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26 Uses for Bicarbonate of Soda

Bicarbonate of Soda is an ingredient every household usually has shoved away at the back of a cupboard. However, apart from baking, this incredible ingredient has a myriad of uses. After reading all of these, you will never look at a tub of bicarb in the same way again.

1.    Clean dirty fruit and veg
Put some on a damp sponge before scrubbing the fruit and veg.

2.    Give hairbrushes a clean
Mix a teaspoon of bicarb and some warm water. Rinse well and dry.

3.    Clean your BBQ grill
Put some on a damp brush, scrub the grill, then rinse.

4.    Clean rugs and carpets
Sprinkle some on the carpet, preferably overnight, then hoover.

5.    Get whiter clothes
Place a small amount in your washing machine.

6.    Remove stubborn food stains from pans
Shake some into pots and pans, add hot water and washing up liquid. Leave to soak before rinsing.

7.    Shine the floors
Dissolve some bicarb in warm water before mopping the floor.

8.    Clean appliances
Place some in the dishwasher or coffee machine and run the appliance on an empty cycle.

9.    Polish silver
Shine tarnished silver with bicarb and water. Create a paste and then rub onto the silver with a clean cloth.

10.    Stop litter tray smells
Sprinkle bicarbonate of soda under a layer of litter to reduce smells.

11.    Keep the loo white
Place some in the bowl of the toilet, then scrub clean.

12.    Hair treatment
Mix some bicarb into your conditioner before applying.

13.    Kill garden weeds
Sprinkle on driveways and areas prone to weeds to discourage them growing.

14.    Clean toothbrushes
Soak your toothbrush in a mixture of bicarb and water. Leave to stand overnight.

15.    Soothe insect bites, chickenpox and sunburn
Mix with a litter bit of water and apply directly to your skin.

16.    Ice proof your driveway
Scatter bicarb on icy driveways as its not as corrosive as salt.

17.    Unblock drains
Pour bicarbonate of soda into your drains then add white vinegar. Pour boiling water down the drain after a few minutes.

18.    Stop bins smelling
Sprinkle in the bottom of your bin.

19.    Whiten your teeth
Mix with strawberries and lemon juice to create a natural whitening agent you can brush onto your teeth.

20.    Make a face mask
Mix with a little bit of water before applying to your face.

21.    Clean Tupperware
Sprinkle onto a clean sponge before washing up the containers.

22.    Stop shoes smelling
Sprinkle into your shoes and leave until you next need to wear them.

23.    Clean your oven
Sprinkle into the bottom of your oven. Spray with water to dampen. Leave to soak overnight before scrubbing to remove it, then rinse.

24.    Stop your fridge smelling
Place a box of bicarb into the back of your fridge which will neutralise odours.

25.    Keep flowers fresher for longer
Add a teaspoon of bicarb into your flower water.

26.    Keep ants away
Add bicarb to an equal amount of salt. Sprinkle into corners that are prone to ants.

Have you found any other amazing uses for bicarbonate of soda? Let us know what they are by connecting on social media at @TimeForYouGroup

Time For You are the premier international house cleaning service company with hundreds of local business owners across the UK, Australia and Canada. Time For You are currently cleaning tens of thousands of homes across the world on a weekly basis.

The Biggest Cleaning Mistakes you are probably making

It is very easy to pick up bad habits whilst cleaning without even realising it. Here are just a few common mistakes people are making when cleaning their home.

1.    Starting with the wrong spot in the room
Start at the top of the room and work down. Dust first, especially in those high, hard to reach places. This allows all the dirt to go onto the floor, which you can then sort out by vacuuming last.  This top to bottom rule works for shower screens and doors as well.

2.    Using the wrong cleaning products
Be careful of which products you use for which job. It is not a case of one product fits all. If you use a product that is not strong enough, you will not be cleaning sufficiently which will mean you have to clean again.

