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What to Expect On A Viking River Cruise

I'm almost certain we discovered the perfect way to explore Europe. It's a combination of cultural offerings, insider access, and carefree travel. And it's all packed in a posh experience that you'd never want to end. Yes, I'm talking about river cruises. And if you've never been on one before, you are missing out. Big time!

River cruises are all the rage right now. They are actually one of the fastest-growing segments of the travel industry. And after our experience with Viking River Cruises last December, we can totally understand why.

What to Expect On A Viking River Cruise
Viking Vili moored in Melk

Advantages of a Viking river cruise over other, more traditional types of travel


  • Easy logistics. You only have to choose the itinerary. Viking takes care of everything else down to the very last detail.
  • You only have to unpack once.
  • Your ship is like a floating boutique hotel. 
  • You can drink all the wine you want. Someone else is at the helm.
  • It's impossible to get bored.
  • You will go as a guest and leave as part of the family.
  • High-end amenities combined with smart design and Scandinavian efficiency.

I previously wrote about our Castles and Legends itinerary with Viking River Cruises, but you probably still have lots of questions. 

What's the average age of the guests? 
How does the dining work? 
How much free time do you have to explore each stop? 
Is there a dress code on board? 
What are the staterooms like?

I get it, I had the same questions like you do. So I'll try my best to cover all aspects of the cruise. However, if after reading this article you still have questions, don't be shy. Just drop me a line in the comments section below. Deal?

What to Expect On A Viking River Cruise
The bell

Pre-trip preparations


My husband and I booked our cruise 1 year in advance, but that's just because we are obsessed with planning. Soon after, we received an email with a link to My Viking Journey, where we could customize our cruise experience, explore the ship and most importantly, book shore excursions. While many of the tours are already included in the cruise package, some of them are optional and they are better booked in advance due to limited availability. This not only allowed us to plan our daily schedule way before the cruise but we also gained access to our own personalized calendar.

A few months before the trip, we received a package in the mail. It included a personalized booklet highlighting our itinerary as well as information about each destination we were about to visit; two beautiful red leather tags; two stickers to use upon our arrival at the airport; two paper tags so our luggage could be seamlessly delivered to our hotel room or stateroom; and a fabric toiletry bag.

What to Expect On A Viking River Cruise
The Aquavit Terrace at the bow of the ship offers al fresco dining in warm weather

Airfare and transfers


If you hate planning or simply don't have time for trivial stuff like booking airfare, Viking River Cruises makes your life easy by taking care of your plane tickets as well. Since we knew we were going to be in Europe at the time anyways, we declined. Nevertheless, we booked the airport transfer with them, which saved us a headache.

As we landed in Munich, we were greeted by one of Viking's representatives. A taxi was already waiting for us and we enjoyed the quickest transfer to our hotel. Lukas, the tour director for the land section of the trip, was waiting for us in the lobby and briefed us shortly, handing up the schedule for the next few days.

What to Expect On A Viking River Cruise
Viking Vili docked in Durnstein


Before and after the cruise


For most of their itineraries, Viking offers before and after land extensions or extra hotel nights. Our Castles & Legends itinerary included 4 nights by land and 7 nights on board Viking Vili. A post-extension in Budapest was available, but since it was Christmas, we preferred to spend the holidays with family and friends.

For the land section of our itinerary, we were a group of about 30 people. But once we embarked in Passau, we became a group of 174 people. Some of the guests were taking only the river cruise; others proceeded from itineraries that included different land sections.

Both our Munich and Salzburg hotels were carefully picked. The 4-stars Sheraton Munich was located a few subway stops away from the city center and boasted modern amenities, large rooms, and a pretty amazing breakfast.

What to Expect On A Viking River Cruise
Typical German breakfast at Sheraton Munich

On the other hand, the 5-star Radisson Blu Altstadt, located in a building dating back to medieval times, was right in the heart of Salzburg. It had exemplary staff that remembered our room number better than we did (true story!), heated bathroom floors, exposed beams, and charming rooms, although not 2 were alike.

Transfer between Munich and Salzburg and later on between Salzburg and Passau was by motor coach, which was comfortable, clean, and quite efficient. Every time we changed location, our luggage was loaded onto the bus, traveled with us to the destination, and later on brought to our new room or stateroom by the staff, due to the little paper tags mentioned earlier. Quite neatly organized and we didn't have to lift a finger ourselves.

