Fuss-Free Travels with SUDIO Tre

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I don't know about you, but I always face this problem of getting my earphones entangled — every. single. time. It's always the case, especially when I bring my earphones along with me on my travels, intending to plug in on my favourite Spotify playlist for hour-long flights or comfy train rides on my trips, to end up with a huge amount of time spent trying to sort it out. Am I glad that I don't have to worry about such issues anymore with the latest SUDIO Tre Earphones sent over!

If you haven't already heard, SUDIO Sweden is widely known for their cutting-edge earphones, not only designed to fit into our lifestyles but also serves different purposes. Their Tre collection is catered best for active users, with sweat and water-resistant functions and custom wing-tips for a secure fit. This is, without fail, extremely important when you're going out for a run and want your earphones to be kept in place without interfering your exercise routine.

One of my favourite features from the Tre range would be its Bluetooth function, given that I have yet found a suitable fit for my current iPhone 8+, as its design doesn't come with a headphone jack. I also tend to explore the city often when travelling, so the 9 hours battery life would definitely be in handy! Did I also mention that it has great mic clarity and Siri voice control too?! The only thing that might take me a little longer to adapt to, would be the full sound transparency function. I usually prefer to block out all noise from the background, but sometimes, I end up losing touch with my surroundings which could even lead to dangerous situations. Hence I'm getting myself to adapt to this new function, while still being able to tune in to my favourite music and podcasts.

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Not paid to say this, but though it's my first time working with SUDIO, they have been such wonderful and generous individuals whom I love working with! Besides their excellent service, they have been so utterly generous with their products, sending over these lovely sets of my desired colors for me to try. I'm always thankful when I can share my client's products with my family members, and it came just in time when both my mum and brother were facing issues with their previous set of earphones. They are both currently using this series now and it even comes with a handmade leather case for each set! Available in: Black, Blue, White (with rose gold), and Pink.

Here's something special that the team from SUDIO would like to share with you guys: For this season, you can cart out your favourite pair of earphones for 15% off, using the code <cheowster> and get a complimentary limited edition summer tote bag with every purchase made by 30 May! I'm currently using the pink pair of earphones; get a pair to try too, or even for your loved ones!

Love,
Chelsea

The Airbnb User Guide | 9 Tips On Your First Trip

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Holla! I know it's been a while since I wrote on this platform, but I've been contemplating for the longest time if people actually read blogs anymore, or have they all shifted to YouTube/Facebook to watch feeds filled with videos? After much thoughts, I realised that my passion still lies more in writing and sharing my written thoughts because I can better express myself. Hence, this is my attempt to be more constant with my sharing of travel and lifestyle content! I just came back from Bali, and I thought I'd share some thoughts I have on a Bed and Breakfast service that is probably familiar with most of you out there  Airbnb!


Ever since I've started using Airbnb to source for homes when I travel, I've always been doing so for my trips every now and then because of its affordable rates, genuine home experience, how it helps me connect with locals and the amazing photos that I can get from beautiful homes that you won't be able to get at many hotels. Although it may not be something new to many, I thought it'd be great if I listed some tips I thought would be helpful for first-timers or even existing Airbnb users, through my past years of using the Airbnb service. Of course, this is not a sponsored/paid post  just my genuine sharing of the platform.

Before The Stay

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1. Filter, do your research and read up reviews
First of all, decide on your next travel destination. You can also check out the locations of places you'd like to visit to get a rough idea of which area you'd most likely be staying during your trip. For me, I usually like going to different parts of the country if convenient to rent a car. Hence, I'll usually select a few Airbnbs from different cities depending on the activities I plan to partake in.

With the Airbnb map tool, you can hover over the location you wish to visit and they will show you many homes within that specific area. The platform has made is SO convenient for users to filter out according to the travel dates, no. of guests, home type, price range, accommodation preferences, etc. It'll save you loads of time!

I usually choose homes that already have good reviews, because I don't prefer to risk a bad home experience. Personally, I'll pick homes that are within my budget per night, along with positive reviews and decent sample photos — brownie points if they have an Instagram-worthy home! I will then add the shortlisted homes to my wishlist so that I can refer back easily. I also just found out that you can google wishlists by other users, too! e.g. "wishlist Bali Airbnb" and there will be many wishlists appearing on Google search. Try it!

2. Enquire before booking 

Airbnb has two options: either you enquire first, or book immediately. I usually contact the host to check on their response rate before booking, to establish a relationship beforehand and check on some simple details, such as their house rules, recommended places to eat/shop/visit, and additional tips. This is also a great way to check on your host's service and raise any concerns you have.


