Why do it yourself?

Things you can easily pay someone else to do, whilst living in a low-cost country.

There is the saying that if you want something doing, do it yourself, but in some cases that’s just not needed. If you’re staying in a country where the cost of living is relatively low, you may find yourself with a little extra cash, to give yourself a slightly better standard of day to day life. Of course, you don’t want to splash the cash, but if it gives you more time to do other things, such as work, write, travel, sightsee etc, then why not?

I’m currently in Turkey and there is that culture of life here where you do pay others for many different household services, and this is how others make a living, and your life is made easier.

Here are four possible services you can outsource from your life, and into someone else’s.

Laundry.
Now, I do this because I haven’t got a washing machine in my apartment currently, and whilst I can hand-wash, and I do sometimes, it just doesn’t get everything as clean as I would like. For this reason, I pay a very nice lady to do my washing for me, and a very good job of it she does too. Whether you go to a laundrette, or you use a certain person for the job, just like I do, then it can often work out cheaper than the cost of electric, fabric detergent and softener, not to mention your time.

Ironing.
Same goes for this next option. Ironing is boring, don’t you find? I hate it, and in a hot country you don’t want to be stood over a hot iron, trying to get the creases out. I guess equally you don’t want to be walking around in creased clothes, looking like nobody owns you. You can easily find laundrettes who will charge you for your ironing, and they will be returned to you folded, pressed and neat. Again, you save on electric and time, not to mention the cost of an iron.

Cleaning.
General cleaning services are things you can pay others to do for you. In a hot country, you’ll often find floors are the tiled kind, and I can’t believe how dirty they get on a day to day basis. Trying to keep on top of cleaning in places like this, whilst trying to actually have a life, and even work as well, can be borderline impossible. Cleaning services are popular in many different countries, so it’s a good idea to make use of them, freeing up your time.

Language services.
Now I put this one in, and I know it’s not household themed, but it has helped me and my daily life abroad. I mentioned earlier that I am living in Turkey, and I admit that other than a few words and phrases, before I arrived I was probably the world’s worst Turkish speaker. Because of that, and because I wanted to at least try and speak Turkish, considering I was living here, I hired a tutor to teach me the local language; it’s worked wonders. My tutor is English, but is fluent in Turkish and has been living here for years, so this helps me because she understands some of the difficulties I may have. You will find this kind of service in many different countries, and it will certainly help you in your living abroad endeavours.

If it makes your life easier, pays someone’s wages, and doesn’t cost the earth, why wouldn’t you pay someone to do something for you? Makes perfect sense to me!

Guest post by our friend Nicki.

Photo Credit: Wonderlane under Creative Commons license

Ukraine Travel Guide

Ukraine is a fairly easy destination to get to by plane, with direct flights to the capital Kiev from many of Europe’s major cities, including London, Rome, Milan, Munich and Vienna. Ukraine can also be reached directly by train from Berlin and Vienna.



A visa isn’t required to visit Ukraine for residents of countries in the European Union, or for citizens of a number of other countries, including the United States, Canada, Israel, South Korea and Japan. Though conflict in Ukraine is ongoing, the western and central parts of the country are not directly affected compared to the east. For additional peace of mind when visiting Ukraine, however, getting yourself covered with some good travel insurance is advisable.



Places To Visit 



Kiev



Kiev has been a city for around 1500 years and boasts some strikingly beautiful architecture, such as the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra and the National Opera House. For getting round the city, Kiev’s Metro system is the best option for both speed and affordability. Among the family friendly places to visit in Kiev are the two aqua parks, Dream Town Aqua Park and Aqua Park Terminal, and the unique St Sophia’s Cathedral, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.



Biosphere Reserves



Ukraine has two biosphere reserves of note – the Carpathian Biosphere Reserve and the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve. The Carpathian Biosphere Reserve, which is close to Rakhiv, has both rare plants and creatures in an environment that consists of virtually untouched forest amid a rolling landscape. The significance of this area was recognised by UNESCO in 1992. Though most of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve is in Romania, the Ukrainian part of the reserve is still impressive. Boat tours are available, and making the most of seeing this area’s rich bird life is possible via birdwatching tours.



Lviv



One of Ukraine’s most important cities, Lviv is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The old market square of this attractive city is particularly notable, with buildings painted in an array of bright colours such as pink and yellow.



Potemkin Steps



Immortalised on film, the Potemkin Steps in Odessa offers fantastic views of the harbour and it is free to visit. The 192 steps are also constructed in a way that presents visitors with an optical illusion. If you don’t fancy the long climb up the steps there is a rail option.



Pyrohiv

 

Just outside of Kiev, Pyrohiv is known for its festivals. The Pyrohiv Museum of Folk Architecture is also a major attraction, and is a good example of Ukraine’s open air museums tradition. In the summer at the museum, visitors will also be able to see workers involved in a wide range of activities, from creating pottery to embroidery.

This post was written in association with Direct Travel Insurance.

Cocktails in Paris

Paris is a magical city. There is something so perfectly picturesque about Paris that it is impossible not to feel swept up by its sophisticated and stylish atmosphere as you admire the iconic monuments, the awe-inspiring cathedrals, and the galleries and museums in which you can lose yourself for days. Of course Paris is also justifiably renowned for its restaurants and nightlife, with each of its different arrondissements offering something slightly different. In this article we take a look at some of our favourite places to grab a cocktail or three.

St-Germain-des-Prés

If you were ever going to live in Paris, and money was no object, then St-Germain-des-Prés is probably the area that you would choose. Centrally located and with a great mix of shops and restaurants, this area has somehow retained a strong sense of its residential neighbourhood feel. There are a lot of great cafes and bars in this area. The tourists flock to Les Deux Magots to drink expensive Kir Royales, or the locals tend to favour Cafe de Flore which is nice but expensive. My favourite is La Palette that occupies a prime corner position just near the Beaux-Arts. There are a lot of tables and seats available outside on the pavement, but if the weather is good then these are incredibly popular and you will probably have to queue unless you are friends with one of the waiters. Inside is pretty spectacular though with a faded old-world glamour that hasn’t changed much since Hemingway and Picasso frequented here. I like to drink pastis and water while people watching and contemplating the meaning of life.

Le Marais

If you are looking for a night out in Paris then the best place to start is Le Marais. Lots of restaurants with all kinds of food and plenty of small little bars where everyone drinks out on the street, meeting friends and planning the night ahead. If you want something sophisticated and fancy then head to Murano Resort where there is a huge menu of vodka to choose from (vodka martinis are hard to beat), but I love the relaxed energy of Cafe Cox, and also the Open Cafe where most people seem to ask for a “Despe” which is a Desperado lager flavoured with Tequila and then topped with fresh lime juice.

Montmartre

Effortlessly arty and cool, the narrow, twisted streets that create the Montmartre neighbourhood in the shadow of the majestic Sacre Coeur cathedral contain a wealth of fantastic cafes, restaurants and bars. Le Mansart has a very cool hipster vibe and a young crowd, Le Glass takes its cocktails very seriously and serves them American style with hot dogs and pickles (their Pisco Sours are pretty amazing), but then at the other extreme is Le Kremlin which a bit of a temple to all things Russian – especially vodka, try their Negroni Lenin which is a total winner.

There are a lot of reasons to love Paris. Their commitment to a cafe culture and serving great booze is just a bonus.

Photo Credit: Gabriel Amadeus under Creative Commons license