What's the ship like?


Viking's longships are floating boutique hotels. We didn't know what to expect, but we were quite impressed by the cozy and comfortable design of the rooms and common areas. Think clean lines, neutral colors, and sleek surfaces.

Guests embark on the middle deck, right into the reception area. Just like a normal hotel, Viking ships have 24/7 reception. This is where we checked in (you'd be surprised how quick that was!), collected and dropped our boarding passes every time we went out, could book shore excursions, etc.

What to Expect On A Viking River Cruise
Reception area with stairs to the upper deck

Also on the middle deck, there is the open-seating restaurant where the fancy version of the breakfast, lunch, and dinner is served. The restaurant has large tables for 8 people and floor to ceiling windows. You can seat wherever you want, which means you get to meet lots of people and make many new friends. It also means you end up introducing yourself several times during the week.

A wide staircase leads to the upper deck, which boasts a library with a decent amount of books as well as table games. Towards the bow, there is a large lounge area and a bar where you can order cocktails all day long. At the very front of the ship is the Aquavit Terrace where an early breakfast, as well as a lighter, buffet style lunch and dinner, are served daily.

What to Expect On A Viking River Cruise
Aquavit Terrace. The sliding doors are closed in winter but the views are still amazing

It's amazing how smoothly everything seemed to run on the ship. The organization was first-rate, and although there might have been some dramas behind the scenes, we never learned about them. There were 49 crewmembers from 14 nationalities (mostly European and Asian). This means almost 1 crewmember for every 3 passengers. And they all made it work. Which makes you think this world has lots to learn from them.

What are the staterooms like?


Our stateroom was located on the upper floor. It had a balcony (unfortunately, it was too cold to use it for anything other than snapping a quick picture every now and then) and floor to ceiling windows.

The bed was super comfortable and the 40" flat-screen TV had complimentary movies on demand, including The Sound of Music and Amadeus, which were perfectly in sync with the theme of the trip.

What to Expect On A Viking River Cruise
Our stateroom

What to Expect On A Viking River Cruise
How cute is that towel animal?

There was also a hair-dryer (so you don't need to bring yours from home), a mini-fridge, a generous laptop size safe, several American and European outlets, as well as plenty of storage space (drawers, hangers, shelves).

A gold star needs to be given for the incredibly space-efficient bathroom. Although small, it didn't feel cramped at all and it had heated floors, which is always a plus, especially if you travel in winter. A second gold star goes to the fog-free mirror.

What to Expect On A Viking River Cruise
Super space-efficient bathroom

As we embarked, a bottle of champagne was already waiting for us in the room. Additionally, we received complimentary water and a plate of fresh fruits (think strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries among other seasonal fruits) every single day.

What to Expect On A Viking River Cruise
Daily plate of fruits in our room

However, while our room was certainly impressive by any hotel standards, let alone a floating one, the pinnacle of perfection was Razvan, the steward who made up our room. If you think towel animals are impressive, wait until you have someone folding your clothes for you. Twice a day!

Our stateroom always looked perfect, the bathroom was always clean, and our personal items carefully organized. Seriously, this guy was so amazing I wanted to take him home with me. We've stayed in many 5-star and even 5-star deluxe hotels, but nowhere else was so much attention paid to every little detail. You can understand why I didn't want this cruise to end, right?

What's the average age of the Viking River Cruises guests?


While you might still hold on to the misconception that river cruise are for the elderly, let me stop you right there. River cruises in general start from the premises that you wake up in a different location every day. There is at least one shore excursion that you can join in each port, and they usually involve either a few hours of walking or a walking/bus combo.

The Viking river cruises are tailored for active adults interested in the cultural aspects of the destinations they visit. 

Let me put it this way. My husband and I took it pretty slow compared with other trips. This means many days we preferred to return to the ship as soon as the guided tour was over because...
  1. We really loved spending time in our stateroom and in the lounge and we wanted to take advantage of our time on board as much as possible.
  2. We had previously visited some of the places, some more than once.
  3. It was December and there were some pretty cold days, although we also had beautiful sunny days that felt like spring.
Regardless, our Fitbit still counted an average of 15k steps per day each.

Of course, no one says you have to join any of the trips. You can spend the whole day in your stateroom watching Downton Abbey if so you please and nobody will tell you otherwise.

