How to Fund A Life of Travel

How To Earn Cash From Matched Betting

Matched Betting

During the Coronavirus Pandemic, we found ourselves short of income from our website business and the real necessity to find something we could do online to at least partly fill the gap with some extra cash. Trawling through the internet I came across Matched Betting. A little sceptical and with no betting experience I trod carefully as I researched the system in great detail …… After a couple of weeks of research I took the plunge with cash to fund my initial bets of just £50 ……

In just over 8 months I’ve earnt £5000 risk free and better still Tax Free!

If you’re interested in finding out how anyone can earn money from Matched Betting with as little as £50 start up costs, I’m happy to share my experience and give you all the information you need to start Matched Betting today and earn some extra tax free cash.

PLEASE READ THROUGH THE WHOLE BLOG POST BEFORE HAVING A GO AT MATCHED BETTING

What exactly is Matched Betting?

In simple terms Matched Betting (as the name suggests is where you match a bet to win with a bet to lose) resulting in a system of making money from free bet promotions offered by bookmakers.

To take the risk out of the bet (to guarantee you won’t lose) you do something called “Laying” the bet.

Don’t worry, if it sounds complicated ….. if I can do it anyone can!

In this blog I will explain as simply as I can exactly how it works, run you through an example and then take you through a real promotion that you can copy to make your first cash from a promotion and hopefully set you on the path to earning a decent amount of extra cash from Matched Betting.

Let Me Give You A Simple Example!

Let’s say that a betting shop has a joining promotion offering you a £10 free bet if you place a bet of £10 on any event. So, take a horse race for instance ……. if you were to place a bet on Red Rum to win. There are two possible outcomes, Red Rum will either win or lose, so you will either win some money or lose all of your money. But, if you place a £10 bet on Red Rum to win as well as a £10 bet on Red Rum to lose, you won’t win any money, but you won’t lose any either. The two bets would cancel each other out, but as a result you would have met the requirements to claim your £10 free bet without losing any money. Take a look at the diagram below ……..

As you can see, if Red Rum wins the race, you both win and lose £10. If Red Rum loses the race, you also win and lose £10. Either way, your overall profit is zero, but you will have met the requirements to qualify for your free bet by placing a £10 bet on the horse race. So how do we make money from our free bet? Well, you could just place your free bet on anything and hope it wins, but you’d really be relying on luck and the odds are stacked against you winning! Matched betting is all about guaranteeing profit on free bets. To do that, we simply repeat the process again, covering all outcomes on another event. Doing this will give you around 80% of the value of your free bet. So, for our £10 free bet, we’d make around £8 profit.

Matched Betting In A Little More Detail!

Now we all know that in betting there is more than one outcome. For instance, on a football match there are three possible outcomes, a win, a draw or a loss. Because of this and the need to cover all outcomes on a bet in matched betting, we use something called an exchange. Now a normal bookmaker enables us to put bets on to win, but an exchange also gives you the option to put a bet on something to lose. So, to cover all outcomes of a football match ….. we can put a bet on the team to win with one bookmaker and put the same bet on the team not to win with the exchange (this part of the bet covers both a draw and a loss, as a draw still means the team hasn’t won the match). These two bets are called a “BACK” bet and “LAY” bet. A Back bet is the bet we place with the bookmaker on the team to win. A Lay bet is the bet we put on the same team to lose.

Below is another example using a football match between Burnley and Arsenal. We would be placing a £5 bet on Arsenal. So you can see we place our “BACK” bet with Coral on Arsenal to win at odds of 1.61 and to match the bet we would then place our “LAY” bet with Smarkets on Arsenal to lose at odds of 1.63.

Lets just familiarise ourselves with a few words that you’ll here often used in Matched Betting and exactly what they mean. You’ll come across them often so its worth having them here as a reminder.

“BOOKMAKER” – The bookmaker is where we will place our bet on an event to win!

“EXCHANGE” – This is a bookmaker who allows us to place the bet on an event to lose!

“BACK BET” – This is what the bet is called when you bet with the bookmaker on the event to win!

“LAY BET” – This is what the bet is called when you bet with the exchange on the event to lose!

OK, so now you have the basics of matched betting lets look at a real promotion.

We’ll Go Through Coral’s New Customer Promotion Making A
Guaranteed Profit of £15!

This is a new customer offer from Coral offering £20 in Free Bets when you bet £5. From this offer, we can make a guaranteed £15. This is a relatively easy offer to start with and more importantly you only need a small amount of funds to complete the offer.

First, You’ll Need To Open A Smarkets Account …… And Here’s How!

Smarkets is one of the best exchanges with more often than not good odds for matched betting. They’re also the largest of all the betting exchanges and its probably the best one to choose for those new to matched betting. Click below to go to the Smarkets website and follow the instructions to open a new account.

PLEASE READ THROUGH THE WHOLE BLOG POST BEFORE JOINING SMARKETS

Next, You’ll Need To Open A Coral Account …… And Here’s How!

We’ve chosen Coral as they are offering new customers £20 in free bets when they place a bet of £5. Now this certainly isn’t the biggest welcome offer out there, but its best to start small as this ensures you don’t need a large amount of cash to get started. click below to open the Coral website and follow the instructions to open a new account.

PLEASE READ THROUGH THE WHOLE BLOG POST BEFORE JOINING CORAL

Changing The Bookmakers & Exchange Odds To A Decimal Rather Than A Fraction!

Normally when you see odds at a bookmakers you’ll see them as a fraction (as an example 2/1). But for matched betting we need to Switching to decimal odds as this makes comparing odds so much easier. Exchanges (in this instance we are using Smarkets as the exchange) use decimal odds already, but most bookmakers (in this instance we are using Coral) use fractional odds. You can usually find the switch to decimal odds either at the top of the page, in the sidebar on the left, or if you go to your account and open up settings. So with Coral for instance, its located in your account settings. To find them go to the very top right hand corner of the page and click on the image of a person, from the drop down menu click on settings, then click on betting settings. You’ll then see that you can click on Decimal, then click on Sports (top left of the page, next to the Coral logo). You can then see that all of the odds are now showing as decimals.

Placing Your Bets!

So, now that you have your Coral bookmaker account and Smarkets exchange account set up, lets get going with Coral’s introductory offer. Every offer you’ll come across has a few terms that you need to be aware of. Examples of this might be minimum odds of your bet, a particular sport or even a specific football match or horse race. If you look at Coral’s introductory offer terms, you’ll see that the our qualifying bet can be placed on any sport and the odds need to be a minimum of 1.5 or greater.

I recommend that you place your qualifying bet on a popular event that lots of people would be betting on such as Premier League Football. You’ll find it much easier to match your bets.
So just to remind you, we need to place our qualifying bet of £5 on any sporting event at odds of 1.5 or higher. Once we have done this and the event is over we will have met the criteria and be issued with our £20 in free bets.

Now when we place the £5 qualifying bet we want to find a game that has odds as near to 1.5 as possible. If you also remember the reason we joined two different bookmakers, Coral where we will be placing our “BACK” bet on the football team to win and Smarkets where we will be placing a “LAY” bet on the same team to lose. We need to make sure that we get both bets as close to each other as possible.

So, as an example if the odds for the football team to win are 1.5 we need the odds for the same team to lose to be as close to 1.5 as possible (eg. 1.51) If we do this we will be matching the bet and win or lose we will receive most of our £5 qualifying bet back.

Lets Find Some Odds Suitable For Our Qualifying Bet!

So, I’ve found odds of 1.61 for Arsenal to beat Burnley at Coral. This is our back bet. On Smarkets (the exchange), I’ve found that the odds for Arsenal to lose against Arsenal are 1.63 making the BACK odds and LAY odds nice and close, perfect for matching our qualifying bet.

Placing Our Back Bet!

So lets place our qualifying bet with Coral. You know you need to place a bet of £5 to qualify. Simply click on the ‘1.61‘ button underneath ‘Arsenal’, enter your stake of £5 and click ‘Place Bet. That’s it the BACK bet is placed.

Placing Our Lay Bet!

What you don’t know yet is how much you need to stake at Smarkets to even out your bets. This is where I use a Match Betting Calculator (I’ll tell you where to get a matched betting calculator, along with some really good guides at the end of the blog). You simply insert your back stake of £5 and our back odds which were 1.61 for Arsenal to win (back commission is 0% as coral don’t charge us a commission). We then insert our lay odds which are 1.63 on Arsenal to lose (Smarkets charge us 2% commission so insert 2% as the lay commission).  The calculator will then tell you how much you need to stake at Smarkets to be as close to breaking even as possible. Based on my Arsenal example, that is a stake of £5.14 and results in a tiny overall loss of 12 pence. You can see this from the calculator results below.

In order to double check that we are placing the correct amounts on our bets we can use a checking calculator (I’ll tell you were you can find this and some other brilliant stuff to help make things a lot easier later in the blog). But for now take a look at the calculator below. You’ll see that I’ve placed in the £10 stake and the 1.61 Back Odds and 1.63 Lay Odds as in the diagram above. Scroll down a little further the part circled in red and you’ll see the “Profit Breakdown” show us that whether we win or lose the bet we will make a 20p loss on our qualifying bet. 

OK, so we’ve placed our qualifying bet on the game, once the game is over we will be given a £10 free bet by Coral

Now in order to make money on our £10 free bet we use the same system of betting on a team to win and betting on the same team to lose (just as we have in the demonstration above. 

But there is one important thing we have to do. That is to bet on team that has high odds. Look at the demonstration above again and you will see that we bet on Arsenal at 1.61 odds to win and 1.63 odds to lose.

With our free bet we want to look for a team with odds over 5.0

So something like Luton to win at odds of 5.50 and Luton to lose at odds of 5.60

With the odds high we can actually make money from the free bet whatever the outcome.

So we’ll place our bets again with Coral and Smarkets as in the diagram below ………

Below shows the calculator again using the rather clever “Free Bet Mode” (again I’ll show you where to access this neat bit of kit later)

You’ll see that this time I’ve placed the £10 free bet as the amount of the bet and then the 5.50 Back Odds for Luton to win and 5.60 Lay Odds for Luton to lose. Again, scroll down a little further and you’ll see the “Profit Calculator” which this time tells us that whether we win or lose the bet we will make £7.90 on our free bet.

So now that we’ve run through how matched betting works, placing a qualifying bet for a promotion and how you can extract a profit from a free bet you receive as a result of placing a bet on a promotion, you’re now ready to take advantage of all the other bookmaker sign ups and re-load offers with the potential to make £1000’s of pounds tax free. Good Luck!

MY BEST ADVICE IS TO TAKE YOUR TIME BEFORE YOU START MATCHED BETTING FOR REAL …….. AND BEFORE YOU HEAD OFF, PLEASE TO TAKE A LOOK THROUGH THIS MATCHEDBETTING BLOG BY MATT KIRKMAN WHICH I HIGHLY RECOMMEND AS THIS IS WHERE I STARTED AND IT REALLY HELPED ME LEARN THE ROPES WHEN I STARTED OUT MATCHEDBETTING!

I REALLY DO RECOMMEND YOU READ THROUGH MATT’S BLOG BEFORE YOU START MATCHED BETTING AS I PICKED UP SO MUCH KNOWLEDGE FROM IT AND YOU CAN ALSO ACCESS BET MATCHING SOFTWARE WHICH HELPS HUGELY WITH PLACING YOUR BETS AND FINDING CLOSE ODDS. HIS FIRST OFFER WALK THROUGH IS REALLY USEFUL TOO!

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Pet Sitting Rescue Dogs

Pet Sitting Rescue Dogs

Pet Sitting Rescue Dogs

We have just completed our 43rd pet sit, caring for Kai a big strong 4 year old male  German Shepherd/Pit Bull Cross.  

This has been our most challenging pet sit yet and also our most rewarding one.  

So much so, that I felt compelled to share our experience with Kai and our other experiences so far with the different rescue dogs we have cared for, in the hope of highlighting some of our key observations we have made and strategies that have worked, that may help fellow sitters with rescue dog assignments and perhaps even owners of rescue dogs who are keen to hear about our experiences and results.

Meet Kai 4 year old German Shepherd/Pit Bull Mix

Kai is a rescue dog with more than a few anxiety issues, makes you wonder what the first part of his life was like.  Woe betide anyone that strokes him without him seeing your hand move first and takes him unawares, lots of defensive barking.  To add to that recently Kai had a traumatic event happen, his owner told us, when a previous pet sitter who got his prong chain collar stuck on him tightly and had to call in Animal Control to snip it off of him. Since then he has been understandably guarded about his collar. A next sitter left after just one day as Kai became aggressive towards her (all because of his anxieties with this collar).

He is a big strong dog and he gets over excited and hard to calm down.   But when he does we can tell he has a loving side to him and wants to be good. As Pet Sitters we do all we can for the pets in our care and call on all our experiences and kindness to keep them safe and happy and feeling loved, always being respectful of their characters and anxieties.   We’ll never be able to fix all the anxiety problems of a rescue dog that misses his mum and has had a recent trauma with a stranger.  What we do is to try to create our own little oasis of calm and love for the pets and we take it everywhere we go.

