Kubasjourneys.com https://kubasjourneys.com Traveling the world while earning money online Fri, 23 Aug 2019 08:18:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.2 Interview: How to travel for free or with little money https://kubasjourneys.com/how-to-travel-for-free/ https://kubasjourneys.com/how-to-travel-for-free/#respond Thu, 22 Aug 2019 13:24:40 +0000 https://kubasjourneys.com/?p=10347 Are you wondering how to travel for free? Traveling without money is for many people an intimidating thought. There are however hundreds of travelers that decide to leave their comfort zone and travel the world without or with very little money in their bank account....

Příspěvek Interview: How to travel for free or with little money pochází z Kubasjourneys.com

]]>
Are you wondering how to travel for free?

Traveling without money is for many people an intimidating thought. There are however hundreds of travelers that decide to leave their comfort zone and travel the world without or with very little money in their bank account.

One of those travelers is also my friend Tibor. He left his home in the Czech Republic to travel for around 12 months with only as little as €2.000 in his bank account. His maximum budget for the day was only €8.

Do you want to travel but you have no money? Watch Tibor’s story and learn about how to travel with little money or on a extreme budget.

 

 

Read further to find some inspiration and practical tips on how you can travel the world with no money. Make sure to read until the end as I will list some tips you won’t find anywhere else. 

How to travel for free – Plan ahead

If you decide to go traveling with little money, you should definitely plan ahead. That being said, planning ahead does not mean that you need to plan every minute of your trip.

Having a rough idea about your route will save you a lot of hassle and expensive last-minute decisions.

Before you decide about your travel destination do your research about:

  • Flights
  • Visas
  • Accommodation
  • Cost of Food

Now let’s dive into this ultimate guide with practical tips about how to travel with little money.

Choose a cheap travel destination

If you want to travel on a low budget I would choose a destination with low cost of living, meaning cheap food, cheap accommodation , and cheap transport.

Travelers with low budget often travel to Asia or Southeast Asia. Africa might seem like a good option too, however, foreigners are often charged extraordinarily high rates for safari tours and visits of national parks, which isn’t an option for travelers with no money.

I would not advise traveling the US, Australia, New Zealand or any north European countries either if you have no money. My last trip to Iceland cost me a small fortune.

India, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar or Malaysia are on the other hand very cheap destinations to travel to. Last winter I spent a few months in Thailand and even during the high season I spent only €350 for a one-room apartment on a tropical island of Koh Lanta. Dorms start from €5 a night or even less.

When it comes to choosing the right travel destination, you should certainly look into the seasons. High seasons are typically more expensive as there is a higher demand for accommodation. You also don’t want to spend weeks in a place during the rainy season or during the “burning” season in the north of Thailand.

Exploring a place during the off-season can save you up to 50% on accommodation. Have this in mind when looking for a budget-friendly travel destination.

travel-in-low-seasons-
Spending January and February in Koh Lanta is amazing

Find cheap transportation

As soon as you choose your destination you should start planning your transportation. The more you wait for the more likely the price for the flight to your destination increases.

If you find an error fare from a trustworthy and known airline, don’t think too long and get it before the prices increase.

When looking for flights I tend to use skyscanner.com or Google Flights. When comparing flights you can also use kiwi.com or kayak.com.

How to save money for flights

1. Book through a trustworthy company

Skyscanner allows you to book through many “brokers” with dodgy reviews.

save money while traveling and book in advance
Book directly with the airline and avoid scammy websites

I suggest to always book with the airline directly. You save yourself a lot of hassle.

2. Look into the airline reviews

Spotting a cheap flight might be exciting and you might want to book straight away. First, I suggest looking into the reviews of the airline. If you can find many negative experiences from fellow travelers, the chances that you will have a bad experience as well are quite high.

Trust me, I have been there too. My trip with Wizzair from Vienna to Reykjavik, Iceland was a nightmare and turned out to be more expensive as with a non-low-cost airline.

Have in mind that low-cost airlines might charge you extra fees for anything, even if it’s not your fault but a system error.

Paying a bit more for your flight might , in‌ ‌the‌ ‌end,n cheaper as if you would go with the lowest airline.

look up airline review before booking
Travel with legit airlines and save money

3. Travel light

Since I started working online in 2017, I was always traveling with carry-on luggage only. That saves me a lot of money on the check-in luggage. Additionally, the less you have, the less you need to take care of.

save money and travel-with-carry-on
Traveling with carry on luggage can save you money

Extra service increase the price of your flightAt the end of the day, you are going on an adventure and you don’t need the entire closet with you ;)

4. Avoid additional options

Many airline companies want you to buy extra insurance, meals, upgrade your seat, pay for extra luggage or book a car and hotel while booking your flights.

This is just a way for companies to increase their margins. If you are on a tight budget I suggest avoiding those options.

  • You can always buy better food at the airport and bring it with you to the airplane.
  • I use the N26 black card which covers lost luggage and some light travel claims.
  • I always book my own accommodation via hostelworld.com, Airbnb or booking.com
  • For car bookings I use rentalcars.com as this has worked out the best for me.
avoid-extra-service when buying flights
Avoid additional service if you want to save money on your flights

How to save money while touring around a country

There are several options on how you can save some cash on transportation while exploring the country.

Here are a few of them:

  • Buses
  • Trains
  • Hitchhiking

Depending on the destination you can look up trains and buses online.

Use public transportation

In Asia, you can use a popular website called 12go.asia to look up and book connections between cities. I have used this a lot while exploring Vietnam. In Thailand, however, I tend to book directly with travel offices.

travel-with-no-money---use-public-transport-min
Travel with little money while using train and buses

If you happen to be in a new country, I would suggest going to book train tickets on the train station (if that’s not too far from you) as sometimes online bookings might not be available.

In some countries, like in Russia, you are better off avoiding scammy websites and book directly through the official Russian Railway Site RZD.

Traveling with buses and trains is often a very affordable way to explore a country on a budget.

On some continents like in Europe, traveling with buses is even cheaper than taking trains. A popular bus company operating in most of Europe is called flixbus.

Hitchhike for free

Hitchhiking is another way to travel for free while getting to know the locals. I haven’t heard of any country, where this wasn’t possible. I have been hitchhiking myself in the Balkans and Greece a few years ago and it was an amazing experience.

travel for free and hitchike
Hitchiking allows you to travel for free around the world

A great way to explore a country, particularly in Southeast Asia is to rent a motorbike. If you stay longer, you can get really good monthly rates. The prices vary on the country and the condition of the bike.

Find cheap accommodation

Accommodation is usually quite a big part of everyone’s travel expenses. If you want to travel with no money, you should be looking into options about how you can stay somewhere for free.

Volunteer abroad

You can use volunteering organizations or websites such as workaway.info to find volunteering opportunities where you can stay for free. You will need to sign up and pay an annual fee of $42 to get access to the platform and contact hosts. Workaway shows volunteering opportunities all around the globe.

volunteer and stay for free
Volunteer and stay for free

Save money with Couchsurfing

As an alternative, you can also sign up at sites such as couchsurfing.com where locals host travelers with the aim of cultural exchange. Note , however, that the aim of this service is not to exploit locals but to connect and learn about their cultures. Don’t expect the same comfort or privacy as you might have with Airbnb.

stay for free with couchsurfing
Stay for free with couchsurfing

Stay for free in Monasteries

You can also stay in many monasteries or religious temples in Southeast Asia for free (or a small donation). Here is a great guide on how this works. If you decide to use this strategy always be respectful and show gratitude towards the locals. It isn’t meant for people who just want to stay for free.

sleep-in-temples-for-free-min
Sleep for free in Monasteries

House Sitting

Many young travelers use platforms such as Trustedhoussitters to take care of a house and the pets while the family is traveling. It might be hard to gain trust within the community if you have a new profile without any review, however, if you make efforts it can save you a lot of money while traveling.

travel for free and take care of pets
Travel for free and take care of pets

House Swap

Many families use house swapping sites such as homeexchange.com to swap their homes with other families on the platform. This is a great way to go on a vacation without paying for accommodation. If you happen to have an apartment, you can swap it with other members and stay at their homes for free while traveling.

swap homes and stay for free
Swap homes and stay for free

Stay in dorms

Many people that travel with little money stay in dormitories. This means that you will book a bed in a dorm with 8 or more people. The more people in the room, the less comfortable it gets. If you are on a low budget, however, this is a good way to get the cheapest accommodation if Couchsurfing won’t work.

Staying in dorms allows you to connect with many other travelers, you can cook together or share some costs for fun activities. When it comes to booking hostels, I only use hostelworld.com or booking.com. If you travel to Southeast Asia, you can also check the rates at agoda.com.

Travel with little money and stay in dorms
Travel with little money and stay in dorms

How to save money on food

After transportation and accommodation, food is the next big expenses while traveling. Saving money on food can , therefore, allow you to stretch your budget and travel longer. Here are some tips on how to save money on food while traveling with little money.

Cook your own meals

This is obviously a no brainer. Buying your food in supermarkets and cook it yourself can save you some money. This is, however, only possible if you have equipped place to cook your own meals and some basic supplies such as salt, pepper and cooking oil. Without basic groceries, your food will taste quite boring.

cook your own food and save money
If you can – cook your own meals and save money on food

Eat Street Food

Particularly in Southeast Asia the street food is often cheaper as compared to buying your own groceries and cook by yourself. If you decide to buy street food, make some research and go to a crowded place that is visited by many locals. This is a good sign that the food is fresh and you might reduce the chances of belly issues afterward.

In Thailand, you can usually visit one of the many street food markets that allow you to buy really cheap and tasty food. Here is a list of delicious street food you can try in Asia.

eat cheap street food
Street food might sometimes be cheaper than if you cook yourself

Eat from Buddhist Temples

Many Buddhist temples in Asia allow travelers to eat with them for free. Usually, you can get two to three meals a day for free. If you are looking to get to know this religion better and want a free place to sleep you can apply for volunteering in one of the temples.

 

Eat with the monks for free
Eat with the monks for free

 

Get a job and pay your bills while traveling

Apart from volunteering you can always find a job abroad to pay for your travel expenses.

Here is a list of popular jobs amongst travelers

  • Teaching english
  • Become a diving instructor
  • Work at cruise ships
  • Become an Au pair
  • Become a Lifeguard
  • Work as a bartender
  • Work in hostels

Note that some of the jobs require some payments abroad.

To become a diving instructor you will need to pass the previous certifications as well as the final exams. Often you will need your diving gear, which isn’t cheap as well.

If you decide to become a Lifeguard you will also need to pass the exam and pay your ticket to the chosen destination.

Young women often travel abroad to become an au pair and take care of kids. This is often managed by a third company that helps set things up. These companies usually charge some fees for this service.

Teaching english is also a popular option to pay for food and accommodation while traveling. I have met travelers that taught english in Japan, Vietnam and even in Africa. The requirements are usually not as tough. If you are a native speaker your chances to get accepted are obviously higher. You can google for english schools and reach out to them directly, asking if they would give you a job.

As a last resort you can always work in hostels or as a bartender. In most cases you will be paid cash in hand. I have met plenty of people who did this to pay for their travels.

Become a dive instructor and pay for your travels
Become a dive instructor and pay for your travels

How to get cheap travel insurance

Eventhough you don’t have money for traveling you should not avoid a travel insurance. You never know what can happen while traveling. Your body isn’t used to the new environment and you might get sick more often, even though you are super fit at home.

There are two options to go about it. You can either look up travel insurances, offered by companies in your home country or at international travel insurances for travelers by companies such as Safetywing or Worldnomads.

 

A good travel insurance should cover at least all your medical costs abroad. When choosing the travel insurance you should have a look at the deductibles / excess. This is the amount you will need to pay by yourself if you happen to have an accident or get sick. I usually don’t get additional travel insurance for delayed flights etc. as this just increases the costs.

You can apply for travel insurance from Worldnomads and Safetywing even when you left your home country already.

Worldnomads have a higher deductible and are generally more expensive. If you travel on a budget the Safetywing medical travel insurance will be the better option for you.

