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Transportation Choices – The Options are Endless!

Photo Credit: hamster! via photopin cc

Photo Credit: hamster! via photopin cc

Planes, train, automobiles, there are countless ways to see the globe and many of them allow us to see passing and differing landscapes as we go, meaning we get a true travel experience without evening having to stand up!

Whether you choose the traditional fly to a destination kind of route, or whether you choose to go a little differently, maybe with an island hopping break or interrailing, then it’s important to make sure that all your travel plans are in place well ahead of time, meaning you’re organised and raring to go, without being stressed and wanting to pull your hair out!

I find getting to the airport is one of the most stressful parts of travel day, because I always worry that my train is going to be drastically delayed, or my coach won’t turn up, and even when it does, packed out stations aren’t fun places to be. It’s for this reason I decided to start driving myself to the airport, and booking my airport parking with ParkBCP. The first time I did this I couldn’t understand why I hadn’t attempted it before. I saved money, I saved stress, and I was more than calm when I arrived at the airport. This is a service you’ll find at all major UK airports, so wherever you fly from there is no need to miss out. I regularly book Heathrow parking, and the last time I booked I saved massively when compared to public transport for a family of four. Check out what’s available at your departure airport.

However you choose to see the world, making sure everything is in place is the most important thing before you depart. I have recently island hopped in Greece, and I saw so many different sights traveling this way that I can understand why people are shunning the idea of traditional A to B flights, and instead choose to go around the houses, in order to see more.

Of course interrailing is becoming hugely popular, and is now not just something gap year students head off to do on their year out. You can buy passes that cut out the hassle of having to pay for your ticket on the fly, and these allow you a certain amount of travel within a certain region. As long as you plan your journey a little, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy a certain amount of spontaneity, within a safe set up.

Road tripping is another popular way to see the world, and provided you check out requirements for your driving licence in the places you’re planning on heading to, and of course checking out visa requirements if you’re passing borders, then you can get a true sense of a country and its wonders, as you drive through its heartlands.

So, how are you going to travel on your next holiday? Plane, train, automobile?

Best Educational Activities for Kids in Florida

Photo Credit: cliff1066™ via photopin cc

Photo Credit: cliff1066™ via photopin cc

Florida is not all about Disney World, you can actually learn a few things even while you’re on holiday. First, to get to Florida, you’ll need to get on a flight from the UK. Look for your Miami Flights from Thomas Cook Airlines. Once you have budgeted for the flights, here are a few activities that you can bring the kids to so they can learn something:

Kennedy Space Center (Merritt Island)– close to Orlando, this is a massive complex that covers space exploration, science, and astronauts. This complex can easily take a day from your very busy schedule. If you have more time, would suggest heading over to the US Space Walk of Fame Museum in Titusville, which houses more space related exhibits.

MOSI (Tampa) – Museum of Science and Industry

SeaWorld (Orlando) – A theme park but also does a lot of conservation, SeaWorld has gotten a lot of bad press recently but it still does its best in their animal conservation efforts. Your kids can have fun in the rides and also learn about our water dwelling friends in this theme park. Another option is Busch Gardens in Tampa – which has a mix of thrill rides & animal conservation (note – the dogs they feature on their show are rescues!)

The Everglades (Miami) – See gators in their native habitat in the Everglades! But that’s not all – you can actually see a few other species of birds around the area too. This ecosystem is quite unique and is very much protected in the state.

St Augustine Alligator Farm (St Augustine, FL) – If you want to get closer to the gators, this is the place to go to! St Augustine’s Gator farm has all the crocodilian species known and even has the rare albino gator. It also has a zip line course that is challenging and fun to do.

Dino World (Tampa) – Just off the highway (near the end of I-4), you’ll see a big dinosaur so you won’t miss this place. It’s an open air area that’s filled with different dinosaur species and where the kids can excavate their own dino bones and gems. There is also a paleontologist in site so the little ones can ask their questions directly to a professional. Your kids may end up wanting to become future paleontologists too!

