Every one of us likes to travel, discover new places or just relax on the beach. On the way, you always meet the best people and some of us have made friends for life. This has proven a bit more difficult this year. Slowly, our fingers are itching and we would like to go somewhere new. Time to get some travel inspiration. And where better to do that than on Instagram? We've put together the best travel blogs of 2020, which whet our appetite for summer, sun, sea and beaches!
This week on The Ones To Follow 2020: the travelling family Huizer, consisting of Martijn, Dionne and their children Mika and Daelynn. On their blog Reishonger they share the most beautiful travel stories they experience together as a family. In addition, several writers contribute to the blog, so you can rightly speak of the ultimate travel blog. "May we inspire you too?" is the introduction on the website of the travel blog. Yes, please!
Introducing Martijn and Dionne from Reishonger!
What's the story behind Reishonger (Travel Hunger)?
We - Martijn (43) and Dionne (38) Huizer - made a trip around the world in 2009. While backpacking, we travelled the world without any time pressure or planning. Blissful! To keep our family and friends up to date, we kept a blog. We got so many nice reactions that we decided to set up our own platform: Travel hunger (@reishonger on Instagram). At that time there were hardly any Dutch travel blogs so we soon got a lot of visitors. And with this we also attracted our first advertisers. That was the moment when our hobby started to grow into our work.
By now we are more than 11 years further and Reishonger is one of the largest travel platforms in the Netherlands and Belgium (already for years in a row in the top 3 of the Netherlands). Our team now consists of dozens of writers, instagrammers, Youtubers and photographers. And the management of Reishonger has also expanded in recent years, with our son Mika (5 years old) and daughter Daelynn (4). We take our children with us on all our trips.
Where were you when lockdown was announced in the Netherlands and what did you do?
We had just returned from a winter sports holiday in Valloire in France, close to the border with northern Italy. In hindsight, we were in the middle of the corona furnace. Two weeks later lockdown was announced in the Netherlands. I remember very well that we sat with our children in front of the TV at 19:00 for Rutte's historic speech. At that time it did not really dawn on us that the whole travel industry - and with it our income - would come to a standstill.
How did you spend your time during confinement?
The first few days were very uncomfortable. The children went home full-time from one day to the next, while at that time our daily work for Reishonger was still going on. But in the next few days the impact of the lockdown penetrated everywhere in the Netherlands - and certainly also in the travel world - the work came to a complete standstill. No more dozens of e-mails a day, no more phone calls. All appointments were cancelled, all current promotions and press trips cancelled. I remember very well that evening - it was halfway through March I think and the children were in bed by now - we were sitting in our garden. What are we going to do? At that time we had no idea about the duration of the confinement and the eventual impact on Reishonger. "Let's at least enjoy the time together," was soon our idea. We bought a trampoline for the kids (best buy ever haha) and from the attic we pulled out all the board games and puzzles.
Was the transition from frequent travel to staying home for so long difficult?
At first it was, but soon we kind of liked it too. Not going away for a while, no agreements and obligations etc., just quality time with the family. When the impact of corona - and its duration - on Reishonger became increasingly clear, we decided to focus our platform entirely on holidays in the Netherlands. From Zuid-Limburg to the Wadden Islands, from Zeeland to the Achterhoek, we have completely rediscovered the Netherlands!
Did you have any flights booked that were later cancelled due to the pandemic? How did the airline behave in this scenario?
We were going to South Africa, Gran Canaria and Peru this year. The flights had not yet been booked, so we ourselves did not have to deal with cancellations and travel vouchers.
Was your flight cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak but you did have to deal with the airline and they are misbehaving? Read more about your rights in case of a cancellation due to COVID-19.
What do you miss most about travelling?
The adventure, meeting new people, the feeling of independence - nothing to do, no social obligations. And in recent years we have also been trying to show our children much of the world, to bring them into contact with other cultures, people, food and language. Son Mika has already asked a number of times when we are going back to Canada or Asia (our last two trips). And Daelynn can't wait to go on a safari in South Africa.
We usually travel off the beaten path. But sometimes we also feel like just hanging out with the tourist and spotting the 'highlights' of a destination. Think of the Niagara Falls, the Mayan temples in Central America or the Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia. What we do choose to do is to visit these places as much as possible by local public transport. And we then sleep in small-scale accommodations, run by the locals.
But this period has opened our eyes further, I must say. On the one hand the impact of travelling on our planet, and on the other hand how incredibly beautiful and varied the Netherlands is. We certainly want to continue to travel outside the Netherlands, but we will try to deal with this more wisely. Taking the train a little more often, less 'short' city trips and one trip a year instead of almost every quarter. The travel distance should be in proportion to the duration of the trip (CO2 emissions also taken into consideration).
What haven't you missed about the trips?
We don't really find anything annoying about travelling, hahaha. Even flying - which many people can actually dread - is something we love.
What has been the longest delay or most frustrating cancellation you've had and how has it affected the rest of your trip?
That was our return flight from Vienna in 2017. We visited the city with our son Mika (3 years old) and daughter Daelynn (1 year old). We were scheduled to fly back at 13:00, so we would still be home in time for the children. At the moment we were boarding we heard that there was a defect with the plane. A delay of 'maximum 30 minutes' soon became 3 hours and not much later 'an unknown delay'. Eventually we flew almost 12 hours later to Eindhoven Airport, where the pilot allowed 'extra throttle' to land on time (at night we were not allowed to land at Eindhoven, the plane would have to divert).
Did you know that you can claim compensation of up to 600 euros for delayed or cancelled flights in Europe?
Yes, we knew that, we have already written a number of articles on this subject on Reishonger.
Was your flight, like the one that Martijn and Dionne are mentioning, delayed or cancelled? Flight-Delayed will gladly assist you! We take care of everything with the airline and make sure that they cannot ignore your passenger rights so that you receive the compensation you are entitled to. Simply fill in the details of your flight and we'll let you know immediately whether you can claim compensation for your delayed or cancelled flight! You will immediately find out how much money you can claim.
Where would you like to travel to as soon as possible and if you already have plans, when are you leaving?
For NBTC Holland Marketing (responsible for the branding and marketing of the Netherlands as a destination) we are going to do a road trip in the autumn holidays along five national parks in the Netherlands. We haven't planned a trip outside the Netherlands ourselves yet, I think it's wise to answer the call to stay closer to home this year. Hopefully we will be able to travel without restrictions again next year.
We would like to thank Dionne and Martijn for their participation in The Ones To Follow 2020 and we are definitely looking forward to what they'll share with us during their travels inside the Netherlands. We do hope that you've been inspired to rediscover what your country of residence has to offer, in case you're itching to go travel right now.
Fancy practising your Dutch? Here is one of our personal favourites from their blog:
Got the travel bug, too?
Did the interview with Reishonger get you in the mood to book a trip or explore a new country? Of course, it's a bit more difficult this year, but it's certainly not impossible. And don't forget: even if your flight is cancelled because of the coronavirus, you're still entitled to a full refund of the fare! Do you need help with that? Then quickly and easily check your flight in our free claims calculator and we'll make sure you get your rightful refund.
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