Kerala India, Human By Nature

Whenever I close my eyes and think about my two years travelling around the world, I immediately recall images from Kerala, India. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, it shouldn’t come as a surprise when I say that India is my favourite country in the whole world. After visiting forty (40) countries in my life, I still believe that I belong there. And India belongs to me.

Beautiful Nature

There is no place like India, no country is so colourful, lively and diverse that can compare. It’s a strong statement, I know, but the more time passes the more I crave for India and its people.  When I close my eyes to go back to my time in India, there is one image that immediately comes back in front of me. It’s one of the tea ocean in Munnar. The green, rolling fields of tea up, up, up to the sky.

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There is more than the green colour of tea that puts Kerala into a special place in my heart and it’s because of its people. There is also the magic of the smooth backwaters around Kochi where an extensive network of canals in the jungle transports you back in time.

From the tea hills to the backwaters, passing by Varkala and its gorgeous coast. Popular with local and international tourists, Varkala is a magnet for those looking to relax, do yoga, get an Ayurvedic massage in palm trees and ocean view a setting.

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Beautiful Humans

Humanity, the power of nature, the possibility of inclusiveness and the magnificence of ordinary lives. All of this belongs to Kerala.
Here, in the deeper south of India, is where a new way of life has evolved, very distinct from the rest of the country – a way of living that involves a clear interplay between nature and humanity. Here, people act in close connection with each other and nature.

Its history of centuries of colonialism led to Kerala to become a well-made melting pot where the most diverse ideologies, faiths and cultures can co-exist like no other place.  

Stories from the past, bequeathed from generation to generation, emerge in any conversation you have with the locals, all the food you eat, photograph you take.

In fact, if all around India, I was welcomed as a long-distance relative, throughout Kerala where I spent almost a month, the people were like family. Truly, Kerala is where I was welcomed in the locals’ homes for supper, where I was offered a bed when I forgot to reserve a room, where I was taken for lunch where the locals go.

Beautiful Kerala, India

On the international traders’ map for more than 3000 years, Kerala’s coast was a busy port for the Romans, the Arabs and the Chinese. Back in 1498, Vasco da Gama arrived at Kappad, and Portuguese, Dutch and English colonialism followed suit. Fast forward a few centuries and you’ll discover that Kerala is a very young country, only created back in 1956 from the former states of Travancore, Cochin and Malabar. An open-minded approach and international attitude have allowed Kerala to become one of the most progressive states in India, with the nation’s highest literacy rate.

The beauty of Kerala for me comes from its landscape diversity which includes almost 600km of gorgeous beaches; a slow-paced network of jungle backwaters, the tea-covered hills and its wild elephants and of course, its people.

It is my strong belief that people, regardless of their race, religion and background, are united by their permanent search of the divine. Some believe in God, others in gods, in the energy, past and future lives and heaven. Despite the differences, what unites the human race, among other things, is the need for connection. That feeling of being part of something, of being here for a reason.  Of being part of one big family. And the place I felt this the most in my entire life was Kerala.

Kerala India, Human by nature

After exploring and enjoying the frenetic and frenzy northern states, I was in search of calm and silence. I was told by my Indian friends that I didn’t need to go very far. They told me that Kerala is almost like an island, detached from the Indian chaos. They were right. Kerala is a soul-soothing state which thanks to its untouched nature is able to cure the body and the spirit of the fatigue of travelling.

The green lung of India, Kerala, god’s own country was where I felt more connected with nature, people and perhaps the gods too. 
Probably because of its spectacular diversity or maybe because of the smile of its people.

I still dream of Kerala. And I dream often about going back. 

Check these other articles of mine about Kerala:

Sponsored: Kerala Tourism


Underrated Things to Do in Auckland

Auckland, new zealand

A mention of New Zealand often conjures up images of breathtaking mountain views, stunning lakes, and other beautiful natural scenery. That’s why my guide to the country’s North Island lists beaches, lakes and islands among the must-see stops when visiting. Now it’s time to talk about the things to do in Auckland.

Yet one part of the country that tourists may not see enough of is Auckland – ironically, the country’s most populous city. Plenty of visitors pass through, but because New Zealand is a country better known for its country and coastline than its cities, Auckland isn’t typically the main attraction. And though the North Island guide referenced above did cover some attractions (like the Auckland Museum), the city has plenty more to offer. Below are some of the attractions you don’t always hear about, but which are worthwhile.

