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Blog pieces are contributed from International Wanderers from all over the globe. Some have contributed the pieces free of charge others have been commissioned. Please refer to our Terms & Conditions. If you have concerns regarding any content posted here please don’t hesitate to notify us via our contact page.

Planning a Wedding Abroad: the Essentials

Congratulations on taking the plunge and pushing the boat out by deciding to hold your wedding abroad. It’s going to take a lot of organization, but you no doubt know someone who has done it all and had the wedding of their dreams. Draw from this inspiration and take on board the following things to consider so that your own celebration ends in wedded bliss rather than a marital miss.

Top entertainment venues to visit near Ebury Street in the Belgravia area of London

There are many wonderful historic parts of London to visit where tourists can head to enjoy its beautiful buildings and heritage. A stunning part of the capital is the famous Ebury Street in the fashionable Belgravia area. This road is located close to the capital’s district of Victoria and was built between 1815 and 1860. It is known for its many celebrity residents including James Bond author Ian Fleming and actor Michael Caine. Austrian composer Mozart also lived in this area that in 1764 was named Fivefields Row. This part of London is now filled with numerous restaurants and cafes, as well as many superb entertainment venues nearby.

The best sights and attractions near the famous Ebury Street in London

London has many famous parts worth visiting and there are also numerous streets that offer interesting, historic stories. Ebury Street is found near the capital’s district of Victoria and was built in the period between 1815 and 1860. It had many well-known residents including the Austrian composer Mozart who lived there when it was previously called Fivefields Row in 1764. Other celebrities that lived there include James Bond author Ian Fleming and actors Terence Stamp and Michael Caine who shared a flat there in 1963. Today there are many places to head to along this beautiful road that are great for travellers visiting the city.

Hitting the Florida Trail: A Guide for Expats Moving to Florida

Moving to a new country for good is always a big decision. It requires lots of planning. You can’t just head out and then take it from there. You’ll need things such as visas, etc. and know how to get around, and then once you’ve settled into the area, you’ll have to think about entertaining visitors. Here are a few pointers to make things that little bit easier when you’re moving to Florida from the UK.

Yurts, Bell Tents and Tipi Villages: Glamping, North America Style

From British Columbia to the US Virgin Islands, and from California to Colorado to Maine, your options for upscale camping experiences are practically unlimited. If you love spending time in the big beautiful outdoors, but wild nature and rugged campground living are not exactly your idea of a real good time, first-class camping, also known as “glamping” might be just the thing for you.

Hong Kong

Moving to Hong Kong Was Tough, But The Best Decision I Ever Made

If you had told me 10 years ago that I’d be settled in Hong Kong, I would have laughed in your face. Although I’ve always loved travelling, no matter where I went it was with the intention of returning to London. I’d considered living in New York in my early twenties, but during a brief holiday there, I found it too crowded. I couldn’t deal with all the hustle and bustle, surely.

Hong KongHow wrong I was. When at the age of 31, my company sent me to the chaotic hub that is Hong Kong, I was instantly charmed. Despite it being one of the most densely populated places in the world, I never felt that I was losing my individuality.

Hong Kong is no hive mind. This is the most important factor that led to my decision to stay. When you see it on the television, the crowded streets tend to look like they're full of automatons. But that couldn't be further from the truth. Hong Kong is a multicultural melting pot, where people are friendly and always willing to help.

I’ve been living in Hong Kong for 10 years now, and I have learned a lot of lessons. Some of them I came across easily, but others took time to learn.

Taking advantage of the expat community

Hong Kong has a large expat community, and you'll find fellow nationals no matter where you're from. My first few months in Hong Kong I felt almost as if I as participating in a summer camp, meeting new friends on a daily basis and exploring our new home together.

I took full advantage of the expat community, and since then, many expats have taken advantage of my own experience. There’s a level of support you don’t usually get even in your native communities. We show each other the ropes, share what we’ve learned, and are there for each other when things inevitably feel overwhelming.

One of the downsides of Hong Kong’s expat community is that there are a lot of people coming and going. While I’m here for the long term, others stay for a year or two, and then move on. It can be quite an emotional rollercoaster at times, but I’ve never regretted the friendships I’ve made, no matter how short-lived.

Money matters

When you're moving to Hong Kong, one of your big considerations should be the cost of living. I admit that I was not prepared for how expensive some things are. The Hong Kong dollar (HKD) is a much weaker currency than the pound. As things stand, 1 pound will get you just under 10 HKD.

And, while transport and clothing, among other things, are cheaper in Hong Kong, the price of some basic necessities are exorbitant. Housing or rental in Hong Kong is on average 30% more expensive than in London! Food is 11% more expensive.

In the context of living and earning in Hong Kong, this hasn’t taken too heavy a toll on me. But I would have loved someone to have enlightened me before I arrived.

Another costly matter was transferring my pounds to a Hong Kong bank account. I did it through my bank, and have come to regret that decision. At the time, I assumed that the high fees banks charge were just the price I had to pay. I also thought there was a good reason they weren’t giving me the best exchange rate possible.

I’ve come to learn that banks are the worst option for foreign exchange. There are many foreign exchange firms out there who provide a better service at a fraction of the price. They also give you the midmarket exchange rate. When I asked one firm how they got better rates than the banks, they explained that the banks get the same rates, but skim some of your money by convincing you their rates are standard.

Another problem I encountered when bringing my money across was the bureaucracy of having my money ready to transfer, but no bank account set up. Foreign exchange firms would have dealt with this for me, as well as provided guidance through the maddening administrative process that every government department across the world seems to love. I had some unique circumstances that forced me to do a transfer from my Australian bank account to HK and it would not have been possible without the assistance of these companies.

Take advantage of the outdoors

I came to Hong Kong expecting a concrete jungle. I found a concrete jungle. But I learned from fellow expats that there are actually lots of lovely expanses of green land, where you can hike, picnic, play sports, and keep active.

The summers get humid, though, so don’t overdo it!

If you're considering moving to Hong Kong, I sincerely hope you give it a try. It was the best decision I’ve ever made, and can’t imagine how things could have gone any better!

 

Tips for travellers to stay safe on public transport when visiting central London

Visiting London is an exciting prospect as travellers will get to see one of the most exciting cities in the world. Often safety is not something that visitors think about as they are in a tourist bubble where they believe that they will always be fine. Unfortunately things can go wrong, but there are many ways to avoid any unnecessary circumstances by following some simple rules. Public transport can certainly be a place where travellers could get into trouble so they should work out where they are going at all times. The very first thing they should do is find out where their hotel is based and the closest tube station to their accommodation.

The best parts of Hyde Park to visit during a holiday in London

Tourists taking a trip to central London will have a list of attractions and landmarks that they definitely want to visit. Hyde Park will certainly appear on there as it is one of the best city parks in the world. This lovely green space is perfect for travellers who want to get away from the busy nature of London streets. This tranquil oasis provides a lush landscape filled with numerous activities to keep visitors engaged. Hyde Park is quite large so tourists should work out what it is that they want to see first at the beginning of the trip. This destination is ideal for families but is equally as good for couples looking for a romantic day out.

Before you take off

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The International Wanderer aims to provide you with up to date and accurate information. However, content is submitted by writers/wanderers from all over the globe. Sometimes we will get it wrong. Furthermore, working holiday and other visa opportunities and requirements (or numbers allocated) may change. New working holiday agreements are constantly being negotiated between countries. We suggest that you contact the nearest consulate or embassy of the country you wish to visit to ensure you have the most recent and accurate information. For further information about this website see our Terms & Conditions.