3.    Using dirty cleaning tools
You could be doing more harm than good if you are cleaning with dirty equipment. Be aware of how long you have used cleaning sponges and cloths for and use a new one after each big cleaning job. Remove mop heads and wash them and cleaning cloths at 60⁰c so you can continue to use them. For ease, disposable anti-bacterial wipes are great for cleaning kitchens and bathrooms, however make sure you don’t just do one for each room. Although this method is quick and simple, it is less environmentally friendly.

4.    Spraying product directly onto surfaces
Spray your cleaning product onto a microfibre cloth first as this means you are cleaning with more accuracy. This method also means you don’t use too much product each time.

5.    Cleaning too quickly
It is tempting to get your house jobs done as quickly as possible; however, this does not always pay off. Although its great to split your jobs down into more manageable tasks, ensure you are still spending enough time on each task to do a sufficient job. If you rush, you will miss things and you will end up having to clean more regularly.

6.    Not reading directions
Even if you have chosen the correct product for the cleaning job, always read the directions label. They are there for a reason and if you don’t follow them it could waste your money and can even cause damage. Products can vary as to how long they take to be effective, and this needs to be considered when cleaning.

7.    Cleaning windows on sunny days
It’s common to assume the best days to wash your windows are when its sunny. It’s not! When cleaning exterior windows on a sunny day you’re likely to end up with streaky windows as the water and soap dry too quickly before you can clean them properly. The best conditions are a dry but overcast day.

8.    The way you clean (s shape not circular motion)
Its normal for people to clean in a circular motion however this is not the best way as you are just moving the dirt around. Use an s shape instead as it brings the dirt towards you and off the surface completely.

9.    Not emptying the vacuum
Doing this not only makes the appliance itself a breeding ground for bacteria but can also affect its performance as airflow will be restricted when its full. Empty the vacuum every time its ¾ full to ensure that it will continue to perform well. Also, don’t forget to clean the vacuum regularly too!

10.    Using too much cleaning product
More is not always better. By using the correct amount of product, you can save on having to buy replacements as regularly. If you have a sticky stain you cannot get off, putting more cleaning spray on doesn’t necessarily work. It will just create more tidying up for you.

11.    Using cleaning products on electronics
Electrical items don’t mix well with cleaning products. Either put a little bit of water onto a cloth or buy products that are specifically designed for electronics. Make sure you don’t spray anything directly onto them.

12.    Scrub stains out of carpets
If you spill something on the carpet, don’t scrub it away. It can spread the stain and it can also cause damage to the fibres of the carpet. Instead, place your stain remover on the carpet and then press down with a cloth with a dabbing action.

13.    You use furniture polish every time you dust
Dusting doesn’t mean you need to use polish. Moisture attracts more dust, so where possible use a dry, anti-static wipe instead.

Time For You are the premier international house cleaning service company with hundreds of local business owners across the UK, Australia and Canada. Time For You are currently cleaning tens of thousands of homes across the world on a weekly basis.

8 UK walking spots you must visit

If you’re looking to embrace your adventurous spirit then walking, hiking and rambling is a sure-fire way to get started. Not only is it a great form of exercise but getting out in the open and reconnecting with nature is a proven way to boost your mental health. Here’s a short list of some of our favourite jaw-dropping walking spots to visit around the UK.

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland is home to some first-class walking trails and first up on our list is Mourne Mountain, a tough but rewarding route that includes a 5.6mile long climb up one of the highest peaks in the country. On a clear day it’s said you can see views as far as Scotland, Wales and the Isle of Man.

One of our favourite walking routes in Scotland is Stac Pollaidh. One of the smaller and more manageable mountains in Scotland, it stands at 513m high in the Northwest Highlands and features plenty of pinnacles, gullies and a sandstone crest. The views of stripped back wilderness, and an almost Martian-esque landscape are a real treat.
North East

If you’re located in the Northeast then the obvious place to visit for some rambling, coupled with a history lesson, is Hadrian’s Wall. Built by the Roman’s in AD 122 a hike through this area can give you a great insight into Roman life. For an extra special sight, get yourself to Sycamore Gap, an area featured in iconic scenes from the 90’s smash-hit movie Robin Hood Prince of Thieves featuring Kevin Costner and Morgan Freeman.
North West

Home to the Lake District, the North West of England has a plethora of varied walks to enjoy. One unique walk you can enjoy is the Tolkien Trail in Lancashire. Starting in the Ribble Valley nearby to the village of Hurst Green, this 5.5-mile walk conjures up scenes not unlike that of The Shire in Middle Earth from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series.

