Monday, November 30, 2015

Keeping Busy Between Projects

As a freelancer, I am either working like a crazy person or on complete budgetary lockdown in between projects. Or, you know, on awesome post-project vacations (more on that later), but that is rarer.  I'm KNOW I'm not the only one who finds themselves at loose ends with not enough money and too much time, and I can't complain too much. There are a lot of people with not enough time or money, and I'm lucky I'm able to save enough during the busy times to get me through the lean.  It still drives me kind of nuts though - I hate sitting around, and sending out resumes into the void is necessary but frustrating.

So I'm going to try to document my fun-employment here a bit, both to keep myself sane and to maybe give and receive some ideas from readers who have gone through the same. New York has great options for free events, including free workout classes and museums. I'm thinking of joining a writing group and maybe a language meet up as well. The biggest expense there will be the metro swipe, which even then can add up but the only alternative is total hibernation.

So what are some things you all do to get through lean and boring periods? What are some ways of making extra money during the slow times? Surveys? Focus groups? Catering? I'm signing up for them all - stay tuned for how it's going!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Hunting for Cheap Airfare to and within Europe

Ok. Rarely can I say that I have knowledge to pass on, but I'm feeling confident about this one. At least if you're an American - Europeans, you probably know all this plus another 5 airlines I haven't heard of. But, for those among you who don't live in Europe, let me tell you how very very cheap it is to fly within Europe. It costs less than a train ticket. It costs less than a tank of gas. In fact, they come very near to paying YOU for travel. The key is buying tickets early - last minute tickets are almost normal price, but if you pre-plan a bit you can get crazy deals.

For example, I got a ticket from one country in Europe to another just this month for about $16 American dollars. An almost 3 hour flight, for less than what the cost of US minimum wage would be if the airplane was a fast food worker. So cheap.  I've put together a short list below of the discount airlines I know about (I almost wrote bare bottom price airlines, but then began to doubt whether that was actually a saying - it sounds wrong, right?).

Ryan Air: This one is Scottish and I've flown it a bunch of times. Like all the other airlines on this list you pay for food, drink, checked luggage and even for printing a boarding pass at the airport. But as long as you can get everything into a carryon bag and you have a printer at home, it is very very cheap.

EasyJet: See above. Except I'm not sure if they charge you for boarding passes - wouldn't surprise me though. Still, cheap and easy.

WizzAir: This is one where I think they maybe should have done a little more work on the name, since it makes me think of nothing more than peeing. However, that aside, it is the source of my magical $16 ticket so, again, very cheap. Double check your carryon though - it has VERY small carry on limits, even smaller than Ryanair or Easyjet and I ended up paying to check a bag. Also, they  will actively try to sell you things like lottery tickets on the flight. If you can ignore that, go for it.

Norwegian Air : If you fly from a major city like New York or Miami, you can get very cheap tickets to Europe on this airline. I bought a one way ticket to Oslo for $179.  There were tickets even cheaper than that. They fly to several European hubs, including London, but for that bare bottom (I'm going for it - I'm hoping it's a real expression) price you don't get a checked bag or food on the flight. I bought a sandwich and bottle of water at the airport to bring with me, and used a large carry on instead. Worth it. Even if you do end up paying for a checked bag, it's still a good price.