travel

How to Get an NUS Extra Card Even if You're Not a Student

How to Get an NUS Extra Card Even If You’re Not a Student

I saw a great blog post by my fellow money blogger Andy Webb this week that I wanted to share with my own readers.

Andy runs a popular blog called Be Clever With Your Cash. In his latest blog post he reveals a way anyone can quite legitimately get their hands on an NUS Extra card, whether or not they are a student. As far as I know there are no age limits either.

Once you have your NUS Extra card – which if you use the method Andy describes will cost you £13.50 – you will qualify for student discounts on a huge range of products and services. Some of the best discounts mentioned by Andy include:

Apple student discount – If you’re going to buy an iMac, iPad or Macbook then having an NUS card means you can get the Education Discount. It’s worth up to 10% off, and if you buy in August and September Andy says you can usually get some free Beats headphones thrown in.

Spotify student discount – Spotify Premium normally costs £9.99. Students can get it for just £5 a month. Apple Music has a similar deal.

Cinema student discounts – Most cinemas will have a discount for students, but Andy says the best is Odeon, which offers an extra 25% off student prices Monday to Thursday.

Amazon Prime student discount – Students get six-months free with Amazon Prime, then pay just £39 a year for three years. That’s an amazing deal and makes paying £13.50 for an NUS card well worth doing on its own.

STA Travel student flights – Andy says he and his partner have used their ISICs (which now come as standard on one-year NUS cards) to get huge discounts on flights. “This year though I’ve noticed a few additional restrictions. Virgin and British Airways have added an age limit of around 30 or 32 years old. I don’t know about other airlines, but it’s ruled me out! However if you can get these, the savings can be massive.”

The full method is described in Andy’s blog post, which I urge you to click through and read. But briefly it involves signing up for a distance learning course with an NUS-approved institution such as Shaw Academy. The latter offers a wide range of inexpensive courses on subjects ranging from Photo Shop to financial trading. But if you don’t want to pay anything at all, you can cancel before their 30 days’ free-trial period is up. You will still be able to apply for an NUS Extra card, costing £12 a year plus £1.50 post and packing.

A further benefit is that as an NUS member you can get a Gourmet Society card for just £3.99 a year (a considerable discount on the normal price). If you enjoy dining out at restaurants, you could save a lot of money using this card (up to 50% on food and drinks), even if you do get the odd snarky comment about being a bit old to be a student (just tell them you believe in life-long learning!).

Thank you to Andy for a valuable and eye-opening post. If you have any comments or questions about this, as always, please do post them below.

If you enjoyed this post, please link to it on your own blog or social media:
Ten Top Tips for First Time and Solo Cruisers

Ten Top Tips for First Time and Solo Cruisers

In recent years, like many older people, I have become a big fan of cruise holidays. This applies especially since my partner Jayne passed away.

Cruises are great for solo travellers, as every day there are different places to see. There are also games and activities on the ship, so you never need be short of something to do.

And most cruise lines make a particular effort to support solo travellers and bring them together, so they have company (if they want it) and don’t feel left out.

Based on my experiences, here are my ten top tips for anyone, single or otherwise, who is considering booking a cruise for the first time…