There are many Areas of Natural Beauty (AONB) around the UK but one of the smallest and most interesting is that of Cannock Chase. A former royal hunting forest that is teeming with everything from lizards and adders to deer and all manner of birds. This abundance of wildlife and biological diversity has led to Cannock Chase being designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and given a certain level of protection from development. Walkers however can make the most of roaming rights to enjoy this special and surprisingly remote area.

When it comes to choosing a Welsh walking trail you are truly spoiled for choice. We couldn’t narrow it down to just one alone, so here are a selection. First up, you can visit the Taf Estuary which leads to Laugharne – once home to writer Dylan Thomas. You could take a trip to the gravity-defying canal boat route which follows the River Dee and can be found near the UNESCO heritage site by Llangollen. For isolation you can stroll the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, wonder at the ancient spiritual site of the Preseli Bluestones, or of-course make a visit to the woods, waterfalls and gorges of the Brecon Beacons. Or finally you could traverse peaks atop mountains at Holyhead or Mount Snowden.
South West

The South West of England is one of the most popular destinations for staycationers – and rightly so. The region has sun-soaked coastlines, rolling hills and beautiful countryside that make it a great place to visit on holiday. Cheddar Gorge is undoubtedly one of the most popular places to take a walk and attracts droves of visitors to its weathered crags, steep pinnacles and array of plants and wildlife. If you’re looking for some sea air and a coastal walk, then try the South West Coast Path in Cornwall, a 630 mile stretch of world-class walking tracks.
South East

In ITV’s Britain’s Favourite Walks TV programme a great many of the 100 routes they featured on their show were located in the South East of England. Some of the popular routes included chalk cliffs via Margate to Broadstairs, medieval towns and shoreline from Sandwich to Dover, forest tracks and sleepy hamlets via Leith Hill and steep-sided adventure seeking at the Devil’s Punch Bowl.
We hope this article gave you some inspiration for your next outdoors adventure. Have you found these tips useful? Where are your favourite places to ramble? Let us know by connecting with on social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

A beginners’ guide to rambling

How do you like to keep fit? Do you enjoy Yoga? Swimming? The gym? One of the less talked about but equally impactful forms of exercise seldom talked about is good old-fashioned walking.  

An ever-increasing number of people in the UK are realising the benefits of walking and rambling, as it is also known. Indeed, many clubs around the UK are dedicated to rambling and their members who call themselves ‘ramblers’ enjoy lengthy walks around rural and countryside areas and use it as a means of not only regular exercise but also a handy way to socialise.

Who can do it?
From ultra-fit to out-of-shape, rambling is not a discriminatory sport, and anyone can enjoy it. Rambling groups often include people of all genders, ages, fitness levels and backgrounds. A good rambling group should always brief you in advance if the walking route that day might be challenging so that you can prepare in advance or sit that one out.

What kit do I need?
The best thing about rambling is that it is low cost. Unlike many sports and hobbies, there aren’t expensive joining fees or subscriptions and you don’t usually need any specialist equipment other than a mobile phone in case you get lost, some comfortable and safe footwear and a bottle of water. There are things that you can buy to make your walk more pleasurable such as hiking boots, base layers, thermals, waterproofs, gaiters and walking poles but none of them are compulsory.

How to get started?
If you want to start rambling, then you aren’t obliged to join a club. In fact, many people enjoy the solace that comes from solo-rambling. However, if you’d like to make it a more social occasion, enjoy conversation and share tips and routes then it makes sense to reach out to a club. Most regions in the UK have several rambling clubs and the website lists a great many of them.