Underrated things to do in Auckland:

Eat Around Food Alley

One of the best things about New Zealand is its cultural diversity, and nowhere is this better manifested than in Auckland’s Food Alley. Also, one of the cheapest places in the city to grab a bite, Food Alley has offerings ranging from plates of Malaysian Mee Goreng and Chinese clay pot rice, to assortments of Asian beer to wash your meal down with. Though there are newer, shinier food courts elsewhere in the city, Food Alley’s unique blend of cultures makes it one of the places you should make sure to check out. 

Food Alley

Bowling At Dr. Rudi’s

Contrary to what you might expect given its name Dr. Rudi’s isn’t a clinic-turned-bowling alley. Rather it’s a bar (the full name is Dr. Rudi’s Rooftop Brewing Company), well known for its beautiful view of Viaduct Harbour and the fact that it has a free bowling alley inside. With two lanes open for anyone on a first-come, first-serve basis, Dr. Rudi’s is certainly a one-of-a-kind stop on the New Zealand bar scene, and can offer a good combination of a night out drinking and a bit of active fun. 

bowling at Dr. Rudi’s

Pay A Vist To SkyCity

With the advent of advanced internet gambling, much of the casino world has migrated to digital formats. The gambling scene in New Zealand is no exception, with the country’s top casino games having become very popular for their combination of convenience and quality. At the same time, however, in-person casinos are far from eradicated, and Auckland’s SkyCity is still thriving as a casino and entertainment centre. Even beyond it in-person casino games, the venue offers classy restaurants, theatrical performances, and access to some of the finest hotel accommodations in the city. If you need a break from the outdoors or just want some convenient amusement all in one place, keep this oft-overlooked option on your list. 

Auckland by night

Check Out Silo Park

Dubbed as “One of the city’s best-kept secrets“, Silo Park is a waterfront location that always has a few interesting events going on. Whether it’s through an edgy exhibition or an outdoor movie screening, Silo Park always gives a taste of the city’s culture. Not to mention expose you to a fun-loving population of locals and travellers alike. Plus, events aside, the park makes for a nice place to relax if you just want to hang out. 

Enjoy A Show At Academy Theatre

Though it is essentially a movie theatre, Academy Theatre stands out because of its mission to promote the world’s best arthouse and independent films. As an added bonus, it’s also conveniently located right next to Central City Library, another attraction in and of itself for culture lovers. Between the two, you can enjoy a very nice few hours out in the city. 

Want to read more about New Zealand? Check the articles below.
New Zealand: A Visual Journey around the South Island
New Zealand – A step-by-step itinerary around the North Island

4 ways your smartphone can revolutionize your holiday

smartphone for your holidays

The use of smartphones is currently a hot topic. Do we use them too much? Are they causing damage to society and the way we interact with each other? It’s fair to say there are valid points for both sides of the argument. A lot of the focus is currently aimed at the negatives, but what about the improvements they have made?

Smartphones have taken great steps to make our lives a whole lot easier. Whether it’s syncing your family’s schedule or keeping in quick and easy contact with friends across the globe, there are always new opportunities to make the most of your phone. For one thing, organising and enjoying your holiday has become so easy!

1. Best offers

There are many websites out there that are designed to ensure you get the most out of your money. Discount codes, last minute deals, locals renting out apartments – you name it, you can find it. Whilst many still head to their local travel agents for great holiday deals, there are now other quick and easy ways to source them. It’s not just holiday bookings either, but days out and meals out too. There are many 2 for 1 offers or similar that can be found online with just a simple search.

A lot of travel options and attractions now offer discounts if you book in advance. Some of them have to be booked 24 hours or more in advance, whereas others just need to be booked before you get to the gate. Most places also accept proof of ticket/voucher purchase on your phone, too, rather than having to print them out. This means you can make the most of these offers when you’re already out and about, and keep them all together in your pocket. Easy.

2. Ease of booking

This leads us on to the ease of booking. Did you know, for example, that 87% of people in India book their entire trip through their phones? The majority of young people will also book their trips through their phones rather than seeing a travel agent face to face. It gives you a lot more opportunity to compare destinations and offers, and book the combinations that work best for you. It also means there’s less chance of being persuaded to pay for add-ons that you don’t need!

Travel insurance has become incredibly easy to purchase, too, with the many comparison sites you can find online. Put in your exact requirements, and find the policy which works best for you. Simple. In fact, you’ll find that a lot of holiday packages will give travel insurance as an add on, meaning you can buy it all together in one place.