How to get a free bank account for traveling

Anywhere you travel, you will need a debit card to withdraw money and pay some of your bills. Ideally you want a card that

  • Has low withdrawal fees
  • Has no fees for card payments in foreign currencies
  • Won’t get declined or locked by your bank
  • Is safe to use (protected against scams)
  • Has no annual fees
  • Has no foreign currency fees

If you happen to be from Europe, I can recommend the Revolut free bank account for travelers. I have been using for some time now and there isn’t anything to complain about. You can apply here. If you are in doubt, feel free to read my in-depth Revolut review. Currently it is the best cards for budget-friendly travelers.

free travel card
If you want a free debit card for travelers – Revolut offers the best value

Things you should consider when traveling for free

Traveling for free isn’t for anyone. It can be often very exhausting. You will need to talk to many people to get yourself safe.

It isn’t always comfortable

Free accommodation isn’t always as comfortable as at home. You might often sleep on couches or with many people in the same room.

Cheap food and poor hygiene can often get you sick. You should be aware of the quality of drinking water in the country you travel to. In most Asian countries it is not advised to drink tap water for instance.

Be on the safe side

Having a first aid kit with some charcoal, probiotics , and disinfection should be part of your packing list.

Having proper medical travel insurance will also save you a lot of money.

I used my travel insurance in almost every other country and I am very grateful for this. I would not like to cover the expenses for a hospital visit in Australia by myself.

Do fun activities

Traveling on a really low budget means that you won’t be able to afford a lot of fun activities such as scuba diving, local tours, safari tracks, etc.

It always comes down to the purpose of your travels. You can have an amazing experience while traveling with no money.

I suggest , however, to set a budget aside for some fun activities. It would be a pity not to be able to go on a boat trip in Whitsunday Islands while visiting Australia, go scuba diving with Manta rays in Bali, snorkeling with dolphins in Egypt, swimming between continents in Iceland or paragliding in Turkey.

sataya-reef-swimming-with-dolphins
Swimming with doplhins in Egypt

Who knows when you will be able to visit these places again. Doing those fun activities should be part of your travel experience.

Now. If you still hesitate to go traveling even without money, there is no excuse really. There are many options that make this possible. If traveling the world is your biggest dreams, make it happen as no one else will do it for you. Remember, traveling isn’t about money. Get out there and have the best experience of your life.

Příspěvek Interview: How to travel for free or with little money pochází z Kubasjourneys.com

]]>
https://kubasjourneys.com/how-to-travel-for-free/feed/ 0
Interview with EstateGuru – the leading real estate P2P lending platform in Europe https://kubasjourneys.com/interview-estateguru/ https://kubasjourneys.com/interview-estateguru/#respond Thu, 08 Aug 2019 10:47:18 +0000 https://kubasjourneys.com/?p=10310 Do you consider investing on the P2P lending platform EstateGuru? Watch this interview and get familiar with the risk evaluation of real estate projects.

Příspěvek Interview with EstateGuru – the leading real estate P2P lending platform in Europe pochází z Kubasjourneys.com

]]>
“Do your own due diligence”. That’s a quote from Eric Noormets, the debt manager at EstateGuru.

Always be aware of where you invest your money! And that’s what I aim to do as well when it comes to P2P lending.

During my trip to Tallinn, I visited EstateGuru, the leading marketplace for short-term property-backed loans which I am invested in.

I had the chance to talk to some of EstateGuru’s employees and get to know the processes of the P2P lending platform.

We talked about the risk assessment of the real estate projects listed on the platform and future plans for EstateGuru. We have also visited some of the projects that were funded by investors. Learn about the risks connected to P2P lending here

Main takeaways from the interview

  • Everyone with a bank account in the EEA (European Economic Area) can invest. Investors from the UK and USA use services such as Paysera, Transferwise or Revolut to invest on EstateGuru.
  • There are no fees for investors.
  • EstateGuru is using similar risk models to banks in order to evaluate real estate projects.
  • Banks often decline real estate developers due to short-term projects or the age of their companies.
  • EstateGuru takes a wider look into the background of the borrower.

 

  • All real estate projects are mortgage-backed, meaning your investment is secured by physical assets.
  • Most projects have an LTV (loan to value) around 65%.
  • EstateGuru has an automated and manual process to notify the borrower about their payment schedule.
  • The process of debt collections varies depending on the country. In Estonia, the platform can simply terminate the loan agreement with the borrower and forward the claim to a bailiff. In Latvia, EstateGuru must first ask for permission from the court to sell the collateral asset, which extends the process.
  • Thanks to the unified EU legislation there aren’t any big surprises when it comes to debt collection in different countries.

 

  • EstateGuru isn’t funding any projects with a higher LTV than 75%.
  • The volatility of real estate prices in the Baltics during a recession is quite high. Short-term investors who exit the market fast usually lose money.
  • The real estate market in Estonia stabilized during the last recession rather fast.
  • Each project has a buffer that takes care of a recession to a certain extent.
  • If a project changes its status from late to default it means that the case has been forwarded to the state authority for debt collection (bailiff).
  • The borrower usually gets 30 days period to pay the debt voluntarily.
  • If the borrower fails to pay, the bailiff puts the collateral assets for an auction.
  • EstateGuru has not lost any of investor’s money.
  • Do your own research when investing in property-backed loans.
  • The secondary market should be launched by the end of the summer.
  • EstateGuru will soon be translated into Finnish and Spanish language.

 

Visiting projects financed by investors on EstateGuru

Apart from the interview I also had the opportunity to visit some of the projects financed through EstateGuru.

 

Apartment building in Maardu, Estonia

The first visit was a construction site in the area called Maardu, 25 minutes from downtown Tallinn. When the project is completed, the apartment building will have 21 apartments and one commercial space. You can find more about the project on the developer’s website.

  • Development loan
  • Loan amount 110.000,- EUR
  • Loan period 12 months
  • LTV 55%
  • The interest rate for investors 10,5%
estateguru-project-maardu
EstateGuru Project in Maardu

This development loan of 110.000,- EUR was funded by 886 investors in mid-july 2019. The loan period is 12 months with an interest of 10.50% p.a. and LTV of 55%. The loan is secured by a first-rank mortgage and the collateral is valued at 200.000,- EUR.

Find more information about this project here.

 

Family homes in Kaljula

The second project we visited was in Kaljula. In this case, the loan was used to construct family homes. The LTV for this project is around 50% and as many other projects, this one is also funded in stages. The currently active development loan should be repaid by the end of 2019. You can find more information about this development project here.

  • Development loan
  • Loan amount 74.000,- EUR
  • Loan period 12 months
  • LTV 50%
  • The interest rate for investors 9,5%
estateguru-project-Kaljula
EstateGuru Project in Kaljula

Fun fact: Many homes in Estonia have a sauna, that’s the case with this one as well. Would you prefer to have a sauna at home? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Ringikodu apartment building

The last project we visited was at Ringikodu in Maardu. The loan to value ratio, in this case, was only 25% and the borrower managed to repay the loan before the end of the loan period. Investors earned 11% p.a. yield on this project. You can find more information about the apartment building on the developer’s site or in the project description on EstateGuru.

  • Development loan
  • Loan amount 250.000,- EUR
  • Loan period 12 months
  • LTV 25%
  • Interest rate for investors 11% p.a.
estateguru-project-ringikodu
EstateGuru Project in Ringikodu

The project tour was led by Tauri Tiik, who is the loan manager at EstateGuru. During the car ride, we have had an interesting discussion about real estate investing in the Baltics.

Two are two keypoints to keep in mind: the profitability as well as some information about the drop in value during a recession (just another perspective on the topics discussed during the interview).

 

Why would someone take a loan from EstateGuru?

Investors might often question the high interests that the borrower needs to pay to EstateGuru. What many of us, however, don’t realize is that some of the real estates financed through the platform are sold with huge margins of 100% or 200%.

Even though the interest of the loans financed by EstateGuru is higher as compared to bank loans, with margins as mentioned above, it does really matter to pay 5% or 10% more of interest. EstateGuru offers fast and flexible financing which makes it attractive for many real estate developers.

 

How did the recession impact the real estate market in the Baltics?

During the last recession, the value of the real estate in the Baltics dropped. But it did not drop equally in all regions. In the more populated areas in and around Tallinn, the drop in value wasn’t as significant as in more rural areas.

This is something that investors can use when doing their diligence before investing in property-backed real estate loans. Depending on the LTV, the value of properties on the countryside might be more volatile as in the cosmopolitan areas.

 

Would I invest more in EstateGuru?

The visit of EstateGuru was of great value to me as an investor. Often you don’t understand how the platform operates and having a one to one interview with some of the people running the company could answer many open questions.

If my goal would be to increase my portfolio size in P2P lending and lock my capital for at least one year I would not hesitate to put more funds on EstateGuru. The platform offers solid investment opportunities, backed by the physical real-estate value. This is also the main differentiator in comparison to many other P2P lending platforms.

Anyone with a bank account within the European Economic Area can invest on EstateGuru and earn on average more than 12% yield every year. In case you are based outside of Europe, you can use money transfer services and digital banks such as Transferwise, Revolut or Pioneer.

If you have spare money in your bank account that you don’t need within the next year, you can increase its value by investing on EstateGuru.

 

Sign up on EstateGuru today and benefit from an exclusive bonus.

 

Upon sign up, you will receive 0.5% cashback from your investment within the first 90 days. Additionally, if you decide to sign up with my link and invest minimum of €50 you will receive a bonus of €10. This exclusive promo is only valid until the 9th of September 2019. 

Příspěvek Interview with EstateGuru – the leading real estate P2P lending platform in Europe pochází z Kubasjourneys.com

]]>
https://kubasjourneys.com/interview-estateguru/feed/ 0
How to Build a 20k P2P Lending Portfolio in 2 Years https://kubasjourneys.com/how-to-invest-20k/ https://kubasjourneys.com/how-to-invest-20k/#comments Fri, 12 Jul 2019 06:53:14 +0000 https://kubasjourneys.com/?p=10188 In the last two years, I have built a P2P portfolio worth €20.000. In this article, I will be sharing my thoughts and the process of how I invest 20k with a percent yield of more than 10% p.a. This post isn’t a piece of...

Příspěvek How to Build a 20k P2P Lending Portfolio in 2 Years pochází z Kubasjourneys.com

]]>
In the last two years, I have built a P2P portfolio worth €20.000. In this article, I will be sharing my thoughts and the process of how I invest 20k with a percent yield of more than 10% p.a.

This post isn’t a piece of investment advice and it probably won’t serve much value for experienced investors. It is rather an inspirational post that will help you to create the right mindset to save up and invest money. Don’t expect any magical formula that will help you build wealth fast.

How to invest 20k – my thought process

When investing money, you want to be aware of the following:

What are the risks connected to my investment strategy – what’s the chance to lose the money?
How long is the capital commitment – can you access your money fast?

With this in mind I started looking for opportunities that would fit my criteria:

  • The acceptable risk for the amount of interest
  • Fast access to my investment

Why everyone should invest money

Keeping money on savings and bank accounts does not make sense as the inflation is higher than any possible interest you would currently receive for your savings. You are basically losing value if you keep your money on the bank account.

The amount of €20.000 would be worth €19.600 at the end of the first year and €19.208 in two years if we calculate with an annual 2% inflation rate.

To avoid this situation I started educating myself about P2P lending as soon as I finished university and started earning income. It took only a few weeks and I made my first transfer to Mintos, a P2P platform from Riga. First I only invested €100 to test the platform and get familiar with its features.

Read my experiences with Mintos

In the first few weeks, I was checking my investments every day. Soon I figured out that this isn’t required and that I could spend my time better elsewhere. My aim was to create a passive long-lasting income stream.

At the end of the day, there is only so much you can learn about a P2P platform right? Checking the performance of your loans isn’t something you should do on a daily basis.

Months went by and I started looking more into the securities and risks that come with P2P lending. Read more about it here.

Being aware of all risks is something I should have looked into before I even started investing on P2P sites. A rookie mistake – maybe.

At that time I was thinking about investing more money in P2P loans.

