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Travel destinations that need to be on your bucket list

If you’re starting to think about all the amazing and wonderful places you’d love to visit and send postcards from, make sure you include these top five places!

1. Send a postcard from Iceland

Iceland should be on your bucket list of places to visit

Icelandic ponies

If you enjoy the great outdoors, epic scenery, hotdogs, peace, quiet and horses, then a road trip around Iceland has to be on your bucket list! You can’t ever predict the weather in Iceland – a tiny island in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean is prone to serious cold snaps and rather windy weather.

But as a guide, if you go in the summer you will miss the snow and be confronted with lush fields between the mountains where wild horses graze, but beware of the midges at this time of year. If winter looks too cold for you, I suggest autumn (Aug-Oct). The crisp, cool air can still sting but you may just be lucky to catch the northern lights providing the clouds stay away.

Top tip: The best way to see Iceland is by van as you will likely get bored (and broke) staying in the city. Happy Campers are a great van rental company to use.

2. Send a postcard from New Zealand

Hobbiton in New Zealand should be on your bucket list

Hobbiton (Lord of the Rings movie set), Matamata

But the big question is: North Island or South Island?
North Island is full of tourist hot spots like the hot water beaches of the Coromandel, the luge in Rotorua, 90 Mile Beach, and Hobbiton (Lord of the Rings set). You also have the two major cities of Auckland and Wellington, if you fancy a spot of shopping.

Whereas in the South Island you have about a million people spread out on an island the size of England and Wales combined!* Vast open roads that link pleasant rural and skiing towns such as Arrowtown, Queenstown and the Edinburgh-esk city of Dunedin. If you love the countryside, mountains, lakes and a place to ski (or walk in the summer), then rent a camper van and get going!

*England and Wales is populated by about 56 million people on 151,040km² of land, and the South Island is populated by one million on 151,215 km² of land!

3. Send a postcard from Dorset

Dorset should be on your travel bucket list

Durdle Door, Dorset

If you’re coming to England, I suggest skipping London and coming straight to Dorset! Home of the Jurassic Coast, and the cliffs made famous by Broadchurch. Plus, the beautiful beaches of the Purbecks, the shopping district of Bournemouth and the grand New Forest. There is so much to do here! Just be aware that Dorset is far from being an undiscovered holiday destination, so it may be best to come outside of the school holidays to avoid enjoying the view from inside a stationary vehicle on a gridlocked road.

4. Send a postcard from Paris

Moulin Rouge in Paris should be on your travel bucket list

The famous Moulin Rouge, Paris

Stereotypical, I know, but Paris is a place of expression and stunning sites. Parisians are as brusque and confident as they are elegant and indulgent. Guilt from eating good food doesn’t seem to be common place here as it is in the UK, and quite frankly, I loved this attitude! Eat good food, get inspired by the architecture and art, wear elegant clothes, walk, talk and express yourself confidently. If you go to Paris, get ready to immerse yourself into the culture of simply enjoying life at a slower pace without the guilt.

5. Send a postcard from Melbourne

Graffiti lane in Melbourne should be on your travel bucket list

Hosier Lane (AKA Graffiti Lane), Melbourne

The arty heart of Australia found on the Southern coastline. A broad city of trams and cafes, with streets populated by painters, graffiti artists, performers and musicians. Melbourne is colourful, vibrant and youthful with a distinct character fuelled by independent companies that sell vinyl records and skewered burgers. The coffee-drinking and brunch-eating culture is an important part of life here – a perfect place to shop or to sit in a brick-walled, back-alley cafe and write that zombie romance novel you always meant to.

 

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Postsnap personalised Valentine's Day greeting card I'd always swipe right for you

We often get asked for the price of postcard stamps to and from popular destinations such as the UK, Canada, Australia and the USA. So here is a guide for rates for mailing cards.

Where to buy postcards
You can buy stamps at the Post Office or major super markets, such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda. But the pricing generally stays the same.

