Island-hopping Seychelles

Praslin Seychelles

Backpacking the Seychelles

While island hopping can be more comfortable with a backpack than with a suitcase the typical things back packers enjoy are limited on the islands: cheap eats, cheap accomodation, nightlife. There are hardly any solo travelers and thus no hostels and people to easily bond with. The Seychelles spezialize in luxury tourism to limit the number of tourists so that their biggest treasure – nature and beaches – will be protected.

We chose to visit the three main islands: Mahé, Praslin and La Digue. Our favourite was La Digue as its (almost) bike-only policy gives you this relaxed small tropical island feeling. Our plan was to discover the most we could of the islands and especially stop at some of the most beautiful beaches.

Safety in the Seychelles 

I was asked if it was safe to travel alone as a female in the Seychelles. As the Seychelles are the most developed country in Africa it feels safe. Actually I felt more safe than I do in Europe because there are so few inhabitants on the island that social control is exercised. For example we didn’t have to lock our bikes on La Digue because everybody knows who those bikes belong to. The official travel advice is to not walk alone at night but actually I didn’t have those concerns (you might not want to walk at night because there’s nothing going on anymore but that’s a different story). Just make sure to not get run over by a car when crossing the street as they drive on the left (aka the wrong one) side of the road.

Health in the Seychelles

From a medical point of view, the embassy’s list of sicknesses you could potentially get is pretty long; however malaria is not on there! 🙂 (my doctor only gets to see me for malaria prescriptions and keeping my vaccinations up to date).

The risk of catching Dengue fever and some other mosquito born sicknesses is present, so make sure you’re always covered with mosquito spray.

Always put some sunscreen (30+) on and take your emergency meds. My emergency meds kid includes anything against food poisoning, having a cold, sore throat, desinfection liquid; just typical travel health issues.

However I didn’t need to use any of those and they were also lots of pharmacies around where you could get those if you need. On every island we saw hospitals too.

Getting robbed in the Seychelles

The only uncomfortable situation I had on our arrival day was when I left the security guard alone in the room for one second. I caught him opening my portmonnaie, so I immediately said “what the fuck are you doing”. He made up some excuses but I noticed how he stressed, so I made him open all his pockets and show me everything.p: “Now that pocket”.

I caught him right in the moment so he hadn’t taken anything yet. The situation was awkward for all of us.

Esther said she’d never seen me as strict and determined like that before.

My point is: pay tension to your belongings all the time, don’t give any opportunity and you’ll be fine. Especially your passport and your credit card need to be in a safe place. All the rest can be replaced. Except for that I didn’t have any concerns leaving things unlocked in our room.

Driving in the Seychelles

I recommend getting a rental car on the islands Mahé and Praslin because they’re quite hilly and too big to discover by bike.

The cheaper alternative would be to go by bus. But you might have to wait half an hour here and there. Rental cars cost €50 per day with third-party liability insurance included. If you take a car for 10 or more days the price may go down to 35€ per day.

In the Seychelles one does not drive on the right side of the road. As long as you get an automatic car that shouldn’t be an issue; just make sure you don’t drive too far on the left. Or on the right like I did in the jungle. For the rest of the holiday I was hoping to get my deposit back…

Rental car providers can be found at the airport and in the main towns – sometimes even in your accommodation. One travel hack if you’re island hopping  is to return the car at the ferry terminal or airport. Best is to rent the car the day before you change islands and you don’t have to worry about the transport with your luggage to the ferry terminal from your accommodation. From the ferry terminal in Mahé there’s actually an airport transfer for 10 €.

Diving in the Seychelles 

We went diving and snorkeling three times, that is on every island we visited.

Unexpectedly diving in Praslin was the highlight. At Bobby point ( Bobby not Boobie) we saw a whale shark and at Red Point on Curieuse island I was swimming with dolphins. Fish swarms, turtles and small sharks can be found almost everywhere.

On Mahé there were high waves, visibility was bad and nine out of 12 people left after the first dive/ snorkel.
On La Digue you’ll find underwater rocks and labyrinths.

Cheap eats in the Seychelles

The Seychelles is not an affordable country as it is 1000 km from the mainland and everything has to be imported. Restaurants charge at least €10 per dish and starting from four euros for soft drinks.

Hotels usually come with accommodation only – hardly ever with breakfast, lunch or dinner or all inclusive.

