Tag : money-2

Top 5 advantages of self-catered accommodation

In my opinion, self-catered accommodation is an absolute godsend. I think many of us opt for standard hotels without really considering any other options, which is shame when you take a good look at what self-catered apartments and cottages have to offer.

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Below, you’ll find the top five benefits of going for this kind of accommodation over your average B&B or fully-catered hotel. Hopefully, these will inspire you to take a different approach to your next trip.

1) Cost reduction

One of the most obvious benefits of going down the self-catered route is that it can help you cut the cost of your break – especially if you decide to stay right here in the UK. There’s plenty of self-catered accommodation in Newcastle (which can be seen here), for example, that gives you the chance to stay in the heart of the action, checking out the city’s various galleries, bars and restaurants.

While deciding to have a staycation rather than jet off overseas will definitely help ease any budget woes, the main way in which self-catered breaks help your bank balance is by giving you the freedom to make your own meals. Of course, you can still dine out whenever you fancy doing something special, so you needn’t worry that you’re missing out – you’ll just have maximum control over how much you’re spending.

2) Breadth of choice and flexibility

While self-catered breaks can definitely be a money-saver, there’s far more to them than this. In fact, one of the things I love most about this kind of accommodation is the broad spectrum of holidays it can cover. Yes, it can be perfect for a cheap getaway, but it’s easy to go for something ultra-lavish instead.

Plus, you can have very different breaks depending on whereabouts you stay. Going back to the example of Newcastle, you can find apartments right in the city centre, which is absolutely brilliant if you want to immerse yourself in the hustle and bustle. Should you be after something a bit quieter, though, you could pick somewhere on the coast a few miles away, or just outside the city in the countryside.

3) Freedom

Another key advantage of self-catered accommodation is the freedom it gives you. Traditional hotels with set mealtimes and strict check-in and check-out times often make you feel like you need to keep in line with someone else’s schedule. With self-catered breaks, though, you’re free to make the rules.

Of course, this also means you can be a bit more spontaneous. For instance, if you go on a day trip outside the city and decide you’d like to stay there for dinner, you won’t have to worry that you’re missing a meal that’s already been paid for back at your hotel.

4) Home from home feel

One of my favourite things about renting an apartment or cottage is that you can create a real home from home while you’re on holiday – something I think is pretty difficult to do in a hotel where you only have a bedroom and bathroom.

And this cosy atmosphere is perfect for pretty much any kind of trip. Families, for example, will be able to recreate all the security and comforts of home for younger members of the family, while couples will have plenty of privacy and groups of friends will have plenty of space to hang out – which brings me to my final point.

5) Sociability

In my opinion, one of the biggest benefits of going self-catered is the social factor. After all, having a whole apartment or cottage makes it so much easier to spend time together as a group, since you’ll have communal areas as well as individual bedrooms.

You can cook meals together and have dinner parties or, if you fancy a more relaxed night in with a film, you could grab a takeaway and a few beers instead. Families, meanwhile, can use the space to spend quality time with the kids, not to mention storing bulky bits and bobs like buggies, toys and spare clothes.


Categories: Blog, Inspiration, Travel Tips

Perpetual Ski Bum 2

The Perpetual Ski Bum: Working At Ski Resorts Abroad

Even the most seasoned backpacker likes to take a break once in a while. Finding seasonal work abroad is one of the best ways to finance your travels, get to know a place, and make friends while staying on the road long-term. This is especially true during winter months in countries where temperatures drop and snow falls in great quantities, because ski resorts offer some of the best benefits for short term work.

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If you have any background in the hospitality sector, be it in hotel, restaurant, guide, or other work, it’s generally easy to find a job. Musicians and other entertainers may also find a place at larger resorts if they are lucky. And even if you lack experience, “lifties” (those that watch over the chairlifts and assist skiers and snowboarders as they come on and off of them) receive on-the-job-training in safety and procedures, meaning that any physically able adult can take the position. Considering how popular winter sports have become, there are resorts all around the world that have high demand for seasonal staff. Check online job posting boards or inquire directly to see what is available.

