If you’re aiming to maximise a holiday with sunshine and pampering, look no further. There are just some things you should know before you get there.
Traveling to the United Arab Emirates is easy and fun. And it’s an unforgettable experience. The customer service might be the best in the world and the sunsets are to die for. If you’re aiming to maximise a holiday with sunshine and pampering, look no further. There are just some things you should know before you get there.
1. FaceTime and Skype won’t work in UAE
Yes, that’s right. You can not use FaceTime or Skype, even if you’re connected to Wifi. Any call will be blocked as there are federal regulations in the UAE that require you to have a contract with the national carriers before you can connect. If you are planning on staying longer than a couple days, get a UAE phone number. If you can spare calls and just stick to messaging, iMessage and WhatsApp will work totally fine for sending regular texts and pictures.
2. Think about how you dress and don’t kiss
The UAE is an extremely hot country. It might be tempting to have minimal clothing, but unfortunately there are rules on how to dress in public. Women have to cover their knees and shoulders when in public areas such as beaches, streets or shopping malls. The exception here would be the beaches in Dubai where a regular bikini is allowed. Overall the city of Dubai is much more liberal than the other emirates, except for the kissing part. Save it for the hotel room.
3. Burj Khalifa is amazing, but skip the very top floor
Burj Khalifa is a must when visiting Dubai, but it can be quite an expensive experience if you aim for the tickets to the very top floor. The best view comes with the ”regular” ticket which allows you to get out on the terrace. It will also give you the best photo opportunities. Book your tickets in advance and choose an off-peak hour for the best result. We came early in the morning and loved it.
4. Renting a car is easy
If you’re planning on seeing other parts of the country than just the location of your hotel, a convenient option is renting a car. All cars are automatic, roads are wide and signs are written in both Arabic and English. Ubers and Taxis are a good option too if you’re in the city, but if you plan on driving between cities, self-driving is a better option. The fuel is always 2 AED per liter which is cheaper than water.
5. Bring a doctor’s certificate with your medicine
This does not only apply for UAE, but it is a thumb rule for traveling and many travellers still aren’t aware of it. Entering a country with medicine or drugs can be an offence, depending on what kind of medicine you’re bringing. Always carry a doctor’s certificate with your medicine, no matter if you’re flying to UAE or USA.
6. Visit the Grand Mosque
The Grand Mosque is breathtaking and one of our most memorable travel moments ever! Best time to go is during sunset. Women can borrow an Abaya (dress with headscarf) for free, it will however get very hot inside of it as it is made of polyester.
For only $55 per night, FACE is the most affordable infinity pool in a cosmopolitan setting that we have ever come across.
If I say infinity pool, you might think of the extravagant Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. But if you’d like to consider neighbouring Malaysia, you have another amazing opportunity with amazing views and an unbelievable morning swim.
Face Platinum Suites is a 5-star residential serviced apartment building. This means that all the apartments are owned by private individuals, but if the owner is away, they can make a side income by leasing it as a hotel unit through the building administration. All the units are of high-end material and will be cleared from personal belongings. Some owners choose to rent their units out themselves to skip the middle man using Airbnb.
Face Platinum Suites has a very nice restaurant on the top floor and all the building amenities contribute to an amazing and relaxing stay in Kuala Lumpur.
My wife and I had a blast on the property and for only $55 per night, this is the most affordable infinity pool in a cosmopolitan setting that we have ever come across.
Kuala Lumpur offers some well-worth-seeing attractions such as the Batu Caves and Twin Towers. The property is a short walk from the latter. Getting to the other parts of town would be most convenient using Uber or Grab.
I do not however recommend more than 3 days in Kuala Lumpur as the number of things to do around is limited. If you want o spend your time in a more active pace or stay for longer, Singapore might still be a wiser option, but remember that Marina Bay Sands, which is the most comparable infinity pool to this, comes with a totally different price tag.
Don’t rule out beautiful Uluru simply because of the price tag. With a bit of planning and some creativity, the visit doesn’t have to be more expensive than your regular Aussie getaway.
Uluru, or Ayers Rock is a long-cherished dream for many. It is unique and mysterious. And it’s the heart of Australia. Once you get there, you will be mesmerized by the scenic beauty. Other things that will blow you away is the distance to any kind of civilisation and the heavily inflated prices that come with a remote location like this.
But don’t rule out Uluru simply because of the price tag. With a bit of planning and some creativity, the visit doesn’t have to be more expensive than your regular Aussie getaway.
The only thing you have to sacrifice is your morning beauty sleep to really be able to enjoy the magic of the outback.