3. Navigation

Getting a bit lost on holiday is all part of the fun right? Wrong? If you don’t fancy carrying maps around with you, download a digital navigation map instead. Some of them eat a lot of data as you go, but apps such as Navmii allow you to download your maps in advance so that you can track your journeys without succumbing to high-cost data-roaming charges.

smartphone for your holidays
source: Navmii

Many navigation apps also allow you to see what’s nearby. If you’ve gone on holiday and you’re stuck for something to do (perhaps the weather isn’t that great, for example) open up your app and see which attractions are nearby.

4. Language barriers

Language barriers are (almost) a thing of the past when on holiday. There is now a range of helpful translation apps available. Whether it’s speech, text, or images, you can now translate them into your own language with ease. You can also find text to speech translators. These allow you to input what you want to say, and your phone will automatically translate and speak it for you. It will then translate what is said back to you!

Whilst some argue that holidays should be enjoyed without a smartphone, it is easy to see just how much they can help you to make the most of your trip. You just need to consider your usage of them and ensure that they don’t prevent you from truly taking in your holiday destination. Don’t miss out on experiencing the world because you are too busy looking at your screen.

And you? Do you make the most of your smartphone while you are away? Do you let your smartphone revolutionise your holidays?
Let me know in the comments below!

Instagram #GameOver?

instagram hiding likes

Two days ago, researcher Jane Manchun Wong discovered and shared on her Twitter account the Instagram hiding likes internal prototype. Basically, a new Instagram where likes are hidden to the public. In the same week, Lush, the cosmetics giant, has decided to leave Instagram (and the other social media platforms) to focus on opening up a direct conversation with its community. It’s been an intense few days at Instagram HQ, I guess.

Instagram Hiding Likes: for real?

I don’t know if the two things are connected, but in a way, I think they are. Think about an Instagram where numbers were hidden. Imagine that the number of likes a post had before you’d seen it wasn’t there. Imagine you wouldn’t know how many followers your favourite influencer / blogger / brand had. Would you like their pic anyway? And would you follow that person? How much of what we do on social media is a response to what others have already done?

instagram hiding likes

In the screenshot, the number of likes a post gets would only be visible to the user who posted it. Everyone else will just see one username of someone who liked the post accompanied by “and others.” Obviously, there were mixed responses on Twitter and beyond. Influencers are freaking out about their positions, while brands wonder how they can now find the real influencers.

Instagram Hiding Likes? For real?

The PR people at the photo-sharing app owned by Facebook, was quick to confirm to TechCrunch that ‘We want your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get.‘ They also added, “we are exploring ways to reduce pressure on Instagram is something we’re always thinking about.” Perhaps, Instagram (and Facebook?) will finally address the validation culture spreading issue (“I am not worth as much as that person as I have fewer likes/followers”), since it’s clear that teenagers, as well as grown-ups, are suffering by the pressure of social media competition.

Being an influencer without the metrics

Being an influencer is mainly based on those metrics, the numbers (real or bought) you can show brands to actually get a free stay in a 5-star hotel or a £10K picture to promote the launch of a new product. Can influencers exist without numbers?

If their engagement is hidden, then it would be harder if not impossible for brands to find them. Is this why Instagram has launched the new Creators account? Perhaps. We don’t know yet. Or maybe it’s simply to clean up the app from fake influencers and wannabe-famous?
Perhaps it’s time to go back to real marketing, where conversion matters more than a heart or a POD’s comment. Maybe brands, inspired by Lush, should invest more time in building their own community rather than wasting time on built-up audiences of ghost followers and fake profiles.

Is this the end of Instagram?

Lush clearly stated that they “are tired of fighting with algorithms, and we do not want to pay to appear in your newsfeed”. Oh! I so agree. Like Lush, in my little micro-world, I’ve built my community from scratch, from 0, curating my gallery day after day, year after year (it’s been 8 years now!!!), Instagram’s peeps put me on the now-dead Suggested User List twice and I do not want to pay to appear on the newsfeed of people who’ve already chosen to follow me.

I followed the Instagram rules, I’ve built a strong community wherever I went. Back in London, I used to host and gather dozens of strangers for brunch and photo walks. I even took the format to Milan, Tuscany India, Australia with me during my 23-month trip around the world. I hosted several free Instagram & photography workshops (now all my workshops have a price tag, #sorrynotsorry). All for Instagram. And my community of course.

