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Category Archive: Budget Travel

TransferWise the cheapest way to send money abroad

What is the cheapest way to send money abroad?

Time after time we are getting asked the same question by our followers, so we decided to investigate on your behalf.

Regardless if you are travelling abroad or buying a property overseas, having to change Sterling to a foreign currency can be a big headache.

Most people use banks to transfer money abroad but banks charge commission and have fees on top of the already expensive foreign exchange spread.

So we did the maths for you and we come up with an alternative. It is called TransferWise.com

TransferWise Review 

Usually we don’t write reviews on individual products or services but we have been very impressed with TransferWise that we feel that you need to know about this company so you don’t waste money on your next money transfer abroad.

Why TransferWise is cheaper than the high street banks

Without getting you bored with the technical jargon, the simple answer is that it is much cheaper (8 times cheaper according to the company) because it is not a bank.

TransferWise doesn’t transfer the funds through the international banking system. Instead it is utilising its own peer to peer network to match transactions across the TransferWise network.

TransferWise the cheapest way to send money abroad

How it works

For example a businessman in London who wish to convert Pound to Euro for his business will be matched with a French or a German or a Spanish traveller who wish to convert Euros to Pounds for his forthcoming visit to the UK.

They will both get quoted an exchange rate which is in the middle of the Bid and Ask currency spread. So they are both better off than going to a high street bank.

TransferWise holds bank accounts with all the major foreign currencies and can swap currencies within each country without having to use intermediary banks for the money transfers abroad.

So in our example above the Pounds will go to the Sterling bank account of TranferWise in the UK and the UK businessman will receive Euros from TransferWise’s Euro bank account in the UK.

At the same time in the continental Europe our traveller will get Pounds from TransferWise’s Sterling account and the Euros will be deposited into the Euro account of TransferWise in that country.

Since both sets of the transactions are within the national borders of each country, they cost a lot less than international money transfers. For transactions upto 400 Pounds the cost is only 2 Pounds, above that amount there is a flat charge of 0.5% of the amount transferred.

Most transactions get settled the same day, which is a lot faster than international money transfers through the traditional banking system.

Is TransferWise Safe?

TransferWise is regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority, just like any high street bank in the UK. The company is obliged to verify its users and to protect against fraud and money laundering.

Amongst the very early backers of the company is Richard Branson, who has invested $25 millions in an attempt to make the world of money transfers a fairer place.

TransferWise Advert London underground

 

 Where and how to use TransferWise

TransferWise will not be found on the UK high street, transactions can take place only online via their website www.transferwise.com or via a smartphone. The company has developed a mobile app that is available to download on the App Store as well as on Google Play.

So next time you travel abroad or you need to make an international money transfers check out TransferWise, your money will go a lot further.

Destination Morocco: Maroc N Roll 2016

Marocn rollIt is this time of the year again that you have to choose a destination for you summer holidays.

You have worked hard, you saved a bit of money, not enough but you are getting there. However, you can’t make up your mind where to go for your summer vacations.

You have looked into many brochures, you searched on-line but they all look the same boring package holidays, there is nothing exiting for you.

Not anymore we have a suggestion for you “ Maroc N Roll 2016 ”

“ Maroc N Roll 2016 ” will take place next summer between the 4th and the 21st of June. It is a 2 to 3 week road trip around Morocco, a group of 20 plus travelers will be taking part in this adventure. Staying in a variety of accommodations from rooftop terraces to desert hotels, Berber tents and even sleeping under the stars.

The trip has been organized and run by Barney and Lizzie who are both former students of Oxford Brookes University. Most of the participants of the trip are 18 to 35 year old but all are welcome as long as they have a healthy sense of humour and a love of adventure travel.

Maroc N Roll 2016 bus

The highest mountain in North Africa; the largest desert in the world; goats that climb trees; a camel burger; a camel ride (not the same camel ;), big jumps off waterfalls and camping out with nomads. These are just a fraction of what’s on offer in this summer’s Maroc N Roll 2016 adventure!

Highlights include

  • Sahara desert camel trek
  • 100 ft. waterfalls of Ouzoud
  • Climbing North Africa’s highest mountain Toubkal
  • Shopping in the markets of Marrakech
  • Atlantic coast beaches
  • Rock climbing in the magnificent Todra Gorge
  • Quad biking, horse riding, wind surfing….and much much more…

camel riding at Maroc N Roll 2016

“ Maroc N Roll 2016 ” Full Itinerary

Day 1-3 What better place to start a trip than on a beach – Essouaria, a great surfing town on the windy Atlantic coast this is the perfect spot to start our trip.

