Budgeting On The Road

If you have spent months or years budgeting your life to the penny to save up for your amazing trip it can be quiet easy to lose yourself in the first couple of days. You don’t want to blow all of your hard-earned cash in the first few hours or days of your travels as you will find your self compromising on something later down the line you really wanted to do like an excursion. There are ways to budget your money on the road and still have an amazing time ensuring you have money left to do those expensive day trips you’ve been longing to do. The last few times I have been away I have come home with money by using a couple of budgeting tips for on the road from the second I land.

  • If you are going on a longer trip cut down the costs of things back home – rent, car, gym, phone, bills. You won’t be using any of these things, you want to try to minimise the costs as much as possible if your going to be away for a long time.
  • Transportation from the airport to where you are staying, I try to use public transport as much as possible. There are usually bus or train services which will run to the main areas and cost the fraction of price of taxis.
  • Accommodation can be one of the biggest expenses whilst you are travelling. To help keep the cost down I like to stay in hostels (it is amazing how much you can save). If you are not keen on the idea of hostels, look out for private rooms in hostels, these are not much different to hotel rooms and will be a lot cheaper. If you are on a longer trip, it can be worth asking the hostel if you can work in return for accommodation.If you have friends abroad in the country you are visiting try to crash on their sofa
  • Eating in touristy areas – avoid them.The touristy areas are generally more expensive and the food quality is a lot lower. Try walking a couple of streets down to where the locals eat – you will see the prices drop and authentic local food.
  • If you have opted to stay in a hostel, these are perfect for cutting down food costs. Most hostels have a kitchen with all appliances you need to make a home cooked meal. Take a trip to the local supermarket and cook in the hostel.
  • Street Carts abroad can be a great way to cut costs on food, I have had some of the most amazing food from Street Carts abroad (Barbados being my favourite). When eating from a street cart try to go to the ones in the busiest tourist areas (more from a hygiene point of view – you don’t want a dodgy tummy on the road)
  • Entertainment can become very expensive but there are lots of free things you can find abroad for example going to the beach, hiking, wandering and taking photos, local markets, free museums, going for a walk, wondering around local shops, churches/cathedrals
  • If you are a student remember to take your student card (or consider investing in an ICIS NUS card rather than the usual NUS card) quiet a lot of places will offer a student price with valid ID
  • Remember at local markets bartering is often adopted abroad, so don’t take the first price you see
  • Buying water – some places I have been to buy water when you are out and about on your adventures can be very expensive. A way to cut this cost is to buy multipacks at the local supermarket and take out with you each day.
  • Transport – transport to all the different sites you want to go see can get very expensive. To keep this down try to walk or use public transport where possible.

10 Reasons I love to Travel

There are endless reasons why I love to travel, but I have managed to narrow it down to my top 10.

1. You get to meet new people …… travel is a great way to meet new people from all walks of life from all over the world!

2. You get to push yourself outside of your comfort zone …… travel never fails at throwing you outside your comfort zone, whether it be trying new foods, exploring new cities or mountain ranges or simply the language barrier. It’s a great way to experience new things.

3. You can try new foods …. you can eat international foods at home, but the best place to get these dishes is the source!

4. You can go shopping in different shops and markets ….. there is nothing like walking around unique markets whilst abroad, you will find one of a kind pieces that no one else will have at home.

5. It gives you a chance to take a step back ….. it’s nice to be able to take a break from your every day life and see what else the world has to offer and remembering what is important to you.

6. It gives you a great opportunity to learn new things ….. you can learn so much about history, culture, religion, food etc.

7. Inspiration …… experiencing new cultures always inspires me to do something!

8. You can challenge yourself physically ……all day exploring whilst on the road can challenge you physically whether its hiking up a mountain or exploring the bustling cities.

9. You get to see and experience things you wouldn’t at home.

10. Just because …

Let me know why you love to travel in the comments below …. Happy Travels

Travelling with Jewellery

It is quiet a common travel tip to minimise your luggage that you pack some jewellery to pair with basics, so you can dress up or down.

This is fab as you achieve your goal of packing light – every woman’s challenge. But… all of a sudden your luggage becomes more meaningful and more valuable.

I am sure I am not the only one who has lost jewellery along my travels, as it is just so easy to lose when you are moving from place to place, doing all sorts of activities and enjoying your travels. It is inevitable, no matter how careful you are at some point you will lose some jewellery on the road.

So here are some of my top travel tips when packing jewellery on your travels …

  • Use the safe, if you’re not wearing your jewellery make sure it is locked away in the hotel safe
  • Don’t leave it unattended anywhere
  • Be selective in what you pack, choose wisely. And be prepared you might lose it, if it’s something that can’t be replaced and means a lot to you, think about if you really want to take it with you?
  • Don’t take anything too expensive or ‘Bling’, you don’t want to make yourself a target
  • When you fly keep your jewellery on you, either in your carry on or wear it
  • Get Jewellery Insurance if you are packing a slightly more expensive item. If you do make sure you have some photo’s of you wearing the jewellery as the insurance company may ask for this before paying out claims.
  • Be sensible about where you wear your jewellery
  • If you are staying in a hostel the risk of you loosing an item may be higher as shared dorms means a lower level of security
  • If you go out for a night drinking, think about what jewellery you wear! I say this point for two reasons, you are more careless when drunk and become a vulnerable target!
  • If you find yourself in a dodgy area (lets face it, everywhere has them) be sure not to advertise your jewellery. Easy way to do this is to tuck your necklace under your top so it is out of sight.