I don’t know if it’s a smart marketing move, but I love Lush’s bold move and I 100% agree on their new commitment:

Let’s spark passions, and stop chasing likes.

What about small brands/entreprenurs then?

Well, my Instagram workshops always start with this sentence:

We are here to build your brand. First thing we build your community, then we think about your Instagram. Instagram is an instrument, not your goal.

Like Lush, I never paid for advertising. Not for the Storyeller at least (I do run campaigns for my clients). I’m not an influencer nor a brand. But even if I were, I wouldn’t want to pay for being seen by you. And honestly, I believe that Instagram hiding likes could be the only way to save this platform from an implosion.

If you chose to follow me, you have the right to see my posts regardless.

⁣⁣I have the right to be seen by you.

Without paying.

Maybe it’s time for all of us to realise that the Instagram era is over and to go back to what’s really important?

Are you for or against Instagram hiding likes? Are you thinking about leaving Instagram?

Let me know in the comments below and join the debate on my stories!

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Tips for Taking Your Business Overseas

[Guest post]

If you’ve launched a brand that’s going well locally, taking your business overseas is probably a natural evolution.

Data released by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) suggests that while small to mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) have traditionally limited their presence to local markets, there are some that are successfully taking the global path. Around 25% of all manufacturing SMEs now have a global presence, and around 20% draw up to 40% of their revenue from the international market. Give that the global market presents numerous opportunities, how do business owners take the plunge?

Brand Development

There is no dearth of entrepreneurs and business owners who wish to test international waters. However, not everyone is equally successful, even though the product or service on offer might be up to the mark. The main reason a seemingly great product or service does not get the attention it deserves is poor brand positioning. As a result, you need to focus on your brand’s story and how you plan to sell your wares before you actually make the transition to a foreign land.

Think Local While Taking your Business Overseas

Your product or service might have a great demand in the United States, but there is no telling if it will have a similar demand in another country. Understanding the local market is also important if you wish to avoid nasty surprises down the road. Some big businesses have learnt this the hard way, examples being Target’s performance in Canada and Walmart’s in China.

Instead to sticking to tried-and-tested markets such as Europe, Canada, and Australia, you may consider looking for markets where there is a demand for your offerings. For example, if you trade in dried fruits and nuts, the Indian subcontinent deserves your attention.

Bear in mind that your business might get affected by cultural differences. If such a possibility exists, determine what you might be able to do to bridge any probable divide. If entering any new market makes you feel uncomfortable, it’s best that you look elsewhere. The local competition that you might face also requires due attention.

Build an Effective Team

One common factor between some of the most successful people is their ability to build strong teams. This becomes particularly important if you plan taking your business overseas because you might not be able to interact with your overseas employees as much as you would like. Other than proficiency, the traits you should look for include trustworthiness and dependability. Make sure communication channels remain open and be appreciative of every team member.

Deal With Foreign Currency Exchange in the Right Manner

Taking your business overseas will
require that you deal in exchange of foreign currency. This can be when you
receive payments from clients or when you need to pay suppliers or employees.
While several banks give businesses the ability to make and receive
cross-border payments, they tend to fare poorly when it comes to
cost-effectiveness, speed, and convenience. Fortunately, several overseas money
transfer companies such as TransferWise, WorldFirst, and OFX provide suitable services for SMEs.

Conclusion

The international marketplace has shrunk considerably over the last two decades, prompting an increasing number of businesses to go global. As long as business owners do the required groundwork, there is no reason why they cannot succeed. If you think there’s any other aspect that needs to be considered, please share your thoughts in the comments section.

Author Bio

Jon works with iCompareFX as a researcher. The website lets its users run side-by-side
comparisons of the world’s leading overseas money transfer companies, while
also giving them access to in-depth reviews and special offers.

What to Pack for your Very First Walking Holiday

If you’ve known me and my blog for a while. You know I love walking and it’s one of my favourite things to do while travelling. Additionally, walking can be a fantastic way for you to get fit. If you are tired of the local scenery, then why not book a holiday that is packed full of exciting trails?

Waterproofs

Packing for a walking holiday can be difficult. You never know what the weather is going to be like, and you never know when it is going to take a turn for the worst either. If you want to stop yourself from getting drenched, then it is always a good idea for you to take some waterproof clothing with you. This can include a waterproof jacket and even some trousers as well. This will help you to stay dry, and it will also help you to prepare for any weather warnings. Waterproof clothing tends to be very lightweight and easy to pack, so you shouldn’t have any problems there.

