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Renting a Flat in London

Posted by on Dec 13, 2013 in Travel Advice, Travel Finance | 0 comments

London flatIf you’re going to be spending three or more months in Europe, consider renting a flat. It’s a great way to live like a local and can actually save you money. If you’re staying with a group, a flat is definitely the way to go. Check online to find rental agencies and private landlords, compare prices, and read reviews. Craigslist, London Guest Suites, and Homes & Property are great websites to start your search.

Living in a flat will give you privacy (unlike a hostel), a kitchen, and the opportunity to explore local bars and restaurants. Some flats come with free Internet access, but don’t expect a washing machine. Many flats have a minimum stay of six or twelve months. If you’re staying in Europe long-term, this shouldn’t be an issue. Most flats in London come furnished.

London’s rental market is quite competitive nowadays. Here are some tips for renting a flat:

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Staying in Europe for more than 90 Days

Posted by on Dec 9, 2013 in Travel Advice, Travel Finance, Work & Education | 0 comments

Backpacking in EuropeSpending a few years traveling Europe is only a dream for most of us. But you can make it work if you’re dedicated. If you’re worried about finances, click here for ways to earn money while you travel. The first thing you need to figure out is how long you’re legally allowed to stay. The Schengen Area encompasses most of Europe. You can travel within this area on a traditional passport for 90 days within a period of 180 days.

With a Schengen Visa, you can stay in the area for more than 90 days. Countries outside the Schengen Area all have different Visa requirements. You can learn about the requirements for US travelers from the US State Department.

If your parents or grandparents are European citizens, look into the process of obtaining an EU passport. Otherwise, here are some ways to prolong your stay without obtaining a Schengen Visa:

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Work and Travel in Europe

Posted by on Nov 11, 2013 in Travel Finance, Work & Education | 2 comments

Have you ever wanted to travel to Europe – but don’t have enough money? One of the best ways to truly experience a country is to work while you explore. A job will immerse you in the local culture and fund your journey. After all, you’ll find that your savings won’t amount to much when exchanged for euros. The UK, Germany, London, and Spain are a few of the most popular places for Americans looking for work in Europe.

Before you pack your bags, consider the following:

  • How long do you want to work in Europe?
  • In which country do you want to work?
  • Will you need to take language classes?
  • Are you able to/do you need to acquire a work permit?
  • Are you interested in teaching English?

Seasonal & Short-Term Jobs

German vineyardGreat for backpackers, these jobs usually don’t require a work permit and pay in cash. Farms and vineyards are always looking for short-term employees. If you want to visit Europe during the summer months, consider being a camp counselor. This is a fun, rewarding job that allows you to work with kids. As a bonus, counselors are usually provided with food and a place to stay free of charge.

If you’re young, you should definitely consider being an Au Pair – a foreign individual hired to care for children and do housework. As an Au Pair, you will have food, a safe place to stay, and money. Living with a family will completely immerse you in the local culture. You might even have the opportunity to learn a new language. European parents are always eager to hire English-speaking Au Pairs.

If you don’t like kids or farm work, look into hostels, bars, and tour companies. You will probably have access to a free room if you work in a hostel. It’s an easy way to make cash – as long as you don’t mind cleaning toilets! Bars, on the other hand, are great places to meet the locals (and snag a few free drinks). If you like speaking in front of a group, consider being a tour guide. Sandeman’s New Europe Tours, one of Europe’s most famous tour companies, operates in cities such as Amsterdam, London, and Berlin. Tour companies often require you to have a work permit. If they are unable to sponsor you for a work permit (but still want to hire you) you might be in danger of exploitation.

Long-Term Jobs

London busTeaching English is the most popular long-term job available to Americans. You’ll want to earn your TEFL certificate before you leave. You can teach at a private language school, work on a freelance basis, or work with an agency. For more information on teaching in Europe, click here.

If you’re looking to further an existing career, consider an internship (Europeans call them “mini-jobs”). Unfortunately, many internships are unpaid. On the plus side, most interns are sponsored. Magazines and tour companies are the best places to look for an internship. Once again, be wary of exploitation. It’s a good idea to ask other employees about their hours and paychecks. Don’t let yourself be exploited just because you’re thankful for the opportunity to work with the company!

Online is the best place to start looking for work. Check out StaTravel and WorkAway.

 

 

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Renting a Car in Europe

Posted by on Oct 5, 2013 in Travel Advice, Travel Finance | 0 comments

Mini CooperTransportation is a big concern when planning a trip to Europe. Renting a vehicle is more complicated and expensive than in the US. You’ll get the best deal if you rent by the week and select a package with unlimited mileage. Just like plane tickets, the earlier you book, the better. You can reserve a rental car online or with the help of a travel agent. Shop around and make sure to ask any and all questions you might have. Make sure to read the fine print before you agree to anything. Rental companies are notorious for tacking on extra fees.