Advantages of Solo Travel

When we talk about Solo Travel there tends to be a negative attitude towards it, whether this is because of fear or just because a step out of the ‘social norm’. But who cares, if you want to do it do it!

Believe it or not, there are so many advantages of travelling solo!

Here are some of my favourite things about travelling solo –

  •  You can do what you want when you want! There’s no compromise, you can travel on your own terms!
  • When you travel solo you can go at your own pace and really take things in.
  • It is a lot easier to meet new people (other travellers or locals) when you travel solo. Especially as a female travelling solo, people just talk to you.
  • You get space from the outside world and really get to know yourself, what you like doing and don’t like doing.
  • Travelling solo allows you a lot more flexibility – if you want to stay an extra couple of days there’s no one to stop you. If you want to splurge and do something more expensive you don’t have to justify your choices!
  • Solo travel gives you a great confidence like you could concur the world if you needed to!

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Travel Tips – Accommodation

So you have you have spent some time saving up for your long-awaited trip, you’ve decided on your destination and when your going… now you just need to get booking. The question is, where should you stay?

There are plenty of different options available but which one should you go for, hotel, hostel, B&B?

Hotels are probably one of the more expensive types of accommodation that you will go for, they are clean, private and comfortable but they come at an expense and can eat into your budget. If you are wanting something ‘hotel-ish’ go for a hotel as other types of accommodation might not meet your needs.

B&B’s are generally the smaller quieter options for accommodation. You will often have your own private room within someones home and breakfast will be included.

Hostels are one of the cheaper options for accommodation, and there are a wide variety of hostels out there from low-budget and luxury. These are great if you are travelling solo and want to meet other people travelling solo as you will generally be in dorm rooms with a private locker to keep your belongings. Be careful to research your hostel well before booking, some hostels are party hostels and others are quieter more chilled – just be aware type you are booking into and that it fits what you are looking for. The downside of hostels is the noise and lack of privacy. If you don’t like the idea of staying in a dorm room but hotels are just too pricey look into booking a private room in a hostel. These are still cheaper than hotels and you will have more privacy.

Tips for booking your accommodation –

  • Shop around – the same accommodation can vary in price from site to site.
  • Check out if it is cheaper to book directly with the Hotel, B&B or Hostel.
  • Check out trip adviser before you book (when looking at comments look at where they have come from)
  • Look at traveller photos on trip adviser – I find this a great way to see for myself what the accommodation is like

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Top 10 Inspirational Travel Quotes

1. Once the travel bug bites there is no know antidote, and I know I shall be happily infected until the end of my life, Michael Palin

2. To travel is to take a journey into yourself,  Danny Kane

3. The Journey is the destination, Dan Eldon

4. Do one thing everyday that scares you, Eleanor Roosevelt

5. Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before, Dalai Lama

6. Better to see something once, than hear about it a thousand times, Asian Proverb

7. The world is a book, and those who do not travel only read one page, St. Augustine

8. Life is an adventure, Dare it … , Mother Theresa

9. I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train, Oscar Wilde

10. I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way, Carl Sagan

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Travel Safety

When we travel abroad we can be ‘targets’ if we are not careful. The pick pockets abroad are very sneaky and will get you without you realising. I have put together some little pointers I have found useful whilst on the road.

  • Act like a local, even if you are lost if you look like you have confidence in where you are going it will seem like you belong.
  • Wear across body bags (as uncomfortable as it is, and as awkward as it looks) try to keep your bag in front of you. You don’t want someone taking a sneaky look in whilst you are distracted by an attraction or market seller.
  • If you wear a backpack – don’t keep anything of value in it. Always keep all of your valuables close to you and in your sight.
  • Most crime will be on untraceable objects, such as cash – carry different formats of money to ensure you don’t get stuck should one get targeted (eg. cash, debit card, credit card, travel card). Take some cash out there with you, if you need to get more cash visit a cash point inside a bank.
  • Don’t make yourself a target, aim to minimise the opportunity of crime (most crime on tourist/locals is based on the opportunity being there).
  • Take photocopies of all your travel documents with you and keep all your travel documents in the hotel safe when you are there.
  • Don’t wear flashy clothes or jewellery – you will only make yourself a target
    If you are not using your camera – put it away! Keeping it around your neck will only draw attention to you being a tourist
  • Don’t leave your phone out on the table whilst you are having drinks/dinner, someone could walk past and take it without you realising until it’s too late.
  • If you go for a night out drinking, don’t take anything valuable out with you.
  • Lock all your valuables in the hotel safe etc. if you do not take them out with you.
  • As in any country, if you are by yourself going out at night is not the safest time. If you are travelling by yourself avoid going out in the evenings but if you need to go out in the evenings stick to the busy main roads at all times.
  • Be aware of what is going on around you and the area you are in. Everywhere has roads you should probably avoid.

