What to wear to Oktoberfest

Unlike other festivals around the world Munich’s Oktoberfest is an easy one to dress for, with the burden of outfit selection taken away from us and replaced with two of our new favourite German words, dirndl and lederhosen. Dirndls, for women, and lederhosen for men and some women, make up Munich’s Oktoberfest trachten, or traditional costumes, and with well in excess of 90% of revellers in the beer halls sporting some kind of Oktoberfest dirndl or lederhosen, for even the short-term visitor an investment in some Oktoberfest clothes can really enhance the experience. 

A Very Brief History Of Oktoberfest Outfits

What might seem surprising, given the prices they fetch these days, both dirndls and lederhosen had humble beginnings as rural and alpine German peasant clothes. Their use was widespread around the middle ages, when lederhosen, meaning literally leather breeches, emerged to combine the European pant of choice – the pedal-pusher below-the-knee – with German practicality, making them leather to suit hard work and high mountain environments. At the same time the dirndl came onto the scene, intended as an outfit for maids and farm workers, but fashioned from durable wool, not leather, nor in the silks we see today. 

Both the lederhosen and dirndl had fallen out of fashion by the time the first Oktoberfest rolled around, before being revived to celebrate German folk history and made the official Oktoberfest outfit in 1887. Since then they have become the most easily identified traditional outfit in the world, not just with Oktoberfest but with Germany in general, and whenever someone slides on their leather ¾ pants it’s almost guaranteed that they are down to drink some beer.    

Do I have to wear the outfit to Oktoberfest?

Nope, you don’t have to, but you will want to. Like we’ve already mentioned, the vast majority of revellers in the beer halls are locals, or from other parts of Germany, and they take the trachten very seriously, with items of clothes and the trinkets that adorn them having meaning – from either clubs or associations or professions – and with many items having been passed down throughout the generations. So while there is no actual dress code, so to speak, you really will have a better time if you make some effort with what you wear, and at least utilize some parts of the men’s and women’s Oktoberfest outfit.  

What do women wear to Oktoberfest? 

Let’s talk about dirndls

Women wear whatever they want, because who run the world, etc, but if the women want to get down with some German folk culture and dress the part they wear dirndls. Now dirndl, in Bavarian dialect, means both girl and the dress that women wear to Oktoberfest, that’s how entwined this outfit is in the local culture, and dirndls consist of a few different parts. 

  • The bodice, or meider in German,
  • A blouse, bluse, usually white with puffy sleeves,
  • The skirt, rock, which can come above the knee for a mini style, below the knee for the midi, or all the way down to the ankles for a more traditional look. More on dirndl skirt length later, 
  • An apron, schürze, which is tied with a ribbon, the side of which denotes the wearer’s availability – to the left, single, to the right, taken, in the front, a virgin, or to the back meaning that they are either a widow, or working. 

Oktoberfest can get chilly, so layer your dirndl up

In addition to the traditional trachten, women attending the festival should remember that the weather during Oktoberfest can be varied, and so while your blouse, skirt, bodice and apron combo might be fine during the day, or in the beer halls, getting there and home of an evening could be chilly, and so it is advised to layer up, with a cute little cardigan or coat, and downstairs with a pair of stockings, or something like that. It’s also fun to partner up with a hat, if you’ve got a face that adores that kind of adornment. On your feet, throw on some boots, or flat sole shoes, or whatever is comfortable and cute. Avoid heels because you’ll fall over/get them stuck in the beer hall floorboards, and sneakers are probably erring a little too far on the side of comfort over looking hella hot. 

How short is too short for your dirndl skirt? 

The length of the dirndl skirt is a subject of much contention. You can go for the long ankle-length traditional cut, the more modest midi, or the legs revealing mini. The choice is entirely yours, and while some might counsel against the mini, they’re just being prudes. Show off your pins if you want, it’s Oktoberfest after all and we’re living in the swinging 20-20s. Just remember that you will be dancing on tables, so prepare your outfit for that contingency. 

A note on dirndl sizing

From years of fitting literally hundreds of dirndls at our own on-site trachten store, we have some advice on sizing. Because Oktoberfest is boisterous, and you’ll be dancing around and chugging beers, and basically moving a fair bit, if you’re doing it right, you don’t want your dirndl to be too tight, less you pop the zipper in the back while riding the shoulders of some burly Bavarian. You should be able to pinch the fabric around the waist just so you can be sure that you have some room to move in as the beers start doing their work. But you can definitely go smaller with you blouse, because it’s sole purpose is to push the puppies up.

Oktoberfest is all about the cleavage

Dirndls are notorious(ly awesome) for their low-cut blouses, and the high cleavage push they not just allow, but encourage. The locals call the Oktoberfest cleavage the décolétte, or the balkon, or balcony, and use special bras to push the girls up to spectacular heights. Most men and women visiting Oktoberfest would agree that the proliferation of balconies in the event are one of the festival’s most redeeming features. 

Don’t cheap out with the fancy dress Oktoberfest dirndls

On that, outside of Bavaria and Germany there has been a proliferation of dirndl-style costumes available for fancy dress parties and halloween and the like. These go for the super short skirt length and, like most halloween costumes, could be described as being “slutty” versions of otherwise not-overly sexualised costumes, uniforms, celebrities or inanimate objects (slutty toaster, anybody?). We would recommend against these dirndls, and not because we’re prudes when it comes to above the knee skirts, nor that we want to “slutty costume” shame anybody, but because these halloween-style costumes are crappy quality and look cheap, and when you see just how resplendent the locals look in their Bavarian party finery, well you don’t want to be the dollar store trash bag in the corner. 

Stoke Travel will be able to fit and sell you the perfect dirndl on-site

Our festival crew are absolute experts on fitting dirndls, and making sure that your Oktoberfest party outfit fits you in all the right places by mixing and matching the various components of the dirndl, and in addition to this personal touch, our dirndls are perfectly priced at €70

Women can also wear lederhosen

It’s becoming more and more popular and acceptable for women to wear lederhosen, to hark back to that initial point of being able to wear whatever you want, and many opt for super short cut leather pants and the traditional overall-style bib, with button up, chequered blouses, and they look great! But really, the lederhosen are mostly for the fellas (who can’t wear dirndls, fortunately or unfortunately depending on your perspective). 