You should definitely rent a car if you:

  • Have lots of luggage
  • Are traveling with a group of three or more
  • Will be camping
  • Plan to explore one area in depth rather than travel across Europe
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Flying Budget Airlines in Europe

Posted by on Sep 26, 2013 in Travel Advice, Travel Finance | 0 comments

airberlinOnce they arrive, most visitors to Europe don’t consider flying an option. Until recently, rental vehicles and public transportation have been the most cost-effective ways to travel Europe. Things are different now. There are four reasons the cost of airfare has decreased dramatically in recent years:

 

  • Deregulation of European airlines in the 1990’s
  • The Open-Skies Treaty of 1992
  • Competition between airlines
  • Proliferation of small, niche airlines

There are currently 62 budget airlines in Europe. SkyScanner and Kayak are two great places to start looking for flights. Purchasing tickets far in advance will enable you to find the cheapest flights. Look for airlines that use either your starting or ending point as a hub. If you have multiple flights, be prepared for delays and leave yourself with plenty of extra time. Be flexible. Try to fly on weekdays during the spring or autumn. Avoid flying during the holidays. Check for sales and look for flights that depart early in the morning or very late at night. If you can’t find the exact flight you want, check flights to nearby airports. Departure times can change suddenly by up to 10 hours. Double check your itinerary a few days before your trip and check in online to avoid fees.

Does a $100 (or less) plane ticket sound too good to be true? There are many downsides to low-cost airlines. You can’t use travel agents, tickets are available only online and are not refundable, and schedules are tight. Flights that aren’t filled up are sometimes cancelled on short notice. If you’re late, the plane will not wait for you. Almost all budget flights are point-to-point and do not offer connecting flights. There’s always the chance that a small airline will suddenly go out of business. Budget airlines are safe, but provide only basic transport (don’t expect snacks). Since the airlines don’t make much money on ticket sales, they will use every excuse to fine you. Make sure to read the fine print and look up all information about luggage.

RyanairWith 41 hubs, Ryanair is Europe’s largest budget airline. If you book early, you can find flights from London to a variety of European cities for only $20. Ryanair is notorious for “add-on fees.” The only way to avoid paying a credit card fee is to use a prepaid MasterCard credit card. The average one-way ticket from Ryanair is between $55 and $65 (this price includes tax and fees). Ryanair has very strict baggage regulations. It is recommended that you purchase insurance that protects against flight cancellation because Ryanair has a very limited compensation policy in regards to cancelled flights. Make sure you know where your end point is because Ryanair often flies to small, obscure airports far from the city you’re trying to reach.

A little more expensive is easyJet, Europe’s second largest budget airline. When flying with easyJet, you will not be charged a fee for printing your boarding pass in the airport. However, like Ryanair, there is a fee for every piece of checked luggage. But unlike Ryanair, easyJet tends to use principal airports. There are no seat assignments and a one-way ticket ranges from $27-$570.

The third largest budget airline in Europe is airberlin. It has a huge network and offers long flights in addition to within-Europe flights. One-way tickets start at $60. This price includes luggage, fees, and tax. Unlike most of Europe’s budget airlines, airberlin offers free drinks, newspapers, and snacks onboard. They also allow up to 44 pounds of free checked luggage per passenger.

 

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Travel and Teach in Europe

Posted by on Aug 29, 2013 in Travel Advice, Travel Finance, Work & Education | 0 comments

TEFLIf you’re interested in becoming a traveling teacher, Europe is one of the best places to go. With so many countries to explore, the opportunities for adventure are endless. Unlike Americans, Europeans aren’t all about work. You’ll find that a teaching job provides you with enough money and free time to fully experience your new home.

Finding a job in a foreign country can be intimidating. The first thing you need to do is decide in which country you’d like to teach. Almost every country wants English teachers, but Spain, the UK, Georgia, and France have the highest need. Based on ease of obtaining a legal job and overall experience, the best countries in which to teach English are Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, France, and Denmark. If you’re not ready to immerse yourself in a foreign language, consider teaching in the UK. Many people move there just to learn English.

Each country has different education requirements. Make sure you meet the qualifications for your new job. Most employers require an undergraduate degree or a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate. You can obtain a TEFL certificate online, but it’s best to find a program that includes teaching experience. English, Literature, and Teaching degrees are also valuable. Some institutions will require you to prove your proficiency in English. Others require only a basic teaching license. Interpersonal skills are also very important when it comes time to apply, as well as previous experience.

If you wish to work in a private language school, you will have to complete a basic course of 100 or more hours with 6 hours of observed teaching. Some facilities offer and require more specific courses, such as ILT (Introduction to Language Teaching), PLT (Practice of Language Training), and Literacy.

Many Americans overlook the fact that some European countries prefer a certain gender. Other countries only hire teachers within a certain age range (usually 20-40). If you have obtained a TEFL and you are under the age of 19, you will probably only be able to teach in volunteer situations.

SalaryAs with almost any job, your salary depends on many factors, including experience, seniority, and education. There is sometimes a danger of exploitation when you travel and teach. In recent years, many institutions in Spain have paid teachers under the table in order to maximize their profits. This might not sound bad for the teachers, but when paid illegally, teachers can lose their benefits. Make sure you are paid in accordance with the law.

Some countries ignore labor laws when it comes to foreign employees. They assume the foreigners won’t know or understand local laws regarding things like end-of-contract payments and working hours. If you don’t speak the local language and/or aren’t familiar with the country’s culture, you may find yourself a victim. Individuals who can’t adapt to the culture of their new home usually give up after a few months. With proper preparation, you should be able to avoid this situation.

Speaking of preparation, you’ll also want to make sure you have the proper documents. Requirements are different for each European country. Many teachers follow the “don’t ask, don’t tell” method by working illegally with a tourist visa. This is not a good idea!

There are several websites you can visit to help you get a professional teaching job abroad. Check out TeacherHit.com and TeachAway.com. Keep in mind that September is the highest recruiting month for foreign English teachers.

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