How to travel with a full time job || How I make the most of my time off

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I’m not a back packer or full time traveller. In fact I have a full time job and busy personal life, but I still manage to go travel. How to travel with a full time job was the main reason I decided to start this blog. I want to inspire people to travel more and show that it is possible to do so even if you work full time. So now you know my story, just in case you didn’t read my “about me” page.

How to travel with a full time job
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Short breaks

Coming back to our topic. How to travel with a full time job ? It’s all about preparation and making the most of the time you have available. As I only get 20 days of annual leave a year, I have to be very precise with my planning. The minute my holiday allowance is refreshed on the system I start planing the entire year of travel.
I first mark all the bank holidays on the calendar to see where we could go. My fave is easter holidays as you have 4 days off without booking a single day of holiday. I normally plan all our short breaks/ long weekend during bank holidays. The good thing is that you can fly somewhere like Barcelona or Krakow from London in less that 2 hours. So you can catch Friday evening flight and come back Monday night or Tuesday early morning this gives you 3 full days to explore your destination, which in most cases is the perfect amount for a city break. Not counting Christmas break, that’s 5 getaways you can have without using single day of annual leave just by booking on a bank holiday. Yes, prices are normally a little bit higher during that time but if you plan in advance you will get the opportunity to grab your early bird offers. Lots of airlines have January sales on a selected number of seats. Take advantage and book it then.

Longer Holidays

When it comes to proper holidays I belive sometimes less is more. What I mean by that is that typically people intend to book their holiday for 7 night’s which means you are using 5 days of your holiday allowance and in total you can visit max 4 destinations. By cutting your holiday a day short, for example going away Tuesday to Sunday, means you are using only 4 days of your holiday allowance. This mean you can go away 5 times in a year. This is what we did when we visited Monaco in June.
If you feel like you need a bit of a longer holiday make sure you use both weekends on each side of your week off. Fly out Friday night after work and come back Sunday night. That will give you a 9 day long holiday instead of the usual 7 days you would normally book.

Weekend getaways

Chris and I also like to go away on a weekend. It doesn’t even have to be an overnight stay. We try to go away at least one weekend a month on top of our already planned holidays. You will be surprised how much there is to do within a 2 hour drive from where you live.

How to travel with a full time job on a budget

Despite the lack of time, the other reason that prevents people from travelling is money. When you live the adult life: full time job, home, bills to pay etc. I get that. I’m not rich by any means but I try to make my money go further as much as I can. I love discounts and bargains. In fact I cant remember the last time I paid the full price for something.Here is a list of all the tricks I use to save for my travels.

Sign up to every possible site that sells flights and hotels so you know when they have a sale on.
I like to book my accommodation through booking.com as if you book with them fa ew times, they will give you the genius discount which takes 10% off the normal price on most accommodations.

Use sky scanner to find your flight. Booking directly with the airlines is not always the cheapest. Also sky scanner will show you different options like using one airline one way and the other airline on a way back to make sure you get the best deal. That also helps when you need a flight at specific times.

I use cashbacks apps every time I buy anything online. From House insurance to a new pair of trainers. Over a year I can get around £300 back just by doing this. This will normally pay for our flights or accommodation.
Take time to look for discount codes online before you book anything. There are hundreds of them out there. You just need to take the time to look.

Sign up to every possible member scheme there is. You can get free flights or free night stays quicker than you think. We are lucky enough that Chris travels a lot for work. Chris often goes to Paris via Euro Star. He signed up to their loyalty scheme and after only few work trips he had enough points for us to be able to go to Paris for the weekend.

He also signed up to collect points with Jurys Inn. After a year we had enough points to stay couple of nights for free in one of their hotels.