The standard postcard rate
Sending a postcard within the UK is surprisingly good value using the UK’s Royal Mail. A standard 6 x 4 (148mm x 105mm) postcard is treated as a smaller letter and costs just 64p for the 1st class service or 55p if you choose 2nd class.*

The standard postcard design is classed as a smaller letter because they weigh less than 4 grams. Ours weigh closer to 7 grams because we use thicker card, with our large postcards weighing 13 grams – but with no extra postage charge.

Send a breathtaking personalised PostcardHowever, if you are sending postcards abroad from the UK, the postage rates increase substantially. It can set you back around £1.05 to send a postcard internationally. That’s expensive for postcard mailing, let alone the cost of the card.

Australia charges $1 (£0.62) for domestic postcards, and $2.75 (£1.71) for postcards sent beyond New Zealand or Asia.

USA charges $0.38 (£0.28) for postcards sent domestically, but $1.15 (£0.95) for everywhere else.

Using your phone to send a postcard
Being part of Generation Y, sending handwritten post is not something I am completely familiar with. I remember having to send my first postcard (without mum’s guidance) not that long ago.

The dumb-founded look on the Post Office clerk’s face as I waved a postcard in front of her, asking what do I need to do to get this to New Zealand? was a tad embarrassing.

Having postage included on the card or postcard would certainly take the hassle (and embarrassment) out of posting. Therefore, creating and posting greeting cards and postcards online is becoming the best way to avoid standing in a Post Office line for half your lunch break.

Thankfully, using apps to send postcards is an easy solution for us Millennials and Gen-Ys. It’s much cheaper and doesn’t involve setting a foot in the local Post Office.

Postsnap for example enables you to make and send your postcard all in one go – without leaving the sofa or sun bed. With printers in England, West Coast of USA and in Australia’s New South Wales, no matter where your recipient is they will receive their cards quickly.

Our international postage prices never more than £0.50 or $o.50, with free postage within UK – making them cheap postcards in comparison.

With so many families and friends living overseas, keeping in touch isn’t always easy. But sending postcards with your own photos is a gesture that goes a long way without the fuss or stress.

I know my non-Facebook-using family in New Zealand enjoy seeing what I’m up to in the UK, and even keep my postcards to frame and display on the mantle piece.

*all prices as of March 8, 2017.

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Being in New Zealand for Christmas

A Postsnap blogger in New Zealand during mid-December 2015.

Christmas is not a cold event everywhere. Back in New Zealand, where I hail from, Christmas is associated with sandals and strawberries rather than snow and socks.

? Rather than a hot turkey, we tend to have BBQs outside. Burgers, sausages, salads and lemonade are common at Christmas dinner.

? Shoes are not a common site in December. You’re more likely to see bare feet and sandals (aka jandals) than boots of any kind.

? Strawberries are a must! They are ripe and in every shop. You can buy them in bulk on the roadside stalls or Sunday farmers’ markets.

? Paper hats from Christmas crackers are not often worn due to them sticking to foreheads… Also, paper hats mess up the Christmas hairdo.

The New Zealand Christmas tree - Pohutukawa

New Zealand’s Christmas tree – the Pohutukawa.

? New Zealand’s ‘national Christmas tree’ is the native Pohutukaua tree, which blooms with bright red flowers in December. The red flowers are beautiful and typically lining suburban streets. during New Zealand summers.

? Kiwi fruit atop a homemade Pavalova is a Christmas must.

??  Most will make their way to the beach on Christmas day, usually to find a Father Christmas figure handing our lollies. Santa is usually wearing a sleeveless red vest, shorts and sandals. Not forgetting the beard though – to keep it looking authentic.

Ice lollies for Christmas in a warm countryA very strange Christmas for some, but the norm for Kiwis, where summer break and Christmas holidays are merged to create a December to January nation-wide shut-down!

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