Travel Hacks: 7 ways to save money on flights

Hey everyone!

If you are traveling on a low budget, like I do, there’s a few hacks you can use in order to save some money. I already shared with you how I save money on food here, but there are also a few ways to save money on the flights, so this second post for the travel hacks series will be focused on helping you out with that

 

1. Choose the right timings  – Try not to travel during high season, like summer or holiday breaks, when most of people travel, because everything is super expensive and crowded. Also, if you buy it on the “ideal time”  which according to experts is 6 weeks before the flight, on Tuesday at 3 am , you’ll have the lowest fare.

 

2.  Use incognito mode (ctrl + shift + n) – Considering that websites save your search history, they  realize you are interested in buying, so the more you look the higher the prices.

3. Use skyscanner  – this is a really good website, user-friendly and with great prices

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4. Research for each trip separately – If you are going to just one place, sometimes the matches done by the websites aren’t always the cheapest, so look for each trip at once and make your own combo depending on your preferred schedules and prices.

5. Look for alternative transportation – Even though airplane is the fastest option, usually  trains and bus can get really cheap,  specially if in Europe, so make sure you check all your options. GoEuro is a nice website to compare all the options.

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6. Check out if the airport is close to the center –  Do your maths. Is is worthy to buy a cheap plane ticket and spend a lot of money on a transfer to the hotel? Or is it better to buy a more expensive plane ticket to the closest airport to the city. Don’t forget that you will probably have to pay for transfer for the city center, and sometimes it’s even more expensive.

 

7. Make sure your lugagge is according to the travel company’s allowed size and avoid to pay an extra fee. And you are thinking “how the hell am I supposed to fit my close into those tiny bags?!” the answer will come on a new blog post really soon, so stay tuned!

 

This are the hacks I use to spend the minimum on my flights , do you use any of these? Do you know any other tricks? Do share them with me please 🙂 

 

 

Lots of Love, 

Catarina

11 things to do in Évora – One day trip

Hey there! Long time no see huh? I am back!!!

This time I’m writting about Évora, one of the most beautiful cities in Portugal. Évora is a very special place for me, since I have family there, which means: I went there many times and I absolutely love it!

So if you’re spending a few days in Lisbon you can easily take a train and you’ll be there in 1h30 hours for about 10€ (one way).

This amazing city is located in Alentejo region, have you heard of it? Alentejo is this perfect countryside region where you can rest peacefully, try some great wine and marvelous food. Évora is a part of it, and it has many things to visit for itself, but as it is quite small, it’s  easy to see in a day. To simplify it for you, here are my 10 favorite things to do when visiting Évora in a short period of time. Continue reading “11 things to do in Évora – One day trip”

24h in Munich: 8 things to do

Hi guys!

I visited Munich with a few friends while I was doing exchange,  in literally 24h – I know it seems impossible, but it was the amount of time we had, so we decided do take a chance. Despite it was a very short stay, I feel like it was plenty of  time to get the essence of the city and I actually really enjoyed the trip!  Better safe than sorry, am I right? 🙂

So here’s my advice of 10 things to do while staying in Munich for 24 hours! 

  1. Start out in Marienplatz

This is the main square of the city, so it only makes sense you start your visit by seeing it. Its amazing architecture, people walking around and its life are what makes it so special. In my opinion, it just makes you stop and stare into this magical square. I was lucky enough to visit while there was a festival due to a public holiday, so I was able to have a beer and a wurst there and see the typical bavarian costumes! How cool is that? 🙂

 

 

2. Have a beer at the Biergarten

This one is so obvious right?! German beer is famous for a reason –  because it’s freaking delicious! And having it on its “natural habitat” is a great experience! I loved the taste and thickness, but I found specially funny the way  they throw the beer from one side of the table to another, so naturally… I wouldn’t try this at home ! 😀

 

3. Eat a wurst

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Another obvious thing to do! The germans are specialists in what it comes to sausages, so what else would you eat in Germany?

They have a lot of types of wurst, but the best one (the one they advise you to eat) is the currywurst. It was quite spicy, which is not really my thing, so I had the normal one, and it was delishhhh!

