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How I learned to love travelling solo

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Travelling solo takes guts and calls on your reserves of resilience. But it can be incredibly fulfilling. If you’re someone who wants to observe, think, absorb, then solo travelling is a way to give yourself the space to really live in a culture, rather than rushing through it chattering to a companion.

I found it scary at first but then began to relish the insights you get. Walking down a quiet street in a Spanish town, noting the Moorish influences and exchanging a nod with a lady sitting outside her shop. Watching the Northern lights in silence from your balcony while you drink a weird Norwegian liqueur. Even standing in a city centre first thing and watching people rushing to their offices, then taking a late breakfast in one of the places they eat at.

These are all things that are just as good, if not better, alone. Haven’t we all had the experience of trying to take in a spectacular sight while our travelling companion talks non-stop?

The thing is, solo experiences needn’t be lonely experiences. With social media, email and smartphones, we can share the special things we find with people whose opinions we really care about, even when it’s not possible to be in the same place at the same time. Our experience enriches them and their response can light up our journey.

And travelling solo has changed hugely with the advent of sites like airbnb. It makes a great change to stay with people who live in a place, rather than only meeting other travellers. And you can use these sites’ identity checks as an extra level of security when travelling.

And I guess I’ve learned too, that with a smartphone and a good book – you’re really never alone.

What to Consider When Choosing to Travel by Train or Rental Car

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Planning a trip can be quite stressful, and deciding whether you should rent a car or travel by train is a dilemma you may be faced with. Consider these aspects before choosing between the two options for your next trip:

Infrastructure

The infrastructure in the region you’ll be travelling through is an important factor to consider when choosing between train and rental car travel. Some countries, such as a few of those in Eastern Europe, may have very bad roads and will thus make driving not only stressful, but also dangerous. Others, such as Ireland, don’t have extensive rail coverage, and therefore it might be difficult to get where you want to by train.

The Number of Travellers

Driving a car is usually less expensive than travelling by train when you share the costs with multiple people. Rental and fuel expenses can be too steep for a person travelling solo, however, and having to navigate and drive at the same time can become quite overwhelming, especially with driving on a different side of the road and with signs in different languages.

Distance & Vacation Duration

For short duration vacations (under a week) and trips where you will be moving around a lot but you won’t need to cover a very large distance, car rental is the best option. If you’ll be covering a wide area or go on an extended duration trip, taking the train will prove to be cheaper and more convenient overall.

Will There Be Kids Coming Along?

Travelling with children always makes things more stressful and complicated. If you choose to rent a car, you’ll have much more flexibility in terms of refreshment stops and breaks to let the kids stretch their legs and consume some of their energy. On the train, however, the children will have more room to move around and places to explore, but you must pay attention to ensure they don’t disturb other travellers.

Keep these aspects in mind when deciding between car rentals and train travel to make sure you enjoy your trip to the fullest.

Five Ways to Make Extra Cash Whilst Travelling

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We have all been there, you head out into the world with the money you’ve worked hard to save, only to find that it doesn’t quite stretch far enough to fuel your wanderlust entirely. Well, here are five ways to earn a little extra money to help keep you moving.

Work in your Hostel

It’s always worth asking at your hostel if they have any work available. Hostels will often give guests a couple of hours work at the front desk and will usually pay you, or at the very least let you stay for a couple of nights for free.

Teach a Language

There is a lot of demand for language tutors. A good way to make some extra money is to put up signs offering language tutoring on notice boards. These one-to-one casual lessons often take place in cafes and won’t feel like work at all.

Work in a Bar

Getting a couple of casual shifts in each destination you have lined up will definitely ease the financial burden. And if you are not strong with languages, then there are always Irish or Australian pubs around that are used to travelling English speakers looking for a few casual shifts.

Travel Writing

If you have a way with words, there is always a market for good travel writing. Start your own blog, send pieces to known travel writing websites, look online for freelance opportunities that will take your writing and pay you for it.

Au Pair

There are many agencies online and even more families looking for Au Pairs for their children. Whether it’s just to look after the kids after school, or help to develop their language skills, it shouldn’t be a problem finding a job and you will receive payment or a place to sleep in return.