How to Eat Alone Without Feeling Awkward

So if you travel alone there will be times where you will have to eat out solo. This can feel very awkward if it is something that you are not used to, and it can be a challenge to overcome but there are ways to take away that awkward feeling when you ask for that dreaded table for one…

1. Have a book on you… having a book to read whilst you eat solo is a great distraction from what is going on around you and will make you feel less conscious about eating solo.

2. Use your phone … smartphones are a brilliant dinner companion if you eat solo on your travels. It can serve as a great way to catch up with family and friends back home, read up on activities for the following day or just to catch up with the world.

3. People watch… this is a great way to get a feel for local culture and whats going on around you.

4. Spark up a conversation with the wait staff or bar staff … if the staff are friendly why not spark up a conversation with them, ask them about the local area and where you should visit? If you go there a couple of times on your trip they will come to recognise you and ask about your travels.

5. Laptop or iPad … if you have a travel blog this can be the perfect opportunity to catch up on your blog and publish on your latest adventures!

If you have any more tips to add which you have found helpful on your travels, please comment below.

Happy Travels 🙂

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Dublin – Ireland

About

Dublin is a beautiful European city, full of history, pubs and whiskey! It is also the capital and largest city in Ireland. The city is full of charm and character and the people are some of the friendliest around!

Getting Around

Everything in Dublin is pretty much within walking distance if you are staying near to the city centre.

From the Airport

There is a bus service which runs from the airport with multiple stops throughout the city, Airlink which cost roughly €6,00 for a single journey.

Things to do

  • Dublin Castle
  • Jamesons Distillery
  • Guiness Stockhouse
  • Ghost Bus
  • Glasnevin Cemetry
  • Irish Wiskey Tasting Museum
  • Temple Bar
  • Fairy Tale Storytelling Bus Tour
  • The Temple Bar
  • Dublin Zoo
  • Kilmainham Gaol
  • Trinity College

How long do I need?

3/4 days

Packing Essentials

  • Umbrella
  • Warm clothes

Budget

€40,00 a day

Recommended Accommodation

The Generator Hostel – central location, quirky hostel and great atmosphere!

Best Months to Visit

All year round

Top Tip

If you plan to do the Guinness Stockhouse and Jameson’s distillery book this before you arrive, either online or at one of the tourism offices around the city! Also arrive super early in the morning to avoid queues for Kilmanham Goal.

Facts

Capital – Dublin is the capital of Ireland
Population – over 1.5 million
Language – English/Irish
Local Currency – Euros

FAQ’s

Can I drink the water? Yes
Is tipping expected? No, however it is not uncommon to tip in a restaurant in Ireland
Fixed Price or barter? Fixed Price
Dress code? Casual
Any 7 wonders of the world? No

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Barcelona – Spain

About 

Barcelona is the perfect European city for any art and culture lover, especially if you have an eye for architecture. Barcelona has so much to offer from Antonio Gaudi’s architecture to Picasso to everyday street art displayed all over the city.  If art and architecture are not your thing, Barcelona still has plenty to offer including the Camp Nou Stadium home of the world-famous Barcelona Football Club, beautiful beaches and all your famous European shopping brands.

Getting Around

Getting around Barcelona is fairly easy, if you are staying central near to the Gothic Quarter and Las Ramblas you are within walking distance of all the main attractions. However if you are staying slightly further afield there is a great metro line to help you get around. And as usual in any city there are always taxis available.

From the Airport

There is an Aerobus from the airport will drop you right into the city centre at the top of Las Ramblas and costs roughly €5,90 for a single fair.

Things to do

Barcelona is full of fun and exciting cultural things to do and see!

  • Sagrada Familia
  • Parc Güell
  • Casa Batlló
  • Casa Milà
  • Barcelona Cathedral
  • Columbus Tower
  • Camp Nou
  • Picasso Museum
  • Palau de la Música Catalana
  • Parc Ciutadella
  • Güell Palace
  • Mercado de La Boqueria

How long do I need?

Five days is enough time to fully explore the city.

Packing Essentials 

Don’t forget to pack some modesty clothes which cover your legs and shoulders so you don’t have any issues visiting the cathedrals.

Comfy shoes/trainers, a lot of the streets in Barcelona are cobbled so this is an essential packing item.

Budget 

€50,00 a day

Best Months to Visit

May – June

Top Tip

Barcelona is a busy city and popular amongst tourists, book your entry into attractions before you go for as many attractions as possible.

Facts 

  • Capital – Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia Spain
  • Population – 1.6 million
  • Language – Catalan
  • Local Currency – Euros
  • Vaccinations –  I did not need any Vaccinations travelling from the UK

FAQ’s 

  • Can I drink the water?  No
  • Is tipping expected? Tipping is not expected, however leaving the loose change to round-up to the nearest Euro will go along way
  • Fixed Price or barter? Fixed price in shops, barter on the markets
  • Dress code? Barcelona is quiet a casual city by day and smart casual in the evenings
  • Any 7 wonders of the world? No

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