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Amsterdam travel essentials 

Photo by Liam Gant from Pexels

You’ve booked your Amsterdam getaway (WOOP WOOP), but what are you going to pack? These are 10 travel essentials that you must take on your trip to Amsterdam. 

  • Waterproof jacket
  • Comfortable clothing
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Travel adapter
  • Backpack 
  • Mosquito repellent
  • ID 
  • Earplugs 
  • OV-chipkaart
  • I Amsterdam City Card

Waterproof jacket 

The weather in Amsterdam is unpredictable and there are a severe lack of mountains to block any incoming depressions from the sea. On average, Amsterdam receives 700 millimetres of rainfall a year, most of which falls in November. Even if you aren’t visiting in November, it is wise to take a waterproof jacket with you just in case. A waterproof jacket will protect your clothing from becoming damp in a downpour, ensuring that you are comfortable and dry whilst you are travelling around the city. 

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Comfortable clothing 

Amsterdam is the denim capital and is known for its fashionable, yet comfortable, clothing. As a city break, with an abundance of must-see attractions, you will find yourself doing a lot of walking whilst you are visiting Amsterdam, so comfort is key. Take your favourite pair of jeans and a handful of tops, shirts, and jumpers (depending on the season), with you to wear. These outfits can be dressed down during the day and dressed up if you are going out in the evening. 

Photo by Zen Chung from Pexels

Comfortable shoes 

Amsterdam is not just the denim capital, but the biking capital as well. If you aren’t wandering the beautiful cobbled streets of Amsterdam on foot then you must be experiencing it by bike. Regardless of if you are biking or walking, you will need to wear comfortable shoes, such as trainers. You don’t want to be enjoying the sights of Amsterdam only to get sore feet from inappropriate shoes halfway through your day. Instead, take a pair of comfortable shoes that you know you can spend all day in.

Photo by ready made from Pexels

Travel adapter 

The Netherlands uses the Type F electrical plug, which has 2 round pins spaced 2cm apart. This is the plug commonly used in Continental Europe. When packing for your trip to Amsterdam make sure that you include a travel adaptor so that you have full use of the plugs in Amsterdam whilst you are away. You can buy a travel adaptor online or at most convenience stores. 

Photo by Markus Winkler from Pexels

Backpack 

Depending on how long you are in Amsterdam, and how lightly you can pack, you may want to avoid taking a suitcase and use a backpack instead. Amsterdam is notorious for its narrow cobblestone streets which, although incredibly pretty, can be difficult to navigate with a suitcase. Rather than struggle wheeling a suitcase, take a backpack instead. It is a much easier alternative and a great way to prevent you from overpacking. 

Photo by veerasak Piyawatanakul from Pexels

Mosquitto repellent

If you are planning a trip to Amsterdam during the months of July and August then go armed with plenty of mosquito repellent. The humidity of the summer months, coupled with the water from the canals, creates the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes, and your blood is the perfect snack. Douse yourself in mosquito repellent every night and before you leave for the day, and you should be safe from the bloodsuckers. If not, you risk being covered in itchy red blotches for the duration of your holiday

Image by Mike Mozart

ID

In the Netherlands, everyone is required to carry some form of official identification, such as a passport or driver’s license, with them at all times. If you do not have an official form of identification and you get caught by the police you will face a fine. Carry your ID with you at all times to be safe. You never know when you might need it.

Photo by Ethan Wilkinson from Pexels

Earplugs 

Amsterdam is home to over 1 million people so the streets can get noisy. If your room overlooks a main street, particularly one with lots of bars and coffee shops on it, you could experience a lot of noise pollution at night. If you are a light sleeper, you may want to invest in a pair of earplugs to help you sleep more soundly. Simply pop them in, and drift off, ready to face a new day in the city tomorrow. 

Image by sleepsugar.com

OV-chipkaart

When you get to Amsterdam buy yourself an OV-chipkaart from the nearest railway station. An OV-chipkaart is similar to a London Oyster card. You simply put money onto your card and use it on the buses, trams, and metros around Amsterdam. This is a much faster and easier alternative to buying single-use tickets and can be used if you visit Amsterdam in the future. 

Image by DennisM2

I Amsterdam City Card 

There are so many amazing things to see and do in Amsterdam and an I Amsterdam City Card can help you see and do them all. An I Amsterdam City Card can be purchased for 24, 48, 72, or 96 hours, and gives you unlimited use of public transport, free entry to over 60 museums and attractions, free canal cruises, and discounts in certain shops, restaurants, and theatres. With prices starting at just €59, an I Amsterdam City Card is the perfect travel essential for those looking to see a lot of Amsterdam in a short amount of time. 

Image by Norio NAKAYAMA

Whilst you’re packing your Amsterdam travel essentials, we’ll be laundering the rest of your clothing. Book your Laundryheap order today by heading to the Laundryheap website or downloading the free Laundryheap app.


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Solo travel hacks 

Photo by S Migaj from Pexels

Solo travelling is one of the most unique experiences you can have. You can go on an adventure, doing the things that you want to do, and exploring the things that you want to explore. If you are travelling solo, these hacks will help you on your journey. 