Horse riding, quad biking, surfing and wind surfing are all options here where we stay together in one huge apartment in the centre of the old medina.

Day 4  Marrakech – for those of you still wondering at the wonderful sunsets on the beach and the lapping of the waves on your toes…wake up!!

This is Marrakech – one of the most vibrant and hectic cities in the world. Keep your wits about you or we’ll lose you to the never ending market souks where you can buy anything from a Magic carpet to a talking chameleon. Staying on the rooftops of Hotel Ali looking out over the famous Jemma Fna square

Toubkal mountain in North Africa - Maroc N Roll 2016

Day 5-6  Toubkal is North Africa’s highest mountain and at half the height of Everest this is no picnic. It takes 2 days and nights to summit but for those of you that make it it’s worth every enduring step!

There’s no experience or equipment needed here, it’s a simple case of mind over matter as you head past tiny Berber villages and up the slopes of the High Atlas mountains before sleeping at the base camp and making your final push for the summit through the odd pile of snow left over from the winter.

Day 7   Back to Marrakech to rest and recuperate – you’ll need it.

Maroc N Roll 2016 jumping in the waterfalls

Day 8-9  Cascades D’ouzoud – the largest waterfalls in Morocco these are really spectacular. Over 100 ft. high and surrounded by campsites and restaurants you can even take a tiny boat and get rowed into the falls themselves – as long as you don’t mind getting wet!

We’ll be staying in some Berber tents down below the falls giving us a great view for 2 days whiling away the time jumping off high things or exploring the pathways on foot.

Day 10  Ait Benhaddou – ‘Hollywood of Morocco’ this is the setting of numerous movies and TV including ‘Gladiator’, ‘Babel’ ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ and more recently ‘Game of Thrones’. One night here sleeping on the rooftops before heading towards the desert.

Day 11-12  Todra Gorge – A couple of hours from the desert and we’re in a completely different setting but just as stunning. A huge gorge in the rocks here opens up to offer spectacular views and some great climbing opportunities. Ropes, helmets and harnesses supplied for those of you wanting to scale the cliffs.

For the rest of you just chill out by the pool washing the sand off yourselves from the desert or walk through the beautiful palmery that covers the river bed below.

Maroc N Roll 2016 Sahara desert

Day 13   Sahara & Erfoud – Arriving in the desert kingdom of Erfoud we’ll have lunch a look around this interesting ‘gateway to the desert’ town. Then in the afternoon we’ll head off to Merzouga where we chill out in a plush hotel with swimming pool before our night in the dunes commences.

If a night in the dunes just isn’t for you then yes you can stay in the plush hotel for the same price as the camel trek. As evening draws in it’s off road into the desert by camel for a 2 hour trek into the dunes.

Sleeping under the stars or in a bed – the choice is yours – you’ll dine in the dunes before sleeping then waking up to the sun creeping over the sand. Leaving before it gets too hot out here we head back with our camels for our next adventure.

Maroc N Roll 2016 crossing the desert by bus

Day 14   Camping with the Nomads. Now that you’re familiar with the culture let’s go and meet some locals, and enjoy their hospitality. Heading south towards the desert we’ll stop over and camp under the stars surrounded by forests where you may well spot a monkey or two as well as learn to make some bread or weave a carpet nomad style.

Day 15-17   Chefchaouen – Hidden in the Rif mountains and only really visible once you are upon it, Chefchaoeun is a stunningly beautiful, chilled out blue and white village where we begin our adventure.

A day trip to paradise falls here in Akchour make this an unforgettable way to start the journey and bring you gently into the dramatic culture change from Europe to North Africa. Staying in a small hotel in the centre of the town.

The Overlanders

Day 18   Heading back to London from Tangier or Rabat on the coast.

This is not a holiday, this is the travel adventure of a life time.

So you better hurry up as places are getting filled up really quickly.

For more information on how to book your “Moroc N Roll 2016” adventure please contact Barney and Lizzie on their website bellow:

http://www.theoverlanders.net/ or you can get in touch with them on Facebook.