1. Try to find a Jetstar flight deal and rent a car
There are plenty of budget friendly carriers in Australia, but Jetstar has the best promo fares. A couple of times a year, they launch their ”Free Return” promo for 199 AUD from Sydney and 189 AUD from Melbourne. On other rare occasions the price from Sydney and Melbourne is 99 AUD one way on both Virgin and Jetstar, but the problem is to find a return fare in the same price range, which makes the Free return option the smartest deal. Make sure to book a rental car in advance. We had this lovely Outlander for 180 AUD for two nights and it was the best rental car we’ve ever had!
2. Don’t reset to Outback Time and be at the gates when the park opens
Outback time is absolutely ridiculous. It is 1,5 hours west of Sydney. Don’t bother resetting your watch and adjusting your sleep to your new time zone. Take advantage of the earlier bedtime you will be bringing with you from the East Coast and rise before the sun. The sunrise is the most magical thing you will experience, so queue in line at the gates of the national park and enter just after 5 AM. You will have plenty of time to find a good spot for your tripod and camera on the viewing decks.
3. Stay a maximum of 3 days
One day and one night is enough to see it all, but I realize people generally travel in slower pace than myself, so make sure to fit inside 3 days. Your entry tickets to the park last for 72 hours which is more than enough.
4. Be creative with your lodging
Ok. It’s against the law to sleep in the car in Australia. However the law is rarely enforced and many tourists never have a problem with this unless they have provoked a land owner by camping on private property. Bad news is: the entire village of Yulara is owned by Ayers Rock Resort. It is therefore private property, and you’re stuck with lodging prices that vary from 300 to 1000 AUD per night. You can also use the non powered campsite for around 50 AUD but unless you’re bringing a tent with you, this basically means you’re paying 50 AUD to park and sleep inside of your car. The national park closes an hour after sunset so you can’t camp there. There are 2 options if you want to save 50 bucks:
1. You sleep in your car for free on the next property, Curtin Springs, 103 km east of Yulara – convenient if you’re visiting “nearby” King’s Canyon.
2. You sleep parked on the same parking on the airport from where you rented your vehicle.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but as long as you don’t leave the car, I cannot see how this would be illegal as the parking is home to your car.
5. Don’t expect to climb up on the rock
Uluru is a sacred rock formation and is also considered a religious center for the indigenous population. The weather conditions up there are also more challenging than one may think where several rescue operations are conducted each year. The indigenous people and the rangers ask visitors not to climb it and they will close the hike if there is any chance of bad weather. We were there from Oct 8 to Oct 10 and the hike never opened.
6. Bring lots of water and a tripod
Luckily, there are more things to do than to hike up the rock. You can hike through amazing landscape or drive to amazing viewpoints. Make sure to bring a tripod to be able to snap great sunrise and sunset shots. Do bring lots of water and stay hydrated.
7. Have a plan on what viewing area to choose
Planning ahead on what viewing are to choose will assure you to get the best spot for yourself and your camera gear.
There are two main viewpoints of Uluru. The sunrise viewing area will allow you to take great sunrise shots with the sun coming up from behind you and lighting up the rock to its magical red color. On a clear day, you will also see Kata Tjuta, The Olgas in the distant. This platform is also great for sunsets if you want to capture Uluru as a silhouette. The sunset viewing area is just as magic when the red sun lights up the red rock, and it will also serve well for early sunrise shots if you want the silhouette. The Kata Tjuta viewing point is also good, but not brilliant. Instead we enjoyed watching the formation by just parking along one of the paved roads.
8. Do visit the cultural center
Remember, you’re in the land of the Aboriginals. They take care of the park and were here thousands of years before yourself, so pay a tribute by learning more about their culture and customs in the Cultural Center. You will not be disappointed.
9. Don’t worry about wildlife
Me and Marcy were scared of spiders, snakes, everything! Totally unnecessary. We once found a spider in our bathroom. That was it. And it turned out he was harmless. And out in the nature? Well, the only real thing we found was a dingo and this lovely chameleon. Can you spot him?
10. Worry about bugs
No, kidding. Nothing to worry about but there are occasionally lots of flies in the area. Make sure to bring a net over your head to prevent flies from colliding with your face all the time.
We came with low expectations, but ended up putting little Liechtenstein on our top 5 list of countries visited.
Liechtenstein is a tiny little country situated in the alps between Switzerland and Austria. It has a reputation of being very boring, extremely expensive and somewhat conservative. Hey, they waited with letting their women vote until 1984!
So we came with low expectations, but we were blown away with how awesome it was. So much that both me and my wife put it on our top 5 list of countries visited.
1. The views
Just as everywhere else in the Alps, there are vast elevation changes on all roads, which means you might get to amazing viewpoints just by driving ahead. Especially on the byways of Liechtenstein, you will experience some amazing ”wow”-moments along the way. And thanks to Liechtenstein not having heavy traffic, stops are possible here and there.
2. The castles
Liechtenstein has some interesting history and probably holds a world record of castles per capita. The most famous is the Vaduz Castle where the prince lives, but the most beautiful is probably Gutenberg. Both are open to the public at certain times, so be sure to check opening times before you go. The history geek will also appreciate a visit to Oberes and Unteres Burg in Schellenberg.
