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Searching for gaming jobs online? Follow these steps to get your dream career

Searching for gaming jobs online? Follow these steps to get your dream career

For this week’s post I have interviewed two experts, Emmi and Joanna, who know everything about gaming jobs. The girls have recently founded a gaming recruitment agency and their clients and candidates are keeping them very busy. This article will give you simple steps to follow, if you are searching for gaming jobs online at the moment or if you would like to apply for any of the betting world vacancies you find here. These tips given by Emmi and Joanna are very useful also if you are looking for a job abroad. Some of these tips apply to a wide range of roles within the gaming industry, whereas some are more specifically  about the iGaming sector, which is also known as the online casino and betting industry.  I recommend reading their interview especially if you are considering your career options because of Brexit. If you speak more than one language fluently, your options increase immediately. I have also written a post for those people who are considering to move out of the UK because of Brexit, you can read it here.

 

Want to work abroad? This is your chance

 

gaming jobs online: Joanna from Magic Mondayz

Joanna from Magic Mondayz

 

 

Gaming jobs online: Emmi from Magic Mondayz

Emmi from Magic Mondayz

 

Even if you have not browsed gaming jobs online before, I want to introduce you to various different roles that are on offer even if you don’t have any previoius gaming experience.I asked them about many of the betting world vacancies and the technical jobs gaming companies are recruiting for at the moment, such as database jobs and developer roles. At this point I want to mention that this is not a paid or a sponsored post, which means that the recruitment agency I am about to introduce to you is not paying me to write this article.

The gaming recruitment experts – Joanna and Emmi from Magic Mondayz

 

Joanna and Emmi have recently founded a highly specialised recruitment agency called Magic Mondayz. Both of the ladies have built up lots of industry experience in HR and recruitment agency roles, before venturing off together to start a specialised gaming recruitment agency. As both have also worked on the hiring side in different gaming companies, they have got to know many hiring managers personally and they have also experienced the company culture first hand. This is why Joanna and Emmi are the right people to talk to, if you are interested in working for a gaming company. First I will tell you a little bit about the types of roles you can find in the gaming sector, if you don’t have experience in the industry. After that, we will start the interview with Magic Mondayz!

 

Looking for online gaming jobs or interested in gaming apprecticeships or other entry level gaming jobs? You can get in touch with Emmi and Joanna from Magic Mondayz to get started.

Left: Joanna, right: Emmi

 

Marketing jobs in gaming

 

Game companies are looking for enthusiastic applicants for different marketing positions all the time. Especially if you have previous marketing experience and you have played online casino games before and you can consider moving to Malta, which is an English-speaking island in the Mediterranean, you should consider a CRM Executive role. Usually CRM Executives climb up to marketing from a customer support role, where they can learn about gaming first. The CRM team is responsible for creating and sending newsletters to the customers. The CRM teams use marketing tools, data analytics and Excel spreadsheets to determine which customer gets which newsletter or offer. Online casino marketers send newsletters to their customers about new game releases and bonuses they can claim.

Entry level jobs in gaming

 

There are also lots of entry level jobs in gaming up for grabs. If you don’t have web development or data management skills for example, you can apply for a customer support role or even a content writer role, especially if you speak more than one language.

Want an online gaming job? Find out how to get your new job in gaming now.

Betting world vacancies and sports betting jobs

 

There are numerous career paths you can take In the world of online gaming. Maybe  you are searching for gaming jobs online at this very moment. Where are looking from? Are you searching for jobs in Europe on CareerJet Malta or Indeed Barcelona, for example? Although both of these international job search platforms offer a large selection of roles out there, I have found a few downfalls using these platforms when I was looking for gaming jobs online.

 

Firstly, they don’t often offer any information on the salary level. Especially if you are considering to live and work in Spain, the UK, the USA, Australia, Malta or any other country, this is a big step in your life that you should not take without a better understanding of what the cost of living in your new home country will be. I have also found that sending your CV through CareerJet or Indeed is as good as sending your application to a digital shredder somewhere in the cloud. Many of us never hear a single word from that application ever again. This is one of the many reasons I recommend using a specialised recruitment agency, when you are looking for gaming jobs online. When you search for online gaming jobs, you will find agencies that cover a broad range of roles as well as highly specialised recruitment agencies, like Magiz Mondayz. You can get in touch with the recruiters Emmi and Joanna especially if you are interested in any of the following:

 

  • Marketing jobs in gaming companies and specific video game marketing jobs
  • Content management jobs and content writer jobs for gaming sites such as the Onnenapila (this example site is in Finnish), which publishes articles on casino bonuses and game strategies
  • Data management jobs / database jobs / SQL jobs
  • Web Developer roles
  • Web Designer roles: the affiliate marketing websites, such as the Finnish Netticasino.guru that is currently being built, have a great need for creative WordPress and other CMS Designers, as the volume of new newbsites being created is high
  • Full Stack Developer roles
  • Sports betting jobs
  • Online casino jobs, also known as iGaming jobs
  • Gaming apprenticeships or other entry level gaming jobs
  • Jobs in Europe or specifically jobs in Barcelona or Malta for English speakers

Love sports?

 

If you are into sports, why not become a Sports Content Writer for online betting companies? You would be surprised to see how big the demand for people following sports is in the iGaming job sector, particularly in Malta. Some of the coolest iGaming jobs in Malta I have seen include watching matches and tweeting about them via the sports betting company’s Twitter account.

Gaming recruitment expert interview

How Recruitment Consultants can help you find a good job abroad and get the offer

 

Magic Mondayz: betting world vacancies, gaming jobs online, sports betting jobs, online casino jobs and many more

Joanna and Emmi working from Tallinn, Estonia

 

Joanna: Most Recruitment Consultants have a big network of companies they work with, they know the culture and the environment and can easily assess where you can fit best. They will also guide you through the whole process, get to know you, introduce you to the hiring managers and coach you for the interview. Recruitment Consultants usually know what the particular company is looking for and can guide you accordingly, in order to increase your chance to get an offer.

 

 

What does “internal recruiter” mean?

 

Emmi: An internal recruiter is the person responsible for the hiring process in a specific company. An internal recruiter works inside the company and normally screens candidate’s CVäs, is responsible for 1st stage interviews, liaises with the hiring managers, schedules interviews and is overall responsible for coordinating the hiring process. They are employed directly by the company that has the open positions and are physically based in the company’s office. Joanna: It’s the person coordinating the recruitment process internally in the company. Usually it’s not only going to be a someone who conducts one of the interviews but also your first point of contact in case of any questions regarding the relocation in case you apply directly on the companies website.

 

What is the role of a “recruitment consultant” in an agency?

 

Joanna: From my perspective, a Recruitment Consultant is kind of the first friend you will make while searching for the job. Perhaps it doesn’t sound very professional, but this is how I see it. Candidates trusts us with their career choices. Therefore, we need to do our best to create a good relationship with them and show them that they can rely on us, which is much easier if you treat each other like friends. Jobs for gamers, jobs in Malta, jobs in Barcelona for English speakers and much more Recruitment consultants screen the candidates and then spend a lot of time to get to know every single person in order to figure out which company can possibly be the best fit for them. They assists candidates throughtout the whole process and sometimes are also the first people they meet when they arrive to the new destination.   Emmi: A recruitment consultant who is working in an agency is recruiting for multiple different companies at the same time. They work together with variety of companies that have open positions. A recruitment consultant is not on the payroll of any of the companies, they are employed by the agency. A recruitment consultant’s place of work is the agency’s office, so they are not physically based in any of the companies premises, but are in close contact with them throughout the process.

 

What “secret weapons” can the Recruitment Consultant use to get my job application forward? Can the recruiter maximise my chances of getting the offer I want?

 

Joanna: Definitely working with a recruiter can maximize your chance to get an offer but I don’t really believe in ”secret weapons”. We know all of the clients we work with in person and know their expectations. This helps us to ensure that both sides find their perfect fit. We can also coach candidates in the preparation for interviews and give them all of the information they need to know about the company. This helps the job applicant feel confident when entering the interview room. But at the end of the day, its up to them to make the best first impression. We are just the bridge that matches people with the best opportunities and we can coach you and tell you what the client expects. But we really believe in honesty and want you to be yourself during the interview. That’s the only way to find out if a particular job is the right fit for you. Don’t be afraid to show your personality or ask questions. If you don’t have a good feeling about the job after your interview, just take your time and wait for the right opportunity to arrive.

