Blogs by Tessa Watkins

Written by Tessa Watkins

Formerly a local news editor and reporter covering court cases and crime stories, I’m obsessed with all things travel. Often found exploring a new city and seeking out the world’s best beaches, there are a plethora of destinations I remain desperate to discover. Tweet me @tess1977

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Europe
How to Spend 72 Hours in Venice
Venice is one of my favourite cities; I have been so many times and I feel like every time I go, I discover something new. There are some attractions that you just... Read More »
Yosemite
7 Things you Have to See in Yosemite National Park
Has anyone ever asked you what your favourite place in the world is? It’s a tricky one to answer – there are plenty of destinations I’ve visited and loved, but... Read More »
North America
The Best Things I Ate on a Californian Road Trip
When people asked me what I was most looking forward to on my Californian road trip, I felt like they expected me to say driving over San Francisco’s iconic Golden... Read More »
California
How to Experience California in 10 Days
I’ve wanted to hit the tarmac on an all-American road trip for as long as I can remember. It may sound like a bit of a cliché, but roof down, music up, wind in my... Read More »
Tanzania
How to Prepare for Climbing a Mountain
When I told my friends and family I was planning on climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, they reacted with a mixture of shock, disbelief and mild amusement. While I’m not... Read More »
New Zealand
The Best Ways to See New Zealand’s Glaciers
New Zealand features on most travel bucket lists, and it’s not hard to see why; with its deserted beaches, winding coastal paths and undulating mountains, it’s a... Read More »
Instatravellers: Phil the Travelling Pizza Eater
Meet Phil Duncan. He's from Liverpool, he loves travel and he, er, loves eating pizza. Need we say more? Well, we do actually, mainly the fact that his love of... Read More »
World
Where to Celebrate St Patrick’s Day Around the World
It’s nearly that time again – the one day of the year when dressing head-to-toe in green, donning a novelty hat and raising a toast with a pint of Guinness is... Read More »
Costa Rica: Go Your Own Way

Go your own way to Costa Rica, says Flight Centre’s Tess Watkins, who hired a 4X4 for this independent adventure.

