Posts for Travel Tips Category

Travel Smart – Tips to Enjoy your Travels

Europe, Travel Blog, Travel Tips - Ross French - July 13, 2020

Wasted travel is unforgivable. Far too many people take a trip to somewhere that would easily be in the top ten of many people’s bucket lists, and they return home with almost nothing to say about the place. As someone who loves to travel, I find this to be among the most outstanding failures of grownups everywhere. The conversation typically goes a little something like this:

“Oh, welcome back, nice trip?”
“ – Yes thanks, lovely weather”
“Did you get out into the old town at all? Or see the famous bridge or the…”
“ – Mmmm no, not really, we don’t really like that kind of thing”
“So, you didn’t see the Cathedral or…”
“ – Oh, yeah, you mean that church thing? We had an ice cream near there. Looked nice.”

And you feel like screaming “WHY DID YOU BOTHER”, but, sadly, if you did scream at people for doing travelling wrong, you’d be screaming most of the time. Part of the problem is that travel, I suppose, isn’t straightforward. There’s a lot of planning. There can be overseas money transfers to navigate (read up all about wire transfers), and you might feel like no matter what you do with your travel time, it could have been spent better by someone else, so, why panic, and just enjoy what comes your way. Let’s look at how to do it right.

Read read read

In the days before the internet (I’m showing my age – but I was very young), people going on vacation had to rely on travel brochures and word of mouth. Information was scarce. And what you got when you arrived was never as advertised. Fast forward to modern day access to all the information in the world at your fingertips, and you really have no excuse not to read up on your travel destination – or else you could miss out on something extraordinary.

For example, everyone has heard of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, right? But what you may not have heard about is the catacombs, deep underground, where the walls are made of human bones. There are daily tours and everything. And visitors to Disneyland theme parks will know all about the rides, but may not know about the secretive “Club 33”, where for tens of thousands of dollars, members may walk through the handful of Club 33 doors (visible inside the park but plain and unassuming looking) and experience 5-star luxury dining etc. The more you know, the more you’ll enjoy yourself.

Mix it up

Being a tourist is day one stuff – as the saying goes, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. So, yeah, I get it, take the guided tour, sit on the open top bus, sail down the river while a guide points out the various historical buildings. But on day two… this is where you need to explore a little. Find restaurants off the beaten track, etc. Don’t leave having not seen the “real” people of wherever you’ve visited.

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The Easiest Ways you can Save Money on Travelling (and still have a great time)

Travel Blog, Travel Tips - Ross French - July 2, 2020

Everyone should have the opportunity to travel the world. Sadly, for many people, it’s the potential cost of heading across the world that stops them from achieving their travel dreams. Flights, accommodation, food, activities as well as money for emergencies…the costs quickly add up.

However, despite common misconceptions about travel it is entirely possible to travel the world on a limited budget and even save yourself some money in the process. Want to know more? Here we’ve gathered some of the easiest ways you can save money on travelling (and still have a great time)!

First of all…

Creating a travel budget is something all travellers must do. Otherwise, you’ll have no idea where you can afford to go, how much you’ll have to spend and how long you can stay for before you run out of money. Creating a simple budget will ensure you make the most out of your money, avoid overspending and make better travel choices to make your money go further. Try a budget calculator to get you started.

Avoid peak times

Thinking of making travel plans for summer? Or around public holidays? It’ll cost you a fortune and you’ll probably spend most of your budget before you’ve even stepped foot on a plane. Avoiding peak times means that you’ll get to visit your intended destination but without the crowds, tourists and the hefty price tag. Do some research into the quiet months of the year and consider your options.

Be clever with your accommodation location

Sure, the cheapest hostel or hotel is on the outskirts of town, but the cost of travelling to places of interest or a nice restaurant probably negates your potential saving. It’s also inconvenient and time-consuming. When searching for accommodation, look for a location that’s within walking distance of areas you’d like to explore. Don’t forget to compare prices on hotel comparison sites.

Eat like the locals

Chain restaurants and tourist hotspots will charge a fortune. Whereas street food and smaller, local cafes and bars provide a much more authentic and budget-friendly option. Trying new cuisine plays a huge part in the travelling experience, but you shouldn’t have to break the bank to do it. Eating like a local means you get the best of both worlds. Speak with hostel/hotel staff about food recommendations.

Cook your own food

Choosing to stay somewhere that has kitchen facilities means that you can save money on eating out every single day and enjoy a home-cooked meal. If you shop at local markets – even just a few days a week – then you’ll be able to save money and eat something with some nutritional value!

And finally, consider getting a job

If you want to extend your stay overseas, then why not find some work to fund your stay? Bar and restaurant work is ideal. Alternatively, there’s fruit and flower picking, working in resorts or even working your job remotely on the other side of the world could be an option. If you’re planning on working overseas, it’s much better to secure a role before you travel.

