Tigrest Travel Blog

This is a blog about destinations, food and travel tips

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motorcycle season

How to prepare for motorcycle season

motorcycle seasonAlthough some riders may enjoy year round warm and sunny weather for motorcycle season, most of us have to divide their year into two parts – riding season and off season. When it finally starts to get warm and nice outside, many rush to drag their steel friends out of the garage and take them for a spin. When it’s March and there are riders out there already, even though the temperature hardly rises above +7C during daytime, it’s time to start preparing for motorcycle season.



Before jumping right into the season there are some important things to check. It is always a good idea to take your bike for inspection to the local mechanic. Minor repairs and service may be needed, especially if winter is wet and cold. For instance, before starting your motorcycle season, oil change is a must. In fact, oil needs to be change both before and after the winter period. The reason for changing it before – you don’t want old oil to be stuck in your engine for such a long time. It is also advisable to fill the tank up to the top to prevent it from rusting.

motorcycle season

The chain for new motorcycle season

Taking care of the chain is another important aspect. Chain needs to be washed and cleaned regularly, as well as lubed. It is important to remember not to wash your chain with gasoline, as it may damage rubber parts. Diesel is ok, but the best is to use special chain cleaner. For better cleaning, make sure to use chain brush. Remember to clean the chain every 500 km or each time after driving in the rain.

Another great danger are the car drivers. Each time the spring (and motorcycle season) comes, they seem to forget there are motorcycles on the roads. There are none in winter, so now they just don’t see us anymore. Make sure to take this into account, especially when riding between lanes. A car in front of you may change the lane without looking in the mirror properly, and you will get in trouble. It takes time for car drivers to get used to bikers again, so think for them and be ready for surprises.


Temperature

Before heading off to your first trip in spring, make sure the road is suitable for the ride. Even is the air is warm, the road is still much colder and in shady places may even have ice on it. Taking that into account, make sure to ride upright and don’t lean too much. Another issue is how clean the road is – quite often the road is dirty and hasn’t been cleaned since winter. Especially in areas with a lot of snowfall in winters, there is all kind of dirt, sand and gravel on the roads in early spring. By not taking these dangers seriously you are increasing the risk of falling and getting an injury.

 

motorcycle season tyres

Tires

Checking the tires and making sure they are in good shape after winter is highly important. In fact, before closing your garage in winter, make sure to use special silicone spray applied to all rubber parts. This will prevent them from drying and cracking.

Experienced riders try to return home before sunset, as the weather changes quite quickly and the Earth does not continue to heat the air once the sun is gone. Cities are generally warmer due to amount of cars, people and houses. Once out of town, make sure to ride at stable, lower speed and avoid riding between lanes.


Gear

Although it is quite obvious, suitable gear and warm clothing should be mentioned as well. Riding a motorcycle at the beginning of motorcycle season is not the same as riding a bicycle. Moving at high speeds lowers your body temperature drastically, so even if it seems very warm outside, riding at 100kmh will not be as warm anymore. When planning on going for a longer ride, make sure to wear base layer and other warm clothes. Protective gear is a must as well – always. Probably the best protective clothing for any type of motorcycle is a leather suit. Wearing a base layer and leather suit will give you both comfort and protection. Face mask, warm winter gloves and thermal socks may be considered for even more comfort.

motorcycle season

There is nothing like the first ride in the spring. When you have been waiting all winter, looking through other people’s stories, visiting your bike in the garage and dreaming about the speed and freedom. It’s an ultimate feeling of freedom and enjoyment. It is obvious why so many people take the first chance available and jump right to it. However, think again before rushing into it. Taking the risk and doing it right away may pay off badly in the end. Holding yourself back and waiting a bit, on the other hand, will make you enjoy it even more when the time is right. And, what’s most important, you will be doing it safely.

gopro

GoPro camera guide for beginners

goproYou don’t need to be involved in professional extreme sports to own a GoPro camera and make awesome videos. This GoPro camera  guide for beginners will help you shoot awesome videos! Since new GoPro camera HERO4 has been introduced, the prices have dropped and it has become affordable to virtually anyone. So what makes GoPro camera so special? One of the main features are countless accessories. One of the coolest ones is waterproof case which comes as standard feature.



Now imagine you are riding your bike to school or going to the beach with friends. Even better – climbing a mountain or riding a motorcycle. All these cool activities could be turned into a great little movie for your collection. You can even upload it online and make some money off it.
gopro camera guide

GoPro camera guide: Where to start?