  • Research 
  • Have a rough plan 
  • Pack light
  • Take home comforts 
  • You are your own entertainment 
  • Don’t forget your phone
  • Keep cash on hand 
  • Be friendly
  • Take advantage of free experiences 
  • Embrace the experience 

Research 

Before booking your flights, organising accommodation, and making an itinerary, it’s important to research the destination you are going to. Solo travelling, although fun, can be dangerous. You are in a foreign country, on your own, with no other person to help you if you get into trouble. That is why it’s integral to thoroughly research the country and specific location that you will be travelling to. Figure out what their laws are, how to contact the emergency services, and read about other solo travellers experiences in the country. The more information you have about the location you are visiting the safer you will be. 

Photo by Sam Lion from Pexels

Have a rough plan 

One of the joys of solo travelling is being able to do what you want without having to consult anyone else. Even if you prefer to live in the moment rather than stick to a rigorous schedule, it’s always wise to have a rough plan of what you want to do. There is so much exploring to do when you are in a different country, and you never know if you will be back there again, so making a list of things you want to see and do ensures that you don’t waste any of your time. 

Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

Pack light 

Packing is one of the hardest parts of any holiday. It’s easy to panic about what you need, overpack, and end up having to lug around a heavy suitcase for the duration of your holiday. When you are solo travelling, you must remember that you are responsible for your own bag, meaning that you will have to carry it around regardless of how heavy it is. Be brutal whilst you are packing and only pack your essentials. Make a list of what you need, and stick to it, or risk having aching hands on your holiday.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

Take home comforts 

As incredible as solo travelling is, it can get lonely. When packing, slip a couple of small home comforts into your suitcase for moments when you may feel alone. These could be photographs, a candle, a teddy, or even a special pillow. Whatever it is that makes you feel comfortable, pack it. You don’t want feeling homesick ruining your holiday. 

Photo by Ivan Samkov from Pexels

You are your own entertainment 

When you are travelling with other people you can rely on them for entertainment, but when you are travelling on your own, you are your own entertainment. Take this opportunity of being on your own to read that book you’ve been meaning to, or finish that series. You won’t want to be otherwise occupied when you reach your destination, but you will need to entertain yourself somehow on the journey there and back.

Photo by Berkalp Turper from Pexels

Don’t forget your phone 

Solo travel is a great time to go off the grid, escape from your usual routine and have an adventure. That being said, it is important that you keep your phone on you, fully charged, and with the appropriate sim card. Your phone is handy to have for 2 reasons. Firstly, you will want to remember the adventure you have been on and you can use your phone to take pictures and videos. Secondly, if you find yourself in trouble you may need your phone to get in contact with the emergency services or a relative or friend. You may not need your phone whilst you are away, but it’s always best to have it on hand just in case. 

Photo by Julia Volk from Pexels

Keep cash on hand 

Although most places accept card payments it’s always best to have a small amount of cash on hand. This, similarly to having your phone with you, is just in case of an emergency. You never know when you will need cash, so it’s wise to get a small amount out before you leave. As well as this, some places you visit on your travels may not take cards so it’s best to have cash for buying food, drinks, and any souvenirs you may want to pick up along the way. 

Photo by Artem Beliaikin from Pexels

Be friendly 

Solo travelling is a great way to meet new people, both locals and fellow travellers. Whilst you are wandering around, don’t be afraid to speak to people. Ask locals for suggestions on what to do, where to eat, or where to get a drink. Speak to fellow travellers about their holiday experience so far. Being friendly is the best way to begin speaking to people, and you never know, you may find yourself meeting a life long friend. 

Photo by Sam Lion from Pexels

Take advantage of free experiences 

Any form of travelling can be expensive, which is why it’s good to do as many free experiences as possible. A lot of locations will do free walking tours, which is a great way to meet fellow travellers whilst you explore your new location. Do as many free experiences as you can so that you can save your money for food, drinks, and any other experiences you want to try whilst in a new country

Photo by Julia Volk from Pexels

Embrace the experience

The most important thing to remember about solo travelling is to embrace the experience. Enjoy your time travelling alone, experiencing a new country, and taking on a new adventure. 

Photo by Rachel Claire from Pexels

Whilst you are travelling we will be doing your laundry. To book your Laundryheap order head to the Laundryheap website or download the free Laundryheap app.


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A Christmas in Copenhagen

Image by Studio Sarah Lou

Copenhagen turns into a wonderland during the festive season. Twinkling lights hang above the streets, shops are filled with people completing their Christmas shopping, and the true spirit of hygge is embraced. It is a truly magical experience, and these are just 5 things to do at Christmas in Copenhagen.  

  • Frederiksberg Runddel ice rink
  • Tivoli Gardens 
  • Højbro Plads Christmas Market
  • Drink Juleøl
  • Hotel d’Angleterre 

Frederiksberg Runddel ice rink

Every winter Frederiksberg Runddel, by the entrance of the iconic Frederiksberg Garden, is transformed into a glorious ice rink. Despite not being the biggest ice rink in Copenhagen, it is one of the prettiest. As you skate around the rink you can see the tops of the parks beautiful trees and a peek into the grounds. Admission to the ice rink is free, and you can hire a pair of skates for DKK 50, or have yours sharpened for DKK 70. Skating at Frederiksberg Garden is the perfect way to begin your Christmas in Copenhagen, so get your skates on and start, well, skating. 

Image by Agent Smith

Tivoli Gardens 

Tivoli Gardens is transformed into a mesmerising winter wonderland during the festive season. The park is decorated with fake snow, glittering Christmas lights, and finished with over 1,000 Christmas trees, decorated with more than 70,000 baubles. The feeling of stepping into the North Pole would not be complete without a visit from Santa and his reindeer’s, as well as Christmas performances and parades. In addition to this magical fun, Tivoli also hosts a Christmas market with more than 60 stalls of traditional food, drink, and perfect stocking-filler gifts. Tivoli Gardens is truly a magical Christmas experience for all ages. 