Perpetual Ski Bum 1

In addition to a modest paycheck, you can expect a variety of benefits. A work visa and resident permit for the duration of your stay should be offered (and you should be cautious if it isn’t—make sure to do some research before taking a deal that seem the least bit shady). Many resorts offer lodging and possibly even board to their employees in order to keep them close and on time, rather than forcing them to commute between an apartment in the city and their job on the slopes. Ski passes are massively discounted or in some cases even free. Gear rental is also offered at a premium, and winter accessories like high quality branded Dinaric jackets are offered to employees.

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On the job and after hours, expect friendly coworkers that are a mix of locals and foreigners in a similar situation as yourself. Resort employees are notorious for enjoying the après ski scene and engaging in lively nightlife activities (hint: prepare your liver). If you are receiving room and/or board, you won’t have much else to spend your money on, so it’s reasonable to anticipate some savings after the season ends. Take that money and get back on the road once springtime, and the travel bug, hit you again!


Categories: Money, Natural Wonders, Sport

5 Tips for Cheap Flights 1

5 Tips for Finding the Cheapest Flights

With ongoing economic insecurity affecting just about everyone in the world, traveling smart and saving money is more important than ever. For many who choose long-term backpacking as a lifestyle, plane tickets are their largest expense in an entire year, and may be equivalent to weeks or even months of living and traveling in foreign countries. With that in mind, here are some of our top tips for getting the best deals on flights.

5 Tips for Cheap Flights 11. Do your homework
We wish that we had one simple answer to get the best deal, but in general it requires a fair amount of research for each individual itinerary. Mix and match between flight aggregation sites and airline websites, talk to travel agents, and research your specific destination. Find out what airline hubs are located near you and the place you want to be, and what airlines use them. Doing the legwork is slow, but will pay off in a big way.

2. Use technology
You’re not the only one looking for the cheapest flights, and web developers know it. Apps and mailing lists abound that will alert you to price drops and special sales. Airlines have discovered Twitter, and several of them have tweeted about instant sales at ridiculous discounts to their followers as a promotional tool. The internet is definitely your friend in the hunt.

5 Tips for Cheap Flights 23. Utilize small airlines
Smaller companies are often neglected by flight aggregation searches, meaning that there are great deals that go undetected by those who just use broad searches. Taking the time to look at tickets offered by smaller or regional carriers can save you a lot of money. For example, Monarch airlines in Britain only has 3000 employees, despite offering flights to five continents. Bargains on Monarch flights are on fly.co.uk.

4. Timing matters (part 1)
What time of year are you planning to fly? What day of the week? These questions may drastically affect the price of your ticket. Obviously, prices skyrocket around holidays. Summers can also be costly. Wednesdays are thought to be on average the cheapest days to fly, followed by Tuesdays and Saturdays. Friday and Sunday are the most expensive, so avoid them if possible. Be flexible!

5 Tips for Cheap Flights 35. Timing matters (part 2)
Variations in price for the same flight at the same time on the same day can occur depending on when you book—how far in advance, what day of the week, and even the time of day. Within the US, studies have shown that the best time to book is seven weeks in advance, and for international flights more like 11 or 12. Purchasing on a Tuesday or Wednesday may be a little cheaper than on the weekend, and afternoons are often better than mornings.

While it’s tough to know all the answers, these tips will hopefully get you a better deal than you’d be able to find otherwise. Saving money is important to be able to travel, and there are few feelings as good as stumbling across that one jaw-dropping deal on a flight to your dream destination. Good luck!