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Malaysia
Spotting Unmissable Wildlife in Malaysia
Malaysia evokes images of postcard-perfection. Think on it for a moment and no doubt your mind will conjure up pictures of breathtaking natural beauty, endless... Read More »
Bali
Bali: The Road Less Travelled
The road to Bali is well travelled, but a Journey to Indonesia reveals there’s so much more to the region than blissful beaches and luxury hotels, says Tess... Read More »
Asia
5 of the Best Things I Ate in Thailand
When I found out I was going to Thailand, it goes without saying that I was excited about visiting the beautiful temples, soaking up a new culture and touring the... Read More »
Thailand
The Best Places to Stay in Thailand
Limestone karsts, crystal-clear waters and some of the most beautiful beaches in the world; Thailand has all the ingredients you need for a paradisiacal retreat. Couple... Read More »
Caribbean
The Best Hotels in the Caribbean
With its endless stretches of white sands, crystal-clear waters, gently swaying palms and golden sunsets, the Caribbean is the ideal destination to kick back and relax.... Read More »
Indonesia
What it’s Like to Fly Business Class with Garuda Indonesia
Anyone who knows me will vouch for the fact that I’m not the best at flying. I’m always one of the first to arrive for a flight, anxious to drop my bag off and get... Read More »
Bali
The Best Hotels in Bali
Bali has been top of my travel wish-list for as long as I can remember – those rolling emerald hills, the white-sand beaches, the spectacular surfing; not to mention... Read More »
Asia
What it’s Like to Trek Through Bali’s Rice Paddy Fields
On my recent trip to Indonesia, I had three things I desperately wanted to tick off my travel wish list – spotting the Komodo dragons, tasting the delicious cuisine... Read More »
Asia
An Interview with the Chef de Cuisine at Alila Seminyak, Bali
Imagine cooking and eating for a living – especially at one of the most amazing resorts in Bali. Allow us to introduce Vivian Vitalis, the extremely talented Chef de... Read More »
Bali
Why You Should Take a Cooking Class in Bali
I love food. I mean, I really love it. Anyone who knows me will vouch for the fact that I’m at my happiest when tucking into a delicious plate of lobster ravioli, a... Read More »
Asia
Sailing Komodo Island in Indonesia
I’ll be honest – I didn’t know much about Komodo Island before I was told I’d be visiting it on a work trip to Indonesia. And while I was excited to see the... Read More »
Instatraveller: The Travels of One Man and His Three Dogs
Catching sight of the Northern Lights is an experience which tops many travel wish lists – but imagine watching the colours dance across the sky with your pet pooches... Read More »
Central America
The Best Foods to Eat in Costa Rica
As a self-confessed foodie, cuisine plays a key role when it comes to planning my trips. I’ll heavily research a destination’s typical food, the best restaurants,... Read More »
Central America
How to Take a Road Trip Through Costa Rica
When I told people I was planning on driving around Costa Rica on my two-week trip, I was met with a mixture of surprise, admiration and shock. I admit I was a little... Read More »
Instatraveller: Catching up with an Urban Explorer
For most of us, relaxation and chill-out time is key when on holiday. But @makhorov – of Novosibirsk in Russia – explores the world in a unique way: he scales the... Read More »
Europe
3 of the Best Castles in Europe
With their ethereal landscapes, towering turrets and magical architecture, the most famous castles in Europe could be plucked straight from a fairy tale. And while there... Read More »
Europe
Where to See Flamenco in Spain
The brightly coloured costumes, the strumming of the guitar, the rhythmic hand claps – flamenco is a hypnotising Spanish tradition which simply has to be experienced... Read More »
Instatraveller: Travelling Dogs Max and Louise
15 countries and counting –adorable pals Max and Louise have been busy exploring the world and sharing it all on Instagram. With over 130,000 people following their... Read More »
Asia
6 of the Best Beaches in Phuket
Nothing says Phuket like a beautiful beach. And as the largest island in Thailand, the Pearl of the Andaman has its fair share. But with so many to choose from, where do... Read More »
Instatraveller: A Trio of Travelling Russian Nesting Dolls
Toothbrush, passport, underwear… Russian nesting dolls? When it comes to packing for your travels, the latter doesn’t usually make it to the list – unless you’re... Read More »
Instatraveller: Globetrotting Dogs Django and Chloe
Seven countries and counting – lovable pooches Django and Chloe have been busy exploring the world and sharing it all on Instagram. With over 16,000 people following... Read More »
Instatraveller: Hamlet the Travelling Pig
This might just be our favourite Instatraveller yet. This month we caught up with Megan Peabody and her pet pig 'Hamlet the Beach Hog' to find out all about their... Read More »
Europe
The Best Things to Eat in Madrid
I’d be lying if I said my decision to book a city break to Madrid had nothing to do with food. As a self-confessed foodie, cuisine comes pretty high up the list when... Read More »
Asia
Things to Do in Phuket
White sandy beaches? Check. Impossibly blue seas? Check. Just an hour away from one of the most iconic islands in the world? Check. Welcome to Phuket. Also known as the... Read More »
World
10 of the World's Most Beautiful Bridges
Let’s face it; if we’re going to cross land or water, we might as well do it in style. And not all bridges are simply constructions to get from one side to the other... Read More »
Instatraveller: Burma the Adventure Cat
This month's Instatraveller is the beautiful @BurmaAdventureCat, who travels around the USA with his owner Stephen. Here we catch up with Stephen about how his lovable... Read More »
Australia
What it's Like to Get Engaged and Married at Uluru