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Kickstart your Travel Funds with These Simple Saving Ideas

Travel Tips - Ross French - April 25, 2020

Dreaming of travelling the world? What’s stopping you? For most, it’s the cost. From flight tickets to other transport, hotels and hostels, activities, insurance, souvenirs, drinks, food, even your travel supplies, it all adds up to a pretty hefty amount. Sadly, it’s this large sum that puts many people off the idea of travelling.

I’ll never save as much money as that! That’s a crazy amount – it’s just not worth it!

Sound familiar? The truth is that regardless of how much money you might need, travelling is money well spent. So, how can you save money for your travel adventures? Here we’ll look at how you can kickstart your travel funds with these simple saving ideas.

Invest in an ISA

An ISA is a special kind of saving account where you can deposit as much as 20k a year, without having to pay a penny on tax. Meaning that your money works hard to earn you interest! Click here to find out more about ISAs and how to find the right one for you. The money you save each month can be placed in your ISA and saved over time until you’re ready to hit the road. It’s a simple yet effective way to save and travel.

Sell those unwanted belongings

If you’re going to be on the road for a while, then it might make sense to get rid of a lot of your old belongings and utilise the money for your travels instead. From old clothes to accessories, even home décor items, shoes, books and tech. Check out eBay, Craigslist and Facebook marketplace for a captive buying audience. Remember – one mans trash is another man’s treasure!

Work even more

If overtime or more shifts are available, then you should consider taking them on and putting your earnings straight into your travel fund. If extra shifts aren’t possible right now, then don’t worry you can make money by participating in online surveys, earning cash back on certain goods, or even utilising your skills and talents and selling your own products and services online. E.g. arts and crafts, voiceover work, logo design etc.

Cut out the miscellaneous spends

Unless you’re buying it for your trip, you don’t need it. Including vices such as cigarettes and even alcohol. Video games, new clothes, books, nights and meals out, handbags etc. It might seem a little difficult at first, but if you keep your travel goal in mind you’ll know that it’s all going to be worth it in the end.

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Enjoy Authentic Greek Cuisine at These 4 Destinations

Travel Blog, Travel Tips - Ross French - June 26, 2019

In Greece, both the sun and sea work together to open your horizons to all kinds of experiences; especially when it comes to discovering new tastes, aroma, and food combinations. Featuring a unique ensemble of Mediterranean cuisine, local produce, and fine spirits, the Greek archipelago offers an enormous repertoire of flavourful dishes that have evolved.

From traditional or modern, regional or Panhellenic, to sophisticated or straightforward, here’s are some places where you can discover authentic Greek cuisine in all its manifestations.

Combining the Flavours of Sun and Sea – The Aegean

The Aegean is one of the world’s largest island groups, each one of which features a specific microclimate.

The microclimate, in turn, contributes to the creation of a unique culinary paradise, not to be found elsewhere. We have the cuisine of the Cyclades, which is primordial and has a deep cultural connect. Some of the famous recipes with a distinctive character and heady aromas are:

  • Kassian pilaf
  • Aegean ‘makarounes’ (or hand-made fresh pasta with caramelized onions)
  • Sgardoumia (or offal soup from the island of Santorini)
  • Marathotiganites (or fennel rissoles from Serifos)
  • Dolmadakia made with herbs and vine leaves
  • Melitera (or sweet cheese pies with vanilla from Anafi)
  • Melopita (or the famous honey pie from the island of Sifnos)

A Taste of The Cosmopolitan – The Ionian Islands

The flavors at the Ionian Islands have distinctive characters and fascinating Italian origins. The trademark of the cuisine here is ‘savoro,’ which means sour and is a combination of rosemary and vinegar. Savoro is widely used to season and preserve both fish and vegetables.

Then we have the local favorite of ‘bourdetto,’ which is essentially the scorpion fish prepared in a red-hot spicy tomato sauce. When in the Ionian Islands, you can also explore other distinctively lip-smacking recipes including:

  • Strapatsada (or scrambled eggs with feta cheese and tomato)
  • Tsigareli (or cabbage/wild greens cooked in a spicy tomato sauce)
  • Ppastitsio this nonas (or mince and baked pasta with béchamel sauce topping)
  • Bakaliaros me agiada (essentially de-salted preserved codfish fillets prepared in a ‘skordalia’ garlic sauce)

The flavor of these recipes is increased tenfold with superb beverages such as kumquat liqueur and ginger beer. That said, don’t forget to finish off a delicious meal with mouth-watering Greek desserts such as ‘pantespani’ (syrup-soaked sponge cakes), ‘pasteli’ (sesame seed and honey bars) and ‘mandola’ nougat.

Experience the Elixir of Life – Crete

The island of Crete is a popular tourist destination in the Mediterranean, boasting of seductive natural landscapes and vibrant culture. That said, the island also features some of the most satisfying authentic Greek gastronomic experiences.