Kai loved evening time and laid on or very close to us on the sofa, it melts our hearts seeing this softer side of him. He actually sleeps on the bed, so he must want to feel close to us, we didn’t mind. He has a cuddly blanket that he holds and sucks on at night when he’s tired, he’s such a needy boy really, it pulls on our heart strings.

Our week was consumed with providing Kai with so much love, encouragement, praise and attention.  We told him ‘good boy’ continuously, unless it was not appropriate.

Meet Kai

Kai lives with his lady owner and she mentioned on our arrival that Kai is quite dominant. He pulls on the lead, can be very boisterous when playing and barks at dogs he doesn’t like.   He gets ‘spooked’ at loud sudden noises and if he is touched/stroked unexpectedly.  She told us that on occasions Kai will guard the door to stop her from leaving him when she goes to work. 

So with all of the above, we have set the scene for you about the type of pet with issues we have in our care for the week!

The prong collar Kai wears, his owner told us, is due to his pulling on walks.  However, he has big issues with this collar as we explained above. 

Now, I hear you shouting, why is the owner still making the dog wear the collar?  The answer is that the owner, who has no problem herself putting it on Kai, felt it stops him pulling on the lead.   She was very anxious about us using the collar with Kai,  but she wanted us to use it as she knew it was a collar strong enough to hold him.

In fact, Kai is a clever dog and we believe could quickly be trained to walk better on the lead without pulling and then eliminating the need for the prong type of collar.  We kept him close to us when walking and avoided other dogs when we could.  When we had to pass another dog, we would turn and distract Kai away, getting him to sit for treats and then lots of praise when he ignored the other dog. By the end of our week he was walking much better, sitting at pedestrian lights, we were so proud of him!

Before I continue, having read just this back, it must sound as if this dog is far too dangerous to be left with strangers. But, honestly, Kai is anything but dangerous as we grew to learn during our time with him. 

We’d love for you to continue reading this post and please do send your comments and experiences at the bottom of this blog post page. We ourselves learn something new about the pets in our care on every single sit and are still learning from others, it would be great to hear your experiences so we can all learn together.

Kai The Rescue
Kai Has A Lot Of Love To Give But Always Had An Ear Up Listening - Never Totally Relaxed!

Thanks for staying with us! I have become extremely interested in rescue dogs behaviour and recently taken a course in Canine Behaviour Training, purely to further my understanding of these beautiful animals.

Lets continue by telling you about the experience we had with Kai, what we learned and what we tried to provide him with the best pet sitting experience we possibly could.

Managing Aggressive Play with Kai

On arrival we were greeted with boisterous excitement from Kai and his immediate request for us to play tug the toy with him. The owner said he loved this type of play but can get a little aggressive and when this happens we should turn away and hide our hands and he then knows to stop.

Now we’ve sat for a number of dogs that love a game of tug of war, but Kai’s toy tugging play was true to the owners comment, meaning it quickly turned to aggressive behaviour towards myself including accidental biting, growling, and scratching. He really just didn’t know when and how to stop, the build up of excitement just got to a stage where he lost control.

From the moment we took charge of Kai, we toned down the tug playing game to a very gentle style, which meant that Kai would no longer be really pulling the toy away from us, each time he began to pull we just let go, as a result he just kept coming back to let us grab hold of the toy each time. If we felt he was starting to show any signs of aggression we would immediately let go of the toy.

With lots of praise and encouragement to be gentle and this very calm approach to his favoutie tug play, as soon as the second day we saw signs of a much gentler play from him and very little sign of the aggressive play we’d first experienced.   As with all dog training, repetition, routine and rewards are definitely key. We noticed through the week Kai was playing in a much gentler manner.

Thinking about it though, if a dog has aggressive issues, its perhaps not such a good idea to encourage games that encourage signs of aggression. Maybe using a Kong to entertain them and throwing a ball when on walks might be a more suitable way of entertaining them.

Managing Stress Related Aggression

Our dreaded collar issues comes under this section!   I have aleady told you about the awful experience Kai had with his collar just a few months before we sat for him, when his prong collar got tangled and had be cut off him.  Now I can’t begin to imagine what an awful experience this must have been for Kai and trying to imagine what a stressful experience it was for him helped immensely in how we would go about fastening and removing his collar before and after each walk.

He was understandably very wary of having his collar put on and in particular having it taken off, especially with us being total strangers, so we took a gentle approach which seemed to be working well for the first couple of days. However, on day three, as we were taking off the collar he got spooked by a loud outside noise and became very aggressive to tell us to stop. Now any one that has experienced first hand an aggressive dog will know what a scary experience it can be! A few minutes after the event it was so obvious that Kai was very sorry and that his intention was not to harm us but just to tell us he was frightened.

In order to ensure Kai didn’t have any undue stress we decided to leave the collar on while we came up with a plan that may help him become more trusting of having the collar removed and be more comfortable with what for most dogs is a regular part of daily life.

We are true believers that the best form of dog training is praise and rewards.   So using this Reward method, we would sit Kai down, 4 times a day, and show him a treat while we clipped his lead to the prong collar. Each time he let us do this we gave him the treat and plenty of praise. Kai was pretty intelligent and got the idea very quickly that the treat related directly to him letting us clip the lead to the collar.

We felt that we needed to gain Kai’s trust more before we attempted again to take his collar off. So coupled with the treats and praise when attaching and removing the lead, we spent a lot of time cuddling him, stroking him and pretending to accidentally touch the collar while giving him plenty of praise. We continued this for a full 3 days before we made the attempt to try and remove the collar. On day 6, on our return from the morning walk, Kai was already sitting waiting, his eyes fixed on his treat which was showed to him every time we removed the lead, but this time, very gently, we slid the collar off him …… and it worked!  He got lots of praise as you can imagine.

The combination of treats, praise, building trust and repetition turned Kai’s bad experience into one that he now associated as being a positive experience (even if he ultimately new he would receive a treat as a reward for being so good!) 

Managing Nervous Anxiety with Harry

August 2019 we sat for Harry – a very nervous and anxious but totally sweet rescue Saluki.   Harry’s parents were retired and spent all of the day with him, never leaving him for more than a couple of hours.  He was an extremely nervous dog, frightened of tall men in particular they said and they had never left him before with pet sitters. Bearing this in mind, when the owners got in touch we went out of our way to go and visit them prior to confirming the sit, so that they could meet us and hopefully be reassured that we would be suitable sitters for Harry but also for us to get a little idea of Harry’s anxieties.

Meet Harry The shy Saluki!

From the moment we arrived at the home and the owners left for their vacation, Harry spent the whole day laying upstairs on the bed clearly wanting to be away from us.  Julie went up regularly to check on him and chatted to him as she spent time in the room with him so that he could get to know her voice and presence.

Fully understanding Harry’s anxieties helped Julie coax him around to at least come down for his evening meal. It was clear that his anxiety was with me as the owners had made us aware of his nervousness of tall men. I gave him plenty of space and if close to Harry I made sure I spoke softly and made no sudden movements.

Julie was very quick to bond with Harry, she has a bit of a gift with anxious rescues and not only was she able to coax him to come down for his supper she  also got him to sleep in his basket next to her side of the bed that night. The key thing was that we respected his anxiety and accepted that I had to almost ignore Harry until he felt ready to express an interest in me, as difficult as that was for me.

On day 2 Harry began walking passed me without becoming nervous and dashing by me as quick as he could, as he had before.   On day 3 Harry ate his breakfast while I was in the kitchen – what dog doesn’t warm to the person that fills his food bowl up!  He then let me take him out for his first walk of the day on our own – huge progress and a turning point.   

Most dogs love to be groomed and Harry was no exception his owners had told us.  So here was another chance to bond with him, at grooming time. Must have felt nice, we caught him smiling!

On day 4 Harry slept on the bed with us and let me stroke him and from then on happily came to me to have his lead put on at walk times. He had at last bonded with me through our taking gentle steps with him and going at Harry’s pace!  A really rewarding experience!

Harry The Saluki

Managing Separation Anxiety with Monty

We saw signs of separation anxiety behaviour whilst caring for  Monty – a rescue Jack Russell Cross. This is quite a difficult anxiety to know how to manage but we found the best way to go about it was to keep Monty happy and entertained to take his mind off him missing his parents and being fretful.   Taking him on his favourite long walks and lots of playtime with treats during the day and most importantly, for the first few days, was not leaving him on his own. This was a little easier as we were a couple so if we needed provisions one of us could go out for them. 

Meet Monty The Jack Russell Cross

This approach worked really well, spending lots of fun time with Monty, and over these first few days we saw a real change in his emotions and growing in confidence and he began to enjoy cuddles from us instead of shying away.

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Emerald Bay View Point

Whistle Stop Tour Of Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe

Thinking of visiting Lake Tahoe, well don’t hesitate as its a stunning location! Here’s the results of our whistle stop tour around Lake Tahoe in a day.

Our start point was South Lake Tahoe, located on the southern edge of the Lake, a bustling town with all the amenities you could need for a great summer or winter holiday. Lots of accommodation, great shopping, ski resort and lots of options for water sports.

South Lake Tahoe Sign
Arriving in South Lake Tahoe
South Lake Tahoe Views
South Lake Tahoe Views

Driving along the lakeside scenic road going anti-clockwise our first stop we headed towards Emerald Bay View Point and State Park.

The scenic drive towards Emerald Bay
The Scenic Drive Towards Emerald Bay
Emerald Bay View Point
Lake Tahoe Scenic Drive
Lake Tahoe Route 89 is Definitely A Scenic Drive
Route 89 Towards Tahoe City
Route 89 Towards Tahoe City

Continue north on road 89 and you’ll reach Tahoe City, lined with shops and restaurants. Popular as a winter destination it has some lovely cross country ski tracks and popular ski resorts including the Sugar Bowl, while in summer the lake comes to life with sailing, canoeing and swimming.

Tahoe City
Arriving At Tahoe City
Heading Towards North Lake Tahoe and Incline Village

Continue north from Tahoe City and you’ll pass Kings Beach as you head towards very popular Incline Village really popular with skiers due to its proximity to Diamond Peak Ski Resort. It also looks out over Crystal Bay putting it right up there as an all year round holiday hotspot.

Towards Incline Village

As you reach Incline Village you start your journey down the other side of the lake. Popular scenic stops on route include Sand Harbor Beach, Bonsai Rock Trailhead and Secret Cove.

Secret Cove in The Late Afternoon Sun
Secret Cove in The Late Afternoon Sun
East Shore Views
East Shore Views

The road heads away from the lake for a while and passes Tahoe Nevada State Park, Spooner Lake, East Shore Forest. Before picking up Lincoln Highway taking you through Montreal Canyon back towards the lake.

Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park
Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park
Lake Tahoe Beach Views

Continue along Lincoln Highway south along the lakeside and you’ll find yourself back in South Lake Tahoe.

South Lake Tahoe At Dusk
South Lake Tahoe At Dusk
South Lake Tahoe Views
South Lake Tahoe Views
South Lake Tahoe Lakeside

Allow a good 3 or 4 hours to drive round the lake. It took us 5 hours with 3 or 4 stops for photos, coffee and a half hour walk along the lakeside. Its a really lovely drive and we could have made more stops if we had more time, but we wanted to get back to South Lake Tahoe for sunset.

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Mookie in San Francisco

Pets Sitting in San Francisco With Mookie The Samoyed

Mookie in San Francisco
We have been lucky enough to have the chance to visit San Francisco all thanks to pet sitting. Our live in buddy for 10 days was Mookie the Samoyed. Just 1 and a half years old and full of energy, Mookie showed us the sights of Sunset District, his favourite Ocean Beach walk and all his mates down in the dog park at Stern Grove.
Tip: To give yourself the best chance of getting some amazing sits like this one in San Francisco take a look at our post on Joining Trusted House Sitters, full of tips on how to stand out above the crowds!
We had the use of the owners beautiful home in the heart of Sunset District, just a mile from the beach and a short walk to supermarkets and restaurants. The owners were kind enough to leave us their car so we could explore the area further and take Mookie to some of his favourite places.
Mookie in the Car
Mookie Seeing If His Mates Were At The Beach!

Ocean Beach

A beautiful long sandy beach that welcomes dogs, the beach stretches from past Golden Gate Park to the end of San Francisco Zoo. Its a popular beach for surfers and has plenty of roadside parking. Mookie loved it here, chasing sticks, digging in the sand and playing with passing dogs.
Tip: Make sure to head to the beach for Sunset, you can get some great photos and watch the sunset while sitting on the sand dunes.
Mookie at the Beach
Amazing Sunset With Mookie at The Beach!

Stern Grove

Spanning over 30 acres Stern Grove Recreational Park is a great place for dogs as it has a nice dog park popular with the locals. Located in Sunset District it was just a few minutes drive from the house and one of Mookie’s favourite places. We took him to the park in the mornings as this was when his best friends a lively Alsatian, a Springer Spaniel and a baby French Bulldog were at the park. He couldn’t resist a paddle in Pine Lake one of three lakes in the park.

Tip: Keep an eye out for the dates of Stern Grove Festival, a free event of weekly concerts and performances held at the outdoor amphitheatre.

On Our Way to Stern Grove Dog Park!