Base Layers

Base layers are ideal for comfort. The weather conditions will determine how many layers you need to pack. As a rough guide, look up the average forecast for the country of your choosing, at the time you want to visit. For example, if you want to visit Nepal with Kandoo, then you will want a few short-sleeved tops. If possible, your tops should be made out of merino or yak wool. This is especially the case if you plan on wearing your base layers for more than one day at a time. Wool doesn’t smell as much as cotton, and it is much more breathable.

Annapurna Circuit, Nepal

Trousers and Shorts

Again, the weather really is going to dictate which option you go with. Your legwear needs to be super comfortable when you are out walking, and you don’t want the seams or the hems to rub against your skin. The fabric needs to be nice and breathable if it is going to be hot weather. It also helps to make sure that it has a high sun factor rating. Trousers that have zip-off shorts are great because they give you a lot of options when you are out and on the trail.

Footwear

Choose boots that are suitable for the terrain and the conditions that you are going to be walking in. It also helps to make sure that they are nice and lightweight as well. A specialist outdoor store is ideal for things like this, and they can give you as much support as you need when you are making your decision.

Annapurna Circuit, Nepal.

Day Pack

You need to have a small rucksack so that you can take all of your items with you. This is the pack that you need to carry with you every single day. If there is a chance of rain, then you need to have a waterproof cover for your rucksack as well, as this will help you to keep your items as dry as possible. Some of the items you need to take with you include a walking pole, water bottle (I love my reusable one from Jerry’s Bottle) and some food for energy. Things like cereal bars are fantastic here and you would be surprised at how much they can help you to stay energised when you are out and on the go.

Unique Experiences Which Travelling Affords You

Unique experiences travelling

However much or little you have travelled in the past, you can always travel more. And the more you do so, the more you will have a wide and varied range of unique travelling experiences to draw on and talk about with others. There are many experiences which travel can afford you which you might expect. But also a number which you might never have thought about, or which you just didn’t happen to question. In this post, I am going to take a look through some of the lesser-known experiences which you might undergo when travelling the world. No matter who you are or what kind of places you are visiting. Take the following as an inspiration for why you should go travelling as soon as possible. You will almost certainly find that it can work in this way.

Understanding People Better

We all know that travel is said to broaden the mind, but the specifics of how it does so are often not very clear. One of the biggest and most common ways that it does so is by allowing you to have a better understanding of people in general. This is definitely the kind of thing that you would agree is worthwhile. By getting to know people a little better in terms of how they tick and so on, you will find that your social life will greatly improve as well. So this is definitely the kind of benefit you want to focus on when you are going travelling. And of course, the more you travel, the greater your understanding of people will become, so that is yet another great reason to get travelling as much as you possibly can.

Falling In Love With A City

Sometimes the real result you get from travelling is to fall in love with a particular place. But this can be one of those unique travelling experiences which can change your life instantly and dramatically. It might be that you travel for many years before this ever happens. It might even be that it never happens at all. For me, it happened in London at the age of 17. It disrupted all my life plans. If you really do fall for a place, you might just stop there and look into finding a place to live. If you do that, it is always best to look into local sources like https://www.rumah.com/apartemen/dijual.This way, you know you are definitely going to the right place. Falling in love with a city can be one of the unique travelling experiences of your life.

unique experiences travelling
ph credits

Making Friends

Travelling has a way of putting you in touch with like-minded people. That in itself is a great reason to go travelling. And it has to be one of the best benefits you can expect from travel at all. If you’re really keen to make friends when you are travelling, you will want to think about spending as much time as possible socialising. This is the only way to really make sure that that happens. You should endeavour to go and seek the kind of experiences that you genuinely enjoy. In doing so you will be that much more likely to meet similar people who are likely to get on with you and vice versa. As ever, doing what you love is the way to meet people that you will like. This is definitely the case when it comes to travelling as well. You might find yourself making lots of friends, or just one close one – and in either case, it will certainly have been worth it. Read Adventurous Kate’s How to Make Friends While Travelling Solo. 