3. The wine
There are vineyards everywhere in Liechtenstein and many people make their own wine. We visited Gutenberg Castle which is situated on a vineyard hill and they had a friendly social event with their own wine at the very time of our visit. We could have had some, but we had to head home and even though the entire country’s police force probably was present at the party, we didn’t want to have problems with the German Polizei on our drive home later that evening. But we nicked some amazing grapes on our way down the hill. Hope that’s ok. (Please don’t prosecute us when we come back).
4. The Hoi
”Hoi” is their own little way of saying hello. And as the entire country consists of only 30 000 inhabitants, I guess everyone knows everyone. Frankly we saw more goats than humans but the people we met were laid back and friendly.
5. The size
Let’s face it. It’s so small that you might miss it if you blink while passing by. Well, almost. It’s only 40 kilometers from tip to toe and some 15 kilometers wide at the most. This makes it a perfect destination for someone who wants to ”see it all” but still fit it in a weekend. Skiing in Malbun, visit the Gutenberg castle in Balzers, seeing Vaduz and taking in the hills in Schellenberg and Mauren can actually be done in a day if you are efficient enough.
On a budget?
Good news. It is possible to visit Liechtenstein on a budget. There are some really affordable hotels or even guesthouse options in neighbouring Austria. And your biggest save will probably be to fill the car up in Austria, no matter where you’re headed next in Europe. We paid no more than 1€ per liter for Austrian diesel, which is around 40% cheaper than back home in Sweden and 30% cheaper than in Liechtenstein.
The tours around El Nido will take you to pretty lagoons, amazing beaches and stunning rock formations both above and underneath the water.
El Nido is located on the very northwestern tip of Palawan Island and the beauty comes with all the surrounding islands, so you will need to take an island hopping tour to properly enjoy the islands.
How the tours work
The tours are named A, B, C and D and they are priced the same – no matter what tour operator you choose. They usually pick you up from the hotel in the morning and you will depart from the El Nido Harbor on a charming filipno power boat with 15-20 guests. On each stop you will have about 45 minutes to 2 hours to explore depending on how much there is to see. Lunch is provided on one of the longer stops. Tours A and C offer great kayaking and snorkelling opportunities too. It’s a full day trip and you’re usually home an hour before sunset.
What tour operator to choose
We used Northern Hope Tours and it turned out to be the best decision ever! They were extremely professional and friendly, and they picked us up from our resort with a delay of only 15 minutes, which is extremely punctual by filipino standards. This is extremely important as we’ve understood many tours leave with huge delays which leaves the guests with not enough time to explore all stops. But Northern Hope gave us just enough time on each destination and even provided a nice lunch buffet.
What tour to choose
If you haven’t got time to do all the tours, I’d suggest you choose Tour A and/or Tour C. You will se pretty lagoons, amazing rock formations both above and underneath the water.
What to bring
– Flip flops or aqua shoes! I actually managed without it, but it is highly recommended as there is a lot of sharp coral.
– Waterproof duffy bags. You will have to jump in to the water so if you have cameras or such, secure them in a waterproof duffy.
– Cash! There are some creative vendors out there on kayaks. They will come to your boat with everything you may require such as soft drinks and coconuts and it might be fun to buy. Lunch is included with Northern Hope so don’t worry about that.
– Kayaks at the big lagoon (300 PHP per person).
– Conservation fee on Matinloc Island (100 PHP per person).
Some people make money to travel. Why not make money while we travel instead?
I’ve always been drawn by the freedom of not having a regular 9-5 job. Believe me, I have worked long hours and sometimes even more than full time, but being open to new opportunities has made it possible for me to combine work with travel. Being location independent has given me more liberty and joy than a regular paycheck. So what are the steps you can do to ”break free” without losing your financial wealth?
1. Take advantage of the digital era
Don’t quit your dayjob. Most meetings can be done via Skype or Facetime. If your work only requires you to sit behind a desk and a computer, bring a laptop with you so that you can work with a view. Talk with your employer and see if he or she thinks your tasks would be compatible with working remotely, at least to some extent. Most people have never dared to ask and just having the option to work remotely for some days might stimulate your inner travel bug.
2. Work less but for yourself
If you do quit your dayjob, try working for yourself. I have a small consultancy business. I do social media analysis for lifestyle brands. Working for myself makes it possible to trade some office hours for more travel.
3. Diversify your income stream
Being dependent on only one source of income might be hard and risky. I am studying sociology part time and I receive a small scholarship for my research each year. I have also been very interested in the stock market and have a few stocks that give me quarterly dividends. Again, no big bucks, but enough to save me on a rainy day.