 

I want to change careers but I don’t have the required experience or education. Can I still find a job abroad?

 

Emmi: It’s never too late to change careers. I personally know people who were very ”well-off” in their native countries, working in stable jobs and managerial positions, but wanted some change in their life! They moved to a new country and started in a new industry, completely from scratch. It’s normal that candidates start from an ’entry level’ position ( ie. entry level gaming jobs), such as Customer Service, to learn the new industry hands-on and work their way up. We recruit for positions on all levels and there is something for everyone for sure. Joanna: Of course you can. In order to apply for the entry level iGaming jobs, all you need are language skills and an awesome personality. Most of the candidates who start their adventure within the iGaming industry, don’t have any previous experience. These applicants start in Customer Support to learn about the industry, get some training and then work their way up. 

Betting world vacancies, gaming jobs online, jobs for gamers and more.

Do you guide candidates on how to prepare for an HR interview?

 

Joanna: We are quite lucky when it comes to that, because we both used to work in HR in the online gaming industry and we have conducted hundreds of interviews ourselves. We know exactly what the HR interviewer wants to know about the candidate and we make sure that our candidates are well prepared.

 

What types of roles does your recruitment agency, Magic Mondayz, recruit for?

 

Emmi: We are specialized in language jobs & igaming jobs (online casino jobs) but also recruit for a number of different positions. We recruit for jobs in Malta for English speakers, online gaming jobs, data management jobs, accounting jobs, marketing jobs, customer service jobs, sales jobs, payments & fraud jobs… And the list goes on:

 

  • Customer Support: Finnish / Swedish / Norwegian / German / UK
  • Fraud Analyst
  • Marketing Coordinator
  • Programmatic Coordinator
  • Norwegian Content Writer
  • Nordic Affiliate Manager
  • Front End Developer
  • Back End Developer
  • Senior BI Analyst
  • Finnish Sales Agent
  • Lead UX/UI Designer
  • Nordic Country Manager

Most of the positions are based in Malta and Estonia but we also have a few clients in Barcelona and Bucharest.

 

What language skills is your recruitment agency interested in?

 

Emmi: Many of our open positions require only English language skills, but we also work with Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, German, Dutch, Estonian, French and Danish speaking candidates.

 

Can you tell the average salaries for roles in the countries you recruit in?

 

Joanna: Sure, it will be hard to compile a full list for all available roles, but just so you to get a better understanding I will list a couple:

  • Entry level gaming jobs like Customer Support or Payments Analysts: 18.0000 – 25.000 Euro gross p.a.
  • Content Writer/Junior Marketing Coordinator/SEO Executive – 24.000 – 30.000 Euro gross p.a.
  • Junior Affiliate Manager 28.000 – 35.000 Euro gross p.a.
  • Senior Affiliate Manager 35.000 – 60.000 Euro gross p.a.
  • Mid level Software Developer – 40.000 Euro gross p.a.

It’s definitely worth mentioning that most of the companies also offer other benefits on top of the salary like a gym membership, lunches in the office and events.

 

Moving abroad costs a lot of money. Does the company help pay for my relocation?

 

Jobs abroad: gamejobs, datamanagement jobs, web developer jobs in Malta and more Emmi: Most of the companies we are recruiting for, especially in Malta, do pay for your flights and accommodation for the first 1-2 weeks, so you won’t need to worry about where you will stay while searching for your own place. Joanna: Yes, most of the companies understand that some candidates might struggle to cover all the costs by themselves and offer them relocation packages. Usually they cover the flights, two weeks accommodation and organise a pick up from the airport. Some of the HR Managers we work with actually go to the airport themselves to welcome the newbies even if they arrive middle of the night, which is pretty cool.

 

I searched gaming jobs online and see lots of support roles. What does “support role” or Customer Care Agent mean exactly?

 

Emmi: “What Agent” you might ask.. FBI Agent? 007 Agent? No, (sadly for some) Customer Care Agent, also known as Customer Service Representative, may sound like an odd job title. Basically, it’s just like any other customer service role but in an online environment. A Customer Care Agent’s primary task is to answer customer’s queries usually with email & live chat and in some companies via phone as well. On top of this, a Customer Care Agent can be involved in other tasks such as small translations, content, payments processing etc.. depending a bit on the company’s structure & size. Joanna: These are the stars who help to resolve customers queries and answer all their questions on a daily basis, mainly over live chat, email or phone. If you decide to start your career within iGaming as a Customer Support Agent, you will spend the first couple of weeks in intensive training to learn about the industry and the brands. This means that this job can really be a great start of your iGaming career for someone who doesn’t have any previous experience.

 

What happens if the job abroad doesn’t work out?

 

Emmi: From my experience, it doesn’t happen very often that the job is not what our candidates expect. This is why we take time in finding out the candidate’s as well as the company’s expectations. Joanna: It all depends on the reasons of course, but if you just feel like a particular job is not for you, we will definitely be there to help you to find something new as soon as possible.

 

How do I find reliable information on the cost of living in the new country?

 

How to find information on living costs in a countryJoanna: When I am relocating someone to another country, I always have a quick Skype session with them to go through this. It’s a good idea to join Facebook groups for expats in the place you are planning to relocate to. Most of the questions are being repeated all the time and if you search information in these groups, you will most likely be able to find all the answers. Emmi: There are different websites like Numbeo you can visit to compare cost of living in different countries. To get an idea on the apartment rent prices in a specific country, you can also join some groups on Facebook, ie. Apartments Malta, Barcelona Apartments etc. In these groups there are apartment ads from independent landlords as well as real estate agents.

 

How do I find an apartment in Malta, Barcelona or Berlin?

 

Jobs and apartments in Malta, Barcelona, Tallinn and BucharestJoanna: First of all, most of the companies will offer you to stay in the company flat for a couple of weeks when you arrive. This will give you some time to look for something suitable. You can either use real estate agents (most of the companies have good discounts schemes) or you can turn to Facebook and search in different groups. It’s definitely easier to relocate outside of the holiday season, especially if you are planning to go to places like Malta or Barcelona, because the prices in the summer can be almost double. Emmi: How quickly you find an apartment depends slightly on the time of the year. During the tourist season from May-August it can be a bit harder to find your own place, but there are always apartments available.

 

Don’t be shy to ask the company’s HR for tips, as many companies have good connections that can help you with the apartment search. You can also join the Apartment search Facebook groups mentioned earlier. There are also other expats like you on these groups, who are searching for a flatmate to share an apartment with. It’s quite typical to rent a shared apartment in the beginning, where everyone has their own bedroom but the common areas are shared. It’s worth looking into this option too, and it’s a good way to make new friends in your new home country. If you want to use the help of a real estate agency, you should know that their fee in Malta, for example, is usually 50% of one month’s rent, but some companies have discount deals with certain agencies. The good thing about getting help from an agency is that they usually pick you up and drive you around to show you multiple apartments at once, so you can get a better insight on what’s out there quicker.

 

Any more advice on finding an apartment?

 

My advise would be to never rent an apartment without actually seeing it. It is also important to never ever pay any money up front before you’ve visited the apartment. Once you do find an apartment in Malta, the moving in happens usually quite quickly. The case is often that you find an apartment today, you move in within a couple of days. To read more about apartment scams, click here. 

 

Do I need a European passport or visa to get a job in Europe?

 

Joanna: Yes, you will most likely need a European passport to get the job. Visa/work permit are required for the Non-EU nationals, which makes the process a little bit more complicated. But Malta, for example, just introduced a quick work permit application process for more senior employees, so there are ways to get around it.

 

How do I find information on tax in the country I’m interested in?

 

Joanna: Ask your HR Manager or Recruiter, they will be able to provide you with all info straight away. Should you still have any doubts, just contact the local Inland Revenue Department. In most countries you can get all info over the phone. Emmi: For information on taxes in Malta you can have a look at: Maltasalary IRD For information on taxes in Barcelona you can visit: Salary Atfter Tax.

 

How do I make friends in the new country?

 

Jobs in gaming: making new friendsJoanna: It’s really easy to find friends living as an expat. I remember my first day in my previous job when I thought “oh my god, there will be 100 new faces and I won’t know anyone. How am I gonna deal with it?” The thing is that 90% of the people working in iGaming are expats, exactly like you. They know how it feels to be new in a new country, so they will make sure that you have a warm welcome. Companies also organise plenty of events on a monthly basis for the newbies, to make sure they blend in quickly. So yes, usually the first friends you make (after your recruiters) will be your colleagues. I usually also advice to be active and follow the expats groups in your new country. I really wouldn’t worry about that at all.