To answer the question, there were plenty of people in their 30s. Probably just a few in their 20s. There were no kids on board, and to be honest, I don't think the Viking river cruises are tailored for kids anyways. And as a punchline, some of the people in their 60s were fitter than me.

Most guests were from the US, Canada, Australia, and the UK, but we were all friends on board.

What to Expect On A Viking River Cruise
The bar and lounge area

What to Expect On A Viking River Cruise
The lounge area

What's included in the cruise?


That's a very good question and it's something I've been asked quite often. And my answer is... a whole lot! Almost everything on board and most shore excursions is included. But let's break it down.

Included:
  • Your stateroom
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, including beer, wine, and soft drinks with the main meals
  • On board entertainment, including live music, quiz nights, workshops, etc.
  • Onboard Wifi
  • 10 shore excursions including local guides, transportation, headsets and in some cases sampling local delicacies
  • Cookies, tea, coffee and hot chocolate available round the clock at the two coffee stations by the lounge
  • Daily bottle of water and a plate of fruits in your room
  • Top-notch twice-daily housekeeping service
  • Lot's of smiles and an amazing crew

Not included:
  • The drinks at the bar and anything other than draft beer, house wine and soft drinks with the main meals. 
  • Optional excursions
  • Gratuities

Viking has something called the Silver Spirits Package that can be purchased separately, and it includes unlimited drinks any time of the day, plus you can take bottles to your room.

Another great thing about Viking River Cruises is that you can buy wine (or anything else) ashore, bring it on board where they will open it for you and provide you glasses to use with no corkage fee.

What to Expect On A Viking River Cruise
Scenic cruise along Wachau Valley, Austria

Is there a dress code on board?


The dress code on board is casual. People tend to dress up a bit more for Captain's dinner, but nothing really fancy. I mean, no ties, suits, and cocktail dresses. I had actually packed a strapless dress but then I felt out of place and decided against it because nobody was wearing such dressy clothes. 

How much free time do you have to explore each stop? 


It really depends on you. There are daily shore excursions included (and some optional as well), but if you decide you'd rather explore on you own, you are free to do so. There's no such thing as mandatory excursions or meals onboard Viking River Cruises. The atmosphere is incredibly relaxed because the idea is to make your cruise your own.

What to Expect On A Viking River Cruise
One of the many nooks and crannies where guests can relax on Viking Vili

That being said, you are always given a certain hour to be back on the ship. That is because river cruise ships have a schedule to go through locks. If the captain doesn't set sail before a certain time, there is the risk of being late and the whole cruise schedule is turned upside down.

Also, the European river cruises are meant for the guests to take in the charming villages and towns that line the waterway. Most of the stops on our trip (except Vienna and Budapest) didn't need more time that they were allocated. Even Budapest, in all honesty, was covered pretty well by the shore excursions available. I wrote a detailed account of our itinerary here.

How does the dining work?


There are two dining venues on Viking Vili, which gave us the possibility to choose between a quick, casual, buffet style meal in the Aquavit Terrace or a traditional 3-course sit-down lunch or dinner. 

Also, the open-seating concept meant that we could sit somewhere different every time and meet new people and make friends almost daily.

What to Expect On A Viking River Cruise
Dinner

What to Expect On A Viking River Cruise
Dessert

The breakfast buffet includes pastries, cereals, salads, fruits, bacon, sausages, cheeses, eggs Benedict, French toast and so on. A dedicated chef mans an omelet station so you can choose the ingredients yourself. While American favorites are present, regional specialties from each port of call are also available. That being said, the pancakes were to die for and I could have had them every single day.

What to Expect On A Viking River Cruise
Loved these pancakes!

Lunch and dinner were inspired by the cuisine of the countries we were passing through and honestly, they didn't serve anything we didn't like. There were always 3 starters and 3 main courses to choose from and no dish showed up on the menu more than once during the duration of the cruise. The red and white wine included with the meals also changed daily, to match the chef's recommendation. 

What about entertainment on board?


To start with, we joined all shore excursions that didn't overlap. This way we were ashore several hours per day. But there was never a dull moment on board either. On the contrary, there was so much to do; it almost felt overwhelming at times.

Scenic cruising was only part of the fun. Since days are quite short in Europe in December, and it was too cold to stay on the sun deck for anything longer than 5 minutes, most of our time on board was spent in the lounge chatting with newly made friends or in the restaurant, eating.