Downtown San Francisco

Unfortunately we were unable to take Mookie downtown as he wasn’t very keen on the crowds and traffic. The bus stop was conveniently located at the end of the road and the owners had said that the traffic and parking were both horrendous down town, so as we didn’t have Mookie with us we opted for the bus. We ordered a $5 all day ticket using the MuniMoblile App giving us access to all buses. A 50 minute bus journey from Sunset to Downtown, a quick change of bus and then down to Fisherman’s Wharf. 
 
The Wharf is lined with shops and restaurants, make sure you walk as far as Pier 39, bustling with great places to eat, a variety of shops and a great atmosphere. If you fancy a boat trip under Golden Gate Bridge or a excursion to Alcatraz, then you can book them down at the wharf or during the busy months probably a good idea to book online.
Tip: We had lunch at Chowders on Pier 39, a bustling little restaurant serving great Clam Chowder, Fish and Chips and really good prawn cocktail. We highly recommend the Chowder, they serve both red and white, we opted for the white!
After lunch we took a walk up the steep hill at Hyde Street to take a look at the famous crooked street features 8 hairpin turns. You can take the Tram up the street if hill walking isn’t your thing!
 
Before we headed home to Mookie we had time to take a bus up to China Town to pick up some cheap fruit and veg. From here we could walk to Union Square shopping district, home to stores including Macy’s, Bloomingdales and H&M. From here we picked up the No.7 bus back to Sunset District.
Fishermans Wharf San Francisco
Pier 39 at Fishermans Wharf, San Francisco!

Best Views Of Golden Gate Bridge

We just had to have a selfie at Golden Gate Bridge, so did a little research and found out that there are a few places you can get a good view from. We took the scenic drive from Sunset District around Sea Cliff. We stopped at Baker Beach to walk Mookie and had a picture with him on the beach and Golden Gate Bridge. We then drove on to Golden Gate Lookout for a selfie, but actually found that the photos on the beach had a better angle of the bridge.

Selfie Of Golden Gate Bridge
Selfie At Golden Gate Bridge

Funston Beach and Park

A little gem just south of San Francisco Zoo and opposite Lake Merced, Funston Park is a great place to take the dog, with lovely walking paths following Sunset, Chip or Horse Trail. Sheltered by pine trees and with beautiful ocean views from some areas of the walking trails it really is an idyllic area. A popular hand gliding site too.

Funston Beach Trail takes you down a steep path which accesses the beach. A beautiful stretch of beach, when we visited we had the whole beach to ourselves. There is a car park at the southern end of the park.

This was one of Mookie’s favourite places to go!

Funston Beach
Mookie Having A Great Time With New Friends At Funston Park And Beach

Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park is huge measuring 1,017 acres and is located at the north end of Sunset District and really popular it boast within the park a golf course, an angling club, a dog training area, polo field, pedal and rowing boat hire, botanical gardens, Japanese tea garden, a 10,000 seat sports stadium, lots of picnic areas, two dutch windmill, numerous lakes and footpaths, a herd of bison and we even came across a gaze of raccoons!

Free parking is available on Ocean Beach car park at the bottom end of the park (shuttle service operates between the free parking lot at Ocean Beach and major attractions within the park. The shuttle runs every 15 to 20 minutes from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and major holidays. Limited time parking can be found on many roadside locations in the park and on the outskirts. Underground paid parking is available at The Music Concourse on the north side of the park at 10th Avenue and Fulton Street. More paid parking is available at Kezar Stadium located near the Stanyan Street entrance to the park open all week and Millberry Union on Parnassus Street at weekends only.

Dutch Windmill Golden Gate Park
Dutch Windmill Golden Gate Park!
Lovely Footpath Walks in Golden Gate Park!

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California Road Trip

16 Day, 2629 Mile, Road Trip Through California, Las Vegas and The Grand Canyon

California Road Trip

We’ve just completed the most amazing 2,629 mile road trip through California including a hop into Nevada and Arizona. Taking in iconic sites as we drove along the scenic Pacific Highway 1 to Monterey and Carmel, Yosemite National Park, Kings Canyon, Sequoia National Park, Red Rock Canyon, Las Vegas and The Grand Canyon, before heading back to Los Angeles on Route 66.

We’d like to share the journey with you, including all the costs to complete the trip which we hope may inspire you to follow our route or some of it taking in some of the most outstanding natural beauty, iconic sites and scenery the USA has to offer.

Glacier Point Yosemite
Hiking at Glacier Point!

Summary of the all important total cost for the trip (We’ll break these costs down within the blog for each leg of the journey)

Return Flights:  £978
Car Hire:  £267
Accommodation:  £855
Petrol:  £310
Sightseeing Tickets:  £144
Food:  £520

Total Cost:  £3074

Please Note: We have not included travel insurance in the total cost (as we have a worldwide policy because we will be travelling to other countries). Quotes for travel insurance our individual, you can find many companies offering reasonable rates online.

Trip Dates: 31st October to 15th November 2019

A few general tips about our costs:

Flights: These were booked with Norwegian Air who in our view are the best budget long haul flight provider at the moment. We paid £488 Gatwick to Los Angeles and £490 Los Angeles to Gatwick. Latest price for return flights Gatwick/Los Angeles (with 20kg hold luggage) in February as low as £770 return total cost for 2 people. Bargain!

Car Hire: We booked this really early when Car Rentals were offering up to 50% discounts. Great thing we found is that insurance is fully comprehensive and extra driver is free. Worry free car hire as they call it. Keep your eye out for the bargains!

Accommodation: Book as early as possible and always on free cancellation. We couldn’t find better prices than Booking.com and nearly all rooms can be booked and cancelled for free, giving us the opportunity to swap accommodation if a better deal comes up nearer the time, which quite often did. Sign up with them and after booking with them for a while you will gain genius status with regular offers of up to 15% discounts, free breakfast, room upgrades and cool stuff like that!  We researched our motel rooms well,  wanting the best prices but with good reviews on cleanliness, comfort and good bath/shower room, and decided against shared hostels, although we have nothing against them!  All having a fridge, microwave and coffee maker, all had super huge comfy beds/pillows.

Petrol: We estimated we would spend £220 on fuel but ended up spending £310. We under estimated both the amount of miles we would do but more the cost per gallon in different locations (we assumed we would do 2500 miles but we in fact covered 2629) and the price of fuel ranged from $3.40 to $4.65 right up to $7.95 – we had to pay in the Mojave Dessert when we nearly ran out!

Sightseeing Tickets: One of the best purchases we made was the America The Beautiful Annual Pass. Costing $80 for the year it gives you access to all the National Parks in America including Yosemite and the Grand Canyon. Entry for many of the parks can be as much as $35 per car. We visited National Parks on 5 occasions each costing $35 dollars to enter (works out we would have spent $175 on entry fees – we saved $85 and have the pass for the rest of the year if we return). Obviously you’ll have to work out how many parks you are going to visit to see if its better value (Visit more than two and its a saving!).
Tip: Ask for the pass at the first National Park you visit (its not always visible on the charge board when you arrive at the park, so make sure you ask for it).
Our other sightseeing cost was a whale watching trip in Monterey. We paid full price as it was spur of the moment (as blue whales had been spotted earlier in the day) and we weren’t disappointed,we saw 4!  You can often find Whale Watching Tickets cheaper bookable in advance on Groupon which we often use for deals.

Food: This deserves a mention as everyone will have different ideas about a food budget. We can only tell you about our needs. Our total food budget for the trip was £1050 and you will see that we only spent £520. Here’s how and why we only spent this much.

How we spent this amount: We purchased a fold up cool bag, bought most of our food from Walmart or other Delis and supermarkets on route and kept food cold with ice readily available from the motels.  We also made sure we only booked a motel room that had a fridge and microwave. We only ate in restaurants 3 times, the rest of the time we made use of motel microwaves or made up our own picnic meals and ate overlooking beaches or canyons. This certainly isn’t for everyone, but we have travelled like this before, through Thailand, making our limited funds go further while always eating healthy (Julie saw to that). We can honestly say that we never felt hungry during the 16 days and we even managed to have at least 10 Starbucks coffees within our budget!  We did have quite a few rotisserie chickens, quite a few microwaved potatoes,  and along with tinned tuna and fish, bread, fruit, salad and yoghurt, we did ok.

Why we spent this amount: Simple really, to save money – which you get to spend on other things.   As a result of the saving, we were able to pay for a further 7 nights accommodation in San Diego! From where I am presently writing this blog.  It’s the only part of our budget where we could actually save money and our view is that if we have to go without a few treats of big meals in restaurants and breakfasts in Diners to allow us to see another city or location then its well worth it!
It won’t be everyone’s view and some people couldn’t manage it, but we are more than happy to give you advice or share our tips on this in greater detail. Just get in touch.

This is the route we took with accommodation at Camarillo, San Simeon, Monterey, Mariposa, Visalia, Ridgecrest, Las Vegas, Flagstaff and Barstow.

Route Map

On route visiting Santa Barbara, Solvang, Cayucos, Elephant Seal View Point, Big Sur, Carmel by the Sea, Monterey Fishermans Wharf and Cannery Row, Yosemite National Park, Kings Canyon National Park, Suquoia National Park, Red Rock Canyon State Park, Las Vegas, Hoover Dam, The Grand Canyon and Route 66. 

Day 1

We arrived at Los Angeles Airport at 4.30pm after a ten and a half hour flight from London with Norwegian Air costing £488 one way for 2 tickets.

Tip: We found seats 11E and 11F were good giving us more leg room at no extra cost!

Be prepared for 2 to 3 hours to get through security. We collected the hire car costing £267 for 15 days and headed off to our first nights accommodation at Camarillo, 55 minutes from Los Angeles Airport (Take the 405 North and 101 West).

1 night stay at Days Inn Camarillo priced at $58
Review: Comfortable Bed, Nice and Clean, Coffee in Reception, Free Parking, Free Good Wifi

Day 2

Left Days Inn Camarillo via Walmart Supermarket a couple of minutes way, stocked up with food provisions for next 2/3 days ($30). Continued our journey towards San Simeon on route 101 North. 1st stop Santa Barbara for a picnic lunch (nice beach, long walkways, free parking, picnic areas and BBQ’s). 2nd stop Solvang (pretty Danish village). At Los Alamos we took Route 135 and then shortly after Highway 1 North 3rd Stop Cayucos –  a pretty beach side village, nice shops, restaurants and cafes. Coffee from Cayucos Gas Mini Mart (2 coffees a bargain at $4) we watched the sunset on the pier Arrived San Simeon at 6.30pm 2 night stay at Courtesy Inn San Simeon priced at $101 Review: Comfortable Bed, Nice and Clean, Coffee in Reception, Free Parking, Free Good Wifi, Directly across the road from the beach, a Restaurant Next Door
Solvang Village, California
Solvang (A Little Danish Village in California)!

Day 3

Day exploring the San Simeon area on Highway 1.
1st stop Elephant Seal Beach view point.
2nd stop San Simeon William R. Hearst state beach for picnic lunch (nice beach and picnic area overlooking the ocean).
3rd stop spotted the elusive roaming Zebras grazing in a field close to San Simeon.
4th stop Cambria (Moonstone beach boardwalk) and then into town for good coffee at Cambria Coffee Roasting Company ($4) and food provisions at Cookie Crock Supermarket on the edge of town ($6)
Back to San Simeon to watch an awesome sunset.

Tip: Walk across Highway 1 from the motel and down to the beach to the left is a small park area with fire pits and seating in front of Cavalier Oceanfront Resort, the fire pits are all lit at night, a great place to sit and watch the sunset!

San Simeon Firepit
Watching The Sunset At San Simeon!

Day 4

Left Courtesy Inn San Simeon at 8.30am taking Highway 1 North. 

Lots of stunning scenery and view points all the way along the route (including Big Sur and Bixby Creek Bridge). Filled up with fuel on route at Gorda ($40).

Arrived Monterey at 2.30pm
2 hours free parking on some sidewalks Monday to Saturday. Free parking on most sidewalks all day Sunday!
Walked to Fishermans Wharf.

Tip: Make sure you take advantage of some of the endless little pots of Clam Chowder restaurants give away.

Took the boardwalk to Cannery Row for Starbucks Coffee ($8).
Drove to Wholefoods Supermarket at Del Monte Center for provisions ($8).
Checked in to motel.

2 night stay at Pelican Inn Monterey priced at $110
Review: Comfortable Bed, Nice and Clean, Coffee in Reception, Free Parking, Free Good Wifi, Good location for Highway 1 and downtown (1 mile from Fishermans Wharf and 500 metres from Wholefoods Supermarket

Highway 1 Big Sur Road Trip
Stunning Views - Big Sur, along Pacific Highway 1

Day 5

Day exploring the Monterey and Carmel area.
1st stop Carmel by the Sea (beautiful beach with views of Pebble Beach Golf Resort and the village centre is lined with boutique shops and cafes).
Back to Monterey and parked at Downtown East Parking Lot (Great price – $7 for the day)
2nd stop Fishermans Wharf – Whale watching trip with Monterey Whale Watching ($100 for two tickets + $2 coffee on board).
Review: Brilliant! Big Boats, Really Friendly Knowledgeable Staff, Snack Bar On Board, Free Trip if No Whale Sightings (We saw Blue Whales and Humpbacks!).