 

 

I’m interested in working abroad but I’m not 100% sure I have the guts to try. What should I do?

 

 

Joanna: Skype me or Emmi 🙂 We both have lived in 7 different countries between us and know exactly how it feels to move to another country or get a job abroad. We can have a chat, answer all of your questions and we can take it from there. Emmi: If you find yourself wondering whether to move abroad or not, you should definitely GO FOR IT. Some people are perfectly happy living in one place their entire lives, and that’s great, but if you find yourself wondering about life & work abroad, you have to do it. You don’t want to regret it when you’re 80 years old. Moving abroad when I was in my 20’s was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life… both for my personal life and especially for my career. 

 

I don’t have any savings. Can I still move abroad?

 

Joanna: I don’t think moving abroad without any savings is a good idea. The company will support you with the relocation but you will definitely need some money in the beginning to cover the initial expenses. These could be paying for the deposit of your flat, for example. I think having some savings will enable you to have an easier transition without unnecessary stress. Emmi: You don’t need to save for months to be able to move abroad, however it’s good to have a little bit saved up for the first month’s expenses ie. the deposit and first month’s rent for your apartment. There are a lot of furnished apartments for rent, so you don’t need to worry about buying new furniture either. Most apartmens even include things like kitchenware, towels & sheets etc. Magic Mondayz: Roles in Marketing, Customer Service, Sales, Design, Fraud, and Tech.Some, if not most companies, also pay for your relocation flights, have a taxi to pick you up from the Airport and cover your stay in their company apartment or hotel for the first 1-2 weeks. Convenient, huh?

 

What kind of roles are you hiring for at the moment?

 

Emmi: Right now we’re hiring for roles in Marketing, Customer Service, Sales, Design, Fraud, and Tech. You can have a better look at all the roles at: www.magicmondayz.com You can also send us an open application through the website, as we have new roles popping up every week! You will then be the first one to hear from us once something interesting that matches your skills comes up. Joanna: In general, Magic Mondayz specializes in language jobs and recruits for positions mainly in such fields as Customer Support, Marketing, Content and SEO but I personally really like IT recruitment so if any of our clients need help finding Developers or BI Analysts, I am always happy to jump in.

 

How can I get in touch with you?

 

Joanna: All of our contact details or on our Magic Mondayz website. Email and Skype are the best ways to communicate. Its enough to send the CV too. If your profile can be a good match with our clients, we will schedule a Skype call in order to find out more about you and your interests.

 

Additional resources

 

GoodMigrations: Lots of relocation advice and international mover quotes

Rent Indicator: Surprisingly detailed information on living costs and apartment prices

 

Read also: Use these digital tricks to bust an apartment scam

Dreaming about living abroad? This village in Italy pays you 2000€ to move there

Can an expat get a bank account in Malta? What you need to know

NIE Barcelona: How I Got My NIE Number & Residencia Fast

International house move: where to get large cardboard boxes in Malta

Can you guess where this building is?

Can you guess where this building is?

Can you guess where this building is?

And what’s inside it?

 

I asked my Twitter followers if they can tell where this building is. And moreover, if they can guess what’s inside it. If you think you may know the right answer but are not 100% sure, I will give you a couple of hints first, to solve this problem I put together with Veikkaajat and Uhkapeluri.

 

  1.  It is in a warm climate, but the temperature drops drastically in the winter. I have had a great time by the pool side in this city in September.

2. In this city, you will find world-class entertainment. As a matter of fact, many of the stars on MTV have performed concerts or held resident shows here, that can run for months or even years. For many of the artists, it’s also their “last resort”.

3. If you haven’t guessed the answer by now, I’ll post another picture for you.

 

Does the Egypt theme give the answer away? Could it be a casino?

Does the Egypt theme give the answer away?

4. Think of all the places in the world where the architects could be this crazy to mix such a modern structure with a sphinx imitation. And for sure, it’s not in Egypt.

5. Okay, I’ll post one more picture, which hopefully reveals which city this building is in. And then you should be able to guess what’s inside this building, too. But keep reading on.

 

Welcome to Las Vegas, the casino capital of the world!

Welcome to Las Vegas sign in the capital of casinos.

…And the answer is…

Drumroll please…

 

The black pyramid-shaped building is one of my favourite buildings in the world. It is the Luxor Casino in sunny Las Vegas, Nevada. The Luxor Casino sits at the top of the “Strip”. When you first fix your eyes on it from the landing plane, it does stick out from the rest on the Strip. Inside, casino goers sit side by side at the poker, blackjack, roulette and baccarat tables, hoping for that win of a lifetime. Free beers are served to those playing at the slots machines, that can vary from Game of Thrones themed ones to the Big Bang Theory or even Golden Girls.

 

I did say that the casino capital, Las Vegas, is a kind of “last resort” for many artists. By this I meant that in many cases, you haven’t heard a peep from these singers in a decade or two. With some, you didn’t know they were still here, let alone performing. At the time of writing this article, tickets for the shows of Ricky Martin, Backstreet Boys, Cher, New Kids on the Block, Billy Idol and Britney Spears were being advertised.

 

Although I’m not a big gambler myself, I know that increasingly people are enjoying playing at online casinos. If you are intrigued to try, and are over 18 years old, I’ve heard that this casino is particularly good for US customers or this one for the European customers. You usually also get some free stuff when you join. But do play responsibly. Enjoy the free drinks if you are headed to the slot machines of Las Vegas but remind yourself what time of the day it is – as you won’t be going to Vegas casinos to enjoy the sunshine!

 

Now, if a picture of Ricky Martin’s comeback doesn’t cheer up your day, I don’t know what will.

 

Guess what: Ricky Martin will headline in the casino capital, Las Vegas

Ricky Martin will headline in the casino capital, Las Vegas

Thanks guys!

 

 

Read also:

Top 10 Cheapest City Breaks in Europe

The Happy Hamlet Retreat

Dreaming about living abroad? This village in Italy pays you 2000€ to move there

Affordable luxury in Istanbul: accommodation

EU Citizen: looking for Brexit exit but not sure where to move?

Dreaming about living abroad? This village in Italy pays you 2000€ to move there

Dreaming about living abroad? This village in Italy pays you 2000€ to move there

Dreaming about living abroad? If you move to this village in Italy, the Mayor will pay you 2000€ and lower your rent to 50€

 

  • The Mayor of the mountainous village of Bormida in Liguria, North West of Italy, is worried that his village’s population is dwindling down, as many of the local residents are moving away for work
  • A cash reward of 2000€ is offered to those who move to Bormida
  • Besides bagging the cash incentive, the rent of new residents will also be lowered to as little as 12,50€ per week (50€ per month)
  • The nearest big city is Genoa, 86 km away (over 50 miles)
  • The beach is a 45 minute drive away
  • As Britain is preparing for Brexit, the timing of this relocation offer couldn’t come at a better time for those EU citizens living in the UK who are looking for their next home country, as living abroad is a way of life for them

 

Dream Work and Travel: Cheap flights to Italy

 

Bormida, Liguria, Italy

The village of Bormida in Liguria, Italy

 

Why living abroad and stepping off the career ladder can be the best decision of your life

 

Living abroad is something many dream of. Yet, most of us don’t end up following through with the plan. This small Italian mountain village is trying to make that relocation decision easier for you. The Mayor of Bormida, Daniele Galliano, shared his idea of offering a cash reward and lowering the rents of newcomers to the village on Facebook. Currently Bormida’s population stands at 394 inhabitants.

 

This initiative should see the first new tenants move in next year, once the local council has agreed on the details. Based on the answers the Mayor has received, many prospective applicants don’t even need to get the 2000€ to move in – the quiet way of life and the fresh mountain air near the coast of Italy seems rewarding enough. And the proximity to the nearest Michelin star restaurant – Locanda dell’Angelo in Millesimo, is only 21 km (13 miles) away. The perks of living very close to the Italian coast are hard to beat – the sunshine, the sandy beaches and the most amazing sea food and local wines are something most of us dream of. Also, you wouldn’t be too far from the fabulous Cinque Terre. Why not plan your itinerary using this cool Cinque Terre guide I found! With my tips below, you could also be making a freelancer career for yourself, enabling you to relocate there long term and to travel to the most spectacular sites around the country at your own pace. 