Image by Alex Berger

Højbro Plads Christmas Market

There are many Christmas markets to wander around in Copenhagen, but Højbro Plads Christmas Market is the best. Located between Strøget, one of the longest pedestrian shopping streets in Europe, and the Christiansborg Palace, it is the perfect market to get your Christmas shopping done. The market area exudes the Christmas spirit with its Christmas trees, 280,000 sparkling lights, and festive decorations. Vendors sit inside log cabins, which are imported each year from Tyrol, selling Christmas gifts, sweet treats, and traditional Gløgg. Whilst you’re busy shopping and taking in the festive atmosphere, look out for Santa and his reindeer who circulate the market, greeting children and making sure that you stay on the nice list. If you don’t find all of the gifts that you are searching for at Højbro Plads Christmas Market, head to Strøget to finish the task. 

Image by Orf3us

Drink Juleøl

Juleøl is Danish for Christmas beer, one of the most beloved drinks in Copenhagen during the festive season. Traditionally, Juleøl is strong and spiced with cinnamon, orange peel, cloves, and vanilla. Today, more than 220 Danish breweries produce a record number of Christmas beers of roughly 350 varieties. From bodegas to trendy craft beer pubs, you will see Copenhagers across the city toasting the festive season with a Christmas beer. It would be remiss to be in Copenhagen during the festive period and not join in on the tradition. Cheers!

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk from Pexels

Hotel d’Angleterre

Each year the Christmas lights on the Hotel d’Angleterre are a wondrous spectacle for all to marvel at. They tend to be extravagant displays, based on characters from the iconic fairy tales of Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, who had spent Christmas in the hotel. Once you have marvelled at the beautiful lights adorning the Hotel d’Angleterre, head inside to warm yourself up with a glass of gløgg. The Hotel d’Angleterre is known across Copenhagen as the best place to enjoy a traditional glass of gløgg or their bespoke Snow Queen’s gløgg. The perfect way to get you in the Christmas spirit. 

Image by Jonas Smith

After spending your day enjoying the festive spirit, you don’t want laundry to pull you out of your festive haze. Instead, let Laundryheap do your laundry for you. Book your Laundryheap order today by heading to the Laundryheap website, or downloading the free Laundryheap app. 


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A very merry London Christmas

Image by Kotomi_

Christmas is a magical time of the year regardless of where you are. That being said, there is something extra special about enjoying the festive period in London. If you are spending time in London this Christmas these are just some of the things that you can do.   

  • Winter Wonderland
  • Christmas lights
  • Ice skating 
  • Christmas at Kew
  • Christmas shopping 

Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland is one of the biggest festive attractions in London. Hosted in Hyde Park from November to January, it is the best way to get yourself into the Christmas spirit. Whether you want to skate on the UK’s largest outdoor ice rink, create an ice sculpture, wander around the Christmas markets, or take in the view from the iconic observation wheel, there is something for everyone at Winter Wonderland. 

Image by Garry Knight

Christmas lights

London is home to some of the most iconic streets and landmarks in the world, and there is no better way to see them than under twinkling Christmas lights. From Covent Garden to Oxford Street, Carnaby Street to South Bank, the city of London becomes even more magical under the glittering lights of the festive season. Don’t miss out on seeing the world-famous Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square, which has been gifted by Norway every year since 1947 as a thank you for Britain’s help in World War 2. 

Image by RussellHarryLee

Ice Skating 

Skating around an ice rink whilst warming your hands on a delectable hot chocolate, is the picture perfect festive activity. In London, there are an array of places to enjoy ice skating. As mentioned, Winter Wonderland is home to the UK’s largest outdoor ice rink, however, arguably the most iconic London ice rink is at Somerset House. On a normal day, the 18th Century courtyard of Somerset House is a wonder to explore. At Christmas, when the courtyard is transformed into a picturesque ice rink, Somerset House becomes truly magical. Complete with a 40ft Christmas tree, it really is the ice rink of dreams, and the perfect place to enjoy some festive skating. 

Image by Eagleash

Christmas at Kew 

Kew Gardens, otherwise known as the Royal Botanical Gardens, is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet. It is home to 500 acres of woodland and over 50,000 living plants. At Christmas, this biodiverse haven turns into a festive wonderland. Opened after-dark, you can walk down the magical winter trail, illuminated by stunning lights hanging from the trees. As you venture along the path you will come across wondrous tunnels of light, waterside reflections, and delicious independent street food vendors. At the end of the trail you will be treated to a panoramic light display, after which a very special festive visitor might pop by. Christmas at Kew is the perfect opportunity to wrap up warm and enjoy some festive outdoor fun. 

Image by Alex Liivet

Christmas shopping 

London has some of the best and most iconic shopping locations in the world. From Oxford Street to White City, Regents Street to Stratford, there are no end of shops ready for you to browse. That is why London is one of the best cities to do your Christmas shopping in. Whether you are looking for high-street deals or the hottest designers, you will find the perfect gift for everyone on your list. Whilst you are shopping, don’t forget to go into the iconic Liberty’s to see their famous Christmas display. 

Image by James Petts

Whilst you enjoy the festive period in London, we will take care of your laundry. Book your Laundryheap order today by heading to the Laundryheap website or downloading the free Laundryheap app.


