I think I had the most fun writing this blog post, Part V of the holiday tips. So great reminiscing on the different adventures we’ve had and thinking about how we had them, and found them! There’s always so much to do and so little time to do them in when you’re holidaying. Always ALWAYS draw up a rough, if not complete, itinerary before leaving home, and do your best to stick to it. And try out these other tips…

Hashtags: I cannot get enough of searching the #hashtags of destinations on Instagram. People don’t post on Instagram when they’re having a shit time, FACT. So if you want to see awesome local sights at your destination – Instagram is the way to go. You’ll be surprised with what you find.


Obsessed with street art – found this gem in the dusty backstreets of Tamworth, cheers Instagram. 

Tripadvisor: The only thing Tripadvisor if useful for is feedback on tours and activities, and even then I use it cautiously. If I literally have NO idea of what to do in a destination I’ll turn to Tripadvisor. Always remember that 80% of the reviews are negative, and 70% of people don’t post here because it’s time consuming – they’re usually snapping away on Instagram (see above). 

Nature: If you’re looking for natural experiences at your destination try Google searches with just the suburb and then the experience you are after, for example: Mullumbimby Waterfall. Mix it up as well – Mullumbimby Waterhole, Mullumbimby Creek, Mullumbimby River, Mullumbimby Bushwalk, etc. Whatever you find you should be able to send through Google Maps to get the directions.


Re-enacting the 90s Herbal Essences TVC at Milla Milla Falls – FNQ.

Geocache: If you have walking children and you don’t know what I’m talking about you need to reconsider your parenting goals. To put simply, all around the world there are Pirates that bury treasure and log the treasure on an app called Geocache. The app acts as your map, and compass, using GPS to take you to the X that marks the spot. Yep, a real life TREASURE HUNT. When you find the buried treasure you log it on the app and in the treasure box, and sometimes there is a little gift for you, sometimes there is not. I cannot explain how amazing Geocaching is. The treasure is buried in both the Bush and the City – it may even be in your neighbourhood. The app is free for the first 6 months (or it used to be) and then is a small fee per month. It will give you hours of entertainment, and will get you out exploring your destination.


A secret Geocache location on the South Coast of NSW.

Bicycles: I have to preface this with the fact that I graduated from training wheels on my 18th birthday and am in no way a cyclist. Regardless, I still believe cycling is the absolute best form of transport whilst on holidays, if you’re not in the Swiss Alps. My fiancé and I try to make a point of getting on a bicycle wherever we travel (time allowing). We’ve cycled through Melbourne, Cairns, Gold Coast, and Singapore. Some major cities – Singapore – have cycle tour companies, these are great to help you navigate and weave through the traffic. Bicycle hire is usually cheap and will get you moving quicker than walking, but still immersed in the local atmosphere.


Melbourne, VIC.


Cairns, QLD.

Meals: Social media is great for catching a bargain. Most local pubs and clubs have their lunch and dinner specials listed on their Facebook page. Check these out ahead of time and you’ll find the $10 steaks and perhaps even the trivia night details. And never be afraid to ask the locals – if you’re having a schooner at the local pub and you spot a local ASK THEM THEY KNOW and they’re usually happy to refer you to their favourite.

Most parks in coastal areas have BBQ facilities. Buy what you need and have a cook up! Just remember to pack the necessary utensils. And, if there aren’t any BBQs, there is always the Roast Chickens for $8.99 at Woolworths, a few salads and bread rolls! It’s all about thinking outside of the square. Fish and Chips from the local takeaway, lettuce/tomato/bread rolls from Woolworths, fish burgers on the beach for four on the cheap. Winning.

Groupon / Livingsocial: You just never know what you’ll pick up on these websites. Just change your postcode and search away. Sometimes you’ll snap up dinner for 2 or 4 for under $50, and even sometimes entry to theme parks for families at highly discounted rates.

I’m sure I could go on. But that’s all I have, for now, in the way of holiday tips!