What to Expect On A Viking River Cruise
Dari, the onboard musician, playing the piano

We loved that there always seemed to be something going on in the lounge. If Dari, the onboard musician, wasn't singing and playing the piano, there was Meike, our program director, giving us an overview of the next day's schedule or a talk on European Christmas traditions. Or a gingerbread-decorating workshop was taking place. Or we were decking the Christmas tree. Or we were being spoiled rotten with Hungarian tea and cakes. Or it was cocktail hour. Or carol singers were coming on board. Or it was quiz night. Or dance night. You get the idea.

Some of the guests chose to spend their time on board playing cards. Some read books. But I think what I liked best whenever we were sailing in between ports was the relaxed atmosphere that constantly reminded me of the famous meme: 'I don't want to adult today. I don't even want to human today. Today, I want to cat.' And the best part was that nobody told me otherwise.

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What to Expect On A Viking River Cruise


Disclaimer: We were guests of Viking River Cruises, but all options are our own.

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Vaping Whilst Travelling – What You Need To Know

Many people may be thinking about booking their summer holiday at this time of year – as it gives us something to aim towards while we’re trying to traverse through the chilly winter months. We all have a different idea of the perfect holiday – some of us may want to go skiing whilst others may prefer an adventure holiday. But, no matter where you’d like to go, it is important to get lots of information about the destination beforehand. For example, many holiday destinations do not allow vaping. If you enjoy vaping, then this can have a huge impact on your ability to enjoy a break away, so it is important that you know the laws in the country that you’re visiting, including whether there is an outright ban, or whether you are able to vape in certain places.


Preparation and Packing


If you have a holiday on the horizon, then you may have spent a lot of time daydreaming about your getaway as a way to pass the time quicker. However, one thing that many people do not daydream about is the packing part and this is one of the most important stages of the holiday process. You can’t go away without having thought about your packing strategy. In the most recent update of the Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air document, it states that passengers are no longer allowed to take any kind of vaping device with them as a part of the luggage that they check in at the airport. This is due to incidents in the past where fires have been caused by such devices, and due to this issue all passengers are now required to keep all vaping equipment with them in their hand luggage that they take into the cabin. There are still some safety concerns, however, so you should make note of the tips below:

- If you are using a device that includes a removable battery, you will need to remove it and keep them separately in a clear bag. You also need to ensure that the battery is charged, as you may not be permitted to take an electronic device that cannot be switched on.

- Be careful with regards to the liquids that you take, as you will only be permitted bottles of up to a certain limit – this is usually around 100ml. Most liquids come in smaller bottles than this, but it is still worth remembering. These should also be held in a clear bag.

- There can be issues with liquids on flights due to the changes in air pressure, and because of this you should either make sure your tank is empty before you get on the plane, or ensure that it is placed with the tip facing downwards. For extra peace of mind, store your tanks in individual clear bags before you go through check-in.

Travelling Hot Spots 2017


Every year brings with it a whole host of places that are the “must-visit” holiday destinations of the season. If you’re the type of person who likes to tick plenty of places off the list then you are certainly going to enjoy the list featured below. However, it is important that you first take the time to check out the laws with regards to vaping – as there are some places that ban it outright, and this could be a definite deal breaker if you know you can’t go without it. Luckily for you, we have put together a list of popular destinations that do and don’t allow vaping, which means that you have the chance to check before booking those plane tickets.

Destinations Where Vaping Is Allowed


Belfast, Northern Ireland
Belgrade, Serbia
Bermuda
Cape Town, South Africa – (although cartridges and liquids containing Nicotine are illegal)
Cincinnati, Ohio – (Prohibited from the workplace, restaurants and bars)
Devon, England
Guayaquil, Ecuador
Hamburg, Germany
Hampi, India
Helsinki, Finland – (Considered a prescriptive drug so it cannot be purchased)
Indianapolis, Indiana
Jackson Hole, Wyoming – (Restricted in bars and restaurants)
Jerusalem, Israel
Jura, France
Kanazawa, Japan
Lake Lucerne, Switzerland
Laos
La Paz, Bolivia
Madagascar
Málaga, Spain
Montevideo, Uruguay
Montreal, Quebec – (But, one of the strictest regions in Canada)
Nashville, Tennessee –(And, they don’t even regulate indoor vaping!)
Nicaragua
Norfolk, Virginia
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Oslo, Norway
Panama City, Panama
Paros, Greece
Perth, Australia
Pisco Province, Peru
Provence, France
Rotterdam, Netherlands
Rwanda
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic - (Need to be disposed of before leaving the country)
Suzhou, China
Tamuda Bay, Morocco
Turin, Italy
Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico
Veracruz, Mexico