Categories: Blog, Money, Travel Tips

Fixed up Abroad: 5 Countries with the Highest Quality Healthcare

The UK receives a great deal of attention for its universal, tax-funded healthcare system. Through nationwide contributions, the government is able to provide greatly reduced rates for its citizens on procedures ranging from cardiac and pulmonary surgery to tummy tucks and laser eye treatments in manchester. That being said, on a global scale, if you’re looking to travel abroad for an operation, it helps to have options. The UK’s healthcare system is truly fine, but surprisingly, the World Health report has it listed in spot #18. Fortunately for the European traveler, the top five are all in western Europe.

5. MaltaBecause Malta is an island, it already has a tourism-minded attitude. The hospitals have an elegant atmosphere and are staffed with US- and UK-trained specialists. Its small size makes medical facilities easy to access, and it boasts no waiting lines. This also means it doesn’t take long to get to the beach and unwind after the procedure.

4. AndorraThe big perk of visiting Andorra is that it does not require citizens of the USA, Canada, UK/EU and Australia to procure visas for visits up to 3 months. That makes it an excellent place for major surgery requiring longer recovery periods. Also, considering Andorra has the highest life expectancy in the world, you can imagine they’ve got something right.

3. San Marino

Not only does the Most Serene Republic of San Marino have the distinction of being the third smallest country in Europe, but it also has the third best healthcare system in the world. It can be an excellent alternative if you find yourself by the Adriatic coast and have trouble finding a hospital. That being said, you may not need to visit San Marino if you’re already in…

2. Italy

Apart from having one of the best healthcare systems in the world, Italy also may be one of the nicest places to convalesce after your procedure. The Mediterranean climate and relaxed lifestyle (not to mention the food) make this an excellent place to combine healing with fun.

1. France

After centuries of cultural rivalry with the UK, France has pulled ahead in healthcare. Combining public and private healthcare funding, France offers substantially lower prices than much of the rest of Europe, one more reason to smile in this romantic country. They’ll help straighten that smile too, if you want.

Categories: Travel Tips


How to go abroad for cheap


If you have always dreamt of travelling around the world but thought that it would be far too expensive then you might find that you can do it on a budget. However, travelling cheaply might mean that you have to make certain sacrifices. You won’t be staying in five-star accommodation, for example and you might have to use slower, less direct methods of transport.

For many budget travellers, though, this is part of the experience and allows you to stay away for longer, meet more people, see parts of the world which are rarely visited by tourists and have a fantastic time.

You might not have the budget for luxury hotels or lavish meals in high-end restaurants, but when it comes to travelling the best things in life are often free or at least very cheap.

Here are some tips to help you go travelling abroad even if your bank balance is smaller than you would prefer.

Alternatives to Flying

Air fares are not cheap and with the cost of fuel and taxes constantly rising, they are only going up. Obviously, if you are travelling from the UK to America or Australia then flying may be your only option, so consider booking well in advance or going out of peak season. Having the luxury of choosing your travel date allows you to benefit from cheaper flights at the least popular times. You should also keep an eye on promotional offers on travel websites to see whether any bargains crop up.

If you are travelling within Europe, you might consider going by bus, coach or train instead. While these methods of travel invariably take longer, they are generally the cheapest ways to get around. Again, ordering your tickets well in advance of your trip will help you secure the best fares. If time is of the essence, however, ask about late deals or cancellations. Tour operators might be willing to sell off the last few seats at bargain prices.

Budget Accommodation

While it is traditionally accepted that hostels are the cheapest form of accommodation you can find, budget hotels can sometimes cost less so don’t dismiss them or forget to shop around. If you are just looking for somewhere to rest your head in between activities, this sort of accommodation is ideal.

In a hostel you have to be prepared to share showers, bedrooms and dining facilities, sometimes with many people. However, this is often how lasting friendships are formed.

If you have friends in different parts of the world, make it your mission to visit them and ask if they can put you up. You will get a couple of nights of free accommodation and the chance to see an old friend once again.