Diversifying investments

I started diversifying across several P2P platforms. Instead of only funding personal and short-term loans on Mintos and Peerberry, now I started supporting real estate projects on EstateGuru and companies on Envestio. These “new” platforms often offer better yields however their system and the way they work varies as well.

My goal was mainly to not put all my eggs in the same basket. I kept expanding my portfolio as well as my activity on several P2P platforms. Not only it helped me better understand the asset class but it also helped diversify my investments across different loan types (secured and unsecured loans).

It took me two years to build a P2P portfolio worth €20.000. I strongly believe that anyone with the right mindset and some financial income can achieve similar results.

Here is a sneak peek into my portfolio. Read more about it in this article, where I compare P2P platforms I use myself.

european p2p lending sites

Here are 7 lessons that I have learned from investing in P2P loans since 2017.

 

Don’t be emotionally connected to money

For anyone who has worked hard to earn some income, the thought of losing it might be devastating. All investments that get you a decent return are risky. P2P lending is no exceptions. Be aware of the risks and don’t invest if you don’t feel comfortable about it. Never invest money that you aren’t prepared to lose.

It took me a few months to let completely go of my emotions. I learned the most when I tried trading cryptocurrencies during the hype at the end of 2017. But that’s another story.

Letting go of emotions when it comes to investing was one of the best lessons. If you think more about it you will realize that money doesn’t make you happier.

 

Don’t be greedy

Greed is terrible and it can ruin you. When there is an opportunity and someone promises you to get great returns for little work you should get suspicious. Higher returns are mostly connected to higher risks.

Gamblers know that and many of them lose money. Do not invest in something you don’t know because someone else advised you to do so.

Greed can greatly influence the diversification of your portfolio. Always do your own research and get familiar with the investments before actually putting your money into something.

 

Read books

Reading books is often underestimated. Many people find a lot of excuses why not to read. Successful people usually read several books a month. Books can give you a great perspective on things that you weren’t aware of before.

Personally, I enjoy reading books about successful entrepreneurs as well as books about investments and personal development. I also often listen to podcasts on spotify.

There is always something I learn and many books helped me to see things from a different angle.

Here are some books I enjoyed listening through Audible lately:

The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham
Crush it by Garry Vaynerchuk
Principles by Ray Dalio
Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson
Total Recall by Arnold Schwarzenegger

 

Keep fit

Being healthy and fit is extremely important in my opinion. It helps you be more productive and get things done. I believe that if you are physically fit you can achieve more and make better decisions overall. I don’t think I would have come to the point where I can invest 20k if I wouldn’t be fit – I would probably lack the discipline.

Following a healthy diet while regularly exercising will teach you to be more accountable and more disciplined. Something that will be of value when investing as well.

There are numerous studies that talk about the connection between body mind. Here is an interesting article about it.

 

Don’t overconsume

We get bombarded with ads every day. Companies keep creating needs that we weren’t even aware of. Often people go buy stuff just because it’s on sale, not because they need it.

You don’t need to live out of a backpack as I do, but being aware of how much stuff you actually need is already a good start.

Everything you buy just for the sake of having it isn’t going to help you to build wealth and secure yourself for the future.

Learn more of the effects of overconsumption in this article from theguardian.com.

Look at your bank account statement from the last month and analyze your expenses. How much do you think you could cut and put towards your investment portfolio?

 

Increase your income

If you believe you cannot save enough money to invest regularly, think of ways to increase your income. Ask for a promotion or get an additional job if possible. There are many ways to earn income online or offline.

Learn a skill that someone is willing to pay for and start offering your services. Investing in P2P loans or holding dividend stocks is also a way to increase your income.

Feel free to think outside the box and create new opportunities for yourself – you don’t need to do what everyone else is doing.

 

Have a plan

The best advice I can give you to reach your goal and build your portfolio is to have a long-term plan. Make yourself milestones that you want to reach. Building a portfolio of €20.000 in 24 months may not be easy.

Setting your goals can help you follow your plan.

If you wouldn’t invest into anything and just keep the cash on your account you will only save up €18.200. Also, be aware that thanks to the inflation your money will be less worth with time.

Let’s say you have savings worth €5000. In case you decide to invest in P2P loans, you can expect a yearly return of 11%. This means that if you invest €550 every month you will get to €20.000 in exactly 24 months. You can read more about inflation here.

 

What you need to invest 20k

There are four things you should be doing to build a portfolio and invest 20k.

  • Have the right mindset
  • Educate yourself about investing
  • Decrease your cost
  • Increase your income

All of the four points combined will help you be better off financially. With the right mindset, you can certainly build a portfolio and invest 20k in any of your chosen asset class.

 

Any questions? Comment below!

Let me know in the comments below if you have any additional questions. I am happy to help.

Příspěvek How to Build a 20k P2P Lending Portfolio in 2 Years pochází z Kubasjourneys.com

]]>
https://kubasjourneys.com/how-to-invest-20k/feed/ 6
Swimming With Wild Doplhins on The Sataya Reef https://kubasjourneys.com/swimming-with-wild-doplhins-sataya-reef/ https://kubasjourneys.com/swimming-with-wild-doplhins-sataya-reef/#respond Mon, 24 Jun 2019 14:06:15 +0000 https://kubasjourneys.com/?p=10047 Is swimming with wild dolphins on your bucket list? Read my story about snorkeling with dolphins for one week in Marsa Alam on the Sataya Reef in Egypt.

Příspěvek Swimming With Wild Doplhins on The Sataya Reef pochází z Kubasjourneys.com

]]>
Is swimming with wild dolphins on your bucket list? If so, this article is for you. This June I took my mom to Egypt to fulfill her biggest dream: swimming with wild dolphins. Additionally, it was her birthday so it was a perfect gift.

The place we went to is called Sataya Reef. It is situated in the south of Egypt, close to Marsa Alam, a few hours away from the famous tourist destination Hurghada.

We spent one week on the boat, snorkeling with dolphins, diving, doing yoga, aqua aerobics and tubing behind the boat.

As this was my first time in Egypt and my mom wanted to join a group of open-minded, spiritually oriented people, we decided to book a tour.

I never book a group tour just for the sake of being more flexible – but this time it made sense and I would do it again.

That way all of the logistics were taken care off and we did not have to hassle with booking our own transport, accommodation or the boat ourselves.

In this article, I will share our experience with the dolphin tour as well as the swimming with wild dolphins.

places to swim with doplhins

How to get to Sataya Reef?

The best way to get yourself to Sataya Reef is to fly to Marsa Alam and use a minibus to the harbor where the boat will be waiting for you. There are two harbors from where the boat to Sataya Reef departs – Marsa Alam and Hamata harbor.

Check flights on Skyscanner.com

We were picked up at Marsa Alam airport and drove two hours to the Hamata harbor. The roads in Egypt are often unpaved and bumpy. You will drive through the desert and if you get lucky you can spot some camels on the way.

transport-to-sataya-reef
That’s how we get to Hamata harbor where we boarded the boat towards Sataya Reef

We boarded the boat and check in into our cabins. From here we drove two hours to the Sataya Reef, where we docked for the next five nights.

Snorkeling with dolphins – an incredible experience

We woke up every day at five to board the small speedboat (zodiac) and drove to the place where the dolphins were currently swimming around.

The lagoon is quite small and you can spot dolphins from the boat. The drive usually takes no more than 10 minutes by zodiac.

We jumped into the water and started swimming towards the dolphins. They usually swim in groups and stay in one area for a few minutes. Sometimes we saw up to 50 dolphins swimming right next to us.

marsa alam dolphins
Snorkeling with doplhins

Looking at dolphins, swimming around you, playing with you and showing you their way of living is incredible. You will be filled with joy and gratefulness.

Dolphin is one of the most intelligent animals. For centuries dolphins are enjoying a very positive reputation. In antique Greece, dolphins were seen as gods. They are symbols of freedom, intelligence, friendship, empathy, happiness, and joy. Swimming with dolphins will likely lead to some of those emotions.

There are several scientific studies that prove that electromagnetic signals can have a positive influence on human bodies and minds.

Dolphins are very social beings and in many ways, their moral behavior is above people’s. They hunt together, play together and take care of each other. They accept any other dolphin to join their community. Dolphins are also known for helping swimmers in need.

Usually, we went swimming with dolphins twice or three times a day, depending on our mood and the mood of dolphins. After breakfast, there was a second snorkeling with dolphins and in the afternoon you had the chance to board the zodiac again. In most cases, the dolphins weren’t as playful after lunch as in the morning.

sataya reef dophin house
Trying to keep up with the dolphins

On several occasions, I was just enjoying myself on the inflatable swan while dolphins were swimming under me.

This was just amazing – where else can you have such an experience?

Swimming with dolphins – what do you need?

Anyone who can swim will enjoy swimming with dolphins. It does not matter if you are old or young. There are no real limitations unless you have a special medical condition.

Snorkeling equipment

It is good to have a mask and some fins with you. You can not rent them on the boat due to hygienic reasons. We had the full-face snorkel masks, Cressi fins, and a UV protection shirt.

The full-face mask has a broader field of view as a regular dive mask and it comes with a snorkel, however personally I prefer to have the dive mask and snorkel separated. As I am a certified diver, having both separated makes it more flexible for me. You cannot dive with the full-face mask.

When it comes to the fins. Few days snorkeling resulted in quite painful blisters on my toes. I would definitely suggest wearing diving boots or fins with a closed front.

My picks for snorkeling with dolphins:

UV shirt: O’Neill UV Protection (Buy on Amazon)
Fins: Cressi Pro Light (Buy on Amazon)
Mask + Snorkel: Cressi Panoramic Wide View Mask + Snorkel Set (Buy on Amazon)

snorkeling with dolphins equipment
Make sure you have proper equipment before you go snorkeling with dolphins

Medical Care – Get a proper travel insurance

Everyone should have travel insurance. You never know what happens and you want to be on the safe side. Swimming with dolphins isn’t dangerous. I never felt uncomfortable however there are other risks, you can slip on the boat and an injury can happen very fast.

There is a first aid kit on the boat and some medication against sea sickness or stomach issues. If you, however, should visit a hospital, it can get quite expensive.

The boat will be docked in the lagoon, there are basically no waves so the chance of you getting seasick is quite small. Furthermore, the food on the boat was excellent and I never had any problems with my digestion.

I suggest you look for travel insurance from your home country. You can also get one online with companies such as Worldnomads or Safetywing.

What’s the best time to visit Sataya Reef?

The dolphins live on the Sataya Reef all year long, they do not migrate. However, the sea is quite cold in winter.

The main season goes from April to November. Most popular months are from May to September.

During the summer break, many tourists stay at the coast of Egypt which makes it the perfect time to visit the Sataya Reef as there aren’t many boats around.

sunset-on-the-sataya-reef-min
Daily sunsets in June on the Sataya Reef looked like this

Sataya Reef is not the Dolphin House

Be aware that Sataya Reef is not the same as Dolphin House, although it is marked that way on Google Maps.

Dolphin House is located north of Hurghada, while the Sataya Reef is south of Marsa Alam. You can spot dolphins in the Dolphin House quite often, they are however not as present as in the Sataya Reef.

If you happen to be in Hurghada and want to go snorkeling with dolphins just for one day, I suggest booking a day trip here to visit the Dolphin House. It is only around €25 per person.

dolphin experience sataya reef

How much does one-week swimming with dolphins cost?

If you want to experience swimming with wild dolphins as we did, I suggest booking a dolphin snorkeling tour.

The cost for one week per person was around €1.200 without travel insurance and the visa fee.

The price includes:

  • Flights from Prague to Marsa Alam
  • Transport to the boat
  • All inclusive (food and soft drinks) – also suitable for vegetarians
  • Daily snorkeling
  • Two dives
  • Tubing and wakeboarding
  • Optional: Exercises, mediations, etc. which depends on the group

The visa on arrival cost $25 and you should pay in USD. Travel insurance costs around $10 for 7 days with Safetywing.

Be aware that the price depends on the destination from where you will be flying from. You can also book the tour without the plane tickets.

