Plan a Working Holiday in Australia

Long-term travel is a dream for many people. The idea of taking off for three months, six months, a year or longer is an enticing one, until you come back to reality and think of the challenges of saving up enough money to fund an extended trip. There is a solution though, and one that is ideal for young residents of the United Kingdom.

If you are a UK resident (or a resident of several other countries, including the US, Canada, France ,Germany, or Italy) and are between 18 and 30 years old at the time of your application, you can secure an Australian working holiday visa.  The working visa allows you to stay in Oz for up to 12 months (though your employer can help you stay for an additional four years after that) and be taxed on your income at a rate of 29%.  The visa can cost as little as  £229 and you can apply online and get a response in as little as 48 hours.

You’ll need to arrange your own flights to Australia but many visa services include airport pickup and your first two nights in Sydney, so you’ll have a bit of help getting started. After that though, you’ll be on your own for lodging and looking for work. Luckily, when it comes to where to spend your Australia working holiday, you’ll have no shortage of options. While many people opt to stay in Sydney or Melbourne and take on work in the service industry, there are many other options. You can help with the grape harvest in the Barossa Valley, work at a ski resort in the Snowy Mountains, or work on a cattle ranch in the Outback. NO matter what your interest or skill set, you can find work in a beautiful area of Australia.

Photo by Travis_Simon

Articles Panama

Panama is Beautiful and Affordable

Panama can claim much of the same bragging rights as other Central American countries. It offers pristine beaches, colonial towns juxtaposed with dazzling big cities, untamed jungles, and pleasant weather-year round. But unlike some of it’s more well-known neighbors like Costa Rica and Belize, Panama remains a little further off the American tourists radar.

Though the country is home to the famous Panama Canal, it still attracts fewer visitors than other destinations in the region, and has therefore remained a relative bargain. Air tickets to Panama can be had for under $300 if you are flying the 3-4 hours from the southern US, and hostels and laid back beach bungalows cost only a fraction of what you would pay in the Caribbean.  While it’s possible to visit Central America on $25 a day if you plan a budget-conscious trip, you can shave a little off that price and still enjoy a few luxuries in Panama.

Topping the list of places to visit in Panama include that famous engineering marvel, the Panama Canal; the historic Casco Viejo area of Panama City, and the sleepy beach town of Bocas Town. Whether you want adventure, the convenience of city life, or a remote slice of paradise to call your own, Panama fits the bill.

Photo by thinkpanama

travel guide

Exploring the Markets in Latin America

Whether I head to a large city such as Budapest, Vienna or London, or to a smaller, hidden location, such as the medieval town of Sighisoara, I always ask around to find where the local market is located. Why? Because shopping at markets is one of the things I love to do while traveling, helping me to get the vibe of the local community.

If you are used to the markets in Europe or in farmers markets in North America, you’ll probably have a bit of a shock reaction when you visit the markets in Latin America . For the outsider it looks like a chaos, but you should know things are actually organized. Knowing at least some phrases in the local language will definitely help a lot. And in many places you can even bargain (depending on the local customs).

Probably the first thing that will catch your eyes in Guatemala are the exotic Latin American fruits : dragon fruit, guava, tamarillo, physalis (Cape Gooseberry), passionfruit, Cherimoyas or the Indian fig; all are available in the area and some are native to Guatemala. And yes, if you tried them at home (bought from a supermarket) they will taste totally different when you buy them from a local market.

But aside from soaking up the local atmosphere, you can also shop at the markets to cut down the costs of your vacation. Hostels in Guatemala offer affordable accommodation and most also have a common kitchen you can use. So, buy the food at the market and cook at the hostel.

And don’t forget to pick up some souvenirs for your family and friends back home. I tend to favor clothes.

Photo credit

travel guide

Visiting Thailand : Affordable, Interesting, Fun

Thailand is an Asian hub, a country which any tourist must see at least once in a lifetime. For those not used to the Asian culture, Thailand can be an excellent start to explore the area. Also, it is known as a cheap place to visit and a heaven for backpackers.