Zoo Miami (Miami) – The largest and oldest zoological garden in Florida, your kids can have fun while trying to discover several animal species that may not be endemic to your country. They have 5 regions that you can discover, covering a few continents in the world!

Florida has temperate weathers year round – although the northern part of it can get cold during winter. Have fun on your trip!

Additional Reading:

Things to do in Orlando with Kids

South Florida things to do with Kids

How to Make the Most of Your Travel Dollars    

Photo Credit: Fotografik33 via photopin cc

Photo Credit: Fotografik33 via photopin cc

It is possible to travel the world on a budget, yes, but you do need to show a bit of money smarts to make sure that you won’t run out of money on the road. After all, travel does cost, from airfare and food, to accommodations and local transportation, among many other expenses a traveler faces on his trip.

Many people save up for their travel fund way in advance of their departure date. However, it’s not only during pre-departure period that you can save money. While you’re traveling, you can also make sure to stretch your dollars with these few tips.

Travel off season. Traveling off season would save you a lot in terms of airfare, accommodation, and food expenses which are usually cheaper during this period. There are not so many tourists during this time, so merchants are more likely to provide big discounts in order to attract customers.

Be smart in choosing where to dine. Avoid eating in expensive hotels and touristy restaurants which would only serve the same local dishes that you can find in cheaper restaurants anyway. It is best to immerse yourself in local tastes and places. The best thing to do is to observe where most residents dine. You can also ask around or check restaurant tips and reviews in the web.

Buy your own food. You can also save more money by buying your food from the market and preparing it yourself. Buy whatever is in season as it is cheaper.  You can also stock up on market goodies that can be bought in local groceries or deli sections and just have a picnic somewhere. That wonderful experience would be much less expensive and more memorable than dining in a restaurant.

Ask for discounts. Senior citizens, families, and student travelers should ask for discounts. Many establishments acknowledge discounts when asked for it. Remember, the only dumb questions are the ones that are not asked so feel free to explore this possibility.

Go with a travel buddy. Traveling by group has a lot of advantages. Not only will you have other people to share the same travel experiences with but it is also cost effective.  A very expensive island hopping experience for a solo traveler, for example, would not be as much for a group who can split the boat rental fees. You also can share a room, split transportation, share tasks, and exchange ideas on where to go and what to do.

Be your own travel agent. Avoid travel agents as much as you can because they charge fees for their services. You can be your own travel agent and arrange your trip yourself. To get the best deals in airfare, for example, you can check out sites like Expedia and Skyscanner. Browse guidebooks, read blogs, inquire from each establishment personally, and you will soon see how easy it is to arrange your trip.

Bring your own water bottle. Since you will be on the go most of the time, it is best to carry a water bottle in your bag.  It will save you from buying expensive bottled water on the road. Ask some house water from your hotel or restaurant and refill your water bottle.  This will not only quench your thirst but save you from buying unnecessary drinks jammed with so much sugar such as sodas and fruit juice.

Traveling need not cost you an arm and leg. You can travel for a long time on a small budget as long as you know how to stretch those dollars. Cut on unnecessary expenses—from costly rooms and restaurants to expensive souvenirs—and you’re sure to remain on the road for as long as you want.

Top 5 World Schooling Family Bloggers  

Photo Credit: manoftaste.de via photopin cc

Photo Credit: manoftaste.de via photopin cc

Wish you could just pack up and see the world with your family but are worried about the impact it will have on your children’s education? Yes, hitting the road full time will change the way your kids learn. The good news is that world schooling works out just fine, if not even better than traditional schooling.

Let the following family bloggers show you that you can chase your dream of a nomadic lifestyle without compromising your children’s education.

Edventure Project

In 2008, Jennifer and Tony Miller took their passion for traveling up a notch and hit the road with four kids in tow. They toured Europe and North Africa on bicycles for a year and have been on the move since. Hence the Edventure Project.