Your stay on Sataya Reef

The yacht we stay in had everything we could wish for. It is made so it can stay several days on the sea. There are two generators, plenty of drinking water, fresh water, compressors, etc. It is often booked by divers, who are exploring the Red Sea. It has all divers need.

You will be accommodated in cabins with double-bed or twin-beds with private bathroom. There are two decks which you can use to relax.

Food is served three times a day. There are also some snacks in the afternoon. You can bring your own alcoholic beverages, as they are not sold on the boat.

Siyal-Island-Snorkeling-Boat
View on the boat from the Siyal island

Swimming with Dolphins in Egypt

There are multiple places to swim with dolphins in Egypt. You can book a safari tour on the Red Sea, which is more suitable for divers, book a one day trip from Hurghada or book a boat and go explore the Sataya Reef for a few days. It all depends on your budget and time schedule.

 

Go snorkeling with Dolphins – book your trip in advance

dolphins sataya reef

My boat was called Diamond Explorer and the snorkeling tour’s name is Samara Cruise. Usually, you have to book the boat for at least 18 people for one week.

The maximum capacity is 30 people. I would advise booking one year in advance as the capacity is limited and most of the weeks for 2020 are already booked now.

There are however a few dates left, if you are seriously interested in swimming with wild dolphins in Egypt, drop me an email to kuba@kubasjourneys.com and I will help you setting it up.

dolphin snorkeling tour in egypt
Thanks to all of the amazing people who made this trip worth it!

 

Get in touch!

Do you have more questions about swimming with dolphins on the Sataya Reef? Leave a comment below.

Do you like my post? Read more about my recent trip to Iceland here.

Příspěvek Swimming With Wild Doplhins on The Sataya Reef pochází z Kubasjourneys.com

]]>
https://kubasjourneys.com/swimming-with-wild-doplhins-sataya-reef/feed/ 0
Self-Drive Iceland | Follow my Itinerary https://kubasjourneys.com/self-drive-iceland/ https://kubasjourneys.com/self-drive-iceland/#comments Sat, 08 Jun 2019 22:43:32 +0000 https://kubasjourneys.com/?p=9834 Use my 10-day and 7-day Self-Drive Iceland Itineraries. Save money and plan your Iceland tour by yourself. Read my free guide about driving around Iceland.

Příspěvek Self-Drive Iceland | Follow my Itinerary pochází z Kubasjourneys.com

]]>
Are you looking for information about self-drive tours in Iceland? I have just spent 12 days touring around Iceland and this article will teach you everything you need to know about self-drive tours in Iceland.

Self Drive Tour vs Planning the Road Trip on Your Own

If you are looking for self-drive tours in Iceland you might either want to book a tour package or just get an itinerary and explore Iceland on your own. There are benefits and disadvantages to both options. Here is a short overview.

Booking a Self Drive Tour Package

When booking a self-drive tour package, the company will provide you with an itinerary, rental car as well as accommodation. It is a bit easier in terms of planning as you don’t need to spend time researching points of interest and review accommodation options or deal with car rental companies.

On the other side, you will probably not have much time to explore the hidden gems of Iceland as the tour usually doesn’t allow time for detours. Additionally, self-drive tours are cheaper only if you book it with more people. In case you travel as a couple, planning your own trip might be a more budget-friendly option.

The most popular tour around Iceland usually take 7 to 8 days and start at €700 per person.

You can look for various packages on Getyourguide.com

Touring Iceland on Your Own

With a little bit of time and some preparation, you can plan your trip around Iceland on your own. There is a lot of content online that will help you to find places in Iceland that are worth visiting.

Google Maps is one of the best resources that I have used while touring around Iceland.

Keep reading if you are the type of budget-conscious traveler that loves planning the trip on your own. I will provide you with a lot of tips on how to save money while enjoying the most about Iceland.

Driving according to your own plan allows you to get off the beaten path and explore less touristy places. Planning your trip will highly likely save you some money as you can book accommodation that allows you to cook your own meals.

Iceland is expensive and cooking your own food can save you a lot of money. The main course in Iceland is between ISK 2.500 and ISK 3.000 (€18 – €22). If you add up a drink you are at about €30 per person – that’s a lot.

Touring around Iceland on your own will, therefore, give you more flexibility.

In this post, I will give you some information that will make your trip to Iceland as painless as possible, even if you drive on your own. It will help you also to estimate the budget for your trip.

Self Drive Iceland – Things to Know

First things first. Driving around Iceland isn’t difficult if you follow certain rules and are aware of your surroundings.

Roads in Iceland are unpredictable
Roads in Iceland are unpredictable – always be aware of the weather conditions.

Roads in Iceland

If you plan to take the ring road that goes all around Iceland you will be just fine with a small budget car (if you drive in summer). We have had a small Renault Clio. It wasn’t the strongest car but it got us through without any issues.

I booked the car via rentalcars.com and I paid €25 per day for the rental and €21 for the optional car insurance. Be aware that if you don’t pay the insurance the rental company can take up to €1.700 from your account if they find some damage on the car (even if it was not caused by you).

In case you plan to drive through central Iceland, you will need a 4WD that you can use to cross rivers.

Be ready to encounter gravel roads in the east as well as in the west of the ring road. If you respect the speed limits you should be just fine.

For more information about road conditions check road.is.

Weather in Iceland

The weather can be quite unpredictable. When we were in Iceland at the beginning of June we have encountered snowfall, rain, and wind. The weather in the northeast is often much worse than in the southwest.

You should not underestimate the weather situation. In some cases, roads might be closed due to flooding. If you plan to drive off the main roads, check the weather forecast here to make sure you can get back on your desired route.

Especially in the winter time, the roads in the north or east towards the fjords might get closed.

Self Drive Iceland – Checklist

There are a few items that you should think of before arriving in Iceland. This checklist will help you not to forget anything important.

Bring warm clothes – Take a few layers of clothing with you. During our trip, we had to wear heatgear on several occasions. A winter hat, as well as some gloves, are highly recommended as it might give you better protection against freezing wind even in the summer months.

Bring a camera – Most travelers you will meet in Iceland will have some kind of camera to capture their memories. I had a GoPro, DJI Mavic Air, and my phone One Plus 6 on me during my trip to Iceland.

The GoPro was useful during our snorkeling tour between continents in Silfra. Bringing a small drone is fine, however, be aware that in the most touristy places (popular waterfalls and national parks) drones are prohibited.

All the other pictures you see on my posts from Iceland were captured with my phone, drone or with the GoPro.

Book your rental car – book your rental car in advance. I chose to pick it up right at the Keflavik International Airport. This way we saved money for transportation to Reykjavik. I compared prices and booked my car with Budget via rentalcars.com.

Get a SIM card – if you have a European SIM card you should be able to use your data like at home. Travelers from the US or Asia better go get an Icelandic SIM card. There are a few options available – read more about it in my recent post about SIM cards in Iceland. I am also sharing a secret tip on how you can save half the price on food with one specific SIM card.

Wear comfortable hiking shoes – Having some proper footwear for Iceland is highly recommended. Get something comfortable that you can wear in all weather conditions. I would suggest any of the hiking shoes by Salomon (buy them on Amazon).

Don’t forget about the insurance – when traveling abroad you should always have some travel insurance that will cover your medical cost in emergency situations. You can slip while walking towards a waterfall and suddenly you end up in the hospital. Iceland is expensive – having proper travel insurance is a must.

Insurance for 7 days in Iceland will cost you only €8,17 with Safetywing. If you happen to forget about your travel insurance, you can still get one while being in Iceland with companies like Worldnomads (in this case it’s a bit more expensive, you will pay €26.64 for the standard plan).

Drive Around Iceland by Car – Itinerary

Finally, we get to the exciting part – Self Drive Iceland Itinerary. I have done extensive research for our trip to Iceland so I can plan it by myself. I am sharing my experience with you to give you an idea about what you can expect.

Here is a map of all the points of interested we have visited.

Here is my suggested itinerary for your self-drive experience in Iceland. Note that this should give you just an idea where you can go and what to expect. Feel free to “get lost” during your trip around Iceland as those experiences are often the best.

I suggest spending at least 8 to 10 full days in Iceland. If you have less time I would not aim to do the full circle but rather explore the south and the east only.

Day 1: Reykjavik – Silfra

Spend the first half of the day in Reykjavik. If you want to avoid paid parking, park a bit outside the city center. Reykjavik’s downtown is rather small. There are a few tourist shops, bakeries and coffee places. I highly recommend to get a cup of coffee at Reykjavik Roasters (it’s the best coffee you will get in Iceland – here is the location). Apart from that, there are two points of interest worth checking out: The Sun Voyager and the Hallgrimskirkja.

Reykjavik Hallgrimskirkja
Reykjavik Hallgrimskirkja Church

Spending a few hours in Reykjavik will be enough to see the main attractions. From there take the Route towards Thingvellir National Park.

Before you get out of your car at the National Park (location), make sure you pay the parking to avoid any fines. You can only pay online, that’s why it’s good to have an Icelandic SIM card. You can pay your park fee here.

There are few interesting points to visit in Thingvellir National Park such as the Pingvellir church, Öxarárfoss, and the Silfra fissure. A must do is to book a tour and go snorkeling. It’s about €120 per person and it was one of the best experiences I have done in Iceland. You can book a tour here.


We stayed overnight at The Old House Fellskot. It is located between Thingvellir National Park and the Geysir Strokkur. We paid €93 for a twin room with shared bathroom. If you plan to stay here as well, I suggest shopping for groceries in advance as the grocery stores in the area close at 6 PM (that’s the case in most places in Iceland).

Day 2: Geysir Strokkur – Gullfoss – Seljalandsfoss

On the second day, you start your journey at the Geysir Strokkur (location). It is a small geothermal area with an impressive Geysir. There is also a breakfast place right next to the parking lot if you didn’t make it to the grocery store to get some breakfast.

From here you continue the drive towards the Gullfoss waterfall (location) which is also known as the golden waterfall. It’s the first big waterfall that you will see – there is a nice story about how it got the name. Make sure to read the information about it at the tourist board located just in front of the paths to the waterfall.

Gullfoss
Gullfoss waterfall

At this point, you will need to turn around and drive to the south. You are currently on the Golden Circle Route and your next destination will be another breathtaking waterfall called Seljalandsfoss (location).

If you park right at the intersection to the road that leads to the waterfall you will save €5 on parking. It’s a 10 min walk from here to get to the waterfall.

The Seljalandsfoss is beautiful and it’s the only waterfall you will be able to walk behind. Take some pictures, enjoy the moment and make sure not to slip, it is quite a slippery path.

Seljalandsfoss
Seljalandsfoss

It isn’t easy to find affordable accommodation around the Seljalandsfoss waterfall. We ended up on a farm, not far away from the waterfall. You will find the Airbnb listing here. It wasn’t anything fancy, neither very clean. We paid €46 for a twin bedroom with shared bathroom. Use this Airbnb coupon to save €30 on your next stay.

Day 3: Skógafoss – Solheimasandur Plane Wreck – Dyrhólaey

Day 3 is going to be a lot of driving. Make sure you are well rested. First, you will stop at Skógafoss (location), which is another popular waterfall in the south of Iceland.

Skógafoss Iceland
Skógafoss Iceland

It’s massive and I suggest you hike up the waterfall to enjoy the view from the top. It’s very easy to access, there is a free parking lot right in front of the waterfall.

You should go there early in the morning as it tends to get crowded with buses full of Chinese tourists.

From the waterfall, you will follow Route 1 to the east. A short 10-minute drive will bring you to the parking lot from where you will be walking 3,5 km to the Solheimasandur Plane wreck (location).

Back in the days, you could have drive all the way to the plane wreck. Now you can take a shuttle bus, which operates every 45 minutes and cost around ISK 2,500 (€18) per person – so we heard from other travelers.

We ended up walking. Depending on your pace you will get there within 45 – 60 minutes.

Solheimasandur Plane Wreck
Solheimasandur Plane Wreck

The wreck is located on a black sand beach which makes it a nice place to take pictures from.