4. Don’t underestimate the value of points
The biggest helper to working remotely is getting your points strategy right. This makes you fly and stay in hotels for free. Enroll in all frequent traveller programs, and seize the opportunity to accelerate or boost your points. Earn your points in nice promos where your activity will be rewarded with double or even quadruple points. Finally, redeem them when they are on sale.
5. Always be a gentleman
Be nice, flexible and always do what is expected from you. Working remotely is a privilege, so make sure your constituents know you’re grateful to be able to do so. And pay your taxes. A part of it goes to maintaining and growing your country’s diplomatic relations, which makes it easier for you to travel.
After visiting Montenegro, I simply can’t understand why people still travel to Croatia!
Montenegro is a very friendly little country down by the Adriatic sea. It is home to perfect beaches with clear turquoise waters, charming medieval villages and impressive fjords. The very tall mountains also offer excellent skiing opportunities if you decide to go in winter. But best of all – the herds of tourists haven’t discovered it yet. We’re glad we have.
The reason we went to Montenegro was originally my fiancées fascination with Game of Thrones and its filming location which is the little medieval town of Dubrovnik, Croatia, just north of the Montenegrin border. We spent 4 days exploring Montenegro, and after having done so, I simply can’t understand why people still travel to Croatia! The beauty is definitely located south of the border.
This is a little Unesco town and I demand you not to miss it. It was our highlight of the trip, simply thanks to the beauty of it. This is your postcard from Montenegro! Please allow plenty of time for a swim in the crystal clear waters – you might see plenty of fish, and take a boat out to the islets of St George and Gospa od Skreplija.
Another Unesco town, and also the most popular tourist destination in the country. Both the harbor and the small alleys of the medieval town are lovely, but our highlight was to climb the fortress of San Giovanni to witness the sunset over Kotor Bay. The fortress is located a little bit over 1,2 kilometers above sea level and the trek is 4,5 kilometers. We took the southern path up and the main path down, which also led to the well-known chapel of St Ivan. Bring water and some hiking shoes, although a Russian lady we met was perfectly fine with high heels.
3. Sveti Stefan
Sveti Stefan is a little island that resembles Dubrovnik. There is a wall around it, and the bridge is still guarded. Nowadays it is mainly because the entire island is a premium luxury resort, so I guess there is an incentive to keep the rif-raf out. But visitors are allowed to enter this historical village with a guide. If you don’t fancy taking the tour, a hotel stay might be something to remember as it is a one-of-a-kind property. Expect to fork up 800 – 4000€ per night, though.
4. Lake Skadar and The European Horseshoe Bend
I bet you’ve seen photos from Horseshoe Bend in Arizona. Good news is a similar phenomenon exists in Montenegro, although less rocky. The road is narrow but very accessible as it is just a short drive from the M2 highway that connects Podgorica with Cetinje and the coastline. This is the exact location.
5. Lovcen National Park
In summertime – a perfect mountainous landscape to hike. In winter – a darling for local off-pist skiers. Nijegos Mausoleum is a tomb located 2 kilometers above sea level, and it is also one of the most impressive peaks in Europe. You can drive up almost all the way, but the last 400 meters of altitude need to be done by foot. And don’t miss hiking Bobotov Kuk. The views of the valley and the fiord compare to both Norway and Switzerland.
Avid skiers should take the opportunity to ski in Kolasin in Northern Montenegro. It compares to many of the alpine resorts in Europe but it is significantly cheaper.
Tivat is a lovely coastal town with beach access and plenty of harbouring opportunities if you arrive in Montenegro by yacht. Porto Montenegro is a luxury marina under construction. Most of it is finished today and some people refer to it as the new Monaco of the Balkans, although I would wait a couple of years before I make that comparison. It is built and owned by the Rotschild family.
Another medieval walled village, but also home for new high-rises. Èze meets Benidorm. While it has its historical charm, it is also the beach town where the most tourists come for the summer holiday and the herds might already be unbearable. Bear in mind though, that it has some really nice properties and you get a lot of bang for your buck in town. We were very satisfied with our stay at the 5-star Hotel Budva which provided excellent room service and had a very spacious rooftop pool. The prices are half of what you would pay in Croatia, and a third of what we’re used to back home. I don’t recommending spending too much time in Budva, but as it is centrally located, it might be a great base.
What to eat
Montenegro offers a wide range of foods, but as it comes to restaurants, we found dining in our hotel to be the best option, as all restaurants allow indoor smoking. We stayed in Hotel Budva – their food and service was great and we had the pleasure of not walking away with lung cancer.
Quality of service
Outstanding. One of the best in Europe.
Montenegro uses the Euro, although they aren’t an official member of the Eurozone. We didn’t need cash on our entire stay there, as they accept all kinds of credit cards. We even paid amounts under 1€ by credit card and we always got a smile and full paperwork in return, with the tax receipt and transaction approval slip stapled together. In this case, Montenegro is Utopia for the accountant-turned-traveller.