 

Maroc N Roll 2016  https://www.facebook.com/events/1035610683137415/

The Overlanders  https://www.facebook.com/foreveroverland/

 

Lads holiday to Antalya Turkey

Andrew Wain 2015With the university exams out of the way, we gathered at the pub debating where to go for our summer holidays.

There were four of us, Mat, George, Kevin, and myself Andrew.

The choices were mainly Spain, Italy, Greece, but with our student budget been on the low side we had to eliminate most of the ideas.

Even if we could get a low cost airline like Easyjet to fly us to Spain we couldn’t collect enough money among us to book a cheap hotel room for four lads in Spain.

Disaster was looming on the horizon, we could all see ourselves spending the summer at home with a trip down to Southampton for a long weekend.

That was all until Murat, the fifth member of our university gang pop in to our table holding a travel map to Antalya in Turkey.

Murat was born in Luton but his parents came from Turkey in the early eighties. His parents still have contacts with their extended family back in Turkey and Murat had been toying with the idea of going to Antalya to see where his parents grew up.

Needless to say the connection was instant!! Murat’s family had a house in Antalya. After a few more rounds at the pub our travel plan was set, hands were shaken, we were good to go. Our first lads holiday to Antalya in Turkey.

easy jet turkey antalya 2015

We flown from Gatwick with Easyjet and we landed at Antalya airport just before 10:00 a night. We were picked up by Bulent, Murat’s cousin who took us to our accommodation and promise to show us around the next morning.

Antalya city is definitely a modern city built on the South Western coast of Turkey with a population of around one million with a lot of buzz and night life for the holiday makers.

Antalya Turkey fish restaurants

In the morning we took the tram upto the Hadrian’s Gate or Üçkapılar in Turkish and we walked into the old part of the city the Kaleici for some sight seen.

Antalya was buzzing, many touristic shops selling souvenirs, beach clothes and café/restaurants are cramped in the rather small space of the old city with narrow streets and paths that somehow all seem to lead downhill towards the old harbor.

Konyaalti Beach

Turkish flag - Lads holiday to Antalya 2015

The next morning we walked back to Hadrian’s Gate and took the tram to Konyaallti beach.

Konyaalti beach is on the western side of Antalya city and it is about 7 km long. At the far end of the beach you can clearly see the Beydagları mountains. Inwards from the beach there is a huge green park with plenty of cafes, bars, nightclubs and hotels.

If you fancy doing more than just swimming and sunbathing on the Konyaalti beach, a short walk towards the park and across the Dumlupınar road are the Aqualand waterpark and the Antalya Aquarium, one of the biggest aquariums in Turkey, it claims to have the longest tunnel aquarium in the world, 131 meters long!!

We really liked the beautiful designed thematic exhibitions of different seas, oceans and rivers. There are many different types of sea species small and big as well as sharks. The sharks are not huge but there are really many of them and you can see the divers swimming among the sharks while feeding them.

Antalya Aquarium - Lads holiday to Turkey

All signs at the Antalya Aquarium are written in 3 languages: Turkey, English and Russian. It cost us 75 Turkish Lira per person for entrance to the aquarium. On the ground floor as you exit the aquarium there is food court with a number of different establishments to choose. By that time we were starving so we marched to McDonald’s which these days seems to be everywhere.

Lara Beach

Lara beach was our second favorite beach in Antalya. You can drive to the beach or get there by taxi but since we were on a budget, Bulent advised us to take a small minibus from the centre. In Turkey they call them Dolmush and they seem to be everywhere and run very frequent services across the city.

However, sometimes they can get very crowded. To the Lara beach you need Dolmush number 18, 30 and 77, it took us around 40 minutes to the beach and it only cost us 2,5 Turkish Lira each, which is around a dollar each.

lara beach antalya

Lara beach was not as busy as Konyaalti beach, which was a surprise as it is the longest sandy beach in Turkey and offers stunning views of the Mediterranean sea. We had a long walk and it seems some spot on the beach tend to be more popular than other with private organized beach clubs.

With the temperature on the beach approaching 40C we decided to rent a couple of umbrellas and sunbeds. There are plenty of bars with cold beers, to keep you cool and refreshed and since we were in Turkey Efes beer was our first choice!!

Side

Side is a holiday resort around an hour from Antalya city, full of 5 star hotels. It also seems to be very popular with Russian tourists. Side has calm water and fine sandy beaches, plenty of water-sport activities and is dominated by all inclusive type of hotels.