Building Confidence

It is hard to travel the world and not find yourself building some confidence, and for many people, this is one of those unique travelling experiences which really makes living much more worthwhile. It doesn’t have to be that you are particularly lacking in confidence, to begin with. No matter your starting point, you will find that by travelling you’ll become much more confident and for a number of reasons. To begin with, you obviously often have to put yourself out there in challenging circumstances when you are travelling. But it is also true that speaking to lots of different people you will probably find that you have to do that just to get by. It is a good idea to seek out this particular experience if it doesn’t seem to be happening. This means you are much more likely to lead a happier life.

unique experiences travelling
ph credits

Dealing With Money

You can’t exactly travel the world without having to think a lot about finances. This is something which you should remember when you are planning to go travelling in the near future. Bear that in mind, because you can actually utilise this as a great experience which travelling can afford you. That in itself is something which you are going to be glad of when you have travelled enough. Travelling forces you to deal with money in such a way that you can be sensible, and generally that will mean that you are much more able to look after your finances in daily life as well.

Read more about unique travelling experiences: 

3 Ways to Grow and Improve on Your Travels
Going Home after a long time…
No, travelling didn’t solve my problems

Turin – A visual City Guide

For some awkward reasons, Turin is one of the most underrated and unsung cities in Italy. While most travellers head to the famous Italian triptych Rome-Florence-Venice, Turin still appears to remain off the tourists’ radar.

However, going back to the city after 20 years, for me was an incredible surprise as the city has everything you can think of for an interesting Italian break or weekend away.

I live you with a little visual city guide to show a few of my favourite corners in Turin. But if you are looking for more specific info, details to plan your time in Turin, check now the EIGHT THEMED GUIDES I wrote about the city.

Have I missed anything? Let me know in the comments below an don’t forget to get in touch if you need further info or help planning your trip to Turin or anywhere else in the world.

 

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The Best Cities In Scandinavia

Ask somebody what Scandinavia is like and they’ll probably say cold and dark. But that’s not a fair representation of a region that has so much cultural and historical heritage as well as incredible natural landscapes to explore. If you’ve written off Scandinavia in the past because you don’t think that it’s for you, think again. There is so much to see and do, especially in the best cities in Scandinavia.

The Best Cities in Scandinavia 

Reykjavik, Iceland

If you’re put off by the cold then Iceland probably doesn’t sound that appealing to you, the word ice is right there in the name. But if you can get past that, you’re in for a treat if you take a trip to Reykjavik. The first thing to see is definitely the Northern Lights; this incredible natural wonder is visible in other countries but you won’t be able to see it as clearly anywhere else as you will in Iceland. If you don’t want to stay in one place on your trip, you can go on Iceland tours and see some more of the natural landscapes outside of the city as well. The thermal baths are a particularly popular attraction and they’re perfect if you’re getting fed up with the cold. You can also go on volcano tours or try your hand at fishing for salmon and wild trout. The food and drink in Reykjavik are amazing too, but it isn’t always what you might expect. There are some great traditional dishes but the best stuff are things like hot dogs, pizza, and beer.

Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, is a great city to visit because it offers a great combination of rich historical heritage with modern tourist attractions so you’re never left wondering what to do. The architecture in the city is simply incredible, which is why there are not one, but two UNESCO heritage sights in the city. The Royal Palace and the Woodland Cemetery attract millions of tourists every single year. The rest of the city is equally beautiful and you can easily spend a day wandering around the cobbled streets along the canals. While you’re there, make sure to head over to the Old Town area where you’ll find all of the museums and boutiques as well as some great restaurants serving delicious, traditional food.

Andoya, Norway

Norway is a great country with all sorts of great cities to visit but the best place to go for first-time visitors is probably Andoya. One of the things that the area is most famous for is the Andoya Space Centre which you can visit, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. As well as the space centre, you’ll find the best wildlife watching spots in the country at Andoya. Whales, in particular, are very prominent in the area which is why tourists flock to Andoya all year round, hoping to catch a glimpse of these majestic creatures.

 

These are the best cities in Scandinavia to visit but it’s worth remembering that they can get pretty expensive so if you’re travelling on a budget, you might want to consider going elsewhere.

 

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7 Reasons why you need to plan your Instagram game ahead

As much as I love my job as Instagram Strategist, it often takes over my personal life and other businesses and projects. Some people -including me-  don’t like the idea of pre-planning Instagram content. It was supposed to feel ‘insta = in the moment’. But if you’re using it for your business or your personal brand, you need to plan your Instagram game. This doesn’t mean that you are no more authentic or real, it just means that you put some thoughts ahead of time and can still carefully craft a feed that’s gorgeous to the eye as well as strategically planned.