We went there at the end of May and it was freezing cold. Take a winter hat and proper jacket to protect yourself from heavy winds.

The next stop is the cliffs at Dyrhólaey with the black sand beach (location). It’s just a few minutes drive towards Vík and in my opinion, it’s worth stopping by. There are two nice viewpoints from where you can enjoy the cliff and the beach.

Dyrhólaye and Black Sand Beach Iceland
Dyrhólaye and Black Sand Beach Iceland

If you get hungry, there are a few options in Vík. We went to get a burger at Smiðjan Brugghús (location) and a coffee at the Lava Bakery (location). There is also a big supermarket with decent choices to stock up your food supplies.

We continue our drive to Hof, where we had our accommodation for the night. We stayed at Adventure Hotel Hof and it was €100 for a twin bedroom with shared bathroom.

Day 4: Skaftafell (optional) – Jökulsárlón – Hengifoss

On day 4 you can either drive a few kilometers back and visit Skaftafell (location) or keep driving towards the east. In Skaftafell you can do a glacier guided tour, which we did not know about, unfortunately. If you are there in the winter, I suggest to take some time and hike the glacier or explore one of the glacier caves.

From here you will drive towards Jökulsárlón (location). Before you get there you will be driving a few hours next to the biggest glacier in Iceland. I suggest you make a stop somewhere and hike towards the terminal.

You should certainly make a stop the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. You will see ice blocks that slowly float into the ocean. It’s an impressive place where you can spot some seals as well.

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

If you have some time, join the boat tour and enjoy the lagoon from a different perspective. During the winter season, I would absolutely suggest going explore the ice caves.

You can find further tour options around this area here.

As we aimed to drive all around Iceland we were on a tight schedule and decided to continue driving to Hengifoss (location). It is quite a distance to drive.

 Iceland Tour Hengifoss
Iceland Tour – Hengifoss

At Hengifoss it’s 5 km to walk up the mountains to get all the way under the waterfall. There is however a viewpoint 3 km away which you can reach within 45 minutes.

That’s where we went. From there I used my drone to get a closer at the waterfall.

This day we have had our accommodation a bit off the main Route 1 in Eskifjorður. On the way there we stopped at a grocery store to cook some dinner. You can find the listing here, they also have a hot tub. You have to pay a bit extra to use it but it’s certainly worth it. We paid €71 for a twin room and shared a bathroom. Use this Airbnb coupon to save €30 on your next stay.

Day 5: Seyðisfjörður (optional) – Borgarfjörður (optional) – Dettifoss

On the fifth day, you have the option to visit some of the cities located in the western fjords of Iceland. Seyðisfjörður (location) is rather easy to reach, however, if the weather isn’t nice, there isn’t anything impressive to see.

Another option is the small village of Borgarfjörður. It’s a famous location where you can spot puffins. It’s a long drive across a volcano to get there. You need to drive all the way to the harbor 3 km from Borgarfjörður to reach the bird colony. Here is the exact location from where you can spot puffins.

Puffins in Borgarfjörður - Iceland
Puffins in Borgarfjörður – Iceland

From Borgarfjörður you can drive all the way to Dettifoss (location). It’s a 3-hour long drive.

We had to approach the Dettifoss waterfall from the Route 862 (west) as the road from the east (864) which Google suggests was closed.

Dettifoss waterfall
Dettifoss waterfall

Dettifoss is considered to be the most powerful and one of the largest waterfalls in Europe. It’s certainly impressive and you should not skip it while self-driving around Iceland.

We stayed at Öndólfsstaðir Farm B&B which I would consider the best accommodation we had while driving around Iceland. The hospitality of the landlord was beyond everything we would have expected and their breakfast was the best we had. We paid €74 for a twin room with private bathroom.

Day 6: Mývatn – Goðafoss – Húsavik (optional)

The area around Mývatn (location) has some interesting points of interest. You should hike the Hverfjall crater (location). It is just a short walk from the parking lot and absolutely worth it. If you decide to hike along the rim of the crater it’s 3 km.

Hverfjall crater
Hverfjall crater

Not far from there you will also find the famous Grjótagja Cave (location) in which you will find a geothermal spring (you can’t swim there though). If you happen to be a fan of Game of Thrones, go check it out. Some of the scenes were filmed there.

From here you can drive towards Hverir which is another impressive geothermal area. On the way there you will pass a blue lake which is also worth a quick stop.

Hverir geothermal area
Hverir geothermal area

There are two geothermal baths in this area. One is in Mývatn and one an hour away in Húsavik. We went to visit the geothermal baths in Húsavik as there are located on top of the cliff overlooking the ocean. The entrance is €32 per person which is half the price of the entrance to the popular Blue Lagoon. If you are on the budget, the geothermal baths in Mývatn are even cheaper.

On day six we stay at the “biggest” town in the north called Akureyri. If you are going that direction you should know that you need to pay for the tunnel (that leads to the city). To avoid paying ISK 1.500 you can take the Route 84 and drive around it.

In Akureyri, we stayed at Guesthouse Hvítahúsid, which was a nice stay. There is a kitchen so you can also prepare your own food and save some money on eating out. We paid €50 for a twin room with shared bathroom.

Day 7: Reykjafoss

It’s day 7 and today it is time to visit Reykjafoss (location). Reykjafoss is an impressive, less visited waterfall with own natural geothermal spring.

Unfortunately, we didn’t know this when we went, otherwise I would have taken my swimsuit with me.

Google Maps navigation does not show the exact road to get there. From the Route 752, you need to turn left to 753 and at some point drive up the hill (turn right) all the way to a fence.

You need to cross the fence and walk for about 10 minutes. The geothermal spring is located on the top of the waterfall (you need to walk around the “canyon” to get there.

From here you will be heading towards the peninsula. As the distance was quite big, we stayed a night at Hvammstangi and paid €72 for a small studio. Use this Airbnb coupon to save €30 on your next stay.

Day 8: Grundarfoss – Kirkjufellsfoss

It takes a few hours drive from Hvamsstangi to get to the peninsula. The next must-see waterfall on the way there is called Grundarfoss (location).

There is no tourist and you need to hike for about one kilometer to get there.

Grundarfoss waterfall
Grundarfoss waterfall

It was the first sunny day after a few cloudy days we have had in the north of Iceland. The visit to the Grundarfoss waterfall was well worth it.

The next stop is at the Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall (location). This is one of the most iconic waterfalls in Iceland.

Kirkjufellsfoss
Kirkjufellsfoss

It is indeed impressive but there are more majestic waterfalls in Iceland in my opinion that is less touristy.

We stayed for the night in a guesthouse called Bikers Paradise. There is also a kitchen in the guesthouse and a grocery store nearby. We paid €59 for a twin bedroom and a shared bathroom.

Day 9: Svödufoss – Lóndrangar

On day 9 you will be driving around the peninsula. First, you should stop at Svödufoss (location). There is a parking lot 1 km away from the waterfall.

Svödufoss
Svödufoss

Take the path to walk until the end, walk along the river (to the left) until you find a place to cross the river. Continue walking towards the waterfall and climb it from the left side.

When I was there, there were no tourists and we had the waterfall for ourselves. It seems to be a hidden gem and I absolutely loved it.

Right next to Svödufoss you will see Kerlingarfoss. You can walk along the hill all the way to the second waterfall and make a loop hike back to the parking spot.

From here you will continue driving towards Lóndrangar (location). It’s a scenic place with an interesting rock formation and a lighthouse. I would recommend to walk around and enjoy the views.

On the way back to Reykjavik there are few more places to see such as Hellnar, Gatklettur or the Rauðfeldsgjá Gorge.

At this point, we decided to book accommodation in Reykjavik. We booked two nights in Reykjavik and paid €98 for a twin room with shared bathroom.

Day 10: Glymur Waterfall – Blue Lagoon (optional)

Before you leave Iceland you should not miss the Glymur waterfall (location). I promise that it’s going to be one of your highlights from Iceland. The Glymur waterfall is 1-hour drive from Reykjavik and the hike takes around 3 to 4 hours, depending on your fitness.

Glymur is the second tallest waterfall in Iceland with a drop of 198 meters (that’s two football fields). The hike to the waterfall along the canyon as well as the two river crossing is an amazing Icelandic adventure.

Glymsgljúfur-canyon-under-the-Glymur-waterfall
Glymur waterfall – Glymsgljúfur canyon

Check out more photos from Glymur and read about the hike in this article.

Blue Lagoon – Is it Worth it?

Blue Lagoon is one of the most popular places to visit in Iceland. Whether it’s worth it depends on your expectations.

Be ready for a crowded geothermal bath where everyone is walking with their phones and takes selfies. If you have €84 left to spend, you can certainly go visit the Blue Lagoon. You should reserve online, since they might not let you if the maximal capacity is reached.

I was curious about the experience and I went to check it out as well. Personally, I would say that this place is a bit overrated.

What many people don’t know is, that you can see the Blue Lagoon geothermal area also from the outside – at least part of it. You can’t swim in there but the surrounding is quite impressive as well.

Blue Lagoon Iceland
Blue Lagoon Iceland

If you are on a budget or don’t have much time to go swim in the Blue Lagoon I would suggest to stop by on the way to the airport and walk along with it. In my opinion, it’s worth it.

Otherwise, I suggest you visit one of the geothermal baths in the north in Mývatn or Húsavik which are cheaper.

7 Days Iceland Self Drive Itinerary

If you only have seven days to explore Iceland I would not bother driving the Ring Road. Instead, start your trip to the east, go explore the peninsula for two days and drive the Golden Ring in the south.

Here is my suggestion for a 7-day Iceland Self Drive Itinerary:

Day 1: Grundarfoss, Kirkjufellsfoss
Day 2: Svödufoss and Lóndrangar
Day 3: Glymur Waterfall and Silfra – Thingvellir National Park
Day 4: Geysir Strokkur and Gullfoss
Day 5: Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss, and Dyrhólaye
Day 6: Skaftefall area and Jökulsárlón
Day 7: Drive back to Reykjavik – Solheimasandur Plane Wreck

What you will miss is the north of Iceland. The area around Mývatn is certainly worth visiting if you have the time for it. The north also offers whale watching tours or recreation plane tours above the volcanic area.

Self Drive Tour Iceland - Map
Self Drive Tour Iceland – Map

Find Cheap Accommodation in Iceland

Iceland is one of the most expensive countries I traveled to. Saving a bit of money is, therefore, more than needed if your wallet shall survive the trip. It is going to be a challenge to find accommodation that is less than €100 per night for two people.

Here are two tips on how to save money while booking your accommodation in Iceland.

1. This Booking.com coupon will give you €15 credit on your next stay.

2. The second option is to use this Airbnb coupon and get €43 travel credit from which you can use €30 to finance your accommodation and €13 for tours listed on Airbnb. The credit can only be applied on bookings above a certain order amount. It usually works if you book a listing that costs more than €70 in total.

In order to redeem the credit, you will need to click on the link and create a new account. If you already have an account, you will need to create a new one with a different email address. It works, I have done it a few times already – it takes 10 minutes and you save €30.

breakfast in iceland
Getting accommodation with free breakfast or a kitchen so you can cook your own meal will save you money!

Planning your Iceland Trip on Your Own – Cost

Iceland isn’t cheap to travel. Here is a rough overview of the cost for two people during our 12 days touring around Iceland.

Accommodation: €707
Car Rental: €552
Gas: €284
Groceries & Food: €600
Silfra Snorkeling tour: €250
Húsavík Geothermal Baths: €63
Blue Lagoon: €174

The total cost for two people was around €2.630. I have one-year travel insurance so I did not have to pay anything extra for this trip. You should also add the price of the flights from your location. For cheap flights, compare rates at skyscanner.com.