Travel with a full time job – it’s possible…

Just to show you it is possible to travel with a full time job, here is a list of what we have done so far this year with a few more trips planned for the next few weeks.
January– Poland. We spend Christmas and new year in our apartment with our family and a week of skiing. Instead of booking accommodation in the mountains we drove there and back every day.
February– As it was my 30th birthday Chris booked for us to spend a week in Gran Canaria, which was perfect winter sun holiday
March– we visited the Cotswolds for a day
April– We used the Easter Holidays to have a long weekend glamping in Snowdonia, Wales
May– The first bank holiday we went to Cornwall and the Second bank holiday we decided to camp in the nearby campsite. I also managed to go away with Chris for one of his work trips to Brighton. We also had a day trip to Weymouth
June– this was super busy month for travels. I flew to Poland for the weekend to see my family. Followed by our road trip to Monaco this was great as we could discover so many other places on the way. I was also lucky enough to go on a work trip to Switzerland. In the evening after work, I explored the area near the office. I managed to squeeze 2 hours of exploring before I headed off to the airport.
August– Yet again we went to our flat in Poland but we wasted no time and in the few days we were there we spent a weekend in Krakow and Wieliczka salt mines, explored Wroclaw, climbed Sleza mountain and visited Ksiaz Castle.
September– as we decided to redecorate our house we spent most of our weekends doing this but we still managed to go away for a day to Rye in East Sussex.
We also have a few trips planned for the rest of the year such as Cotswolds in October and Christmas markets in Manchester, Bath and London over November and December. If you don’t want to miss any of this follow me on Instagram and watch my stories 🙂

 

So there you go! I manage to travel with a full time job and visit over 20 destinations using only 20 days of annual leave. To be honest, if not for the house revamp that we have spent lots of time and money on, we would probably have explored a few extra places 😉 My challenge for next year is to visit even more places and spend even more weekends discovering.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. If you enjoyed this post, share it with the rest of the world.

Love, Natalia

10 Genuine ways to travel the world for free

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Travel the world for free and discovering new horizon’s is everyone’s dream. Every day you sit on the train on your way to work, scrolling through your Insta feed thinking to yourself „how do they do this?“ „ how can they afford to go to all those places?“ „Where do they get the money from?“. In this article I will give you few tips on how to travel the world for free. I know what you are going to say, „there is nothing free in the world“, but hear me out. If I tell you can travel without spending money will that sound a little bit more convincing? If so, then keep reading

Volunteer for a week

In recent years Diverbo became a super popular platform for free traveling. Diverbo pays for your travel and accommodation in places like Germany or Spain in exchange for chatting to local people so they can practice their English. You don’t need to be bilingual, it’s actually preferred if you only speak English. This is a fantastic idea not only because you can travel the world for free but also you will be able to meet some great people on the way, experience the local culture and go out to dinners and parties.

Be a trip organizer

If you and your mates share a passion for traveling, you can become a trip organizer and travel with them absolutely free. Thanks to YMT Vacations. This travel booking website specialises in escorted tours and cruises holidays to places such as Hawaii or Alaska. They will pay for your flights and accommodation if you organize a trip for 12 other people and book the holiday through them. Sounds amazing? What are you waiting for?! Start texting your friends and get organizing!

Visit your family

Do you have friends or family abroad? Now is the time to visit them. You will have a free accommodation and probably food as well. You might need to return the favour one day, but that’s not to big of an issue if this will give you the opportunity to travel the world for free.

House Sitting

House sitting is another growing trend. All you need to do is stay in someone’s house when they are away. It’s possible it’s going to be a beautiful mansion with 10s of bedrooms and bathrooms. Oh the struggle is real! In return for the favour ( I see this as free accommodation) you can ask the owners to pay for your flights, or provide you with food during your stay. If this is something you might be interested in you can find more info on Mind my House.

Become an instructor

What’s better than travel the world for Free? Travel the world for free, share you passions with others and get paid, all at the same time. So if you are yoga instructor, art teacher or a performer you can work in one of the holiday resorts. All you need to do is spend a couple of hours each day working and then you will have the rest of your day to explore the local area. The main advantage of working in a holiday resort is that they will pay for your travel, provide you with accommodation and food and even pay you a little bit for the pleasure.

Loyalty cards

Another way to travel the world for free is reward scheme. They are normally free to join so sign up to as many as possible. Every time you travel on Eurostar or booking your accommodation with specific a hotel chain, you collect points that eventually get you free stuff. Get an airline credit card to pay for your shopping etc., you will collect reward points that you can exchange for flights.

My trick: Get Emirates Amex credit card to pay for your day-to-day stuff, pay it off every month in full so you don’t get stung by high interest fee. Exchange your collected points with one of the Emirates partners such as Easy Jet. You can get flights with partners for much fewer points to what you would need with Emirates.

You can even collect points on your grocery shopping. Collect your Tesco clubcard or Nectar points and exchange them for travel tickets or accommodation. You will normally get 3x the value of your points to spend.