Antalya City

During our stay in Antalya we also hopped into a pirate boat and went for a daily cruise. There are many boats leaving around 10 in the morning from the old harbor.

Don’t get intimidated by the Turkish sales men who claim to have a last minute special fare, walk around and compare the different cruises before you make up your mind. Then you are ready to start bargaining, believe me bargaining is part of the Turkish culture.

Fares vary according to the length of the trip, we went for the six hours cruise.

lads boat trip in antalya

Once on board we snap some photos and had a few rounds of beers, loud party music was echoed around the boat reflecting the mood of our group. After almost an hour of sail we stopped twice for swimming and snorkeling in some truly amazing bays.

Complimentary food was also provided by the crew of the boat. We were served spaghetti, green salad and fish barbequed which was delicious and after a tasty lunch, there was even more time to relax as we sailed slowly back towards the harbor.

Night life

The night life in Antalya did not disappoint us. Having a local on our side we were taken to all the best pubs, bars and night clubs. Kaleici at night was heaving with young Turks and tourists, the narrowed streets where full of folk-songs bars and little colorful taverns. The Turks seem to party until the morning, so we joined them too!

Ally’s night club was our favorite night club, great music, amazing sea view, and plenty of girls to dance and flirt until the sun comes out. OK drinks were a little bit expensive but we were lucky to be amongst a group of friends of Bulent so we were charge local prices, no tourist prices. I could write more here but as they say, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!!

club ally antalya turkey

I have to admit that towards the beginning of the second week of our holiday to Antalya we were all running low on cash, our student budget could not support our all night partying lifestyle, so we started spending more time at the beach than going clubbing and partying every single night.

Without doubt this was our best holiday so far, we had great time, we made a lot of friends and we all agreed that we would definitely be going back to Antalya in the future.

I am actually thinking after my graduation to apply for a job in Antalya, Turkey. There are many hotels in Antalya that require English speaking staff, for various roles during the summer.

Andrew Wain, the author of the lads holiday to Antalya in Turkey is a final year student of hospitality and hotel management at LMU.

French Holidays on the Cheap

Montpellier in FranceMontpellier

As a traveller, there is no greater high than experiencing the wonders tucked inside a beautiful country. However, when you speak of a country like France, the cost of the trip can make it seem quite daunting. If you love the ideal of trolling through France without putting up your house on mortgage, then there are some extremely interesting places and reasons to visit this magnificent country. Click here to read more »

Top 3 Student Holiday Destinations in Europe

Spain among the top 3  student holiday destinationsTop student holiday destinations, including Fuerteventura, with On The Beach

Travelling as a student can be an absolute blast. You can find incredible deals, blag your way into working at hostels and getting accommodation and way more for free; meet new people and end up in countries you never expected.

For some of students, getting away means forgetting it all – maybe at the bottom of a pint glass! Package deals to clubbing havens the Balaeric islands, such as Ibiza party breaks are classic ‘lads on tour’ places to go, but Spain in particular hosts some other excellent destinations.

We’ve picked the top 3 student holiday destinations in Europe, with a focus on value-for-money, activity and culture:

1. Southern Spain

Loads to choose form here. The south of Spain is cheaper than the more industrial north, and the weather is pretty hot come summer time too. We’ve picked it because you can easily hop around the southern cities of Granada, Cadiz and Seville; or head further south and catch the Canary Islands.
Click here to read more »

Timeshare rentals on your Holidays

Timeshare rentals on your Holidays

Timeshare Property – Image by nancyarora2020

The concept of timeshare rentals is relatively unknown amongst people who take regular holidays every year. Spending thousands of dollars on hotels is quite common and people do that, every year, without thinking twice. Instead, if you invest it into a timeshare rental property, you get to enjoy all the benefits of a hotel, at cheaper costs, and with the same freedom and independence that your home brings to you. Click here to read more »

Enjoying Turkey on a Budget

Turkey on a Budget

When we speak of holidays to Turkey, budget holiday-goers tend to run away like rats from a flood. Flights are expensive, the holiday season ensures that things are expensive, the hotels are expensive and almost everything worth doing, in Turkey, is expensive. It almost seems as if no one has ever heard of anything called cheap holidays to Turkey. Click here to read more »