I have paid all my expenses with my N26 black card and the Revolut Premium card. If you live in Europe I suggest getting one of these cards. You don’t need any cash in Iceland as you can pay cashless everywhere. Revolut and N26 offer transactions in foreign currencies for the best exchange rate without any additional fees and markups (even the free versions). Read more about how they compare here.

revolut-payment-in-iceland-min
Paying with Revolut in Iceland was super easy

Final Thoughts on Our Self Drive Experience Around Iceland

Planning your own trip to Iceland is now much easier. Use my guide to Iceland as a possible suggestion. There is plenty of interesting viewpoints and spots to stop along the way. Always plan a bit more time when making the schedule for your next day. Unexpected weather change or spontaneous stops can add easily an additional 3 hours on your timetable.

At the end of the day, you should also enjoy your trip and don’t feel rushed by anything. I booked all of our accommodation for one or two days in advance. Apart from the tours, rental car and flights there is no need to plan too much ahead.

Enjoy Iceland and let me know how you liked it!

 

Příspěvek Self-Drive Iceland | Follow my Itinerary pochází z Kubasjourneys.com

]]>
https://kubasjourneys.com/self-drive-iceland/feed/ 2
Glymur Waterfall Hike | Hike the Second Tallest Waterfall in Iceland https://kubasjourneys.com/glymur-waterfall-hike/ https://kubasjourneys.com/glymur-waterfall-hike/#respond Wed, 05 Jun 2019 19:23:45 +0000 https://kubasjourneys.com/?p=9809 Read all about the Glymur waterfall hike in my latest travel guide. Learn about the trails, necessary equipment and useful tips.

Příspěvek Glymur Waterfall Hike | Hike the Second Tallest Waterfall in Iceland pochází z Kubasjourneys.com

]]>
Glymur waterfall is Iceland’s second highest waterfall with a drop of 198 meters (the highest waterfall is called Morsárfoss). Glymur is just an hour away from Reykjavik and you should not skip it while traveling to Iceland.

The Glymur waterfall hike was one of the best experience I have done on our father-son trip to Iceland. It’s a bit of a hidden gem as it’s not that heavily advertised compared to other waterfalls in the south of Iceland. This fact alone makes it special.

The Glymur waterfall is less visited because it takes roughly 1,5 – 2 hours hiking to reach the waterfall from the parking lot. The loop hike will take between 3 and 4 hours and you will cross two rivers. The reward will be breathtaking views of the waterfall and the mossy green majestic canyon with hundreds of birds. It’s easily one of the best hikes you can do in Iceland.

Before I share my experience with the hike to the Glymur waterfall let me tell you something about the logistics and equipment you should have on you while hiking to the Glymur waterfall.

How to get to the Glymur waterfall?

You can drive to the parking lot which is 3,5 km away from the Glymur waterfall. From here you can take one of the two trails to hike towards the waterfall.

Rent a car: If you are traveling in Iceland you should rent a car. I compared car rental rates on rentalcars.com and we decided to take a small Renault from the rental company Budget as this was the most budget-friendly option.

Book a tour: If you don’t have a car you can book a tour that includes transport from Reykjavik. The tour guide will take you to the Glymur waterfall as well as the Thingvellir National Park which is located between the two tectonic plates. Get more info about the tour here.

Glymur waterfall hike – The packing list

We hiked to the Glymur waterfall at the beginning of June. If you are about to travel to Iceland you should be aware that the weather can change quite fast, especially in the mountains. I suggest you have the following gear with you.

  • Water bottle (to keep you hydrated)
  • Good shoes (preferably hiking shoes)
  • Warm clothes (take a winter hat with you)
  • Towel (to dry your feet after you cross the river)
  • Food (some snacks, sandwiches, and fruits to keep you fueled)
  • Camera (to capture the best moments – I had my phone OnePlus 6 and my drone DJI Mavic Air on me)

 

How long is the hike to the Glymur waterfall?

The hike to the Glymur waterfall might take between 3 and 6 hours, depending on your pace and fitness level. When we hiked to the Glymur waterfall it took us 3 hours and 15 minutes. We had also plenty of time to take pictures and have a snack along the way.

How do I hike Glymur?

Now, let’s talk about the hike to the Glymur waterfall. The parking lot is located at Botsna (see location on Google Maps here).

Be aware that there are no amenities at the parking lot – no toilet or bins. I also haven’t seen any water refill stations around the parking space.

You can reach the parking lot by turning towards Glymur waterfall from the road number 47. The easiest way is to just add the location into your Google Maps navigation.

Hiking Glymur waterfall – What trail should I take?

trail-to-glymur-waterfall
Take the left trail to aproach the Glymur waterfall from the plateau. The right trail leads along the canyon.

You can choose between two main trails to get to the Glymur waterfall. The left (red dotted) trail is a steep route that leads to the plateau on the right side of the waterfall. This route is a bit harder in the beginning however as soon as you reach the top, you will walk on the plateau which is fairly easy. It takes around one hour and 15 minutes to get to the waterfall, depending on your pace.

The second option is to take the right path (a red trail that turns into a black trail). This route is less difficult in the beginning however quite steep as soon as you get to the canyon. You will be ascending towards the waterfall.

glymur-hike-trail-map
Here is a trail map that will help you navigate around the Glymur waterfall.

We chose to take the dotted red route and approach the waterfall from the plateau. The path itself wasn’t that exciting as the weather was quite bad during the ascent and the views were rather mediocre. Walking along the canyon Glymsgljúfur is a more scenic experience.

You should, however, walk the black route (up or down) so you can enjoy the viewpoints Stedjasnös (4) and Hellupalur (5).

The higher you get, the better the views. Note however that you take the hike to the Glymur waterfall on your own risk. Some parts of the path can be quite dangerous as you can slip easily.

panoramic-views-from-the-glymur-waterfall

I saw a few people slipping on the paths. Be aware of that danger and wear some hiking shoes with a good grip.

glymur-waterfall-river-crossing

I would also suggest crossing the river 300 meters above the waterfall (7). It’s a freezing but also very adventurous experience.

The water can go up to your knees. It’s good to have a towel to dry off your feet after you cross the river.

From the upper part of the Glymur waterfall, you can enjoy breathtaking views down into the canyon and the Botnsdalur valley.

Glymsgljúfur-canyon-under-the-Glymur-waterfall

It’s up to you which path you take back to the parking lot. If I would do the hike to the Glymur waterfall again, I would choose to hike along the canyon as the views are much better compared to the hike across the plateau (red dotted trail). It takes around 3 – 3,5 km back to the parking lot.

There is also a second river crossing, where you need cross the river on a log. It’s right at the beginning of the canyon (#2 on the map).

river-crossing-glymur-trail

Where to stay around Glymur waterfall?

If you aren’t staying in Reykjavik you can book your accommodation at the Glymur Hotel, which is just a few minutes car drive to the parking lot from where you start your ascent.

Hiking to the Glymur waterfall – is it worth it?

Absolutely yes. It was one of the best experiences we did in Iceland. The weather was great and the views were beautiful. Since the area is quite big you don’t even notice other people as much (on the way up we only met a group of five hikers).

 

It feels like you can interact with nature around the Glymur waterfall much better as compared to other popular waterfalls in Iceland. There are no buses of tourists that would destroy the moment. You can enjoy the hike without being annoyed by hundreds of tourists.

I would say that the Glymur waterfall is still a “hidden gem” and you should definitely see it during your round trip around Iceland.

Příspěvek Glymur Waterfall Hike | Hike the Second Tallest Waterfall in Iceland pochází z Kubasjourneys.com

]]>
https://kubasjourneys.com/glymur-waterfall-hike/feed/ 0
Traveling to Iceland – What SIM Card Should You Get https://kubasjourneys.com/sim-card-iceland/ https://kubasjourneys.com/sim-card-iceland/#respond Wed, 05 Jun 2019 13:23:55 +0000 https://kubasjourneys.com/?p=9795 Learn more about SIM cards in Iceland. Find out which SIM card I used for my travels to Iceland and how I saved money for food and activities.

Příspěvek Traveling to Iceland – What SIM Card Should You Get pochází z Kubasjourneys.com

]]>
Are you heading to explore Iceland for a couple of days? You might be wondering whether it’s worth getting a SIM card for Iceland. I have recently traveled to this northern country and had the exact same question.

As someone who is working remotely I always seek to get a local SIM card anywhere I travel to for at least a couple of days. The SIM card in Iceland is useful to check emails, stay connected with my team and share stories on social media.

Trust me, there is a lot to share about Iceland such as the scenic Icelandic waterfalls. 

The Icelandic SIM card helps you also to navigate through the country, research about points of interests, book accommodation and manage bookings for tours you might want to take in Iceland. For some attractions, you will need to book in advance. Having a SIM card in Iceland will most likely pay off.

In this article I will tackle the most frequently asked question about SIM cards in Iceland:

  • Can I buy a SIM card at Iceland airport?
  • How much is a SIM card in Iceland?
  • Do cell phones work in Iceland?
  • Can you use mobile data in Iceland?

Keep reading to also find out about a rather unknown offer from one SIM card provider that will save you thousands of Icelandic korunas.

You can thank me later :)

Prepaid SIM Cards in Iceland – Prices & Options

There are three main providers of SIM cards in Iceland that you should consider.

Icelandic SIM card from Símmin

Símmin is a popular SIM card provider in Iceland that offers two different data packages.

10 GB

5 GB – 50 min talk and 50 texts

Both packages cost ISK 2.500 (around €17) and the SIM card can be shipped to your accommodation in Iceland so you can pick it up when you arrive.

You can order the SIM card online or get it in one of the partner shops which you will find here.

Icelandic SIM card from Vodafone

The SIM card from the provider Vodafone in Iceland can be topped up with different prepaid packages.

1GB for ISK 1.290

3GB for ISK 1.790

5 GB for ISK 2.290

15 GB for ISK 4.190

Each package contains unlimited talking and texting within Iceland. The premium starter pack contains also 100 minutes for international calls.

You can get the Vodafone SIM card at the N1 gas stations, 10-11 shops or the Elko shop at the Keflavik International Airport. If you are already in Reykjavik you can get the SIM card at any of the Vodafone shops. Find their locations here.

NOVA SIM card for Iceland

Nova offers you unlimited calls and SMS with every data package. Here is a list of popular packages.

500 MB for ISK 1.990

5 GB for ISK 2.990

10 GB for ISK 3.495

15 GB for ISK 4.490

I have been using the SIM card from NOVA during my stay in Iceland. The coverage was in most places in the south quite alright. Up north the connection often switched to 3G or even 2G.

I can’t say if that is also the case with other providers, however, note that if you plan to travel the whole island you will get into remote areas with no reception at some point.

Getting a SIM card for Iceland at the Airport

You can get a SIM card from NOVA in the market at the Keflavik International Airport. The market is located right in front of the stairs that you need to take to get to the baggage claim area. You can’t miss it.

This market used to sell SIM cards from different providers. When I was there I only found two data packages from NOVA. I went with the 10GB as I didn’t want to risk to run out of data at some point. I spend in total 12 days in Iceland and I almost used it all. However I also downloaded movies from Netflix and streamed videos on YouTube. If you only aim to use the data for checking emails you will probably not even use half of that 10 GB.

I paid ISK 3.495 (€ 25) for my NOVA SIM card at the airport. You can pay cashless as every shop in Iceland accepts debit and credit cards. I used my Revolut Metal card to make the transaction as I get the best exchange rate when paying abroad.

Save money with NOVA SIM card 2 for 1

The SIM card provider NOVA has a special collaboration with some of the restaurants and service providers in Iceland.

This means that you can get discounted meals and services for half the price. Usually, you can get two specific meals for the price of one. Some restaurants in Reykjavik offer this special promotion only during certain hours of the week. You can check the offers here: https://www.nova.is/dansgolfid/2fyrir1

The site is in Icelandic however if you open it in Chrome you can use Google translate to translate the text into your language.

You can set up your filters and look for a place nearby. Choose the restaurant and fill in your number. You will find it on the back of the SIM card packaging. Upon sending your number you will get a text that you can show in the restaurant to get your discount.

iceland sim card number
You can find your number for your Icelandic SIM card on the back of your package

We went to the Vínyl Bistro in Reykjavik (click here to view the location) where you can get 2 fish of the day for 1 and save ISK 2.500 (€17). This deal alone makes the NOVA SIM card worth it.

nova sim card two for one deal icelandic food
Save money with the NOVA SIM card @Vínyl Bistro in Reykjavik

Using your own mobile data in Iceland

If you have a European SIM card you can call, text and use your data for the same rates as you would pay in your home country. Your cell phone will work in Iceland with a European SIM however if you come from the US or Asia you probably need to buy a SIM card as most North American cards don’t work in Iceland.