What do men wear to Oktoberfest

All about the lederhosen

Leather pants. Leather, three-quarter peddle-pusher pants with a buttoned peepee flap, and a bit of a brace setup, and a checkered business shirt tucked into them. Yeah, that’s the traditional Oktoberfest lederhosen in a nutshell, but there is far more to it than this, frankly unflattering, brief description. Let’s break down the bits of the traditional Bavarian beer drinking kit for men. 

  • The lederhosen is a traditionally deerskin, or chamois skin, leather pant. It can be embroidered with family or club affiliations, or just for the look, and has a animal-bone/horn buttons, most notably on a flap on the front to make it easier to whip out your dick at the busy beer fest urinals, which is called either a hosentürl, little door, or a servierbrett, or serving plate. Scandalous. 
  • Oktoberfest shirts, hemd, are long sleeved, plain, or checkered, collared, button up shirts. Often you will see revellers wearing them with the sleeves rolled up, as if the wearer was a depression era field worker pausing in the middle of a long, hot day of toil, and there are buttons to enable this. The colour of your shirt is up to you, with blue and white being the traditional colours, but pink popular and really whatever you can get your hands on to bring out your eyes. 
  • Your suspenders, hosenträger, are designed to hold your pants up, while giving you a solid nerd-chic look. In the middle of your chest there should be a cross plate that is an opportunity to add a bit of design flair to your outfit. You can go without the suspenders, but your pants might fall down and everyone will see your beer-willy. 
  • Shoes and socks make up a not-entirely-essential part of your trachten, but as a man going without will out you as an Oktoberfest rookie, more so than for the women. Long wooly socks with funky designs, nice little shoe-boot combo numbers, and even these weird middle of the ankle sock things called wadlestrumpf, which you should probably wear just for the name alone.

Lederhosen lengths

If you want to get pedantic about it with your German, lederhosen come in well above the knee like shorter shorts, platterhosen are just above the knee, bundhosen are lower or around the shin. As tourists you can get away with calling all simply lederhosen, and you can choose your length depending on how much leg you want to show. 

Lederhosen materials

Lederhosen means “leather breeches” in German, and so any lederhosen worth drinking in should be made of some kind of leather. Regular cow, or goatskin, leather is more affordable, whereas deerskin leather lederhosen are the next level up, while chamois, or elk, is the fanciest of the lot. Whatever you can afford, you know that your leather party pants will be durable and a little stinky – which is perfect when you’re a bit on the nose yourself. 

Lederhosen fitting guide

You want your lederhosen to be a little loose, which is why the suspenders come in handy. One handy trick direct from the Oktoberfest fitting crew at Stoke Travel is that you should be able to do a squat in your lederhosen with ease. If they are too tight, then you’ll likely rip the butt out of them while you’re dancing on the tables, and nobody needs to see that. 

Oktoberfest hats and accessories 

Hats at Oktoberfest are a huge deal. Traditionally the bigger the tuft of feathers or boar fur in your hat meant that the wearer was a rich guy, but these days that isn’t always the case, so if you’re searching for a German sugar daddy best be looking beyond the headwear. Still, the hats look totally sweet and you can buy them in the beer halls, because the beer hall staff know that people who drink strong beer by the litre are generally down for some impulse buying. Some dudes also throw scarves around their necks, which isn’t as hipster-lame as it would be anywhere else in the world.

Guys should layer up for Oktoberfest too

But not like the girls have to, because there’s an inherent warmth difference between a short skirt and an apron, and a pair of leather pants and a long sleeved shirt. Still, you will get chilly on the Hackerbruecke train station platform waiting for your ride home, and so you can think about chucking one of the sweet Oktoberfest collarless jackets, or cheaper cardigans over your lederhosen – or go for the vest. This is a perfect opportunity for people who wouldn’t otherwise wear a vest to give one a run. 

And don’t cheap out on your Oktoberfest outfit

There are plenty of costume-style Oktoberfest outfits that might be passable at a low-key, small town Halloween celebration, but these are the big leagues, the main event, the Superbowl of beer fests, and once you see just how magnificent everyone else is dressed, you’ll definitely feel like a chump decked out in cheap, ill-fitting, flimsy lederhosen. 

Stoke Travel’s fitting experts will get you in the right lederhosen 

We have all sizes in our campsite store, as well as cuts, so we can get you into the lederhosen that you were destined to drink beer in. The Stoke crew know how to fit you into a lederhosen that will withstand the level of partying that you’ll be partaking in, and we’ll get you into the perfect Oktoberfest beer drinking lederhosen and shirt combo for just €90.

Do I need to buy the traditional Oktoberfest clothes?

Well, unless you can borrow somebody else’s, or decide that you’re going to go without (not recommended), yeah you’re going to have to buy the traditional Oktoberfest outfit, be it a dirndl for the womenfolk, or a lederhosen for the fellas. There is no hiring or renting of Oktoberfest trachten, because they touch your genitals and it’s not really all that hygienic. 

How much are the traditional clothes?

The prices can vary wildly. The Halloween costumes are cheap, cheap, cheap, like €20 or something, but they will last you for five minutes and for those five minutes you’ll look like a goose. When you get around the €50-100 mark you can find some good stuff, but beware that at this price point there’s a lot of shit, so make sure you trust who you’re buying from. Stoke Travel is at this price point, and we buy bulk from a trusted supplier, so we know that all of our stuff is good quality for the price. From there the prices just skyrocket, and it’s not uncommon for locals to be sporting trachten that go into the 1000s of euros. Those are expensive pants to probably piss in. 

Cheaper ways to have the Oktoberfest outfit? 

If you’re really struggling with your travel budget, you can work around it – especially if you’ve got a bit of style. Guys can pull off wearing the button up shirt with their regular pants as a bare minimum, but you’re not really going to mingle with the crowd so easily, unless you’re Mr Charisma, the world’s best drunk, and you have one of those faces that people just want to stick their tongues into. Gals, you can also wear one of the shirts, tucked into some shorts or something, and that way you’d be paying some kind of lip service to the traditional garb, and maybe adding your own flair to it. 

But really, it’s just best to grab the trachten, and if you’re scared you’ll never wear it again, then you’re really not considering just how handy a pair of leather drinking pants/maid’s outfit can come in handy.  

