Explore Europe

Europe’s top winter destinations

Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Iceland. Iceland’s Snæfellsnes peninsula would be a great trip to take when you are travelling west into the North Atlantic Ocean.  The outdoors offer the magnificent view of all, you’ll enjoy the foggy fjords encircled by rocky cliffs, moss-covered lava fields and an imposing volcano crowned with a glacier that goes back to the Glacial epoch.

Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Iceland

Vienna.  The Christmas holidays is evident in the streets of Vienna, you’ll find advent markets, public ice skating rinks and lots of luxurious celebrations. Not to mentions the snow-covered roofs and close-by ski slopes into the mix and you’ll just revel in a European winter season wonderland.

vienna christmas

Salzburg .  Have you ever fantasized having to spend your winter with gorgeous castles, cathedrals and other elaborate baroque structural design all covered in snow?  You will experience all of that in Salzburg; simply taking a look at Salzburg might be adequate to draw you into its city limits. With the Christmas markets and neighboring snowboarding locations, the city is just the perfect winter destination.

Old_Town_Salzburg_across_the_Salzach_river

Zurich. Zurich’s lively city streets and distance to the Swiss Alps make it a best city to check out in the winter season. Take pleasure in the grand lake vistas and the Middle Ages architecture as you discover the cobblestone streets. Remember to buy some well-known Swiss chocolate while on your way to your city adventure.

zurich

Lisbon.  Lisbon’s moderate winter temperature levels hardly ever drop under 50 degrees; however you’ll likely experience some rain. Sustaining the weather will be a great treat and it’s something you’d be happy about: not just are hotel rates lower throughout this time but also numerous traveler websites are much less congested than throughout the summer season.

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Paris. The beauty of Paris is active and well in the winter season as well. Heat up by drinking coffee in charming cafes and hang around checking out indoor museums such as the Musée du Louvre, Musée d’Orsay and Musée Rodin, which offer more room this time of year.

paris christmas

Prague. Experience a unique winter in the castles in Prague and underground dining which are best sanctuary from the city’s extreme winter seasons. Be ready with full winter attire so you can also brave the streets to enjoy Prague’s cherished Christmas markets and performances without having to compete with so many tourists.

Prague_Christmas_Markets

Venice. If you want to enjoy Venice without the many tourist to deal with during your visit then winter season is the best time to visit this alluring city; it is a low season for Venice during winter. Although you’ll still discover a number of visitors in winter season, you do not have to endure long lines and air travel and hotel rates are more affordable. If you go in February, you’ll love the interesting celebrations of Carnevale.

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Location Independent Income Ideas Part 1: SAAS Business

 

Travelling is what this blog is all about, but there’s one question that crops up again and again when it comes to discussing the nomadic lifestyle – that is, how to fund your trips away?

It’s a difficult issue to tackle because being transient means locking down a job is out of the question, so one has to think outside the box and utilise technology to generate a location independent income.

This concept is nothing new – I get that – it has been discussed in in books like the 4 hour workweek and hundreds of podcast episodes on itunes, so for this post I want to just look at one avenue of income you may not have thought of – starting a SAAS business.

What is a SAAS Business?

Software as a service is a delivery model whereby the user of the software pays a monthly fee to use software (which is usually hosted in the cloud, rather than on the users servers), as opposed to a one off license fee.

This gives users the benefit of flexibility (no high initial fee, cancel anytime), and gives the SAAS business the benefit of recurring revenue over the lifetime of the customer. A few years ago some of the larger software companies like adobe switched to monthly pricing and since then it’s been the de rigeur way to deliver software.

Why SAAS?

The main benefit with SAAS is the recurring revenue. For a nomad, this is huge. Having one customer paying you $100 every single month is much easier than finding 12 new customers every year.

The second benefit is workload. Once the software is setup, the ongoing workload is very low, leaving you free to keep growing your income and enjoying your trip away. This is a dream scenario for most travellers – the only problem with that is finding customers for your SAAS and developing your software can be an extremely difficult path.

How to Start A SAAS Business?

First things first, you need to find a problem to solve. This sounds difficult, but there are problems everywhere you look. Your SAAS needs to address a problem that people have, ideally business owners, so here’s a few ways you can find ideas (For more information on this check out The Foundation podcast).

  1. The most obvious place to looks is your area of expertise. Think of industries or companies you’ve worked in – what were consistent problems or areas of frustration in the day to day work of your team or department? Often the biggest problems are sitting right under our nose waiting for someone to find an answer. A great example of this is Statement-Matching.com, an accounting tool for businesses. The team behind the SAAS worked with accounting departments for year before realising there was huge demand for a tool that automated the vendor statement reconciliation process – So, they built it themselves. Have a think and I’m sure you’ll see problems all around you waiting to be solved.
  2. The other option is to get in touch with people in specific industries to see what issues they’re having that a SAAS could alleviate. The drawback with this is reaching out to contacts to get their feedback can be time consuming and futile, but the bonus is that you can target specific industries with this approach, meaning you can aim to develop a SAAS for businesses that have alot of money to spend if you so please. A great example of this is Sam Oven’s getting an idea to create a mobile application for completing real estate site surveys. He got the idea simply from phoning up realtors and asking them about their problems.

 

 

Your Saas

Once you’ve got the problem you want to solve. the next step is to figure out how software can help, and then get the product developed. Obviously many of the problems you come across won’t be solvable via an application, however, you’d be surprised what technology can do these days. Between desktops and mobile apps there are a multitude of ways in which technology can solve our day to day problems, and once you’ve sketched out how your SAAS will work, it’s time to get it developed.