Iceland is a beautiful country but it can also be quite rough. Sudden weather changes might bring you into trouble. In that case, you should be able to call for help.

Having a SIM card in Iceland is certainly a safety precaution I would advise to follow.

 

Příspěvek Traveling to Iceland – What SIM Card Should You Get pochází z Kubasjourneys.com

]]>
https://kubasjourneys.com/sim-card-iceland/feed/ 0
10 Tips for Exchange Students and How to be a Good one https://kubasjourneys.com/tips-for-exchange-students/ https://kubasjourneys.com/tips-for-exchange-students/#comments Tue, 09 Apr 2019 17:08:55 +0000 http://kubasjourneys.com/?p=1076 Learn about 10 tips for exchange students based on my own experience from studying abroad. Read more about how to be a good exchange student in this post.

Příspěvek 10 Tips for Exchange Students and How to be a Good one pochází z Kubasjourneys.com

]]>
Are you about to go abroad and become an exchange student? Let me first congratulate you. You have made one of the most important decisions in your life, that will certainly impact your personality and expand your knowledge. In this article, I will list tips for exchange students as well as my personal advice based on my previous experiences from studying abroad.

Moving abroad for study purposes is usually connected with excitement, however, many students might also fear the new experience. The exchange semester could be your first trip from home, you will need to adapt to the new environment and get out of your comfort zone. For many exchange students, this becomes a challenge that they did not expect initially.

You would be surprised how many exchange students abort they stay due to the lack of preparation and a bad mindset.

In this post, I will help you to overcome your fear and give you tips on how to make your exchange semester the best experience of your life as a student.

1. Respect the local culture

respect-the-foreign-culture

Many exchange students will face a culture shock upon arrival. At some point, you will notice the differences between your nationality and foreign culture. You might start to judge the local traditions and put present your national culture as superior.

I would not advise doing that. You might get into conflicts with locals, which won’t make your exchange pleasant. It is important to realize your feelings and understand what it is caused by.

Each culture has different values and beliefs and you should learn to respect it. It does not mean that you need to agree however try to put yourself into the shoes of locals. They might see things differently. Have an open mind and respect their beliefs and values. Don’t express your beliefs in a form that might offend the locals. Respecting foreign cultures is one of the key takeaways that you should learn as an exchange student.

2. Forget the prejudices

Prejudgment is built through media and people who have never visited the country in the past and believe to know everything.

Some say that Russia is dangerous, I spent four months in the biggest cities in Russia and never felt in danger.

All opinions you will hear before your exchange are relative. Everyone has a different experience and media publish often information that evokes fear.

If you will start your exchange semester with prejudices, it won’t be a good start. You will criticize everything without thinking for yourself first. Don’t base your actions on someone else’s opinions. You can consider other opinions however be critical about it and create your own.

3. Learn the local language

Another tip for exchange students is to learn the local language. It really is a no-brainer, however, you would be surprised how many exchange students avoid learning the local language.

You need to connect with the community, that’s the only way how you really get to know the country and the culture.

If you don’t talk the language you will have some hard time to communicate because you can’t expect that everyone talks your language, you use at home.

Good advice for exchange students is to learn some basics of the foreign language in advance, in order to have a simple dialogue at least. If you plan to study in your foreign language, be confident that you can cope with it. Often it’s not that easy as it seems.
Having some kind of English certification is always a good confidence boost. Reading in English or watching English movies is also a good tip for exchange students to improve their language skills. You can also use some of the online apps like Duolingo that will help you learn few words every day.

4. Share cultural values with your host family

share-your-cultural-values-with-your-host-family-min

Depending on the type of cultural exchange, you might be hosted by a local family. The host family often does not get any money for hosting you. The main intrinsic motivation to host exchange students is often the interest in other cultures. Make sure you are a good representative for your country and behave in a respectful manner.

Sharing your values with the host family can break the ice faster and lead to a great relationship.

One advice for exchange students is to prepare their national meals. Call your mum and ask for a recipe and cook some of your favorite national food for your host family. Cook for your host family and tell them the story behind the dish. They will appreciate it and they will be grateful for your interest in sharing some of your cultural values.
Many families value the time with each other while having dinner and talk about the day. This is a great opportunity to participate and connect with your hosts.

5. Connect with locals

advice-for-exchange-students-connect-with-the-locals-min

Apart from your host family you also need to connect with the local community. Making friends and participating in local sports should be on your list of experiences you want to make abroad.

Exchange students often tend to stick together as it’s more comfortable. Fellow exchange students are in the same position as you. They are usually more approachable.

Locals know that you will be there just for a limited time. Many of them won’t approach you for the exact same reason. It might be not worth talking to you since you will be gone soon anyway. This is one of the challenges many exchange students will face.

Connecting with the locals should be however your priority as at the end of the day, you want to learn the language and learn about the foreign culture. There isn’t a better way to reach this goal to connect with the community. Join music or sports clubs, go to local events, or join youth-groups.

6. Connect with other exchange students

become-friends-with-exchange-students-min

The easiest way to find friends at the beginning is to talk to other exchange students.

Many of the fellow exchange students will become your friends and you will be still in touch after your exchange experience.

If you make friends with students from your home country, be aware to speak the foreign language. Speaking your mother-tongue in front of locals is rude and might seclude you from the community. At the end of the day, learning a foreign language should be your priority.

7. Prepare to be an exchange student

Preparation is the key to success as an exchange student. There are many questions that you should be able to answer.

Most students participate in exchange student programs. Teenagers usually use some of the agencies that help to find a host family and a school abroad that would allow you to study there.

College students usually take part in exchange programs such as Erasmus (in Europe). In both cases, you will need to fill out many documents and provide a language certificate.

You should find out if your semester abroad will be accepted in your school at home or if you will have to take some further exams upon arrival.

If you plan to do your exchange semester overseas be sure to insure yourself properly. The life in a foreign country might be very different as from what you are used to at home. You might not be as immune against local deceases abroad. Be sure your insurance covers medical expenses. World Nomads is one of the leading insurance companies that will cover you during your stay abroad.

8. Avoid depression

One of the stages of culture shock might evoke depression. You might feel homesick which will result in calls to your home. You might spend too much time talking to your family and friends at home rather than connect with the local community.

Remember that being an exchange student is temporary. My tip for you is to enjoy your time abroad, make new friends and experiences. Don’t worry about your friends at home, they will still be there when you come back.

After all, you don’t want to regret something you haven’t done while being abroad.

9. Say Yes to exciting activities

advice-for-exchange-students-say-yes

A great tip for exchange students is to say yes. Don’t be afraid of it. You will be invited to Christmas parties, Halloween parties, football games, field trips, dinners, birthday parties and maybe even rodeos.

These events are great opportunities to meet new people, get to know new traditions, travel the country and get familiar with the local culture. Saying yes is the key to have an amazing experience abroad.

10. Be a grateful exchange student

be-kind-to-your-host-family-min

Treat others as you want to be treated. Saying thank you to show your gratitude is the least you can do. Help other students or the host family with some tasks at home, support fellow exchange students and be kind to others.

At the end of the day, you don’t want to be only a good exchange student but also a good representative of your country. People will remember where you come from and connect every other mention of your country to the experience they had with you.

My 10 tips for exchange students in this post will certainly help you to improve your experience abroad. If you feel lonely, frustrated or desperate always remember why you decided to take part in the exchange. Your time abroad is limited, make the best of it!

Příspěvek 10 Tips for Exchange Students and How to be a Good one pochází z Kubasjourneys.com

]]>
https://kubasjourneys.com/tips-for-exchange-students/feed/ 2
5 Stages of Culture Schock and How to Overcome it https://kubasjourneys.com/5-stages-of-culture-schock/ https://kubasjourneys.com/5-stages-of-culture-schock/#comments Sun, 07 Apr 2019 09:41:55 +0000 http://kubasjourneys.com/?p=1359 Learn about the 5 stages of culture schock and how to overcome it. Moving to a different country is not always easy. Find out how to cope with it now.

Příspěvek 5 Stages of Culture Schock and How to Overcome it pochází z Kubasjourneys.com

]]>
Long-term travelers, digital nomads, exchange students or anyone who is moving abroad will face 5 stages of culture shock at some point. It’s natural that new environment, a different culture or a new language might mix up your feelings and trigger certain emotions, you would usually not experience at home.

You might feel lonely, frustrated, depressed, excited or afraid. These feelings are very common when you are adapting to a different culture. This phenomenon, so-called culture shock consists of 5 stages – the honeymoon stage, frustration stage, adaptation stage and acceptance stage. Last but not least there is also the re-entry shock which is often considered to be the fifth phase of a culture shock.

In this article, you will learn about the 5 stages of culture shock. You will also learn how to find out in what phase of the culture shock you are right now and how to overcome it.

How to find out whether you are experiencing a culture shock

When you move to a different country and are exposed to a different culture, language or traditions you might get symptoms that are strongly connected to a culture shock.

You might feel bored, isolated, sleepy, easily frustrated, helpless and close-minded. You might start to compare everything with your culture back at home and criticize local traditions.

These are clear symptoms that you are experiencing a culture shock – some might feel homesick. When you realize what’s going on, you can take actions to improve your state of mind and focus on your goal you aim to achieve in this foreign country.

5 stages of culture shock

In order to adapt to a different culture and overcome your culture shock, you need to be aware of the following stages.

1. The Honeymoon Stage

Usually, at the beginning of your trip to a different country, you might feel excited and overwhelmed with positive feelings. It can be your first trip overseas and you are just so grateful to see a new country and pursue new opportunities.

I remember when I first came to the US as an exchange student in 2008. I stayed five months in Georgia and the first thing I loved was the muscle cars, skyscrapers in Atlanta, free-refills and the best BBQ.
The honeymoon stage might last a few days. Usually not longer than a few weeks, depending on your schedule and the setup in your new environment. Eventually, this stage of a culture shock will phase out.

2. The Frustration Stage

Sooner or later you realize that not everything about your new home is as amazing as you have idealized it before. You start judging certain systems, rules, and traditions. Particularly those that you are not familiar with from your home country.

People that travel regularly are very familiar with this stage of a culture shock. Miscommunication with locals can often result in frustration.

During my first trip to the US, I realized how bad public transport is built. Teenagers can’t be mobile without owning a car. As an exchange student, I could not own the car. My host family was busy most of the time which caused me being dependent on someone with a car. In Europe, this isn’t the problem since you can easily move with public transportation to anywhere.

3. The Adaptation Stage

Eventually, you will start getting more familiar with the rules in the foreign country. You will basically get used to it. You will start to navigate easier, join some local communities, learn some basic of the foreign language and adjust to the local traditions.

At the end of 2018, I moved to South East Asia to spend the winter here. I traveled to Indonesia, Taiwan, and Vietnam before but now I moved to Thailand and I stayed for several months. Within Thailand, I stayed in different islands. I learned a few words in Thai, joined Muay Thai classes, went eat local food and rent accommodation with locals. If you know the drill, this stage will take only a few days.

4. The Acceptance Stage

The next stage is also described as the Acceptance Stage. To overcome this phase you might need months or years in the new environment. Ideally, you speak the language, are very much familiar with local traditions and know how things work. In this stage, you are thriving in a foreign country and it becomes comfortable for you to live here.

As a kid, I moved with my mum and sister from the Czech Republic to Austria, where I pursued my studies and stayed for another 12 years. I learned the language, went through the school system and adapted to the Austrian culture. Although I don’t feel like 100% Austrian I am very comfortable with the Austrian culture and its traditions.