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Travel hacks for couples 

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Whether its your first, second, or hundredth time travelling as a couple, make sure that it isn’t your last by following these handy travel hacks.

  • Create an itinerary together
  • Split the responsibilities
  • Use 1 suitcase 
  • But separate packing cubes
  • Share toiletries
  • Get a charger with dual ports 
  • Consider twin beds
  • Share meals
  • Always split the money
  • Enjoy your time together

Create an itinerary together

When travelling as a couple it’s important to remember that it’s not just your holiday. You may have a list of things to see and do, but so may your partner. To ensure that you both enjoy your holiday to the fullest create an itinerary together, making sure that your time is split equally between things that you both want to do. This may mean that you won’t get to see everything that you wanted to, but it’s the fairest way. 

Photo by Polina Kovaleva from Pexels

Split the responsibilities 

There is a lot to think about when travelling. Transport, accommodation, insurance, packing, the list is endless. That is why it’s best to split the responsibilities equally. You cover half of the tasks and your partner covers the other half. Not only does this mean that you are equally responsible for the holiday, but it will also mean that you get through your list of responsibilities quicker. Remember, 2 hands are always better than 1. 

Photo by Marina Leonova from Pexels

Use 1 suitcase

Arguably, the worst part of travelling is having to lug your suitcases around. When travelling in a couple, why bother with the hassle of packing 2 suitcases when you can just take 1. Between yourself and your partner, pack 1 suitcase, and take 1 backpack with essentials as a carry on. This will limit the amount of luggage weighing you down, and make travelling a lot more enjoyable for the both of you. 

Photo by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels

But separate packing cubes 

To prevent any bickering about sharing the space in 1 suitcase, assign packing cubes for yourself and your partner. To ensure that you are equally sharing the suitcase space, give yourself and your partner the same number of packing cubes, perhaps with 1 cube left for items that you can share. Not only will this help eliminate space arguments, but it is also a great way to help you be brutal with what you want to bring on your travels

Photo by SHVETS production from Pexels

Share toiletries 

The issue with taking 1 suitcase for both you and your partner is that you have limited space. To save you both some space consider sharing toiletries. Items, such as toothpaste, shower gel, shampoo, and conditioner, can be shared between yourself and your partner, allowing you additional space for clothes, shoes, or electronics. Just make sure you that you take your own toothbrush.

Photo by Sarah Chai from Pexels

Get a charger with dual ports

Although small, another great space saving idea for travelling couples is to buy a charger with dual ports. This will allow both you and your partner to charge your electronics at the same time, without the hassle of bringing two charging plugs. In addition, having a dual port charger should prevent yourself and your partner from losing your chargers as you will both be looking after the same one. 

Photo by Steve Johnson from Pexels

Consider twin beds

Accommodation can be incredibly expensive when travelling, especially as a couple. Although you probably want to share a bed with your partner whilst on holiday, you may want to consider paying for a twin room rather than a double. On average, twin rooms are less expensive than their double alternative, so it may be an easy way to save yourself and your partner money. Once you are in the room, you can easily push your beds together to form a makeshift double. 

Photo by A Koolshooter from Pexels

Share meals  

Another great way for couples to save money whilst travelling is to share meals. If you find that you and your partner aren’t often finishing your full meal, it may be a good idea to share one main meal with a selection of sides. Not only will this save you money, it will also prevent food waste. 

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Always split the money 

Regardless of whether you are using cards or physical cash, it’s important to split the money equally between both you and your partner. You never know what can happen whilst travelling, so splitting the money equally ensures that you will always have some money with you regardless of if any gets lost or stolen. 

Enjoy your time together 

The most important things to remember when travelling with your partner is to enjoy your time together. Enjoy being on holiday, alone, with no interruptions. It may be hard to find moments like that when you get back to your normal lives. 

Photo by Asad Photo Maldives from Pexels

Whilst you enjoy travelling with your significant other, we’ll take care of your laundry. Book your Laundryheap order today by heading to the Laundryheap website or downloading the free Laundryheap app.


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Top areas to stay in Dublin

Photo by Luciann Photography from Pexels

There are plenty of beautiful areas to stay in Dublin, but these are our top 5 picks.

  • Grafton Street
  • Merrion Square
  • Portobello
  • Smithfield 
  • The Docklands 

Grafton Street 

If you enjoy a spot of retail therapy, than Grafton Street is the ideal place for you to stay. As one of Europe’s busiest shopping streets, you will find almost every popular shop you would ever want. Nestled between the abundance of shops are independent cafes, restaurants, and pubs, ready to welcome you inside. When/if you are ready to escape the hustle and bustle of the street, St Stephen’s Green is located at the top of Grafton Street. An idyllic 22 acre park of lush gardens, blooming flower beds, and beautiful sculptures. If you are looking to stay in the centre of Dublin’s hustle and bustle, with the opportunity for peacefulness, than Grafton Street is the perfect place for you to stay. 

Photo by Lukas Kloeppel from Pexels

Merrion Square

Merrion Square is perfect for those who like a slower pace. Those who are creative and artsy, who enjoy observing their surroundings. The square is one of Dublin’s grandest squares. Georgian houses line 3 sides of the square and the other homes 2 museums and the garden of Leinster House, the seat of Irish Parliament. Merrion Square was once home to some of the worlds most renowned artists, including Oscar Wilde and WB Yeats. Holding on to its historic past of artistic greatness, the square hosts various events throughout the year where artists will hang their paintings for people to buy. Merrion Square is beautiful area of Dublin, rich in history and home to some of Dublin’s biggest sites, including The National Gallery. Additionally, it is only a 10 minute walk from Grafton Street, so you can experience the hustle and bustle of Dublin in mere minutes. 

