How to arrange affordable voyages early in advance

Skites Hotel, Ouranoupoli, Greece | from IN WHIRL OF INSPIRATION

Some months ago an unfortunate incident was the reason to flip upside down my attitude towards early in advance airplane ticket bookings and the motivation to write this post too.

Let me introduce you to the emotional and environmental background of our story. We are in Amsterdam and outside of my window the wind is raging violently and the torrential rain dances its rhythm. I am on the lucky side of the window though and while I lean on it I am convinced that I wouldn't want to be outside by any means. From the smallest tree twig to the most poor cyclist, everything and everyone seems to suffer as he tries to survive in this cataclysm. I fill my cup with hazelnut and vanilla and right then it falls to my attention that my friend Vanessa, a true Mexican, sends me a storm of messages: "Despoina! There is a discount in air tickets to Mexico and they cost only 250 there and back. We have to go! Where are you; Are you in?".

Wait, hold on one second, what the heck? Everyone with the slightest bit of wanderlust in them knows that tickets to America from Europe cost at least 700 euros, maybe 600 if you win the big jackpot of luck. "Let's go", she continues "we will escape to Mexico for 10 days in February and while everyone else will try to survive the Amsterdam cataclysms -like now- we will drink mojitos under the sweet sun and live the summer like there is no tomorrow." Long story short she sent me the tickets link, I checked my agenda for obligations that period -nothing that can't wait me to come back tanned from Mexico-, I have some saved money aside, let's go girl! Vida loca! 

And suddenly I an unfounded concern strikes me. Maybe I have obligations for that time which are not written down in my agenda and when I will remember them it will be too late. Also is it safe there in Mexico City (to which concern, Vanessa reassured me that her house is far away from the various drug cartels of my mind)? Two hours and dozens of back and forth messages later, you could find me in the same stuck mental state and you could also see that the tickets were sold out. Obviously, only a moron (a.k.a. me) would let such a gift to fly away. I was inconsolable; I regretted that I wasn't more decisive, faster or more efficient in making my mind. I would go Mexico with my Mexican friend, best travel experience that could happen to me. Well I might lost a battle, but not the war. Since I love trips so much I had to develop a better protocol, so I would not lose another travel opportunity in the future.

So the following tips are more for me to absorb, but if they seem of any help to you too then this is a definite win-win in my book:

  1. Add in your agenda all the obligations of your near future (work/study/pleasure). That way nothing will be forgotten and you will be able to make plans early in advance. Any obligations that will arise after you book the tickets will be rescheduled for when you come back from your vacation.
  2. Have a "jar" of savings dedicated to future voyages. If your budget allows you to save a small amount of money each month that's a huge thing. Even the cheapest tickets you will find from time to time cost money and spending more than your already existing -and sometimes tight too- monthly budget can be a pain in the ass. So be prepared.
  3. Subscribe to the newsletters of the airline company you use the most or to newsletters from sites that collect and showcase cheap flight around the web. The trick in these discounts is to be quick and if you don't want to stay out of the airplane you should learn things first. First-come, first-served, right? In the cheap flight booking trick is speed Yan Verily stay off the airplane and so will learn everything first.
  4. The best trips I have ever done were the ones in countries /places where I had friends that they were locals. You feel safe, they show you the way around, they save you from touristic traps and in general you have a glimpse on how locals have fun. Ask your friends around the world if you can visit them and if yes start organizing from today. If they can provide you free accommodation too, well my friend you won the first prize of the lottery.
  5. Don't be stupidly rational and annoyingly indecisive (that's a general one I guess). Will it be dangerous? Will we make it? I am not in the mood for vacation (the day of the flight is in 3 months, ugh relax). If you afford this trip book now any flights (and hotels maybe) and when the time comes you will arrange everything like a pro. And yes, believe me, you will appreciate these few days away from your everyday routine.

The new year seems to be really stressful in this side of the hill. Also, it's not of a huge secret that I tend to carry more watermelons than I can carry. This is why I decided to take it easy with blogging and blog on weird things that cross my mind (like this?). I hope you enjoy them too. But, hey how do YOU arrange affordable trips early in advance? Please spill your beans in the comments below. xo

4 Comments

Déspina Kortesidou

Déspina Kortesidou was born with the April flowers sometime in the '90s in the sunny peninsula of Greece. She is a graduating master student of neuroscience & metabolism, and a born adventurer.