What else will I need to pack for Oktoberfest?

This is an article all of its own, given Munich’s penchant for changing the seasons on us around the September/October mark, but if you jump over here we’ll give you a full rundown of things to throw into your backpack before you head over to Stoketoberfest

And for the best value Oktoberfest outfits, and the best value/most fun stay in Munich, make sure you reserve your spot with us at Stoketoberfest, where all your new best friends and drinking buddies are waiting for you. 

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Oktoberfest is a big gay celebration and these are the reasons why

Oktoberfest, not your obvious gay event. 

Munich’s Oktoberfest might not be the first event that comes to mind when you think of a gay event or holiday but there are so many benefits for a gay man of a trip to Oktoberfest. Germany has an open-mindedness about sexuality and Munich is a very gay-friendly city.

Oktoberfest is the world’s biggest beer festival, but if beer is not your thing it is so much more than that. Inside the beer halls, you can dance on the tables whilst the oompah bands play international classics for you to enjoy including Lady Gaga, Helene Fischer, and all the sing-along classics.

During the second world war, Bavaria was under Nazi control. They ran the show in Munich and during that time being gay was punishable by death. Thank god that regime ended and Oktoberfest could go back to being the merry event we know and love. What a better way to say up yours to the haters then getting your gay on at Oktoberfest. 

Gay Sunday or Rosa Wisen

The first Sunday of Oktoberfest is known to the locals as Rosa Wisen which translates to Gay Oktoberfest. This day, dedicated to the LGBT+ community dates back to the 1970s and is an event that brings together everyone in the gay community for one hell of a party. Yas queen.

When the beer halls close for the night but you haven’t gotten your fix of german sausage, Munich has a great range of gay bars, clubs, saunas, and cruise clubs, all conveniently located in the city centre, so when you sashay away from the Oktoberfest grounds you can carry on your night in true gay style.

German Men and the lederhosen

The best thing about Oktoberfest is getting to see hot German guys in lederhosen – you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who looks terrible in the  traditional lederhosen. But stay away from those horrible cheap ones that you will see stag groups wearing, it is so offensive to the Germans and looks gross. 

There is nothing more arousing than a ripped German man in lederhosen standing on a table while smashing steins together with his equally hot friends. If you want a sneak peek of their packages take a trip to the urinals once they are 5 steins deep. Talk about sword fights.

Can I bring my girlfriends and my crew?

Yes of course! The girls love Oktoberfest as they get to dress up in the stunning traditional dirndls, these moments are instagram posts to die for. They also get the chance to husband hunt for hot breeding guys from all over the world.

Getting your Grindr fix

During the festival, Grindr goes off with over 7 million visitors from around the world descending upon Munich. Last year Grindr reported an extra 1 million users during Oktoberfest. There’s no better time to add that German flag to your bedpost. I mean who can resist those blondies with their dashing blue eyes. No shade but if you cannot get laid at Oktoberfest, then there must be something wrong with you.

German Sausage: gimme the dirty deets

German sausages come in all shapes and sizes. Whether you prefer them foot-long or are a believer that short and thick does the trick, you will not be disappointed by the variety on display.

If you’re lucky you’ll find some delicious Bratwurst. This sausage is for those that are looking for nice meaty chunks in their mouth. Mmmmm delicious. After you’ve enjoyed this tasty treat you might be feeling like you’ve thrown a sausage down a hallway but there’s always room for a little more. 

Look a little harder and you can find Rostbratwurst. This meat is for those who prefer something a little more modest. Not quite a footlong this sausage clocks in at around  six inches. Pop this bad boy in your mouth and you will not be disappointed.

The author, proud advocate of the German sausage diet.

Can I get my drug fix?

If delicious German beer is not enough to get you going then like most European cities you will be able to get your fix a different way. In the beer halls, vendors sell small bottles of white powder that looks a little like cocaine, it is actually called Wiesn Koks and is made of sugar & menthol and costs around €5.

If cocaine is your thing what an easy way to do your cocaine in public without getting thrown out. Disclaimer you might get thrown out for taking cocaine if caught. Munich also has a variety of other drugs including coffee, alcohol, green tea, paracetamol, cigarettes and, of course the real shit.

Take something home other than chlamydia

If the Instagram photos are not enough to capture the memories there are so many other good things to take home from Oktoberfest. 

If you think you’ll only wear your lederhosen during Oktoberfest, think again. If you’re in need of something to wear for a theme party or Halloween throw on this traditional outfit and never worry about a costume again.  

You can get a souvenir stein, just do not steal them from the beer halls as they check your bags and the security guards might look hot but they are not to be messed with.

You can get pegs with your name engraved on them, which make for cute souvenirs. If your humour is more on the dark side they will write any name on them, no really. One year there was a crew of Joseph Fritzl.

Get your gay on at Stoketoberfest

Germany is quite famous for camps, but don’t worry. Thankfully the only action happening in the showers are sex parties.

Stoke Travel is proud to present Stoketoberfest a festival within a festival that offers affordable boutique camping & glamping, so if you need somewhere to mix & mingle look no further.

Stoketoberfest is much more than just a campsite; it includes a daily bottomless brunch with delicious cooked breakfast served with cava and mimosas. After the brunch head to the glitter stand to make yourself look fabulous before a day of slaying it at the beer halls.

All-day and night you’ll enjoy the live music and DJs that pair perfectly with unlimited delicious German beer or homemade Sangria to get you socially lubricated. Make sure to bring something fabulous to wear during Gay night which takes place at the Stoketoberfest campsite on Mondays! This will be the best night of your life.

Use promo code YAS QUEEN for free unlimited beer and sangria


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Best Burgers In Barcelona

By KP, our resident foodie

Up there with kebabs and curries as the ultimate hangover food, there’s nothing quite like chewing away the previous night’s sins – or doubling down on them – with that hallowed combination of ground beef (or chicken or veggies if you absolutely must must forego the real deal), soft bread, condiments, cheese, bacon – whatever goes into your perfect round sandwich. These are Barcelona’s best burgers, where you can mix an old english-speaking-world favourite, with a splash of local Spanish or Catalan flair. Let’s see that grease dribbling down your chin.