Image by Pastor Sam

Portobello 

Portobello is Dublin’s up-and-coming area. It’s where Dubliners come to meet and where the iconic playwright George Bernard Shaw was born. Portobello is the perfect place to stay for those who are looking for something different. Away from the commercial high streets, Portobello is overflowing with innovative restaurants, contemporary galleries, and unique bric-a-brac boutiques. As you wander from shop to shop, you can take in the street art that covers almost every building, enhancing the areas quirky atmosphere. Although not home to any of Dublin’s iconic landmarks, Dublin city centre is only a 15 minute walk away. 

Image by William Murphy

Smithfield

Smithfield is located on the northside of Dublin, surrounded by the legendary Temple Bar, beautiful Phoenix Park, and lively Stoneybatter. The focal point of the area is Smithfield Square, a bustling central quarter of independent restaurants and artisan cafes. One of the most notable landmarks to be found in Smithfield is the Old Jameson Whiskey Distillery, which you can tour whilst sampling their famous whiskey. Located moments away from Phoenix Park, one of the largest enclosed parks in a European capital city, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy relaxing in nature. Alternatively, Temple Bar is just one of the many bars you can find in and around the Smithfield area, so there are plenty of opportunities for nights out.

Image by William Murphy

The Docklands 

The Docklands are fast becoming one of the most popular locations for tourists to visit and stay whilst in Dublin. Due to the high number of businesses that operate around the area, the Docklands was once aimed solely at business travellers, but has since expanded to meet the needs of tourists. One of the highlights of staying at the Docklands is the interactive Irish Immigration Museum where visitors can learn about the rich history of Ireland and its impact on the world. There are also an abundance of restaurants and cafes where you can enjoy an eclectic selection of delicacies. The Docklands is close by to Merrion Square and the centre of Dublin, making it the perfect place to stay and enjoy a slightly quieter area, whilst still being able to enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city. 

Image by William Murphy

No matter what area of Dublin you decide to stay in, don’t let your laundry prevent you from exploring. Book your Laundryheap service today by heading to the Laundryheap website or downloading the free Laundryheap app. 


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Free things to do in Rotterdam

Photo by Steshka Willems from Pexels

Holiday’s are expensive, so finding free things to do is a great way to save money. Luckily, Rotterdam is brimming with fun, free, things to do, see, and explore. 

  • Stroll along the harbour
  • Explore the Markthal
  • Wander the markets
  • Sail on the SS Rotterdam
  • Learn about Rotterdam on a walking tour 
  • Visit De Ster
  • Take in the views at Lührs viewpoint
  • Enjoy the peace and quiet of Eiland van Brienenoord
  • Cycle the city 
  • Visit Rotterdams iconic structures 

Stroll along the harbour

Rotterdam is home to the largest harbour in Europe. As you journey along the harbour, you will come across some of Rotterdam’s most famous landmarks, including the Erasmus bridge, Hotel New York, and the SS Rotterdam. If you find yourself stuck for something to do on a clear, dry, day in Rotterdam, a stroll along the harbour is the perfect solution. 

Photo by László Hegedűs from Pexels

Explore the Markthal

In the heart of Rotterdam you will find the Markthal, a quirky take on the classic market square. A large arch of 228 apartments covers a central market hall of 96 food stands where you will sample some of the best food you will find in Rotterdam. From classic cuisine to exotic eats, the Markthal is a culinary lovers dream. Whilst sampling Rotterdam’s finest foods, look around at the mural painted on the arch covering the square. “Cornucopia” shows enlarged food items alongside flowers and insects in reference to Dutch paintings from the 17th century. The masterpiece was created by artists Arno Coenen and Iris Roskam, and provides a glorious view to enjoy with your food. 

Image by Paul Arps

Wander the markets 

The Markthal is not the only market in Rotterdam. There are an array of street markets running 6 days a week, selling all manner of fresh produce, trinkets, and flowers. The biggest market in Rotterdam is at Binnenrotte near the Rotterdam Blaak train station. Here you will find more than 250 stalls selling everything including fresh fruit, fish, cheese, flowers, vintage goods, and even furniture. If you are visiting the city during the Christmas season, there are plenty of Christmas markets selling perfect stocking filler gifts and traditional Danish food and drink. 

Sail on the SS Rotterdam

The SS Rotterdam is iconic. Launched back in 1953, the ship sailed for 41 years, ferrying passengers from Rotterdam to New York. In 2000, the SS Rotterdam was returned to the city, where the ship has since been turned into a hotel, restaurant, event space, and tourist attraction. You can explore the ship for free, learning about it’s rich history and tales of it’s transatlantic voyages. If you are willing to splash out on dinner on the boat, there are plenty of options for you to indulge in. Whether you fancy a relaxing afternoon tea, suave fine dining experience, or simply some greasy finger food, there is something to satisfy everyone’s tastes on the SS Rotterdam. 

Image by Frans Berkelaar

Learn about Rotterdam on a walking tour  

The best way to get to know a new city is by exploring it with the locals. Free Walking Tour Rotterdam is run and conducted by volunteers who live in Rotterdam and truly love their city. The tour begins at the Markthal and takes you to some of the most iconic areas of the city where you will learn about the history of Rotterdam. The tour runs every day from 1:30pm and there is an additional morning tour on a Saturday beginning at 10:30am. 