Tip: If you are travelling out of season as we were, consider booking on the day and doing the midday trip (if you head down to the Wharf an hour before around 11am you can check if they have seen whales in the morning) also be aware that out of season they sometimes don’t have a trip in the late afternoon due to lack of customers.

3rd stop Fishermans Wharf for lunch at Scales Takeaway – Clam Chowder and Burgers ($27), Good food, seating outside, great place to people watch too!
4th stop Along Sunset Drive – Take the beach front drive from the top of Cannery Row down to Asilomar State Beach (Great sunset!).

Tip: We considered doing 17 mile drive, but after researching it seemed like we’d just see views available on Sunset Drive and Highway 1. Saving us the $10 fee too which paid for our next Starbucks!

Clam Chowder Monterey Wharf
Famous Clam Chowder at Fishermans Wharf Monterey!

Day 6

Left Pelican Inn Monterey at 8.30am heading for Yosemite National Park taking Highway 1 to Watsonville, 129 to River Oaks, 101 to Gilroy, 152 towards Fairmead, 59 to Merced and the 140 to Mariposa. 

1st stop Gilroy to fill up with fuel ($37) and Walmart Superstore for provisions ($30).

2nd stop Yosemite National Park Entrance arrived at 2pm.
Purchased an America The Beautiful Pass ($80). Giving access to all National Parks in America for 12 months including Yosemite, Kings Canyon, Sequoia and Grand Canyon.

Took in the stunning scenery, lovely walks and watched the sunset before heading out of the park to our motel at Mariposa (1 hour drive from the park entrance).

2 night stay at Miners Inn Mariposa priced at $182
Review: Breakfast Included, Comfortable Bed, Nice and Clean, Free Parking, Free Good Wifi, Well Priced Accommodation For The Area

El Capitan Yosemite
Trying To Capture The Mighty El Capitan!

Day 7

A full day in Yosemite National Park (free entry due to purchasing the annual pass).

Walked the El Capitan trail and the hike up to Vernal and Nevada waterfalls at the other end of the park.
Picnic lunch at one of the most scenic part of the valley (along Ahwahnee Drive).
Left the valley at 2pm for the 1 hour drive up to Glacier Point to watch the sunset.
Stopped back down in the valley at El Capitan to watch the climbers on the wall at night (a very unusual experience).

Back to Mariposa and headed to the best Taco Truck in town for supper ($15)

Tip: If you like Mexican takeaway head to Taco Sonora for excellent Burritos located on Coakley Circle in Mariposa!

Yosemite Valley
The Perfect Spot in Yosemite Valley For A Picnic Lunch!

Day 8

Left Miners Inn Mariposa at 9am heading for Kings Canyon National Park taking the 49 South to Oakhurst, 41 South to Fresno and the 180 to Kings Canyon. 

1st stop Mariposa town to fill up with fuel ($45) and Pioneer supermarket for provisions ($11).

2nd stop Kings Canyon National Park (free entry due to purchasing the annual pass) arrived at 1pm.

Tip: Make sure you have plenty of fuel for the trips in to the National Parks as there are no fuel stations in the park and the roads are slow, long and elevated.

Took the 180 around to Junction View for great views down to the Canyon and then drove to the car park at Kings Canyon Visitor Centre and took the footpath walk to The General Grant Tree (3rd largest tree in the world). Coffee back at the visitor centre ($3).
Headed to our motel in Visalia (great sunset drive on the way out of the park).

2 night stay at Lamp Liter Inn Visalia priced at $172
Review: Comfortable Bed, Nice and Clean, Coffee in Reception, Free Parking, Free Good Wifi

Kings Canyon National Park
Entering Kings Canyon National Park!

Day 9

Took the 45 minute drive from Visalia taking the 198 West to Sequoia National Park (free entry due to purchasing the annual pass).

Visited the Giant Forest.
Walked the Congress Trail to see the largest tree in the world (General Sherman).
Walked the Moro Rock Trail.
Walked the Big Trees Trail.
Fantastic sunset views on the drive back down Highway 198.

Back to Visalia and headed to Walmart for provisions ($23)

General Sherman Tree, Sequoia National Park
General Sherman - The Biggest Tree in the World!

Day 10

Left Lamp Liter Inn Visalia at 10am heading for Ridgecrest taking the 99 South to Bakersfield, 58 to Mojave and the 14 North to Ridgecrest passing Red Rock Canyon State Park. 

1st stop Visalia town to fill up with fuel ($50).

2nd stop Red Rock Canyon State Park – location for many famous films including The Mummy, Planet of the Apes, Jurassic Park and many westerns including The Outlaw.

Continued on to Ridgecrest for Starbucks coffee ($8) and then to our motel.

1 night stay at Hotel Europa Ridgecrest priced at $48
Review: Please avoid this motel as it is very poorly maintained and we would NOT recommend it! Only good thing about it was that it had a washing machine and dryer – laundry done ($4)

Red Rock Canyon State Park
Red Rock Canyon - Location For Many Famous Films!

Day 11

Left Hotel Europa Ridgecrest at 9.30am heading for Las Vegas taking the 395 South, 58 West to Barstow and the 15 to Las Vegas. 

1st stop Barstow to fill up with fuel ($25) and for Starbucks Coffee ($8).

2nd stop Las Vegas – arrived at 2.30pm – Took the iconic drive up and down the length of the strip and parked up for the all important photo at the “Welcome to Vegas” sign before checking in to our hotel. Walked from the hotel to the Bellagio Fountains and central strip area (just a 10/15 minute walk from the hotel).

Returned to the Ellis Hotel Casino and Bar for our complimentary beer, followed by fabulous steaks at the Ellis Island Restaurant ($47)

2 night stay at Ellis Island Hotel Las Vegas priced at $139
Review: Excellent hotel and highly recommended, great price, very central (less than 15 minutes walk to the Belagio Fountains), great restaurant serving really well priced and great food, really friendly little casino, free beer on arrival, free hot drinks in reception, really well maintained clean rooms, lots of free parking and free good wifi

Welcome to Las Vegas
We've Arrived in Las Vegas Baby!

Day 12

Spent the full day in Las Vegas. 

Walked to All The Main Themed Hotels including New York New York, The Bellagio, Caesars Palace, The Venetian and Paris.

Stopped for expensive Starbucks Coffee overlooking the Bellagio fountains ($11)

Watched the Volcano Erupting at The Mirage and the Fountains at the Bellagio after dark.

Walked back to Ellis Island Restaurant for fabulous salmon and burgers ($35)

Las Vegas at Night
Las Vegas - Most Impressive At Night!

Day 13

Left Ellis Island Hotel Las Vegas at 10.30am heading for Flagstaff taking the 93 South via the Hoover Dam, at Kingman taking Route 66 to Ash Fork and the 40 to Flagstaff. 

1st stop the Hoover Dam and Boulder Dam Bridge.

Tip: As you enter the Hoover Dam there is a multi story car park charging $10, if you don’t mind a few minutes walk continue driving across the dam and follow the road up the hill and you will find 3 or 4 FREE car parks.

At Kingman we had Starbucks Coffee ($8) before taking a slight detour off Route 40 on to Route 66.

Arriving at Flagstaff at 8.15pm. Filled up with petrol ($30) and provisions at Walmart ($34)

2 night stay at Budget Inn Flagstaff priced at $91
Review: Comfortable Bed, Clean, Coffee in Reception, Free Parking, Free Good Wifi

Hoover Dam
Quick Stop Off For Selfies at The Hoover Dam!

Day 14

Left Flagstaff at 8.45am for the Grand Canyon National Park taking the 180 North and the 64 North, beautiful drive! Arrived at the Grand Canyon Village at 10.30am. (free entry due to purchasing the annual pass).

Spent the full day at the Grand Canyon South Rim. Coffee ($9)
Walked the South Rim Trail and watched the sunset at the Canyon.

Back to Flagstaff and headed for Taco Bell takeaway which was an extremely poor meal ($10)

South Rim The Grand Canyon
South Rim The Grand Canyon!

Day 15

Left Flagstaff at 8.45am for Barstow taking Route 66 and Route 40 West (350 mile drive!)

Took the iconic drive along Route 66 for 100 miles (Ash Fork to Kingman). Stopped for Starbucks Coffee at Kingman ($9)

Tip: Make sure you have plenty of fuel when you leave Kingman. As the fuel stations from Kingman to Barstow are really expensive (double the price!) We found out the hard way! ($35) for less than half a tank.

Arrived at Barstow at 4pm. Checked in to our motel for the night.

1 night stay at Economy Inn Barstow priced at $45
Review: In Need Of Refurbishment, Comfortable Bed, Coffee in Reception, Free Parking, Free Wifi. Wouldn’t really recommend it unless it was much cheaper than anything else in Barstow.

Route 66
Gettin Our Kicks on Route 66!

Day 16

Left Barstow at 9am for the Los Angeles Observatory taking Route 15 South, Route 10 West and Route 5 North arriving at 11.30am.

As we were a little short of time as we had to get the hire car back to the airport we paid ($10) to park in the Observatory Car Park.

Tip: If you have time and don’t mind a 20 minute up hill walk you can park for free at the Greek Theatre car park, the car park will be closed though if there is a show on.

Left for the airport at 2pm taking Route 5 South, Route 10 West and the 405 South to the Airport, dropping the hire car off at 3.30pm.

Hollywood Sign, Los Angeles
The Iconic Hollywood Sign Photo!

Trip Summary

Total Miles Driven: 2629
Total Cost of Trip:  £3074 ($3843 USD)
Trip Highlights: Highway 1, Solvang, Elephant Seal Beach, Big Sur, Monterey and Carmel, Yosemite National Park, Kings Canyon, Sequoia National Park, Red Rock Canyon, Las Vegas, Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon, Route 66
Trip Dates: 31st October to 15th November 2019

Thank you for visiting our Blog, we would really appreciate your comments,  your thoughts on it,  or your experiences to share and if you have any questions.  There is a comment box at the end of this blog page and we will be so happy to get back to you, to answer and to give any help/advice we can.

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Road Trip Through California, Las Vegas and Grand Canyon
California Road Trip

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Travelling Thailand

How to Travel Thailand For 2 Months

On the 14th November 2017 we flew to Bangkok, the start of our 54 day tour of Thailand.

The 54 Day Itinary:

Bangkok – 14th November to 9th November
Pattaya – 19th November to 26th November
Bang Tao – 27th November to 3rd December
Phuket – 3rd December to 8th December
Kata – 8th December to 14th December
Phi Phi Islands – 14th December to 17th December
Krabi – 17th December to 24th December
Koh Samui – 24th December to 4th January
Surat Thani – 4th January to 5th January

Bangkok – 14th November to 9th November – (5 nights) Accommodation: MADERLA GUEST HOUSE – price 4000 THB for Room With Private Bathroom (total price) Things to See List: The Grand Palace, Floating Market, Wat Pho, Wat Traimit, Lumphini Park, China Town, Khao San.

Our location was perfect for Lumphini Park as Maderla Guest House was just a 10 minute walk away, the MRT station was also on the same road to the park, taking you into the heart of the city. Lumphini was a great place to chill and eat a bit of street food on the way back from a busy day site seeing, a quiet area of green space with a lake and home to a number of rather large Monitor Lizards. The sites of Patpong Night Market and the Skybar Bangkok were both within walking distance too!

Julie's selfie with a Monitor Lizard in Lumphini Park!

You can actually walk from Maderla, through China Town and down to the river, head along the riverside and you will eventually arrive at Wat Pho and the Reclining Buddha, walk a little further and you will reach The Grand Palace. The sites of ‘Khao San Road’ are a little further on than that, so most of the attractions are pretty central and fairly close to each other. If we didn’t feel like the long walk down to the river we picked up the MRT blue line across the road from Lumphini Park and in two stops we were pretty near the river.

A visit to The Grand Palace, pretty amazing place!

This was quite a walk and we ended up getting a ‘Tuk Tuk’ back. However, from experience, we don’t recommend getting a Tuk Tuk, as the fumes and traffic make it a very unpleasant experience, we recommend taking the MRT instead!

Our ride through Bangkok on a Tuk Tuk, not for the faint hearted and a face mask for the car fumes highly recommended!

The final thing to see on our list was a floating market. There are a few dotted around the outskirts of Bangkok and we’d done a bit of research before hand. Many people had said how packed with tourists the most popular Damnoen Saduak floating market was and the fact that it was a 100 km bus journey put us off a little. We chose Taling Chan Floating Market as it was a smaller one, still had the stalls and enough boats for the photo opportunities, but had the added attraction of always being able to get good seats on the floating restaurants and it was just 14 km from the centre of Bangkok. We weren’t disappointed, really easy to get to with a trip on the sky train across Bangkok and a quick taxi ride, enough atmosphere and stalls so you felt like you were at a floating market, great food cooked straight off the boats and to top it all off a really good boat trip up the river and back. All in all a good day out and highly recommended.

Taling Chan floating market, a great day out and some of the best prawns ever!

Travelled Bangkok to Pattaya – Taxi with ‘Toms Taxi Pattaya’ – 1200 THB one way – very decent comfortable taxi with air-con, pick up on time and safe driver – recommended!