 

Are you looking for tips for your next trip to Rome? Here are some great photos from Rome that will inspire you!

 

Dream, Work and Travel.com - Cinque Terre is 2,5 hours away from Bormida, Liguria in Italy

You can have a day trip to Cinque Terre from your new home village Bormida, Liguria in Italy

 

Learn new skills or a new profession when living abroad

 

    • Learn new digital skills through Treehouse – you can get a free 7 day trial membership to learn web design, coding or business. You do not need any previous experience with coding to start learning. You can learn to build your own website or a site for a client, code, build an app or to start your own business. With over 1000 tutorial videos, you can make the time fly in your new Italian home village. Treehouse teaches the following topics: Design, Web Development, WordPress, Data Analysis, iOS, Android, Game Development, Virtual Reality and Databases
    • Learn a new language: study Italian online with language schools such as languagecourse.net, which has been featured all over the international press (The New York Times, The Washington Post and Der Spiegel). They are rated an excellent 9.5 out of 10 on Trustpilot with around 800 reviews. Apart from being able to study Italian online, you can also attend language classes in Genoa with languagecourse.net. As English is not widely spoken in the village of Bormida, you will master a new language faster

 

Dream Work and Travel.com: Hotels.com banner

 

  • Learn a new profession through the Shaw Academy, one of the largest online educators in the world. You can get diplomas in photography, design, technology, business, beauty or health & wellness, music or languages. You do not need any previous experience to start learning. The Shaw Academy currently has over 400k new students each month and is growing. Students are able to choose from over 50 online courses. How do these careers sound to you? Web Designer / Developer, Financial Trader, Digital Marketer or Graphic Designer? These are great careers for anyone moving to Bormida or elsewhere, as you can work remotely as long as you have a reliable internet connection. You can give them a go with Shaw Academy’s free trial
  • See if you could use your existing skills to make it as a freelancer with Freelancer.com (you really don’t need to earn that much to live a full life in Bormida)
  • Take time off to study a full degree 100% online through The Open University (UK degrees) or The Digital Skills Academy and get your degree accreditation from the Dublin Institute of Technology. I have recently graduated from both of these universities and recommend both for anyone working full time, part time, looking after their family or looking to change the direction of their careers

 

Dream Work And Travel: living abroad. SendMyBag.com

 

Downshift or study for a new profession in Italy

 

This opportunity to move to Bormida, Italy, is ideal especially to those who are able to work remotely. It is also a very affordable location for anyone studying online, as the rent would only set you back 50 euros a month for a smaller apartment and maximum of 120 euros for a large house. If you have been looking for a way to step off the career ladder and take some time off to figure out what really makes you happy in life, this “living abroad” offer from the Mayor of Bormida couldn’t come at a better time. As the living costs are so low, you would only need to work a fraction of that time you may be working now. Once you have freed up time in your meetings calendar, you could be trekking on the mountains or driving down to the beach and enjoying the sunshine and other good things in life.

 

If you are thinking of moving abroad, you may also like this post where I give a less known but a good option for the list of locations. Although the post’s title suggests that it is aimed at anyone looking to move out of the UK due to Brexit, the post will apply to many nationalities around the world.

 

Dream Work and Travel: Cheap hotels in Italy

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Affordable luxury in Istanbul: accommodation

Affordable luxury in Istanbul: accommodation

Where to stay in Istanbul – affordable luxury

 

I’m all for travel hacks and travelling in luxury, but saving money at the same time. By saving money I do not mean sleeping in hostel dorms that are filled with snores of strangers, slamming doors and lights switching on and off (although this can be a fun experience too, if you enjoy the social side of hostels). I have learnt to crave for impeccably cleaned hotel rooms, nice and fluffy bathrobes and great service. I want to be able to ask the staff for things like booking the taxi for me, and get an answer with a smile. If you want to read my tips about taxis in Turkey, click here. Feeling that you are really looked after makes you enjoy your holiday a lot more. I would love to be so satisfied with the hotel that when I check out, I feel like writing a blog post about the service and offer them a bit of free advertising too! So this is not a paid advert by the hotel, but a spontaneous “thank you” post. As the quality variation of hotels in Istanbul is huge and as you often end up paying for something that can only be described as tolerable, I recommend you check out the hotel comparison sites I use, as one of them found me this gem. I’ll tell you all about Hotels.com and HotelsCombined below. I will also share my trick of competing these two sites against one another, so I can squeeze out the best possible deal every time. 

Are you looking for ideas what to do in Istanbul? Then check out this ultimate guide on Istanbul on Tripblan! Here’s my hotel review of the Bricks Hotel in Istanbul – this is where price, quality and service really meet.

 

Hotels in Istanbul: About Bricks Hotel Airport

 

Bricks Hotel Airport in Istanbul is just over 3km away from the Istanbul Ataturk airport. I was able to find a great deal through Hotels.com: a Deluxe Double room for just 32€ (27 GBP / 35 USD). At the same time, I collected one of the 10 credits towards a free hotel night, which is a part of the free Hotels.com membership. The price on the hotel’s website was twice as much at the time of my stay. Hotels.com and HotelsCombined are the only hotel room booking systems I use these days.

 

Already at the check-in it became clear that this hotel was going to have a great level of service. Someone came to help me with a piece of hand luggage that I could have easily carried up myself. They showed me all the way to my room and made sure I had everything I needed. I waited a few minutes for the reception to add my details into their system, and was then able to log in the free wifi. But what was best about this hotel was that the room was fabulous. I had a bathrobe and slippers waiting for me, and many complimentary things were nicely laid out. I also expect hotel rooms to be very well cleaned, and it was obvious that the level of cleanliness is a priority in the Bricks Hotel.

By the way, here are some great reasons for visiting Istanbul!

Book your hotel in Istanbul, Turkey

Bricks Hotel Airport facilities

 

Facilities for working

 

Firstly, I would like to mention that this hotel is fantastic for anyone working remotely. The wifi connection is strong enough throughout the building and didn’t drop off. There is also a super cosy cafe downstairs – ideal for getting some work done on your laptop. Also the lobby area is very suitable for quick meetings.

 

A work desk in the Bricks Hotel Airport Deluxe Room

 

The Bricks Hotel gym and spa facilities

 

I tested the gym and the spa on the evening of my arrival. I was offered a free towel and a pair of rather noisy, wooden clogs for my feet. First I visited the gym. There I wasn’t able to switch the treadmill on (two guys managed to use them just fine after me though..). The machines were slightly over the top in the sense that each machine was designed to do many things (so they did nothing really well). There were a few benches and a bar for chest press too. Unfortunately there was no real dead-lift bar available unless you count the one used on the bench, and most of the hand weights were plasticky. I still managed to get an OK workout and then headed for the saunas next.

 

The steam room was warm and there was lots of steam. And although the door handle of the Finnish sauna came off when I pulled it, I still loved this sauna. As I am Finnish myself, I take saunas quite seriously. Here you could pour water on the sauna stones (for a Finn this is absolutely essential) and the heat was nice and hot. This is certainly a good sign. Therefore, I give the saunas of the Bricks Hotel a good rating. All of the gym and spa areas were also super clean, which was a huge plus for me. Many hotels in Istanbul offer Turkish hammams, but this one also does the traditional spa very well.

 

Dream Work And Travel.com: Bricks Hotel Airport - Istanbul

 

How to get to the BRICKS HOTEL AIRPORT, ISTANBUL

 

This hotel is located only a couple of metro stops away from the Istanbul Ataturk airport. Although an airport transfer can be arranged by the Bricks Hotel, they charge 25€ one way or 40€ for a return. As I’m always looking for ways to spend less on my travels, I weighed my travel options from the airport to the hotel. There is no shuttle bus to the Bricks Hotel from the Ataturk airport. The Istanbul taxis are all on the meter, but as you hop in the cab, you need to make sure that the meter is actually switched on at the start of your journey. If you are taking a taxi from either of the Istanbul airports, please read this, as it may save you lots of money and valuable time. The hotels in Istanbul tourist areas are completely over-priced so why wouldn’t you consider a higher quality of accommodation for less money? The only trade-off is some of your time spent in the Metro system. 

 

By the way, I bumped into these money saving tips, for when you are travelling!