First of all, get yourself a camera. You can even go for pre-owned camera as long as it is in one piece. Second, get some accessories. Here is a tip – original accessories are quite pricey but there a way to get them cheaper. Try looking at some Chinese websites like Aliexpress – they have tons of great accessories for pennies. The quality, however, is directly related to price – you get what you pay for! Before purchasing, however, think of the places you can mount your camera – it may be practically anything from car roof to snowboard. Make sure to check the quality of adhesive so that your camera won’t fall off. Sometimes it is safer to overpay a little and get original accessories that will last better.

Off to adventures!

You are all set now – camera is ready, battery fully charged, memory card empty. Consider more than one point of shooting – this will make your videos more enjoyable to watch. Looking at bike ride for 15 minutes from the same angle may be daunting, so be creative! As I mentioned earlier GoPro’s can be mounted almost everywhere – on the helmet, to the bike handlebar, on your head or chest and even on a surfboard


.

Check this example video made with GoPro Hero 3 White Edition:

Keep your camera safe!

Camera can be lost quite easily, especially when you are riding on high speeds. Make sure to have an extra safety strap just in case it falls off or the glue dries out. For underwater shooting there are special dry inserts that will prevent camera from becoming blurry due to condensation. Keep in mind that the case needs to be closed fully in order to stay waterproof. The camera itself is not waterproof! When shooting with a monopod make sure to look out especially when snowboarding. When you hold the camera your balance me be off and if you are not an experienced rider there is a good change you will fall. Therefore always use waterproof case when shooting in snow.


Software

GoPro camera offer free video editing software which I found was very easy to use. First step is to crop all necessary parts, then you convert them to the right format, add some text and music and there it is – your shiny new film ready for upload and sharing with your friends. When you collect all the pieces together try to recreate your journey by combining different angles and speeds – speed up the video where necessary, change color scheme to add more contrast and colors. Sometimes the reality needs to be made brighter. This awesome software allows you to play around with the film as much as you like so there is no limit to what can be done.

Tip: when shooting yourself extend the monopod as far as possible to get the better picture. GoPro cameras are wide angle which means they are only great within 1-2 meters range. However, it is possible to shoot from a car like it is in this video (GoPro Hero 3 White Edition):

Best road trip accessories

Summer travel time is around the corner, which means it’s time for another cool road trip with friends! Where are you traveling this time? Is it going to be seaside resort somewhere far away? Or would you rather travel to the mountains, small cabin in the woods or to the lake? Wherever you are traveling, gearing up for a road trip is crucial – it will save you time, money and (most important!) nerve cells.

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financial freedom

Get rich and spend the rest of your life traveling

financial freedomEach one of us has this thought from time to time: How to get rich? How to quit my job and have enough money for traveling? The fact is most people are running in a circle, that is keeping them from getting rich and wealthy – taking more and more debt and ending up paying interest only. To make the first step in the direction of getting out is to realize how much debt you have and get rid of it first. Getting rich starts with realizing where you are standing.



Here are steps to achieving financial freedom:

Cut your costs

Compile an excel table to have a clear overview over your costs and spendings. Are you spending too much money on entertainment? Consider reducing your spending! There might be cheaper/free options. For example: if you have gym membership, going for a walk or run in the park may be a possible alternative. Don’t forget to load your phone with cool music, grab your wireless headphones and head out! Enjoying hot coffee take away? Why not get yourself a thermos mug and brew your coffee at home! This way you can save and have your favorite flavor, just like you love it!


Do you enjoy eating out? Most offices have a kitchen area, so why not get some food from home? Eating out is way too expensive these days, plus the quality of food is not always great. Bringing some leftovers in a lunch box will help you stay healthy, minimize waste and accelerate your saving speed!

Reducing transportation costs may be difficult, though not impossible. If you live close enough to your work, getting there by bike may be an option. Otherwise, public transport (if available) is a good option too. Ride sharing services might be helpful as well. If car is your only possible option, consider getting a fuel efficient model and try to find people who would share your ride. This way you might find a good company who will keep your spirit high in the mornings.

There are tons of useful tips that will save you money! Just look around and think for a minute, where most of your money is flowing to and try to think of some ways to cut those costs. In my case those are transportation (hard to change), food (easy to change, I stopped eating out), some entertainment and travel costs. Saving on travel is actually quite easy, as there are so many alternatives! Some tips, how to save on airline tickets, hotels, which useful travel gadgets to use are here, in this blog.

get rich

Start saving and get rich

Once you have made a start with cutting costs, it’s time to start saving and get rich! I can’t stress this enough – saving is the key to becoming financially independent! I recommend joining the 50% savings club. The idea is to only spend 50% of your income, the rest needs to be saved and invested. Anyone can do it! If 50% seems too much at the beginning, try to start with 10% and gradually move up. Think about it: you skip some fun right now to get some long term return in the future! For some inspiration, I recommend reading a book by Richard T. Kiyosaki “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”. This book virtually changed my life! It is very simple, yet informative and has tons of examples how a simple change in a way of thinking can transform your life! I might write a review on this book in the future.