    • La Real(): These burger boiz have two locations, one in the centre of Barcelona and the other in PobleNou. They arguably have the BEST cheeseburger in town (in our opinion anyway). It’ll set you back about €8 and you get a serving of their triple-fried chippies too! You can add a raclet of melted cheese to any of their burgers/chips and they make all their sauces in house (roasted garlic aioli and pepper ketchup are both soooo good). To add to this they have delish entree options if you feel like levelling UP your cheat meal (the truffle triple fried chips with parmesan are to die for, you heard it here)
    • Rooq (): Ok, these guys aren’t technically a burger joint as they specialise in fried chicken (baby!!), BUT they have one of the tastiest (juiciest) chicken burgers in Barcelona. The daily burger menu will set you back about €9 and get you chips plus a drink to slam down. They have a huge selection of sides (their coleslaw & nuggets are a must!), sauces and craft beers to note! Do yourself a favour and get here.
    • La Central (€€): We have much love for La Central, you’ll generally find them on Uber Eats with a €5 burger deal or sometimes 2-for-1 (for you takeaway enthusiasts). Their burgers are really tasty and the size of your face! Their house made chicken nuggets are delicious also! 
    • Maka Maka (€€): Located by Barceloneta beach, Maka Maka has it all. With its “beach shack” style set up, it’s a really enjoyable place to take some sunshine. Really tasty burgers, healthy option menu (if you don’t feel like smashing one of their burgers), delicious cocktails and a nice big terrace for you to enjoy it all on! Our favourite burgers here are the Big Maka and Mr Nice Guy (veggie option). They have a DJ that plays here on weekends also so you can have yourself one epic burger partay.
    • Wild Beef (€): A favourite amongst us Stokies, Wild Beef have the besttttttttttt burgers! Can’t really say much more than that! The burgers are huge, they have a wide range of varieties (vegetarian & fish options), they add a heaping of their home made special sauce on each of them and have a plethora of home made hot sauces/ketchups for you to douse your chips in. To add, you can grab their chicken burger on the menu for €7 daily (gets you chips and a drink also!). We wish they had more locations so we could frequent it more often (our office is no longer located down the road… noooo!!).
    • Blu Bar (€): Our vegan entry for you! Blu Bar, located in PobleNou have THE tastiest vegan burger we have ever had. Their menu is completely vegano, but honestly I don’t think you’d ever know! This is a hotspot amongst locals thanks to its big sunny terrace, well priced beers, creative/healthy menu and friendly service (the owner is a top top bloke). If you’re in the area be sure to pop in!

Whether you need to line your guts before a Barcelona Boat Party, or treat yourself to something satisfying and greasy afterwards, these Barcelona burger joint recommendations should be just what the party doctor ordered.




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Best Italian Food In Barcelona

By KP, our resident food critic

Italian food is a classic favourite amongst the masses. To be fair, I don’t think I have ever met a soul that didn’t enjoy some kind of Italian food. With Spain being so close to our Italian neighbours, and with lots of Italian immigrants calling the Barcelona home, it’s no wonder we have some of the best authentic Italian food around. Don’t tell the eye-talians but I have had better pasta here in Barcelona than in Rome. True story. Here’s a list of me favourite spots:


  • Mama Mia (€€): my local favourite, this place does the BEST pasta dishes ever (my favorite is the amatriciana)! Super generous portions, super legitimate flavours and really nice service! They hand make all their breads and doughs in house and serve it complimentary with your order – on weekends ya even get green Sicilian olives on your table! They also do one of the best menu del dias in PobleNou with a changing daily set menu for 11€ Monday to Friday at lunchtime.
  • Buon Appetito (€€): one of the OG Italian spots in town, these guys do one of the best pizzas in Barcelona. Really authentic, great price point and fresh produce. They hand make all their pasta in house!
  • Benzina (€€€): these guys are located in one of the funkiest spots in town, just off Carrer Parlament (highly recommended you stroll around here). They do amazing traditional Italian dishes, beautiful cocktails and have a really nice wine list. This place is super edgy, think rock n roll meets Italian food. It’s a cool place to be seen and a tasty place to eat.
  • Frankie Gallo Cha Cha Cha (€€): just like the name suggests, this place is fun. Great spot for a birthday dinner, or pre-night out meal. They have amazing pizzas (woodfired duh), epic Italian cheeses and a really fabulous wine list. They also blast dirty hip hop all night and the restaurant is super Instagramable. I highly recommend! 
  • Macchina Pasta (): some of the nicest pasta in town, they do amazing take away portions (I hate being ripped off when ordering online- this place does not in any way do this) and have heaps of locations through town. It’s a really nice price also and you can customise your pasta dish to be whatever you please! 
  • Gallo Nero Barcelona (€€): for Roman style sandwiches look no further! Gallo Nero is YOUR place for antipasti! They have a HUGE selection of cold italian meats, cheeses and olives. You can opt for one of their antipasti boards or grab one of their sandwiches on fresh Italian bread (they are the size of your face!). They also have a nice Italian wine & cocktail list which helps wash all the goodness down. Located bang in the middle of town, it’s hard to go past.

Mamma mia, wouldn’t a pizza be just right to squeeze in between a Barcelona Boat Party and a huge night in the city’s best clubs. 



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How to stay in touch with friends and family back home while abroad 

As you begin your study abroad experience you may find it difficult to keep in touch with the people back home, and that’s understandable. Busy travel and school schedules mixed with a 6+ hour time difference can make it hard to find time to keep everyone in your life updated in the way you used to. 

Fortunately, there are ways around this dilemma. 

Switch to a foreign SIM card 

Sorting out your phone is a good place to start. The longer you’re in a country the more you’ll wish your phone worked like it did back home. If you’re only around for two weeks you can probably get away with relying on only wifi only but depending on which city you’re in the WiFi access may be slow or limited. 

If you want to keep your US number, look into switching carriers to T-mobile.They offer an international plan that covers data and messaging in over 140 countries. Other carriers have international options as well, but are far more expensive, to the tune of $10 a day. Think how many drinks you’re wasting with that money.

The best option when you’re overseas is to get a local SIM card once you arrive but in order to switch to a foreign SIM card you’ll need to make sure that your phone is unlocked. You can do this fairly easily by visiting your carrier before you leave your home country.

Once you’re abroad you can purchase a SIM card at one of the providers’ stores, like Vodafone or Orange. The process is fairly simple and you’re usually done within 10 minutes but make sure to bring your passport. 

