University not for you? Here’s why you should take a gap year instead..

University not for you? Here’s why you should take a gap year instead..

In light of the recent A Level results, there are likely thousands of teenagers currently in the UK at a loose end and perhaps you are one of them. You haven’t yet chosen a career path that warrants higher education and maybe you are scrambling through the competition to bag that summer job?

This is the not the time to be pulling your hair out, worrying about your future. This is the time to discover who you are and exactly what you want from this merry-go-round we call life. This is the absolute perfect timing to throw your essentials into a backpack and head of into the unknown as the glorious ‘backpacker’.

The world is a huge place and travel will teach you so much about life. Everyday will bring you opportunities to immerse yourself in a new culture and try food so exquisite you won’t miss your Sunday roast. It will bring people into your life who will mean so much to you and may never leave. Travel will teach you about change. It will teach you confidence and to love yourself and how to treat others with respect. Travel will teach you how to communicate with others, even when you do not speak the same language. It will teach you how to survive without your family and friends to lean on and most importantly, it will show you who you really are.

So when you return, your friends may be a year into their studies, but who will have the better education??

Is it scary? Yes. Is it hard? Yes. Is it possible? Absolutely.

There are companies on the market that specialise in tailoring your year out to explore the world and find you the best airfares to visit all the places you can fit on your list and can hold your hand right up until the day when you spread your wings and fly (well… board the plane!)

So what are you waiting for? The world is waiting for you.

*Warning!! Travel can be highly addictive and you may get the ‘travel bug’.*

info@cuddleyourglobe.com

Gapyear

 

Believe in You.

Believe in You.

Who cares about a blog? Why does it matter if anyone reads it? What is the point in any of this?

My words are poor and my spelling is shoddy. My content is unoriginal and pointless. There is no niche.

These are all of my insecurities about writing my blog. If you write a blog, why are you doing it? What motivates you? Money? Success? Fame?

What motivates me? Honestly? To be accepted by society. To have a complete stranger read my words and be able to relate to it in some way.

I love writing my blog. We ALL have insecurities.

You are your own worst critic. Nobody else is judging you!!!

If somebody points out a spelling mistake, it is not to make you feel worse, it’s to make you DO better next time.


Be creative.

Be daring.

Be brave.

Be fun.

Be confident in your abilities.

Don’t worry about mistakes. If you are human, you will make them.

Don’t be hard on yourself.


Believe in yourself. Enjoy this.

7 of the most ridiculous reasons to call in sick when you’re really abroad.

7 of the most ridiculous reasons to call in sick when you’re really abroad.


You know somebody who has pulled a long term sickie from work when they have booked a holiday, or failed to return to work when they were supposed to because they are STILL on holiday!!! Or maybe you have done this yourself?

I have decided to do some research, including speaking to office managers to find out some of the worst excuses given when a staff member has gone missing in action.

1. ‘My flight got delayed by 4 days and I had no battery on my phone to call you.’

2. ‘I contracted Malaria whilst in Ghana, Africa so I had to stay in hospital for 2 months. Here is my genuine sick certificate…’

3. ‘I’ve been in a witness protection programme.’

4. ‘My granny has died so I need some time off.’ (The same granny has died 3 times now).

5. ‘I’m addicted to crack cocaine and my dealer has been arrested so I need some time off to recover.’

6.’I’m… Erm…. In a Thai prison.’

7. ‘I missed my flight and can’t get on another one for 3 weeks!!’

If you’re planning on doing this, for the love of god come up with something more original.

Question Hour

Question Hour

If you have any questions about travel, anywhere, worldwide… Ask me!! I’d love nothing more than to assist you with planning your dream vacation, business trip, long haul flights, skiing or diving trip!!!

My advice is free and friendly. If I can’t help I can always point you in the direction of someone who can. Travel is expensive so you want to get it right!

Thanks

Cuddle Your Globe

email: info@cuddleyourglobe.com

Xxx

How to not be a loser when travelling alone.

How to not be a loser when travelling alone.