Image by Zairon

Visit De Ster

Did you really go the the Netherlands if you didn’t visit a windmill? The Kralingse Bos forest is a beautiful recreational area, perfect for running, cycling, or simply taking a stroll. The forest encases Kralingse Plas lake, along which you can find windmill De Ster (the star). Dating back to 1866, windmill De Ster is a fully functional windmill which is still used to grind tobacco leaves to create snuff. Guided tours of the windmill are available every second Saturday of the month between 10am to 4pm. Entrance to the windmill is free, however any generous donations made do go towards maintaining the windmill. 

Image by Jchmrt

Take in the views at Lührs viewpoint

Lührs viewpoint is a Rotterdam hidden gem. After hiking up a 40 meter hill you will be rewarded with a stunning view of the Rotterdam skyline and, on a clear day, The Hague. It is the perfect place to escape the city, enjoy nature, and unwind with a beautiful view. 

Image by Kristoffer Trolle

Enjoy the peace and quiet of Eiland van Brienenoord

Under the Van Brienenoord Bridge in Rotterdam you will find a slice of peace and tranquillity- Eiland van Brienenoord. Grassy plains, open waters, and a forest make up the island, giving a home to a multitude of plants, birds, and animals. The island was created in the 19th century when silt plates formed in the Nieuwe Maas and became overgrown. Whether you are looking to do some bird watching, enjoy a gentle jog, or simply stroll around the island, Eiland van Brienenoord is the perfect place to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. 

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Cycle the city 

There are many ways that you can enjoy the city of Rotterdam, but none are as fun as cycling. You can spend hours cycling across the city, from the city centre to Delfshaven, exploring the hidden gems that the city has to offer. There are cycling routes that you can take, or you can make your own route, following the harbour and simply seeing where you end up. 

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Visit Rotterdams iconic structures 

Rotterdam is renowned for its quirky architecture and iconic structures. Spend a day charting the structures of the city, roaming from one icon to the next. From the Cube Houses to Hotel New York, the Witte Huis to the Euromast, create yourself a route to all of the famous landmarks in Rotterdam and spend the day exploring. 

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There are so many fun, free, things to do and see in Rotterdam that you won’t have time to do your laundry. Luckily, Laundryheap are here to help. Book your Laundryheap service today and have your laundry picked-up, laundered, and redelivered to you within 24 hours. To book your Laundryheap order today head to the Laundryheap website or download the free Laundryheap app.


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Dubai’s top 5 culture hotspots 

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Dubai is a cultural mecca. It’s a city that combines the innovation of technological advances with Dubai tradition. These are just 5 of the culture hotspots to check out the next time you visit Dubai. 

  • Al Fahidi 
  • Grand Mosque
  • Al Shindagha Museum
  • Alserkal Avenue
  • Hatta 

Al Fahidi

Have you ever wondered what it was like to live in Dubai during the late 19th century? If your answer was yes, then the historic town of Al Fahidi is the perfect culture hotspot for you. Located along the Dubai Creek, Al Fahidi was originally built in the early 1900’s, and many of the towns original buildings are still intact. As you trek the winding streets, admiring the historical buildings, you will come across several museums, art galleries, and traditional food stalls which will transport you to 1900’s Dubai. To get as much historic knowledge about Old Dubai as possible, book yourself on a walking tour of the town. 

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Grand Mosque

The Grand Mosque is the hub of religious and cultural life in Dubai. Holding up to 1,200 worshippers, it is an architectural masterpiece with intricate geometric carvings and blue mosaic. The original Grand Mosque was built in 1900, but was replaced in 1960 and re-built again in 1998 to resemble the original structure. Non-Muslims can enter The Grand Mosque from 9:30am to 11:30am Sunday to Thursday for free tours.

Image by Guilhem Vellut

Al Shindagha Museum

If you would like to learn more about Dubai’s creek history, and wider Emirati culture, than head to the Al Shindagha Museum. Sat along the Dubai Creek, the Al Shindagha Museum offers a carefully curated tour of interactive videos, historic photos, and artefacts that show exactly what it was like to raise a family by Dubai’s waterway. Then, explore the legacy and trading importance of Emirati fragrances at The Perfume House. The Al Shindagha Museum is a fascinating day out, overflowing with beautiful artefacts and interactive fun. 

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Alserkal Avenue

Alserkal Avenue is the cultural hotspot of modern Dubai. What was once an industrial area of 40 warehouses has been transformed into a cultural bohemian of art galleries, dance studios, and artisanal cafes. The transformation of Alserkal Avenue began in 2008 when one gallery moved to the area. Word soon caught on, and over the past 13 years contemporary artists have been relocating to the area, creating the Alserkal Avenue you see today. Discover new art and some of the best coffee Dubai has to offer at Alserkal Avenue. 

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Hatta

Venture outside of the skyscraper city of Dubai and to the beautiful mountain village of Hatta. Many people visit Hatta to take part in activities such as mountain biking and paddle boarding, however the historic village of Hatta is also incredible to explore. In the town centre, you can find Hatta Heritage Village, which has been preserved and reconstructed to showcase centuries of rural living in Dubai. You can wander through traditional Dubai huts, and even observe villagers carrying out traditional activities, such as making jewellery, weaponry, and pottery. The beautiful surroundings of Hatta, coupled with learning about the historic culture of the village, make for an unforgettable day out. 