Invest and get rich

Now to the fun part – you are doing well, cutting cost and saving. Now what? Are you about to get rich now? Keeping your hard earned $$$ on your bank account is not going to make you rich. So what should you do with it? Simple! Invest! There are numerous ways to invest your money and get some good return. Let’s put it that way: there are easy ways and hard ways. Everybody chooses their own. If you are good at something (e.g. play sports) and know your way around those things, investing in some gear in order to resell it may be your way to go. A lot of people are selling winter gear in summer, a lot are buying in winter. Here is your chance!

If you don’t feel like spending too much time looking, investing in index funds (e.g. S&P 500) might be a good option for you and help you get rich. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S&P 500) is an index of 500 of the largest U.S. companies, listed on the New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ. It’s not completely safe to invest in, but for an average investor it is a way to go. The average annual return is around 10%, but the value changes constantly, so it is a long term investment. In his book “Who Took My Money” Robert T. Kiyosaki explains that this kind of investment, although suitable for most average investors, is quite risky and nontransparent (you don’t have control over your money, you just give it to someone and hope that they will make it grow).

Investing in yourself is by far the best possible way to achieve financial freedom – get to know your strength, your passion and your goals! Once you have accomplished that, you will know how to make your money work for you.

get rich

Enjoy your life!

While chasing a dream of becoming rich, one shouldn’t forget to live. Life is too short to waste it, each day is a small miracle! Getting out on a sunny day, talking a walk in the park or by the sea, visiting parents and friends – all those small bits make your life whole. It’s important to find time for yourself, spend some time alone and let yourself go. Funny, but true:

“Most people could accomplish their dream by the end of the week. Instead, they make it their dream of a lifetime!”

Try to fulfill your dreams, at least once per week. It doesn’t take much! There are people, who manage to do one new thing every day, even on a limited budget. Here is an interesting TED talk to get inspired:

st. petersburg

Things to do and where to stay in St Petersburg Russia for two days

where to stay in St Petersburg Russia

Russia has changed a lot since my last visit! It’s been 13 years, and now I finally got myself together to travel there again. Just like last time, we went to Saint Petersburg – the most “European” Russian city. The weather was great for beginning of May – warm and sunny, with highest at about +20C. It was lovely!

The city has changed quite a bit! It’s safe to say it’s a modern city with modern people. It’s very busy too – the main street (Nevsky Prospekt) was crowded at almost any time of the day. it was Russian Eastern weekend, so a lot of people visited the city for the long weekend. Here is our list of top things to do and where to stay in St Petersburg Russia for two days.




Where to stay in St Petersburg Russia?

In general, there are two types of accommodation in Saint Petersburg: cheap motels and high class hotels. As we had limited budget, our choice was obvious. We picked a good looking hostel called “Inn 15 Komnat“. The price was great (4-bed room for 3 nights for just 80EUR) and the location was not too bad either – near the Moscow Train Station (Moskowsky Vokzal). This newly renovated property has interesting layout of the rooms –  most of them are duplex, which makes it perfect for groups of friends traveling together.

where to stay in St Petersburg Russia

The rooms are spacious and the area is quiet – perfect for a quick night rest before going off exploring the city!

Hostel Wings

Our second hostel was called “Wings” (“Krylja”). This property is located right on the main street (Address: Nevskiy Prospekt 45), in the middle of all the action! The best thing about this hostel is that you can walk everywhere – the location is just perfect! The hostel doesn’t offer breakfast, but there is a fully equipped kitchen with fridge, coffee machine, dishes etc. 24-hour grocery shops can be found everywhere, as well as cafes, bars and restaurants.





There are not too many rooms, so it feels like coming home. Once you enter the massive wooden doors, there is a friendly receptionist at the desk to greet you. You take off your shoes and walk to your room. The interior is newly renovated, everything is clean and cozy. Guests can watch TV at the hall, relax at the kitchen area, make new friends. There are no drinking, partying youngsters, just curious travelers like yourself.

where to stay in St Petersburg Russia 46270377 59767021 60289372

The rooms are a bit small, but still very comfortable. There is no bathroom in the room, 3 renovated bathrooms with showers can be found on the floor. During peak times they may be crowded. Typical for old buildings – wide, marble window sills are perfect to sit on and enjoy the view of the evening Nevskiy or read a book, taking advantage of daylight. Or just daydream. Whatever you feel like!