3. Take note of extra fees (cleaning/service fee)

Don't forget to check on any additional fees that might not have been included in the pricing. For example, service fee and cleaning fee. Before making any bookings, always check through the facilities carefully in the listing. Some of the basic things I look out for are wireless internet, air conditioning, parking on premises, kitchen, bathing essentials, and if possible, breakfast too! I love how you get to try a taste of each city's homemade cuisine when visiting different homes from different Airbnb experiences. Last, my boyfriend and I had delicious Balinese breakfast by our host, from Bali chicken rice with dragonfruit blended juice, to pancakes with their famous black coffee and fresh homegrown fruits. I miss it already!

4. Special discount 

Though you may want to skip the service fees, it's always recommended that you make payment through Airbnb's secure system to stay protected. And for first-timers using Airbnb, you can use my code to get additional travel credit on your first trip! Ever since I've started using Airbnb, I hardly ever stay in hotels anymore. There's so much more to experience staying at unique homes from all around the world, getting to know the Airbnb community and understanding cultures.

5. Make arrangements

Congrats, you've made your booking! Usually, I proceed with sharing my personal information a week before my arrival. I share my flight number and arrival time with the host, enquire on transportation services if needed, take down the host's contact number, and note on additional details such as whether breakfast is provided. Good hosts will usually recommend guide tips and check on you to ensure they make proper arrangements for your journey there.

Also wanted to add that I usually arrange my own transportation because my boyfriend and I prefer to venture around the city with our own transport. We usually check if our destination supports the idea of driving a rented car around ourselves, because some places like Bangkok have bad traffic, and Vietnam only allows car rentals with a hired local driver. During our trip to Bali, we compared daily rates of car rentals compared to flagging blue taxis and realised how much better it is to simply rent one instead!

Breakfast meals at our Bali Airbnb apartments - look at his cute attempt to smile for the camera!

During The Stay

6. Respect the rules as a guest

Always remember that you're staying at someone else's apartment and always try to keep the apartment clean while using the amenities with care whenever possible. From non-smoking to pet-friendly apartments, it's always better to make an effort respecting the rules. In fact, your host will also be giving you a review at the end of your stay!

7. Bring your own toiletries

If the listing doesn't include or specify what they provide in further detail, always check with your host before your stay. Also, don't be shy to contact your host directly should you face any questions. Sometimes, there might be tiny issues that might need fixing and I'm sure good hosts will be happy to assist whenever!

8. Facing issues? Contact Airbnb within 24 hours upon check-in

Usually, you wouldn't face issues booking an apartment that has been supported by good reviews. However, if your listing booked is misrepresented, generally unclean/unsafe, or if your host fails to provide reasonable access to the booked listing, you can actually contact Airbnb within 24 hours to submit a valid claim for a refund, along with evidential photos explaining your situation. This is why it's always better booking through the platform!

After The Stay

9. Be honest with your reviews 

I always make it a point to be honest sharing my experience with the fellow community when it comes to leaving reviews. Just ensure you leave it within 14 days so that your feedback will appear on the listing and help out the next traveller on choosing an apartment for their trip. So far, I'm lucky to have met the loveliest hosts from all over the world more than 95% of the time.

I hope this guide came useful to you guys! Can't wait for my next Airbnb trip already. :)

Sign up for SGD$45 off your first Airbnb Trip using my code!

Love,
Chelsea

6 Tips on Cafe-hopping in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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Hola! Headed back to the capital city of Malaysia last month with my boyfriend (Wei Min), exploring cafes, searching for delicious street food and sourcing for the best massage places in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. I've always wanted to go cafe-hopping at different parts of KL, scrolling through my Instafeed and seeing how lovely the interiors look when visited the area. Got myself dressed up in this gorgeous piece by Opulence Label, the Sybil Asymmetrical Dress in Mulberry so that I was camera ready for that Insta-worthy OOTD shot. ;-) After my recent trip, I also realised there are some useful tips that would have really helped me if I would've known previously. And I'm here to share it with you!

1 / Get around easily with the Grab app

One thing in common that Singaporeans are wary of when travelling to Malaysia is wondering how safe it is to hitch a ride in a foreign country. There have been many cases of kidnapping and theft, and some even fear the thought of entering Malaysia. However, we've found great ease using Grab, because it's an affordable option (for our currency exchange rate), and most drivers we've matched with are rated 4-5 stars, so we were rest assured that we're travelling in safe hands. Of course, we still needed to be on our guard, but all our rides booked were convenient and fuss-free, even when we took a Grab at night.