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Don’t let laundry stop you from exploring the cultural hotspots of Dubai. Book your Laundryheap service today by heading to the Laundryheap website or downloading the free Laundryheap app.


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Travel hacks for families 

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Family holidays create memories that will last a lifetime. They can be incredible for family bonding and enjoying time together away from the home. That being said, they can also be incredibly stressful, so here are some hacks to take some of that stress away. 

  • Try to find family-friendly accommodation
  • Use a backpack
  • Pack spare clothes
  • Use vacuum seal bags
  • Comfort is key
  • Think about entertainment
  • Don’t forget plane sweets
  • Share the responsibility 
  • Bring some home comforts
  • Don’t forget to enjoy yourself!

Try to find family-friendly accommodation

Before you begin to contemplate travelling, think about your accommodation. Although staying in a generic hotel or renting short-stay accommodation may be cheaper, consider finding family-friendly specific accommodation. Family-friendly accommodation is built with children in mind, so there are usually additional activities available to keep your children entertained. It may be slightly pricier, but it could make your family holiday more enjoyable for everyone involved. 

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Use a backpack

Between checking in to your flight, getting through security, and making sure that your children are safe and happy, it will be rare to find your hands empty whilst you are at the airport, and on your holiday. Using a backpack for your carry-on rather than a travel bag will guarantee that your hands are accessible when you need them, and will guarantee that you don’t misplace or lose sight of your carry-on. 

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Pack spare clothes

In your carry-on make sure that you pack a spare change of clothes for all the family. If you have young children you may already have packed a spare change of clothes for them, but make sure that you also pack spare clothes for yourself. Children can become travel sick, or could spill juice and/or food down themselves and you, so it’s always best to be prepared. Even if you just pack a change of top, it will at least help towards making everyone feel fresh once you have arrived at your holiday destination. 

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Use vacuum seal bags 

There is a lot of packing involved for a family holiday. To save yourself some space in your suitcase, use vacuum seal bags. Assign each person in the family one or two bags to put all of their belonging in. Once each bag is packed, seal them shut and put them in the suitcase. Not only will this save you space, but it will also make packing, and unpacking, much easier. 

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Comfort is key

When deciding what to wear for traveling remember that comfort is key. All members of your family should prioritise comfort over style, so think about wearing loose-fitting clothing made from lightweight materials. These types of clothes will be easy to move in, and perfect for if you are traveling to or from a hot country. Consider packing a couple of small blankets or thick long scarves in your carry-on just in case you or the members of your family get cold whilst traveling. It’s always good to be prepared for all weather whilst on the move. 

Think about entertainment  

Children can become irritable whilst traveling, especially on particularly long journeys, so make sure that you have an ample amount of things that will entertain them. It could be their favourite toy, a tablet to watch TV and films on, or a game that can be played. Alternatively, you could entertain your children by getting them excited about the holiday.

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Don’t forget plane sweets

One of the most unpleasant things about traveling is when the airplane is taking off and landing and your ears pop. This can be disorientating for both children and adults alike, so be prepared with plane sweets. Anything that can be sucked on will help to un-pop your ears on a plane, so choose some age-appropriate sweets and have them on-hand for your flight. 

Image by William Warby

Share the responsibility 

The responsibility of traveling as a family should not land on one person. If you are traveling with another adult or with older children share the responsibility. Make a list of responsibilities before you leave and divide them between the other adult(s) and older children in your family. You could even share some of the smaller responsibilities with the younger children, such as deciding on travel entertainment or what snacks to take with you. Traveling as a family can be stressful, so sharing the responsibility will help ease that stress and ensure that everyone has a good time. 

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Bring some home comforts 

We all get homesick at times, and, for younger children especially, it can be scary and disorientating staying in a new location. To make the transition from home to holiday easier for them, pack some home comforts. This could be their nightlight, pillows, or favourite teddy. You don’t have to pack anything too big or difficult to travel with, just something small that will make them feel safe and at home

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Don’t forget to enjoy yourself 

A family holiday is for the whole family, not just the children, so don’t forget to enjoy yourself. Whilst you are away take some time out of your day to do something that you want to do. Maybe it’s reading a book on the beach, going for a swim, or taking a walk on your own. A family holiday is just as much about enjoying yourself and getting away from the stresses of everyday life, as it is enjoying time as a family. 

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

Enjoy your family holiday without the stress of laundry. Book your Laundryheap service today by heading to the Laundryheap website or downloading the free Laundryheap app.


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Things to do in Chicago this fall

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Fall has finally arrived, and there is no city to enjoy the changing colours and festivities of the season quite like Chicago. Here are just 10 things that you can do this fall in Chicago. 

  • Lincoln Park
  • Night of 1,000 Jack-o-Lanterns 
  • Sonny Acres Farm
  • All Seasons Orchard
  • Harvest Wine and Cheese Festa
  • Chicago International Film Festival
  • The Magnificent Mile Light Festival 
  • Thanksgiving Parade
  • The Chicago Marathon 
  • Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit

Lincoln Park 

You will find Lincoln park in the north of Chicago. Home to immaculate gardens, a hidden lily pond, and the Lincoln Park Zoo, there is an abundance of things to see and do in Lincoln Park. Despite the park being accessible at all times of the year, it is most beautiful during the fall. As you walk the expanse of the grounds there are plenty of trees showcasing the changing colours of the fall, and plenty of crunchy leaves to satisfyingly walk through. If you want a day in the fresh air whilst in Chicago, explore Lincoln Park to its extent. 