Unless you want to spend big amounts for food, I recommend having a light breakfast with fruit, samosas from a supermarket for the equivalent of $.30 for lunch and for dinner I would recommend Takeaway for three to 5 euros euros.

Fresh fruit juice Seychelles

The best takeaway we found is Mi Mum’s Takeaway on La Digue island close to the ferry terminal. In fact the food was better than at any restaurant we were eating at.

Mi Mum takeaway La Digue Seychelles

I got a funny interpretation of a vegetable pizza that had a mix of frozen vegetables on it. Beans, peas and carrots are  not the typical kind of veggies you’d expect on a pizza; but this veggie mix haunted me all over the islands since  they were hardly any fresh vegetables in the supermarkets and markets.

For European food you might actually want to spend more just to get the quality of ingredients right.

For the best value for money eat local specialities such as fish curries, vegetable curries or meat curries.

Which airlines fly to the Seychelles

Emirates, Etihad, Turkish, Ethiopian, Qatar, Air Seychelles,…

Nice options to combine with a stopover like we did in Dubai on the way to Vietnam in 2015.

We took a direct flight over night with Condor from Frankfurt ( cheapest option). Service on board was disappointing.

Condor foodSeychelles airport SEZ Mahé arrival Frankfurt airport departure

Money in the Seychelles

Get Seychelles Rupies from the ATM upon arrival for smaller expenses. Bigger  expenses can be paid by credit card and in Euros.

How much is it to travel the Seychelles on a budget?

Direct round trip Flight FRA-SEZ over night 700€ (starting from 500€)

Bus 0,50€ per person without changing the bus

Rental car 50€ with third party insurance

Airbnb from 60€ per night ( that is 30€ per person per night 🙂 ) we even got whole apartments with kitchen for that price. Way better value for money than hotels.

Cheapest hotel at the beach with pool (Berjaya Beau Vallon) with semi pension 240€ per night but not worth the money. 1 week packaged holiday incl flight there costs from 1400€.

Four Seasons ( that is where fancy instagrammers stay if the hotel invites them) from 1000€ per night ( “cheaper” in a packaged holiday, i.e. 4000€ per person incl flight from Europe)

Airport transfer to Beau Vallon from 40€ ( bus is 1€ per person but a bit of hustling)

Ferry 

Book on seyferry.com. Some companies need hard copies to not give you those fancy boarding passes

Seychelles ferry Praslin La Digue boarding pass

Mahé- Praslin 47€ per person

Praslin – La Digue 14€

La Digue – Mahé 61€

Airport transfer from ferry to airport on Mahé 10€
Diving 100-120€

Snorkeling 15-30€ or free

Eating out Luxembourgish prices

Restaurant 15€+ per person

Supermarket french prices

Alcohol Scandinavian prices, e.g. local beer 250ml in supermarket 2€, in a restaurant 5€, cocktail 10€, bottle of johnny Walker 35€ in supermarket, 15€ in airport duty free shop.

On a low-medium budget it is possible to travel the Seychelles with a budget of  100-120€ per day. Thinking in relative terms, longer stays will make up for the expensive flight and bring down the daily budget.

Luxembourg – je t’aime, moi non plus…

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Living in Luxembourg pros and cons

Ech hun dech gär…that’s as close as you can get to saying “i love you” in Luxemburgish. Isn’t that sad? Luckily there are two more official languages to express your romantic feelings!

Correct me if I’m wrong but Luxembourg is the one and only country having three official languages (Luxemburgisch, French and German) and English being widely spoken.

Thanks to big expat and migrant communities, Portuguese, Italian and many other European and also non-European languages are spoken in the streets. Isn’t this unique? You become a polyglot by staying in one place – the heart of Europe! 💙💛

Finding a job? There are just banks and funds?! Luxleaks, fiscal paradise, Panama Papers…?

Amazon, Ferrero, Skype and many others recently declared their European headquarters here. No only for fiscal reasons and low social security charges but also thanks to the multilingual workforce. Wages are high and indexed to inflation. The country has more jobs than active workforce. Therefore many cross-country employees commute every day.

Makes the GDP per capita one of the highest in the world and the traffic jams also the most annoying worldwide.

Having 100,000 people more during lunch break than in the evening or on weekends make the city sometimes a real bore. Why do you all rush home instead of having some afterwork drinks?