With flights to Bangkok from Hanoi starting at $214 RT per person (on Thai AirAsia) and even cheap from Ho Chi Minh City ($135 RT per person), visiting Thailand is an affordable, interesting and fun experience. Add the fact that beds in dorms start at $12 per night and you can stay in a double room for just $27 per night per person, and you surely don’t need that many more reasons to head to Bangkok now.

But just in case you do… do you know that it’s possible to spend an entire day in Bangkok for just $10 ? The cheap activities in Bangkok include: visiting the temples, visit the markets, or seeing traditional Thai dancing.

And speaking of the temples…before you plan a visit, make sure to also get some research done. Some tips for visiting temples in Thailand include:

  • plan the visit in the morning, that’s when the best ambiance is
  • cover up , avoid the tank tops and shorts
  • women shouldn’t touch monks
  • speak quietly
  • don’t bring food or drink inside
  • consider getting a guide

Sure, Thailand is a lot more than just markets and temples. You can enjoy the beaches and check out the night light. And of course, you must try the authentic Thai food.

travel guide Turkey

Going to Gallipoli for Anzac Day

While Anzac Day is a national holiday in the two countries that give the holiday its name – Australia and New Zealand – those are by no means the only places to mark the holiday itself. In fact, traveling to Gallipoli, Turkey is one of the best ways to spend Anzac Day.

Each year at what’s now called Anzac Cove in Gallipoli, there are dawn services held in an amphitheatre overlooking the water to honor the soldiers who died during the fighting at Gallipoli in World War I.

Anzac Day, which falls on April 25th each year, happens to be a good time of year to visit Turkey in general, but the number of people who plan trips to Turkey specifically to be there for Anzac Day isn’t insignificant. There are quite a few vacation packages aimed primarily at Australians and New Zealanders who would make the trip to Gallipoli for April 25th, but there’s no reason you need to be from either of those countries in order to mark the holiday. These packages sometimes offer great Anzac Day travel deals, but it’s always worth breaking down a package trip into its individual components so you can see whether booking them separately would result in more savings overall.

The two biggest components of any travel package are usually the airfare and the accommodation. There may be additional things a tour company has thrown in for good measure – transportation to and from the airport or the Anzac Day services, day tours to other major sights – but since your flight and your lodging are generally the most expensive parts of a trip, it makes sense to pay special attention to the cost of those items.

After you’ve done your homework looking for cheap airfare to Turkey and hotels in Turkey, you’ll have a better idea of whether the package tour you’re considering will save you money or not.

photo by Britrob

Peru travel guide

Visit Bolivia from Peru

Underrated and often skipped in favor of more popular South American countries, Bolivia offers a surprisingly diverse and beautiful landscape along with unique experiences like biking on the “world’s most dangerous road,” exploring the jungle and pampas, relaxing in mountaintop hostels or on quiet beaches, and even sipping local wine under the South American sun.

The highlights of Bolivia are many, but you’ve really got to want to see them; air tickets to Bolivia are expensive with few direct connections from the US, and Bolivia visa fees for US citizens make the trip an even pricier one. The visa application requirements including passport-sized photos, round trip tickets or an explanation of the route you’ll take and a yellow fever certificate, for the hefty sum of US$135 at the border (or $100 if you take care of it all ahead of time).  When you add those costs to the not-insignificant costs of visiting another South American country with visa fees, like Brazil or Chile, a trip this otherwise affordable country make become prohibitively expensive.

One way around these mounting costs is to start your trip in Peru. Peru charges no additional fees for American visitors, and as you’ll most likely need to connect from the US anyways, why not do it in Peru? Explore the streets of Lima or knock Machu Picchu off your bucket list before moving on to Bolivia.  The flight from Lima to La Paz is under 2 hours, or if you have more time than money, you can take an overnight bus.

Adding Bolivia to your Peru trip (or vice versa) can help you see more in South America for less.

Photo by nomadical