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Night of 1,000 Jack-o-Lanterns

Fall means Halloween. There are several ways Halloween can be celebrated in Chicago, one of which is the Night of 1,000 Jack-o-Lanterns. Hosted at the Chicago Botanical Gardens, Night of 1,000 Jack-o-Lanterns is a celebration of the humble Halloween classic- the pumpkin. More than 1,000 hand-carved pumpkins light a paved path with a variety of faces from celebrities to iconic Chicago landmarks. Each pumpkin is true art. As you walk the Jack-o-Lantern path, the Halloween festivities continue with costumed entertainers, pumpkin-carving demonstrations, and a light fare. Night of 1,000 Jack-o-Lanterns is only running from the 13th-17th and 20th-24th of October so make sure that you get your tickets ASAP. 

Sonny Acres Farm

Keeping with the Halloween theme, Sonny Acres Farm is the perfect place to spend a spooky day out. If you are in Chicago with children, the farms Haunted Daytime Fun is ideal. You can experience fun hayrides around the farm, pumpkin picking, and, if brave enough, even take a visit to the Haunted Barn. For older children and adults who are looking for the fright of their lives, wait until the evening to experience the Haunted Barn. With live actors taking on a variety of horrifyingly creepy characters, expect to be scared from the moment you step into the barn to the moment you leave. You can experience all of the Halloween fun at Sonny Acres Farm until the 31st of October. 

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All Seasons Orchard 

If you are looking for a more wholesome Chicago fall experience then head to All Seasons Orchard. There is an abundance of fall fun to be had, including picking fruit from the 15,000 apple and pear trees, picking the perfect pumpkin from the 10 acre pumpkin patch, and getting lost in the All Seasons corn maze. There are two pathways you can take in the corn maze, a shorter one for those with young children, and a longer, more challenging, alternative. After tackling the corn maze, explore the All Seasons Orchard Barnyard, complete with petting zoo, mini zip line, and pumpkin bowling. All Seasons Orchard is the perfect fall day out for every age. 

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Harvest Wine and Cheese Festa

For those cheese and wine lovers visiting Chicago this fall, book your tickets for the Harvest Wine and Cheese Festa. Over the course of an hour and 15 minutes you will be treated to a special selection of ten Tuscan wines, each paired with a chef-curated selection of artisanal cheeses. Once you have sampled each wine, you can further indulge yourself by purchasing the wines at the on-site marketplace. A ticket for the Harvest Wine and Cheese Festa is $59 and the event will only be running on Friday the 22nd of October and Saturday the 23rd of October. 

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Chicago International Film Festival

The Chicago International Film Festival is the longest-running competitive film festival in North America. The festival is presented by its parent company Cinema/Chicago, which was founded in 1964 by filmmaker and graphic artist Michael Kutza. The festival has been running since 1965 and is a celebration of the best in international cinema. All proceeds from the festival go to Cinema/Chicago’s programmes that help foster better communication between diverse cultures through film and moving images. The Chicago International Film Festival is a great opportunity to see international films and is perfect for any lover of cinema in Chicago this fall. 

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The Magnificent Mile Light Festival 

Halloween isn’t the only fall festival to look forward to, there is also Thanksgiving. The week before Thanksgiving, along the length of Michigan Avenue, 200 tress are illuminated by over a million lights. The festival began in 1949 and has only grown in scale since. After the initial lighting ceremony, a parade of floats begins, featuring festive favourites such as Santa Claus, cartoon characters, and musical performances. To end an evening of magical fun, a firework display lights the nights sky, brining the event to a perfect close. The Magnificent Mile Light Festival begins at 11am. 

Image by Natasha Jelezkina

Thanksgiving Parade

Just one week after The Magnificent Mile Light Festival is Chicago’s Thanksgiving Parade. On Thursday 25th of November 2021 thousands will gather on the streets of Chicago to celebrate Thanksgiving and watch the Parade. From balloons of your favourite cartoon characters to parade floats, dance acts, and extra special guests, Chicago’s Thanksgiving Parade is a spectacle for all. The parade begins at 8am and runs until 11am, however it’s best to head to State Street as early as possible to secure yourself a good viewing spot.

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Chicago Marathon

The Chicago Marathon is held every October and sees 45,000 runners cover 26.219 miles of the city. The track forms a loop both beginning and ending at Grant Park, and the runners will travel through 29 of Chicago’s neighbourhoods. If you would like to support the runners of the Chicago Marathon you can do so at one of the three ‘Cheer Zones’. The ‘Cheer Zones’ are located at the 8 kilometre mark, 15 mile mark, and 26th mile mark. The Chicago Marathon will be held on Sunday the 10th of October 2021 and races begin from 7:20am. 

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Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit

For those who are visiting Chicago interested in exploring art and culture, the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit is a must see. At the Lighthouse ArtSpace at Germaina Club you can experience the legendary work of Vincent Van Gogh like never before. Van Gogh’s work is highlighted through 500,000 cubic feet of flawless projections that allow every brushstroke to be observed up close. From Starry Night to Sunflowers you can view Van Gogh’s work at an astonishing scale that will give you a new appreciation for his artistry. The Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit will be running throughout October and November and tickets start from $40. 

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Chicago is a beautiful city, especially during the fall season. Too beautiful to miss out on because you’re doing laundry. Head to the Laundryheap website, or download the free Laundryheap app, to get your laundry picked-up, laundered, and redelivered to you within 24 hours.