where to stay in St Petersburg Russia - hostel wings

Things to do in St Petersburg Russia for two days: Canal boat tour

Everything is nearby, if you are staying at Nevskiy. There are several canals with boat tours (highly recommended!). It costs just 700 Rubles (~10EUR) to take a 1 hour guided tour. The city is stunning when seen from the water! No wonder they call it The Venice of the North! Numerous castles, mansions, political buildings – the 300-year history of the city will open right before your eyes! For some great pictures make sure to start during sunset.

where to stay in St Petersburg Russia where to stay in St Petersburg Russia

where to stay in St Petersburg Russia where to stay in St Petersburg Russia

City walks

There is just so much to see in Saint Petersburg, few days are just not enough! If you are limited in time, enjoy the streets and atmosphere. Take long walks and don’t be afraid to turn into smaller streets – they usually hide some true gems! There are little boutiques, wine stores, souvenir shops. You might come across some really beautiful gardens and parks. Visit palace square –  Winter Palace is majestic at both day and night time! If you are into arts – go for Hermitage museum, but just make sure to arrive there early, as it gets quite crowded.

For the best view of the city climb the stairs of Isaac’s Cathedral – for just 150 Rubles you will get a stunning view and great photos! Don’t forget a Selfie Stick ! 🙂
🙂

where to stay in St Petersburg Russia where to stay in St Petersburg Russia

where to stay in St Petersburg Russia

where to stay in St Petersburg Russia where to stay in St Petersburg Russia

where to stay in St Petersburg Russia where to stay in St Petersburg Russia

Scams

Of course, just like any big city with a lot of travelers, Saint Petersburg is no different – there are scammers that should be avoided! The one we came across was dressed like Peter the Great (Peter I) – famous founder of the city. He offers you to take a picture with him and he will pose for you. The price he asks first is 250 Rubles, but be careful not to take more than one picture. Every next position will cost you another 250, and he will go on posing on and on – with you, then with your friends. In the end you will end up with a hefty amount. Make sure to only take one photo (if you really want one), and otherwise just ignore him.

1

How to prepare for the trip?

  • Bring warm, waterproof clothes – the weather in St.Petersburg is unpredictable! Comfortable shoes are recommended, as distances are quite long. You can use the metro too, but getting down and then up again takes too much time, mostly it is easier and faster to walk. There are also buses/trams.
  • Currency exchange rates are better in the city, rather than in your country. When we traveled, the rate was 72 Rubles / 1 Euro. On Nevsky exchange offices, it was 74. So bring some cash and change the rest once in Russia. Also, it is possible to pay with credit cards almost everywhere (except some museums, street food/souvenirs etc.).
  • Learn a few phrases in Russian and have a dictionary ready (e.g. Google translate).
  • There is free Wifi in most cafes and hotels.  Get yourself a city map, just in case. Once you figure out where to stay in St Petersburg Russia, check if your hotel has free WiFi.
  • People are very friendly and open minded! Don’t be afraid to ask for directions.
  • Taxi fares are reasonable, if you need cheap taxi, ask for one at your hotel. They will probably have some good options.

Food

After hearing a lot of horror stories regarding Russian food I was tempted to find out – is there anything good about the cosine after all? Are the rumors true? Well, of course they are NOT!

Don’t be afraid to try local food, don’t stick to international fast food chains (there are plenty of those!). I recommend trying local Russian fast food chain called “Teremok“. They offer many different flavors of traditional Russian pancakes, soups, dumplings. The prices are great! Food quality is awesome!

Another one we really liked is called Brynza – they offer wide range of Chebureks (pies with fillings).

brynza

Also, why not try something completely different? On our first night we found a small Georgian place (Hinkali). The food was amazing! The wine was great too! The hosts were very warm and welcoming!

The place is located at Borovaya st. 8.

hinkali

Final thoughts

I recommend visiting Saint Petersburg to anyone, really. It has something to offer for everyone – young couple will find it romantic, senior folks will have a ton of museums to go to, even for kids it would be an adventure! The city is changing and developing, it’s not a typical poor Russian town that we are used to seeing on the TV! The people who live here make it better, help to develop it into a great tourist destination.  And if you get bored (hardly), there are still suburbs with even more castles to admire! I hope this guide was helpful in regards to things to do and where to stay in St Petersburg Russia for two days.

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police

Unsafe countries to travel to 2018

policeFrequent travelers may hear this question a lot – What was the least safe country you have been to? Especially those who travel alone. What makes a country dangerous for a tourist? Surely some countries are portrayed as least safe countries, even violent against foreign visitors. In most cases they are not safe for their citizens either. As Tom Perko mentioned at his TED talk, the people are mostly friendly everywhere, but it’s the media that creates these images. Also there are rumors, that neighboring countries create about each other which in fact are not true at all. There are, however, real stories, when people end up in unpleasant situations and feel threatened.