Camping

Travelling in the summer? Stay in a tent instead of a hotel. Not only are you going to have beautiful views and be closer to nature but it will also be Free. You might be lucky enough to share a lift with someone. Many people travel from place to place for work. That can be sometimes lonely and boring. That’s why many people offer to give free lifts in return for some company in the car during the journey. You can find more info on Liftshare.com

Cabin crew member

The other option to travel the world for free is to get a job that will offer you that! Become a cabin crew member, hotel inspector or a travel writer. The list is endless. Not only you will get the opportunity to travel the world, all your expenses will be paid for. You will probably get an opportunity to stay in some amazing hotels. So not only will you be able to travel the world for free, you will also be able to do it in style 😉

Thank you for reading my blog. If you enjoyed this post, share it with the rest of the world,

Love, Natalia

11 facts you didn’t know about your travel insurance policy || Are you protected?

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Travel insurance policy is super important. You should always book it at the same time as your holiday. This will ensure your holiday is protected in case you need to cancel your journey. But is your travel insurance covering everything you would expect it to cover? Is every policy the same? Which one insurance should you chose? Read on to find out.

Travel Warning

Check the Foreign Travel Advice website before you travel. When your travel destination has a travel warning in place, your policy will automatically become invalid. But If the travel warning was put in place after you booked your holiday, you will be able to claim it through your insurance. If you booked a package holiday, the travel agent most likely will be happy to re-book it to a different destinations.

Annual Travel Policy or one-off?

If you travel more than twice a year, is most likely annual travel insurance policy will work out cheaper. Sometimes you can get annual travel insurance policy together with your bank account. Talk to your bank, as sometimes you can get travel insurance policy, phone insurance policy and car breakdown cover for the same price as you would pay just for an annual travel policy with one of the insurance providers

Is every country covered?

If you traveling to Spain or Balearic Island, make sure you check you travel insurance policy. Some travel insurers exclude Spain and Spanish island from their European policy covers

It’s cocktail o’clock

You travel insurance policy might be invalid if you had a drink. Whhhhat? For most of us that’s a major part of our holiday.But yes. When you lose something or hurt yourself you might not be covered if you had a couple glasses of vino. Be aware! Some insurers might even request a blood test to verify if you consumed any alcohol.

What’s the difference?

Travel Insurance policy and travel accident insurance are two different things. Don’t get those two mixed up. Travel insurance policy covers you for any travel cancellations and medical treatments. Travel accident insurance ( comes with some credit cards) covers accidents on a plane, train or hire car you booked using that credit card.

Medical Conditions

Make sure you declare all the medical conditions, no matter how small they are. Your travel insurance policy can be invalid if you do not provide your insurer with the list of all pre-existing conditions for every traveller that is included in the policy.

Travel insurance policy vs EHIC

Your European Health insurance card is not a travel insurance policy. You should always have both when travelling around Europe. EHIC card is absolutely free. You can get one by applying online here. Your EHIC card gives you the state-run medical cover. So if the locals get certain treatment for free, you will get it as well. This mean you won’t have to claim it on your insurance.

What about private treatments?

Most of the travel insurance policy’s do not cover private hospital treatments. There are some exclusions such as: it was an emergency and there was not state-run hospital in the area.

Active holiday

If you planning on going on a active holiday such as skiing or wakeboarding, you will need to buy insurance that covers extreme sports. You will also need this type of insurance if you planning to ride a moped or go scuba diving. Even going go carting can be classified as a dangerous activity.

What else isn’t protected?

Your gadgets are most likely not covered. With many cheap travel insurance policy’s you need to request for your gadgets to be protected. Of course this can increase your premiums. Talk to your bank, as sometimes they might offer you travel insurance policy and phone insurance policy together with your bank account at a lower price to what you would pay for your annual travel insurance policy elsewhere.

Last day of holiday. You need to check out before lunchtime but your transfer is not till evening. But that’s not a problem as almost every hotel has a luggage storage room. Leaving your bags is the storage room will invalidate your policy as the insurer will classify this as leaving your bags unattended.

Thank you for reading my blog. If you like this post make sure you share it with the rest of the world! 🙂

Love, Natalia

Guide on how to plan your road trip across Europe || everything you need to know before your drive

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Chris and I very often go on a road trip. Mainly around Europe, with our most recent ones being Monaco ( you can read about it here) & South of France. We also have an upcoming trip to Poland in August.