 

To get to the Bricks Hotel from the Ataturk airport, the drive is just over 3 kilometers, so I found the 25€ airport transfer quite excessive. Instead, I took the metro for 4 Turkish Lira (LT). This is the equivalent of 1 euro (1,25 USD or 0,9 GBP). The yellow taxi would have cost me 12 TL, which is about 3€ (2,60 GBP or 3,40 USD). If you decide to follow in my footsteps and choose the metro, it’s good to know that the metro ticket machine doesn’t accept large notes, such as 100 TL. Sometimes the machine agrees to speak English, other times not.

 

Bricks Hotel Airport - Istanbul: How to get there from the Ataturk Airport by Metro

How to get to the Bricks Hotel from the Ataturk Airport by Metro. It’s only a couple of stops away. From the Ataköy metro station, just cross the road via the pedestrian bridge and follow the big road to the direction you came from. There’s great shops, cafes and restaurants along the way, making it a nice walk.

 

How to get the best deal by competing two price comparison sites against one another

 

If you are comparing hotels and prices, whether you are looking for hotels in Istanbul or in a completely another country, try my two favourite sites: hotels.com and HotelsCombined. Put your destination and travel dates in the form below and see which site gives you a better deal. The reason why I love using Hotels.com is that when you sign up as a member, you get deals like Bricks Hotel Airport for as little as 30 euros. But here’s the trick: HotelsCombined offers their customers a price guarantee – if you find a cheaper deal, they will refund the difference. When you run these two sites against one another, the consumer really is king! Go on and give it a try, as you should be paying less than you are paying on most price comparison sites right now! Hotels in Istanbul vary so much in quality that I recommend you consider options along the Metro system but outside the most touristy areas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

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Overbooked flight – Why I was over the moon

Overbooked flight – Why I was over the moon

How an overbooked flight made my day

 

This has been a terrible week for the United Airlines and even worse for their unlucky passenger, who was assaulted and then dragged off the plane by force. Now Easy Jet made the headlines with a similar story – without the punching and dragging. A couple heading to Catania, Sicily, were ordered off the flight when it was overbooked. The airline staff then failed to explain their rights or offer these poor holiday makers any compensation, set in the EU261 regulation. EasyJet had failed to adhere to the correct  EU protocol from the start, as they hadn’t looked for volunteers, who would be willing to take the next available flight. But I want to write a happy kind of story about an overbooked flight. Yes, there are those examples too, when the airline has overbooked your flight and they are still able to make you feel amazing about it. Let’s hope the British Airways practice becomes the new overbooking standard in aviation.

 

 

Volunteering when a flight is overbooked

 

I rushed to the check-in desk at the Manchester airport, UK, and dug out my passport. Immediately I was asked if I would like to volunteer to take the next flight, as my first flight had been overbooked. Before I was able to show an irritated frown and decline their offer, they continued that I would of course get a 400€ compensation and an upgrade to business class, which meant that I could use the BA lounge. Now they got my attention.

 

I asked if I was still able to make it to Helsinki on that evening, as it was already late afternoon and I had a connecting flight via Heathrow. I was told that I will be put on the next flight, which means that I can still get home on the same day.

This arrangement caused no inconvenience what so ever, but made me feel like I had just won the lottery. The reason I was so pleased was that I had booked a flight with a 4 hour waiting time at the Heathrow airport. The largest airports are probably those few places that can bring out the worst in me – the hoards of people boarding their Christmas flights, the queuing, the endless tunnels and just way, way too many people for my liking. Now I was presented with an opportunity to cut my waiting time at Heathrow and enjoy champagne and single malt whiskies at BA’s Manchester lounge. Of course I said yes.

 

Flight overbooked or delayed: How much compensation am I entitled to?

 

AMOUNTFlight destination & distance
Compensation of € 250 (£ 182)For flights of up to 1500 kilometres
Compensation of € 400 (£ 290)For all other flights within the EU
Compensation of € 400 (£ 290)For flights between 1500 and 3500 kilometres from or to an airport outside the European Union
Compensation of € 600 (£ 436)For all other flights

 

What you need to know about this compensation rule is that if you are not offered compensation at the airport due to a long delay or an overbooked flight, check your rights online but do not leave the airport. Ask to speak with a supervisor and make the arrangements there and then. Besides financial compensation, you may also be entitled to food, drinks or refreshments, emails, two free phone calls and hotel accommodation in some cases. Especially if you are travelling with small children, getting a hotel room is good practice. The airline must also put you on the next flight, regardless if it is their own flight or if it’s another airline. Airlines can no longer use the aircraft’s technical faults as an excuse for extraordinary circumstances to avoid paying compensation. Unfortunately, they can still avoid paying out by claiming the delay was due to bad weather. 

 

 

What you should do if the airport staff declines your delayed or overbooked flight compensation

 

 

If the airport staff don’t offer you these and you meet the criteria set out in the EU261 regulation, save all the receipts for the purchases like refreshments, food and hotel accommodation.  You can still claim these costs back from the airline, as long as the airport staff had made a mistake and you were entitled to them after all. It’s still best to deal with the issue at the airport. And please, try to keep your cool at all times. The staff usually want to genuinely help you, so try to make it easy for them. It’s likely that you get better treatment if you are a likeable customer. Delays or overbooked flights are not the fault of the check-in staff, although they often get the blame. So how did my own overbooking ordeal end?

 

 

sandwiches at the Manchester airport VIP lounge

 

How my overbooking incident ended

 

In the end, I made it to the same connecting flight I was meant to be on anyway, so I had just bagged myself 400€ in cash and avoided the Heathrow waiting time. Instead, I chilled at the airport lounge eating through plates of those tiny, little sandwiches that were there to tell me “now have some more champagne and forget about that silly little overbooking blunder”! That’s how an airline should aim to make their customers feel, when the airline is to blame. I felt they valued me as a customer. And I did not complain about the business class upgrade either!

 

Since being treated so royally by an airline – which feels like a change to all of those times when my hand luggage was weighed and measured again at the gate when I’m just about to board –  I have appreciated the cash compensation I’m entitled to, as an EU traveller. I will usually offer myself to be transferred, with compensation, to a later flight, if it fits my schedule. If you want to stay in Rome, Paris or Barcelona for an extra night, you need to be the first in the check-in queue! Even if you have checked in online and only have hand luggage, I really recommend speaking to the check-in staff to see if there is an overbooking. If you casually drop in that “the transfer is no problem if they are able to offer business class”, often within Europe we can strike a deal there and then. However, this highly depends on the airline. And if you choose to try out this strategy, it may become handy to refer to the “EU 261 regulation” which states your rights. You can also ask to speak with the check-in manager. As long as you do it in a friendly manner, the check-in staff is likely to want to help you out. Regardless, however, you have a case and you should always exercise your passenger rights. It won’t matter whether you are a citizen of the USA, Singapore, Nigeria or China. As long as your fight stars or ends up in Europe, you have rights.

 

I once had a curious conversation at the New York La Guardia airport. I sat next to a guy whose flight was severely delayed. I mentioned “at least you can now cash in”. The look on his face was similar to the meme “conspiracy Keanu” from the Bill and Ted movie. He had no idea what I was talking about. I retreated whispering “ooohh it’s maybe a Europe thing…”.. So at least we now know where it’s best to get screwed over by an airline. Right here on the old continent! So you Americans, memorize the mantra “EU 261 regulation” and look after yourselves over here!

 

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Suomi 100: How to organise the perfect party

Many of us have been fortunate to kick off the Suomi 100 celebrations long ago, but for many of us, the real deal is on the 6th of December. This is the official date when Finland as an independent country turns 100 years. Depending on the celebrating crowds, some take a moment to appreciate the values Finns have created together – democracy and equality, some Suomi 100 party goers will settle for “torilla tavataan” and “Poika saunoo”. If you are in charge of organising the Finnish Independence Day party, my complete party organising check list may help you get through the Suomi 100 event. If you are the lucky one in charge for decorating your own Suomi 100 party, there is just too good stuff online to pass.

Next, I will show you my favourite Finland related decorations and also the treats like sweets, snacks and drinks we Finns living abroad have learned to miss. I will finish by sharing ideas for the perfect rye bread starter, along with where you can buy real Fazer rye bread, if you live abroad. As the selection online and Amazon in particular has grown massively over the past years, I had no trouble getting a list of must-have items on this list!