 

 

 

4. Walk under the Kalstor Gate

It used to serve to defend the city, they were remodelled and now it divides the city center from the suburbs. It is definetly a really interesting thing to see and to pass by.

 

5. Walk around Hofgarten

This is a beautiful garden to spend a few hours during spring. It is very well treated, full of flowers and with a beautiful fountain and you can also see a few people, wether couples walking around or people passing by. Either way, it’s definetly worth the look. I don’t know if it happens often, but I got lucky again and saw a few people dancing tango inside the bandstand,  which was truly wonderful.

 

 

6. Odeonplatz

Another amazing square in the city that sometimes has held a small market.

 

7. Visit Dachau Concentration Camp

This was the first Nazi concentration camp, and it was the most impressive thing I ever saw in my life. The camp just brings you back to all the brutal things that used to happen there – it shows perfectly what a terrible time it was and how horribly people were treated. Since the “beds” that used to be packed with people, the bathrooms that had horrible conditions and the gas chambers… Just terribly sad, there are no other words to describe it. It is sad to see this didn’t happen that long ago, and that people were actually treated so horribly. Despite this was a horrible part of history, I advise anyone to go, as it makes you think and understand what happened.

 

 

8. Viktuallienmarkt 

Of course, I would have to name a market in the city, which is probably my favorite thing to visit. This one is a typical farmer’s market, it has nothing different but is quite european and interesting, so if you have time check it out.

What about you? Have you ever visited Munich? Tell me all about it ! 

 

Lots of Love, 

Catarina

Lisbon Travel Guide: One day trip to Sintra, the fairytale village outside the city

Hello!

Back to the Lisbon Travel Guide, I decided to write about a magical place called SINTRA!

Sintra is a charming little village just a 45 minutes train ride away from Lisbon. This is one of my favorite places in Portugal and the one I recommend everyone to go, when visiting Lisbon. It is surrounded by woods and hills, it has gorgeous palaces and breathtaking views. It is literally a fairy tale come true.

Visiting Sintra should take you a whole day, so you will have to go early, not only to avoid crowds, but to make sure you have time to see everything.

 

Sintra Center

Being this the point of start for a Sintra day tour, you will be enchanted right from the beginning, with these narrow and colorful streets. There is also a view from the palace and you can not skip the traditional pastries “queijadas de Sintra” from Piriquita, as they are the most known and delicious in the country.

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Sintra center
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Queijadas at Piriquita
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Narrow Streets

 

Castel of the Moors

This castel in ruins goes back to the 9th century, and it was restored afterwords. I actually haven’t visited the inside for a while, but from what I remember it has a really interesting background and an amazing view. If you don’t want to spend money here, you can still see a few things in the outside, so don’t miss it.

 

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Pena Palace

This stunning palace is located on the top of Sintra, and you can see it from bellow in almost every part of the town. It is a landmark of Sintra and it is known for its unique colors and architecture. The tour for the palace and the gardens costs around 16€ , and it allows you to see how the royal families used to live and the gardens, which are really nice as well.

 

 

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Quinta da Regaleira

This one is my absolute favorite in Sintra. Regaleira is a really pretty palace, but in here, the real magic is found in the gardens. The price is just 6€, which is super cheap for this awesome place. The gardens have wells, cages, lakes, flowers… and amazing viewpoints. I don’t think any words or photos can truly show how fascinating Regaleira is, so my advice is: go and see for yourselves.

 

Quinta da Regaleira

 

Some tips that might helpful:

  • Once this is a very touristy zone, all the coffee shops are pricey, so if you want to save money take some food and water with you.
  • In Sintra is always colder and windier than in Lisbon, so make sure you bring a coat.
  • The cheapest way to get to Sintra is by train, from Cais do Sodré. You can also go by tram from praça da figueira (15E) or by bus, but as they are often crowded I don’t really recommend it.
  • Once you get there, you can go from one place to another by foot, but it is a bit far and it is going up, so you can take a bus going through the main attractions. either take one trip by bus from Sintra center to the top and then walk down, or buy the daily ticket and ride as you wish, which is what I would do, as it is A LOT of walking.
  • If you are going by car, you can also do a detour and visit the most western point in Europe: Cabo da Roca!