Pattaya – 19th November to 26th November – (7 nights) Accommodation: Z BY ZING – price 4086 THB for Room With Private Bathroom (total price) – GREAT VALUE! Things to See and Do List: Jomtien Beach, Thai Massage, Walking Street, Jomtien Night Market.

We headed down to Pattaya knowing that we didn’t have too much on our list of things to see and do, so were looking forward to a bit of a relaxing week. We opted for Z by Zing which turned out to be in a great and quiet location but just a 3 minute walk to Jomtien Beach.

Tip: Take advantage of the 10 Baht bus, they run up and down the promenade and take you round to Walking Street and Pattaya Central Beach. One trip costs 10 Baht how ever far you want to go!

Great food served at one of the roadside restaurants!
Rustling up Pad Thai at the Night Market!

Jomtien Beach is OK but not one of the best in Thailand. The promenade stretches the length of the beach and there are some pretty good and very well priced restaurants along the front. We even found a bar that had a ‘Happy Hour’! There are plenty of places to get a massage, we opted for a full Thai Massage, as it was on our to do list …… most painful hour of Jonathan’s life! Jomtien night market is good and has some really cheap clothing. Some great food stalls and and they even have seating overlooking the beach where you can take your freshly cooked Pad Thai, Grilled Prawns, Snapper or anything else that takes your fancy and eat it overlooking the ocean, pretty cool!

Always got time for a bit of deep fried chicken and prawns!

Travelled Pattaya to Bangkok – Taxi with ‘Toms Taxi Pattaya’ – 1600 THB one way – very decent comfortable taxi with air-con, pick up on time and safe driver – recommended!

Bangkok – 26th November to 27th November – (1 night) Accommodation: THIP MANSION DON MUENG AIRPORT – price 890 THB for Room With Private Bathroom (total price) Review: Nice modern room, good wifi, great bathroom. Walking distance to the airport and great little roadside restaurants. Recommended!

Travelled By Air – Flight from Don Mueang Airport (DMK) to Phuket (HKT) – total 1000 THB per person – Great little airline and bargain flight tickets – not sure how they do it so cheaply!

Phuket Airport to Bang Tao – Pre-booked Taxi with ‘Hopper Taxi’ – 880 THB one way – very decent comfortable taxi with air-con, pick up on time and safe driver – recommended!

Bang Tao – 27th November to 3rd December – (6 nights) Accommodation: BANGTAO GUEST HOUSE – price 5590 THB for Room With Private Bathroom (total price) Things to See and Do List: Bang Tao Beach, Chang Thale Beach, Banana Beach, Naithon Beach, Surin Beach, Wat Phra Nang Sang, Tonsai Waterfall, Bang Tao Night Market.

Our accommodation at Bangtao Guest House was in a great location for the price, we could walk to beautiful Bang Tao beach in 20 minutes and a 10 minute walk the other way took us to the main road lined with restaurants and shops. Bang Tao beach is great, a long white sand stretch with really clear water, great for swimming. There are a good selection of beach bars, restaurants and water sports.

Bangtao Beach
Beautiful Bangtao Beach

Tip: We found a great little bar on the way down from our accommodation just a few minutes walk from the beach (no sea view) but it had HAPPY HOUR drinks! It’s called “Tasty Bangtao” and in the same area is Rim Klong Cafe that does the most amazing Mango and Coconut rice. Keep your eye out for them if your in the neighbourhood!

Happy Hour Bang Tao
Best Happy Hour in Town - At Tasty Bangtao!

The accommodation had well priced mopeds for hire so we took advantage of this and rented one to explore the area further. We headed up the coast to Chang Thale Beach, a really lovely tree lined beach and then on to the secret cove “Banana Beach” which had a lovely little restaurant overlooking the ocean. We continued up to Naithon Beach. Its a really beautiful scenic ride along this part of the coast road.

Moped Hire in Bangtao
Our Sweet Sweet Ride!

At the end of Naithon we headed inland and rode through the countryside to our next stop which was Wat Phra Nang Sang and then to Tonsai Waterfall before taking the 4030 back to Bang Tao. We finished the day by riding the coast road along Bangtao. A really great day out!

Bangtao to Patong – local taxi – 420 THB one way

Patong – 3rd December to 8th December – (5 nights) Accommodation: ANGELINA GUEST HOUSE – price 3000 THB for Room With Private Bathroom (total price) Things to See and Do List: Patong Beach, Bangla Road, Phuket Simon Cabaret, Patong Night Market.

Our next few days were spent in the lively resort of Patong, Angelina Guest House was actually in a great location at the edge of town, in a relatively quiet location, yet an easy walk to the centre and the beach. On our must do list while in Thailand was to go to a lady-boy show. We researched the best shows in Thailand and Phuket Simon Cabaret was right up there, so we pre-booked tickets. It just happened that the theatre was only a 15 minute walk away too! It was a great show and you really couldn’t tell that these ladies were actually fellas! After the show we headed back to Patong Food Market for some BBQ mackerel, papaya salad, pad thai and green curry.

Patong Night Market
Great Food At Patong Night Market!

We had a very interesting evening visiting the very popular Bangla Road, full of restaurants, bars and clubs. We just couldn’t decide which ping pong show to go and see!

Choosing A Ping Pong Show in Thailand
Now What Exactly Is A Ping Pong Show!

Patong to Kata – local taxi – 250 THB one way

Kata – 8th December to 14th December – (6 nights) Accommodation: LE THALASSA KATA – price 6600 THB for Room With Private Bathroom (total price) Things to See and Do List: Big Buddha Phuket, Karon View Points, Kata Noi View Point, Kata Night Market.

We planned to have a couple of relaxing days by the beach in Kata. Its a great place to chill out for a few days and you can view the most amazing sunsets from Kata Beach. There are a couple of restaurants at one end serving some great food and cold beers. We just struck luck with an annual street fayre taking place along the path directly opposite the beach. Some great street food was on offer and we took advantage of a couple of evenings eating street food on the beach watching the sun go down. We felt like we were really living the dream!

Kata Food Fayre
Kata Street Fayre!
Sunset at Kata Beach
Kata Beach Sunset!

Just across the road from our guest house was a moped hire shop, so we took advantage of a couple of days hire. This enabled us to visit Big Buddha, high up in the hills of Phuket, a brilliant ride with stunning views. On the way back we stopped of at Kata Noi View Point, there are a couple of restaurants up the top where if you time it right you can get a front line table for magnificent sunset views while sipping a cold beer!

Big Buddha Phuket
Big Buddha Phuket!
Making Friends With The Locals
Making Friends With The Locals!
Sunset Views From Kata Noi View Point
Sunset Views From Kata Noi View Point
Beautiful Beaches in Phuket
Exploring Some Of Phuket's Hidden Beaches!

We had time while we had the scooter to also hunt out some of the areas more secluded beaches and some more amazing views including the Karon View Point. Our few days in Kata would not have been complete without a visit to Kata Night Market for some more brilliant street food!

Kata to Phi Phi Islands – we arranged our transfers to the Phi Phi Islands directly with Phuket Ferry, who provided a brilliant and smooth service. Picking us up at our accommodation in Kata, taking us straight to Rassada Pier in Phuket and a smooth crossing over to Tonsai Pier, Phi Phi Islands – Total cost 1200 THB for 2 people one way. Highly Recommended!

Phi Phi Islands – 14th December to 17th December – (3 nights) Accommodation: PHI PHI ANDAMAN LEGACY RESORT – price 6000 THB for Room With Private Bathroom (total price) Things to See and Do List: Boat Trip To Maya Bay, Snorkelling, Hike To View Point, Explore The Island, Enjoy The Nightlife.

We arrived at Phi Phi Island at 2pm and a member of Phi Phi Andaman Legacy Resort hotel staff was waiting for us to ferry our luggage to the hotel (great service). After checking in we had a wander through the narrow streets checking out restaurants for the evening. We found a great little place overlooking the sea, called Tonsai Seafood, which had a happy hour beers and a really well priced menu.

Andamaan Resort Phi Phi
Time For A Quick Cool Off At The Resort Pool!
Beachfront Breakfast Phi Phi
Beachfront Breakfast Included!

Our next day started really early, after a good breakfast at the hotel we headed down to the pier for our longtail boat trip around Maya Bay. We had researched a few trips before hand and read some really good reviews about Mr Chet’s trips, a little more expensive than some of the other longtail boat trip quotes we received but we went with him based on the reviews and correspondence we had with him prior to booking. We have to say he was absolutely brilliant and one of the highlights of our entire Thailand trip. The 5 hour trip with lunch cost us 3400 THB for 2 people. We headed out to Maya Bay for snorkelling before heading to the beach for lunch, more snorkelling at Shark Reef and then a stop off at Monkey Beach on the way back to Phi Phi. A really well organised trip with a really experienced guide, took us to uncrowded locations and took lots of photos above and underwater that we could access after the trip finished and was happy to take any photos for us with our camera during the trip too. Really highly recommended!

Longtail Boat Ride To Maya Bay
Longtail Boat Ride To Maya Bay!
Maya Bay Beach, Phi Phi
Maya Bay Beach, Phi Phi!

Arriving back to shore early afternoon gave us time to make the hike up to Phi Phi view point giving us fabulous views over the island and the ocean. You’ll find plenty of nightlife on the island, from fire shows on the beach to music clubs in the centre of town. Phi Phi really has got it all and the island really was one of the highlights of Thailand for us!

Phi Phi View Point
At The Top Of The View Point!

Phi Phi Islands to Krabi – again we arranged our transfers to Krabi directly with Phuket Ferry, who provided a brilliant and smooth service. Taking us by boat from Tonsai Pier to Klong Jilad Pier, Krabi and then a taxi on to our accommodation in Krabi Town – Total cost 1600 THB for 2 people one way. Highly Recommended!

Krabi – 17th December to 24th December – (7 nights) Accommodation: HOP INN KRABI – price 5600 THB for Room With Private Bathroom (total price) Things to See and Do List: River Trip, Khao Khanab Nam Caves, Thai Cooking Class, Krabi Night Market, Railay and Ao Nang Beach, Wat Tham Seua Krabi, Hot Springs.

Arriving at our accommodation Hop Inn Krabi around 7pm we took the 5 minute walked straight in to town to find somewhere to eat. We noticed a street vendor selling Chicken Noodle Soup and seemed really busy, so we decided to go for it. We are not sure of the name, as it wasn’t on his cart but he was on the same street corner every night, keep an eye out for him as the soup was excellent!

Krabi Soup Stall
Great Soup in Krabi!
Krabi Chicken Noodle Soup
Thai Chicken Noodle Soup, Krabi!

Having a week in Krabi gave us chance to hire a scooter for a couple of days. On the first day we headed out to explore Railay and Ao Nang beaches. With stunning scenery along the route we spent the day driving along the coast as far as Hat Noppharet Thara and Mu Koh Phi Phi National Park. A beautiful area of natural forest and un-spoilt beaches.

Krabi Beach, Thailand
One Of Krabi's Beautiful Beaches!

On the second day we took an inland route and headed to Wat Tham Seua Krabi (Tiger Cave Temple). We climbed the 1260 steps, passing the local monkeys on the way, to the top where the Golden Buddha has commanding views over the area. Before we left we visited the tiger cave temple. We then headed to Krabi Hot Springs and Emerald Pool. Well worth a visit the hot springs are great, especially after climbing 1260 steps earlier in the day!

Tiger Cave Temple, Krabi
Tiger Cave Temple!
Wat Tham Seua Krabi
1260 Steps To The Top Of Wat Tham Seua!

We took a river boat upstream to Khao Khanab Nam Caves, through the mangroves and on to fishing village, where the whole village live in houses in the middle of the river, making a living from catching fish for the local restaurants. In the evening we headed to Krabi Night Market for some more great Thai food.

Khao Khanab Nam Caves
Inside Khao Khanab Nam Caves!
Fishing Village, Krabi
Catch Of The Day At Fishing Village!

Before we left Krabi we had one more thing left on our list to do, a Thai Cooking Class! We did a bit of research before hand and found one that picked up from the hotel, had small group numbers and had some great reviews. We certainly struck lucky, we had a brilliant half day. We booked through Cookly and went for the Smart Cook Thai Cookery School. We had a really good experience with a great teacher! There are lots of other classes available on Cookly depending on how long a class you want, how much you want to spend and if you want to include a market visit to buy the produce.

Thai Cooking Class
Learning The Art Of Pad Thai!
Thai Cooking Class
The Results Of Our Cooking Class!

Krabi to Koh Samui – we arranged our transfers to the Koh Samui directly with Seatran Discovery, who provided a brilliant and smooth service. Picking us up at our accommodation in Krabi, taking us overland to Donsak Pier, Surat Thani and a smooth crossing over to Nathon Pier, Koh Samui – Total cost 1695 THB for 2 people one way. Highly Recommended! There are plenty of taxis waiting at Koh Samui Pier. We managed to share the cost of a taxi with two other couples going to Bophut who were on the same boat as us.