Suomi 100 party planner’s check list

 

  • Typically 80% of the people you invite, will attend a party. This means that you should invite roughly 20% more people than you think you can fit in the venue comfortably
  • Get your playlist together. If you don’t want to be interrupted by ads that could spoil the mood, get a free Spotify Premium trial
  • Put the menu together: try to come up with items that only require heating or a bit of attention, as you don’t want to be chained to the stove on the day of the event
  • Compile a shopping list and make an order at your bakery, if necessary
  • Recruit helpers so you can rely on some assitance before and after the party
  • Prepare all those dishes, that can be frozen and will fit in your freezer
  • If you are hosting the Suomi 100 event at your house, you may want to give the whole house a good clean
Koskenkorva Minttu - 50CL
List Price:£15.50
Price:£15.50
Price Disclaimer
  • Setting the stage is important. Ensure there is enough seating but so that the chairs don’t block any walkways. But don’t worry about the chairs too much – if all of your guets are not sitting, this will also encourage them to get to know one another and getting the conversations going
  • By designating a side table for dessert, you don’t need to start clearing the buffet table in the middle of everything, especially when some of your guests have arrived late and may still be refilling their plates
  • Make sure you have enough serving dishes for the catering
  • Stock up the bar and get enough ice. if you want to serve Finnish drinks, have a look at the Koskenkorva options and how to order them by clicking the Koskenkorva image above. You can find all varieties – including Minttuviina and Salmiakki online

Decorating the Suomi 100 venue, rally car or water fountain at the local square

Now it’s time to order your decorations, so they arrive on time. You don’t want to miss the mark, as on the 7th of December Finnish flag cupcake decorations are of little help!

I just love flag bunting. It completely transforms a room to a party venue. It can also transform a local water fountain to a party venue, but I don’t think there is an ice hockey match Suomileijonat can win on the 6th so it may be clever to stay out of the fountain after all. The more flags you have hanging up in your Suomi 100 venue, the clearer it is that soon we shall all watch “kättely”, an endless string of politicians, business people and even some celebrities wishing the president couple happy Independence Day.

Finland National Flag 5ft x 3ft
List Price:£3.50
Price:£3.50
Price Disclaimer

The day before the Suomi 100 party

  • You may want to leave a note to your neighbours to inform them about the party, especially if you expect the guests to stay late or take up a lot of parking space outside
  • If you don’t want your guests to see your personal medication, clear those out of the way
  • Make space in your closet for jackets – leave empty hangers
  • Next up is one of my favourite parts or party-organising: putting the decorations up! Below you can find some party decorating ideas. I love Finnish flag bunting – as cheesy as they are, they still transform the look of the space quickly and cheaply
  • You can get adorale Finnish flag cupcake decorations on Amazon (see above)

On the day

  • Make sure you are not tied to the kitchen, when the guests arrive. Ask friends to help and greet each guest individually
  • Although we may think logically, that a tidy house is nicer for the guests, leave cleaning to the minium, when you have guests. If you go around collecting bottles and paper plates into a bag, you may come across almost as passive-aggressive and you may send out a message between the lines that the party is over and the guets have overstayed their welcome

What to serve at the Finnish Independence Day event

Now this must be my favourite part by far. In the recent years, that I have lived away from Finland, the online selection of Finnish foods and treats available on Amazon has grown massively. There you find just about anything you can think of from Fazer chocolate to Fazermint, Geisha, Dumle, soft liquorice, salty liquorace, rye bread and even salmari. Who would have guessed you can find all kinds of Koskenkorva vodkas on online? Some restrictions may apply. Seeing some of these treats stirred up a warm and fuzzy feeling inside – Amazon sells Turkinpippuri in those tins we used to only get from the boats sailing to Stockholm or Tallinn! This is such a retro treat, taking me back so many years! And to top it off, I have also ordered real Fazer rye bread on Amazon, which I will serve with salmon and cream cheese on the big day. For the perfect rye bread topping recipes, keep on reading!

The perfect rye bread topping ideas for Suomi 100

Rye & Delicious Salmon

  • Toast the rye bread
  • Smear lots of cream cheese over it
  • Top the rye with salmon
  • Add cucumber, chopped tomatoes and finely sliced red onion
  • Squeeze just a bit of lemon juice over the salmon
  • Add some chopped chives

Rye & Delicious Shrimp

  • Smear the rye bread with a generous amount of mayonnaise
  • Add a layer of sliced, soft boiled egg
  • Place the cooked, cold shrimp over the eggs
  • Add a sprinkle of dill or small chopped chivers

Run-up to Suomi 100

Want to start getting in the high spirits early, so you don’t miss a thing? Or would you prefer to make damn sure anyone and everyone does not forget where you are from? Then you need to seriously consider hoisting your own Finnish flag on your work desk!

Two weeks prior to the 6th of December, your spouse, regardless of their nationality, is allowed to wear only one particular outfit. No, in this case I don’t mean Formula 1 driver’s suit, unless you are married to Kimi Räikkönen. Your family must from now one wear the Finnish flag. A savvy saver cuts out one for their furry, four-legged friends too, so the postman or the neighbours know he or she on the Finnish winning team! Want to read about funny Finnish menu translations? Click here! 

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15 money saving travel hacks

Top 15 ways to save money when travelling

 

The reason why we should all know the best hacks and tricks to save money, whilst travelling, is simple. I need to be better with my budget, so I can travel more. To be able to enjoy a touch of luxury here and there, you don’t need to book yourself into a 5 star hotel. You can still use many of their services but save significant amounts of money. For this money saving post, I partnered up with the finance experts in Finland called Pikalaina. In this post, we will share our top 15 favourite money saving hacks, for when we travel!

Flight hacks

 

1. Book a package holiday – skip the hotel

 

Does the thought of a package holiday make you cringe? Did you know that scheduled flights to some sunny destinations can work out cheaper, if you book a package holiday including the flight and the hotel, but you stay elsewhere? You can check in your package holiday hotel, if you want, and spend a few days by the pool side. Once you are fed up and want to explore the destination, you are free to travel and arrange your accommodation.

 

2. Get a free night in Istanbul – your airline is paying!

 

Turkish Airlines has an interesting policy: if you are flying via Istanbul, you may get treated an extra night in the city, paid by your airline. How can Turkish Air just dish out free hotel nights? Read it all here.

 

3. Don’t just pack your luggage. Be your luggage!

 

Is your airline charging hefty fees for putting suitcases in the hold? There are some fun hacks to work around these extra fees. First of all, wear your most heavy clothes and don’t pack your big coat in the suitcase, carry it. Amazon is also full of amazing travel wear that could save you significant amounts of money in the long term!

 

4. Flight delay compensation from your airline

 

Is your flight late? A European Court of Justice ruling states that you are entitled to bag up to 600 euros of compensation, should your flight be delayed. Compensation entitlement begins from 3 hours delay. You can also make claims for flights all the way down to 2005. See the table on this post to determine whether you can apply for compensation from your airline.

 

5. Overbooked flight? Time to do a happy dance!

 

An overbooked flight is sometimes a dream come true, at least if you are in Europe. Legally airlines have to compensate for your troubles, should the airline overbook and you are not allowed on the flight. Some travel hackers take advantage of overbookings and turn up at the airport before the check-in opens. Once you are first in the queue and you ask the check-in staff whether you can volunteer for a later flight in exchange for compensation, you sometimes get lucky. Once I was offered 400 euros and VIP lounge access, if I agreed to wait a bit longer. As I don’t mind a bit of champagne myself, I didn’t take too long to agree! Read how much cash you can get in compensation for an overbooked flight here.

 

6. Transferred on to another flight? Don’t pay for a hotel yourself!

 

If you have been transferred to another flight, check with your airline if they can pay for your hotel, at least in Europe. In October 2017, I got stuck in Dublin, Ireland, as the storm Ophelia caused disruption in travel. Luckily I Whatsapped my insurance broker. But as I didn’t have a proper travel insurance with them, he instructed me to call the airline and ask for them to accommodate us. The airline was happy to arrange this, as long as we made it back to the airport and accepted which ever hotel they could put us in. We spent two nights in a spa conference hotel without spending a penny on food, transport or the room.