  
If you are reading this, you are probably either reflecting on your own solo travels, or you may be considering venturing out into the wilderness by yourself and you are not sure how to ‘be’ to be accepted when travelling. You don’t want to be a loser! I have travelled by myself and spent time with a big group of my travel family. I also spent a lot of time as a loser. By this I mean too scared to approach fellow travellers and therefore being isolated. At first, I didn’t know how to bridge the gap to join the boat of other travellers.

There is a healthy amount of time to spend by yourself when travelling, to really appreciate your space and to do some soul searching. But how much time is too much time? If you want to go travelling but are concerned about whether or not you will fit in or be part of the like-minded traveller community, here are some tips for you;

  

Go to a bar. Ideally near to where you are staying or preferably inside your hotel. Order a drink and sit at the bar. You will surprised by how easy it is to get chatting to your neighbours and make friends.

Book yourself on some day trips. Day trips really get people out of their shells. You are doing new and sometimes scary things so everybody in the group will tend to huddle together and make friends.

Don’t be afraid to approach another traveller. They are probably feeling just as nervous as you if they, too are travelling solo. Ask them if they fancy hanging out or checking out the nightlife. More often than not, they will say yes. This may be your ticket into meeting more people and maybe travelling together.

Don’t move around too quickly. If you are constantly changing areas and moving on every 2-3 days, you are less likely to make a group of friends. Chill out, relax, you have all the time in the world.

At the pool. Or the beach. These are places solo travellers spend a lot of their time during the day. Grab a sunbed near someone else alone (not stalker near!) and strike up a conversation. You will quickly assess whether that person is up for making friends or wants to be left alone.

Slum it. If you are staying in swanky 5* hotels, you are very unlikely to meet other solo travellers. You are miles better off staying in a hostel (dorms are a great place to meet people instantly) or backpacker hotels / budget hotels.

Don’t be annoying. By this, I mean if you are lucky enough to make friends, don’t scare them away by constantly talking about how amazing your pet hamster is back home or being ‘that girl/guy’ who gets too drunk on a night out and needs to be carried home.

Be fun. Be yourself. If you are considering going away alone, you are clearly outgoing and exciting. Use this to your advantage to make friends.

Don’t panic too much. You are almost guaranteed to make friends if you follow these steps. In my experience it is actually easier to make friends with other travellers when you are by yourself. I think this is because you appear less of a threat and more approachable when you are alone. Unless you have a crazy face.

Combatting a fear of flying!

It may be unusual to write about fear of flying on a happy travel blog, but this is a very real problem! I have come across many individuals who struggle to fly or simply will not get on a plane because of this fear.

This is also a fear of mine. A few years ago I became slightly obsessed with the TV show – ‘Air Crash Investigation’ after a few bad experiences on flights then my fear of flying began and I reached the point where I did not want to fly. I clung to my seat during the flight and I couldn’t stand up as I was convinced the aircraft would lose balance if I walked around on it. Every time the plane touched down at its destination it felt like a crazy miracle and I had been saved!! This for me seemed rediculous as I will go to theme parks, water rafting and boats / trains do not make me uncomfortable in the least. Being that travel is my favourite thing in life, this was a problem I had to solve.

I read books and purchased hypnosis DVDs. The two main things I took from this was that the noises you hear during take off and landing are perfectly normal, as are strange movements of the flaps off the wing etc. There is no such thing as an ‘air pocket’, if the plane drops suddenly, this happens!! Just relax. For me, understanding HOW the aircraft actually lifts off the ground and into the sky was the best way to calm my fear. I have studied the basics of aerodynamics during my lifetime, none of which could offer me any real comfort. For me, the best ‘scientific’ explaination I could find to understand how flying works was this simple paragraph;

Imagine you are driving in a car, either as the driver or passenger, and you are travelling at a very high speed. Pop your arm out of the window and make no effort to hold the tone in your arm, just relax it. You will find that the air will actually hold your arm up whilst you are in motion.’

Go ahead, try it, it works! You obviously have to be travelling at a certain speed for it to work. This is how pilots determine how fast an aircraft needs to be travelling down a runway before it can lift off, just down to the size and weight of the plane.

This next bit may sounds rediculous but what I did next to help my fear was accept that a plane crash may happen to me. The fear of it happening was causing me far too much anxiety when weighed up the realistic and highly unlikely possibility of this event ever happening to me. Once I accepted a crash was possible, it no longer seemed like a terrifying omen. Also, working in the Ambulance service and being in the face of death on a regular basis stops it being so scary.