From there you’ll be able to easily select a data package ranging anywhere from 10- 20 euros a month.You can always easily top up your data and your SIM should work across the EU so your phone works even if you’re in Amsterdam for the weekend.

Once you’ve got your new SIM card make sure to keep the package in or to take a picture off it because it will have the code to unlock your SIM if you restart your phone or it dies. 

Figure out a time that works for you 

Now that you’ve figured your phone situation out it’s time to tackle the next communication obstacle: the time difference. Telling someone to just “call me back when you’re free” likely won’t work in these situations because you’ll just end missing each other over and over.

Try to pick a time that works for you and stick to that so you can avoid voicemails and missed calls. The time you choose will obviously differentiate based on which country you’re in and what time zone those you want to communicate with are in.

Use apps to your advantage 

Unless you wanna rack up a large phone bill making calls home, download Whatsapp which has both talk and text and video options. You can create an account with your US phone number and easily talk to whoever else has the app. Most of the world uses Whatsapp, yet somehow hasn’t made its way to popularity in the states yet. 

Facetime is a great way to show your parents that you actually are alive and well. Plus there’s just something comforting about being able to see the person you’re talking to. The only thing to keep in mind when you’re on Facetime is your Wifi connection, if your wifi is shoddy it’s probably just easier to stick to Whatsapp.

Keeping in touch is more than just phone calls

Besides as a way to fill your friends with jealousy of your amazing semester, Instagram is an easy way to keep up with everyone back home and vice versa. Instagram offers seemingly effortless communication through comments, story replies and the every classic sliding in the DMs. 

If your parents, aunts, uncles, whoever, are on instagram make no mistake they will be keeping up with everything you post so while you’re living your best life make an attempt to make it seem like you’re doing something besides partying. 

Speaking of the fam, Facebook is a great place to share the 1000’s of photos you’ll end up taking while abroad. Facebook messenger can also serve as a decent means of communication with your network if your imessage is tweaking or you need to communicate with other friends abroad so you can plan that unforgettable trip to Oktoberfest together. 

If technology isn’t the best medium for communicating with your loved ones,  

Send them postcards from your location

Don’t you get a little excited when you get a hand-written note from someone you miss? Postcards are an opportunity to share a piece of your experience. They’re also easy to find, cheap as, and it takes minimal effort to jot down a few lines about your experience. Even if you don’t end up mailing them they’re fun to collect during your travels.

Still having trouble with staying in touch? Keep in mind that four months isn’t forever. 

While technology has made it easier than ever to stay connected, don’t do so the expense of missing out on what’s right in front of you. You’ll be home sooner than you realize and your friends and family will be waiting to hear all about your amazing adventures so make sure to unplug and actually have some. 

Want to become a study abroad VIP ambassador, so you’ll be too busy being a social butterfly and attending Europe’s coolest festivals to even worry about contacting home, then have a look at this.


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Stoke Travel Announces Bottomless Brunch At All Destinations

Further cementing their status as the flyest playas in the game, Stoke Travel have upped the stakes by improving on their already amazing hot breakfasts, and offering travellers bottomless brunches with endless mimosas at all Stoke Travel destinations – and it’s a part of our all-inclusive packages, so we’re providing this at no extra expense to the traveller.

The breakfasts may come in a breakfast buffet format, with continental selections being offered alongside chef prepared hot plates – with bacon and eggs in all their forms as a feature, smashed avocado alongside fresh fruit, cheeses, ham and cereal. This will be on offer at all Stoke Village events, including San Fermin (formerly known as The Running Of The Bull), San Vino aka The Wine Fight, and La Tomatina

At Oktoberfest and Springfest in Munich Stoke will be offering travellers a selection of hot and cold breakfasts that they can fill their plates with, ensuring that everybody is well fed before yet another day spent throwing delicious Bavarian beer down your neck. Scrambled eggs, toad in the hole, bubble and squeak, breakfast burritos, whatever inspires the chefs that day will be served up. Our only proviso is that the meals are hearty and the servings are huge.

But the biggest change at all events will be the bottomless mimosas. We’ll have bottles of cava, prosecco or champagne on hand, depending on what’s available and affordable, and will be serving it up with orange juice. This is confirmed by studies to be far and away the best way to start any day, seamlessly blending fancy with healthy and always ending up being more fun. 

This move is bound to make every other tour company, hotel chain and Airbnb tremble in their boots, with their boring hard boiled eggs and soggy corned flakes. When it comes offering weary travellers and committed party animals the best possible fuel to take on Europe’s best festivals and experiences – plus to do it in a manner that can only be described as being “opulent”, “delicious”, “noice”, “fancy”, “too good for us” – everybody else in the travel biz will be left feeling plum inadequate. 

When this is considered alongside Stoke Travel’s open and unlimited beer and sangria bar, live music and DJs, art and performance installations, the field of mayhem, with beer pong, flip cup, and Wheel of Misfortune, wine and cheese tasting, exceptional and beautiful guides… all of a sudden those shitty little tents aren’t looking so bad after all. 

Book your bottomless brunch tour now with a risk-free €1 deposit, available until the world makes sense again. 

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Dealing With Homesickness While Studying Abroad

Your first week or two abroad in Europe is a whirlwind. Everything is new and exciting, and you find yourself wanting to do everything all at once. Jam-packed days of  wanderlust and nights full of adventure. Once things start to slow down and you settle into a routine that feeling can come creeping in.


Feeling homesick is totally normal. Homesickness can come in a variety of forms, like missing a friend’s 21st birthday, craving food from your favorite takeout place or longing to cuddle on the couch with your dog. It’s going to be different for everybody. Whatever the reason and no matter how intense the feeling is, it can really put a damper on your study abroad experience.

So what can you do to make sure that you don’t get caught in a homesick funk?

While there isn’t a one size fits all cure for homesickness or some kind of instant fix, there are ways to help you shake that feeling and get back to living your best life. 

Be mindful of how often you’re calling home 

Facetime and Whatsapp are great for keeping in contact with the most important people in your life, but you don’t want to find yourself in a situation where constant communication only makes you feel further away. 