Here is my own story:

jerusalem

For me, the least safe situation happened in Israel. And not just because of all the shotguns they were wearing around – that part was actually a bit comforting. The real reason was the constant thought of missiles flying around that could hit you any time. I know it doesn’t happen a lot, but the danger is always there. One funny moment – we were taking a bus back from Jerusalem to Eilat (southernmost point) and it was getting dark. I was sheepish, but i could swear i saw a tank by the road.. Maybe it was just my imagination though. On the way back, at the airport, I was questioned for about 30 minutes, all my bags were checked and they even wanted to inspect my camera for the pictures. One woman from our group had her passport stolen, so she didn’t have a proper document, just a paper from police. I heard she was questioned for 3 hours, including all kind of inspections (no comments). Even though Israel (and Eilat in particular) are wonderful destinations, their security level is crazy and a bit too much for an average traveler!




Brazil is considered one of the dangerous ones, especially the not-so-touristy parts of the cities. Due to high poverty and low living standards, the crime is a serious problem there. As a common advice, it is recommended not to go alone walking in the dark, wearing expensive clothes or having jewelry/electronics and money with you.  Speaking in foreign language may also attract unnecessary attention.

brazil

Paris (France) has high crime rates, especially the areas away from tourist zones. You can, however, get robbed pretty much anywhere – even in a restaurant. Police seems to be unable to help a lot of times, not to mention they have hard time understanding English. Many people have an image of Paris being a “love capital of the World”, but the real picture is somewhat different. While it is a stunning, beautiful city in itself, the reality of street life may change your mind for worse.

During my latest travels in the USA, there was a scary moment, when me and a friend were walking on a dark street at night and a car stopped right next to us. Having heard so many horror stories, I really felt uneasy and tried to quicken our pace. Luckily they were only asking for a lighter. I have heard, however, enough stories with gun being pointed at people for no reason, road rages and danger of walking in unsafe neighborhood. What a shame for a country as powerful and wealthy as US to have such crime problems.


Surprisingly, Germany is climbing the ladder of unsafe destinations, particularly after recent events of mass rape in Cologne. I have spent 3 years in Germany during my studies and never have I felt threatened or unsafe. I have moved around Berlin by bike at 2 am and no problem what so ever. So the reason might be increasing immigration of young, poorly educated males who do not understand western life and standards.

Obviously there are more countries, some of which are at the state of (civil) war. Going to places like that involves a risk, no matter where you go. The map shows the most dangerous countries of the world (Relevant for 2016):

dangerous countries

 Safety tips

Although most large cities are generally safe, there are some tips to make it even more stress free.

  1. Travel light. Try to use just hand luggage – it will save you money on ticket (most airlines allow to take carry on for free). Bringing less personal items with you minimizes the risk of being spotted as a target. It is also more convenient to move around with a smaller bag – taking a bus, metro or even taxi.
  2. Avoid a lot of cash.  Most big cities in developed countries are happy to accept credit card as a method of payment. Having too much cash attracts attention and your wallet may (depending on the currency) increase in size a lot. Try bringing just enough to get by. If necessary, you can always get some more from the ATM.
  3. Store you documents well. If possible, make some copies or take a picture of your passport with your smartphone. It is also a good idea to label your luggage with your name and address and use luggage locks.
  4. Download offline maps to navigate in case you get lost. One of the good ones is NavMii – it’s free and allows you to download the map of the area/city and even store addresses. Saving the address of the hotel may save you a lot of trouble.
  5. Beware of strangers, especially if traveling alone. Do not discuss your travel planes, invite them over to hotel room and don’t go with them if invited somewhere. When going out, avoid excessive drinking. Always be in control!
  6. Be careful with publishing your travel plans on Facebook, as some robberies are taking place when hosts are away.
  7. Do your homework – research about your destination. Make plans, where it is OK to go. Stay away from the not-so-great areas. Avoid walking alone at nights. If lost, pretend you know where you are going and stay on busy streets with traffic.
  8. Investing in travel insurance may be worth it, especially if you are traveling to developing countries. I recommend getting travel insurance, as well as accident cover.
  9. Try to look as a local as much as possible – that way you won’t be an obvious target. Try to blend in, wear local clothes if possible.
  10. Let your friends and family know where you are going. Checking in regularly will keep them from worrying and in case of emergency helps them find you sooner.