Luxembourg has no culture?! Yes it does, afterwork on Wednesday and Thursday – but only on a sunny day. Where else in the world would you pay 5€ for a small beer to drink on the street? And yes this is both legal and socially accepted here! 😏😎✌🏿️

imageimageimageimageOctober to April are dark winter months with zero sunshine. Not only is there a lack of sunshine but also no blue skies, wet cold, rain, strong winds that will make you freeze to death and hate this place. Thats why we all migrate to southern Europe. Or at least dream of a sunnier place to be. This place reliably triggers my #wanderlust

Spring and summer however are incredibly picturesque!

If you’re allergic, better stay inside, those beautiful blossoms have some side effects.. 😝🙈🌸

The architecture is just stunning! From french sandstone villas on Avenue de la liberte to modern steel- glass office buildings on Kirchberg – the eye and camera lense has much to capture. And then the city mixes with parcs in its middle to have a green silent heart surrounded by its hectic loud life..

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Go check out the Luxemburgish Switzerland and beautiful castles in the North!

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Nightlife.. Well Luxi with you ridiculous prices you have become my rehab. Let’s better predrink with friends at my place and not pay your silly 15€ for a cocktail. Wages are not that high either!😈 🙀😿

And then you shouldn’t get too wasted either. Chances are high to run into your boss at a party. Or anyone you’ve ever met here. Byebye anonymous life! Socialize!

Lux is the cheapest country to study? Well cost of living is high but:

  • student accomodations are subsidized
  • tuition fees low
  • alcohol, cigarettes and gas cheap ( #tanktourismus)
  • you can go grocery shopping in Germany
  • No charges for medical insurance (those savings actually pay my rent) …

Construction

Right now, one can’t take any photos without cranes and construction sites. Sorry tourists from Far East for all the #Kranplatz …

What do you love and hate about Luxembourg? Or have you never been there? Leave me a comment 😉

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expats in Luxembourg

student in Luxembourg

How the hell do you afford to travel so damn much?!

If you want to travel more, make travelling your priority!

Social media shows a distorted reflection of real life:

….all you see is free time but you never see people posting about their work (some complaints about studying maybe 😉 …). There are studies showing how unhappy social media makes you from this adverse perception of other people’s lives btw.

 

Personally, what I didn’t post is:

  • that I always worked during semester holidays for my internships or student jobs
  • that I took on 3 jobs during my 1st semester of the Master This was a mess! Working full-time and full-time studies did not work for me. The good thing about having zero leisure time is that you do not have time to spend your money either. 😀 So, I just kept the freelance work, i.e. keep the best paid jobs with the most flexible timing. Connect with me on Linkedinfor more info on my jobs 😉

 

This all falls under the aspect of “Gain more“. This is only half of the story:

 

Gain more – spend less

 

Spend less

Pre travelling:

  1. Track your spending, e.g. with Excel spreadsheets, apps or your bank’s budgeting tool
  2. Take less money with you; feeling broke makes you spend less
  3. save on your monthly rent (especially in your younger years this is probably your biggest expense)
  4. avoid subscriptions (phone, fitness, music, newspaper etc. adds up considerably and most of them you cannot quit right away)
  5. avoid foreign exchange rate charges by changing money with your bank or get a credit card with low fees, e.g. comdirect
  6. do not pay for your bank account and bank cards, there are so many free offers
  7. check and change your insurances every year before November. Sometimes you do not even need to change, just tell them you intend to because you have found this cheaper offer, and your agent will probably make you the same offer
  8. do not subscribe to a phone contract that you cannot afford (40€/month compared to a 10€ SIM card a month makes savings of 360€ a year)
  9. avoid overpriced sweets and drinks (Starbucks). Drinking water is not only healthier and keeps you in shape, but it also saves you tons of money. A coffee at Starbucks is roughly 10 times more expensive than when you cook one yourself.
  10. Put money aside: save all your change or all coins or a fixed amount a month
  11. Go on a shopping diet for one season: I did that in France to save for the USA. But I still went to (online) shops to see what I liked. Not only did this shape my style, it also helped me evaluate if I really missed anything.
  12. Go shopping less often: for me this came automatically after the shopping diet. Shopping, especially on Saturdays takes so much time and it is pure stress with all the people in your way and the noise.
  13. Buy what you need not what you want: a shopping diet is the best way to figure out what you actually need. Write a list of which items you are missing
  14. Buy just what you like 100% and that makes you feel fabulous: when in doubt take your best gay friend and watch his reaction when you come out of the changing room 😉
  15. Meal planning and cooking vs. eating out: a rice prepared by yourself costs 0.5€ compared to 7€ at the Iranian place in the city center of Luxembourg. Pasta costs 1€ compared to 12€ in a restaurant. A sandwich costs 1€ compared to 4.5€. A salad 0.5 – 2€ compared to 8-12€… Should I go on? 😉 Use the saved amounts to spoil yourself with something great once in a while. ;-)The only exception for this is if you live in China or Thailand and eating out is actually cheaper and more convenient.
  16. Free your stuff. Go through all your belongings and ask yourself: “For how long haven’t I used this? Do I really need this”. Then sort it into: Keep, sell or give away. In doubt, ask your best friend to look through your “Keep” items. My best friend has a lot of fun criticizing what I’d like to keep. 😛 Helps a lot to get rid of what you don’t need. Then try to sell your stuff once; the leftovers and the “give away” stuff goes to charity.
  17. Bring less stuff. Cheaper to travel with less luggage and you have more space to bring something back for your loved ones.
  18. Drink less Alcohol. How easily do you spend a fortune on a night out? Drink more before at your friend’s place or drink less in general. 😉

