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Hey Loves! I’m Caitlyn the girl behind ChemGradBoom. A blog about taking life with a little salt, a slice of lime and shot of tequila or life of a graduate student, whichever version you prefer!

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Monday, July 11, 2016

Travel Cheap : Accommodation

When I moved to Scotland I pictured that I would be non-stop busy with my PhD and site visits. Well truth is that I have time on my hands, or at least I can not sit in the office at University for 8 hours a day doing my research.

Once I realized that my dream PhD was a bit lackluster, I had to re-evaluate my time here in Scotland. I needed to find ways to have a balance in my life, something that I am still working on today. My solution to this 'need for balance' was to get a job.

I would be able to meet people, have some set work hours every week, and of course making money isn't a bad thing either. When I was on the job hunt I had no idea what I was looking for. I simply put in my CV into a few places and waited to see what happened.


I am now sitting here with almost a year under my belt working at a Hotel, the golden ticket to cheap accommodation when traveling . 


Yes there is my extra money that I make by working, but the absolute best part about working at a hotel is the

STAFF RATES WORLDWIDE. 


While budget travel often means that you need to stay via couch surfing, hostels, or on the outskirts of town--- those options simply are not my idea of a holiday.

Instead I simply search up to a year in advance for room availability anywhere and everywhere. This means that I can book a room in Bali for our anniversary for under $50 USD a night!!! A visit to Rome to stay in a 5 Star hotel at only $62 a night and visits to London for as little as $16 a night!!!!

These staff rates even include breakfast and breakfast and half price drinks and food during the stay!

Sure there is the issue of not having complete control of where and when you will get to visit a destination, but for rooms this cheap, I follow availability. 

So if you are ever looking for a part-time job that allows you to travel, my advice ----

Work at a hotel! 


If you have any other tips on how to get deep discounts on holiday, I would love to hear them! Also if you have any questions about working in a hotel or using the benefits feel free to ask! 

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Spain Mishaps

Another country down and another easy city break from Edinburgh! To start off I will say this trip has taught me some important lessons about travel planning with the BF which will come in handy for future travel.



To start the trip we landed in Barcelona with an hourish drive ahead of us to Girona. We rented a car for this trip.... This is the first interesting tidbit that happened!

The Rental Car

I was very diligent when planning this trip and knew that we would have over an hour drive away from Barcelona and a very early morning flight. This meant that the best option for this trip was renting a car, which also meant that we would be able to explore a bit of the coast! Win Win! 
Well I originally rented a automatic, but then was persuaded at the rental counter that if we were OK with a manual they had us a free upgrade. Well thing is our last car was a manual and I thought for sure that it would be no problem hopping back on to drive a manual. 

ANSWER - Wrong, I freaked out, I panicked, I absolutely fudged up trying to leave the parking lot. After a 20ish minute meltdown, all me, with the BF laughing. We decided to go back and get the automatic. Which is when my manual driving skills came back and I perfectly pulled the car back into its original spot! Oh the joke is on me it seems....

One thing is for certain if we would have been filming my car meltdown, I would forever be known as the crazy American who freaks when trying to drive a manual.

Another fun fact is that when I went to get the new keys, the guy even said I knew that an American wouldn't be able to drive a manual, enjoy the automatic! 


Barcelona Pick-Pockets

As you can imagine from the heading, another shenanigan that happened was the BF getting pick-pocketed... 
We were strolling outside the city center trying to make our way to the Arc de Triomf, when all of a sudden I hear the BF behind me saying 'No Espanol, Lo Siento' or No Spanish, I am sorry. This is when I then hear a loud bang, and the BF getting much more upset with the guys harassing him. I turn around to see a much smaller guy pushing the BF up against the door and consistently kicking at his feet. After a moment or two of more non-sense we turn around an begin to head the direction we came from. Following that a moment later, a guy stops us and returns the BFs wallet. Nothing was taken, although nothing was in there to begin with.

Lesson - Don't head outside the main parts in the city, keep a lookout for stupid guys that begin to pester you and always keep a check on your stuff. 


All in all, that moment slightly ruined Barcelona for us, which is ok because Girona was amazing and the beaches surrounding it were better than imagined. 
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