Have you found these tips useful? Let us know by connecting with on social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

How to get your kids interested in wildlife conservation

Encouraging our children to engage with wildlife and help to protect their habitats goes far beyond videos and textbooks. Helping our children to appreciate and respect wildlife has to come from real hands on experience. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Green thumbs
If you want to grow your loved one’s interest in the environment, then you need to plant the seed – literally. Growing plants, vegetables and fruits as well as doing some general gardening can give your children some first-hand experience of their environment, eco-systems and how nature works in harmony with us when we treat it well.

Geocaching is a fun app-based game that can get your little one’s out and about exploring. Its fun for the whole family and involves hunting down hidden packages placed outdoors in public parks, fields and all kinds of places. It’s a fun, real life treasure hunt that can become very addictive. Be sure to educate your children on good habits along the way such as taking home any litter, being careful not to disturb wildlife and leaving things as you found them.

Again, an activity that you can try at home, composting is not only good for the environment but can also be a fun science experiment for the whole family. Composting at home is easy to do and can teach your family about conservation, recycling, life cycles and biology.  Simply cut out the bottom of a bin so that the compost material can touch the ground and begin adding things like grass cuttings, flowers, vegetable scraps, egg shells and stale bread.

Teachable moments
A key way to get your children interested in not only the environment but also conservation as a whole is to teach them at every opportunity. If there is a reason that you purchase something, or don’t purchase something, if there’s a reason you walk somewhere instead of drive or save something and re-use it instead of throwing it way then let them know why.

Explore the outdoors
To build a real appreciation for nature you need to get outdoors. Activities such as cycling, skiing, rock climbing, beach strolls, hiking and even simply camping at the bottom of the garden are all good ways to engage their senses and spark their imagination. If you live in the city, then take advantage of woodland, community parks and gardens.

As children learn more about the environment and the dangers it faces, they may start to become acutely aware of the problems and hurdles that are faced. ‘Why would anyone do that?’ and ‘Why isn’t anyone doing anything to stop this from happening?’ are two questions which you’re likely to hear them ask.  When this happens, it can be a good opportunity to encourage them to participate in helping look for solutions whether through writing a letter to their local MP or joining local environmental protection groups. Be mindful that the state of the environment and the challenges faced can be upsetting to children and it can be useful to have some examples of positive change such as Endangered Species acts, and successful conservation attempts to point them towards in moments like these.

Have you found these tips useful? Let us know by connecting with on social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

How to teach your children to be responsible tourists

We only have one planet but if you open up the newspaper on any given day, you’ll likely encounter multiple stories about the negative impact humans are having on it. It’s clear that there is a need for drastic change.

When it comes to raising children, one of the greatest ways to bond with our families is to share trips and holidays. The world is vast, and there are so many beautiful and interesting places to visit and areas of outstanding natural beauty to explore. However, it is important that while we share the beauty of our planet with our children, we also offer them an insight into its fragility.

This attitude extends across not only our daily habits – leading by example with recycling, healthy eating habits, waste reduction and other green positive behaviours, but also educating them about being a good traveler.

As travel has become more widely available and costs have fallen over the past few decades, many of the once fabled or rarely visited destinations and wonders are now struggling under the weight of tourism. In turn this has led to damage to archeological sites, destruction of habitats and a whitewashing of rich and independent culture in favour of homogenous tourist-pleasing developments. Here is a list of some easy ways to teach your children to be better travelers.

A key way to foster eco-friendly and sustainable attitudes with your children is to always explain your reasoning behind decisions that are motivated by sustainability. For instance, if you are encouraging them to take a short shower then explain that this to save water. If you decide to walk to the city centre instead of taking a taxi, then explain this is not only to save money but also to reduce your carbon footprint. This can lead to all kinds of interesting conversations with your children.

One way to teach your children about the impact of their travelling habits on wildlife is to spend the day doing some conservation. For example, you could take a trip to the seaside but merge this with an opportunity to do some litter picking. You can enjoy all the usual treats of ice cream, chips and arcade machines but try and make a positive impact by reducing the amount of litter – particularly plastics – that end up polluting our oceans.

Another way to encourage responsible tourism is to expose your children to culture. This means tasting new foods, immersion in new languages and different cultural traditions. This kind of attitude not only means that you are more likely to help support local businesses and workers but that your children will be more open minded when it comes to meeting people from different backgrounds and cultures.