All in all, it’s about having a clear direction for your Instagram gallery without leaving room for improvisation. In this way, you can increase engagement, sell more and reach new customers.

But WHY should you plan your Instagram?

1 – Specific Promotions & Events 

plan ahead your InstagramWhile launching my little stationery business last year, I quickly realised that launching a new product on the market and managing its Instagram strategy is oh-my so time-consuming. Especially if the business is a side business and while you are doing that you also have a full-time job, a family or whatever else. Planning ahead is necessary if you want to be ready for big sale events, new product lines, global festivities and so on. For example, if you know you’ll be launching your winter line in September, it makes sense to prepare promotion content ahead of time (the same is for influencers looking for partnership whether they are hotels, clothes or others – think about what THEY need, not what YOU want).

 

2 – Feed Consistency

Taking pictures every day is AMAZING. But coming up with photo ideas can be scary. Especially if you are running a business and/or trying to launch a brand.

So scheduling a day to take all your pictures is not only good for your mental health but also to keep your feed consistent both in terms of colour and vibe.So maybe you can put up a photo studio and take the pictures of all your new products in one session. The schedule them and have them ready.

 

3 –  Partnerships

Whether you are a small brand or an (aspiring) influencer, you know you can contact a potential partner the day before your promotion. Serious and busy influencers have their 3-6 (or more) schedule planned already and businesses might have a specific need just on certain dates.

4 – The right moment

As discussed here, it is essential to post when your audience is most active in order to get the most engagement. If you are going on holiday, it might well be that your schedule is different than your normal one, but it’s not the same for your audience which will most likely have the same routine. Timeliness is a super important element especially with the new Instagram algorithm, therefore if you miss the moment, your posts are almost useless and a waste.

To find your personal best time to post on Instagram, you can easily check this on the insights tab of your Instagram account like in the picture below. Once you know your best time to post on Instagram, you can create posts ahead and connect to the platform when you are meant to post.

5 – More time for Instagram Stories and IGTV

I still like to keep my Instagram Stories quite natural and unplanned. I know there are some people and brands who plan those ahead too, but personally, I like to keep those channel as the real connection with my life especially if I’m on a business trip or on holiday.

So, if by scheduling your posts, you free up time every day, you can then use it to share more on your stories and your daily life.  Don’t forget that Instagram Stories are a fun way to engage even more with your followers and have a real-time connection with them as well as stay on top of their mind, even when you are chilling by the beach and they don’t see your regular posts in their feed.

6 – Perfect Hashtags Strategy

If you plan your Instagram posts, you will also have time to find the right hashtags for them. You won’t have to rush at the last second using always the same ones with the risk of being banned by Instagram, but along with your captions, you will also have the key tags to add. (more about finding the right hashtags in a future article).


If you don’t use a planning app, you can also save them on a spreadsheet or on your notes app divided by category, so you can easily find them at the time to post.

7 – Unplug is necessary

While the holiday season is fast approaching, you and your brain will need to unplug. I find that every time I disconnect and let my mind free to wonder, I’m invested by tons of new ideas as well as energy. But remember, your Instagram can’t simply stop. There is nothing worst for the algorithm that disappearing from the platform even for just a few days, so JUST DON’T DO IT. Instead, plan ahead and maybe use some planning app to help you (next post about this coming up soon!).

Even without apps, you can use the draft function to save some posts on your Instagram app and have them ready when necessary. Obviously, if you are on holiday and really need to disconnect, you won’t be playing the engagement tips I’ve shared with you on this post, however, posting a few posts while you are away, you will show your audience that you are still there but just taking some well-deserved time off.

Do you now agree why is necessary to plan your Instagram game ahead?

Need more tips about how to plan your Instagram? Do you know that I will be hosting my first Instagram Workshop in Italy in September? Stay tuned and check the details here. 

Subscribe now if you don’t want to miss the next Instagram episodes and wish to receive my Instagram content calendar FOR FREE in my July’s Love Letter!


by @the_stortyeller 
Sabrina Andrea Sachs is an Instagram Strategist – among other things – and in the past three years, I’ve helped dozens of brands and people build and grow their Instagram presence. With my 85k (total) followers and over 6 years of Instagram experience, I will be hosting my first Instagram workshop in Italy in September 2018 while my Instagram course will launch the following month. 

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