Tuesday, 28 August 2018

I have an announcement!

I promised this announcement quite a while ago now, and actually, the news I had to share has changed somewhat.

After my last post about the internship I did at the British Red Cross, I have now been offered a job there – although thankfully not in fundraising! While I’m not knocking it at all, they all do very good work; it is just not for me. This job is working as a Technical Team Assistant for the International Directorate so it is more to do with the actual projects that BRC does rather than raising money for them. It is only a 4-month contract so will run until December but this actually works out well for me as it means that I will be free when Harley and Morgan come to London for graduation – so that’s really exciting!

My other good news is that finally, finally, I think we have got a house sorted. I don’t want to get ahead of myself too much because the last house that we put a holding deposit down for fell through after about a week but I have a better feeling about this one. So there is now the fun of beginning to pack up all my stuff, but by the end of the month, I will be finally living in London!! I’m so excited, and this house is so beautiful, we can just move straight in, nothing needs to be done, everything is so perfect, I don’t want to jinx it but if we can pull this off I will be living on cloud nine.

Also, ANOTHER great bit of news that I have been trying to keep under wraps is that I have been approached by STA Travel, just about my favourite travel company (that I can afford), to work with them in a collaboration or two, so look out for your favourite Basic Traveller posts coming at you from the STA Education blog, I am hoping that this will lead on to some bigger and better things for this blog too. Let's make it a well-established spot on the map, eh? Although I can't do it without your help, so get hashtagging, tweets, and sharing as many posts as you can and if you send me a message with a screenshot of this, I'll send you some Basic Traveller goodies!

What’s all your news? Get in touch and tell me what you are up to? Anyone else had any housing disaster stories??

Have a good week my loves!

Lots of Love, Kate xxx

Monday, 20 August 2018

Inside the Internship: The British Red Cross

This title makes this post seem like it is a secret expose with some huge scandal. I wish it was, but hold onto your seats ladies and gentlemen because this is going to get exciting! It is the long awaited post I know you have all been waiting for – all about my recent 3 month internship at the British Red Cross.

I know, I doubt many of you are actually interested in this, so feel free to just scroll to the end, it won’t be long and I won’t be offended!

While I was at BRC I worked in the Restricted Funding team (no, I had no idea what that meant either) but essentially, from what I have understood, this team collects together restricted ‘asks’ (specific allocations of money that go to specific products) and then write up all the documents for this to pass on to other high value giving teams (Corporate, Philanthropy, etc). There is a lot of copy writing as part of it and so many spreadsheets.

My first month here was pretty good, really interesting and I had a lot of different things to write and decipher, a bit of a learning curve but definitely manageable. What I found the best was the fact we were responding to real life, in the moment situations, like writing reports for the disaster fund on the recent Guatemalan volcano eruption or the recent violence in Gaza – that was pretty cool.

My experience here has been invaluable, but as it was an unpaid internship there is only so much value in working for free, so I am glad it is over now.  

Have you guys done any internship you would or wouldn’t recommend? Get in touch and let me know!

Have a good week my loves!

Lots of Love, Kate xxx  

Monday, 13 August 2018

My 5 Top Travel Apps

So we all now live in a scarily connected age of technology and the way we travel has certainly changed over the years, and therefore I thought I might share with all you lovely people my favourite and most used travel apps. (And before you ask, no, this post is not sponsored, just my honest thoughts and feelings). While there are definitely more (SkyScanner, HostelWorld, Uber etc. these are my favourites)

1.       Airbnb

Now as you are all very aware I am a massive fan of Airbnb as I probably don’t stop talking about it and recommending it enough in all of my travel posts (more on this to follow). However, the Airbnb app has been a lifesaver for me as it has helped me get out of many a sticky situation with no accommodation. The interface is really easy to use, the messaging system is great, the only downside I have found is that obviously you need WiFi or a data connection to be able to use it which is fine when you are at home or in the city, not so great when you are stuck in a field in Calais in the middle of January with nowhere to sleep for the night… (See my Calais post for reference).  Also, if you use my link on the Links and Discounts page here you’ll get money off your first stay!

2.       Touch Note

This app is definitely less commonly heard of, I have had it on my phone for a couple of years now after I saw it recommended on Channel 4’s Travel Man, although the other week I did see it advertised on TV, so hopefully it is going to pick up soon.
The basic premise of this app is that it turns your holiday photos into a postcard, allows you to write a message and will send it to your recipient all from the app. While the app itself is free, you do have to buy credits to be able to send each card. However, I think it is great, especially in world where we are always on our phones and are often in places where it is hard to find a stamp, this app solves the problem. Also, the cards are really professional and make great holiday souvenirs. I always send them to my grandma and friend Sophie who love getting postcards!

3.       Gratitude Tipping

This app is relatively new to me as I was contacted on Twitter about this, but after playing around with it I would definitely rate it. Gratitude Tipping works both online and offline (bonus when you are in those hard-to-reach-WiFi places) and will tell you from your location, bill amount, service and people shared, how much the average tip should be for your bill. It has a wide range of countries and is essential for a Brit like me who almost never tips in the UK (we just don’t really do it here). Saves the embarrassment of under-tipping someone and saves you money from over-tipping too!

4.       TripSoSo

While TripSoSo may not be the most streamlined or stylish app, it is quite good in providing you a jumping off point for finding things to do in your travel destination. Allowing you to use it online and download location guides for offline use, this app also has in-app purchases allowing you to book tours and excursions through them. While it certainly doesn’t have everything you can do, it is a good place to start and often has some less-thought of ideas that aren’t always in the Lonely Planets (A post on this will also follow soon!).