Why this lifestyle? From the onset, the couple was certain that they wanted to build a family life centered on relationships, and exploring the world together with their children made that possible. They also believe immersing their kids in other cultures shapes their worldview in ways that a traditional upbringing can’t. Then of course, there’s the opportunity for experiential learning.

Home-schooled from the get go, the Miller children do “book work” for four hours in the morning and head out for learning adventures or work on personal projects in the afternoon. It’s a four-days-a-week schedule based on classical and Charlotte Mason philosophies. The two younger boys, Elisha and Ezra, are very self-sufficient and manage their assignments based on plans their mom lays out. The two teens, Hannah and Gabriel, are planning solo adventures to pursue their dreams.

Escape Artistes

Escape Artistes chronicles the adventures (and mishaps) of Theodora and her son Zac. The blog was originally named Travels with a Nine-Year-Old. That was the initial plan after all—to explore the world with her son for one year, having sold their house in London in January 2010. But being nomads worked out better than Theodora expected and so they simply kept going.

As for Zac’s education, Theodora follows the home schooling framework of the United Kingdom regardless of where their journey takes them. Before they first left, she filled out forms that required her to present proof that Zac’s home schooling covered the arts, computing, geography, history, languages, math, physical education, religion, and science. And so she regularly sends some of Zac’s worksheets via email to the appropriate UK authority.

1 Dad, 1 Kid

Yes, this is a blog about a dad, his kid, and their journeys. But there is actually a very heartwarming story behind it. Talon is a single parent. His son, whom he calls Tigger in the blog, has special needs. When they first left the United States in 2011, they only had $900.

When Talon decided they would be traveling full-time, his goal was to let his son live and learn in different countries so he would grow up to be a global citizen. To date, they have visited six continents and more than 20 countries as part of their round-the-world tour. Tigger has made huge strides with his anxiety and sensory issues and is no longer on meds—which Talon credits in part to world schooling.

Talon is big on daily teaching moments. From making travel decisions and planning itineraries to computing foreign currency exchange and paying utility bills, Tigger learns best from practical situations. Of course, their trips to Cuba, the Grand Canyon, and the Mayan ruins, among other places, have also proven to be extremely educational.

Raising Miro on the Road of Life

Growing up on the road with his mom Lainie, Miro is an advocate for life learning. The duo has been traveling for five years across 14 countries. At this moment, they are vagabonds in Latin America and plan to continue their journey around the globe for the next seven years.

For Miro and Lainie, world schooling is learning from the exposure and experience that traveling to different places can offer. With the world as his classroom, 15-year-old Miro guides his own learning and decides which topics to explore (e.g., Andean mysticism, Guatemalan perma-culture, Mayan mythology). Lainie stays involved by providing constant support.

Sattvic Family.com

From the United States to South Korea to Italy and now Thailand, the Bradley family has been traveling since 2009. Elizabeth, a freelance writer and photojournalist, grew up in different countries. She shares her love for traveling with her husband Billy, a teacher, actor, and wellness coach.

As jetsetters, the couple knew they wanted to raise their daughter, Kaya Alqua, abroad. That means homeschooling her using a variety of books, materials, and tools but without all the tests and memorization drills. Plus, there’s the great deal of education she gets from everyday moments.

If you dream of pursuing a similar lifestyle, don’t let concerns about your children’s education stop you. As these families prove, traveling and world schooling can be a great fit.

Photo Credit: manoftaste.de via photopin cc

5 Places You Can Volunteer with Animals in Asia    

Photo Credit: johey24 via photopin cc

Photo Credit: johey24 via photopin cc

Want to make a difference during your vacation in Asia? Volunteer to care for animals who are in need of rehabilitation and attention or are under threat due to wildlife trafficking.

Many organizations across Asia offer opportunities to engage with and help improve the lives of dogs, cats, bears, elephants, pandas, and leopards, among other animals. Read on to find out more about your options.

Dog Shelters in Thailand

If you’re a dog lover seeking opportunities to help out at shelters, Thailand would be a good place to start.