Teaching your children now to be thoughtful in their actions can help them to alter the courses of not only their own lives, but also the lives of others. So why not start educating your children about responsible tourism today?

4 natural beauty spots in the UK you need to see with your own eyes

With so many stunning attractions to visit in the UK it can be hard to narrow down exactly where to go. Britain is full of areas of natural beauty and you often don’t need to travel too far at all to find one. Here are four of our favourite areas of natural beauty that we firmly believe should be on your bucket list.

1 – Wastwater, Lake District

Tucked away in the Wasdale Valley, Wastwater is the deepest of all the lakes in the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Lake District. With a wild and lonely beauty, the area is frequented by ramblers, kayakers and swimmers throughout the year. However, as it extends for 3 miles there are plenty of chances for stern solace and isolation if that’s what you’re hunting for. Indeed, the rugged landscapes have inspired generations of painters, poets and climbers and was once crowned Britain’s favourite view by ITV.
2 – Lulworth Cove, Dorset

Located at another World Heritage Site of the Jurassic Coast – the idyllic Lulworth Coast is a sight to behold. During the summer months visitors can take boats into the bay that tour the pebble beach, blue waters and wonderful rock pools bursting with sea creatures.
3 – Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire

Famous for its association with the legend of Robin Hood, Sherwood Forest is a 450-acre country park full of myth and magic. With walks, trails, bug hunts, adventure playgrounds and more there is plenty to see and do but the beauty and mythology of the place is enough to set the imagination going.
4 – Old Man of Storr, Portree

The Isle of Skye means ‘cloud island’ in Old Norse and the mysterious jagged rocks and moody landscapes found there have drawn tourists for centuries. The iconic natural feature of the Old Man of Storr (pictured above) can be found nearby in the small town of Portree and makes for a dramatic sight.
Where are your favourite places of natural beauty to visit in the UK? Let us know by connecting with us on social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

5 eco-friendly spots to visit in the UK

Reducing lengthy air travel is one of the best ways to shrink your carbon footprint. So, holidaying in the UK is a must. But how do we go about finding those often-elusive places to travel fairer and more sustainably?

Well, the UK has many great destinations and projects popping up where green ethics and conservation play a key role. Here are five of our favourites.

Holyrood Park
A park like no other. Holyrood Park is the dramatic backdrop to the Scottish capital Edinburgh. Running across the city’s skyline, the architecture and history spans thousands of years. The key attraction of the park is Arthurs Seat, an ancient volcano that sits 251m above sea level and provides panoramic views of the city. Next to it is one of four hill forts built around 2,000 years ago. The unique height of the settings also makes it a hotbed for flora and geology, marking it out as a Special Scientific Interest area. Such a beautiful and historic setting is bound to bring tourists in their droves, which is why it has been important to protect the area. With this in mind, the authorities in charge of the area have successfully created an award-winning conservation strategy that has led them to repeatedly be awarded a top Gold Standard grading from the Green Tourism association.

Chatsworth House
Home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, the Chatsworth House estate is another Gold Standard award-winner. Found in Bakewell, Derbyshire, the extensive landscaped parklands, art collections, waterworks, cascades and playgrounds attract plenty of visitors. The team at Chatsworth House have a strong commitment to sustainability and preventing climate change as well as addressing threats to wildlife diversity and habitat. Besides addressing this by meeting the 145 criteria areas set out by the Green Tourism board, the Duke’s son, Lord Burlington, also founded a dedicated committee to promote sustainability, social equity and environmental protection across the estate.

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden
Dubbed a ‘haven of peace and tranquility’ and a ‘garden for all seasons’, Fairhaven is tucked away in South Walsham near Norwich in the county of Norfolk. The well-maintained gardens are done so using only minimal machinery in order to reduce carbon footprint and avoid disruption to local wildlife like butterflies, otters and deer. The gardens are also home to a reported 95 species of migrant birds. Visitors can wander through the woods, spot wildlife and plants as well as enjoy a cup of tea and hot food at the Kingfisher Tearoom. Fairhaven has also won a Gold Standard award from the Green Tourism board.

