the management, everyone says ‘hello’ to you and those who speak better English really try with you and ask if you are well etc. When visiting any country, I always ask the staff about their lives. Some stories they will tell you will really open up your eyes.
I hope this post has given you more of an insight into what to expect when going on holiday to this particular island.
Leave me a comment below if there is anything else that I have not mentioned that you would like to know.
You can follow me on Instagram @leabellablogs or on YouTube linked below.
Thanks for reading!
-Lea Bella x
2019 - Places I will travel to...
Just a really quick post to fill you in on my travel plans for 2019 so you know what blog posts to expect over the next few months... *UPDATED FEBRUARY 2019*
Italy - 24 Hours in Naples, January
We are going to be staying in a 5* B&B for the night right on the sea front in Naples.
Amsterdam - P&O Ferries, February 2019
Taking the P&O Ferry from Hull, UK to Rotterdam, Holland for a day trip to Amsterdam
Spain - 4 nights in Valencia, February
I have never been to mainland Spain before (I know- right?!) so I'm excited to see what Valencia has to offer
Tenerife- Sandos San Blas, March
For my husbands birthday. 5* All inclusive bliss.
Frankfurt, Germany - March
Another 24 Hours In... trip. Keep an eye out for the vlog on my YouTube channel!
Spain - 3 nights in Marbella, April
Hen Do Time -Party!
Mexico - 7 nights in Akumal Bay, May
Another luxury hotel right in the heart of Akumal Bay, Riviera Maya.
Maldives - 9 nights in Meedhupparu Island , October
Back to paradise... Cant wait!
There are a few months missing, as you can see - this is only because we have nothing booked at the moment!
As always with each blog post there will be a video posted on my YouTube channel, you can check this out below.
I hope you will come along with me so I can share my travel experiences with you.
Thank you for reading
-Lea Bella x
...and how to keep your costs down.
Heres a little disclaimer before I start on this post...
1) In no way, shape or form am I implying that these holidays are affordable for everyone. You’re affordability is no one else’s business but your own.
2) These prices are 2018 prices and are subject to change due to supply and demand.
3) This post is based on my own experiences and is in no way influenced by any third party.
OK now that’s over... let’s go! ✈️
When you think of a luxury holiday destination, instantly you may think ££££. Sometimes this is true, and, in a lot of cases you get what you pay for. BUT. There are ways of getting to your dream destinations for a more affordable budget. Let me explain how in this short ‘How To’ blog post.
A Journey Like No Other
For those readers who have been lucky enough to visit the Maldives Islands, you will know exactly what I’m talking about in this post.
For those of you who have not visited (yet?) then here is a little glimpse of what to expect upon arrival in to Valena International Airport, and the onward travel by seaplane to your island.
TMA Seaplane (twin otter) October 2018
How Do I Find My Seaplane?
On arrival, once through security you need to head for the desk which has your islands name. Here, a representative from the island will have your name on a list and will tag up your luggage. Luckily the Maldivians are so friendly and he will walk you round to the check in desk for TMA.
Once you are here, your cases and hand luggage will all be weighed and that’s the last you will see of it until you get to your villa / hotel! This has never happened to me before where my luggage is taken off me at an early stage so I was praying that it was going to make it to the island. There are, what seems like, a million different islands in the Maldives all with their own seaplanes so I was hoping it would end up on our seaplane with us and not coming afterwards.
You will then be taken to a small bus, and once the bus has enough passengers it will drive you a short 10 mins to where all the arrival lounges are. This is where you realise that you are about to be treated like a VIP.
The Arrival Lounge
We booked to stay in Adaaran accommodation on Meedhupparu island. Adaaran have their own arrivals lounge and here you will be greeted by a friendly lady who checks your passports and will tell you how long to wait before your seaplane is ready. We were lucky as we only had an hours wait. But you can be waiting up to 4 hours, depending on how busy the incoming flights are that day. So be warned! But the Adaaran lounge has free tea, coffee, fruit juice, pastries and lots of other snacks. There is also a bathroom with showers and toilets which we didn’t use, but is nice if you want to freshen up after your long journey. Here we hydrated ourselves and was getting really REALLY excited about finally being in our dream destination after so long. Make the most
of this lounge as I believe that not all islands have a dedicated lounge. So if your island does - take advantage.
Once your seaplane is ready, someone will come and get you and walk you round to the departures lounge. The views from here are insane!
TMA seaplane - this was the one we took to our island
so once you are on the plane (beware - it’s a close fit!) brace yourself for possibly some of the best Ariel views you will ever experience in my opinion! Once the pilot has given a very brief safety talk - if you could call it that - then you will be taxi’ing along the turquoise water ready to finally make the last leg of your long journey. If you have never been on a small plane before, let alone a seaplane, it is very loud!! Try and sit next to the window if you can because what you are about to see I goes something like this...
I think you will agree that this is quite the view!
Also, a little side note - the pilots do not wear shoes...
Landing at the island was smooth and steady, we were lucky that we flew on a really calm day and did not experience one bit of turbulence. It was an absolute privilege and pleasure flying with TMA, and the experience is not something I will ever forget.
Aaaannndddd you get to do it all again on your way back to Male - bonus!
I hope you enjoyed this blog post, please see my Top 5 Tips to Surviving your Long Trip to the Maldives post for all things to get you through your long haul flight.
For a visual on how our flight was with TMA, check out my short video on YouTube below.
- Lea Bella x