Friday, September 14, 2012

Self-Catering Holidays

When I travel to London, one of my “musts” is an apartment or a hotel with a kitchen. The city is one of the most expensive in the world and the easiest way to save is by cooking some of our own meals. We always eat in for breakfast, because a bagel or cereal will keep us full until lunchtime and will also save us £30 or more. We can eat while getting ready and not have to get up earlier in order to rush out the door to grab food and get on with sightseeing. It can be hard to find affordable apartments or hotels with useful amenities, but Robert and Polly Arnold have gathered them all in one website for you. They are native Londoners and know the city inside and out.

Using their extensive knowledge of London and its sights and attractions, the Arnolds have conveniently located accommodations for any traveler, whether you are a solo traveler, business traveler or bring your whole family. The personally inspect and choose the lodgings that they offer for rent, which gives you peace of mind when booking.

Jump online and choose from the long list of suitable London apartments. Not only will they keep you in the middle of the action, but you can find one that will also be far enough away from the action that you won’t be kept up all night by revelers. Postings have all the relevant information you need to choose the best apartment for you: plenty of photos to show you what the units look like, amenities of each room, what there is see and do nearby, the closest transportation stops and the overall features of the hotel. If you have a specific part of London you want to stay in, you can sort by neighborhood, too!

Apartment-Hotels has a separate section for corporate travelers. Need to find things to do when you aren’t working? They have that covered. Need a longer rental? No problem. Robert or Polly will help you choose the best London apartment for you by going with you on viewing appointments. Who else gives you that kind of personal service?

I’ll be traveling back to London next fall and you can bet I’ll be staying in an apartment again, just like I did before. Our first day always finds us at the local Sainsbury, gathering supplies for breakfast, snacks to take with us and even some dinner staples. It makes travel so much more affordable and gives us a reason to enjoy our room more often. It’s the perfect choice for the budget traveler and gives you an excuse to buy interesting new food items that you don’t have where you live.

Are you looking to travel to London? If so, have you decided to rent an apartment for your stay?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Library in Your Travel Bag

Nobody likes to be bored when they travel. No matter where I go, I bring along some form of entertainment, whether it’s reading material, a game or a puzzle book. Sitting on the airplane, train or in the car, you can’t always pass the time sleeping or shooting the breeze with your fellow companions. Also, sometimes you just want some time to yourself. In anticipation of the Shereen Travels Cheap book coming out in the next week, I’ve been thinking more and more about ebook readers and what great travel companions they make. While I LOVE a good book, I also love saving space in my luggage. Before Kindle came along, I always took up too much room in my packing with physical books. With one book that I was in the middle of and another as backup for when I finished in the middle of my vacation.

Are you a lover or books and reading? If so, this may still be your problem. While you can leave books in many hotel lobbies for other avid trip readers, books still take up room in your bags. Whether they are travel books, reference books, novels, journals or text books. Now, I carry 80% of the books I own with me, as well as blogs and newspapers I read often. I take notes on my device, too. The space I save by owning a Kindle is invaluable, because I have a wealth of information at my disposal, infinite reading material as well as Internet access, should I need it.

You rarely see me go anywhere without my Kindle and anytime anyone asks me about it, I am singing its praises. I love, love, love my Kindle, though I know it’s not the right ebook reader for everyone. There are new and improved models, but you can also choose from Nook, the Sony ereader and numerous others. There is certainly one for everyone now. While they may get smaller, the font size is always adjustable. Great for your little sister or your grandma!

Ebook readers can be super useful, as many have Wi-Fi now and can be used as tablets on-the-go. Plus, if you own an iPad, you already have a book reader. With free reading apps, they do double duty. Take pictures, write notes, check email, pay bills, Skype with friends and family, update your blog and read all the books you want. In the same space of a regular size novel, you can take every book you own (or at least the ones you downloaded). Kindle books run cheaper than actual books and you save paper and space at home and on the road. You can find most books for around $9.99, though some are more if they are new releases and many are cheaper to entice you more. In fact, there are many free and $.99 books for download and this is true on other services that are not on Amazon. Order with the credit card you have on file and get it wirelessly in under a minute. Lend books to friends, upload your own books and even listen to audio books or MP3s.

