Tuesday, March 10

how to: travel cheap

time to share my most precious gathered wisdom: how to travel cheap! What made it possible for me to satisfy my travel hunger with around 5 trips every year out exploring the world, while I was a student. A Danish student, that is, which means... yeah, we're paid to study. Sorry. At least, you can say that I appreciated it by both working hard and spending the money on something I deem very worth it. And now on to the sharing:

Find cheap flight prices
If you know how to search, it will always be cheaper to book your own plane tickets, instead of paying a travel agency. Use the best search engines to ensure you get the best flight prices: The best search engines can be recognised on their inclusion of the budget flight companies, such as EasyJet and the local low cost airlines like Irish AerLingus. Currently, my favorite flight search engine is Kayak.com. Finding flights this way has the extra benefit of giving you an easy overview of the different possibilities of departure times on your preferred dates.
The true tipping point for getting cheap plane tickets: Being flexible on the dates. Consider booking your plane tickets before you know, when you want to go.
Once Kayak has found the best flight prices and your prefered time, go to the airline company's own website and book directly with them. This may save you a little extra in administration fees. So far, I prefer travelling with airlines whose names I have heard before. In other words, you don't want to fly with someone you don't trust. Googling the airline and looking at their customer reviews can be a help here. This will also give you a rough idea of whether to account for delays (the not too bad downside of travelling low cost).
Note: If travelling alone, I have started to prioritise spending a bit extra on flights not too early in the morning or too late at night. Preferably with departure after 10am and before 9pm. It's just too damn lonely to be up, leaving and exhausted, when everyone else isn't.
Build an international friend network
My great friends from around the world are, by far, what helped me the most with travelling on a student budget. Looking at this list of tips for how to build an international friend network, it seems to me that I was very sneaky and conscious about the whole thing. I wasn't. I just took any chance to travel, see why in this previous post. Anyway, these are a few ways of making lots of great friends for life that you can visit and stay with around the world:
- Travel with language schools or volunteer programs in an international group of people, who previously do not know each other (shout out to the Venezuela Eventure team!)
- Study international programs at school (hello, MMC's at Aarhus University!) 
- Study abroad (this one goes out to you, Hawai'i Pacific University crew!)
An important note here: Choose to keep in touch. Facebook, Instagram, Skype and prioritization of your international friends is the trick here. For me, with the best of friends, you don't have to communicate all the time. But try to be there for your friends - and let them know you care about keeping them in your life. 
Find cheap places to stay 
If you are past the above point (can't make friends, or can't be bothered to stay on someone else's couch), use the hotel search engines. This could be booking.com (sometimes the benefit of not paying until you arrive), hostelworld.com (cheap private rooms for the win) or any experience craving globetrotter's BFF, AirBnb (sincerely thank you for existing!). A guide to using AirBnb as a traveller and as a host is coming up on the blog next month. 
Booking.com typically is the most comprehensive, standard place to look for a place to stay around the world - it is connected with TripAdvisor, which gathers reviews of each hotel or apartment hotel. Here, you can choose price level in the left navigation bar (check off the two cheapest options) and then you are shown the places with the best reviews in your price range. 

Bring snacks 
Pack your bag and coat pockets with small snacks that you already have at home, like nuts, fruit, chocolate, bisquits, a refillable water bottle... A slight hunger brought on by the extra work-out that travelling is, invariably leads to unnecessary second lunches or spontaneously bought snacks that can be expensive in the bigger cities and airports. What is up with the price of a bag of nuts, people?! 

Only bring hand luggage 
For lightness and money saved: These days, most budget flights charge you to bring more than hand luggage. But this is most often both expensive (compared to the cheap flight tickets you found), heavy and unnecessary. See the upcoming #travellinhomeguide to packing light! This will last you for two weeks. And when you can last two weeks on the contents of your backpack, you can last a lifetime. 

Adapt your travelling priorities to your budget 
When I travel, I like to eat well, and be outside a lot. That does not have to be particularly expensive. Have your international friend or Airbnb host recommend - or better yet, join you at - the best and cheapest spots. If you're lucky, your (new) friend will be a student, and so the cheap factor is most likely a given, which means you can take the high road and just ask about the best spots! Go for botanical gardens, which are practically always my favorite hang outs in a city.

