Archive for Alex

Why exploring the world doesn’t have to cost as much as you might think

If you ask someone why they haven’t tried exploring the world yet, one answer will usually prevail more than all others: “it’s too expensive”. And while that may be true if you want to take advantage of the full range of luxuries you can get for your travel and accommodation, it’s definitely far from the general case. In fact, it’s easier than ever to explore the world on a budget as long as you’re aware of the options that are available to you, and know how to use them to your full potential.

The Internet Has Changed Everything

The average person today has a lot more freedom to just pack up their things and start exploring the world compared to anyone in history. And much of that is owed to the internet and its tight integration into our lives. It’s easy to find good deals for pretty much any destination around the world. Companies like Porter Airlines cover a large number of places across the USA and Canada. From flights to Toronto, New York, and many other major destinations (and some not so major ones), you can get a pretty good deal without having to spend a lot of money. Porter Airlines in particular is a favorite among experienced travellers, as they tend to offer some great seasonal promotions.

The same applies to things like accommodation, eating out, and many other aspects of your trip. You no longer have to limit yourself to what your travel agent recommends, or risk falling into common tourist traps by exploring on your own. With a smartphone in your pocket, you have all the information about your local area that you may ever need right at your fingertips.

People Are More Open Than Ever

There’s also something to be said about the openness of people as a whole. You’ll find a very welcoming attitude from the locals in many parts of the world, even some that are not traditionally associated with major tourist destinations. It’s hard to say where exactly this is coming from. Perhaps it’s another consequence of the way the internet has brought everyone together, or perhaps people have always been that prone to goodness towards each other, and we’re just seeing that more clearly in recent years.

But in any case, you have lots of options that can help you bridge any gaps in your finances with the help of others. From couch surfing, to ride sharing and more, you can enjoy a lot of services that have been made possible through the pooling of communal resources. And even if you don’t have anything to contribute right now, don’t worry. That’s not the point.

Getting the Most Out of Each Place You Visit

Exploring the world isn’t just about checking locations off a list and moving on to the next one. You should try to maximise what you get out of each place you visit, as that’s the true point of going around the planet in the first place. To this end, you can get a lot out of your travels even if you’re on a smaller budget, as long as you make it a point to actually dig into each place you go through, and learn something new about it.

In fact, it might be beneficial to have limited funds when you’re starting out in your travels, because this can force you to take a more careful look around the places that you’re exploring, and to ensure that you’re truly getting everything that they have to offer.

Supplementing Your Income on a Longer Trip

Another great thing about travelling around the world today, compared to a couple of decades or so ago, is that you are no longer so heavily bound to your place of residence in terms of income. You live in the age of the digital nomad, and you should take full advantage of that. If you have any skills that can be sold online, you can turn this into a freelancing gig without too much effort. And with just a small laptop in your backpack, you can keep working on the go wherever you are, and supplement your trips with a nice stream of extra income.

In fact, some people have taken the aforementioned concept of the “digital nomad” to some extreme levels, operating entirely on the move, and never settling down. It might sound stressful to you, but some consider it a very liberating feeling to know that they can just pack up and move to a completely different location at any time, and their income situation won’t be affected in the slightest.

It’s a Skill Like any Other

Don’t feel down if your trips don’t turn out completely flawless the first few times. Travelling – especially on a global scale – is a skill, and you’ll need to take some time to polish it if you want to see good results consistently. Make sure that you learn something from each trip, even if it goes through smoothly. There is always something that you could have done better, and paying attention to those factors will make it a lot easier to organise even more complex trips for the future.

It Will Only Get Better

And the more you do this, the easier it will become. Not just because you’ll gain experience as we described above, but also because the world is constantly changing and moving even further in a direction of improvement. As we said earlier, it’s easier than ever to travel around the world on a more restricted budget and still get a lot out of the experience. And if you think that’s true now, just wait and see how things will evolve in the next decade. There are many reasons to believe that travelling is going to be one of the most heavily impacted sectors in the near future, and we’re already seeing the first signs of that progress on the horizon through the rise of services like Airbnb and Uber.

Always Have a List – But Keep It Flexible

Choosing where to go next can be part of the fun, but it can also be a daunting experience if you don’t approach it in an organised manner. Keep a list of places that you want to visit, and do your best to tick them off, but make sure that the list is as flexible as possible as well. Sometimes your plans aren’t going to come together exactly as you were hoping, and you may not be able to make your next target destination. Having alternatives is a good way to keep things fresh without breaking the bank in those cases.