Montenegro is home to two international airports – Tivat and Podgorica. You can also fly in to Dubrovnik, but I’d advice you to pay a slightly more expensive airfare to be able to land in Montenegro, as rental cars and border crossing permits are way cheaper if the car is rented with MNE plates.
Rental car. Don’t forget winter tyres (and snow chains for driving up the mountains) if you go in winter. The country is very mountainous which means vast elevation changes. Bring water. Always use headlights, never drive too fast. The traffic police is everywhere! If you don’t have a license, taxis are very cheap.
When to go
We went there in late January, which is a time of year I really recommend for travel to that region if you want to combine a perfect ski trip in the high mountains with a summer holiday down by the beach.
Summer, spring and fall are equally rewarding. The lack of snow in the mountains by then will present a great opportunity for hiking.
Montenegro is just as safe as any other European country, but it never hurts to flash your valuables moderately.
The salesmen of Marrakech are practicing the art of supply and demand. Expect to pay 1/10-1/5 of the initial offer.
After seeing pictures from Marrakech on Instagram, me and my fiancée were very intrigued and decided to go there. But we hadn’t thought of the many scams we would experience.
Don’t get me wrong. If you stay in a Riad, a traditional and somewhat luxurious Moroccan boutique hotel, you get really lovely and honest service, but the moment you step out on the streets, you’re gonna be a walking wallet that hustlers want to rip apart. Traveling in the third world often means being approached by locals trying to get money out from you in a number of creative ways, but Morocco is different. Although it isn’t really the third world anymore, hustlers are everywhere, they are aggressive and most of them seem to think you are walking around with millions.
Before we list the scams we experienced – here’s an overview over what things should cost in the souks.
100g of Moroccan spice: 10-20 Dirham Slippers or shoes: 50-100 Dirham Pastry: 1 dirham per cake / cookie Yoghurt / smoothie: 5 dirham A lamp, lantern: 50-70 Dirham A scarf in cashmere: 150 Dirham Another scarf: 50 Dirham Real argan oil with ”eco-sticker” 100 ml: 150 Dirham A taxi ride within the Medina: 5-10 Dirham, add another 10 Dirham if you or your hotel have called for the driver A taxi ride to the airport: 70 Dirham, but you could probably pay less if you speak arabic
The salesmen of Marrakech are practicing the art of supply and demand. Expect to pay 1/10-1/5 of their initial offer, unless there already is a ”prix fix”.
Do not tip! We wanted to buy shoes from a nice gentleman but couldn’t find anything that would fit my fiancée’s Cinderella foot. We felt bad for the guy, so I tipped him 10 Dirham (1 USD) for his effort. He then demanded at least 5 dollars. For nothing.
Scam group #1 – People who want to take you to places
”Sorry, square is this way”.
Many youngsters know exactly how to catch the attention of lost tourists who aren’t able to navigate in the small streets of the Medina. Most of them assume you’re going to the big square – Jemma El Fna, so they suggest another way. Best case: they show you to the square by taking a detour to some shops where they get commissions for bringing tourists. Worst case: they take you to a small alley where they ask for a donation. If you don’t pay, some shady dude will appear and make you pay.
”This is closed but another thing is open – only today”
Usually the same type of person approaches you nearby to a tourist attraction, saying it is closed. But he can show you to a market, a tannery, etc. We came across a very trustworthy gentleman next to Bahia Palace, which in fact had just closed. He then wanted to show us to the ”jewish quarter”. ”Only today” it was open for the public. It was more or less on our way, so we let him accompany us. Then he insisted on us going in a small, dark alley, which clearly wasn’t right and that was when we realised he was a fraud. A police officer we talked to later, told us this occurs sometimes and that we would have gotten robbed.
”People come from Atlas Mountain – only today”
This is the ”only today”-scam I love the most. It is totally harmless. But time consuming. Some friendly person who identifies himself as ”Berber” tells you he and his family have ”gone down the mountains” and brought hand-made things and they now are borrowing a shop around the corner. ”Only today! Just look, no buy!” You feel sorry for him, so you tag along. The family is there, but they are there every day. And you feel like an a-hole trying to get out of there not buying anything, so you buy.
”I no guide but I help”
Guides must be registered with the government and if someone wants this how you around, ask for ID. Nobody helps anyone for free in Marrakech.
Scam group #2 – Taxi drivers
Most of your Marrakech money will go to cab drivers. They are obliged to put the meter on, but they never do. Petit Taxis, that is. Grand Taxis do not have a meter. Having to change Riads in Morocco, we asked 10 different drivers we hailed on the street if they wanted to take us 2 kilometers to the new place with our bags. Their offers ranged all the way from 200 Dirham to 50. I insisted on the meter, showing my 10 fingers and not a penny more. After half an hour, a guy agreed on taking us for 15 Dirham. Shared with a local woman. We had nothing against it. It was a lovely ride and she was very nice. But as we got to our destination, the meter said 6 Dirham and the local woman got out and paid 2. He insisted on still getting 15 from me.