5.       CityMapper

My final top-rated app is CityMapper. If you haven’t heard of CityMapper, what rock have you been hiding under the last few years? CityMapper is fairly self explanatory, only working in major cities (although they are always adding more locations), it provides you a map of the city and shows the quickest ways of getting from A to B. It also provides price, how many calories you will burn, and live updates on public transport arrivals. In some locations is has also launched its own bus service. If you haven’t got it already, download it now!

Have a good week my loves!

Lots of Love, Kate xxx

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

My Travel Bible: The Lonely Planet Obsession

Hello lovely people – time for your weekly travel ramblings from me!

This week I thought I might write about my travel bibles aka the huge collection of Lonely Planet guides that litter my book shelves and are only slightly getting out of control.

While it is not the most original travel item as usually everyone has them and you can’t wander round a city or trek Matchu Pitchu without seeing Lonely Planet guides stuck out the top of backpacks or being desperately clutched when lost, I still love to get one.

The most I usually use my guide is actually in the planning stages of my holiday. It is great to orientate yourself in an area, maybe see where you might want to stay, even take some of the suggestions as to accommodation from the book. I like to see what the guide suggests to do, and then compare it to online suggestions, followed by then ignoring these ideas completely and usually wandering around until I get lost.

For me, these travel guides are also a kind of souvenir in a way, they are often aspirational as I have loads from places I haven’t been yet, but they are also a reminder of where I have been. I know I sound very airy fairy, but it’s true.

I also find they are a great conversation starter both at home on my book shelf, and when you are out travelling, people are drawn to them and it is a great way to get talking to fellow travellers, even when you are on your own!

What is your favourite guide? Do you have any you would recommend?

Have a good week my loves!

Lots of Love, Kate xxx

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

72 hours in Stockholm

You might be pretty sick of me constantly writing about my holidays, but then again, this is a travel blog for the most part, so what do you expect really?!

Although this is the last overseas holiday post for a while because it was the last holiday I had booked! It feels weird not having something happening – although this is solely down to my supposed job hunt – damn money that I need to live.

Anyway, my FINAL trip of the year so far was to the sunny climbs of Stockholm, Sweden, just for a two-night city break.

While the weather in the UK has calmed down at the end of July, I promptly flew to Stockholm where it was over 30 degrees with 94% humidity. Great.

As Stockholm is in Scandinavia, it is super super expensive, especially at the moment (thanks Brexit), so if you really want to enjoy yourself, don’t try to do it on a budget – although I did and it wasn’t half bad.

Stay in an Airbnb, a classic, and most likely the cheapest option in Stockholm – I’d also advise picking one that is right in the centre of the city if possible so you don’t have to pay the mind-numbing price of £4 per one way journey for the Swedish public transport. Find the Airbnb I stayed here.

There are many airlines to choose from when flying to Sweden (or get the train from Copenhagen or Oslo) but make sure you fly to Stockholm Arlanda airport – the flights to here may be slightly more expensive but if you pick the Ryanair flights from Stanstead, although they cost nothing, they will fly you to an airport that is actually 4 hours outside Stockholm – not great for a city break! I flew with Norwegian which ticks all the boxes for a short haul 2h35m flight – slightly uncomfortable seats, but not too bad all in all.

What to do in Stockholm: Well there are many options, although all costing rather a lot, so choose your poison in advance. There are literally hundreds of museum littering the island archipelago that makes up the city, so take a wander round the postage museum, the ABBA museum (legendary) or the Nobel Prize Museum.

Sweden is known for being a wonderfully liberal country, with a brilliant concept that has recently taken the world by storm. With no English translation, fika, literally means to take a break and have a coffee and a chat with your friends, so feel free to do this in any number of beautiful parks or coffee shops in Stockholm.

For younger visitors, or just for big kids, on the island of Skansen there is a Tivoli theme park with an open air museum that has been reconstructed to show Stockholm through the ages with a large zoo too!

And classically, in true basic traveller style, two free options from insider tips is to visit the Medieval museum (although note it is closed on Monday) and take a free walking tour around the city. This lasts just over an hour as Stockholm really isn’t very big, but is great for orientating yourself and learning about Swedish history...and don't forget to try some Swedish meatballs! 

Where are you off on holiday to next?

Have a great week my loves!

Lots of Love, Kate xxx

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Sarajevo: The Best Restaurant in the Balkans


In one way it means a Serbian right-wing political party.

In Bosnian and Russian it means 'doors'.

But in Sarajevo, it is easily THE best restaurant.

Walk into Dveri and you will instantly feel like you have been taken back to the Bosnian countryside before the war. Dveri is a Bosnian home, from the tiny kitchen churning out the most amazing home cooked food to the one waiter serving and welcoming you into his life.

Sit down on the rustic furniture decorated in red Bosnian style and you are welcomed into a home and a restaurant.

Choose from Bosnian traditional meals of fried sardines, Hungarian inspired goulash, roasted vegetables and heavy meat dishes, you will not be disappointed by any choice. And definitely remember to ask for the olives, bread and oil to share at the beginning of the meal. The homemade bread is so fluffy you could be forgiven for thinking it was a Yorkshire pudding and the 'homemade olives' simply fall off the pips.

Open what feels to be 24/7 Dveri serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks, you could stay there all day and feel at home.

Have a good week my loves!

Lots of Love, Kate xxx

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