2 / Save a driver's contact number

During my first trip to KL with my girlfriends, we were rather afraid because it was our first time travelling within KL, also without the company of any male friends. However, we were lucky we bumped into a Grab/Uber driver at KL International Airport when making our way to the pickup point. He's a Chinese, hence it was easier to communicate with him, and was a great guide at the same time, introducing us to places to visit and tips on the current weather forecast while taking us to our destination. We took his contact down, and ever since, I've been dropping him a quick WhatsApp message every time I head back. The distance from the airport to the central area is quite a distance (about 1 hour), hence they will usually make time to bring passengers around.

3 / Wear flats/sandals and carry a light sling bag/backpack

One thing I realised was, without the convenience of your own transport, you usually have to walk quite a bit when getting place to place, especially if you're planning to do some cafe-hopping like I did. Even though I took a cab down to a certain area, the cafes/malls are scattered about 10-15 minutes from each other. Therefore, it's always a great idea to travel light and wear something comfortable for you to walk in because you don't want to ruin your trip by getting blisters at the end of the first day.

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Ah... One of my favourite cafes! With great lighting for flat lays, interesting books for you to browse through and delicious desserts and mains, Wild Sheep Chase cafe was made really enjoyable, I spent a tad too long there just capturing photos and taking a chill. We're a huge fan of Japanese food and sashimi, so we can't miss out the Ciabatta Salmon and Cheese sandwich!

4 / Always have cash with you

Although it's quite a no-brainer, it's something that everyone should still note of, especially with the cashless movement that's encouraged nowadays with recent technology. Especially when you're going to certain cafes or the more rural parts of the city, it's a must to pay via cash and it'll be inconvenient to go around finding a money changer. Just ensure that your cash is in kept in different compartments, i.e. some in your wallet, some in your luggage, some in your bag. Why I keep this habit is because you don't want to lose your entire stash of cash your wallet were to go missing. At least you have some remaining cash stored elsewhere instead of all your eggs in a basket.
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Nothing like visiting the heart of Bukit Bintang for great eateries and shopping sprees. Having lots of fun twirling in my Fleur Ruffles Sleeve Dress in the middle of the city, just before sundown when the lighting was perfect. A bustling area and a great photo spot too, Bukit Bintang is a place where you shouldn't miss out on when travelling to KL.

5 / For a good massage, try the Blind Massage parlors

We've tried two massage parlors - a typical massage centre in Pavilion Mall that wasn't really the best and yet not exactly affordable, and a blind massage parlor called Shu Jin Therapy Zone among the vicinity of 20 other blind massage parlors. We were really satisfied with our 1 hour full body massage (RM45 - about SGD$15?!), and were really glad that we could help the visually-impaired with a tiny job opportunity at the same time. Service was fantastic, the people were really friendly and made you feel at home. It's amazing learning how some people don't have equal opportunities but are still happy and grateful for the little things in life, e.g. their workplace friendships forged. Remember to call in to book for an appointment beforehand, just in case!

6 / Shop til' you drop at Sungei Wang Plaza

Right next to Bukit Bintang monorail station, Sungei Wang Plaza is my favourite mall to visit for cheap food, apparels, and window shopping around tech/accessories stores. In my opinion, every shopping mall around Bukit Bintang have their clothes or items priced more or less the same as that of stores in Singapore. However, I found gems in Sungei Wang Plaza at really low prices, and they close about 9-10pm, so I still had time to roam and do last-minute shopping after dinner.

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Explored the many sides of Kuala Lumpur, from the photo-worthy alleys of Brickfields (it's their Little India) and old heritage hipster cafes, to pretty bookstores filled with stickers (Stickeriffic has three cats hopping around the shop while you go through paintbrushes and notebooks, too cute!), and even a Starbucks outlet in Bangsar Village II that provides job opportunities just for the hearing impaired. :-) It was a pity that I couldn't make a travel video because I lost one of my SD cards containing many photos and video clips taken there, but I hope you guys still took something away from this article! Special shoutout to Opulence Label for getting me photo-ready for the trip! x

Love,
Chelsea

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Hey there! I'm Chelsea, also known as @cheowster. That's my boyfriend beside me, the man behind my trusty Canon DSLR and travel photos. ;)

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