Share your scary travel memories in comments! What are your personal travel safety tips?

travel jobs

Best Traveling jobs with no degree or experience

travel jobsIt seems to be the plague of the modern world – people are stuck in their 9-5 office jobs and unable to get out. Some have never even left their own country! They would create thousands of reasons why they can’t leave – family, house, mortgage. Sound familiar? There are no written rules how you should live your own life. If doing what everyone else does isn’t for you, it might be a first sign that it’s time for a change and look at travel jobs. Have you ever considered leaving everything behind and just taking off, chasing your dreams? Maybe it’s not too late! There are companies out there that will pay you for traveling. Let’s look at some possibilities – Best Traveling jobs with no degree or experience.





travel agent

Travel agent

Been there, done that. You can read my story of being a travel agent here. It’s actually a normal office job, BUT you get to travel for work. It’s difficult to say how much travel you’ll get, as it depends a lot on you experience, position in the company and other small things like relationship with you manager etc. But generally speaking – yes, travel agents travel for free and get to stay at nice places. They are also taken on guided tours, nice restaurants, exciting experiences and shows. Good life, you could say.





Well, that’s certainly not all there is to it. Being a travel agent means being a good customer service agent. And customer service may be both rewarding and stressful, so a certain skill set is needed to be a good travel agent. Moreover, you need to be open minded, respectful, good at sales and geography as well as culture and history. If that sounds like you, wait no more and apply for a travel agent position. Please note though, that the golden age of travel agencies is almost over and most of travels nowadays are booked via internet. If consulting about tours and destination is your thing, consider specializing in a niche area (like extreme sports holidays, scuba diving holidays, honeymoon trips etc).

stuardess

Flight attendant

Now this a job that never gets old. Even though this is formally more of a logistics/service type of work and doesn’t have much to do with destinations, it’s still a chance to travel the world for free (and get paid for it). What are the downsides? Obviously, you don’t have a life, home, family is hard to maintain. You are away most of the year and spend you free time sleeping at hotel rooms. Your workmates are your only close friends, as you get to share your life with them. On the bright side – you get to see the world! Even if it’s just for some hours, it’s a new country every day. You can easily visit sightseeing’s, go to the beach, experience things that others have to pay for. Plus you get to fly for free (or almost for free) during your own holidays. If you feel like it. Most people do, as traveling is highly addictive. What you need for the job? You need to be fluent in languages (English!), have decent looks (not a must, but some airlines may be picky), highly stress-tolerant, not have a life (family, kids). Having a family back home will make it really hard.





tour guide

Tour guide

If flight attendants might actually balance work and family life, tour guides probably couldn’t. Being a tour guide at a holiday destination is a full-time job at the destination. You can’t just leave for the weekend. You work 24/7. What are the benefits? The payment may be nice, you might also get a cheap (or free) accommodation. You have other options to increase you pay (tips, commission in the souvenir shops). Some might say it’s a dream job – most tourists leave the destination after a week or two, but you get to stay there for the whole season. So where is the catch?

Well, apart from it being work and not holiday (you still have to take care of the guests, making sure they won’t run into trouble), it could be very different experience for you. Being a tour guide means working closely with the locals. Depending on your communication skills it may be easy or hard. Some locals may be genuinely nice and friendly while others are only friendly as long as there is a gain for them. You as a guide need to distinguish between the two possibilities. Moreover, hot climate may be nice if you spend your day on the beach, but working in these conditions may be a challenge. Requirements for becoming a tour guide are not too strict – need to know the local language (at least some of it), be friendly and open minded, good communicator and be interested in history/culture.

teacher

English teacher

Teaching English is probably the easiest thing any native English speaker could do in a foreign country. There will always be a demand for English speakers and people are willing to pay for this. You can teach both groups and individuals. This is a good way to make your living as you are not required to work full time. Before taking off consider getting a certificate though, as you may be required to present one. Find your nearest exam center here.

blogger

Travel Blog

This is by far my most favorite way of making a career of traveling. Writing a travel blog is easier than it looks! The hardest part is to start writing. Surely there is something exciting you have seen or experienced in your neighborhood, hometown or during your latest trip. Believe me, there are people who would like to read about it.  If you are not sure about the technical part, the easiest way is to start with WordPress free blog. Once you feel confident, you can move on to self-hosted website (I recommend Bluehost). The move is super easy, I will make a post it in the future. The hardest part is actually to keep posting, as the beginning may be slow – there is hardly traffic coming in. Setting up a Facebook fan page, promoting your posts at travel forums and among your friends will help. Once you are up and running, there is nothing to stop you from getting out there are posting on the go. The key is finding your niche and providing value for your readers. For me, travel blogging is the best travel job out there.