NOTE: Whilst I’m away I try to stay on track with my lifestyle, the same as I have it at home. Travelling can be adapted to suit your lifestyle too, just plan ahead and don’t let anything stop you.

Any tips you’re willing to share? Comment below!


Stay tuned for updates here and on the ‘gram @crystaljanes_lalaland

CJ x


Do you know your State? Like really know your State?

Jump straight into it. I’m from NSW, grew up in Campbelltown, C-Unit – no, I don’t know Kerser, moved to Cambewarra, on the South Coast NSW, at 21, then to Nowra, then to Berry and lived there for 5 years fulltime. I moved to Darlinghurst for a year, and now I live part time in Arncliffe and part time in Berry, and have done for almost a year.

I’ve lived and travelled this state extensively; it’s the great state. We have the best beaches, nightlife (it still exists – even with Mike Baird doing his best to kill it), bushland, waterfalls, swimming holes, coastal tracks and rainforests. You don’t need to go far in this state to have a sweet quick trip away, SO GO, and take these driving holiday tips with you.



A Spring night in Katoomba.

Cars: Always take the business car, am I right? 90s or what? Just hop in Dads company car and we’ll head up to Coffs or the weekend. As if you haven’t done this, and as if you won’t do this if you can! 

Petrol: Fill up your petrol ahead of time and watch the petrol prices. In Sydney your best day to fill up is a Tuesday. Work out your area and fill up in preparation. Save up your petrol vouchers and do some Google research to make sure there are outlets where you can use them along the way.

Food: Pack an esky, even if it’s just for water, a bottle of water at a servo is generally $4! Rip off! Map out your food stops. Don’t just charge on through picking up dirty servo sandwiches and sausage rolls! Some service stations charge $6 a sausage roll and $7.50 a sandwich! Pull into a regional town, find a small business with fresh local produce and dig in. You’ll pay less, eat healthier, experience and explore more and inject some money into a regional area. Winning.


Chocolate covered frozen bananas at the Big Banana – Coffs Harbour.

Maps: Map out your drive, and let Google maps keep you on the right track with up to date travel and traffic times. This snuck us through a heap of traffic between Raymond Terrace and Gosford on the Easter Long Weekend – cheering.

Entertainment: CD’s – pahlease! – get on Spotify, make your own playlist, sign up to premium – and you can download your playlist and take it with you so you don’t have to use your data. Alternatively, Podcasts – usually free, and will provide your with hours of entertainment – check out Serial, Conversations with Richard Fiedler, The Message, Women of the Hour with Lena Dunham – you may even learn something.

And Glenn’s favourite – drive when the footy is on. You can listen to your favourite teams play on your drive and get into it! Well I can’t, I need to see it, but he sure as hell can!


On the Captain Cook Highway in FNQ. An actual scenic drive!

Commit: The number one need when embarking on a driving holiday is to commit. Know how long it’s going to take and be expectant of this, and make sure your fellow passengers are on the same page with this too. In the lead up to the trip don’t lie to yourself saying ‘It’s all good it wont take that long!’, instead say, ‘Yeah, it’ll take forever, about 10hours, but that’s ok, we’ll stop at X and X along the way and check them out, I’ll take 4 hours worth of podcasts and fix up my playlist, and just ride it out.’ It’s all about the mindset.


Tamworth from above. This driving holiday took forever.

Any tips you’re willing to share? Comment below! 

> In the next post I’ll share my tips on Holiday Activities <

Stay tuned for updates here and on the ‘gram @crystaljanes_lalaland

CJ x



How to: Fly High.

Most of these tips I’m sure will be glaringly obvious to the regular traveller, but I know how easy it is to be swayed by what appears to be a ‘bargain’, which is actually a money grab! Keep it in your pockets people, with these easy tips!

Would you like fries with that? Or as my bestie ex-hostie Rohan recites, in an ever so polite NY accent, ‘Coke or Water!?’