Koh Samui – 24th December to 4th January – (6 nights) Accommodation: RIVIERA BEACH BOPHUT – price 21150 THB for Room With Private Bathroom (total price). Things to See and Do List: Fisherman’s Beach Restaurants and Night Market, Big Buddha, Lad Koh View Point, Lipa Noi, Lamai and Chaweng Beaches.

We really pushed the boat out with our accommodation at Riviera Beach Bophut with it being our final part of the Thailand journey. We had 6 nights in a room overlooking the village and then upgraded to a sea view room for the remaining 5 nights. Highly recommend the sea view rooms, waterfront position with amazing views of the ocean and sunsets.

Riviera Beach Bophut
Ocean Views From Our Hotel Room - A Great Place To Work From!

Fisherman’s beach is a great location, with the main street being lined with some really good restaurants, coffee houses and boutique shops. The beach is a sandy strip and the beach side restaurants and bars have made the most of this by offering waterfront dining and tables chairs on the beach itself.

The Address Bophut
First Course Of A Great Seafood Platter At The Address Fisherman's Beach!

We recommend the happy hour cocktails at Copacabana, Some really good set menu seafood deals at The Address and a really cool vibe at Coco Tam’s. For coffee we really liked Tanpopo Cafe, beachfront on the edge of town and also Fisherman’s House Cafe for nice of coffee and good breakfasts too!

Coco Tams Bophut
Coco Tams Bophut, Koh Samui!

To explore the island you really need to hire a moped, we got a pretty decent one from Phusit Motorbike. You can ride round the island in a day, we had the bike a couple of days and visited Big Buddha, Lad Koh View Point, Lipa Noi, Lamai and Chaweng Beaches on the first day. We headed up in to the hills on the second day, where there was fantastic scenery and great coastal views. Its well worth getting out and exploring the island! Bophut Night Market is pretty good too, some really great food stalls. A few more Koh Samui highlights below.

Koh Samui Beach
Koh Samui Has Some Great Beaches!
Great Seafood
Some Great Seafood Too!
Fisherman Walking Street, Bophut
Fisherman Walking Street!
Ocean Views
Happy Hour And Ocean Views!
Island Exploring Koh Samui
Island Exploring!
Shopping Bophut
Mr Fashionista Shopping In The Rain!
Big Buddha Koh Samui
Big Buddha, Koh Samui!

Again for our return ferry from Koh Samui to Surat Thani – we arranged our transfers directly with Seatran Discovery – Total cost 1695 THB for 2 people one way. Highly Recommended!

From Surat Thani Airport, AirAsia who we used for our internal flights, offer cheap flights back to Bangkok International for a connecting flight to most places in the world, or as we did,  why not extend your stay in Asia by flying to Kuala Lumpur and then on to the beautiful city of Singapore.

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Ways to Save While Travelling

Ways To Save While Travelling

Ways to Save While Travelling

Many call them “Travel Hacks” and boy are there some good ones out there. Lets run through a collection of some of the best we’ve tried and found successful in saving a bit while we travel.

Some of the little more obvious.

1.) Book your accommodation early or last minute and use a comparison site to find the best deal.

We always book accommodation as early as possible, from our experience this is one of the best times to bag a deal. However, we cover all angles by always booking a free cancellation accommodation offer when booking so far in advance. This gives us the flexibility of locking in a great deal, changing our mind right up to a few days before as sometimes travel plans change. Plus this allows you to keep an eye out for any better accommodation bargains, while knowing you have something in the bag.

2.) Book accommodation with some kind of cooking equipment.

The minimum we look for is a fridge in any accommodation we book! If there is a microwave then happy days! Save a fortune on eating and drinking out by getting stuff from the supermarket and prepare your own meals. Many times we’ve taken the ingredients for a pretty good meal back with us for much less than a fiver!

3.) Avoid shopping and eating in the tourist centres.

Pretty obvious really but the number of times we’ve sat down at those cool seats for a photo opportunity in a main square of a city with a dish of tapas while sipping a beer, to be charge €15 or more! Take a cool quick selfie in the square and then head down one of the side streets where a beer and tapas will be a fraction of the price, that’s the answer!

4.) Take advantage of discounts and freebies.

As soon as we know we’re going to be staying somewhere we do our research and check out any discounts or freebies we might be able to get our hands on. Groupon and Smartsave can often be good for discount vouchers.
Contact the local tourist board for any voucher leaflets or local discount codes. Do an internet search “discounts and freebies” for the area you are visiting and you’ll be surprised what might come up. You’ll often find FREE walking tours and attractions such as art gallery entrance, but most cities are overflowing with free and low-cost offers, anything from restaurants to tourist attractions.

5.) Take advantage of the experts in the area.

Do an internet search for your area and look for travel blogs! You’ll find there will be some really informative blogs out there written by people who have already been to the area and have lots of tips of anything from cheap eats to must see’s! Bloggers are often on a budget too, so they’ll often recommend good value places.

Little less obvious ways to save while you travel.

1.) Save your paid data and find all the free wifi.

Check out Foursquare, the travel app where people share tips, ratings and reviews on places to go near you. Check out the tips section as you’ll often find posts on where to locate free wifi close to you and wifi passwords for some of those not so generous hotspots. Another great little App is wifimap – go surf for free!

2.) Travel light.

We can’t tell you the amount of times we’ve packed more clothes than we need and those just in case items, that just stay in the case! Travelling light has its obvious advantage that its easy to carry, but the lighter you travel the cheaper you travel you might well get away with just carry on luggage on flights or coach journey’s.

3.) Try and be flexible with your travel days.

Whether you need a bus, train or plane ticket try to be flexible with your departure date as a day or two’s difference can often bag a cheaper rate.

Another little hack to remember, when browsing for travel tickets make sure you use the nifty little “incognito browser”. If you’re using Windows, Linux, or Chrome OS: Press Ctrl + Shift + n. If you’re using a Mac: Press ⌘ + Shift + n. Amazingly, now days, websites can tell that you have visited them and been searching for transport and if you’re searching around and come back for a second search on the same site many of them have an automated system that will increase the fare prices that you see the second time. By browsing “Incognito” the website’s can’t track that you’ve visited them already and they can’t increase the prices. Not sure how long this will last before they find a loophole!

4.) Get the best exchange rates for your money.

We’ve been using Revolut for all our travel currency needs. Grab yourself one of their bank cards which you can load up in your local currency via the app, then each time you want to change currency you can get some of the best rates around. We find the advantages are that it’s free to use, great exchange rates on a number of currencies, you can transfer money from and to the card at the touch of a button and you even get a monthly allowance of free cash withdrawals.

5.) The Best way to save on accommodation costs.

Our final tip and one that has saved us thousands in accommodation costs, its not so much a travel hack but possibly one of the best ways to save while you travel. House and Pet Sitting, a great way to see new places, just pay for your transport and food, stay in some great locations and immerse yourself in local life! Read more at Tips For House and Pet Sitting.

Thank you for visiting our Blog, we would really appreciate your comments,  your thoughts on it,  or your experiences to share and if you have any questions.  There is a comment box at the end of this blog page and we will be so happy to get back to you, to answer and to give any help/advice we can.

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Disclosure:  Please note that some of the links in this blog post may be affiliate links meaning that, with no extra cost to you, we earn a small commission if you make a purchase. We recommend only products and companies we use.

How to Fund A Life of Travel

How To Fund A Life Of Travel

How to Fund A Life of Travel

This has to be one of the most commonly asked questions and one that I came most obsessed about prior to our life changing attempt to become Digital Nomads ……. Just how are we going to fund our life of travel?

After reading numerous blogs on the subject it was clear that most digital nomads are funding themselves through the power of blogging and social media, freelance remote working or having a website selling products, advice or both!

And how we fund our Location Independent lifestyle has been from building niche blogs and websites, along with pet and house sitting to save heaps of money on accommodation! And I’ll be completely honest with you, both of which I had no previous experience of ….. so if I can do it anyone can!

OK then, so how do I get a piece of that action? ….. Excellent question!  ….. And one I hope to answer in an honest and realistic way!

An Introduction To Blogging

Firstly lets delve a little deeper into blogging and how money is made from it.

In a nutshell, someone sets up a blog on a particular subject, “in our case The Travelling Pet Sitters” is our blog”. They then write “interesting” blog posts “in our case this one” …..  OK give it time as it will get more interesting I promise! 

So, within that blog post they include links to affiliate programmes “in our case lets give you this link – The How To Set Up A Website E-book”. Now when you are reading this blog post and come to the interesting link we’ve given you, you might click on it and find it interesting enough to want to buy “The How To Set Up A Website E-book”. If you buy it then “Ka-ching” …… we get paid and we can eat tonight!

OK, brilliant, so we now know how money is made through blogging but how do we go about setting it up?

Blimey, I thought I’d finished the blog post as you’d brought “The How To Set Up A Website E-book” …… but I’m pleased you’re still with me …… I told you if you gave it time this blog post would get more interesting!

Right then, lets crack on with how we go about setting up some kind of website/blog with links on it that generate some cash for you if someone clicks on those special little links!

Coming Up With An Idea

Possibly the most important thing to think about is to try and choose something that you are really interested in to form the basis of your blog or website.  As an example, say I’m interested in fishing …….. from that idea, I could build an online business that included links to fishing tackle shops, fishing books, fishing holidays, advertise fishing lakes and probably a few more if I really thought about it.

So firstly then, think of a business and write down ideas of what kind of things you could sell, as I have above.

OK then, let me guess …… you’re going to set up a blog on fishing?   No …… oh good, that means you’ve really thought about it and you’ve come up with a great idea. So lets move on and help you get building that idea into a business!

To continue head on over to our blog “Setting Up A Blog“, where you’ll be able to find a guide to setting up your first blog absolutely FREE!

Also pop your head in at our blog “Setting Up An Online Business” for more tips on setting up affiliate businesses!

Finally take a look at our post “SEO Tips For Bloggers” that helps you with getting your blog noticed online!

Just one more thing before you head off …….. I did say I would be honest, so here is a bit of advice …….. don’t expect to set up a blog this week and be earning anything from it straight away. Earning money from a blog takes lots of time and effort, but having said that you certainly can make money, so work hard at it and with a little luck success will follow!

So Now You’ve Told Us It Might Take Ages For A Blog To Make Money, How Else Could We Fund Our Life Of Travel?

Still here then!

Well, OK, if you don’t have time to build a blog then lets go through a few more ideas of how you might be able generate some funds to keep those travels going!

There are lots of ways of earning money online, some need plenty of computer coding or design experience, but others anyone can turn their hand too!

So lets go take a look at just what’s out there!

Good At Fancy Writing and Spelling, Then Maybe Copy Editing Could Be For You – this entails reviewing written material and checking for factual accuracy, spelling, grammar and readability. So if you’ve got an A in English Grammar or can read and spell good this might be for you! To find work as a freelance copy editor or proof reader, you can check out major job sites including LinkedInFlexJobsMonsterZipRecruiterCareerBuilder and Indeed. You can also research freelance sites, such as FlexJobsFiverrUpworkFreelancerFreelancedPeoplePerHourFreelanceWritingGigsSuper Copy EditorsMediabistro and Global

Can You Speak A Second Language? Well How About Translating – use your language skills to translate audio recordings, written documents and videos. Most of the job sites listed in the previous section also list translation work, but also check out the following translation specialist sites Proz, Unbabel, Gengo, Upwork, Lingosaur, Stepes and Speakt

Are You An Expert Or Have Loads Of Experience In Any Field? – maybe you have one of them fancy degrees and could make use of it by coaching or consulting in high-skilled areas, such as accounting, marketing or a host of other possibilities. Check out the Freelancer Marketplace, Clarity, Zeqr, JustAnswer, Fiverr, TaskRabbit, Amazon’s Mechanical Turk , Amazon Home Services and Upwork

Can You Speak A Second Language? Well How About Translating – use your language skills to translate audio recordings, written documents and videos. Most of the job sites listed in the previous section also list translation work, but also check out the following translation specialist sites Proz, Unbabel, Gengo, Upwork, Lingosaur, Stepes and Speakt

Are You An Expert Or Have Loads Of Experience In Any Field? – maybe you have one of them fancy degrees and could make use of it by coaching or consulting in high-skilled areas, such as accounting, marketing or a host of other possibilities. Check out the Freelancer Marketplace, Clarity, Zeqr, JustAnswer, Fiverr, TaskRabbit, Amazon’s Mechanical Turk , Amazon Home Services and Upwork

Share Your Wealth Of Knowledge, By Creating An Online Course – how about creating online courses in your area of expertise (e.g. personal finance, public speaking, life coaching, financial literacy) on one of the many online learning platforms, such as ZeqrSkillshareTeachableUscreen and Udemy

Sharing That Wealth Of Knowledge You Have May Also Be Possible Through Writing An E-Book On The Subject – It seems to me a great opportunity this one and I’m going to try it out myself pretty soon, Head on over to Amazon Kindle Publishing to take a look at how it works

Had Some Teaching Experience Or One Of Them Sneaky TEFL Qualifications Stuffed In Your Bottom Draw? – virtual teaching has become a popular way to work remotely using FaceTime, Skype, Google Hangouts and other technologies to communicate with students. Some English tutoring companies to research are VIPKid, EnglishuntTopic-TimeTwosigmasLingodaFunbulous and Verbling

Gotta Bit Of Computer Admin Skills, Then Data Entry Work Might Be Up Your Street – quite simply this involves putting info into a computer – create a profile on freelance job
sites, such as FreelancerAmazon Mechanical TurkUpworkThe Smart CrowdFiverrWorking SolutionsClickworker and Microworkers

Are You Pretty Handy With A Camera And Got An Eye For A Good Photo Or Video Clip – then why not consider selling them online to the worlds largest creative community. Head on over to Adobe Stock and Getty Images to find out more

I’ve Put This Way Down The Bottom Of The List, But You May Have Heard Of “Paid Online Surveys” – you can earn extra income for completing surveys and various questionnaires. Now the reason I’ve put this so far down is that I’ve actually tried these and to be honest I reckon you might be able to earn enough for a couple of beers each day if you work on them all day. It’s not really a big money spinner, but when in need. Check out Inbox Pounds, Pinecone Research, Swagbucks, Survey Junkie, Prizerebel, Survey Club, Panda Research

Similar To Doing Surveys, This Could Be A Way Of Earning A Few Quid Working Remotely – these companies pays you to test out websites and apps and record your results. I’ve not got round to trying this one out yet, but if you fancy taking a look and do give me your feedback if it earns you any cash. Check out Usertesting, UserlyticsTryMyUIUserfeelTestingTime

If Your Interested In Music And Fancy Being Paid To Review Unsigned Bands and Artists – this company pays you for the reviews. I’m informed it can take a while to  build up your reputation and the payments are pretty small, but this along with other things could bring in a few quid a month. Check it out at Slicethepie

Thank you for visiting our Blog, we would really appreciate your comments,  your thoughts on it,  or your experiences to share and if you have any questions.  There is a comment box at the end of this blog page and we will be so happy to get back to you, to answer and to give any help/advice we can.

