Saturday, 2 June 2012

Top Tips to Inter-Rail Successfully

Travelling around Europe and other parts of the world by train can be the best way to enjoy the scenery and truly experience the journey - not to mention often being a much cheaper alternative to flights. But if you've never inter-railed before, you may feel a little intimidated by the idea of going off on your own and dealing with foreign train companies.
It can be disheartening to think that globalisation is eradicating many of the unique features of some countries, but in many ways this makes travel much easier for those heading abroad. In terms of train travel, you're not likely to come across too many surprises when booking and riding in foreign climes, as long as you've done your research beforehand. While the scenery may be more spectacular than you're used to back home, and the local accents very different, the process of buying tickets is usually very straightforward - though you should be aware of what you're paying for.
Just like in the UK, many countries divide train travel into different classes, with First Class tickets typically being more expensive than standard. If you're keen to experience countries like the locals do, buying standard tickets can be a great way to save money, though some journeys - especially sleeper trains travelling overnight - can be much more comfortable if you pay a little extra.
Whether you're heading off on a short holiday or a longer excursion around the world, you also need to carefully consider the things you're taking with you, as you don't want to be too weighed down by heavy luggage every time you get on and off the train. Don't take too many travel books or more clothes than you're likely to need, and similarly try to avoid taking expensive items that would be costly to replace if lost or stolen. While crime rates on board trains are relatively low in many countries, you should still take out single trip travel insurance or international travel insurance to cover your assets.
If you're travelling through Europe, the introduction of the euro has made things a lot easier, but you should try to keep up with the latest exchange rates to make sure you know exactly how much you're really spending. Reading the news headlines for your country wherever possible is also a good idea, especially if you're visiting countries where natural disasters or political uprisings may threaten your travel plans.
The author of this article is a part of a digital blogging team who work with brands like Boots Insurance. The content contained in this article is for information purposes only and should not be used to make any financial decisions.
Paul is a part of the digital blogging team at who work with brands like Boots Insurance. For more information about me, or to keep up to date with the latest in finance news, check out my posts at or visit my Twitter account, @cashzilla.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Benefits of Doing a Working Holiday in Japan

Have you ever considered a working holiday in Japan? Japan offers special visas for young people who wish to come to the country, travel around, get a job, and stay for up to a year. It's a great way to get some experience of the country, fund your trip, and enjoy yourself. Students just out of college or on break from school frequently take these types of holidays to learn more about Japanese language and culture.
Japan currently has working holiday agreements with Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Denmark, France, Germany, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong. If you're a citizen of any of these countries, you could apply for a working holiday visa and experience Japan as more than just a tourist. Unfortunately, people who aren't citizens of these countries are not eligible, since Japan requires a mutual agreement with the country of origin in order to issue the visa.
There are a lot of great benefits to getting involved in the Working Holiday Programs. They've been around since the early 1980s, though many countries didn't get involved until the 2000s. The programs are meant to help young people get a global perspective and a better understanding of the world. You'll meet new friends, learn about the Japanese language and day to day life, and have the unique experience of being on your own in a foreign country. You can get almost any kind of job, as long as your stay is primarily a holiday, and as long as you steer clear of regulated jobs, like those in dance halls and nightclubs.
Make the most of your holiday in Japan - schedule your work so that you'll be able to see the whole country, do everything you've ever been interested in doing there, and really get into the culture. After all, no one wants to spend their whole stay at work. A working holiday is actually designed so that you don't have to. You have to declare your plans before you arrive, but you can change those plans at any time. Just talk to the Japanese Consulate about the possibilities before hand, and make sure you read up on all the rules.
The only real restrictions on doing a working holiday in Japan are the length of your stay. If you overstay your visa, you could end up being fined, or even deported. The good news for Australians is that they can choose to extend their visa for up to 18 months, so if you find out that you love being in Japan, you have options. Take the time to find out if a working holiday is appropriate for you. You might be surprised by all the benefits it offers. If you're a young person living in one of the right countries, a working holiday in Japan is a real option.
If you're thinking about doing a Working Holiday Japan and you meet the above eligibility requirements, try working in a Japanese Resort this year - you'll have the time of your life!