The Soi Dog Foundation in Phuket is home to about 400 rescued street dogs. As a volunteer, you get to take its canine residents on walks, and wash and groom them. You can also play with the puppies and help the more quiet ones—some with traumatic histories—feel comfortable around people.

The goal is to boost the dogs’ chances of being adopted into homes. Have a veterinary background? You are welcome to assist Soi Dog’s clinic staff in providing medical care to the animals there.

Chiang Mai hosts Care for Dogs, a nonprofit organization that lets volunteers contribute in various ways. You could focus on the sanctuary, walking, bathing, grooming, and socializing with dogs.

You may also be asked to handle tasks related to fundraising, marketing, volunteer recruitment, website updates, educational initiatives, and grant applications. Volunteers with veterinary experience are also sought for daily treatments and medical programs such as sterilization projects. You can also accompany dogs on their flight to their new home and lend your translation skills, if you happen to be adept in Burmese, Thai, and English.

Elephant Nature Park, Thailand

Elephants are not just majestic but also highly intelligent. However, a number of those in Asia are suffering a great deal—being mishandled, abused, or exploited so they can work in circuses, safaris, or on the streets, if not hunted by poachers for their tusks.

Help give them a brighter future by volunteering at the Save Elephant Foundation’s Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Here you can help care for the blind, disabled, and orphaned creatures of this sanctuary.

Volunteer duties include preparing the elephants’ food then feeding it to them and setting up their bathing sites before actually bathing them in the river. You’ll also be responsible for scooping their poo, monitoring their behavior, taking them on rainforest walks, and leading them to their favorite spots when night falls.

Plus, you’ll be taking on park chores too, such as maintaining mud pits and planting grass, and assisting the elephant handlers (called mahouts).

Volunteers get to stay on site from one week to a whole month and are served three meals per day. The program requires a weekly fee of 12,000 baht ($400). Veterinary students and specialists are also invited.

Cikananga Wildlife Center, Indonesia

The Cikananga Wildlife Center in West Java is a haven for wild animals in Indonesia that used to be held captive. The nonprofit organization is helping them bounce back until they are ready to be released to their natural habitat. It also serves as a permanent sanctuary for those who can no longer return to the wild.

The center achieves all this with the help of volunteers who provide daily care to the Javan leopards, orangutans, langurs, gibbons, macaques, slow lorises, sunbears, and various reptiles and birds sheltered there.

A typical to-do list of volunteers includes preparing the animals’ food, feeding, cleaning enclosures, assisting with treatments, and observing animal behaviors. At times, they are also expected to lend a hand in nightly security activities, research programs requiring data collection, and operations involving the confiscation and release of the animals.

You can volunteer for a minimum of one week. Lunch and dinner will be served during your stay. Accommodation packages cost 1.500.000 or 2.000.000 Indonesian Rupiah ($123-163), depending on whether you opt for a dormitory or a guesthouse.

Panda Reserves in China

Pandas are one of the most adorable creatures on the planet, but sadly, only 1,000 or so of them exist. Giant pandas are seriously endangered, making conservation work extremely important. Do your share by volunteering at reserves in Chengdu and Xi’an.

Pandas International at Chengdu’s Bifengxia panda reserve is open to volunteers who can help clean the pandas’ enclosures (including poo), prepare their food, and feed them. They will also be assisting the keepers as needed. If you’re interested, you will be paying a daily fee of 200 RMB ($33) and a one-time admission fee of 118 RMB ($20). The uniform that you’ll be required to wear costs 150 RMB ($25).

The reserves in Shaanxi province outside Xi’an currently host about 300 pandas. At the Xi’an Panda Center, besides panda-keeper assignments, you will be able to try your hand at cub babysitting, research and conservation work, and awareness-raising. Depending on your skill set, you might also be allowed to aid in administering physical examinations, delivering newborns, and bathing pandas.

Wildlife SOS, India

Many of India’s wildlife species are being hunted. The good news is that organizations like Wildlife SOS are coming to their rescue. Wildlife SOS is actually the world’s biggest bear rescue center, although it has also actively been rescuing elephants.