Limit your time on Social Media

Social media has made it easier than ever before to keep track of your friends’ lives, simply by scrolling through your timeline. Group messages that are constantly updated allow you to still feel “in the loop,” even when you’re an ocean away, but FOMO is real and sometimes it can be really difficult to see your friends continuing life without you, getting together and having the type of fun that you were always a part of. So limit your time on social media and try your best to stay present where you are. 

Distract yourself by making a bucket list 

Who knows when the next time you’ll be in Europe is? Take full advantage of the opportunity right at your fingertips. Cheap flights and open borders make exploring Europe a breeze. Research different attractions, museums, parks, and other hotspots in the cities you want to visit and make a list of what you’d like to see and do during your time abroad. 

Just relax  

Take a break if you need it. Give yourself permission to take the day off and indulge in things that just make you feel good. Whether that’s eating chocolate in bed or drinking wine on the beach. 

Stay positive and always ask for help if you need it

It’s a lot easier said than done when it comes to keeping a positive attitude when you’re feeling down. The assignments are piling up, your phone’s been stolen and you can’t seem to find a normal sleep schedule, it’s all a bit overwhelming. However, staying positive is the key to having a great experience.

If you  find that you are  worried about your studies, finances or you just can’t seem to shake that feeling of homesickness then be sure to reach out for help. Most Universities have counselors who can offer assistance, whether it be to work through a serious problem, or just to talk about how to adjust to your new environment. 

Remember, home is going to be there for you when you get back.

Go out, try new things and make friends. Explore the countries that you’ll probably never have the time to again. Embrace the newness around you and most of all  remember to just enjoy it, you don’t want to look back on your time abroad with regrets that you didn’t do or see more. 


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Barcelona’s Best Curries (Indian and Thai)

By KP, Stoke’s resident Barcelona food critic

When you think of Barcelona you don’t think of curry… or do you? With thriving Indian, Pakistani and Thai communities, there are plenty of world-class curry joints that can satisfy your hungover cravings. The curries in Barcelona are spicy, the servings are generous, and they’re much better priced and more authentic than much of the tourist fare found in the city centre. You got a hankering for something with a bit of fire (Spanish food is never spicy), then this is where you have to go. 

Best Indian curries in Barcelona

Nothing beats dipping your crispy cheese naan into a bowl of  steaming hot, creamy butter chicken on a Saturday night with friends. That along with some crunchy onion bhajis & samosas, you have a winner on your hands. See below our list of favourite Indian spots in Barcelona:

  • Swad (€€): I asked my local corner shop owner what his favourite Indian in town was (being Indian, I knew he would know the goodest of the good spots). Swad was his recommendation to me and boy it did not disappoint. Located in PobleNou, Swad is a tiny family run restaurant. It only seats about 30 people so we recommend you making a booking if you wish to venture over! This is not your regular shopping mall take out style Indian restaurant – it’s fancy! But doesn’t have the price tag to match, don’t worry. All of the entrees are to die for! Get them all, share a curry or two and call it a night. Do it, I dare ya its friggin amazing.
  • Baby Jalebi(€€): New in town, Baby Jalebi are owned by some of the coolest food dudes in Barna (the same guys that brought us The Fish & Chip Shop). It is innovative Punjabi street food and wicked! The bunny chow is the show stopper here in our opinion! 
  • Massala 73 (€€): These guys rock, located up town in Eixample, they have some of the funkiest Indian food on offer at the moment. Fusion (my chef boyfriend hates this word) style dishes like roast duck with biryani, prawn pakoras, classic dahi puri, pork madras tacos and their famous KFC (Kerala Fried Chicken) burger are all must haves. Go with pals, get everything & rub your tummies with contentment once finished.
  • Surya (€): They have a couple of locations in town, we frequented one of their locations many a time when our office was just a stones throw up the road. I have only been here for their Menu del Dia (set lunch deal between 12pm-3pm on weekdays) but it is soooo good I couldn’t not list it! 11€ will get you a curry, rice, naan, drink and desert. It is a very bueno price and they have super trendy locations. Go here for lunch!
  • Tandoori Nights (€): Look i’m not gonna lie, this place looks like a dodgy kebab shop from the outside. but do not let this deter you! This is some of the tastiest Indian in town. Their special tandoori chicken plates, butter chicken and cheese naans are among my favourite. They do a really nice prawn bhuna also for the non chicken munchers.
  • Gandhi Hindu (€€): I love me this place, I love the price and I love the food. The best thing about Gandhi is that you can buy their menu deals at any time of the day AND they have a nonstop kitchen. A two person deal consists of two curries, rice, naan, a mix of entrees, desert and two drinks. It will set you back about 30 bucks!! So good. I love bargains and great food as you have probably noticed through these recommendations.
  • Maharaja (€€): Classic Indian spot, located just off Rambla del Raval this curry house has some of the tastiest Indian food in town. They have plenty of outdoor seating for those sunny midday meals, a reasonably priced menu and super authentic food.

Best Thai Curries In Barcelona

Thai has to be the best cuisine in the world in my opinion (biased I know). Being from Australia, I always took Thai food and its authenticity/accessibility for granted at home. This was made apparent to me when I first moved to Barcelona and couldn’t find a decent authentic Thai curry for the life of me. They were SO hard to come across! Luckily times are changing and the Spanish (Catalans) are catching on to why Thai food is so goddamn good. See below my list of favourite Thai places in town:

  • Bangkok Cafe (€€): Probably my favourite restaurant in Barcelona. I love this place so much I could cry (note I am writing this in week 3 of isolation and have not eaten takeaway in about a month which is a HUGE deal for me). This is one of the OG Thai restaurants in Barna. Their dishes are SUPER authentic and tasty (the salads are so hot they’ll blow your wig off – get the duck one!). It is a tiny venue, so be sure to make a reservation before you head over. It’s also a bit of a mission out of town, but worth the hike! Red curry with duck, say it with me.
  • LAM Thai Street Food (€€): Sister restaurant to Bangkok Cafe, these guys are more centrally located just off Plaza Universitat. Similar menu to their big sisters at Bangkok Cafe and delicious food. The chicken panang is off the charts good.
  • Petit Bangkok (€€): These guys have three locations and have only recently won me over when they moved into my barrio. They do an amazing job, their Massaman curry is super tasty and I could eat it all day every day. You’d be silly to go past their Pad Thai also, it’s so good. You’re welcome.
  • Boa Bao (€€€€): These guys only opened their establishment last year and they have to have one of the nicest Asian decor restaurants in town. Originally started in Lisbon (Lisboa in Spanish) it is where they get their name from. It is not specific to Thai food (more of an Asian selection) but they do a damn tasty seafood curry soup. Located in one of the fanciest eating spots in town, their menu is priced to match but it’s perfect for a nice date night or birthday meal.
  • Thai Spicy (€€): Classic, tasty, authentic (being the keyword with so many crappy Thai places in Barcelona) Thai food. They have all the classic dishes you would expect to see on a Thai menu, nothing out of the ordinary here. Their red curry is my favourite, grab it with chicken or prawns depending which way you swing!!