Sunday, February 8

travel guide: tel aviv

watched sunsets at Gordon beach / Surfed perfect beginner's waves with all-day rented board and wetsuit from Topsea Surfing at 125 ISK per person / Became aware of fighter helicopters patrolling the beach / Walked along the harbor and Ha'Yarkon park / Ate twice at falafel paradise, Hakosem, on Ibn Gavriel Street / Explored old town Jaffa (Yafo) and reknowned, delicious Puaa café / Had the most incredibly fresh fish and créme brûlée at gourmet restaurant Manta Ray right on the ocean / Greedily soaked up a Guadalajara Elementary school (tequila, dark chocolate, chili) and Okiniwa Blonde (gin, tonic, flower extract) at the Old Jaffa Perfume Company / Walked the green beach boulevard in rain and shine / Had gorgeous, fresh squeezed morning juices on Dizengoff street, where we stayed cheap, small and comfortable / Said goodbye to sunsets and a beautiful, broken country of surprises.

Political afterthought: Stay updated on the conflict before you choose to go, and make an informed choice of whether to support the Israeli tourist industry, for example by watching this movie, 5 Broken Cameras

Wednesday, October 15

how I want to dress this fall

Zara Pictures / Garance Doré

well, bundle me up in flowy skirts, laceup boots, oversize sweaters, lace, beanies and ponchos and take me to Paris

Monday, September 8

rich chocolate cupcakes with lemon frosting

these cupcakes are my absolute favorite kind of company for a night of lounging with my best of tv show buddies - that is, Phil Dunphy and Jessa Johansson. I'll quote Phil to introduce you to the magic of the lemony chocolatey goodness below: "When life gives you lemonade, make lemons. Life will be all like 'Whaaat?!"

10 cupcakes

40 g soft butter
100 g flour
20 g unsweetened cocoa powder
140 g sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1,2 dl of whole milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon of vanilla sugar
50 g chopped dark chocolate 70%

300 g icing sugar
100 g soft butter
0.25 dl whole milk
0.25 dl lemon juice

Preheat oven to 170C
Whish butter, flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder and salt with a whisk or mixer until everything is mixed.
Whisk milk, egg and vanilla sugar in another bowl or tall glass, and mix the contents of the two bowls together. Whisk until the mixture is smooth. Add the chopped chocolate.
Half fill 10 silikone muffin cups. Bake for 18-20 minutes and patiently let the cupcakes cool to room temperature. Otherwise the frosting will melt, when applied.
Whisk together icing sugar, butter, whole milk and lemon juice for the frosting. The more you whisk, the whiter the frosting will get, but a few minutes should be more than enough. Remember to gently mix everything with a spoon before whisking, to avoid inhaling an icing sugar cloud.
Apply the frosting to the cupcakes by cutting a little hole in a clean kitchen plastic bag and squeezing a twirl of frosting through the hole. Enjoy this part, particularly the moment when you realise that pastry chefs are pretty damn talented :)

Sunday, August 17

travel diary: the stockholm archipelago

soo, lost natural paradise, anyone? We lived cheap and insanely comfortably with this awesome guy and two cats, here. We hung around reading books, eating simply, swimming from the little dock and looking at the forest. We went biking to the beach, Lille Sand on Ingarö, where we chose to camp on the rocks and swim from there, instead of sharing the beach with all the little families. It is easier to swim from rocks, than you would think. We took a ferry to Sandhamn, where we found a time pocket of Sweden as it used to be. Walking through the forest to the little beach community of Trouville. Swimming from the cliffs on the very outer part of Skärgården right on the Eastern Sea. Strawberries sold by girls in the street. Red and white houses in the hills with swing sets and views of the ocean. Sailing home in the sunset, I recognised the feeling of home that Sweden leaves on me. And then of course, on the last morning, we woke up to a visit from a family of deer. Hanging in our forest backyard, nibbling on moss. Most definitely going back to bliss.

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