Riding to and from the airport is different. Here you will have to haggle down the price from ridiculous amounts like 500 Dirhams to 70. For a 3 kilometer ride, that is. This makes Marrakech more expensive for taxi per kilometer than Oslo, NYC or Zürich.
The female sneak-up ”tattoo artists”
Usually in the hideous square of Jemma El Fna. Some nice women will sneak up from behind, grab your hand and perform a Henna tattoo without asking you first. Then you need to pay. This happened to us but we waved them off last second. In return we were cursed and they wished us bad sex in the future. We recommend to have your hand in your pocket.
The involuntary photo model
You’re taking a photo and a person is very angry because he ended up in the picture. He now wants money, because you will sell that photograph for millions later. Solution? You take more than one shot and show him one picture that you erase if you have your camera strapped around your neck. If not, don’t bring up any valuables.
The baker / fruit dude
We experienced a ”baker” approaching us with coconut donuts. We said we didn’t have money, but he insisted on us tasting these donuts anyhow. ”Taste, only try, no money, don’t worry, be happy”. I tried saying I was gluten intolerant, but he didn’t mind. Once he forced the donuts in our hands, we had to pay him 25 Dirhams per donut. Bakeries sell these for 0,5 Dirham each. We gave one of the donuts back and gave him 5 Dirham just to get rid of him. 20 minutes later, he approached us and had no idea he had just been talking to us.
As a Swede, I get many questions about what Swedish credit cards to use to maximise your points travel, so here’s everything a Swede needs to know about points travel! In Swedish, this time.
Dessa svenska kreditkort ger bäst bonuspoäng för resor
Att samla kreditkortspoäng är ett fantastiskt sätt att maximera sitt resande. Varje månad har vi löpande utgifter såsom mat och drivmedel och ibland köper vi kläder eller renoverar hemma. När vi använder vårt kreditkort får vi tillbaka ca 1% i form av poäng att resa för. Om du handlar mat för 1200 kronor varje vecka får du 12 kronor tillbaka i resepoäng. Inte mycket på en vecka, men en fantastisk fin återbäring om man slår ut det på ett år. Dessutom får du gratis reseförsäkringar.
Det absolut viktigaste med poängresor är att ha tålamod och vara långsiktig. Det tar ofta två-tre år att skrapa ihop tillräckligt med poäng till en resa, men när man väl har uppnått sitt mål är det ganska underbart att kunna åka iväg helt gratis. Men det kräver medvetenhet.
Köp aldrig något som du annars inte hade köpt bara för att samla poäng.
Betala alltid fakturan i sin helhet så att du slipper räntan.
Prenumerera på SMS och e-mail från alla poängutgivare så att du kan nappa på tillfällen att få dubbla, trippla eller till och med tiodubbla poäng.
Skippa kontanterna helt.
Om du måste ta ut, var uppmärksam på uttagsavgifter och valutapåslag när du är utomlands.
Logga in regelbundet och se till att använda eller byta dina bonuspoäng innan de förfaller. Oftast sker detta efter 3-5 år.
Håll koll på årsavgift och vad poängen är värda i kronor. Om avgiften chockhöjs och poängen samtidigt devalveras kanske kortet inte är värt att ha kvar.
Håll utkik efter tjänster som kan boosta dina poäng! Exempelvis kan du få poäng värda ca 1000 kronor per år från din elleverantör och ännu högre återbäring om du har hemlarm. Här rekommenderar jag att söka information i varje bonusklubb och prenumerera på information.
1. SAS Eurobonus – American Express Premium
Kortet har överlägset bäst reseförsäkring av alla kort jag äger. Även poängintjäningen är mycket lukrativ, speciellt om man överstiger 150 000 kronor i transaktioner på ett kalenderår. Då får man resan till halva poängpriset. Alltså tar man med sin partner exempelvis utan extra kostnad till Asien för 2×30 000 poäng istället för 60 000 poäng. Poängen funkar även med SAS Partnerbolag i Star Alliance. Nackdelen är hög årsavgift, att en del butiker fortfarande inte accepterar, eller gnäller extra mycket över Amex, samt att du måste betala flygplatsavgift när du bokar din bonusresa. Ett tips här är att undvika så många mellanlandningar som möjligt.