If you want to support this cause, you can volunteer to help care for the center’s rescued bears and elephants in a weekly program that begins on Monday and ends on Saturday. You must, however, be at least 18 years old and knowledgeable in basic English. To join, you need to pay a $500 fee ($250 if another person is joining you in the room). This covers basic accommodations, including kitchen and shower facilities, plus three vegetarian meals a day.

Volunteering at these places is guaranteed to change not just the lives of the animals under your care but your own life as well. Do your part and make the animal world a better place.

How to Find a Volunteering Position Abroad    

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Volunteering can be an extremely rewarding experience. But getting there—finding an ethical organization to work with and a project that truly serves the community—can be challenging given the sheer number of options before you.

Do a quick online search for volunteer projects, and you will see a multitude of companies offering volunteering positions turn up. When you take a closer look, however, you’ll discover that not all are great, or at the very least, trustworthy. Weeding through those results will eventually lead you to some decent and good-fit choices, but it can be a tough and time-consuming process.

Here’s a quick guide to help you find the right partner and project as you volunteer abroad.

Look at the Bigger Picture

No matter how excited you are to get the ball rolling, it always pays to do your homework first. The thing is, not all volunteer organizations are helping out the way they should.

It’s best to gain a realistic grasp of the factors at play in the international aid arena, the common issues plaguing development projects, and the macro-industry that volunteering belongs to.

Decide What Type Suits You

There are many paths open to volunteers. Which one fits you best will depend on your reasons for volunteering and the amount of time you can commit to it.

Independent volunteering. If you’re traveling long-term with no particular itinerary in mind, consider independent volunteering. This requires a hands-on approach, with you collaborating directly with the organization or project leaders. You won’t be expecting much outside help when it comes to food, accommodation, and transportation. You’re pretty much on your own. But you can secure a position for free or at a very minimal fee.

Placement company. Have your sights set on a niche volunteer experience? It would be easier to hire a placement company that will connect you with the specific volunteer project you have in mind. Some degree of facilitation is provided.

Also think about the type of volunteer work you want to take on and the skills this would require. From teaching children to caring for patients and building facilities, you can help in many different ways.

Search for Prospects

Now you can start scouting for projects that match your interests. It is bound to be a tedious process, so be patient and stay organized. If you see something you like, flag it down.

Where to look? Of course, there’s Google. But there are also sites dedicated to helping you find a volunteering position.

  • Grassroots Volunteering. Lists low-cost or free organizations and social enterprises
  • Go Overseas. Compiles a variety of volunteering placements
  • org. Has an extensive database of organizations, including small, niche ones
  • Pro World Volunteers. Acts as a middleman for community-oriented projects
  • Volunteer HQ. Matches registered users with long-term, community-driven projects.

Once you have your short list, you can narrow down your options further by checking the individual websites of those organizations and the project details posted there. Visit their social media pages too and check out any blog features on them.

Dig Deeper

After doing all the above steps, you’re now on to the crucial vetting phase. Take this step seriously, as it helps ensure you’re supporting a genuine cause.

Issues generally vary with each volunteering niche, but common concerns you need to inquire about are:

  • Where does the money go? How much of the placement or program fee is used for the project?
  • What is the organization’s set-up with the community? Did they check with the locals on whether they want or feel they need the project? Will work on it go on for years if needed or is there a fixed timeline? What’s the local support team like and what are their tasks? Will assistance be provided in emergency situations?
  • What kind of work are volunteers expected to do? How involved will they be on the ground? How would their weekly schedule go?
  • Will there be a pre-departure orientation? Are there returned volunteers you can reach out to? What preparation materials and resources can you expect?

An organization’s willingness to be transparent is a good indicator of its operating ethics and principles.

Take your Pick

After you’ve asked the tough questions and heard what the organizations have to say, you need to reflect on the project specifics, timeline, costs involved, and your volunteering priorities and goals, among other factors. Carefully weigh all your options and make your final choice.

