The Clever Travel Companion Updates

Planning Your Student Holiday on a Budget December 31 2017, 0 Comments

Financing your travel plans when you are a student is a case of planning and organization. But it’s perfectly possible to have an amazing trip, without having to live off of canned food the entire time you’re away. Budgeting for your next big trip starts here, you’ll just have to decide where you’re going, and what to pack. It's really worth investing in an anti-theft device for your travels. After saving and planning your trip, it's important to keep your money and valuable possessions, such as passports and cameras safe. 

Part time work and student loans 

Getting a student loan and part time work is the most common way of raising money for a student holiday. Be strict with yourself and try and put by a set amount every month, and you will soon find that a little regular amount becomes enough to have a trip away. Using your leisure time to earn a little money will also mean that you’re not out spending it. Research how much it is going to cost for travel and accommodation and then factor in spending money. Give yourself a goal to save for and you can make sure you have enough for your dream trip. 

Volunteering holidays

Combining your holiday with a volunteering is a great way to see the world and also making a difference to other people’s lives. You could be helping to improve community buildings in Cuba, or teaching English to children in Peru. There are some amazing student volunteer programmes that will allow you to get away and do something incredibly rewarding and fulfilling at the same time. Often there is lodging in bunkhouses, so you will be sure to make some like-minded new friends. 

Take the bus 

If you want to see America, taking the bus is wonderfully cheap. The Greyhound (a.k.a The Dirty Dog) covers the entire country and is a great way to travel across such a diverse county. There are some good discounts for students that will help you to budget for travel. If you want to go off exploring, The Greyhound will store your luggage for you for 24 hours, allowing you to get out and about, without worrying about carrying around heavy bags. You can easily camp your way around the U.S.A with a bus ticket and a small tent. 

Become a house sitter

Becoming a house sitter means that you won’t have to pay for your accommodation, plus you will be helping someone that needs to know that their home is secure and looked after while they are away. No money is exchanged for services, but you will have somewhere to stay for free. Often you will be responsible for looking after pets, and doing small jobs, such as watering the plants and looking after the garden. You will have plenty of free time to explore the area which you are staying in. Plus house sitting can take you all over the world, you will just need to cover your travel costs and spending money. 

Going on holiday when you’re a student needn’t cost the earth. You can see the world on a budget and still have an amazing time.

Communication Tips for Travellers September 27 2017, 0 Comments

Communicating with other people while you are travelling is an essential part of your journey. It helps you get by when you’re lost or need help in finding your hotel, and simply adds new impressions and valuable experiences. However, meeting new people when you travel, either other fellow travelers, or locals at your travel destination, may not always be easy. Even if you are not too shy and have no problem starting a conversation, there is always a language or cultural barrier that you need to overcome.

Here are a few tips on how to successfully communicate with local people on any topic.

Top Tips on Communication While Travelling

  • Learn a few phrases of the local language. Some basic things like “Hello”, “Thank you” and “Goodbye” will sure be enough, but you may try and go beyond that. You’ll be surprised how far a few phrases will get you. People will be more open to you and will be more likely to engage in a conversation, because you show interest in their culture. It is also a fun way to entertain people, since most likely your pronunciation will be far from perfect at the beginning

  • Read about DOs and DON’Ts in that country. It may particularly useful if you travel to a country whose dominant religion or culture differ significantly from yours. If you live in the USA and travel to Saudi Arabia, reading about local customs and traditions is a must. What is normal Arabs or Hindu people in everyday conversation and behavior may not be ok for you, and vice versa. Read about cultural differences in communication and Grandcraps co uk before going on any trip.

  • Use gadgets to communicate. You can download a few apps that will ease your communication with locals. Some apps provide you with useful phrases while on a trip, while others help you translate unknown words from photos. Apart from instant translation, you can also use your gadget to draw something you need people to give you. While talking to others about yourself, your job or your family, use your gadgets to show them photos or your social network profile. An iPhone can surprisingly be a conversation booster.

  • Use gesture language. Gestures are as effective as words, or sometimes even better. However, gesture language also requires research and some discreteness. For instance, in some cultures, like Russia, pointing finger may be rude. Learn the basic “no-no” gestures and don’t let the absence of verbal vocabulary stop you from having a conversation.

  • Draw pictures. Having a notebook or a sketchbook with you could ease your communication, because you will always have a visual tool at hand. And it is not just useful for drawing a toilet sign in case of urgency. Using drawing while communicating with people of other cultures promotes connection and understanding, and can create a variety of funny situations you will remember for the rest of your life.

  • Yes, talking to locals while travelling may require you to step out of your comfort zone. But it is worth it. The thrill of being understood and liked in another part of the world can hardly be compared to any other travel experience, and you will appreciate the memories you’ll ultimately get.

    Safety Tips for Young Solo Travelers August 31 2017, 0 Comments

    This article originally appeared in the Independent SA.

    As the popular saying goes: "In the School of Life, travel is the best teacher". 

    Some of the world's more seasoned travelers have also said that the best way to challenge yourself and see the world while you're at it; travel solo. While all of this sounds great on paper, practically, it may not work out this way. 

    The world can be a very dangerous place, especially if you're in another country, know no one there, cannot speak the language and find yourself in an emergency, this can be a harrowing experience. This is why every traveler must take the necessary precautions and prepare properly. 

    Youth oriented travel agency "Contiki" specialises in curating experiences across various parts of the world. According to Kelly Jackson, general manager for Contiki, a lot goes into ensuring that the trips are safe even for young people that come alone, but want the experience. 

    "The safety of our guests is always comes first. Being part of The Travel Corporation family of brands, and being a family-owned business, means that we operate with a ‘family first’ mentality. Just as you would go above and beyond for your nearest and dearest, doing anything to ensure their safety and happiness, that’s how we feel about our travellers.

    "Sometimes incidents that occur that cannot be planned for. In 2016, the Calais ferry strikes meant that hundreds of Contiki travellers were unable to get either to Paris, or back to London. Yet whilst other companies left their travellers stranded, we don’t work like that" Jackson said. 

    For young solo travellers, Jackson had the following tips: 

    • Always let your friends or family know your trip plans. At Contiki we provide our travellers with a duplicate list of hotels for this reason. Parents and friends can contact the hotels at any time to stay in touch.
    • There are Pickpockets everywhere. Pick pocketing and theft happen in every country around the world so just be sensible about this. People are naturally security conscious so don’t let this habit lapse when you’re travelling. Keep locks on your luggage and don’t carry too much cash on you (or your passport) when you’re out sightseeing.
    • Know how to contact local authorities in case of an emergency, and have the means at your disposal to contact them. Get yourself a local SIM card and stay in touch.


    Jessica Clarke  brand manager of Busabout, an alternative travel company said it is important to keep alert when traveling. 

    “Never let your usual sensibilities desert you. Keep your guard up in public places, be aware of pick pockets, know how to contact the Embassy, let family have a copy of your itinerary and be contactable – even if it’s only on Facebook,” Clarke said. 

    Here's to your next solo trip. And always remember: SAFETY FIRST.