The sooner you get started with this, the better. There is so much to gain from exploring the world, and we don’t mean pictures for Instagram either. The kinds of experiences you’ll have once you make this a regular part of your life will be truly eye-opening, and it doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money to get them either. All you need is a planned, organised approach, and the patience to scout out the best deals on a regular basis. The rest comes down to gathering enough experience about the way the process works and putting it to good use.

Around the world in 80 hours to 80 days

Round-the-world-trip done in 80 hours might not seem possible at first sight. I agree that 80 days sound more logical and doable. But I’ve read that you could travel around the world on a plane in 80 hours! I mean, if you followed almost the identical route as in the famous novel I’m refering to.

Around the world in eighty days might ring a bell, right? It is a well-known classic novel written by Jules Verne in 1873. The main protagonist of the novel Phileas Fogg leaves London to travel around the globe. He makes his way towards the East through Egypt, India, Hong Kong, Japan, the US and back to London. Phileas decided to prove that it was possible to be done in 80 days because he got into an argument at the Reform Club about it. As a nobel man of his word, he just wants to prove he is right. Yes, the whole trip started as a bet 🙂

Phileas’s original route covered an incredible 40,765 miles. Good news are that nowadays it would be necessary to cover between 27,788 miles (flying by plane) to maximum 31,925 miles (if traveling by car). It makes it 1/4 less of the original distance.

 

 

Yes, traveling is becoming faster and easier each year. Can you see the difference when it comes to distance and time traveled in the 19th century vs now almost 150 years later? If you want to travel more, there’s no excuses. It’s easier than ever, trust me.

 

I’d like to tell you more details so let me be clear.

There’s different kinds of transportations to travel around the world but in this research 4 of them were taken into consideration:

  1. boat
  2. car
  3. train
  4. plane

 

As you can guess, the fastest global expedition would be by plane but to follow the similar route as in the novel, you’d need to also take 3 trains. By plane it’s necessary to cover 27,788 miles and it could be really done in 80 hours!

On the other hand, traveling by boat would take you the longest. You would still manage to to complete a round-the-world trip from London in less than 80 days. Considering ideal weather for sailing, it would take you 72 days, to be exact.

 

The following interactive chart made by Betway will tell you more about different modes of transportations, length of routes etc.

 

 

What do you think about this? Would you rather take the fastest or the slowest route? What’s more important for you, time or the mode of transportation? Tell me in the comments.

How to enjoy Ottawa on a budget

Ottawa Canada

Ottawa is Canada’s capital city and because of that we can expect things to be slightly pricier than we would in other cities. However, many people do not want to miss out on this part of Canada when they come to visit. The beautiful Victorian architecture and the stunning Rideau Canal are not to be missed; especially when the latter freezes over in winter! If you are thinking of visiting Ottawa with a strict budget in mind, here are some tips and tricks to help you stay on course financially.

 

How to enjoy Ottawa on a budget

 

Start with Planning

You can save a massive amount of money during your planning and booking stage. The advantage of this is it then gives you more money to play with when you get there. Would you rather stay in a hostel and eat well or would you rather have a nice hotel room but scrape and save on food and activities? These are the sorts of questions you need to be asking yourselves.

One of the best places where you could save a little money is with your flights to Ottawa. You can often save money by splitting up your trip by flying into different cities instead of direct, or you could go for an airline with lower prices but a commitment to delivering a great service. If you would like to know more about the latter, you can check out the link here: https://www.flyporter.com/en-ca/book-flights/where-we-fly/canada/ottawa

 

Get Around Town on the Bus

You should always aim to travel on public transport instead of getting taxis in a new city and Ottawa has made sure that this is easy for you to do. If you want to use a bus to see more of the city, you can buy a DayPass. This allows you unlimited same-day travel on the bus system in the city; perfect if you are going to be going here, there and everywhere.

 

Get a Bike

Ottawa has plenty of cycling trails and bike lanes, making it a very safe city for cyclists. Even if you are not the most confident of cyclists, you are bound to get around with little difficulty. There are plenty of places where you can rent a bike to get about. Whether you want it for just a day or a little longer, you will be able to find the perfect rental for you.

Head out to Petrie island from Rideau Hall for a longer day trip but a beautiful ride. You will hug the Ottawa river all the way down the coast. If you are in the mood for something a little more challenging, head up into Gatineau Park.

 

Ottawa Canada

 

Know Where the Free Attractions Are

Luckily, many of the attractions in Ottawa are either free or have certain times when they are free to the public. For example, Parliament Hill is open for free tours every day. If you are interested in finding out more about the government of Canada, you should definitely swing by here. The tours can change or reschedule due to events happening in the government but there is no reason why you should not be able to have a look around at some point.