Now that you have picked out your volunteer organization, you can move on to the planning phase. You’re one step closer to making a difference!

Best Places to Learn Spanish in Latin America

Spanish is the second most widely spoken language in the world with over 400 million people speaking it as their mother tongue. Learning how to speak Spanish as a second language, therefore, is very worthwhile, especially if you plan to work or travel in Spanish-speaking countries.

Aside from Spain, Spanish is spoken widely in Latin America. It’s the native language of the people there, and if you’re planning to visit, make sure to study it there, as it is easier to learn the language if you are immersed in the culture already. You will definitely learn faster if you interact with people whose primary language is Spanish.

There are actually a lot of countries in Latin America where you can learn the language, but here are the best countries for learning Spanish.

Argentina

Argentina is such a diverse country culturally that it has so much to offer everyone. There are many schools in Argentina that offer Spanish courses. Not only do most of the schools teach you grammar and vocabulary, they also include Argentinian cooking classes, tango classes, music classes, as well as experiencing Latin American movies and lectures on Argentinian history and culture.

Most of the schools in the country offering Spanish courses are located in the capital, Buenos Aires. Most include accommodation in the price of the course, so at least that’s one detail you need not worry about.

Costa Rica

If you love good climate, lovely beaches, amazing rainforests, and excellent dive sites, Costa Rica is definitely the place for you, not only for travel but for studying Spanish as well.

Many of the schools in Costa Rica that offer Spanish courses are located near the beaches, the capital, or the rainforests so there will be so much for you to experience and see when you are not busy studying.

Some schools also offer you the opportunity to stay with a host family, giving you a very valuable opportunity to immerse yourself in how the locals live, eat traditional Latin American food, and listen to the beautiful Spanish language as spoken daily by people in Costa Rica.

Indeed, in terms of experiencing such diverse scenery and lifestyle, Costa Rica comes out unparalleled as one of the best places to learn the Spanish language.

Colombia

If you like the idea of studying Spanish but also have the opportunity to experience the Amazon rainforest and get involved in volunteer work, Colombia could be a perfect location for you.

A lot of the language schools in Colombia not only offer you the traditional language course but you can also take part in volunteering projects in education, the environment, social, or health projects.

This is when you really will pick up the language as you spend your time working with others in one of the most interesting places in the world. You will get to see how the locals live and also learn about the wildlife and vegetation, as well as make a valuable contribution to the Amazon.

With so much opportunity to learn the language and experience once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, Colombia is indeed highly recommended as a place to learn Spanish.

There are of course many other countries in Latin America where you can study Spanish but the three countries listed above are among the best. From the different tourism options available to the incredible opportunities they offer alongside the language course, Argentina, Costa Rica, and Colombia are the place to be for Spanish learners.

Photo Credit: PAL1970 via photopin cc

Best Places for Scuba Diving in Central America

There are some absolutely awe-inspiring sights and experiences to be had in Central America, but for avid scuba divers around the world, the attraction is more to the beauty that lies beneath its waters.

A little research and an adventurous spirit can yield a pivotal diving experience for beginner and advanced divers alike. Don’t skip these one-of-a-kind destinations when researching and planning your diving vacation!

San Pedro, Belize

Located on the breathtakingly beautiful island of Ambergris Caye, San Pedro is a very diver-friendly town in Belize. At only a 15-minute flight from Belize City and overlooking the second largest barrier reef in the world, San Pedro boasts excellent location and amazing sights to see for divers.

The town itself is a very laid-back and safe town, making it an excellent place to travel and learn how to dive. With opportunities to dive in and explore various atolls, the famous “Blue Hole,” and the magnificent barrier reef, it is no wonder that San Pedro is considered a top Belize scuba diving destination.

Playa del Coco (Coco Beach), Costa Rica

Playa del Coco has various diving companies available that can take you on your next Costa Rican diving adventure. From beginning divers to advanced, these companies can offer experienced guidance to the best dive spots as well as provide diving lessons, too.