 

I hope this somehow inspired you enough to convince you to visit Sintra, because believe me, you’ll love it!

 

Lots of Love, 

Catarina

 

 

Brussels: What I did and why I got mixed feelings about it

Hey guys,

I used to think that there’s no such thing as high expectations for a trip,  but here’s the newsflash:  Brussels proved me wrong with a slap on the face! I thought a lot about what I would write in this article – I didn’t know wether to write it as a travel guide or if I should let you know my personal experience, because the truth was: I went to Belgium but I didn’t like it that much.

I went to Brussels to see a few friends and that was absolutely awesome, but the idea I had about the city changed as soon as I saw that dirty-looking city filled with rude people instead of a beautiful fairytale city.

The bad experience began when I arrived to the airport and the train to the city center – which is a really short distance – was expensive AF ! Then I thought that the most spoken language (including the direction signs) would be in english, or at least in french, but surprise: the speakers on the train were in dutch and there was no sign what so ever of anything being in english – Panic! I felt kind of unwelcome,  like they don’t like receiving tourists…

I know people have different backgrouds and we should be open to other cultures, I personally think I’m quite open-minded, but I think Brussels has such negative vibes! Instead of the cultural diversity and the beautiful streets I was expecting, I saw a dirty city, with “bad looking people” (they look quite rude and too into their own world) going around, taxi drivers who want to overcharge us, mediocre food… In the first time in my life, I didn’t like a city, which is a shame because Brussels for itself is beautiful! It has so much to offer! Beautiful architecture, lovely beer and nice things to visit…

Despite all those incidents, and the “shock” towards this city that destroyed my expectations, I managed to have fun and to visit a few things in this short weekend.

 

So here’s a list of what I did and advise you to do in Brussels

 

Grand Place

This is probably the more iconic square of Brussels. During the day, it is full of life! People are running around, there are a lot of terraces where you can sit drinking a coffee and relaxing, and it has beautiful buildings to look at. You can’t miss it!

 

 

Manneken Pis

This is literally a statue of a boy peeing into a fountain, which is weird but a landmark of the city so, you have to visit 🙂

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Beer taste at Delirium Café

Belgium is known for its marvelous beer and this caffe is quite popular for having a huge amount of beers – it has held the Guinness record for having the longest beer list ever, selling beers from all over the world. So it is the ultimate place for you to have a beer taste, or at list it deserves a visit for just one beer.

 

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Food:  Waffle, Chocolat and Fries

Well duh! When in Belgium, have a waffle! I had this amazing waffle in a little shop in the city center, which is filled with stores like that, and it is impossible to resist if you’re a sweet tooth like me! This country is well known for its wonderful chocolat as well, and let me tell you that this one really meets expectations. If you are looking for good quality chocolat, I advise you Godiva, the best artisanal chocolat shop. Fries are a typical belgium food as well, you can find it everywhere.

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Atomium 

The atomium is quite recent and it is located bit far away from the city center, you can either see it from outside or take a visit inside (12€ per adult). I took the tour and really liked it, it is very interesting. As you walk through the tubes and spheres, there are a few exibhits about the fifties (When it was built) and when you get to the top, there’s a really nice panoramic view of the city.

 

 

Day trip to Brugge

This little city made my visit to Belgium super worthy… It looks like a village that you read about in a book, very fairytale like. It has beautiful buildings, charming streets and canals and amazing restaurants! It is just one hour away from Brussels and the ticket costs around 10eur – it’s a day very well spent!

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BRUGES

Despite all the incidents, I actually liked my trip to Belgium, not only because it allowed me to see my international friends again, but because it thought me everything can be enjoyed even if many things go wrong. Remember: It is essential to prepare your trip in advance, remain positive and see the bright side of everything 🙂

 

Lots of Love, 

Catarina