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Setting Up A Free Website

Setting Up A Free Website

Setting Up A Free Website

Setting up a website is now days a pretty easy task. I had no experience of web design when I set up my first website over 10 years ago. Yes it was very basic but it worked. That website is still running today and its called Estartit Holidays

Since those days website building has become much much easier and now anyone with no experience can build a beautiful looking website that looks great on a computer screen, tablet and even a phone.

So lets takes you through making a website in just a few EASY steps!

1.)   Decide on your website name – personally I think this is pretty important as it tells people what your website is about. We have picked names for our website which gives people an idea of what they will see on the website. (for example http://www.theglobalpetsitters.com and http://www.villacanaholidays.co.uk) both very different websites but you get the idea of what they are about just from the name.

A good name can also help with Search Engine Optimisation (this is how you get found in google, yahoo and the other search engines people use) don’t worry we’ll cover this in SIMPLE terms in another blog once you have set up your website.

This useful web name checker can tell you whether the name you are interested in is available.

Web Name Checker

Also decide on whether you want a .com or .co.uk webname. A co.uk is probably a good idea  if the website visitors you want to visit your site are going to mainly from the UK. If you are looking to attract visitors to your website from other parts of the world, then a .com would be a better option.

2.)  Once you have decided on your web name and checked it is available, you are ready to build your website. Building your website has become so much easier than it ever used to be. I’m assuming you are reading this blog as you are relatively new to website building and want the easiest way to set one up.

So lets make it easy! My suggestion is to use a web building programme, not only is easy to use but its also very cheap or can even be free (I’ll explain the free option shortly). Website building programmes enable you to simply design and create your own website.

I’ve tried a few website building programmes and my first choice for designing really great website very easily is Weebly. There are others that are pretty good too. Here are a few suggestions

We’ll use Weebly as its my first choice to show you what’s possible to make your own website easily.

Weebly Free Website

Just to show you how easy it is take a look at https://largevillarentals.weebly.com/

This is a website I set up recently and I did it totally for FREE. I’ll show you how to set up an account and get going shortly, but just to explain how you can have a FREE website. https://largevillarentals.weebly.com/ is free because if you take a look at the webname, instead of paying for a webname such as www.largevillarentals.com, I have used Weebly’s free option which just includes the word .weebly in the webname and they allow you to have this for FREE. I explain this in a little more detail as we set up an account.

So lets set up a FREE Weebly Website!

1.)  Go to the Weebly website at “www.weebly.com“. You will see an account creation form with three fields (Full Name, Email and Password), as well as a few other buttons (this includes the “Log In” button).

Sign Up To Weebly Free Website

2.)  Sign up for a Weebly account. In each field in the short account creation form to the left, type in your full name, email address and password. Be sure to write these details down so you don’t forget them next time you want to log in. Once each of these steps has been completed, click on “Sign up. It’s FREE!” You may well be asked to verify yourself once you click the sign up button (this is really simple just follow the instruction on the screen – this is just asked to make sure you are a real person).

Register For A Free Website

3.)  It will then ask you to choose which type of website you would like to build. You will have two options to choose from — website or website with online store. Click on the website button.

Select A Free Website

4.)  Choose a theme for your site. You can do this by glancing over the options, selecting whichever one interests you the most, clicking on it and the website framework is automatically loaded for you.

Choose A Website Theme

So for instance if you click on the “Wag & Paws” theme above shown by the red arrow, the website framework is automatically loaded for you and will look like the below.

Your Website Theme Builder

And now click on the “start editing” button at the top of the page.

Editing Your Free Website

5.)  Choose a name for your website. This is where you can choose the FREE version we mentioned early (we have selected  “thepetsittingcouple as our domain name).

Select A Domain Name

You will be given two options “Professional Domain or Subdomain” (the bottom one “Subdomain” is the one to select for the FREE version) the .weebly.com automatically added at the end”. So for our webname it is “www.thepetsittingcouple.weebly.com “. This is the URL at which people will find your website and which you can send to people you’d like to visit your website.

Select A Free Domain

If you want your own webname without the weebly.com which is the paid option “choose a Professional Domain from those listed  (we would choose www.thepetsittingcouple.com) for our webname from the options.

Choose the subdomain option for the FREE version! Well done, your free webname and website are all ready for you to start working on to create your very own personal website. Click Done to finish.

Subdomain Setup Complete

Brilliant that’s it all set up and your now ready to start designing!

We’ll do a blog full of tips on how how to design a really nice Weebly website very soon, but until then have a go at dragging in elements and change them for your own text and photos using the guides below. We’ll be back soon with the second part!

Designing and editing your website. Drag elements to the box that says “DRAG ELEMENTS HERE” (these can be found under the small element boxes at the top under “W Free).  You can add text to the title of a page by clicking on “My Site” and using your keyboard keys to edit the text.

Click on “Publish” when you’re satisfied with your website. Doing this will make it available to the public. You can still edit your website after it is published.

The best thing to do is to play about with the dragging of elements and keep publishing so you can see how your website is progressing.

For more resources for Weebly web design you may find the following useful

https://www.weebly.com/uk/blog

https://hc.weebly.com/hc/en-us

Thank you for visiting our Blog, we would really appreciate your comments,  your thoughts on it,  or your experiences to share and if you have any questions.  There is a comment box at the end of this blog page and we will be so happy to get back to you, to answer and to give any help/advice we can.

You might also like to take a look at these:

Setting Up A Blog

Setting Up A Blog

Setting Up A Blog

Blogging has become a popular way of sharing adventures, tips, guides and a host of interesting articles written quite often by people who want to share their personal story or have lots of experience on a particular topic or are just very passionate about the area they are blogging about. My biggest tip about starting a blog would be to choose an topic that you have a real interest in as this will make writing blog posts much more enjoyable, naturally more informative and you will be able to add your personal experiences to help others, making your blogs of even more interest to readers.

OK, so lets go through the steps of setting up a blog.

The First Step – Picking A Name For Your Blog

Obviously this will very much depend on what your blog is going to be about and as I mentioned choosing something you are passionate about or experienced in will make writing blog post so much easier and enjoyable. When you’ve decided on the topic of your blog, choosing a name is the first step. Try and choose a name that is based around your blog topic, how I like to think of it is that it says what its about. As an example, our blog is about our experiences as pet sitters travelling the world, so we called our blog thetravellingpetsitters. Simple really! So have a think about it.

A good name can also help with Search Engine Optimisation (this is how you get found in google, yahoo and the other search engines people use) don’t worry we’ll cover this in SIMPLE terms in another post once you have set up your blog.

Once you’ve thought of a name you now have to see if you can get a domain name close to your name if choice. In our case we wanted thetravellingpetsitters and luckily the .com was available. This useful name checker below can tell you whether the name you are interested in is available. It might take a little bit of time and often the name you want will already be taken, so you may need to compromise a little with your name choice!

The Second Step – Getting your blog online.

So you’ve picked your blog name and chosen your domain name, so lets get going on the next step which is to get your blog online so your blog posts can be read across the world! 
You will need two things to get your blog online – hosting and software. 

Luckily these two things come hand in hand now days and one of the most popular hosting companies is Bluehost as you can easily set up your blog name and use WordPress to build your blog. I use this company for the following reasons.

  1. Easy to register your blog name
  2. Simple installation of the WordPress software to build your blog
  3. Bluehost has been recommend by WordPress since 2005 and currently hosts in excess of 2 million blogs and websites
  4. 24/7 customer service and web chat help desk

Here’s how to get set up:

1.)  Click here to open the Bluehost website and benefit from the special offer for new customers and then click “get started now”.

Get Started Blogging

2.)  Select a plan that suits your requirements, for new bloggers the “Basic Plan” should be more than adequate.

Blog Hosting Plans

3.) In the “Create a new domain” box type in the domain name that you have chosen from earlier when you were thinking about choosing a name for your blog in Step One and click next.

4.)  Create your account by completing the details requested on the sign up page along with your billing information.

Create a login password for your account so you are able to sign in and out from any device to make updates to your blog. You will then be asked to choose a theme for your blog, you can easily change the theme at anytime, so don’t worry about choosing one that isn’t quite right for you in the long run.

Choosing a blog theme

Once you choose your theme, WordPress will install and your blog software will be ready for you to use. When you see the message “All Done!” click on the “Start Building” button to log in to your account.

How to login to WordPress

The Third Step – Building Your Blog

OK so you are all ready to start sharing your stories with the world! Start by logging into your account. To do this type in your browser (your blog name plus wp-admin) so it should look something like this http://www.yourblog.com/wp-admin. This should bring up the login screen as in the image below. Your login name and password will be in the email that was sent to you from BlueHost.

Login To WordPress

Once you have logged in your dashboard page will open, which is were you can build pages and make any changes to your blog. If you take a look on the left hand side you will see a list of various folders called posts, pages, media etc. Now if you scroll down to “Appearance” and click on “Themes”, you can change the theme that you chose when signing up earlier, if you are happy with the theme you already have then just leave it as it is.

Choose a blog theme

OK, now that you’ve decided on your theme, lets start to building a blog post. If you scroll down the left hand side again and click on “Posts”.

How To Build a Blog Post

You will see that there is already a post listed called “Hello World!” This a default post that comes with all new blogs, we don’t need this one, so to delete it just hover over the name and click “Trash” which is located just under the name.

Deleting a Blog

To create your first post, simply click “Add New” under the Posts section.

Add A New Post

You have now opened up the editor page, so type the title of the blog post at the top of the page and some content in the main text section as shown below.

Blog Title and Description

If you would like to add an image to your blog post (You can see that this blog I have written and you are reading has a mix of text and images), simply click the “Add Media” button and click the “Select Files” button to upload images from your computer.

Adding an image to your blog post
Once you have uploaded an you can resize it should you need to by simply clicking on the “Edit Image” button (this is located on the right hand side in the section labelled “Attachment Details”). When you have the image ready just click on the “insert into post” button in the bottom right hand corner.
Optimising A Blog Image

Finally, while you are working on your blog post its always a good idea to click “Save Draft” while you are going along, I’ve had times when I’ve been working on a piece and all of a sudden something happens and I haven’t saved my work and I lose it all.

When you have finished your blog, click the “Publish” button and your blog will be live for everyone to see.

Thank you for visiting our Blog, we would really appreciate your comments,  your thoughts on it,  or your experiences to share and if you have any questions.  There is a comment box at the end of this blog page and we will be so happy to get back to you, to answer and to give any help/advice we can.

You might also like to take a look at these:

Disclosure:  Please note that some of the links in this blog post may be affiliate links meaning that, with no extra cost to you, we earn a small commission if you make a purchase. We recommend only products and companies we use.

SEO Tips For Bloggers

Best SEO Tips For Bloggers

SEO Tips For Bloggers

SEO (short for Search Engine Optimisation) is one of the most important part of building a blog, without an optimised page you will not feature in the search engines and as a result will not be found by those browsing the internet searching for information relative to your post content. 

So read on for some useful tips on how to create a search engine friendly blog post to maximise your chances of ranking higher in Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines.

Keyword Research

Keywords are the words, sentences or phrases that people type into the search engines to find the most relevant and useful results for something they are looking for. For example, the following is a keyword phrase search.

Search Engine Keywords

The results from this search will only show pages optimised for “best beaches in the world.