 

 

7. Here’s what we were up to when our flight was cancelled due to the storm Ophelia

 

The airline asked us to get to the airport despite the cancelled flight, so they can book us into a hotel

We got to explore Dublin’s hidden parks, such as this Korkagh Park

For two extra days we explored the edges of Dublin without paying a penny for transport, accommodation or food

We got to see the pet farm at the Korkagh Park. Here’s an owl chilling. One parrot even let me stroke it’s head

Hotel hacks

 

 

 

8. Book and rebook trick

 

 

 

Did you know that once you have booked your hotel room, you can still manipulate the price? Once you have a hotel deal in the bag, you may still be able to get a discount. Hotel rates fluctuate and as long as you book a room with free cancellation, you may want to grab the opportunity when a discounted hotel room comes along. Just book your room, check the room prices later, cancel your room and rebook it, if the price drop is significant. A good time to check is on the same week of travel, but within your free cancellation period. If you find a better room with a better price at the time of your cancellation, you just go ahead with it! At a very last minute, I saved around 200€ by switching hotels in Dublin on the last day of the free cancellation.

 

 

 

9. Hotel price match trick

 

 

 

Hotels and booking sites often claim to offer the cheapest room prices. Some go as far as backing this claim up with a price guarantee – if you find the same room cheaper elsewhere, they will refund you the difference. Again, a good time to check would be on the same week of your trip, as many hotels lower their prices to fill the unsold rooms. Just grab a screen shot of the price you see on another site, send it to customer support and request a refund, based on their price match guarantee.

 

 

 

10. Don’t be afraid of using a luxury hotel even if you are not staying there

 

 

 

 

This video is from the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Barcelona, but we were not guests there

This is one of my favourite travel tricks in the book. I may not want to splash my cash on luxurious hotel nights (well, yes I would actually). As I prefer to travel often and with a limited budget, rather than saving up for a longer period of time for my next holiday, it means that I can’t be staying in top hotels. However, as long as you are happy to be a paying customer in other terms, most hotels still welcome you with open arms to use their spas, restaurants and cool rooftop bars. I recommend that you dress for the part though, so you feel more comfortable asking the hotel staff whether you are ok to use their facilities. As long as you look and feel the part, most top hotels are happy to get extra income from the food, drinks and other services they are selling to you.

 

 

 

11. Hotel’s star system may be leading you on

 

 

 

Do you actually know what the hotel star system stands for? Unfortunately the system is not standardised around the world and is mainly used to describe which facilities the hotel offers. It could suggest there is a 24h recetion or a tennis court, no matter how poorly it is being maintained. Even the smallest and hairiest jacuzzis pass as spas, when it comes to some hotels. A high star rating doesn’t always mean that other customers have been happy with the hotel itself. When using travel comparison sites, use the customer ratings instead, to make up your mind.

 

 

 

12. Quality villas vs. quality hotels

 

 

 

Want to save money but not keen on compromising on the quality of your stay? Top end villas may work out way cheaper, especially for a group, than a top hotel. Usually the bigger your group is, the bigger is your saving.

On the road

 

13. Get free Wifi everywhere – with this app

 

There is a cool app that can give you the Wifi passwords of cafes, restaurants, schools and universities, libraries and shops for free. And what’s so amazing about this WiFi Password Finder app is that it works, even if you are offline. To read my app review and how to download the free WiFi Password Finder app, click here.

 

How does the free WiFi app work?

 

Before you travel, connect to a WiFi and open up the map on the app. When you move your finger around the screen, you can see lots of internet connections popping up, along with their passwords. The WiFi passwords are added to the database by the users of the app and sooner or later you find yourself getting excited about sharing the passwords with other travellers too!

 

14. Use your off-line maps and avoid paying for data roaming or sat-nav

 

Did you know that your Google maps also works off-line, which means that you don’t have to switch your data roaming on or get a sat-nav for your rental car?

 

How do the off-line maps work?

 

Your map will also work off-line, as long as you open up your travel destination when you are first on WiFi. Before you travel, just open the destination’s map on your screen and scroll around the area. Next time, you can browse the map and get directions without a working WiFi connection too.

15. Your phone operator is trying to kill you!

 

As this claim may be somewhat exaggerated, you want to avoid getting a heart attack after seeing your mobile roaming bill. The best way to avoid it is to contact your mobile operator before the trip. If the price of the mobile roaming package does not please you, you can often buy a local prepaid pay-as-you-go sim card once you get there. However, in countries like Brazil, you cannot get a sim card if you don’t have sufficient documents that usually only locals can obtain, so it’s a good idea to search for more information before you travel.

Money hacks

 

16. Paying in pounds or euros? Why knowing this matters

 

According to the Finnish finance expert Pikalaina, we don’t usually know what to answer when we are asked which currency we would like to pay in. Did a shop keeper ask you which currency you want to use? You should always choose the local currency, not your own. Why? If the retailer does the conversion for you, the rates will usually be higher than if you let your card do the conversion. So remember – always ask to pay in the local currency.

 

17. Choosing your destination based on the exchange rate and what you can get for your money

 

There are obvious destinations to avoid, if you want to make your penny stretch far. These holiday destinations include Switzerland, Scandinavia and the Nordic Countries, Lapland and many cities in the US, for example. Although London’s price tag has fallen in the recent times and we were pleased to find that the hotels were quite affordable, London is still not cheap. If you want to know which destinations are the cheapest holidays in Europe right now, click here! 

Taxi Palma: how to get to your Mallorca accommodation

Taxi Palma: how to get to your Mallorca accommodation

Taxi Palma de Mallorca airport – should I book online?

 

When you book your taxi from Palma airport beforehand, you get many advantages. One of the biggest pros why I favour booking an airport transfer in advance is that you always get an English speaking driver, who will make your life a lot easier. You don’t need to figure out if the taxi is on a meter, will they try any funny business, will the meter actually start from zero and will the driver drive you through the most scenic and also costly route to get you to your Palma hotel. As the private taxi Palma services are booked and paid online in advance, the driver has no reason to try and exploit you, the visitor. You will ride comfortably, often you are offered bottled water on arrival, the driver will help you with your luggage and if your flight is arriving late, they will know about it and hold a sign up on your arrival. With online-booked taxi Palma services you an also ask for baby seats or booster seats, that you won’t find from the Palma airport’s regular taxi rank.

 

Taxi Palma de Mallorca airport: regular taxi fares

 

If you decide not to book an airport transfer taxi to Palma online, you should queue to grab a regular taxi from the taxi rank outside the terminal building. You can find it at the terminal’s floor 0, just outside the arrivals hall. When taking a regular taxi in Mallorca, you should always ask for a receipt and hold on to it, in case you ever want to make a complaint. The drivers should be licensed by the City Council of Palma de Mallorca. The driver will charge you extra for each piece of luggage. You can find more information on the extra fees in the Mallorca Taxi Prices table below.

 

TimesFare starts fromMinimum farePrice per kmWaiting time
Mon-Fri
6am-9pm
2.04€3.12€0.51€17.16€
Mon-Fri
21pm-06am and
Sat & holidays 3pm onwards
2.76€4.00€0.61€17.36€

Extra fare itemPrice
Trips originating or ending at the airport2.90€
Trips originating or ending at the port2.90€
Radio phone1.05€
Each extra suitcase or luggage item0.60€

Uber Mallorca: is there Uber in Palma or Magaluf?

 

In another article, I wrote about Uber in Spain and Madrid in particular. Madrid is an exception to the Spain-wide Uber ban, although they are only allowed to use the luxury UberX type of cars. Unfortunately, there is no Uber in Mallorca. So you won’t be able to hop off your flight, pull out your phone and book a ride via the Uber app.

Do Palma taxis have baby seats or booster seats?

 

If you are travelling with children, you may need to book a taxi online, as regular taxis won’t usually offer them. Usually there is no extra cost to request a baby seat.

When booking a taxi to Palma from the airport, what information do I give?

 

You will only need to inform the taxi company of your actual arrival time of your flight and your flight number. This way the driver can check if your flight has been delayed. You don’t need to add the waiting time for your luggage, this will automatically be taken into account by the taxi Palma driver.

Can I book a taxi to Palma from the airport if we are arriving on different flights?

If you and your friends are arriving on different flights, you only need to give the arrival time of the last flight. Just remember to give the taxi company all flight numbers. This way the driver can check if any of the flights have been delayed.

I need to pick up the house keys, before driving to the final destination. Is this possible?

 

Sure, this is usually possible, especially if you book a private taxi from the Palma airport. In this case, you should tell this in advance, in the “comments” field, when making the taxi Palma booking online.

 

Do I get a confirmation from the Mallorca taxi company?