Here I am enjoying my own Kindle.
I prefer my Kindle with the 3G, because I don’t have to find a Wi-Fi connection to download a new book. As long as there is cell service, I can read something new. If you spend a lot of time in coffee shops and other places that are Wi-Fi hotspots, then you may wish to save money on your ereader and get one that has Wi-Fi only. As long as you aren’t continually using the wireless function, your battery will last much longer than you would have thought. When I’m not on vacation, I read on my lunch break at work. I have been able to read for 8+ hours on one battery charge, which is more than I can say for the battery life of any other electronic device I own. So, whether you’re on a 2 hour plane ride or a 15 hour train trip, your ereader can make the journey with you without needing recharging for a long time, making it one of the best travel companions you could own.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Vegetarian Traveling

Being a traveler on a specific diet can be difficult, but you can always make it work by going to destinations that are more accepting to your needs. Everyone knows that the U.S. is fairly easy to travel in when you are a vegetarian, but are you looking for somewhere "exotic" to travel that is vegan- and eco-friendly? Here’s a list of international destinations for you:
  • Bahamas – Nassau is very popular, but affordable. For a less touristy location, check out Exuma Cays. Perfect for snorkeling and diving and avoiding hoards of people.   
  • Belize – Beautiful and lush, you will find many eco-lodges here and locally grown produce everywhere you go.
  • Berlin, Germany – Berlin has become a mecca for so many things. Not only is it becoming the hot new vacation destination for families, but now for vegans, too! VegNews recommends visiting VönerChipps, and Lucky Leek.
  • British Columbia – The Pacific Northwest is chock full of vegan dining spots and BC is no exception. VegNews recommends visiting Gorilla Food,Edible Flours, and Grub.
  • Costa Rica – South America has so many amazing fruits and veggies that grow on the land that you almost can’t avoid eating some vegetarian meals.
  • Ecuador/Galapagos – Another South American treasure. Try those yummy potato balls and other delicious produce that they grow everywhere while you’re observing the colorful wildlife.
  • Greece – The economy is in ruins – just like many of the tourist attractions, ha! – so your dollar will go pretty far. Make sure you carry plenty of small bills, since if you pay in larger bills, you may not enough change back and could end up paying twice as much.
  • India – Did you know that about a third of the country is vegetarian? Now you do! Make sure you ask about ghee, creams and cheeses in dishes before ordering. 
  • Kenya – Even though you’re surrounded by wildlife, it’s still easy to find eco-lodges that specialize in vegetarian food. It would be hard to go on safari if you ate all the animals!
  • London – Hotel rates are slipping and it’s always more convenient to explain your food preferences when people speak your language. VegNews recommends visiting SafInspiral, and Manna Cuisine
  • Thailand – Like India, Thailand is super easy to find non-meat cuisine. 
  • Vietnam – Pack your lightest clothes, because it is hot and humid here. The economy lends itself to a meat-free diet, so you won’t have any problem finding a place to dine here.
Do you have a favorite vegan food destination that you’ve found on your travels?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Air New Zealand Infographic and Giveaway

Air New Zealand is celebrating 30 years of flying from London to New Zealand via Los Angeles. Check out this fun infographic and then enter their giveaway to win a trip for two to London from Los Angeles. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sailing on the Cheap