Something to bear in mind if and when anxiety kicks in is that your fear of flying is irrational. In fact, any fear of anything is irrational. In this instance it is literally the fight AND flight syndrome.

The final and by far, the best thing I did in combatting my fear of flying was to book a flight to Australia and South East Asia, by myself. Facing the fear really did help me in this sense. Travelling alone makes you more independent and your inner child gets tucked away.

Give these a try for yourself if you, too struggle with this fear! 🙂

*SECRETS OF THE TRAVEL TRADE* – tips on how to find and book the best and cheapest flights (from an insider!)

Here I am revealing the top secrets of the travel agent / airline ticket industry. I hope you find this useful when you come to purchase your flights!

There are three different types of airlines:- Charter, Budget (low cost) and Scheduled airlines.

Charter flights are usually operated by a package holiday operator and operate a slightly flexible schedule; usually seasonally / once a week e.g, and include the likes of Thomson, Thomas Cook and Monarch and are aimed at holidaymakers.

Budget, or Low Cost flights operate usually a bit more frequently but can still be seasonal (depending on destination) and include Ryanair, Easyjet, Wizz Air, Jet Blue or Virgin Australia etc. They are no frills and low cost and you have to pay for lots of hidden extras such as airport check in and hold luggage.

The third type of flight is scheduled flights; these are the main carriers who run flights on specific routes and specific times and include BA, Virgin, Emirates, Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, American Airlines, Delta etc etc etc, the list goes on. Scheduled airlines generally offer a better service in terms of reliability, in flight entertainment, luggage allowance, meals / drinks on board.

I am not going to discuss charter and budget flights in any great depth but I will tell you, they will usually cost you less than a scheduled flight if you have the choice of either options which are flying the same route. If there is any possibility you will need to change the name on the ticket, book with a low cost or charter company as scheduled airlines NEVER allow a name change. You will still need to check the rules of your ticket with your agent to see if a name change is permitted. The other point I will make is that if you want to book a flight with a charter or budget airline, just book direct with the airline / company, on their website or in store. No third party travel agent receives concession or commission on these tickets and with their fees and commission mark up you will often end up paying a lot more, despite what they tell you when booking. By third party I mean they have no direct affiliation with them (for example, this will not apply if booking a Thomsonfly flight through Thomson holidays travel agent.) Booking package holidays with charter flights is pretty much the only time in the travel world where you can find a ‘late deal’. If they have not sold their hotel rooms / flights when the travel dates are approaching, they are likely to drop their prices.

Scheduled flights are the main airlines who deal with travel agents and offer agencies a discounted rate which is why you will normally able to find flights a lot cheaper by booking through a third party than direct on the airlines website. So where do you look to find these flights? How do you know you are getting the best fare possible? This is where I can help you! There are some great tools online and by phone to help you plan your trip.

Firstly you need to consider what type of trip you are looking at. If it is a simple return flight (to and from the same destination and departure point) then you are laughing!! You can search for live availability on various websites and because the travel agents know that you have access to this anywhere, the competition is rife and you can easily get the best rates.

If you are looking at multi-stop flights (visiting various destinations on the SAME ticket) then this can become a little more complex online but I can recommend some fantastic companies who can look at this for you. http://www.opodo.co.uk/ is fantastic for checking multi stop flights online. Alternatively if you prefer to speak to a travel agent over the phone, I can recommend Flight Centre http://www.flightcentre.co.uk/ , Dial A Flight are very knowledgeable with complex itineraries and have access to low fares and various others in the same league. You will need to factor whether or not your ideal trip is realistic. By this I mean, Emirates are based in Dubai so if you use them for a flight to Australia then in theory you can stop in Dubai for a few days en-route. You would not however be able to stop in Dubai and then New York to travel out to Australia. Some airlines offer special tickets that can take you around the world in the correct direction with various stops and it can save you a fortune compared to booked these flights individually online yourself. With these tickets, your best option is to phone a few of the main stream agencies. If you have been given a quote from one, expect to be able to get it around 10% cheaper by shopping around. Agencies will always put mark ups and fees on to your flight. Don’t try to bankrupt the travel agencies but know that you can probably save a few pounds by shopping around.

http://www.skyscanner.co.uk/ is a great tool to check what flights are physically operating the route / date you have entered and gives you the best possible fare for that flight. Whilst sometimes you can go through and book it, bear in mind it sky scanner is just a search engine / flight comparison tool and does not search for live availability and often shows prices that are no longer available to book or the flight could be completely fully booked. I do, however find it very useful to look for flights travelling to obscure places or to play around with the dates.