 

Yes, you will receive a confirmation email, once your booking has been processed and is confirmed. If you don’t receive your taxi Palma confirmation email, check your email’s spam folder, as these folders love to swallow all of the important information when you least expect it.

Where will I meet the Palma taxi driver, once I’m in Mallorca?

The drivers are waiting for you in the arrivals hall. Look out for a sign with your name on. It’s a good idea to save a phone number from your taxi Palma confirmation email onto your phone, so you can call the driver, if you can’t find one another. You can download this free wifi finder app, in case the airport’s wifi is not working properly. This handy app will give you passwords for the wifi networks of businesses, like cafes, restaurants and cinemas. Just remember to type “Mallorca” in your app while you are connected in wifi before your flight, so the finder also works offline.

 

My flight to Palma has been cancelled. What do I do about my Palma taxi booking?

 

If your flight has been cancelled, many Mallorca taxi companies act pro-actively and contact you about your situation. If you have been transferred to another flight, you just need to give your new flight number to the Mallorca taxi company. If you are not flying to Mallorca after all, you should ask for a refund free of charge.

 

What to pack to Mallorca: click below to check prices on Amazon

Driving in Malta

Driving in Malta

What is driving in Malta like? Here’s what you should know

When I first hired a car and jumped behind the wheel in Malta, I had lots of questions running through my mind, like these:

Driving on the left is one of the biggest concerns many drivers have to face. I have found that watching the traffic both ways comes naturally for a driver, regardless of which side of the road you are used to drive on. Now that I think of it, I must have always checked both side mirrors as well as the rear view mirror before joining a new road or turning, as changing from one side of the road to another didn’t feel too difficult when I realised I can trust myself and remember to check both sides. What has sometimes caused difficulties is to remember which side of the road we drive on today, if I travel from country another.

 

How do you remember to turn the right way in a roundabout when driving on the wrong side of the road?

Luckily many roundabouts are marked with arrows, also in Malta. You are also usually not alone in traffic – you can just follow what other cars do and go with the flow.

 

What’s the traffic like in Malta? Are there any traffic jams and angry overtakers?

There are recent studies that show that traffic on the island is the main concern of the Maltese people. You should be prepared for them all: slow traffic and very angry, horn blaring locals.

 

Do other cars give way when joining a new road in Malta?

Not always. You need to claim your space on the road like you own it.

 

How exactly do you overtake a donkey with a carriage?

Give it as much space as you possibly can, drive slowly and avoid getting your gears wrong which can potentially surprise the animal. I haven’t needed these instructions before but there’s a first for everything!

 

Do you give way to a horse approaching from the right in a roundabout?

Yes! Even if it’s approaching super slooooow.

 

Is speeding so common in Malta that I have to hit the emergency break?

Yo should be prepared to break fast. Luckily this is a reflex for experienced drivers so just go ahead and trust yourself.

Horse carriage in Malta

In Malta you may still encounter these on the roads

The speed of driving in Malta

I felt rather confident to get behind the wheel in Malta, as I had given my driver’s license in a left-hand-drive country. The driving speed in Malta seemed mostly okay around the city centres. The only roads I was wary of were the big ones leading to the airport, where the speeds would hit ridiculous levels. By this time I had heard a joke from alocal man who said that you can get Maltese driving licenses inside a Rice Crispies packet. So I prepared myself to defend my space on the roads and hit the pedal when I saw the smallest opportunity to join the big roads or to change lanes. We hired a Hertz car from the Preluna Tower hotel and made sure the insurance would cover everything from scratches to the invasion of space mice or the explosion of the Death Star. Once behind the wheel, I felt ready for my Maltese driving inauguration.

 

Mysterious parking habits in Malta

This is one the main reasons the Maltese leave their car behind yours, blocking your exit. Meet your enemy, the Pastizzi.

This is one the main reasons the Maltese leave their car behind yours, blocking your exit. Meet your enemy, the Pastizzi.

The first challenge Malta’s driving gods laid upon me was untangling the mystery of “double parking”. By double parking I mean the scenario where you have parked legally in a parking space and someone parks on the road behind you, blocking all of your exit attempts. As the driver had switched the emergency lights on before vaporizing into the thin air, surely I should know which signal this sends to all of the drivers. I had to quickly put my Sherlock hat on to solve the mystery of getting out of the parking space. I weighed the options – mounting the side walk, denting the wheels and scratching the car or beeping the horn so long that I’d get shouted abuse from the balconies above. Instead I approached a Maltese looking gentleman, who kindly offered me a clue how to solve my double parking puzzle. He hinted that normally the culprit was to be found in a shop nearby. As a local this gentleman had read the emergency lights correctly, I found the parking genius and soon I was on my way again.

 

Crossing the road as a pedestrian

As the Maltese zebra crossings were few and far between, I have become accustomed to run over the road to get out of the way. Afterwords I stubbornly curse the city planners for placing safe zebra crossings a mile apart. I took great pleasure in surprising pedestrians by slowing down my car early when I spotted someone crossing. A few pissed off beeps from other drivers behind only made me smile inside.

 

The horse carriage manoeuvre

In Malta you may need to give way to horse carriages. These are not the types that take tourists around Central Park in New York. It seems that they are used as a form of transport by the owners, not for transport anything else. I came across a new type of road user when I was about to enter a roundabout and saw a horse carriage come from my right. At least this was in the afternoon when the traffic was slowing down. So I gave way to the poor horse trotting on the tarmac.

 

How do the Maltese drive?

I found that I was able to adapt to the driving well, as I prefer to drive on the left. As Malta gets really congested due to the high number of cars per capita, the travelling speed is very slow especially during the rush hour. Some drivers thinking they were the MacGyvers of the road emerged from time to time. Whereas in many countries you can drive economically as the traffic is predictable, in Malta I found myself speeding up and locking the breaks a lot, with a couple of emergency breaks in there too. Towards the end of the day my ankle literally needed a rest after all that gear changing and pedal pumping.

 

Car accident if you are a foreigner in Malta

The expat / immigrant community warns you of not getting in trouble with the police in Malta. There are circulating rumours of foreigners who have built their lives in Malta having to flee the country in a matter of days when they have been involved in a car accident that was not their own fault. Apparently it is very difficult to win a ruling against a local in the Maltese and Gozotan courts. As the legal system is accused of being corrupt and inefficient, it is best to get on the next flight and depart the country rather than face unjust court proceedings. As I don’t have personal experience in this, I only quote expat stories and articles I have come across. But having a plan B up your sleeve seems to be something foreigners living and working in Malta have developed for one reason or another.

Valletta

Valletta roads are steep and narrow

How can Malta be so different from Sicily?

If you want to drive in Malta, be prepared for rush hour traffic and some random cowboys who think that speeding up just to emergency break three seconds later is the best practice. If you get a taxi from the airport, they tend to drive aggressively too. One taxi we took actually wasn’t able to break before entering a roundabout, as he was speeding completely unnecessarily. We were very lucky that no other cars were coming our way at the time. Whereas the Italians love their scooters and we saw lots of them just 100km away in Sicily, only a few are driven in Malta. I could imagine the way of driving is one reason for the lack of scooters. The difference in traffic behaviour was great between these two small islands. In Sicily, people crossed freely and drivers slowed down for them, whereas in Malta I recognise similar bad traits like driving in some cities I have lived in in England. Mainly I hate the drivers not slowing down for you when you have to walk across the road.  It is almost like the drivers want to prove a point: “there is no zebra crossing here so get the f** out of my way” without considering that the next zebra crossing is a mile away.

Overall, our driving adventure went just fine, as I was prepared to squeeze my car in gaps I would normally not invade in other countries. We spent a good chunk of time just sitting in the static rush hour traffic.

What you should know when Driving in Malta

  • Get the best available insurance
  • Only use reputable rental companies
  • If you drive a heavy van for example, you need to take extra care as the other drivers tend to speed up and then fully hit the breaks
  • You will probably hit traffic when approaching cities like Valletta, Sliema, Gzira or St Julians during the rush hour
  • If someone has parked behind you a blocked your exit, check the nearest shops if the driver was just picking up the newspaper

Read also:

International house move: where to get large cardboard boxes in Malta

Can an expat get a bank account in Malta? What you need to know

EU Citizen: looking for Brexit exit but not sure where to move?

WHERE TO WATCH FOOTBALL OR RUGBY GAMES IN MALTA

Pastizzi photo credit: Charles Haynes