Therefore, when in Crete, be sure to discover the secrets of Cretan cuisine through a culinary tour of popular towns of Chania, Heraklion, Rethymno, Ierapetra, and Siteia.

Some of the most popular and authentic Greek recipes that you can relish in Crete include:

  • Chania pilaf rice (traditionally prepared with rooster)
  • Ofto (or roasted baby goat)
  • Fresh Greek salads
  • Dakos (or barley rusks cooked with soft white cheese, fresh tomato, and olive oil)

Enjoy the Magic of Cooking – The Dodecanese

At the heart of the Dodecanese islands, the culinary palette of Rhodes (the island of the Knights), Karpathos, Patmos, and Kastelorizo is a rich amalgamation of bold flavors and rustic origins. Over time, while the recipes have evolved to incorporate a variety of Eastern Mediterranean flavor profiles, they still have pretty straightforward preparations.

The real magic of authentic Dodecanese cuisine is best experienced through the following recipes:

  • Boukounies (or pork prepared in various herbs)
  • Xerotigana (or fried spiral pastries in honey or syrup)
  • Pastelaries (or dried figs with sesame seeds and almonds)

The Flavours of the Mediterranean are Best Explored in Greece

When it comes to combining quality ingredients with centuries of culinary knowledge, there is no match to the Greek cuisine. In Greece, dining is not just about having a multi-course meal. Instead, it is about coming together and sharing a meal with family and friends, in a casual and pleasant affair.

While there is no lack of fancy restaurants or exquisite seaside settings in Greece, some of the most authentic and flavourful food can be enjoyed inside no-frills places and humble downtown taverns.

If you too wish to experience authentic Greek cuisines in their original setting, be sure to check out the archipelago of Greece in its entirety.

To maximize your trip experience, you can start with finalizing your itinerary and making a list of towns and cities you plan to visit during your trip. It is equally crucial to create a financial budget for the vacation and purchase an overseas travel insurance policy to extend an additional layer of financial protection against any contingency.

With the help of overseas travel insurance; therefore, you can not only tackle any unexpected medical treatment expenses but also avail benefits such as coverage of trip cancellations, the total loss of checked-in baggage and loss of passport.

Just like you have a delicious pie or refreshing ice-cream to finish off a satisfying meal, buying overseas travel insurance too serves as a fitting endpoint for your travel preparations.

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Top 4 Cruise Destinations for Globetrotters in 2019

Travel Tips - Ross French - April 25, 2019

Have you been initiated into the beautiful world of cruises already? If you have, we know that you must be on the lookout for your next cruise destination. There is a plethora of options today that might end up leaving you confused for days together. Whether you are interested in wilderness cruises in the Arctic or beach cruises, in cultural journeys or adventure-packed ones, all you need to do to find a good cruise deal is research enough. Here, we have listed down four of the most popular cruise destinations for globetrotters in 2019 to give you some inspiration:

1. The Caribbean

It is undoubtedly the most famous cruise destination in the world and sees millions of tourists flock the region in cruise ships around the year. Apart from being an exhilarating experience, it also offers great value for money since you can visit different islands without having to fret about other things such as flight tickets, visas, accommodation etc. The best time to visit the Caribbean on a cruise is between the months of November and May, and avoid travelling between December to March if you don’t like too much crowd since it is the peak season.

2. Alaska

Alaska is truly the epitome of natural beauty on Earth, with its spectacular scenery, wildlife and glaciers. There will not be a single moment on this cruise where you will not be left awestruck by the vistas of the biggest state in the United States. This cruise will take you around some beautiful spectacular fjords and glaciers as well as mountains alongside Alaska’s coastline. Most routes here begin from Vancouver and go all the way up to Juneau, which is the fun capital of Alaska. The best time to head on a cruise to Alaska is between early May to mid-September, with June to August being the peak season.

3. The Mediterranean

Who doesn’t love Southern Europe for some sun, sand and the sea and one of the best ways to enjoy this is by taking a cruise in the Mediterranean Sea. There is an abundance of natural beauty in this region which will leave you awestruck and wanting to dive deep into the rich cultural heritage of this region. Whether you visit Italy or Spain, the Greek islands or tiny Malta, this cruise will definitely prove to be one of the most unforgettable experiences of a lifetime.

4. Hawaii

Say ‘Aloha’ to what will be the most fun week you ever spend on water, and maybe even on land. Hawaiian cruises have been known for decades as a fun trip around an archipelago of eight main islands. A cruise will let you soak in the wild natural beauty of the islands of Maui, Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, Niihau and Kahoolawe. If you think the offerings of each island will be similar to the other, you are mistaken.

Seasickness is a thing of the past when you head out for a cruise vacation to any of the above mentioned destinations! So, prepare yourself for a week of sightseeing, fun and luxury as you pack your bags for your next cruise!

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