Destinations Where Vaping Is Not Allowed


Angra dos Reis, Brazil
Cambodia
Honolulu, Hawaii
Jebel Akhdar, Oman
Noosa Heads, Australia (Queensland state meaning you can be fined more than $9,000 for possessing nicotine in your e-liquid)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Queenstown, New Zealand (Cartridges and e-liquid containing nicotine are illegal)
Salta, Argentina
Tofino, British Columbia

Overview


If you do plan to take a device with you, it is essential to get as much information as possible about the laws – as there are some places that are much stricter than others. Some allow vaping indoors, others only allow it outdoors, and some places don’t allow it at all. If you are in any doubt about a specific place while you’re there, always ask.

Ultimately, there is no need to worry about vaping whilst on holiday provided you get as much information as you can before you leave. By doing your research on this subject before you start your travelling preparations you can ensure that you have one less thing to worry about – which means you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your travelling break.
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How To Start A Travel Blog and Make Money With It

Today I’m going to show you how to start a travel blog in a matter of minutes; for the least amount of money possible; even if you and computers aren’t on the best of terms.



The purpose of this guide is to build a travel blog that’s set for success; the kind that will make you a handsome income within the first 6-months. Because let’s be honest, that’s the main reason why you want to start a blog, right?

I’m here to tell you that you are not just a dreamer. Making money blogging is totally achievable. I’m a full-time travel blogger, which means I make a full-time income off my blog. And I want you to be successful as well.

To put it bluntly, travel blogging is a pretty amazing job; and not only because you get to see the world more than the average person. It’s also because you meet and help people on a daily basis, and because it gives you unprecedented freedom. Literally, this is the kind of job you can do from anywhere in the world, be it from a lounge on the edge of an infinity pool overlooking the jungle in Bali or the comfort of your own home.

Which takes me to the next point: you don’t have to lead a nomadic life to be a successful travel blogger. Many travel bloggers, I included, don’t travel around the clock. And that’s okay because if experience has anything to do with it, anyone gets tired of the road after a while.

So my advice is to do what feels right for you. Regardless of your travel style, you will always find like-minded people to listen to what you have to say.

The interwebs have changed (a lot!) since I started this blog back in 2010. This means now it’s easier than ever to start a travel blog, but it also means you will find a lot of outdated information out there.

I want to help you start off on the right foot in 2017. Below I will show you how to start a travel blog with zero headaches and a ridiculously low amount of money. (Seriously, if you think you can’t afford to invest $3.95 per month in your dreams and business, then I don’t know what you are doing here.)

Ready? Just follow this easy step-by-step tutorial and set up your blog like you mean business…


#1 Let’s go shopping: Grab a domain name and hosting with Bluehost


Sounds fancy, I know. But simply put, the domain is like your home address. Web hosting, on the other hand, is your house. Only this time around, instead of being a brick and mortar property, it’s a virtual one.

To make it even easier to grasp, imagine you are planning a tea party. You can’t invite friends over when all you own is a PO box. Nor will anyone stop by if you don’t give them your address. Simply put, just like you need both a house and an address to host a party, you need both a domain name and hosting to start a blog.

What do you do when you want to buy a house? You go to a real estate agency. When you want to start a blog from scratch, you go to a hosting company.

Similar to the physical world, there are many hosting companies to choose from, but you should go to one that sells you both the domain and the hosting, and Bluehost does just that. Even more so, when you buy the hosting via them, Bluehost gives you the domain name for free. I know it makes total sense because in the physical world you don’t have to pay extra to get a home address. Regardless, most hosting companies do charge an annual fee for this, but I don’t know why you would want to pay for something you can have for free.

Besides the fact that the domain is free, I also recommend Bluehost because they are easy to use and they have great customer support. They are widely used by bloggers and their hosting is cheaper than coffee. Seriously! You only pay $3.95 per month. Do you know of any other business you can start for this little money?

So let’s get to the nitty-gritty stuff and actually buy that hosting and domain, baby!