Many of the museums in Ottawa are paid admission but they also run certain nights where it is free to enter. On Thursdays between 5 and 8 PM, you can enter the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian Museum of History, and the Canadian War Museum for free. These are just some of the places you can get into if you know where to look.

 

Eat How the Locals Eat

There are plenty of restaurants in Ottawa which cater to tourists but these places may be on the pricier side because of this. Never be afraid to eat how the locals want to eat! One great way to save some money is to book accommodation which is self-catering. This might be out in the suburbs, meaning it would be cheaper anyway, and then it would also have access to a local supermarket or two.

Here you can pick up all the food you could want for much less than what a restaurant might offer. You can even attempt to make some of Canada’s national dishes for yourself this way, in the comfort of your rented accommodation. The DIY attitude can also extend to lunches. Why spend a fortune on lunch in a fancy restaurant when you can just as easily pick up a picnic to have in one of Ottawa’s many beautiful parks? Small changes like this are bound to save you money in the long term; money which you can easily spend on another part of your holiday.

 

Grab Some Yoga on Parliament Hill

Had a flight which has put a crick in your neck? Been travelling for weeks on end and just need a moment to relax? You should check out the yoga on Parliament Hill. This is a free session run on Wednesdays which allows the population of Ottawa to come out and have a stretch. It is not unknown for the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to also pop out with his yoga mat every now and then. I did not know about it at first until I was inside the Parliament building and noticed people practicing yoga below on the grass. So cool, right?

These sessions are completely free and are sponsored by the Canadian brand Lululemon. If you feel the need to let go and stretch out your muscles a little then you should definitely consider stopping by one of these sessions in the sun.

 

Head Over in Winter

The temperatures might drop but Ottawa comes alive in winter. The Rideau Canal completely freezes over and turns into the world’s largest outdoor skating rink at a staggering 7.8km! It could form the perfect way for you to get around the city if you are visiting in winter. Skate rentals are everywhere up and down the length of the canal so you can always grab a pair.

In February, Winterlude comes to Ottawa. This is a special festival which is all about the beauty and majesty of winter. With three weeks of frozen fun, the city might not be the cheapest to visit but you don’t want to miss out. Consider staying in one of the nearby towns and hopping into Ottawa on the local commuter transport so you can enjoy everything Winterlude has to offer without breaking the bank. These are just two of the events on offer in Ottawa over winter, proving it is as fun to visit as it is in summer.

 

Know You Can’t Do Anything

Unless you are in Ottawa for a short-term residency, there is no way you would be able to do everything the city has to offer. Even then, unless you go through one full year you will miss out on either the summer or winter activities this amazing place can provide. We think it is therefore important that you take the time to work out which of the attractions in Ottawa sound the most appealing to you.

You can always return to the city (it certainly isn’t going anywhere) which will allow you to explore more and more each time. Decide what is most important for you to see and make sure that you do that each trip. Ottawa might be a capital city but that doesn’t mean that you have to blow your budget each and every time you visit.

 

 



TIP: Here’s 34 interesting facts about Ottawa I learned there when I visited. Ottawa is full of surprises!

TIP 2: You might know that I was born in Slovakia, in Central Europe. You have no idea how surprised I was to see that Canada and Slovakia are similar in so many ways. What do I mean? Have a read 😉

3 cool things to do in Prague

Prague attractions

One of the most visited European capitals is famous mostly for its Astronomical clock located on the Old Town Hall at Old Town Square. However, the so called Prazsky Orloj (as the Astronomical Clock is called in Czech) is NOT the only attraction in Prague you should visit. If you are paying a visit the capital of Czech republic, make sure to check out my list of other cool things to do in Prague.

 

3 cool things to do in Prague

 

1. Food tour

Cuisine is becoming one of the highlights for many tourists when visiting a new country. You’ve heard of food bloggers taking photos of each meal they see around them and of the meals they personally eat, too, right? Well, there’s a reason for that. Many people consider themselves to be foodies so tasting local meals is something they would prefer over exploring main touristy attractions. I’ve even heard of people who travel around the world just to try a different cuisine.

If you are into local cuisine, one of the best ways to indulge in it would be taking a food tour in Prague with a local. If that’s what you are looking for, then I can recommend you Withlocals website, where they offer not only food tours, but also drink tours (beer or wine). Although I personally don’t drink alcohol, many people praise Czech beer to the sky. If you don’t try it, you won’t know, right? You can always personalize the food or drink tour the way you want it, which is definitely an advantage.