Build a list of keywords and use a selection of them in your blog posts. A nifty little tool is the Google Keyword Planner, this will help you compile the list of keywords but also gives you an indication of the most popular keyword searches, which can prove quite handy as it also tells you how competitive the keywords are (in other words how many other blogs/websites are trying to feature highly in the search engines for that particular keyword). It’s also a FREE tool which is always a bonus! To increase the number of keywords you use in your blog post remember to us Synonyms of each of your chosen keywords. Thesaurus has a handy Synonyms Checker to help you out with this. Make sure you have a good list before you start your blog post.

Using SERP Research For Your Blog Posts

SERP stands for “Search Engine Results Page” and using this research will help you see what your competition is like for keywords to see what the chances are of you ranking highly against those blog post and websites. The second reason for using this type of research is because Google Search, particularly, has starting to add rich snippets at the top of the results page. Here is an example:

Search Engine Results Page Research

Notice at the top search result is a Rich Snippet from one of the biggest and most relative websites for the search term I used. Also note that high on the search page are a list of other questions that users have asked. These two areas highlighted with the red box tells me I am fairly unlikely to rank above these results. It can be a useful little piece of research to help see what your competition is doing and how they are performing in the results page.

Using Keywords in Your Blog Post Title

One of the key elements of a blog post is the blog post title. Its the first thing searchers see on the search results page, the search engines use the title as one of the many factors in selecting the most relevant results for a search query. A well thought out Title adds great SEO value. Here’s an example:

Adding A Title To Your Blog

Make your title of interest to the user, often when your blog post is shared on social media the title will be displayed, so you want to ensure it stands out and says what the blog post is about so that it catches the eye of as many people as possible. The length of your title should be around 60 characters long.

Adding A Meta Description to Your Blog Post

The meta description is a snippet of text about your blog description that features on the search engine result page, letting people know what your blog post is about. Here’s an example:

Adding a Meta Description

The length of your meta description should be around 150 characters long.

Building Keywords Into Your Content

Now that you have a list of keywords, focus on adding them in to your blog posts. The key to this though is to use them sparingly as if you just randomly add them over and over in a blog post the search engines may see it as something called “keyword stuffing” and can penalise your blog. Create a few phrases that include your keywords, remembering to also use the synonyms of your keywords and include them within your blog post, but ensure that the sentences make sense.

A big tip here though – quality content of your blog post is key! Search engines are very smart, as they can detect and rank high quality blog posts that are more valuable to users. The other reason to make your blog post interesting and useful to readers is that they are much more likely to share a useful well written blog post to others and other bloggers are more likely to link to it.

Don’t Forget About Long Tail Keywords

When you have compiled your list of keywords and phrase, you will probably find that most of these are the most popular terms that other blogs and websites are also trying to rank highly for. To maximise the opportunity for visitors to find you in the search engines, its really worth including some Long Tail Keywords in your lists and introduce them into your blog posts.

So what are long tail Keywords? Well, lets give you an example, if a small selection of my main keywords are petsit, america, housesitting and usa. Then an example of a Long Tail Keyword might be professional carers for your dogs in California or experienced cat sitters in Los Angeles. These more detailed, specific search terms are less competitive (meaning less of the larger blogs will be trying to optimise for these phrases) which as a result will more likely enable you to feature on the first page of the search results.

Optimising Your Images

Although at first glance it may seem a bit tedious every time you add an image to have to optimise it, let me explain why this is an important SEO tip. Search engines are unable to read images (they can only read words) so are unable to understand if images are relevant to a search result. However if you optimise the image by adding a title and alt text to each image the search engines can then read them. This is important as it also brings additional traffic to your blog post through any image searches where your images will also feature if they have been correctly optimised. This is very simple to do, every time you upload an image to your blog before you Insert the Media, head over to the right hand side and you will see the Title and Alt Text boxes, pop a few words in them about the image, you can even make them the same words in each. Here’s an example:

Optimising Images For Blogs

Just make a point of adding An Image Title and Alt Text each time you upload an image and before long it will become normal practice.

Adding Tags To Your Blog

Using Tags on your blog will help you organise your blog and help users find their way around your blog more easily, but even more importantly will allow the search engines to locate more information about your blog posts content. You can add as many Tags as you like to a blog post and those tags should be words that are related to your blog post. To find the Tags open your blog post and scroll down on the right hand side until you see the Tags section and the box labelled “Add New Tag”.

Adding Tags To Your Blog Post

Optimise The URL Of Each Blog Post

You can further increase your search engine presence by ensuring that you have optimised your website links to make them more SEO friendly and also showing visitors to your blog what the post is all about. Here is an example of an optimised URL:

Example of an Optimised URL

You can see from the above URL that visitors can immediately see what the blog post is about. Make sure you try and keep the URL name short and simple. Here is where to change your URL:

Where to change your URL in WordPress

Linking Blog Post To Others You Have Written

A great way to get visitors to visit various posts through your Blog are to link relative blog posts to another within your content section. For instance you are reading this blog post about SEO, so you may be interested in learning about setting up a blog. You notice that I have linked another of my blogs in here to enable visitors to visit that page. If it is relevant to the blog you are writing then include a link to other posts visitors may be interested in.

Use an SEO Plugin For WordPress

As you can see from this post there are numerous things to consider and optimise to get your SEO perfect. A great plugin for WordPress used by and the most commonly used is Yoast SEO. This plugin will help you optimise every post on your blog and will also give you extra tips on how you can improve your search engine optimisation.

Network With Other Bloggers

I mentioned earlier that writing high quality and interesting content is key to ranking well in the search engines. Another big reason for ensuring your are writing well thought out articles is that you are more likely to get a “share” from some of the more influential bloggers out there and sometimes just one share or link from these massive blogs can really help your traffic levels and ranking.

Try To Feature Influencers In Your Blog Posts

Finding ways to introduce you and your blog to Influential bloggers is a great way to get your blog visited by a wider audience. Recommending them, interviewing them, linking to their posts are all ways for them to get to know about you and your blog. By featuring them you have a chance to get on their radar and are more likely that they will help you in return by sharing one of your blog posts.

Try Keep Your Old Blog Posts Up To Date

Quite often you will come across a really useful blog post but find that the information is out of date, this could be anything from SEO techniques, a great restaurant you recommended in a post that has since closed down, to a photo of a landscape in Spain changing or a hyperlink that no longer exists.

Tip: Keeping your old blog posts current will not only give the visitor a better experience but also help your page ranking by keeping your content more accurate and fresh.

Thank you for visiting our Blog, we would really appreciate your comments,  your thoughts on it,  or your experiences to share and if you have any questions.  There is a comment box at the end of this blog page and we will be so happy to get back to you, to answer and to give any help/advice we can.

You might also like to take a look at these:

Setting Up An Online Business

Setting Up An Online Business

Setting Up An Online Business

I’m always really interested in finding out how all of the “digital nomads” fund their travelling and I’ve found that most have a blog of some description and have been building it over a few years, but I’m yet to find anyone who has completely shared how they actually set up a blog, how long it took to generate cash from it and how much time it takes to keep it updated.  In my view and from experience blogs take a long time to set up, need lots of time spent on them to keep them current and have to be really informative to actually make much money from them.

Now this is a personal view and from someone with a very basic understanding of social media and web design but I would consider one of the best, quickest and if you’re lucky and do it right, easiest ways to earn a bit of extra cash while travelling is to set up an online business. Something you can take where ever you go as long as you can get an internet connection, easier said than done I hear you say!

Well, I’d be lying if I said it was easy, otherwise everyone would be doing it, but its achievable by absolutely any one who has a laptop, after all, I’ve done it and when I started had no experience of web design or the type of business I set up, so if I can do it anyone can! And honestly, our websites earn us less than my salary alone when I was a school teacher. But it took less than six months to set up and amazingly with a fair bit of budgeting and further development as we’ve gone along, it’s been enough to fund the last 10 years of winters in Spain, summers on the Black Sea Coast, 10 nights in New York, a 14 night road trip around the UK, 3 trips to Australia and our 2 and a half month backpacking adventure in Asia.

If you’re interested in becoming a Nomad then certainly consider starting an online business, they can be pretty easy to set up and with a bit of hard work and lots of luck it might just start to make some money …… so lets get started!

The First Step!

The key thing to setting up any online business is to choose a type of business.  I would suggest choosing something you are interested in or maybe even something you have experience of either through work or a hobby.  If you know something about the business already you will be strides ahead of me.  The online business that enabled us to started our journey, I set up in about 3 months from just a few evenings a week while I was still a school teacher and it was a commission based holiday rental website. Since then I’ve had a go at numerous other holiday rental websites, selling a learn to swim book and swimming products, an advertising site for tradesmen and through our pet sitting experiences we are now starting a pet orientated online business ……. some more successful than others!

The Global Petsitters

So get your thinking cap on and come up with that basic type of business.  Lets say you’ve thought of something now, but even if you haven’t then why not try and replicate one of our ideas, I’m going to use a holiday rental website as an example to show you how you can set an online business up from scratch and how income can be achieved.

If I still have your attention and your keen to read more, then lets go!

The Second Step

So now we have to set up a website, don’t worry, as it’s not as difficult as you might think.   We cover this in detail over at this blog post “Setting Up A Website“.

You’ll learn about:

How to set up your first website absolutely FREE!

Choosing a webname, what to think about, how to check if its available and actually buying your own dot com!

Setting Up A Website

So pop on over and take a look Setting Up A Website and come and meet me back here once you’ve had a good read through.

The Third Step

So now we need to build your website into a business that generates an income stream. We’ll be using a holiday rental website as an example, but the concept is pretty much the same for any business. 

Firstly, the easiest way to start building a selection of items/products or in our case holiday rentals to sell through a website is by using affiliate programmes. Simply put an Affiliate Programme is set up by the company selling the product, they provide you with a website link with a special piece of code, you put this link on your website and if anyone clicks on the link and buys a product directly with the company, the company can tell the lead has come from your website and gives you a commission for sending them a sale. 

The beauty of affiliate programmes are that once the links are placed on your website, when someone visits your site and clicks on a link, everything else becomes automated as they go through to the businesses shop, product or in our case the rental property. So in effect your website is open for business 24 hours a day and could in theory generate income even when you are a sleep! In reality, however, its not quite as easy as that, but with a little bit of extra work and marketing it really is a possibility. 

So lets give it a go and see whether you can make some money from your website. Setting up affiliate accounts is FREE and using companies links are all FREE to do. Lets start by setting one up with one of the agencies we use called AWIN.Go to https://www.awin.com/gb and then click on the SIGN UP button in the top right hand corner or alternatively click here https://ui.awin.com/publisher-signup/en/step1 to go directly to the sign up page. Follow the instructions to set up your account.

Affiliate Account Set Up

Make sure you make a note of your login details somewhere safe!

Now you can start to apply for some suitable business with products that you can list on your website. Make sure you’re logged in, then to find all the companies click the DASHBOARD link at the top left hand side of the page. Then hover over  the ADVERTISERS button at the top of the page and select JOIN PROGRAMMES.

Joining Affiliate Programmes

Now you can search different business sectors on the left hand side, you will see a list of advertiser (that’s what they call the business) in the Not Joined area, if you want to find out more about the advertiser (what they sell, commission info etc) then click on the magnifying glass on the right hand screen at the end of the advertisers details.

Find New Affiliates

So if you select Toffs Ltd as an example and click on the magnifying glass of that advertiser, you will see all of the companies information. Should you wish to join this advertiser and sell their products on your website, click on the JOIN PROGRAMME link.

There are a host of affiliate programmes available to join to maximise the companies you can promote. Here are a few more:

Commission Junction  ¦  Affiliate Future ¦  Click Booth ¦  Webgains ¦  Click Bank ¦  Trade Doubler

The Fourth Step

Now start to add each companies link on to you website. Make sure you wait until you have been accepted as an affiliate by the company, you will receive an email with confirmation by Awin when each advertiser accepts you. Now you can get creative with building your website. Here are a couple of examples to get you thinking about what might work for your business idea.

Example 1

You may want to show case your products in a simple shop format as the website below has done.

Dogs My World

I set this website up in just a few hours http://www.dogsmyworld.com to give you an example of a very simple shop created using affiliate programme links to sell products online.

Simply done, you can see that each product has a unique link which lets the company know that anyone who clicks on the link on my page and buys the product through my website ensures I receive a commission from the sale.

Website With Affiliate Link

Example 2

You may want to show case your holiday rentals in a online travel brochure format as the website below has done.

HolidaytoRent Website

I set this website up http://www.holidaytorent.co.uk/ski-resorts/romania.htm which gives you an example of a very simple holiday rental website created using affiliate programme links to sell products online.

Simply done, you can see that each unique link lets the company know that anyone who clicks on a link on my page and buys the product through my website ensures I receive a commission from the sale.

Holiday to Rent Website

I hope you get the idea and good luck with building an online business!

Thank you for visiting our Blog, we would really appreciate your comments,  your thoughts on it,  or your experiences to share and if you have any questions.  There is a comment box at the end of this blog page and we will be so happy to get back to you, to answer and to give any help/advice we can.

You might also like to read these:

Disclosure:  Please note that some of the links in this blog post may be affiliate links meaning that, with no extra cost to you, we earn a small commission if you make a purchase. We recommend only products and companies we use.