Not your typical Barcelona cuisine, but the perfect way to wash away the sins accumulated on our Barcelona Boat Parties. You’re going to want a curry once you get the party started on our Mediterranean floating fiestas. Check them out here.

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Best Pintxo Bars in San Sebastián

San Sebastián has often been hailed as the gastronomical capital of Europe – that is until our froggy friends over in Paris nicked the title off them a couple of years ago. Still, coming second to the city of love is nothing to be ashamed of, and it’s a hard task trying to find a bad bite to eat in Donosti (that’s San Sebastián in the local tongue, Basque).

But while Michelin-starred restaurants might occupy the minds of the world’s gourmands and other feckers, the average Stokie baulks at the €300 and up price tag. Thankfully for us, the city is absolutely rammed with pintxos bars that draw on the gastronomic culture of the region and serve it up in a manner that won’t kneecap your budget. But before we begin to countdown our (in)definitive list, first we must define:

What exactly is a pintxo bar?

Pintxo (Basque; n.) literally means thorn, or spike, but hereby is used as a term to describe a small Basque tapas, often, but not always, with a wooden cocktail stick stuck through the middle.

Bar (English; n.) a venue in which one can imbibe alcohol to the point of intoxication; due to the Coronavirus lockdown, we haven’t been thrown out of one of these in a while.

Pintxo Bar (Spanglish/Basque; n.) a bar. That sells pintxos.

So now we know what a pintxo bar is, let’s have a look at some of the best.


Atari €€ – We’re kicking things off with one of the most-loved pintxo bars in the city, and not just by Stokies. The carrillera de ternera, or beef-cheek, is a pintxo eating rite of passage. Many have been known to order several plates of the carrillera, back to back, one after the other, devouring them instantly, like one of Joe Exotic’s tigers, polishing off the arm of a G.W. employee. 

Situated right on the doorstep of the Parroquia Santa María Basilica, even if the meat doesn’t tickle your fancy (you go Team Vegan) sitting on the church steps in front of Atari with a glass of Basque sidra is a perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon.


Sirimiri €€ – With the same owners as Atari, and located just round the corner, the ‘Atari Academy’ comes off as the fun, sexy younger brother, a place where up and coming chefs can experiment to great effect. The cordero, or slow-cooked lamb, is one of the best pintxos in the city, and the arroz de temporada is a silky smooth risotto with no meat, that will please the belly of nearly any vegetarian punter.

Come to Sirimiri on a weekend, and you’ll find bangers blaring out the speakers till the wee hours of the morning, and it’s tasty array of custom and classic cocktails usually brings out a bit of a younger crowd. Maybe it’s just the name, but we’re a fan of the Sirimiri original, Donosti Traveller.


Polka €€€ – A relatively new venture, opened less than a year ago, but a place that many locals have already fallen in love with. On the corner of Plaza Sarriegui, the large outdoor seating area is a rarity in San Sebastián’s Old Town, and a perfect spot to enjoy a pintxo and a beer with some friends – or a full on meal if your pockets are feeling fuller than your belly.

Whilst you can’t actually order them as a pintxo, the croquetas de calabaza (pumpkin croquettes) are another veggo’s favourite, and can be ordered as a sharing platter (hence why it’s best to come here with a few friends). The Polka take on a classic Kalimotxo (bottom of the barrel red wine, topped with ice cold Coca-Cola) is definitely worth a go too – we’re not exactly sure what’s in it, but it definitely tastes boozy as hell.


Bar Desy € – A bit off the beaten track if you’ve only got a few days in San Sebastián, Bar Desy is located over the bridge from the Old Town in Gros. On the outside, it’s as non-descript as you can get, looking the same as a thousand other bars across Spain. 

But inside, you’ll find a ridiculous array of craft beers, and a surprisingly good selection of pintxos considering the size of the place. It’s not exactly a Basque speciality, but the albóndigas caseras (homemade meatballs) here are incredible. Plus, have a chat with the owner Gorka (friendliest guy in all of Donosti) about your favourite style of beer and he’ll be sure to pick out something tasty for ya.


Gandarias €€€ – Another in the cluster of establishments surrounding the Santa María Basilica, Gandarias is not only a hot spot for bar pintxos, but also a ritzy fine-dining institution. And as anyone who’s watched foodie series Parts Unknown will know, Gandarias holds the claim to fame of being the go to eatery of the late, great Tony Bourdain.

With that being said, it’s a pain in the arse trying to get a table reservation, plus the average price of a plate is enough to make the Queen blush, so we’d recommend kicking it at the bar and ordering a Txuleta pintxo. What’s a txuleta, you may be asking? You might want to have a read of this.


Mendaur Berria €€ – After years of being an infamous Stoke haunt, a dive bar known for the dance floor being constantly ripped to pieces due to the sheer quantity of shapes being cut, Mendaur decided to hit the straight and narrow. These days, it’s a sleek, minimalist gastropub, located on one of the busiest streets in the  Old Town, Fermin Calbeton.

There’s always a huge range of bar pintxos here, but to really enjoy the place, you need to be ordering off the menu. There’s nowhere in town you’ll find a better Taco Talo, a Basque wrap filled with begihaundi (baby squid) with a kimchi dressing, washed down perfectly with an icy glass of Basque sidra.


Bar Piñudi € – It’s only right that we finish up with a bonafide Stoke classic – Piñudi’s. A bar so steeped in history with the company, so intertwined with the Stoke story, that there’s a pintxo named after one of our former staff members – The Jimmy. A bed of ox steak, topped with a slice of foie gras, and with a drizzling of sherry balsamic vinaigrette just might be the best pintxo we’ve ever tasted.