To start with, CLICK HERE to go to the Bluehost website. This will open a new tab for you, so you can easily switch between this guide and the Bluehost page while you sign up for your hosting and domain.

Once on the Bluehost page, follow these steps:

1. Click on the green ‘get started now’ button.


2. You will be taken to a new page where you can choose between 3 different hosting plans. For now, I recommend you opt for the cheapest (basic). You can upgrade later. Click ‘select’.


3. Get your free domain. This will be your blog's name and it is what people will type in the browser when looking for your blog. Type only the name, without www. and without .com and don't use spaces.

Make sure it’s something easy to remember and that makes sense for the type of blog you want to start. Check to see if a .com is available (the .com is selected by default), but you can choose something different, like .net or .info from the drop down menu.

If you can’t decide on a domain name right away, moving your mouse around the screen will trigger a popup that says ‘choose free domain later’. Click on it. The domain name will still be free for you, but you can go on with your purchase for now. You will need to pick one before following with step 2 though.

Once you’ve found a domain name you are happy with, hit ‘next’.


4. You will be brought to a page where you will have to fill out your account info, like your name, address, and email. Make sure you introduce a valid email address you have access to because this is where your order confirmation will be sent.

5. Scroll further down to choose a plan. I highly recommend you go with the 36-month plan since you only pay $142.20 for 3 years and save tons of money. (As a comparison, if you opt for the 1-year plan now, you end up paying $65.4 for the first year, but subsequent years are $95.88 each, which makes a grand total of $257.16 for the first 3 years).

6. Uncheck all the boxes.


7. Scroll down and enter your credit card details (don't worry, it's 100% secure). Tick the ‘I confirm’ box and click ‘submit’.

8. You will be taken to the ‘welcome to Bluehost’ page and asked to create a password for your account. Click on the blue ‘create your password’ button.

9. A new page, that looks like in the image below, will open. Make sure the password you introduce is something complicated for others to guess but easy for you to remember. Don't forget to tick the 'I confirm' box.


10. Write password down for safekeeping.


#2 Log into Bluehost and install WordPress


Now that you’ve purchased your domain and hosting, you are ready to log into Bluehost. To do so, go to https://my.bluehost.com/web-hosting/cplogin and enter your domain name and password and click ‘submit’.


You are literally only 5 minutes away from having a fully functional website.

To make your blogging life easy, you have to install WordPress. WordPress is basically the most popular blogging software in the world, it’s free and since you purchased your hosting via Bluehost, you can install it in just one click and with zero technical knowledge.

Let’s see the step-by-step process:

1. Once you’ve login into Bluehost, you will be taken to your dashboard. Under ‘Website builders’ section you will see written ‘WordPress’. Click on it.



2. A new page will open. Click the green ‘Start’ button.

3. Select the awesome domain name you picked in step 1. Since this is a new account, this will be the only domain available anyways. Click ‘Check domain’.


4. Be patient while WordPress is installing. It only takes a few seconds, a couple of minutes at most.

5. Create your WordPress username and password. Just like before, these are very important and I recommend you write them down so you never ever run the risk of getting locked out of your own account. Plus you will need these to log in almost every time you want to write a new blog post or do other administrative tasks on your blog. Tick the ‘Terms and conditions’ box and hit ‘Install now’.

6. A new page will load, announcing the install is complete. Congrats! You've completed setting up your new travel blog. Now it’s time for the creative stuff!


#3 Make it pretty: Log into your WordPress blog and install a theme


Remember how I compared Bluehost with a real estate agency? Well, just like after you've bought a house you don’t pass by the real estate agency every day on your way home, you won’t have to visit the Bluehost website often either.

All the blogging and the fun stuff takes place on your WordPress blog that you access via the following link: www.YourNewDomainName.com/wp-admin - replace YourNewDomainName with your own domain name.

You will be prompted to a page that looks like in the image below. Enter the username and password you created in step 2.


Welcome to your WordPress dashboard! This is where all that behind the scenes magic happens.

This is where you write new blog posts, change the look of your website, add new plugins and functionality to your blog, etc.

But right now, your brand new house is empty. You need furniture. In blogging terms, this is called a theme.