(3rd person statements sound so official, love it)

She founded In Whirl of Inspiration, back in 2011 when she was (just) a biology student, in the island of Crete. In Whirl of Inspiration started as a creative and writing outlet for when studying molecules, became too monotonous. Recently, she started writing a children book and a not-so-children's book about the civil war in Greece. She has a soft spot for cheese, elder people, and (her own) jokes, but can't tell any as she ruins them by laughing too early. She enjoys sharing advice for eating healthier, or inspiring people to cover themshelves with plants, color and confetti.

Feel free to email her at hello@inwhirlofinspiration.com, or find her on Instagram and Twitter. (breaking the 3rd person narration to thank you properly)

Thank you so much for reading!

Tips on surviving at summer music festivals

tips on surving at music festivals

Ah! The season of summer music festivals and camping. It feels like yesterday, but it's one whole year ago when we got to Pukkelpop music festival in Belgium. 3 full days of absolute dirt, sitting on the "grasses", eating crap and listening to the bestest music (Eminem I forgive you for playing in this festival, I laughed a lot during your concert. We are fine.).

It's a common knowledge that summer music festivals can be either a blissful dream or a total mess, if you are not prepared for some basic little things.

Do you want to know what I learned from my music festival times?

1. Do not leave nothing valuable AT ALL in the tent when leaving it. I hope I was clear, but to be sure; n o t h i n g!

2. Do not take your good (& expensive?) camera at the festival. This is an obvious thing too, but I too mention it to remind you everything. Your mobile phone's camera or a cheap compact camera will capture sufficiently all the things that matter; the great time with your friends.

3. And also, don't waste your time in taking photos/videos of the bands on the stage. You will only succeed in shooting a shaky dull mess, that you will never ever watch in your computer. There are professional photographers, who will be paid to be at the best spots on & off stage for that very reason; to take the best photos instead of you. Have fun and you will find the photos that you want online after one day or two.

4. Have some medicines with you. Within the festival area there will be points for medical care, if something serious happens to you. But in the case of an innocent headache, don't lose your favorite band to go to the other side of the festival area. Take your Depon and be good.

5. Have some cleaning wipes with you. Most festivals sites have grassy terrain , which after of 1 day of being trampled under 100,000+ feet turn's to plain steppe's soil. If you are lucky enough to be at an area prone to rain, that soil will turn into mud too. In such (and many other) situations cleaning wipes can be lifesaver you know.

festival's filthiness  tips for surviving in music festivals

6. In areas with heatwave-storms quick transmissions be informed fir the weather before leaving your hometown. The countries near the northern sea, are prone to quick weather changes and that could ruin your vacations in case you were unprepared for such change. In addition to your summer festival clothes, just to be sure take 1 pair of good sneakers, 1 pair of jeans and a waterproof jacket (aka a cheap plastic "bag" that you wear over your clothes for protection) to walk around comfortably while raining.

7. Build an easy awning for shade in the camp area. Many igloo-like-tents have an extra sunscreen cap that goes above the tent. If you are a big company, set up your tents cyclically so that you have a space for yourselves in front of the tents. Then tie that sunscreen cap on the top of the tents, to shade that area in front of them(it will make a huge differences). Plus: a plaid picnic blanket to sit on and eat would be great too.

awning for shade  tips for surviving in music festivals

8. Take (a yoga) mattress for sleeping. Besides the protection that it offers from that damn stones, that you didn't threw away when setting up the tent and now they almost left you crippled on the back, it provides very good thermal insulation too. If you go to the north countries, where it rains often even in the summer (not everywhere is Greece, I forget it all the time) the soil will be very cold in the evening. For instance in Belgium, in the day the thermometer was hitting 26°C and at night the temperature was falling to 13°C (& air & rain).

9. Have dried food with you. Buy supplies (cereal bars, dried fruits and buts) before going to the festival. They don't need cool temperatures to be kept and they will save you these moments that you are starving between 2 concerts, but you don't want to miss neither of them. After them we will go to have proper food of course. :)

10. Avoid buying foods (and drinks) inside the festival area. Before going to the festival area in the morning eat a good breakfast from your supplies (we bought food from from Brussels) or if there is any town ner the festival go and check for supermarkets and other food shops. You'll save so much money doing so. For instance, we were eating a big baguette in the morning, we took another one with us in the festival (for lunch) and we had our snacks (see 9.) too.