When Flight Centre customer Philippa Hyams first travelled to Uluru, she had no idea how significant the destination would become for her. After husband Robert took her... Read More »
Instatraveller: Globetrotting Cats Bolt & Keel
Travelling cats @BoltandKeel have gone from rags to riches fast; from unwanted kittens to grown-up felines who have the world as their oyster (and we all know how much... Read More »
Europe
The Best Things I Ate in Iceland
When I think of Iceland, I imagine cascading waterfalls, undulating mountains, jaw-dropping scenery and the wanderlust-inducing Northern Lights. Seeing these epic... Read More »
Scotland
Instatraveller: Eric the Globetrotting Stormtrooper
Star Wars may be all the rage right now, but @DarryllJones and his collectible Stormtrooper have been spreading the galaxy love for several years – and all around the... Read More »
Europe
The Best Hotels in Europe
I don’t know about you, but I’m dreaming of escaping to sunnier climes. And while a long-haul trip to destinations like Thailand, Australia and the Caribbean is... Read More »
Middle East
The Best Hotels in Dubai and Beyond
I’ve been lucky enough to visit some mesmerising countries this year, but the one destination I am yet to tick off my list is Dubai. Dramatic desert landscapes,... Read More »
Riviera Maya
A Food Lover’s Guide to Mexico
I love Mexican food. It is easily up there with my favourite cuisine in the world, so naturally I was very excited about my inaugural trip earlier this year to the land... Read More »
Africa
When I Climbed Mount Kilimanjaro
When the email dropped into my inbox seeking “intrepid adventurers” to climb Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for the Alzheimer's Society, I jumped at the... Read More »
Instatraveller: the Travelling Irish Bear
Fergal Howard isn't the first person to travel the world with a stuffed companion. But he is one of few who capture their toys in the photographs too. He takes Packie... Read More »
Europe
7 Things to Do in Lisbon
I made my inaugural trip to Lisbon in August this year and I have already booked to go back; that’s how much I love it. And anyone who knows me will vouch for the fact... Read More »
Indian Ocean
Best Hotels in the Indian Ocean
I don’t know about you, but at this time of year, you’ll usually find me dreaming about my next holiday. Desperate to Escape the dark mornings and gloomy weather, I... Read More »
Asia
Jungle Trekking in Khao Sok, Thailand
It was when I was sliding through mud, into a cave filled with bats and spiders, that I began to wonder if I should have thought twice about embarking on a jungle trek.... Read More »
Instatraveller: the Russian Headstand Man
Anton Charushin's pictures certainly turn heads when compared to the usual travel portraits. 'Head' being the operative word. In each of his successful Instagram... Read More »
World
Where to Find the Best Cakes in the World
We’ve been eagerly counting down the days, and now the wait is finally over: the Great British Bake Off is back! Weeks of mouth-watering cakes, pastries and, my... Read More »
Instatraveller: the Llama With No Drama (But Lots of Travel!)
We’ve been working on the Instatraveller series for a little while now, but this might just be our favourite so far. A toy llama travels the globe, bringing us happy... Read More »
The Best In-Flight Desserts
So you’ve watched some films, read a few chapters of your book, looked out the window, enjoyed a spot of lunch – now what? You still have several hours to go until... Read More »
Europe
Instatravellers: Nirvana the Kayaking Dog
Everyone loves a sailing dog, right? Well Sergi Basoli certainly does. And this month we’ve been chatting to this pooch-loving Instatraveller about his three-year... Read More »
Canada
Our Most Inspirational Itinerary Videos: REVEALED
Have you ever been sat on your sofa watching TV, when a beautiful shot of paradise flashes up on the screen? Did it inspire you to book that plane ticket or explore some... Read More »
6 of the Best Hotel Slides
We all have a list of ‘must-haves’ we look for when choosing the perfect hotel – a big comfy bed, a giant pool to float around in, plenty of restaurants to choose... Read More »
Miami
Instatravellers: Miami the Travelling Dog
What do people love more than pets on Instagram? Pets who travel and do other things that, usually, only humans do. Enter Miami, the tiny, travelling Italian chihuahua... Read More »
6 Reasons Why Travelling by Train is the Best
For most of us, the journey to our destination is a chore. Whether it be hanging around an airport for hours or embarking on an absurdly long drive; often, it feels like... Read More »
Where to Celebrate the Summer Solstice
It’s time to dig out the sunglasses because summer is officially here. And whether you see it as the longest day of the year, the start of the sunshine season, or... Read More »
Instatravellers: the Lego Travellers
Lego figures travelling the world: surely this is the kind of stuff Instagram was made for? It certainly seems that way for this month's Instatravellers Craig and... Read More »
How to Tackle Your Fear of Flying
So you’ve made it onto the plane and you’re buckled up and ready to go. Yet your palms are sweating, you feel sick with nerves and you’re struggling to control the... Read More »
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean Compared: Maldives, Mauritius and Seychelles
As predicaments go, choosing between the Maldives, Mauritius and the Seychelles is a pretty nice one to be faced with. But deciding which Indian Ocean island suits you... Read More »
Indian Ocean
4 Things You Need to Know About Mauritius
Mark Twain once said: “Mauritius was made first, and then heaven; and that heaven was copied from Mauritius.”It was easy to see what he was talking about when I... Read More »
Mauritius
Top 5 Mauritius Hotels
Mauritius is a beach lover’s paradise. Pick the perfect resort and you’re guaranteed a truly unforgettable beach holiday. From family-friendly hotels offering... Read More »