Blenheim Palace
Oxford’s Blenheim Palace offers 300 years of history and 2,000 acres of landscapes to discover. Visitors can roam the countryside, see exhibits including tapestry and antiques, and visit the homes of both the Dukes of Marlborough and Sir Winston Churchill. There are also calendared events including Christmas lights, live music and medieval jousting displays. Blenheim Palace is another winner of the Green Tourism’s Gold Standard award.

Carnglaze Caverns
A rather different kind of tourist attraction can be found in Carnglaze, in Cornwall. Here lies a former slate mine where slate was quarried and mined underground. Visitors can learn about the history of the mine, how the slate was extracted and used and the skills and traditions of the workers. The mine also features a crystal-clear underground lake and is a constant temperature of 10c all year long. Carnglaze Caverns has been awarded the Green Tourism boards Gold Standard Award.

Do you know of a tourist spot with high standards of sustainability? Let us know by connecting with on social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

6 Places in Britain you won’t believe exist

Wouldn’t it be great to have the opportunity to travel the world? Well unfortunately, for most of us our wallets, work and family commitments mean that an Around The World in 80 Days trip is off the cards for now. However, travel shouldn’t only be restricted to school holidays and annual leave. You can fit plenty of bucket-list style day’s out into your schedule right here in the UK. So, forget the great Pyramids and The Leaning Tower Of Pisa for now and read on to discover six of our favourite domestic hidden gems – for the stay at home traveler.

1 – The Dark Hedges, Starnocum

The Dark Hedges in Country Antrim, Northern Ireland is a countryside road lined with unusually shaped Beech Trees. Voted as one of the most beautiful places in the world by the prestigious American journal Architectural Digest, the spot has seen a dramatic rise in popularity for another reason. The iconic spot was chosen as a filming location for the HBO cult-hit TV show Game of Thrones. The road was featured in the second season of the show as the approach to an area called Kings Landing. As one of the most popular TV shows in recent memory, the area has unsurprisingly seen a massive upturn in tourism with visitors flocking from across the globe.

2 – Duncansby

 The 60m Stacks of Duncansby are a breathtaking sight. This area of Scotland is full of stunning scenery, but the stacks are among some of the best. Following a path from the famous John O’Groats you will find these towering relics of history, one of which actually stretches higher than the adjacent cliffs. If you find yourself visiting John O’Groats, then why not push yourself a further two miles to set sights on this rare and imposing rock formation.

3 – Hellfire Caves, Wycombe

 Hidden away in the Chiltern Hills, Buckinghamshire is St Lawrence’s Church. Underneath the building is an interesting network of man-made chalk and flint caverns which extend for a quarter of a mile and several hundred feet below the church.  Excavated in the mid-18th century by the infamous Sir Francis Dashwood, the caves became synonymous with The Hellfire Club – the society he founded. While no-one knows exactly what went on in the caves, rumors of illicit behaviour, blasphemy, devil worship and sedition abound.

4 - Longleat Hedge Maze, Warminster

 Who’d have thought the world’s longest hedge maze could be found here in the UK? If you’re a Labyrinth, Harry Potter or Greek Myth obsessive then this is certainly one for you to plan a holiday around. Located in Warminster, nestled between Sailsbury, Bath and Yeovil, this 2-mile long maze has 8-foot hedges, numerous dead-ends, 6 raised bridges and an observatory tower for overhead views. Want more? There are four other mazes located at the site including one called King Arthur’s Maze which uses optical illusions to appear larger than it really is.

5 – Henrhyd Falls, Brecon Beacons National Park

 If you’re in the mood for chasing waterfalls, then you should make a visit to the Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales part of your to-do-list. These spectacular flowing falls are the highest in South Wales. Plunging an astonishing 90ft (27m) into a wooden gorge below, it makes for magical viewing. The Brecon Beacons are a haven for wildlife, plants, geology and history and with many other walks you can easily spend lots of time there.