Go to the left-hand sidebar and hover over ‘Appearance’. You will see a new menu. Click ‘Themes’ and then ‘Add New’. Here you will find thousands of blog designs to choose from. Don’t sweat it, though. Right now, it doesn’t really matter which theme you choose. You will probably change it anyway once you get the hang of blogging. What’s important now is that you familiarize yourself with the WordPress dashboard. You can easily pick another theme later on.


However, please do yourself a favor and don’t just upload one of those basic themes that look like they are stuck in 1999. Make use of the ‘Search themes’ box. Type in ‘travel’, for example, and you will get over a hundred FREE themes especially designed for travel blogs. Your theme should inspire you and it should inspire your readers too.


You can preview any theme with one click. Once you've decided on a theme, click 'Install' and then 'Activate'.


#4 It’s time to entertain, inspire and charm your guests


Exciting times! You’ve created a blog, brought in the furniture and you are ready to through a party. Not so fast! If there are no drinks and cookies, you can’t expect your guests to stay.

Write your first blog post and upload some images.

Close to the top left corner in you WordPress Dashboard you will find the ‘Posts’ tab. Click on it and then hit ‘Add new’. Write your first blog post.


What should you write about? Jeez, I don’t know, it’s your blog. Write about something you can’t shut up about. Something you are really good at. It doesn’t matter, as long as you claim your space in the spotlight.

The golden rule in 2017 is that you have to stand out. Be like Cirque du Soleil and make the competition irrelevant.

To add a photo, click ‘Add media’.

I always recommend you use photos you’ve taken yourself. But royalty free photos are always better than no photos at all. Websites like Unsplash and Pixabay have tons of high quality, do-whatever-you-want photos to choose from.

And of course, don’t stop here. Building a successful blog requires dedication and consistency.


#5 Keep the party going aka build a profitable blog


I showed you how to start a blog, now it’s time to talk about how to make it profitable.

Whether you should start monetizing your blog from day one or wait until you build an audience, it’s debatable.

Here are my two cents.

Start monetizing right away. No need to wait. You might not turn out a big profit the first few months, but that’s secondary.

Here me out. When you start a blog, you have no audience – okay, your mother and your cat don’t actually count. You have to work hard to get people to your blog. Some of those people will come back, some won’t.

Ideally, blog monetization should have to stages:

Stage 1: Sign up for affiliate programs.


Be it Amazon Associates or CJ.com, grab those links and insert them into your content whenever it makes sense.

It goes without saying that you should only recommend products you have used yourself and think your audience will find useful. Always use a disclaimer.

Use affiliate links sparingly; don’t plaster your new blog with them because it will look spammy. But this way your loyal readers will get used to the idea that you don’t do all this work for free. And those one time visitors might actually leave your website via one of your affiliate links and earn you a small commission.

Stage 2: Create your own products


Start creating your own products (ebooks, courses, printables, etc.) from day one too, but it doesn’t make much sense to launch them until you build a loyal audience.

However, I’m going to let you in on a secret – the size of your audience doesn’t matter (much). What actually matters is how interested they are in what you have to offer. And for this, you have to build relationships. One at a time. Seriously. It’s like high school all over again.

Start building an email list and actually send out regular newsletter even if you only have 3 subscribers. There are plenty of success stories of people who made 5 figures from a product launch with an email list as small as 500 subscribers.

Stage 3: The perks of owning a travel blog - did somebody say free travel? 


You can actually start making money blogging via the above-mentioned methods way before you are invited on your first media trip or get a discounted hotel stay.

But unless you get financial compensation for joining a media trip or you can sell your photos to a hotel, for example, look at free travel as a perk of having a travel blog. Because free travel won't pay your bills and it won't make your blog a profitable business. 

There's absolutely nothing wrong with free travel, but if you looked up how to start a blog because you wanted to make money with it, make the two options above a priority. At the end of the day, the more money you make, the more you will afford to travel the world.


Phew, you’ve made it until the end of this guide. Congrats! I hope you are now the proud owner of a brand new blog. It wasn’t hard at all, was it?

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Disclaimer: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. If you buy via them, I will get some coffee money at no additional cost to you. Thank you for helping me stay awake!
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Le Tre Sorelle B&B, Bari. A Blissful Retreat Among Orange Trees

Imagine a land of charming small towns perched on hilltops, winding alleyways and whitewashed houses; a realm of opportunity for the foodie in you, where rustic valleys of millennial olive trees meet ancient vineyards and golden crops; and where you can relax by dipping your toes in hundreds of miles of Mediterranean coastline. Welcome to Italy’s sun-bleached heel, a region sprinkled with hidden gems with the likes of Alberobello and its iconic trulli district and Matera’s sassi (the world’s second oldest continuously inhabited settlement in human history).