Here is a great post for beginner travel blogger – How to Start a travel Blog by The Pink Backpack

farm

WWOOFer

If farming is your thing, consider joining the WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) . They will require 4-6 hours of work in exchange for food, accommodation and insight into local life. Outdoor work can be quite rewarding – you get to be outdoors, meet new people, do something good for the world, lead a healthy life and travel for almost no money at the same time. The hosts are located all over the world – you can search for opportunities at WWOOF website.

remote work

Work remotely for IT company

Some companies (mostly IT) may offer remote working possibilities to talented employees. Nowadays, many tasks can be done remotely. These are software developers, writers, even customer service. Why do companies do that? Well, it’s obvious – for the same reason there are so many online stores – they save on office rent! Also, remote work increases employee effectiveness (finish work faster to have more free time). Employees are paid based on their input rather than on hours spent at the office. This approach allows people to enjoy their lives and travel (working is possible as long as there is internet connection). How does a winter in Bali sound? Well, for some remote employees it’s not just a beautiful dream – it’s a reality! By the way – cost of living is low enough that you can save for future travels, early retirement or that cool new car you always wanted.

So, what is your dream travel job? Are you already doing it? Share your story and experience in the comments!

best travel gadgets

Best travel accessories and gadgets in 2016

Being a frequent traveler I often realize I’m missing best travel accessories and gadgets that could make my life easier. During long flights I wish I had a nice pillow, or during a long road trip, when I miss a tool. Or at the airport, when I try to sleep, but it’s just so noisy. Wish I had a list of the must-have’s that will always go into my luggage. Sounds familiar?

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travel money

How to save money for international travel

travel moneyTravel budget (or travel money) is often hard to build, especially if you are planning on going somewhere further than neighboring village. Flight tickets, hotels, food and local transport, not to mention museum passes and other entrance fees. No wonder most people can’t afford to travel every year – you still want to live and be normal, meaning going out with your friends once in a while or getting that new piece of furniture you have been planning to get for a while now.



But back to travel money – what is the best way? How to save money for international travel? Let’s look at some options.

How to save money for international travel

  1. Stock some cash and have it ready to grab special deal tickets. More about how to get those tickets, when to book and what you can expect is described in detail here: 20 Ways how to save on airline tickets Exactly how to stock the cash will be discussed in more details later in the article.
  2. Monitor hotel prices daily. Choose few options and keep an eye on the price fluctuation – hotel prices change often, so it’s wise and leads to good results (cheaper rooms). For more information on how to get the best hotel rate, read this blog post: How to save on hotels during travels  Consider booking with Booking.com – they have a huge choice of hotels and offer some kind of protection if hotel turns their back on you. This situation recently happened to me – here is a blog post about that case – How Booking.com saved my trip
  3. Make your homework and explore the destination beforehand, using Google Maps, travel forums and reviews. There are hardly any places on Earth, where nobody has been before and you could certainly use their advice!

coins-1015125_960_720

blogging-336376_960_720 (1)Now back to travel budget – how to generate one? Well, obviously, the easiest way would be generating some additional cash. There are many different ways, how to earn some extra $$$, and it all comes to someone’s special skills, knowledge and interest. For example, if you are good languages, you may consider giving language courses or doing some translation works. If you know your hometown well – you may try to become a guide (awesome way to meet new people!) and generate some travel money. If you own a house with spare bedroom – why not rent it out on Airbnb. If you enjoy driving – Uber could fill your pockets with some coins. Some people (like myself) like writing and generating content could bring in some extra dollars. Same goes for starting a blog – nowadays it is super easy with WordPress templates. By the way, this blog uses one of those plus a super easy and cheap hosting by Bluehost. If you are ready to hit the road, take a look at the travel jobs list.


Now all these options look good and attractive, but what if you can’t sacrifice you free time for extra work? Maybe you have some family commitment or just want to relax (assuming you are working full time already). Well, I have some good news – you may actually increase your savings without investing extra hours. It’s not a “Get rich overnight” type of advice though, more of a “Pull you sh*t together”. But it certainly works (tested!). The solution is simple – just DON’T SPEND! Easy as that!

So how exactly do you do that? That’s the hard part. Learning to be minimalist takes time and effort, and a lot of self discipline! But here is how you start:

  • Create an excel sheet and write down all your expenses in one monthchecklist-911841_960_720
  • Look critically at the list and try to imagine, which spending you could avoid
  • calculate how much money you would realistically need for 1 week
  • Starting next month, give yourself pocket money once per week (e.g. 50$). The rest is not to touch, unless it’s an emergency
  • By the end of the month see how you managed and all unused cash deposit on a savings account.


I know that some expenses are unavoidable – food (obviously), gas, bills and rent. But even with these you could probably save some travel money. Here is an example: you are paying your internet provider 20$ per month. There are others, but you just like this one and been with them for ages. Here is what you do – go check on other offers, ask them for a better deal, then tell them you agree. As soon as your provider hears about you leaving them, they will make sure to make you a better offer! Best part – you won’t have to change anything. Your bills, however, may drop as much as 50%! That’s a 10$/month free money, right there!