 

food tour in Prague

food tour in Prague

 

2. Lennon wall

 

If you are like me and you appreciate quality street art, then you should know about John Lennon wall in Prague. It used to be just a normal wall until 1980’s when artists started painting John Lennon graffiti and parts of Beatles’ songs on it. Nowadays it’s a very colorful and powerful place which you can visit for free. It’s located just a few minutes from the well-known Charles Bridge.

It’s possible to find the wall in Google maps, so you will definitely be able to find it without problems.

Many people were against the wall during the Communist era and then the wall was painted over in white in 2014 for the anniversary of the Velvet Revolution. Thanfully, there’s been new graffiti added since then and the wall is now considered to be a Prague’s landmark. It’s a great place to take extraordinary photos.

My photos from there might convince you. I hired a professional photographer in Prague who also took me to the Lennon Wall to take yoga photos.

 

3. Boat trip

I am sure most people would not think of Prague as of a good destination to be seen by boat. But the Vltava river offers you a unique way of getting to know the city from a different perspective. There’s quite a few attractions situated along the river which you can observe from the boat: The Prague castle or the Charles Bridge being the most known out of them. There’s different kinds of tours to choose from, from 50 minutes up to 3 hours. Some of them even come up with lunch or dinner.

 

Prague attractions

Prague attractions

 

More useful tips:

 

Get a massage in Prague

Where to stay in Prague – my stay at Sheraton was lovely

What to see in Prague in winter

5 Fun Ways to Save on Airfare

Traveling can be stressful, especially when you’re flying with kids or a whole family. From finding the best deals to getting to the airport on time, flying doesn’t have to break the bank or wreak havoc. Follow these five fun tips to save on airfare and enjoy a great vacation.

 

5 Fun Ways to Save on Airfare

 

1. Shop Around on Different Sites

Shopping for airfare is a lot like shopping for jeans. It could take a couple of stores and plenty of different styles before you find the one that works. Flyers can get the best deals on airfare by following the same practice. Metasearch engines such as Kayak, Expedia and Orbitz will display the lowest fares every day. Check these engines first, then go to individual airlines’ sites to see if they’re the same or even less.

 

 

2. Be a Little Spontaneous

Flight prices can drastically change in a matter of a day. While some flyers might want to travel on a Sunday, even waiting until Tuesday could yield better results. Try keeping a loose timeline of travel dates that work for the whole family. Shoulder season or off-season flights are cheaper depending on where the flight is going. Check the destination ahead of time to see which times of the year are peak travel times and which are the off-season.

Flying at off-peak days of the week such as Tuesday through Thursday will also cut costs. Tuesday afternoon is one of the best times to find a flight. Set a reminder to look then, and book within minutes if a cheap flight pops up. Many airlines offer a 24-hour cancelation policy, which can help ease some of the anxiety that comes with booking a flight immediately.

 

3. Follow Some Favorite Bloggers

Another fun way to save on airfare is through following different bloggers. Watching blogs and airlines’ sites for deals can lead to steals through social media. Flyers can also set alerts for price drops on metasearch engines and other sites to get notified when a flight falls into their price range. If someone flies frequently, they can also join reward programs with a certain airline such as Southwest, American, United and more.

 

4. Use a Credit Card for Travel Points

It’s hard not to gulp when you’re booking a family vacation abroad and seeing the price for the first time. It’s often even more stressful to put that amount on a credit card. However, some credit cards offer travel miles or other travel rewards with each purchase. Putting flights — or even just a dinner out — on that card can help flyers pay for their next vacation or flight abroad.

 

5. Explore During a Long Layover

A layover isn’t the worst thing in the world. Choosing a flight with a layover gives families and solo travelers a chance to explore a new city or destination away from the final vacation spot. In addition, many airports today have quiet lounge areas and places to sit and grab a cup of coffee, making it the perfect spot for business people to work between flights.

It also pays to book one leg of the trip at a time. Although flexible traveling doesn’t work for everyone, travelers can sometimes find cheaper flights on one airline and connecting flights that are cheaper on another. Check different airports, and look for layovers with cheaper connecting flights before booking one airline the whole way through.

Always Find the Deals

There’s no reason to pay the sticker price on a flight. Be patient, and watch numerous sites to find the best deal. Travelers without kids or a set schedule can also benefit from flexible dates and different flights, including layovers and booking one leg at a time. Through following these five tips, flyers can save on travel and have fun doing it.

 

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by PSECU, a Pennsylvania-based credit union.