We arrive at Le Tre Sorelle B&B after a one-hour flight to Bari and a short taxi ride, where we are delivered to a palazzo with an enormous, ancient wooden door that wouldn’t look out of place in a Game of Thrones set. We walk through the archway and up the stairs, following the ‘Welcome’ sign hanging from the wrought iron railing. Clara, a descendant of the Capitaneo family, the very same family who build the palazzo almost two centuries ago, greets us. She smiles serenely and welcomes us to her home. It only takes me a few minutes of looking around the grounds to understand: of course she’s blissed out; she gets to live here! As she shows us to our suite, we pass by the garden gate and we make a mental note to visit it later.

This place lives and breathes history. Back in the 10th century, there was already a fortified farmhouse on the grounds and this architectural element, later on, gave its name to the whole district – Palese. The B&B still preserves traces of a church and underground oil-mills, but it harmoniously integrated the previous structures, resulting in a place of charm, character, and tranquility.



Le Tre Sorelle is perfectly situated just 10 minutes away from the Bari international airport, which makes it the ideal accommodation for those early morning flights or late night arrivals. But it’s also the ultimate gateway to the city center of Bari and the region. A 5-minute walk and you are at the Bari Palese-Macchie train station that connects with Bari Central Station in only a few minutes. From there on forward, the sky is the limit! However, if you rent a car, the generous inner courtyard doubles as free parking space for the guests as well.

Our suite is a minimalist sanctuary with white walls and high vaulted ceilings. There’s just the right amount of furniture, with splashes of color here and there, but nothing overwhelming. It really helps us slow down, get rid of the inner mental noise and settle in.




The bathroom features C.O. Bigelow products and I fall head over heels for the little bottles of shampoo with lavender and peppermint formula. This place really gets me and my hair is grateful too.

The common spaces are located on the upper floor but they are a whole new ball game. They are not meant for emptying your mind but for acquiring new knowledge. The red velvet couches look incredibly inviting and there are magazines, books and even a piano covered with family portraits. Numerous collector items from around the world and a fireplace still decorated in the Christmas spirit catch our attention right away. It’s a really relaxed atmosphere, although this time around it seems rather intended for our body’s relaxation rather than our intellects.









Clara is very helpful and recommends us several fabulous restaurants nearby. In a country that lives for its food, Puglia still manages to stand out so it would be a sin not to indulge while here. There are also a couple of major supermarkets just minutes away, where we find other delicacies, like gift boxes of panettone, champagne, chocolate, torrone (Italian nougat) and Amaretti cookies, all for just €3,50. I guess visiting at the beginning of January has its perks. Plus, the area has experienced snow for the first time since anyone can remember so exploring the region proves to be quite memorable. The spectacular yet unusual views of olive trees popping out of blankets of snow are not something you see every day or forget easily.

We wake up in the morning to the smell of croissants and freshly baked cakes. Although not a huge spread, it’s a gentle reminder that simple and homemade tastes a thousand times better. There’s the same attention to detail, the same friendly smiles, and our smallest wishes are met with utmost anticipation. It’s like they can read our minds - an unprecedented experience. The table is set with the cutest of crockery, the lemon water is delicious, the jams and honey mouth-watering. The cappuccino here is simply the best, and I somehow manage to overcome my shyness and ask for a second cup every single morning.





During the summer months, guests can enjoy their breakfast on the outdoor terrace, but it’s too cold for that now, in spite of the sun shining through the floor to ceiling glass doors overlooking the garden.



The family puppy curiously looks at us from the terrace and as soon as we finish breakfast, we go join him in the garden. He sticks his nose in every hole in the ground he encounters, while we marvel at the orange, lemon, and grapefruit trees that bend their branches under the weight of fully ripe fruits.



Although there are no flowers in bloom, the garden is nevertheless fragrant and peaceful. The sea breeze gently caresses our faces and we blissfully indulge in the Zen atmosphere. We can easily see ourselves lounging in this ample garden in summer. With only 6 rooms, this place is not likely to ever feel crowded.

For more information on Le Tre Sorelle B&B or to book a room, please visit their website.
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