11. Inside of your dresses, wear a pair of shorts. You sit down all day, on all sorts of dirt and awfulness. It's not cool that your pants will be in touch with these, not a bit cool.

beer in a bun tips for surviving in music festivals

12. Organize what drinks you will bring inside the festival area and don not drink excessively. Yes I know that you are checked in the entrance of the festival area and any alcohol is withdrawed from you, but seriously do you think that there are many fools that pay 5 euros to buy 330ml of beer in the festival area? If you're an unreliable teen who thinks he can and should drink unlimited volumes of alcohol until he pukes and faints at aprox. 9pm, stop reading now. However if you are mature enough to manage the drink and you do not want to be broke for 3 beers, try the bellow tips:

  • if you have long (& many) hair, make a low bun around a can of beer. You can wrap a scarf around it if you want to, for extra holding. Nobody will get a thing, believe me. 
  • to pass sangria in the festival, put 2/3 of sangria and 1/3 of orange or sour cherry juice in a juice carton. In the alcohol inspection, they will smell your "juice", but they want detect the alcohol-smell, so it will pass.
  • if the days are cold and you wear a sweatshirts, hide a can of beer in the hood. You get a bonus if you cover the hood with your long hair.
  • if you wear a dress, wear a shorts underneath it. (see also 11. for that) Fill a bottle with any liquor, but not until the top so that you will be able to press it and make it more flat. Then place this between the belly and the crotch of your shorts. Warranty.
  • drink not put any bottle of alcohol in your bag, cause they will find it and then they will search you better to find any secret hideouts too.
  • have always extra caps for water bottles with you. If you pass water into the festival, they will keep the caps I'll take the cap (filled water bottles hurled from something drunks can be very dangerous) if you do not drink you will not put it in your bag. While the extra cover but ...

13. Wake up really early if you want to shower. The hot water in the camping's shower points ends like a flash and if wake up at around 9 or 10 o'clock (like most of the people), you might wait for (even) 2 hours in the shower queue.

14. Have your ticket's file with you in an usb too. Apart from having tour ticket (or any other document) printed, have a copy of it in a usb too. You never know when you will lose/forget sth somewhere and it would be wise if you could reprint it.

15. Apart from the concerts, check for parallel extra fun activities which are organized by the festival. Do not be a snob, and you will build a 6-pack out of laughing. Cool, ha? 

16. Keep this flat touristy pocket/bag worn under your clothes all the necessary stuff (IDs, credit cards, extra money). It sounds ridiculous I know, but you will be in a festival with so many people and such things (like stealing or losing) happen. Running to the embassies won't be fun, plus it will ruin your vacation.

17. Chemical toilets, yuck. Seriously, try to find ANY other way to do your job. I had to use a restaurant's restroom (in the nearby town) when needed, cause chemical toilets are the most disgusting places visually and olfactory ever existed.


Well I hoped that my tips were helpful enough to save you from a bad incident next time you go camping in a music festival. If  learn something and want to share, I will be more than happy to read it in the comments below.

2 Comments

Déspina Kortesidou

Déspina Kortesidou was born with the April flowers sometime in the '90s in the sunny peninsula of Greece. She is a graduating master student of neuroscience & metabolism, and a born adventurer.

(3rd person statements sound so official, love it)

She founded In Whirl of Inspiration, back in 2011 when she was (just) a biology student, in the island of Crete. In Whirl of Inspiration started as a creative and writing outlet for when studying molecules, became too monotonous. Recently, she started writing a children book and a not-so-children's book about the civil war in Greece. She has a soft spot for cheese, elder people, and (her own) jokes, but can't tell any as she ruins them by laughing too early. She enjoys sharing advice for eating healthier, or inspiring people to cover themshelves with plants, color and confetti.

Feel free to email her at hello@inwhirlofinspiration.com, or find her on Instagram and Twitter. (breaking the 3rd person narration to thank you properly)

Thank you so much for reading!