 

While planning your trip:

  1. Find cheap offers (urlaubspiraten.de, holidaypirates.com, urlausbguru.de)
  2. travel during low season (Jan-May, Oct- Mid Dec excluding school holidays and public holidays)
  3. find the best prices, e.g. on kayak.com for fixed dates and destinations, compare flights and multi-stop flights; skyscanner.com if you’re very flexible regarding time and destination
  4. do not hesitate to book when your dates are fixed
  5. be spontaneous and do not hesitate when finding last-minute offers
  6. compare a package holiday with buying flights and accommodation separately (depending on your preferences)

 

During your trip:

take your friends with you: it’s not only more fun, but you can also share expenses.

Accommodation:

  1. Take your friends (best to take the max possible per room and car)
  2. Check your preferences for price, luxury and location
  3. Compare prices and other characteristics of hostels and regular hotel rooms (wifi, parking, location, breakfast,…). There is no rule which accommodation is better per se.

 

Transportation

  1. Use public transport. Busses, long-distance busses, trains, trams,..
  2. Use Uber instead of taxis
  3. Ask strangers at the airport to share a taxi; we met Cili from Chile this way and spent even more time with her afterwards exploring Ho Chi Minh City
  4. Use or even better offer ride shares, with the later option you might even earn money regarding low gas prices at the moment. BTW this way I had free trips to Switzerland and Amsterdam using blablacar.com)
  5. Rent a car: reserve online or negotiate well to get good prices. Optimal: fill up all the seats.
  6. Rent a scooter/motor bike: always fun and a bit crazy if you’re alone or “just the two of us”

What’s your excuse for not travelling now? 😛

 

 

Where the hell is Michelle…?!

Where the hell is Michelle?

Short answer: Luxembourg.

Why #wherethehellismichelle?

My #1 FAQ (#2 being when do you come back, #3 when do i see you again) makes me realize what great friends I have. 😍😘
Fellow travellers also ask the where question: “where are you from?” to start random smalltalk.
Hence, the hashtag.

Long answer:

Started writing this in a plane flying from Shanghai to Guilin. Finishing it in Luxembourg. Jaja, procrastination 🙈

I spend more time on the road than in my hometown. Therefore I often take the wrong way in one way streets although I’m in a car with a local license plate… 🙈😂
Unfortunately I don’t spend enough time with old friends and family but I’m working on it. 😉💪

“Can you imagine living abroad?”, asked my german teacher just before graduation.
“Maybe”, that’s what most of us said, including me.

Turns out since graduating highschool I’ve always lived abroad. 5 countries in 5 years: Germany – Luxembourg – France – USA – China.

Apart from that my travel addiction started in the US. My well-travelled friends there inspired me and in the end we went on roadtrips almost every weekend.

Now, 2 years later it’s all about travelling. All the money I’m saving, the job I’m choosing, day offs, exam planning,… – it just comes down to how this will allow me to travel.

And suddenly I went to more Countries in 2015 than in my whole life before. The new one’s were: UAE, Viet Nam, San Marino, Oman, Tanzania, Israel, Ethiopia, China with Hong Kong and Macao.

Get ready for some reviews, and how I have the time and money for all this… 😝✌🏿️