5. Re-Entry Shock

During your travels abroad you will expand your knowledge and most likely become more open-minded. You might be a different person when you return back home. In many cases, you got used to the foreign culture that it can be quite challenging to adapt to your national culture. This is the last stage of culture shock. You might have difficulties with the language, people’s behavior, and certain traditions. This phase usually takes a few weeks if you encounter it the first time. As more you will travel, the easier it will become for you to adapt to new environments.

I remember when I came back from my exchange semester in the US. I had difficulties to talk German again as for five months I barely spoke German. Upon arrival, I also realized that nothing has changed, while I changed, which caused a certain disappointment. Eventually, I coped with my feelings and adapted.

How to overcome culture shock

There are many ways how to adapt to a foreign culture and overcome culture shock. If you have traveled for many years, you will be familiar with those strategies, however, if you are just starting traveling these tips can help you out.

1. Forget the stereotypes and prejudices about foreign cultures

When we travel to a different country we often arrive with prejudices and expectations. You might be aware of some stereotypes which cause you putting everyone in the same box. Be aware of those prejudices but don’t be blind and judge anyone in advance.

Do not judge locals based on their appearance, religion or traditions. Approach locals with a positive attitude and you will be more successful as if you would judge them.

2. Be polite to locals

It is always good to be respectful and polite to others. Even though if you don’t speak the language, politeness and positive attitude is appreciated worldwide. Next time you will get upset because of some cultural differences, think twice before you respond.

3. Learn the local language

If you plan to live in a different country, you should learn at least the basics of the spoken language. The English language is often perceived as the world language, however, in many countries, local’s won’t understand if you speak English. It’s often much harder to connect with locals without trying to speak their language.

4. Approach locals in the foreign country

If you want to become a part of the community and adapt to the foreign culture, you need to connect with locals. You can connect with locals at work, at school, in sports groups, public events or even meetups. You might face some resistance in the beginning. Often you might face resistance, particularly when you are new in the community. Locals notice when you show up at their events regularly and eventually you will get accepted.

5. Respect the local culture

As an expat, visitor or traveler showing respect shows your humanity and understanding towards the local culture. If you plan to visit a famous cathedral in the town, be sure to follow the dress code, in some countries, women have to be partly covered. This is just one of many ways that show your respect. In some countries, you might face tough situations, poverty, dirt, different political system. Be aware of that and don’t express your opinions in a rude manner that could offend the locals.

6. Don’t give up and make the best of your cultural exchange

Moving to another country without knowing anyone is tough. Apart from the initial excitement, you will need to find accommodation, work, friends. It is not always easy, particularly if you struggle with the local language. You might meet many people who want to live at your expense, that’s why you should be able to communicate and have some idea how things work out in the country. The initial excitement and curiosity might easily turn into a culture shock and later into the depression, that’s when you need to stay focused and positive minded. At the end of the day, you have made the choice to move to a foreign country. Remember why you have taken this decision. If you make mistakes, learn from it and move on.

Final thoughts on culture shocks

The aspect of cultural adaptation is nowadays an important topic due to the continuous population migration, globalization, and international education. People move to other countries to gain work or study experience, improve their living standard or simply explore the country and expand their horizons. Sadly, many of those don’t recognize the importance of various cultural values which are crucial for your successful acculturation. Use the information in this article to overcome the 5 stages of a culture shock and improve your experience abroad. Read more about my travel experience in my travel blog.

How are you dealing with a culture shock? Leave a comment

Share your experience with the mentioned 5 stages of a culture shock with fellow readers to help them have a good experience in a foreign country.

Příspěvek 5 Stages of Culture Schock and How to Overcome it pochází z Kubasjourneys.com

]]>
https://kubasjourneys.com/5-stages-of-culture-schock/feed/ 1
Is Bratislava worth visiting? – One Day in Bratislava https://kubasjourneys.com/is-bratislava-worth-visiting/ https://kubasjourneys.com/is-bratislava-worth-visiting/#comments Fri, 05 Apr 2019 21:10:25 +0000 http://kubasjourneys.com/?p=71 Do you ask yourself if Bratislava is worth visiting? Absolutely, if you are around. Read my city guide on what to do and see in Bratislava in one day.

Příspěvek Is Bratislava worth visiting? – One Day in Bratislava pochází z Kubasjourneys.com

]]>
If you are already in Vienna, Budapest or Prague you might get the idea to visit Bratislava as well. Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia, located on the border to Austria and Hungary. It’s just one hour from Vienna which makes it the perfect day trip. Many tourist just spend one day in Bratislava.

Are you thinking about a one day trip from Vienna to Bratislava? Check out this bus and boat tour for more information.

Bratislava is absolutely worth visiting if you haven’t been here yet. Travelers usually spend maximum two days in Bratislava. This is enough time to explore the main sights of the city and even try some good Slovakian food.

I visited Bratislava several times and even lived there for a few months. In this article, I will show you what places to visit in Bratislava and what’s worth seeing.

My honest guide about sightseeing in Bratislava will help you get around in the city, visit most popular places and try the most authentic Slovakian food.  This itinerary will give you some options on what to see within one day in Bratislava.

How to get to Bratislava

If you plan to arrive by car, you will probably want to use one of the highways leading from Vienna, Budapest or Prague. Be aware that you will need to pay a toll. Hungary and Slovakia have an electronic toll system in comparison to Austria, where you will need to put a sticker on your windshield. You can buy toll tickets at the border or at any gas station.

If you plan to rent a car, I suggest comparing car rentals at rentalcars.com. I only had good experiences when renting a car through them.

There are excellent train connections from Vienna, Prague, and Budapest to Bratislava leaving almost every hour.

For timetables view: Oebb.at or Cp.sk – make sure to switch to the English version before starting your search.

The cheapest way to get to Bratislava is by bus. There are several bus companies that offer bus connections from Vienna Airport, Prague or Budapest to Bratislava. The most convenient bus company with wifi on board is flixbus.

Get around in Bratislava like a local

In case you arrive at the main train station in Bratislava, you don’t need to hassle with public transport as you can walk to most of the points of interest in Bratislava.

If you arrive at the airport, take the bus N. 61 to Hlavna Stanica (central train station), from here take the N. 93 to Zochova which is right in the downtown. The trip should take you around 50 minutes.

From the main bus station take the bus N.210 to Hlavna Stanica (central train station).

You can check your exact bus route here.

Time Price (full) Price (reduced)
15 min. € 0,70 € 0,35
30 min. € 0,90 € 0,45
60 min. € 1,20 € 0,90
Reduced prices are valid for students with a valid student identity card. You can purchase transport tickets in any newspaper stand or at the ticket machines in front of the bus stations. Make sure you have enough coins, as you cannot pay with a credit card.
Without further ado, let’s look at the sightseeing options you have in Bratislava.

Visit the Castle

bratislava-castle-one-day-in-bratislava-min

Visiting the castle in Bratislava is a must. It’s the most iconic building in the town, right above the Danube river. From the top, you will have a 360-degree view of the city. You can even see all the way to Austria from there. It’s a great spot to take pictures and even a good place to visit in the evening when the city lightens up.

Walk through the city center

bratislava-town

Right below the castle, you will find the historic city center with interesting buildings such as the St. Martin’s Cathedral, the Slovak National Theater, Town Hall, the Government Office, and Michael’s Gate.

A bit of the beaten path you can also go visit the Blue Catholic Church which is just ten minutes away from the town hall.

In case you get hungry, one block away towards the city center there is a underpass from Gajova street to Grösslingová street where you can get Slovakian pirozhki. If you are around, you need to try them. I always got some when I was a kid and walked by.

Walk along the river Danube

ufo-bratislava-river-danube-min

You have probably noticed that there is one significant bridge with an UFO on top. This bridge (called SNP) is connecting the other side of the city with downtown. If you are arriving from Hungary or Austria you might actually cross it.

You can visit the restaurant on top, just be aware that you will need to pay for the elevator to bring you up, as there are no stairs available for the public.

On the other side of the Danube river, you will find the park Sad Janka Kráľa. It’s a good place to relax and take a break from sightseeing in Bratislava. On the riverside, you will find some houseboats serving local and western food. It is also a good spot to get another perspective on the city center of Bratislava, dominated by the view of the castle and the bridge.

Visit Christmas Markets in Bratislava

bratislava-christmas-markets

Christmas markets in Bratislava is, in my opinion, the best thing to do in Bratislava in winter. It creates such an amazing and cozy atmosphere. As the city center is quite compact, you can hop from one Christmas market to another one, enjoy hot wine and some delicious local meals. Personally, I enjoy Christmas markets in Bratislava more than in Vienna as it’s more compact and the prices are also more affordable.

Explore Slavin

bratislava-slavin

Slavin is a memorial and cemetery of the Soviet Army soldiers from World War 2. If you are into history this is a place to see in Bratislava. Additionally, you get a nice view of the city from another perspective. It takes you approximately 20 minutes to get there from the main train station. You can bookmark the location here.

What to eat in Bratislava

Apart from sightseeing in Bratislava, you should reserve enough time to have a proper Slovakian meal. Bratislava has a lot of options to try authentic Slovakian food.

Here is a list of Slovakian food you should try while visiting Bratislava:

  • Bryndzove Halusky (dumplings with sheep cheese)
  • Strapacky (dumplings with sauerkraut)
  • Lokse (potato pancakes)
  • Cesnacka (garlic soup on bread)

My go-to place when I bring friends to Bratislava is the Slovak Pub. It’s the closest and best pub in the city center where you can get local food. A typical local meal will cost you less than € 5. Another authentic pub I like is called Bratislava Flagship, just a few minutes walk from Slovak pub.

slovak-food-in-bratislava

You should also visit the following food places in Bratislava:

Two days in Bratislava – what to do?

In case you decide to stay two days in Bratislava you might be interested in day trips you can do around the city.

bratislava-devin

Here are my three options for day trips and activities around Bratislava:

  1. Devin is a ruin 20 minutes bus drive from Bratislava. It’s just above the intersection of two rivers Danube and Moravia. You can get there from the bus station under the bridge SNP with bus number 29. This place played a huge role in the history of the country as more than 25 years this was the location where the iron curtain separated the eastern block from the west.
  2. Zlate Piesky is a small lake just in the suburbs of Bratislava. It’s a good place to relax, rent a paddle boat, swim in the summer or do some wakeboarding. You can get there from the city center within 30 minutes with the tram number 4.
  3. Visiting Koliba and the tv tower offers a good option for people who like to hike. You can start the hike from Zelezna Studienka. It is a nice afternoon walk through the woods combined with a short lift ride to Koliba. If you are into BBQ I suggest taking some sausages and bread and grill them on one of the public fireplaces.

Nightlife in Bratislava

bratislava-nightlife

Many travelers go to Bratislava to experience the nightlife. Cheap hostels, inexpensive drinks, good bars, and clubs make it a good destination for backpackers.

In most of the clubs in Bratislava, you will need to pay admission. Women have mostly free entrance.

Here are popular places to visit for students and backpackers:

Here is a list of popular bars and clubs in the city center:

Where to stay in Bratislava

If you decide to extend your one day trip to Bratislava I have good news for you. The accommodation in Bratislava is very affordable. Here are a few options for stays in Bratislava close to the city center.

Hostels from € 11 / night: Hostel Blues / Wild Elephans Hostel / Hostel Brickyard

Mid-Range from € 76 / night: APLEND CITY Hotel Perugia / Danubia Gate / APLEND CITY Hotel Michalska

Luxury from € 150 / night: Radisson Blu Carlton Hotel / Loft Hotel / Hotel Avance

If you prefer to use Airbnb, here is my discount code which will save you € 30 on your first booking. If you already have an Airbnb account, you can create a new one with a different email to redeem the coupon. 

My post about the best places to visit in Bratislava should give you an idea about things to do in order to enjoy your stay. You should not leave the city without trying some Slovakian food. Food tasting is one of my favorite activities to do in Bratislava.

Share your experience

Let me know how you enjoyed your visit to Bratislava in the comments below.

Příspěvek Is Bratislava worth visiting? – One Day in Bratislava pochází z Kubasjourneys.com

]]>
https://kubasjourneys.com/is-bratislava-worth-visiting/feed/ 2