Årsavgift: 1000 SEK Valutapåslag: 2% Poängvärde: 1,5 p / 1 SEK (1,3%-2,8% återbäring) Extra kostnader vid poängbokning: Flygskatt Betyg: 4/5 Rekommendation: Köp
1. Norwegian – Bank Norwegian Visa
Norwegian har det mest rättvisa poängsystemet. När du köper din bonusresa är 1 NOK detsamma som 1 Cashpoint. Och återbäringen är strikt 1%. Handlar du för 1000 SEK, ca 950 NOK, får du 9,5 CashPoints på kontot. Mycket enkelt. Transaktioner för drygt 20 000 SEK ger 200 CashPoints, vilket räcker för en flygning inom Europa, exempelvis till London. Detta kortet ger dig resor snabbast om du spenderar mindre än 150 000 kr per år. Extra pluspoäng för avsaknad av årsavgift och att de även bjuder på flygskatt. En bonusresa är verkligen en gratisresa med Norwegian. Solklar delad förstaplats.
Årsavgift: 0 SEK Valutapåslag: 1,75% Poängvärde: 1 p / 1 NOK (0,95% återbäring) Extra kostnader vid poängbokning: Inga Betyg: 5/5 Rekommendation: Köp
3. Nordic Choice Club – Mastercard
Flygpriserna sjunker, men hotellpriserna stiger. Det gör det extra relevant att se sig om efter kreditkort som kan ge bonusnätter istället för bonusflyg. Absolut bäst i kategorin är Nordic Choice Club. Takk, Petter Stordalen! Meget flink. Här bor du gratis från och med 7500 poäng och du får 10 poäng per 100 kronor. Vän av ordning räknar ut att det krävs ett spenderande på 75000 kronor för att bo gratis, men kortet ska snarare ses som ett sätt att nå poäng snabbare om man ändå bor på Choice Hotels då och då, eftersom du direkt får silverstatus. Dessutom 20% extrapoäng per vistelse (10% för silverstatus och 10% som en kortbonus) samt en tillgodokupong på 75 kronor per natt i restaurang och bar. Slår man ihop allt detta är kortet mer intressant än de flesta flygkort. En extra eloge för att de rätt ofta har kampanjer som ger dubbla poäng, inte bara på boende utan även på kortanvändande.
Årsavgift: 200 SEK Valutapåslag: 2% Poängvärde: 10 p / 100 SEK (0,7-1,6% återbäring) Extra kostnader vid poängbokning: Inga Betyg: 5/5 (om man spenderar minst 2 nätter per år med Choice) Rekommendation: Köp
4. Coop MedMera Mer – Mastercard
Coop har nyligen försämrat sina villkor på en rad punkter, men är fortfarande en smart produkt. Kortet saknar valutapåslag och kontantuttagsavgift. Det sparar dig mycket huvudvärk, och pengar, utomlands. Du får dock bara 0,5% i återbäring och dessutom har de devalverat värdet på sina poäng betydligt. Tidigare kunde du byta 30 000 Coop-poäng mot 5000 Nordic Choice-poäng. Det innebar att om du spenderade 45 000 kronor med kortet, så fick du en gratisnatt hos Nordic Choice. Med den tidigare återbäringen om 1%, var det alltså smartare att använda Coopkortet för Choicenätter än Choice-kortet självt. Men nu är det ändring på saken och Coop-kunden får spendera 120 000 kronor för samma nöje. Likadant är det med byte till Eurobonuspoäng som blivit dyrare via Coop-kortet eftersom återbäringen halverats. Men Coop-kortet är fortfarande intressant om man handlar på Coop, för då är återbäringen hela 2%. Rekommendationen blir därför att endast handla i Coops butiker med kortet och istället använda det utomlands, i bankomat eller vid e-handel som görs i annan valuta än SEK.
Årsavgift: 348 SEK Poängvärde: 0,5 p / 1 SEK (0,5% återbäring) Extra kostnader vid poängbokning: Ca 20% faktisk devalvering vid byte till olika resepoäng Betyg: 3/5 Rekommendation: Behåll
5. Finnair Plus – Mastercard
Finnair Plus är ett kort jag endast använder i nödfall. Men ibland ger de dubbla poäng och då kan man plocka fram det ur lådan. Du får endast 10 poäng per 100 kronor och du behöver långt mycket fler bonuspoäng när du ska flyga än på exempelvis SAS. Dessutom har alla Oneworld-bolag mage att råna dig på både flygskatt och bränsleavgift när du bokar bonusresa. Detta kan dock faktiskt ändras med tanke på den hårda konkurrens som finns i branschen varför jag behåller mitt kort. En bra tröst är att man konstant flyger för samma poängpris på en viss sträcka oavsett om man bokar tidigt eller sent. Om en flight som kostar 600 kr har gått upp till 2900 kr, kan det vara smart att nyttja poängen. Och man kan faktiskt byta sina poäng mot hotellpoäng och det värdet är ofta mer lukrativt än besparingen på flygbiljetten.