If you have a preference of airline rather than the best price then your best bet is to find the flight you want on the airlines website and get the direct quote from them, then phone a few mainstream / reputable travel agents to see if they can price beat it. I will come to this again in more details shortly.

I have mentioned some companies above that can be used to check for flight availability that I, personally have had good experiences with in the past. There are some others such as http://www.netflights.co.uk/ , Travel Up, Expedia who often have great rates – shop around!

Business travellers (Inclusive Tour fares) – If you are travelling to certain destinations without a Saturday night stay, you may be familiar with having to pay 3-4 times the cost of a normal ticket! No more…. If you speak to some travel agents, they can hook you up with a deal that includes accommodation for a minimum of 3 nights / or full duration and this potentially will save you hundreds. This is not available in all destinations but USA is a hot spot for these deals. The fact that the travel agent knows you will not be able to get this flight only price online and can do it a lot cheaper WITH accommodation does mean they are likely to include a large profit margin so again, it is always worth getting matching quotes from various reputable agencies to see who can offer the best.

Book in advance – Booking last minute to get the best deals in the world of scheduled airlines is a myth! This only applies with charter flights or package holidays occasionally. Scheduled airlines do not drop their prices last minute, they would actually prefer to send the plane off half empty than to sell cheap seats off to fill the plane.

Be Flexible with Dates!!! You will be surprised how moving the dates around even a day either side could save you many pounds. If your departure date is 31st May for example, always check the 1st June as this could be a new season and therefore have drastically different prices. Its basically worth checking flights 2-3 weeks either side of your ideal dates to travel. If you want to get away in September, avoid departing in the first week as this is still school holiday period and the prices are still hiked up.

Pre Book Seats – do this online as far in advance as you can. SOME airlines will actually let you book bulkhead seats or exit seats online in advance but be warned, they may move you from these seats if someone else needs it more. If you are unable to do it online, speak to your travel agent. Some airlines have now started to charge for this service.

Check in online – usually available 24-48 hours prior to your departure time, check with your airline. check your seated together and any meal requests are showing and print your boarding pass. If the online check in tool is not working, be warned there may be an issue with your flight taking off when it should, you should contact your airline.

Don’t bother with a long connection in an airport just because it saves you £20 off the airline ticket, you are wasting valuable holiday time and will easily spend that in the airport anyway.

How to avoid the summer school holiday prices! This may not work all the time / every year but I am aware than Scotland and England do have different school term dates so if you are prepared to drive to Glasgow for a flight during the English half term, it could save you hundreds if there is a group of you travelling!

I mentioned Flight Centre above, if you click on to their website and scroll to the bottom they offer something called the Lowest Airfare Guarantee. This means if you find a flight cheaper with another travel agent that fills their criteria (ABTA and ATOL bonded / reputable) then they will price beat it by £1. I have used this tool before and ended up paying about £50-60 cheaper than they had originally quoted me. They are a great company to use, reliable and offer good customer service.

Make sure that if you book with a travel agent repeatedly that you occasionally shop around as they could start adding more profit to your bookings once you get comfortable without you even realising it!

Before even factoring in the cost of the ticket, the most important thing you MUST check is that the agent you are considering booking with is both ABTA and ATOL bonded. This gives you financial protection against the failure of the airline you are flying with or the travel agent you are booking with. There is no point in saving £50 on a flight that you may lose £600 on a few later as they have gone into administration. Credit card payment does not give you the same protection, for example if you are abroad and the airline you are due to fly home with goes bust, AMEX are not going to travel out to Corfu and get you home….

Happy bargain flight hunting!

*publisher would like to add that this is all based on personal opinion / review of purchases / products and publisher accepts no responsibility or liability for readers future purchases / products*