And we’re not just saying that ‘cause we’ve been mates with Big-Oscar for years – his hole-in-the-wall sports bar has been featured on foodie shows and best bar lists a countless number of times. For us, this is a place that encapsulates everything you want in a pintxo bar; great company, cheap beer, and damn good food.


If, like us, this article has got your taste buds tingling, why not come along on a pintxos tour with us at the San Sebastián Surf Camp? Open all summer long from June 1st #fuckcovid-19

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What Will Travelling Be Like In A Post Coronavirus Lockdown World?

When will we get back to normal after the lockdowns lift and social isolation only applies to when you’re hungover?

Anything you read about the state of travel – in fact the state of the world – post COVID-19 is pure speculation. Nobody knows what’s going to happen when lockdowns are lifted; nobody knows even how they will be lifted, or when. But being in the travel business we’ve had to consider the various possibilities and make plans. We’re not experts in epidemiology, but we do know the European travel business, and this is what we’re planning for (and why we’re offering €1 deposits on all our trips). 

When the lockdowns first lift: limited movement around your area

Don’t expect these lockdowns to miraculously lift one day and allow you unlimited movement around the world. As soon as governments and health services feel confident that they have new infection rates slowing, and that they have the resources to identify and contain any flare ups as they may arise, lockdowns will slowly lift. At first you might be able to go to work again, if you still have a job. Bars and restaurants will likely remain closed, but parks might open up. You might be able to hike, or go to the beach. Governments will be playing a balancing act between restarting the economy and letting people get out of the house for the sake of their physical and mental health, and not wanting to rush into lifting restrictions and risking another spike in infections. 

Travelling during this time will be mostly symbolic. Things that you used to take for granted will become grand acts of discovery. Take a trip to a different supermarket. Take your shoes off and walk on some grass. Sit under a tree two metres away from everybody else. Visit a friend at their house – these simple acts will make you feel like an intrepid adventurer. 

When: depends on the country, obviously, but we’re thinking by late May/early June most European countries will be at this level. 

If there are no new spikes in COVID-19 infections, countries will open up

The oft-arbitrary (and in Europe mostly obsolete) lines that delineate countries will define the next stage of lockdown alleviation. As bars and restaurants open in our areas, and we flood them for a bender of apocalyptic proportions, nations will open up again for trade and even travel. This will be an attempt to return to normalcy within the country, allowing families to visit again, and for workers to get back to trading freely on a national level, but as travellers it opens up amazing opportunities also. While many of us are looking abroad for our travels, these restrictions might force us to seek out opportunities closer to home. As soon as governments are confident that infections rates are at a manageable level, regional and rural destinations – as well as city hotels and experience providers – will be desperate to welcome out-of-towners. This will be a great chance to explore regions that have always been on your radar, but perhaps put on the back burner because flights abroad are cheaper and the lure of the exotic more appealing, or to start doing your research NOW and discovering new regions, towns, attractions, and experiences that are accessible without leaving the country’s borders. 

This is the stage that Stoke Travel is looking forward to. Our Surf House in the hills behind San Sebastian is the perfect place for Spanish residents to explore a beautiful village in the mountains, as well as the bustling cosmopolitan and gastronomic hotspot that is San Sebastian, get to know the unique and stunning Basque Country, and to obviously spend plenty of time in the sun, on the sand and amongst the waves learning how to surf. 

Similarly, we’ll be opening up our Barcelona Boat Parties for people in Barcelona, or visiting Barcelona, who are in dire need for a bit of a party and some fresh air – which will be absolutely everybody. Both the Surf House and Barcelona Boat Parties will remain open as we move through the next stages. 

When: a couple of weeks after the first stage, so long as there aren’t any new spikes in infections. Start planning for this stage now, with €1 bookings on both the San Sebastian Surf Camp and Barcelona Boat Parties.

As we start to see COVID-19 infections plateau around the world

Europe will open up for business again. One of the main principles of the European Union is the free movement of people and goods between member states. EU leaders will be keen on getting the project back on track as soon as is reasonably possible. Budget airlines will start rebuilding their itineraries, offering cheap flights with flexible fares across Europe and travel agencies and tour operators and accommodation providers will be desperate to get some business again. 

We’re expecting this to be around the time our Spanish festival season kicks off (San Vino The Wine Fight, San Fermin in Pamplona and La Tomatina in Valencia), and we can guarantee that when these events happen this year, they will go off in a hedonistic manner never before seen. We’re actually scared that, despite being absolute party monsters, we might not be prepared for the onslaught. San Sebastian Surf and Barcelona Boats should be busy through this period too, as travellers from around Europe seek some Spanish sun.

When: soon after domestic travel opens up, Europe will open up too. There may be restrictions from countries that haven’t properly contained their cases. This is a phase you should definitely start planning for now, with €1 bookings across all Stoke Travel products.

And then the world will start to get back to normal

Once leaders are confident that they can keep on top of identifying and tracing new infections the world will slowly begin to open up again. Travel restrictions will be lifted for people coming from countries that have infection rates under control, and tourism will slowly begin to pick up as the world moves back towards its pre-coronavirus state. Temperature taking measures in some airports will remain for the foreseeable future and people might be expected to travel with masks, but a world where people can move around for business and leisure is one that the global economy relies on, so getting back to that situation as soon as possible is desirable to leaders and businesses. This won’t happen in a cavalier fashion, but what we can use as a guide is the manner by which the travel restrictions began before the whole world locked up. Travellers from areas that we’re seeing high levels of infections and likely unfettered transmissions were specifically banned from entering certain countries. The comedown from this will be the similar to that, perhaps with more caution due to coronavirus lessons that were learnt too late, but the blanket travel bans will lift eventually and the world will start travelling again, and while we may be more cautious with our personal hygiene, eventually we’ll be travelling around the world again and everything will be back to normal – or as close to normal as it can be in the post COVID-19 world.

We are very confident that Oktoberfest will be going ahead in the post-COVID world, so much so that we’re offering all doctors, nurses and healthcare workers free Oktoberfest trips, and obviously for the rest of you who will need a beer and want to party alongside the heroes of this virus we’re offering €1 deposits until the world makes sense again.

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