Årsavgift: 395 SEK Poängvärde: 10 p / 100 SEK (0,4-0,9% återbäring) Extra kostnader vid poängbokning: Flygskatt och bränsleavgift, dock lägre än exempelvis British Airways Betyg: 2/5 Rekommendation: Behåll/avvakta
6. Marginalen Traveller – Mastercard
Marginalen Bank var för 3-4 år sedan en kul uppstickare med generösa poäng på bonusresor, men detta har ändrats. Under 2016 gjordes en omfattande devalvering där en resa till Seattle som tidigare brukade kosta 52 000 poäng plötsligt kostade 96 000. Dessutom ökades både årsavgift och poänginsamling blev ett svårare förehavande eftersom många kampanjer som gav upp till fyrdubbla poäng (exempelvis på internethandel) slopades. I sista sekund bokade jag i alla fall en flight till Seattle innan poängen devalverades, men upplevde till min stora avsmak att Resia (som sköter bokningarna) efter flera upprepade kontakter endast ville föreslå flighter på bolag som inräknade bränsleavgifter i flygskatten. Och i enlighet med villkoren skulle resenären själv betala flygskatt. Flygskatten uppgick till ca 3300 SEK. Hade jag köpt en biljett till Vancouver för vanliga pengar, som ändå var min slutdestination, hade den kostat mig 4400 SEK. Och då hade jag även fått mat på flyget istället för att behöva köpa lunch på Reykjaviks flygplats för 500 spänn. Jag har naturligtvis slängt kortet idag.
Årsavgift: 395 SEK Poängvärde: 1 p / 1 SEK (0,1-0,7% återbäring) Extra kostnader vid poängbokning: Bränsleavgift och flygskatt Betyg: 1/5 Rekommendation: Flyg och släng
Jag har tidigare även haft ett Finnair Diners Club, vilket jag var väldigt nöjd med, men slängt det till förmån för American Express. Till slut blev det tröttsamt med alla ställen som inte accepterade kortet och årsavgiften blev på tok för hög i förhållande till hur ofta det användes.
Man kan även ha kreditkort hos British Airways Avios, och Air Berlin Topbonus men eftersom båda flygbolag är inom Oneworld, känns det onödigt då jag redan har Finnair. Air Berlin har ett något bättre frequent flyer-program, medan British Airways har otroligt dålig återbäringskvot.
Även ICA och diverse bensinstationer har kort med poäng och återbäring. Är inte resor ditt förstahandsalternativ, kanske de även gör sig bra i din plånbok. Det viktigaste är att du inte kör på vanliga kredit- eller debitkort som kommer direkt från din bank. Värdet av det som skulle ha kunnat vara dina poäng hamnar istället hos farbror banken.
We were just looking for some affordable sun, but ended up with an impressive amount of camera clicks.
Have you ever dreamt of going to a place that will give you unforgettable pictures? In an effort to escape the winter, we accidentally stumbled upon Lisbon. We were just looking for some affordable sun, but ended up with somewhat bronzer skin and an impressive amount of clicks on the camera. With this little guide, I hope you too can make the best out of Lisbon on your weekend getaway.
Catching sunrise over Alfama
Miraduoro de Santa Luzia
Take an early morning walk to Alfama. It’s the oldest part of town and it offers some picturesque old houses, churches and castles to shoot accompanied by the morning sun. Lisbon lies far west on the European continent, so the morning rise shouldn’t be too much of a sacrifice as you probably are 1 hour ahead already if you fly in from another European city.
Tram-catching along Route 28 and Elevator Da Bica
Elevator da Bica, north stop (Google Maps: Biblioteca Camoes)
The trams are a must in Lisbon. Route 28 is a tram line that goes through the most architecturally interesting parts of town, with very old tram cars like this one. Chances are you are going to get both good tram and street shots. The more narrow the street is, the better. Elevador da Bica is an uphill tram / cable car that is another great subject to catch.
Catching colorful streets and graffiti in Bairro Alto
Bairro Alto (Rua Da Rosa and neighboring alleys)
I’m not a fan of graffiti, but it seems like the locals don’t clean their facades. The graffiti is just there, and it is everywhere. Mostly it’s just pure vandalism, but once in a while there are more original works. If not, looking up is a wonderful idea. The houses have beautiful tile facades and the streets are decorated with cute colorful wraps that are hanging between the buildings for Christmas all the way from mid November to January.
Catching the Golden Gate Bridge and the Jesus statue at sunset
Ponte 25 de Abril
Yes, you read that right. Lisbon has both the Golden Gate bridge and the famous big Jesus from Rio de Janeiro. So if your budget doesn’t allow you to see both Brasil and California in one trip, you can just go to Lisbon. The two are conveniently located next to each other, so you can get both attractions in one click. The bridge is also a short drive from another much recommended venue – Belém Tower.
City panorama from Elevador de Santa Justa
Elevador de Santa Justa
There are many Miraduro’s – viewpoints, but my favorite is Elevador de Santa Justa. It’s in the middle of the center and you will get 360 degree views, plus very symmetrical shots of the cityscape.