6 – St Michaels Mount, Marazion

 With soft, pleasant beaches and restaurants and bars a-plenty, there are lots of reasons to visit Cornwall’s oldest town. However, the most striking feature of Marazion, and the main attraction for tourists, is the enchanting St. Michaels Mount. The inspiration for tales of mermaids, giants and miracles – the Mount also includes a medieval castle, fortress, a priory, a harbor and grand gardens. The trip to the island can be completed either on foot or boat- tide dependent.

Which UK destinations have you enjoyed visiting recently? Let us know by connecting on social media at @TimeForYouGroup.

Tips for making long-haul holidays work on a budget

While there are plenty of reasons to book a short-haul holiday to one of the many nearby European destinations – such as cost and shorter travel distances - sometimes you just want to dream a little bigger and have a real adventure. So, if you’re fortunate enough to find a gap in your calendar where you can fit in a longer holiday, then you’ll be pleased to know we have some excellent tips below on managing it on a budget. Read on, pack your suitcase and don’t forget your passport!

Why travel long-haul?
Whether it’s different languages, mystical historical sites, untouched beauty or culture and cuisine, one of the benefits of travelling to a distant location is the complete culture shock that it can bring. Although there’s nothing wrong with visiting popular short-haul destinations, a common complaint from travelers is that apart from the sunshine and cocktails, it can feel stale and too much like home. Long haul holidays make for an unforgettable experience, and the journey is almost always worth the pay-off.

How to save money on long-haul flights?
One of the big barriers to long distance travel is the costs involved, or at least the perceived costs. While long-haul flights largely are more expensive than short distance flights – there are some bargains to be found if you’re willing to look around.

The first key bit of advice to take on board is that you can quite drastically reduce the cost of your flights by switching up your departure point. Typically, when hunting for flights we’ll be in a time-saving mindset that means we only look at flights leaving from the airports nearest to our home. However, if money is more important to you than time, then expanding that to the whole country can help bring the costs down. It’s also worth checking international travel hubs such as Amsterdam and Barcelona. Together with some London based airports, these destinations are some of the busiest airports in the world, with numerous different airlines running flights. This means that you can often find cheap flights to far-off destinations. If you can then find a connecting flight to, let’s say, Amsterdam, you might find it saves you a pretty penny. The same goes for layovers, if you’re willing to spend a day (or two) somewhere en-route.

Everyone knows by now about the benefits of using travel comparison websites like Skyscanner, Kayak and Google Flights. It takes just seconds to show comparisons on these high-speed global travel search engines. Whereas travel agents were once the go-to for all your holiday-hunting needs, these sites cut out the middle man and can often save you money. Two things to remember though when using them. First up, make sure you do your searches in private or ‘incognito’ browsers as sometimes the sites will inflate the cost when you repeatedly visit, in order to encourage you to make a purchase. Searching anonymously means you’ll likely get a better price. Also, don’t forget to check the small print. Sometimes an airline such as Virgin will appear as the flight carrier, but upon closer inspection the flight is actually run by another airline. If you find that airline’s name – let’s say Air Asia – and go directly to their website for your flight search you might find the cost of the flight is much cheaper.

In terms of actually booking your flights there are a few urban legends surrounding the best time to commit. Some people suggest that Tuesdays are the best day of the week to book, others say 55 days directly before the flight is the time that prices plummet. In truth, from what we can tell there is little rhyme or reason and Airlines tend to not play by either of these rules. As a rule of thumb, we find that if you book off-season and not too closely, nor too far away then you’ll get a better deal.

Other advice
If you’re clever then your flights can be cheap, but you can money stretch in other ways too. If you pick long haul destinations like Thailand, Vietnam, Central or South America, South Africa or India than you may find that your cost of living is incredibly low. Inflation often means that your money can make accommodation, trips and eating out great value for money. However, this isn’t a hard and fast rule and particularly if you are visiting tourist hot spots you may find that costs are steeped against you. Equally, some long-haul destinations such as the Maldives, Dubai and areas of Japan are marketed to luxury tourists and while you’ll have a memorable, and relaxing time your wallet will take a punishment.

Have you found a long-haul travel bargain? Let us know how you did it by connecting on social media at @TimeForYouGroup.