Going on a cruise can be downright expensive, but here are some tips to make it more affordable for you:
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  • Sail on big ships. The bigger the ship, the more cabins to fill and the more deals to be found. Think of it as Las Vegas on the ocean. Those huge hotels have so many rooms to fill that even with some of them going for half price the regular rate, they are still making a ton of least much more than they would make if those rooms were empty.
  • Turn to Cruise Critic if you have ANY kind of questions about cruising or ships. They tell you everything from how to pick the right cabin for you to what kind of entertainment you'll look forward to on each ship. I love reading all the cruiser reviews of the ship I'll be sailing on and what they thought was good and not so good, plus what they thought of the excursions that were offered. Sadly, I also found more information on my ship here than I did on the actual cruiseline's website.
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  •  Get the most out of your cruise, by not spending the whole time laying around by the pool. Your rate is mostly-inclusive, so the more you do, the further your money goes. See the shows, play mini-golf, go to the clubs and use the workout room. If it's included, try it out. You need to work off your buffet meals somehow. Besides, you went on vacation to see and do new things...and you can sit at home for free!
  • Did you know that cabins located on different decks on cruise ships have different prices even though the room is exactly the same? You could save hundreds of pounds by just moving up or down a "floor"! Make sure you price compare cabins before making your final decision.
  • Cruise in the off-season instead of peak times. There may be fewer choices of cruises to your desired destination, but there will also be fewer travelers, which means lower prices and less crowded ships. You might also be able to get some extra perks by booking when the cruise companies are not as busy and really want to fill cabins. Everyone likes freebies, like spa credits and drink coupons.
What are some of your tips for cruising on the cheap?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Get a Job Teaching in the UK to Travel in Europe

Traveling is almost never cheap, even when you don’t stray far from home. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to travel for extended periods of time and still be able to pay your bills? You can enjoy sightseeing and meeting new people and trying local foods and know that that your credit cards and cable will be taken care of while you’re gone. No, it’s not some new insurance plan, but a great website called that helps you find teaching jobs in Europe in order to travel and make money at the same time!

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I know I would love to get paid to travel and, essentially, that is how it works. You apply for jobs teaching English (and sometimes other subjects) in foreign countries. If hired, you will teach immersion classes like ESL for locals that want to learn English, so they can travel to the UK and North America or even be able to use it for business deals and more. English is a widely spoken language and can be very beneficial for people everywhere to know how to speak it.

Can I teach in my own country?

If you don’t feel comfortable just moving off to a foreign country to teach a language students don’t understand, that’s okay. You can get a job in the UK to get your feet wet first. Once you have more experience, you can apply for jobs all over Europe, including France, Germany, Italy and Turkey. Many jobs require you to have your teaching certificate (i.e TEFL, ESL or TESOL) but many don’t. They only ask that you have great communication skills, are reliable and have a flexible schedule.

ESL classes are usually held in the evening hours or on weekends, which means you have plenty of time to go out during the day to see your destination city. Not only that, but your students will gain just as much knowledge from you as you do them. There’s no better way to learn a new language than by totally immersing yourself in a different culture. In no time you’ll be learning new words and phrases, too!

Choose your own destination!

Have you been dying to learn Russian or German? Then apply for jobs that you could qualify for in those countries. If you already have teaching experience, great! You’ll have a lot more listings to choose from. If you don’t, you will still find plenty to send your resume/CV to. Spend your free time exploring Red Square and the rest of Moscow with money you earned teaching your native language to others hoping to learn it. You’ll benefit twice, because you’ll have the luxury of travel and learning how to speak a new language from those that have spoken it their whole life. They benefit the same. No one knows how to pronounce words and create sentences better than someone who is native to the country of the language spoken.

TeacherHit allows you to upload your resume or CV to your profile to let employers find YOU! If you want to actively search the open jobs, you can do so with no ads or annoying pop-ups and you can even be notified of new jobs by email. If you find a job posting that wouldn’t be a fit for you, but could be for a friend, you can easily share listings on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or by email. They have made it super simple to use and I highly recommend using TeacherHit to find teaching jobs in the UK and Europe, especially if you have a love of travel and want to meet, interact with and learn from foreigners. It’s definitely one of the best ways to gain life experience and job experience at the same time and a have fun doing it!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post brought to you by If you’re interested in teaching abroad to travel also find them on Twitter and Google+.