Thursday, 30 September 2010

Even a birthday meal warrants a coupon deal

It was Steve's birthday a few days ago and we decided it would be nice to go out for a meal with friends.  At the moment we are in Australia near Noosa on the Sunshine Coast.  Noosa is a tourist area famous for its gourmet retaurants so finding something not too expensive was going to be a challenge.

Many areas have free local newspapers and although much of the news is meaningless you will often find food coupons.  We had numerous choices and settled on Villa Noosa.  The option was "buy any meal at full price and get a second (the cheaper) meal for $5" and for our more mature friends there was a "buy 1 get 1 free seniors meals".  On the same coupon strip you could have a free garlic bread with a meal or a free dessert with a meal and the small print at the bottom said not to be used in conjuction with any other offer.

Scanning the menu we saw a seafood platter for 2 on at $38 and pushing our luck we asked whether the $5 coupon could be applied to a second seafood platter for 2.  Sure enough they were happy to do that so for $43 we got seafood platters for 4.

It gets better - we also went up with the free garlic bread coupon and got that as well!

So the moral here is check out coupons and don't be afraid to push your luck and try more than one coupon at once.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Travellers help

We are not alone in our endeavour to travel the world on a budget and it is great to link up with like minded people and share information.

Ruth contacted me through Couchsurfing as we were both in the same motor home group.  Like me Ruth is keen to help others so this is a link to her website about free accommodation for world travellers

Friday, 17 September 2010

Good things come in 3's including house sitting

We arrived in Australia in May intending to crew on a yacht for 3 months.  Having never done it before we found after 2 months that we were missing time on land so agreed with the skipper that we would leave.

Friends heard about this and told us their neighbour had just been rushed into hospital and would we like to house-sit and look after their 2 cats.  This house was in Tewantin, near Noosa on the Sunshine Coast and next door to our friends.  As if this wasn't perfect enough we had satellite TV, broadband Internet, swimming pool and use of a car.  All the owners were concerned about was having their pets cared for and the house being occupied.  So September was taken care of. 

During October we hoped to visit good friends in Ocean Grove. They told us we would be welcome but they had just booked a 3 week holiday from the middle of that month and would we like to stay on and house-sit whilst they were away.  Now Ocean Grove in Victoria is a lovely seaside town and our friends have a brand new house within walking distance of the shops and beach so that is going to be wonderful.

On a crowded bus in Vietnam we first met Jude & Garth back in 2004.  They live in Mildura and we always visit when in the area and have become good friends.  Previously we house sat and looked after their dogs, ducks and chickens and this year when we heard they were going to be away for the whole of December we glady volunteered again.  So December will see us in Mildura enjoying a swimming pool and use of a car to explore more of the area.

We have been lucky in doing these house sits for friends and word of mouth works very well (we have already had to turn down an offer of another one near Brisbane over Christmas and New Year).  However this is now big business and House Carers is just one of many sites where you can register to either find a house or find a sitter.

Many people have pets that they don't want to put into kennels so a love of animals helps but all this information is listed on the websites.  Duration varies from a few days to months at a time and these opportunities are worldwide.  We never set out to do this kind of thing but are now starting to enjoy it and may actively seek positions in the future.

Amazing Air Asia

Check out Air Asia for some amazing flight deals.  A number of times a year they have promotional fares and this is the time to get in quick and bag a bargain. 

Register as a member to be notified when these deals come up.

However a few more things will help you to be sure of picking up one of the promo fares.   

First of all explore their website and study the route map to find out where they fly.  Pretty much all their flights route through Kuala Lumpur.  So for example if you wanted to fly from Melbourne Australia to London England you would have to book 2 seperate flights, Melbourne to KL then KL to Stanstead.  Whilst Stanstead is not strictly London there you can get from the airport to London Victoria coach station easily using Easy Bus with fares as low as GBP 2.00 if you book early.

Check out which days and at what times the flights operate on your chosen route and have all this information ready for when the deals come up.  Generally mid week flights have more seats available at promo fares and it helps if you can fly a few days either side of your choice date.

Now as soon as the deals go on sale get on line and start checking out your options and if you don't find a promo fare straight away then move forwards and backwards by at least a week to see if they are only on offer on certain days.  Not all flights have promo fares so you could just be unlucky but during the last sale it was possible to buy a ticket from Melbourne to London for Aus$406 one way including taxes so it is worth spending time playing around on the site. 

We have taken 10 flights with Air Asia and they are superb value for money, but remember to some extent you get what you pay for and no matter what you do during the booking process you always seem to end up paying something extra - we travel with carry on baggage only, don't require meals or seat allocation but still got hit for a credit card fee!  Let me know if you ever get round this please.