Development

We’re going to utilise GEO arbitrage to get our SAAS built – i.e. hiring a developer from countries outside of the USA or western Europe to take advantage of the buying power of the dollar. Using this methodology you’d be surprised at how cheaply software can be built. Many applications cost only $10,000 or so, and some out of the box, customizable packages like collaboration or membership software can be a fraction of that. The best place to look for a developer is usually upwork.com – you can submit a request to various developers in order to see their proposals, and then simply go with the proposal you like best.

I hope this gave you a few ideas to get your brain working on how a SAAS could be a great way for you to fund your travels abroad – there’s a lot of information to fit in here so it’s just a birds eye view, but for more information definitely check out some of the more popular resources out there or feel free to get in contact with me through my contact me page.

Check out this video for some more inspiration!

Top 5 cities to visit in Europe

Venice.  When visiting Europe, Venice would surely come to mind.  There is something about Venice that lures thousands of people around the world.  During the summertime, the number of tourists is at its peak.  Venice is enchanting perhaps because of the water that surrounds the city making it unique.  It’s a romantic city at the same time full of history found in the grand churches you can visit.  Apart from that you’ll find the modern art scene captivating as well.  Visiting Venice would be a one of a kind experience; it’s great to visit any time of the year.

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Paris. When you think of Paris, most would associate it with love maybe because of how glorious the city is.  It is known to be one of the best cities in the entire world.  With the famous monuments you can find, it just has to be.  The city is vibrant and you can see populated collection of small towns.  When you explore the city away from the flamboyant boulevards and palaces, you can see glorious gardens as well as courtyards you’d love to spend your afternoon in.  The city is filled with historical facades but behind that you’ll also discover interesting craft shops and famous research entities.  I think what makes great about Paris apart from the things you can see is that it is a city that houses lots of people, you can see many living spaces, cafes, playgrounds and food markets.  You just can’t find emptiness!

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Rome. When in Rome, you’ll get to enjoy the Mediterranean feel; the climate has it, though milder which draws many visitors to visit the place.  But really, who wouldn’t be drawn to see a city which shows ordinary life as in a stage of a theater?  Vibrancy is everywhere with the eccentric shops, the bustling aperitivo vista and the local trattorias.  There are so many things you can do and so if your time is limited, it will be challenging to decide of what not to include in your itinerary.  There are just many archaeological sites, paintings, piazzas and churches to see.

Colosseum_in_Rome,_Italy_-_April_2007

Amsterdam. When you enjoy the life of a metropolis, you’ll embrace Amsterdam; it’s an exciting city to visit.  There are some disadvantages though, it’s little enough to stroll around or to enjoy a bicycle ride practically anywhere but the good thing is; it is hardly ever dull. The not-so-big gabled buildings, quite bridges and peaceful canals provide a village-like beauty, yet you’ll likewise discover one of the best art museums and among the very best orchestras worldwide.  Amsterdam integrates its splendid past with an ironic, rough, defiant modern edginess.

KeizersgrachtReguliersgrachtAmsterdam

Florence. When you are an art buff, Florence should be among your list of places to visit.  Florence is among Europe’s excellent art cities. Uffizi Gallery boasts the work of great artists of all times like Michelangelo’s David , Giotto’s frescoes, , canvases by Leonardo da Vinci  and Botticelli, and greats.  There seems to be a lot elegant art and architecture. Florence is a city full of energy as well, with lively dining establishments and night life scene, and a dynamic cultural, symphonic music and modern art. You’ll find it to be a beautiful, historical, filled with wacky stores and quality crafts.

Florence_at_Night

What’s the most useful language to learn when travelling around Europe?

Travelling to Europe is I think a dream of travel enthusiasts.  There are many places to visit and it’s where one can discover the best in the renaissance period, it has got to be the continent!  But see, if you are thinking of what language you should become more familiar with to help you around during your travel that really depends.  Remember that there are 27 nations that are members of the European Union and you can find 23 languages widely used.  If you are wishing you could learn all of these languages given a limited time, you must be crazy unless you are kind of a genius.

Surely you won’t need Irish and Maltese much but it all depends actually to where you are headed.

                                             Paris

If you are going to Luxembourg, France, Switzerland and Belgium, French will be very useful.  But of course if you will have an extended stay in Lithuania, then Lithuanian will be your best choice, obviously.

When you plan on a European trip, normally the itinerary is would be to visit several countries and the best language you should be most familiar with is English.  I assume you won’t have a problem on that as English is widely used throughout the world.  Though it’s also great if you could learn another language, it can be tricky though.  When visiting Italy, it would really be cool if you could articulate some common Italian lines like “ciao!”for hello, “buongiorno” for good morning,  “grazie” for thank you to enumerate a few.  Being a tourist and having to articulate some of the common lines used in daily conversation make you more welcomed to the place you are visiting because it is an indication how interested you are in their country.

While Spanish is widely used worldwide, it’s more useful in Latin America so really when in Europe it would be Russian, French and German apart from English.

French is of course useful in France but it is not that used outside France so that leaves German and Russian.  Statistics shows that there are more Europeans who speak German compared to other European languages. So when you are in countries that border Austria as well as Germany like Switzerland, Croatia Czech Republic, Hungary or Poland, German will be very useful.  Russian is more popular in the East part of Europe but while most people speak the language it is no longer widely used.

So basically it all depends on where you are going and the goal should just be the common lines used in daily conversations.  Knowing these lines will help you get around.

Check on this video for useful 12 Travel Packing Tips: Howdini Hacks