Many charities are looking for volunteers to help them abroad and while you won’t make any money out of the work you do for them, you will be able to cover your travel and living expenses. This sort of travel provides you with the chance to see some of the world’s most diverse communities and actually make a difference while you are there. But remember that charity-funded volunteer trips will require you to make a long-term commitment.

Travel and Work

Essentially, being able to work depends on how long you plan to be in a certain location and what your visa allows you to do. There are various ways to work in a particular destination or even while actually travelling from place to place.

For example, finding a position on the staff of a cruise ship is a great way to see the world and be paid for it, although you will be working hard in this sort of role so the number of places you actually get to see could be negligible.

Alternatively, if you plan on staying in a location for a matter of months, have the appropriate visa and don’t mind performing all manner of menial tasks then you could sign up for casual work. This allows you to fund your travel from place to place and experience the different parts of the world on your days off.

Think carefully about where you are likely to find casual work. In certain areas of the world, you will be competing with locals who are prepared to work for a much smaller wage than anything you might be accustomed to. But this does provide the opportunity for some unique local experiences, such as harvesting grapes in France, as well as the chance to meet more people and make friends.

Wherever you plan on travelling, you can do it on a budget if you are prepared to sleep on a few couches, work when you can and be flexible about your mode of transport. What is certain is that you are going to have the experience of a lifetime.

This guest post was contributed by Peak Transfer


Categories: Blog, Money, Travel Tips

crazy currency

5 Tips On Dealing With Money Abroad

It’s probably one of the biggest worries for any newbie traveler: How am I going to manage my money when I’m away? Nobody wants to get bogged down in the nitty-gritty of money issues when you could be spending your time jungle-trekking in the Amazon or tubing in Laos, but if the necessary precautions aren’t adhered to then you may find yourself missing out on the fun. We’ve listed but a few examples of such precautions for you to chew over:

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One: Take at least two cards

Unless you have some offshore savings accounts to access, having two cards at your disposal (one credit card and another regular debit card) is an absolute must. Generally, using debit cards for ATM withdrawals and credit cards for direct purchases will get you the lowest exchange rates. And of course it’s always a good idea to have a back-up if you should lose the other. Just make sure you keep them in separate places!


Two: ‘Pre-paid’ cards

You may want to think about equipping yourself with one of these if you consider yourself to be a bit reckless when it comes to spending, as you can only use what you have already deposited into the account. Also, in the event of losing your card and/or fraudulent use of it, your provider will cancel the card and immediately send a replacement. Plus any money lost will be automatically reimbursed. So there’s no danger of creeping into the red and they offer increased security. Alternatively, accessing offshore savings can work out cheaper than prepaying cards too.


Three: Have USD with you (outside Europe)

If the sh*t ever hits the fan, being able to produce a crisp $100 bill from your pocket will almost definitely get you out of trouble. You may not like having to part with it, but its better than winding up in a Thai prison-cell for 3 nights for something that you may or may not have done. (Having said that, you’d be surprised what people DON’T get arrested for in Thailand.


Four: Withdraw large amounts

Despite many a banks’ promise that they do not have international transaction fees, there is almost always a charge to withdraw money overseas. It’s possible that your bank will charge a percentage of the withdrawal but more often than not it will be a flat rate. Therefore, it’s better to withdraw substantial amounts that will keep you going for a couple of weeks, though again- stash it separately!


Five: Don’t use Traveller’s Cheques

No, no, no, no, NO! For God’s sake just don’t do it. They’re annoyingly oversized, outdated and all in all about as futile as Mitt Romney’s current presidential campaign. Nobody uses them anymore and the rates are rubbish. It’s a no-brainer really.


So, with that in mind, hopefully you’ve a clearer idea of how to handle your finances when gallivanting about the earth, and when the time comes, you’ll be able to trek/tube/snorkel/gargle snake’s blood etc, safe in the knowledge that you are financially secure (though perhaps not medically if you actually are gargling snake’s blood).


WRITER: Josh Taylor

Categories: Blog, Money