Flights are for flying. You will not die if you do not eat for 8 hours, you may not even die if you don’t eat for 12 hours, (unless you’re diabetic and even then titrate  – kidding). Just buy your flight, don’t be tempted to purchase food or in flight entertainment pre-flight; you can purchase it on the day if you really need it. On most flights you can take on a few nibblies. The only times I have encountered problems with this was SYD to SINGAPORE – we snuck a few on, and DENPASAR to BALI – just purchased onboard.

For onboard entertainment, BYO podcasts and iPad app store movie rentals.

Carry on or Checked? Depending on your length of stay and holiday type you may get away with just your onboard carry on luggage. Trips of 4 days or less, I generally take the on-board luggage option. It’s also a good way of forcing you to plan your outfits, so you don’t take up unnecessary time staring at your suitcase saying ‘I have nothing to weaaaaarrrr.’. But please, don’t be that jerk with the ‘carry on luggage’ that is clearly oversized! Is there anything more irritating?


Glenno and I with our carry-on luggage (kidding). Leaving for S.E. Asia.

Be cashed up. Research the visa situation and factor that into your actual cash in hand situation. Have a fair amount of local currency to get you through the flight, and the exact amount to get you through customs (if need be – here’s looking at you Bali).

If I don’t need legroom…..I’m 6ft1 and size 10-12. If I can sit in a normal sized seat, you can too. Get up and walk around and wear compression tights. Airports are runways for airplanes not wannabe models, it’s not a fashion show – leave the stilettos at home, dress for comfort and move people!

Depart Time: Generally your 0615 flights out of Sydney are cheap as chips compared to your 1115 flights, and flying domestic you’ll end up with an extra day for activities. You can sleep on the plane anyway! Overnight flights internationally are usually cheaper too, I’ve done 2, slept 1. If it’s a major price difference and you don’t intend on working the day you arrive, give it a go.

To finish: I’ve flown Jetstar Australia, Jetstar Asia, Tiger Australia, Tiger Asia, Qantas, Scoot, Virgin Australia. For domestic flights I prefer Tiger to and from Melbourne, and Virgin to and from the Gold Coast; but I still bargain hunt and go with the lowest price. Scoot is amazing! Travelled with them to Singapore and felt like I was on a party plane – the music was LOUD, the lights flashing, such a great atmosphere. There’s a video on the ‘gram if you’re interested.

12558710_220875678250394_1643239120_n-1.jpgOld mate next to us was a committed budget traveller and gave us hundreds of travel tips. He told us he spends 6 months a year traveling S.E Asia – jealous. Here we are on SCOOT.


Do you have any flying tips you’re willing to share? Can you recommend any carriers that I should check out? Or anything to add? Comment below kids!

> In the next post I’ll share my tips on Roadtrips <

Stay tuned for updates here and on the ‘gram @crystaljanes_lalaland

CJ x



I got sick (really sick, read prior blog on GUT health and Kombucha) in Thailand whilst we were staying in a 4.5 star resort. The resort stay came with a breakfast buffet daily and an acre of beautiful pools and spas to play in. Day no.3 of bringing up my small intestine, I’d had enough of being cooped up in my room watching the Australia channel, and I forced myself out to the resort pool, found a banana lounge close to the toilet. And you wouldn’t believe it? the rest of the Resort had the same idea! and the fellow travelers had the same bout of South East Asian Norovirus! We were all eating at the same buffet breakfast, sitting at the same tables in the restaurant, wiped with the same cloth by the same waitress (I witnessed this), swimming in the same poorly chlorinated resort pools, sitting on the same pool lounges, and our rooms were being swept and mopped with the same broom/mop/water by the same housekeeper (witnessed again).


Here is me and my brave face at the Resort in Phuket.

NOTE: I’m not saying this attributed to me being sick, but I can’t see how it would have helped. And watching this happen around me didn’t make me feel better either, nor did it justify the resort price tags that went with the stay.

Lesson learnt.

And so, I give to you: CJ’s Accommodation Booking Rules.