Now let’s talk about take out coffee – many people love that and spend hundreds on those plastic cups. But think about it for a second – do you really need it right there or can you wait to get home? Most offices offer coffee for free anyway. It has become some kind of a trend, but being part of it is entirely your own choice. Brands like Starbucks are getting richer while you can’t afford those nice Thailand tickets..

shopping-1165437_960_720

While eating out is certainly pleasant and often necessary evil, it’s still damn expensive. Instead, try to cook yourself – it’s much healthier too, plus leaves you extra 100$+ for your future travels. On top of that, cooking is very relaxing activity and helps you build better relationships with your family and friends. You can a cool cook book or find some of those on the internet.

One more huge way to save is to stop going out and generally drinking any alcohol. Not only it is unhealthy and damaging, but it also costs a fortune. I could never understand people, who go to bars on the first weekend after salary. Not only do they end up with hangover (weekend is lost), but also with holes in their pockets. Going out is truly something for people with no dreams. Alternatively,  if you need to go out, stick to non-alcoholic drinks or water (tab water is mostly free).

I could probably go on with the list of different expense areas, but I’m afraid it will get too personal. Everyone knows better, where their spending are hidden. But one thing is for sure – most people just don’t realize where the salary goes. Keeping an eye on all expenses is the first step in the direction towards your next awesome adventure! If you need some more advice on how to cut your expenses, these books are very helpful!

How do you manage to build a travel budget? Share your ideas and experience!

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booking.com

How Booking.com saved my trip

The story began in late December 2015, when I decided to spend few spring days in Russian Venice – Saint Petersburg. Having visited the city before, I had a clear plan of how this trip should look like: centrally located hotel, a lot of walking and museums, some shopping. There were three of us coming, so we needed a larger room or apartment. I always book my hotels on Booking.com, because I love their rating and feedback feature, attractive rates and wide choice of hotels.



apartment

Risky room

Once I knew the dates, it was perfect time to start looking for hotels. The choice was truly big at the time – there were bunks in 10-bedroom dorm rooms, private rooms in the same hostels, small hotel rooms, private apartments – you name it! I was pleasantly surprised by the prices – compared to Europe and US, Russian hotel rates were nice and low. My first choice was a 2-bedroom apartment, but that option didn’t work out for us due to an email received from the apartment owner asking for a full payment. What made the request strange was a Lithuanian bank account details, where the owner wanted the money to be transferred. It seemed risky and so we cancelled that one right away.

Perfect room

Our perfect room was with a common free cancellation option, very close to the center and had a nice design of the rooms – perfect for 3-4 people who don’t necessarily want to snore in each other’s ear. The price was great, too. We booked it and forgot about the booking for the next 4 months. Meanwhile, we bought the tickets to and from the destination, made the visas and insurance. Everything was ready for the trip! Or was it..?




Surprise!

sorry

A friend of mine who happens to live in Russia decided to check on our booking about a month before our visit. To my (and their) surprise, the hotel had no idea of our reservation! Moreover, they had no rooms available, either. Oh my! It’s merely 4 weeks until our trip and we have nowhere to stay! When initial shock had passed, we started checking other options for the dates. Sadly, there were hardly any good options left and all of them were much more expensive now. Apparently it’s holiday time and most of the hotels are already overbooked. Our situation wasn’t very optimistic.

Looking for help

We decided to turn for help and wrote to Booking.com customer support. It didn’t take long for our hotel of choice to contact us again – with apologies. And a promise of free room (which is nice of them, but didn’t solve our problem. Well, not entirely). We did use the free room though, so nothing bad to say about the hotel, they did their best to help and compensate us. Now the Booking.com team was even more helpful. After reviewing our request for couple of days, they came back with good news – we got offered a nice alternative hotel option and a promise to refund the difference. Happy end!

happy

Final thoughts

This is not the  first time I hear about good service of Booking.com and their customer service. They really reach out to their customers and make sure everything is well and everyone is happy. Normally, a hotel would just inform you that no rooms are available. This can happen even few days before the check-in. And there is nothing you could do about that. Booking though these guys gives you guarantee that you won’t be left on the street – they will take care of you! Similar situation happened to my mother, when she arrived in Tenerife hotel and found out there is no rooms booked (it was a privately owned room). She had to book another room for much higher rate and got refunded the difference.


This is not meant as an advertisement – this is a real story that happened to me. I have booked with Booking.com more than 20 times now and can say that the reviews are mostly accurate and so are the photos. Of course, there may be bad properties (and bad experiences) but the site has no power over them. As for the customer support and taking care of the client – they are the best!

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