Large schools of fish are very common in this area, and you are likely to see more fauna than flora in the water. You will swim through mostly volcanic rock, as white coral is rare here. You can get an amazing close-up view of manta rays, white tip sharks, puffer fish, and a plethora of other underwater life.

Playa del Coco is also a great tourist destination, offering many on-land attractions and quality resorts.

Roatan Island, Honduras

If clear turquoise waters, resorts dedicated to scuba diving, an underwater museum, and plenty of on-land activities sound appealing to you, a visit to the Roatan Island in Honduras is definitely in order.

With 25 easily accessible dive sites for tourists and stable temperatures year-round, Roatan promises to be a haven for visitors who are eager to explore the island’s coral reef inhabitants either as beginning divers or advanced.

Cozumel, Mexico

Known worldwide for being one of the best scuba diving locations in the world, Cozumel doesn’t have a lot to prove. Medium warmth diving temperatures year-round along with both Colombia and Palancar reefs and many coral formations are what seems to attract divers and diving enthusiasts to this little bit of paradise.

English is widely understood in Cozumel, and there is a variety of accommodation options, including all-inclusive resorts for those who desire that kind of simplicity. Cozumel can also be a cost-effective option, as flights to locations in Mexico and accommodations there tend to be more affordable than some other Central American countries.

Regardless of the locations that you choose for your next scuba diving vacation, be sure to look for a reputable diving company to take you to the best spots or give you diving lessons. Aside from seeing the best of underwater life in Central America, you would want your safety to be prioritized too. Make sure that your dives are safe and enjoyable, and you will definitely have diving memories to last you a lifetime.

Photo Credit: Carnival

How to Save for Travel

Traveling is an amazing experience; it can definitely change your life forever. A lot of people would love to travel as much as they could. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford traveling indefinitely.

That said, it is possible to travel much even if you’re not a millionaire. You just need to reduce your spending and find ways to save money to start you off on your journey. Here are some tips on how you can save money for traveling.

Stay in one weekend a month

This simple option can save you on average $600 a year if you normally spend around $50 for a weekend. Don’t go anywhere on that one weekend, not even to the cinema. No take-outs, no alcohol (nope, not even one bottle of wine), and no shopping for anything other than household essentials. That’s how you can save slowly but surely.

In time, once you’re used to saving money, you can increase the amount you set aside just by staying home one weekend a month. Imagine where you can go at the end of the year with over $600 to spend! This should keep you motivated and determined.

Reduce traveling expenses

Many of us spend a fortune on gas and running a car, but there are cheaper options to getting around. If you drive to work or school every day, for example, ask around and see if any other people live close to you and if they do, car share. This will save everyone money and also help the environment, so it’s a double win.

If possible, use buses instead of trains and metros. It may take slightly longer to get where you want to go, but it will also save you a lot of money. Look around for special deals on public transport tickets, too. For example, buying a ticket that gives you 10 journeys normally means you get at least one journey free if you had bought the tickets separately. This soon adds up.

If you have a bicycle, try and cycle to places. Not only is using your bike free, it will also help you get fit so you will look great in your swimwear when you go off on your holidays! If you don’t own a bike you could walk as well. You might even start to enjoy being out in the fresh air rather than sitting on a crowded metro or train.

Take on some part-time work

It can be difficult fitting a part-time job around your full-time work or studies, but if you balanced your workload, see if you can work another five hours a week. You might be able to take on overtime in your current job, or look around online or in newspapers to see if anyone wants an extra pair of hands in their café or bar.

On average, an extra five hours a week working for $10 an hour will give you a massive savings of $2,400 at the end of the year. Just think where you could travel to with that kind of money to spend!

Sell your unwanted items

This little tip is pretty much an option for anyone. We all have things we no longer want or use such as books, clothes, CDs, and furniture, among others.

There are so many places to sell your secondhand belongings, like Amazon or eBay. As long as your items are in good condition, there is a good chance someone else will want it, so start having a look around your house and see what you can find.