Rule 1: Accommodation is for sleeping and showering. If you can do both safely, then it’s a yes from me. Unless you’re intending to sit by the pool and read, AND your destination is in the desert, there is no need to waste money on swim up bars and cabana boys. Sitting beachside should always be 100% preferred, you get the breeze, the people watching, the waves and the salt water, and it generally wont cost you a cent. For road trip holidays, question whether accommodation is necessary, and if so what type. Sleeping in the car is my favourite option for 1 night away – my fiancé does not agree but in winter I absolutely love it. If taking this option, or a camping equivalent think about the necessities. For me, it’s a toilet, power and usually a shower. As per older blogs I suffer from a mild self diagnosed form of IBS and when I need the toilet it is all ‘Move bitch get out tha way!’. I can’t live without my phone – o power to charge is a must, and generally so is a shower – depends on an array of circumstances. Remember sometimes accommodation is for parking your car too. On a recent trip to Newcastle we were researching accommodation on Air Bnb and ALL, I kid you not – ALL, available accommodation came WITHOUT car parking. We would have had to park our car KM’s away. Research this and filter it in your accommodation search if need be.


Sleeping in the car at the Snow in 2014 –  I forced Glenno to play ‘Resuscitation!’ with me on the Ipad until we fell asleep.

Rule 2: If you don’t eat Breakfast like a king at home, you probably don’t need to while you are away. Woolworths and Coles exist outside of your own hometown! – grab a Chobani and make use of the in room tea/coffee facilities. Don’t forget to sample some of the local cafes for breakfast too. Accommodation breakfasts are generally priced above $22/pp, whilst breakfast at a local cafe can cost between $12 – $20 and the food is (generally) turned over quicker. And, there are no fellow travellers coughing their way through the buffet line, picking up the cereal spoon with their ecoli-ridden hands.


Salmon Rye at The Dip Cafe in Byron Bay on our Bluesfest trip- delicious!

Rule 3: Bedbugs are just bad luck. Don’t read Trip Advisor reviews that whinge about bed bugs and take the review as a true statement. Scabies – probably a different story, and yes they are different insects! Bedbugs can travel between hotels and hostels in luggage, sleeping bags and even on fellow travelers. If you check into your accommodation and start to think you’re under attack, and you’ve got another couple of nights to go, speak to the hotel reception – they may be happy to move you or bomb the room for you once housekeeping has attended. Otherwise – Woolworths (crazy I know!), and leave the do not disturb sign hanging so you don’t kill the housekeepers.

Bedbugs will leave 3, that’s THREE, small bites close together – sometimes in a row – and I’ve had them mostly on my chest. Be sure to bomb your possessions before taking them back into your own house, and, if it’s too late for that, bomb your house. They’re generally no biggie once dealt with appropriately.

Rule 4: Check the Location. Do your research and find out how far away your hotel is from the action. Google maps is great for this – put your hotel name in and map to supermarkets, pubs, shops, beaches, etc. Remember to change the transport mode around from walking to public transport, and if you go with that accommodation, store your maps for when you get there. And DON’T be an idiot and rely on Taxis! In some parts of AUS there are NO taxis – Sydneysiders I know this idea is foreign to you but trust me, no Ubers either! Don’t get stuck, blind, in the middle of nowhere, with no transport, you may have to sleep it off in the gutter – witnessed on South Coast.


The Kam Leng Hotel in Singapore – loved the location of this place, even though it was out of the tourist hubs it was super fun feeling like an expat Singaporean local.

Rule 5: If you are going to a small Australian town call the local pub – and call them at a reasonably quiet time, say Tuesday morning. Most small locally run pubs and hotels in Australia are NOT advertised on Expedia / Quickbeds / Last Minute, etc. and most still have the same affordable price tag on their rooms. You can research them all you like on the Internet, but I strongly advise you to pick up the phone and have a chat, even if you’re not sure if accommodation is offered at said pub they may be able to point you in the right budget traveller direction!


