By Maria Allon
As a self-confessed hoarder, I’ve collected holiday keepsakes since I can remember. From the garish blue Teletubby backpack five-year-old me bought with pocket money in Portugal, to the extensive collection of pencils that lives under my bed back at home, I can’t not bring a memento back from my adventures.
That being said, I realised a couple of years ago that this pencil habit was getting a bit crazy, especially when a fancy one from the Colosseum in Rome will set you back about £10 (I wish I was joking!). Inspired by my first solo trip to Bruges aged 18, I discovered that bagging the best memory abroad doesn’t always have to cost more than a meal in the Bristol Pear. Get your pano picture feature ready – here are my top tips for getting the best homemade holiday memory you can.
Student discount: Who wouldn’t want to save a couple of quid by spending a couple on an International Student Identity (ISIC) card? I did feel a little smug knowing I had saved the equivalent of a plate of patatas bravas to get this snap of Madrid from above.
Following the crowds is useful, but so is listening to locals: Don’t be afraid to wander a little off the beaten track. Though it’s becoming the more favourable pick for the perfect snapshot of the city, more people leave Florence not knowing that the best view of the awe-inspiring duomo is completely free from the Piazzale Michelangelo, a 20 minute walk away from the iconic Ponte Vecchio.
Time of day is everything: Most skyscrapers/clocktowers/cathedrals are pretty relaxed about how long you’re above ground taking in the views. Seeing a city during sunset is guaranteed to make you fall in love with it even more than you already were. Entering about 45 minutes before sunset is prime time to get your day versus night shots. (Side note: The 70th floor of Rockefeller Center, home of THE Home Alone 2 Christmas tree, is not only cheaper than the Empire State, but the view is arguably so much better!).
Trip Advisor can be your best friend: If it wasn’t for online travel forums, I never would have found myself up a bell tower in Stockholm during torrential rain (or eating meatballs at the very first IKEA, a.k.a. student paradise).
And if you can’t find a pano from above? One from the ground will do, I suppose.
(All contributor’s images)