A part from driving on the other side of the road you need to take into consideration different laws across Europe and all the essential equipment you need to buy before your journey. Below you will find my checklist we use rigorously every time we travel abroad in our car

It’s all about preparation 😉

Planning your Road trip

With todays technology this is pretty easy. All you need to do is type into Google your current location and your destination point and everything will update itself. Google maps will calculate the best route for you, including estimated journey time. All you need to do is plan for your break stops and potentially overnight stay- depending how far you travelling. Again, you can add all your stop points into your journey planner on Google maps.

My other favourite app to use is Waze. Waze give you live updates on the traffic situation and best routes to take to avoid being stuck for hours. You can also set up your arrival time and the application will calculate exactly what time you need to leave based on the current traffic situation. It will also send you a notification if you need to leave earlier than originally planned- so clever!

Remember to take into consideration any toll roads and the cost of them. Some can be very pricy. For example drive from Dover to Monaco cost us over £100.00!!! I almost had a heart attack every time I had to pay. Alternatively, plan your journey to avoid paid roads.

Book your crossing to the other side

You have only 2 options really. Eurotunnel or Ferry. We find that ferry’s are normally cheaper and more reliable when it comes to time keeping. Especially during summer. When you traveling by ferry you can spend the time shopping in duty free shops, grab something to eat or have a quick power nap. The disadvantage is that they take little longer to cross the sea. Also if you travel with your pet, you need to leave him in the car by himself which I think is very unfair as they don’t know what is going on.

Eurotunnel is definitely more convenient. Firstly, the time of the crossing is half compared to ferry. You can also stay in your car with your pet. The tickets are normally more expensive to ferry crossing, plus I don’t think I have ever been on a Eurotunnel that left on time.

Check your Road trip kit

This is probably one of the most important points. The fact you come from a different country doesn’t give you the excuse to not follow the law in the country you are in, even if you only driving through it.

Check the most common road laws of the country’s you are going to visit so you have a rough guide on what to buy such as lights deflectors, warning triangle, high-vis jackets or alcohol breathalyser. You will also need to check what is required in your first aid box. Make sure all of those are easy accessible from the driver/ front passenger seat. You don’t want to be unpacking your car on the hard shoulder in a search of warning triangle.

8 tips you need to know before you go on a road trip around Europe
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Good Samaritan law

Good Samaritan law is followed in most European countries. It means that if you see a road traffic accident you need to stop and help to best of your capabilities.Even if you don’t know the basic first aid, you could potentially saves someone’s life just by calling an ambulance. The Good Samaritan law varies from country to country so make sure you are familiar with all the details before you travel. You can read more about it here

Car checks

Before any travels you should have your car checked professionally. Make sure that everything is in working order, you have spare tyre and all liquids are topped up, such as oil and windscreen spray. When travelling with your pet ensure you have special seatbelt or cage for them, so they are secured during your journey.

Petrol stops

You are going to spend a fair bit of time on the motorways and as we all know, motorway petrol prices are rocket high. By coming off the motorway and driving an extra couple of miles you can reduce the cost drastically. The Waze app is brilliant for this. It will not only show you petrol stations near your location, but it will tell you exactly how far off your route they are and what is the cost per litre. You will be surprised how much prices can very in 20 miles radius. We normally try to combine petrol stops together with rest breaks. We found that Supermarkets are the best for this as they have best of both, cheap petrol and cheap food. The toilets are also much cleaner than the ones at the services, plus they are free.

Currency

When traveling anywhere in the world having local currency is a must. But traveling across Europe you need to remember to buy small amount of currency’s of the country’s that you are going to visit on your way. Its important to have few coins with you just in case you need to pay for the toilet

Prepare your Road trip playlist

This is a must! Can you imaging traveling for so long without listening to your fave tunes and singing along?! Of course you also have an option of listening to local radio station playing German Hip- Hop or French pop.

I love a road trip! Even if they take longer than flying, sometimes can be boring and super tiring especially when you are the driver. Road trips give you freedom of going any place you want, discover areas that you would not necessary visit or change your plans last minute without having to worry about changing your flights etc. If you want to stay somewhere for longer or you want to move on onto the next place without hanging around. Traveling by car gives you freedom!

Thanks for reading my blog. Follow my Instagram to see pictures from my travels and don’t forget to subscribe so you never miss any of my posts!

Love, Natalia