The Middle Pub in Mullumbimby where we stayed for Bluesfest 2016. Clean rooms, a $15 menu and we came back from Bluesfest early one night and a live blues band was playing with a piano accordion! 

That’s it.

Have you had bedbugs? Have you been stranded in the ‘country’? Can you recommend any sweet café’s to try for breakfast whilst holidaying?

Comment and let me know.


> In the next post I’ll share my tips on Booking Flights <

Stay tuned for updates here and on the ‘gram @crystaljanes_lalaland

CJ x


I love Expedia.

Don’t give me crap about Trivago or Agoda being better. I won’t listen and I definitely will not change over. Expedia is where it’s at.

I use Expedia to book my flights and accommodation, both are usually available to purchase at the LOWEST rate possible. Each purchase made on Expedia using the same login is stored in your online account, and with each purchase you gain ‘points’. These ‘points’ eventuate into extra savings. So say you buy Flights return to Cairns for $250, this will unlock even lower rates for your accommodation. Sometimes these savings are $10 total and sometimes $50/night. On our recent SE Asian holiday we unlocked a 50% discount on accommodation at The Ayana Resort in Bali – if you haven’t seen this place Google now!


The Expedia APP is its other selling point. If you don’t already have it – download it NOW. The app remembers your login and stores all of your purchases under the tab ‘My Trips’ in chronological order. With these purchases, it stores all of your travel documents with links to boarding passes etc.! Perfect for unorganized travellers like me! 



I never use the APP to search for flights or accommodation, NEVER. I always search for flights and accommodation on the laptop and ALWAYS clear my web browsing history/caches/cookies after searching if I don’t purchase them. I read somewhere that the websites can store your visit and search and keep the same (or higher) prices for when you return. I don’t know how true this is but it takes literally 1 minute to do, and if that 1-minute saves me 10c I’m happy! I am a wannabe budget traveller. 

I’ve never booked accommodation on Air Bnb, but I have looked into it. The problem with Air Bnb, I have found, is that it is home owner advertised – and with that – priced. The places that I have looked at renting have never justified their price tag. On my most recent trip to Mullumbimby for Bluesfest accommodation in both Byron Bay and Mullumbimby was priced out of this world, and we ended up securing a hotel room at the local pub ‘The Middle Pub’ for less than $80/night. My advice is to check out Expedia, and then compare what you find to the places available on Air Bnb.

Has this helped? What experiences have you had using Expedia and/or Air Bnb? Got a booking site you want me to give a try? Comment and let me know.

> In the next post I’ll share my Accommodation booking rules J <

Stay tuned for updates here and on the ‘gram @crystaljanes_lalaland


CJ x


Our friends and family have been saying this since December 2015. My fiancé, Glenn, is a Real Estate Agent and has wanted to build a house since forever. I, on the other hand, have not, and have always wanted to rent and travel my life away. Glenn bought a block of land last year which is set to settle in January 2017. Before his purchase, after long consultations with me, he promised that this wouldn’t stop any travel plans, ever.

I put travel first. Travel has to be the best investment anyone can make in their own self education. Any travel, near or far, broadens your mind, makes you think differently, and challenges you to plan, learn, and explore.

Since November of 2015 we’ve been on a trip a month. I figure Glenn has done well at keeping his promise.

November 2015 – Blue Mountains, NSW.



December 2015 – Tamworth + Newcastle, NSW.



January / February 2016 – Singapore, Cambodia + Bali.



March 2016 – Bluesfest @ Byron Bay + Mullumbimby, NSW.


 April 2016 – Cairns, Port Douglas + Cape Tribulation, QLD.


‘You’re always on Holidays!’ is probably more of an observation.

How do we do this? How do we afford this while we’re saving to build a house?

Over the next week I’ll share my tips and tricks to making travel affordable for all. And, if you’re lucky, I may even do a few cost breakdowns and full recaps of recent adventures.

Stay tuned for updates here and on the ‘gram @crystaljanes_lalaland


CJ x