If you have lots of outdoor items to sell, you could hold a garage sale. Remember that old saying ‘one person’s junk is another person’s treasure.’ Don’t be tempted to spend the money you make. Put it all away and concentrate on making your travel plans.

Don’t buy ready-made meals/snacks

This is another great money-saving tip and if we are honest, most of us are guilty of buying ready-made meals or snacks. If you usually buy sandwiches while you are at work or school, prepare your own at home and take them with you.

Try as well not to be tempted to buy snacks such as peanuts or crisps. If it is unavoidable and you are hungry, buy a piece of fruit instead. It’s cheaper and is healthier for you, too. Work out what you normally spend on snacks and every week put that money back for your holiday savings. You will be amazed at how it quickly starts to add up.

Saving money is possible if you put your mind to it. Having such a good focus as spending the money on travel will encourage you to be as thrifty as possible. Before you know it, you will eventually find yourself on the road.

Photo Credit: Travel Products

How to Find a Job Teaching English Abroad

Teaching abroad is a great experience. You get to travel anywhere in the world and find work easily. Aside from that, you also get the opportunity to immerse yourself fully in another culture.

As long as you have a good grasp of the English language and enjoy working with people, you can enjoy a good career teaching English abroad and get to see the world at the same time. Below are some tips for helping you to quick-start your teaching career and get you on the way to the country of your dreams.

Get Certified

This is the most important thing if you are looking for a job abroad teaching English. There is a lot of competition around now as many graduates and professionals turn to teaching English as a profession.

There are many different companies both online and in-house that offer courses, but you must ensure you get a recognized teaching qualification such as a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certificate.

Before you can study for a teaching qualification, you will probably need to have a degree as most reputable companies will only allow graduates to study for a teaching certificate. This is because the course is not easy and requires a certain level of understanding and essay writing.

Another thing to consider is getting experience at the same time. If your course entails a work placement, this is a great added bonus as once you start to apply for teaching jobs you will notice that many schools abroad like people that have face to face experience.

Nearly all in-house schools that offer a TEFL qualification will arrange for you to teach a certain number of hours as well and some schools will even try to find you a work placement once you have qualified.

TEFL/TESOL job Websites

Once you have your qualification, you can source jobs online via TEFL and TESOL job search websites. There are many different ones around offering teaching jobs all over the world. The British Council is also a good place to start as they have schools in lots of countries and take on native English teachers to work in their schools.

Volunteer as an English teacher

If you have been trying to find a job and find you are not having much luck, it might be down to the amount of experience you have, or the lack of it. This is where a volunteering program might be perfect for you.

If you are qualified, many companies searching for volunteers to teach English will also pay for your flight and you can normally choose to volunteer from 3 months up to one year. Most volunteers are placed in developing countries as money is tight and they do not have the funds to pay teachers, but this can be such a rewarding thing to do and get you that all important teaching experience you need.

If you are not qualified, some companies searching for volunteers will give you the opportunity to gain your TEFL qualification and you will teach in a school at the same time. This means you get experience and your teaching qualification together. There are lots of volunteering positions advertised online so it’s simply a case of searching for the right one for you.

Choose a Country

It can make searching for a teaching job a lot easier if you know what country you would like to work in. Once you have decided where in the world you would like to go, you can then source job sites for that country and start finding out important information such as what you can expect to earn on average in that country, if you need work permits or visas, and if you will need injections before you go.

These things are all relevant because if you have to find your own accommodation you will need to know roughly what English teachers earn in that country to ensure you start researching what kind of accommodation you will be able to afford when you locate a teaching job.

Forum for English Teachers

There are lots of forums that give help and advice to English teachers and many advertise for jobs via the forums as well. Not only that, but if you join a forum that is specific to the country you would like to work in, you will get valuable information from the forum members, including tips on the best places to find work.

Many forum members will even know of jobs going in their own school/academy and they are always happy to help and share information.

There is work out there for English teachers and if you follow these pointers you should find a job quite quickly. Teaching can be so rewarding and once you have experience and a qualification you need never be out of work again.