  1. Pack at least one smart suit or dress. Most cruises include one or more ‘formal’ nights, and you don’t want to miss out.
  2. Plan in advance what excursions you would like to take. This information will generally be available online so you can assess trips carefully and decide which would appeal. You can book on the ship as well, but personally I think it’s better to do this in advance when you can peruse all the information carefully and take the time to make up your mind.
  3. Think carefully about cruising if you think you may be prone to sea-sickness. Once you are on a ship at sea there is no easy way of getting off, and being stuck in your cabin with acute nausea is no fun at all. Cruises on the Med are unlikely to cause this, but cruises on the Atlantic or Pacific (where the sea can be rougher) might. If you’re unsure, start with a short ‘taster’ cruise offered by many of the cruise companies.
  4. Once you are on board, look out for the daily newsletter. This will be put under your door every night and set out everything you need to know about the ship’s itinerary the next day and all the many entertainments on offer.
  5. One thing you will have to do early in the cruise is the lifeboat drill. This involves putting on a life-jacket and assembling at your designated muster point. The drills are a necessary evil, so just do as you are told and ask for advice from the crew if you’re unsure. Remember that as soon as all the passengers are assembled and accounted for the drill is over and you can get on with enjoying the cruise, so try not to be the person who holds things up for everybody else!
  6. One big attraction of cruising (for me) is the range of food on offer, and I especially enjoy the themed buffets. Use common-sense, however, and be wary of eating things such as cheese or seafood that have been left out for a long time.
  7. You will probably be given a special card to show when you get off and on the ship at its various ports of call. Guard this with your life, as without it you could in theory be denied re-entry to the ship on your return.
  8. Be wary of all-inclusive cruises where passengers can drink as much as they like. Some people inevitably overdo it and I saw some VERY drunk (stupefied) people on the one such cruise that I went on. The smell of beery breath in the theatre in the evenings was quite unpleasant as well. Obviously if you enjoy drinking heavily you may disregard this, but one such cruise was more than enough for me. And I would think long and hard before taking children or grandchildren on one either.
  9. Remember that the sun’s rays are reflected off the sea, and in warmer latitudes especially it is very easy to burn. Put on a high-factor sunscreen every day, therefore, and don’t spend too long in direct sunlight. Drink plenty of fluids (non-alcoholic!) as well, to avoid dehydrating.
  10. Throw yourself into the cruise experience. Keep an open mind and be prepared to try new things such as deck quoits and carpet bowls. These can be a lot of fun, and however bad you are at them, chances are someone else will be even worse! A few people approach these games very seriously and try to win as many as they can, but most just do them for the fun of it. It can also be a great way to meet fellow passengers and make friends.

I hope you find these tips helpful. If you have any comments or queries, as always, do post them below. And likewise, if you have any tips for first-time cruisers of your own, please do share them.




Save

If you enjoyed this post, please link to it on your own blog or social media:
Find Your Nearest Cashpoint with the Link ATM Locator

Find Your Nearest Cashpoint with the Link ATM Locator

If you own a smartphone (Android or Apple), you can now download a free app that will show you the location of your nearest ATM anywhere in the UK.

The Link ATM Locator, which was launched this month, shows the location of all 70,000 Link ATMs, which is effectively every cash machine in the UK. It was developed with the support of the Thomas Pocklington Trust, a national sight loss charity who work to increase awareness and understanding of the needs of people with sight loss.

When you open the app, by default it shows a map of ATMs close to your current location. Free machines are shown in green and those that charge a fee in purple.

You can also search by town name or postcode if you want to know the location of ATMs there. As I prefer not to post my own address on this blog, here is a screen capture showing cash machine locations in the Tyseley area of Birmingham.

 

Link ATM locator app 01

If you tap any of the coloured dots, it will show you more information about the machine in question, including how much (if anything) it charges for a withdrawal.

 

Link ATM Locator 02

Additionally, by tapping the three-line options menu at the top left of the screen, you can set filters on the display. These include all the following:

  • £5 notes
  • Audio assistance
  • Mobile top-up
  • Wheelchair access
  • PIN management
  • Only free to use

There are a few other options you can set via this menu as well including Favourite ATMs. This lets you request alerts when you are near a particular ATM, in case you want to take the chance to withdraw some money. There are also hints and tips on staying safe when using ATMs.

The app is free to download from the Apple store and Google Play for Android. Just search for Link ATM locator.

I hope you find this app as useful as I do. As a keen smartphone user myself (I have a Samsung Galaxy J5) I plan to discuss other helpful apps in forthcoming posts on Pounds and Sense.

As ever, if you have any comments or questions arising from this post, please do post them below..




Save

Save

Save

If you enjoyed this post, please link to it on your own blog or social media:
The Tremeifion Vegetarian Hotel - A Great Place to Stay in North Wales

The Tremeifion Vegetarian Hotel – A Great Place to Stay in North Wales

I have just got back from a long weekend in North Wales. I stayed at the Tremeifion Vegetarian Hotel in Talsarnau (near Harlech). It’s a place I’ve been visiting regularly for around twenty years now, and I always feel relaxed and reinvigorated after staying there.

Tremeifion is owned and run by a couple named Barbara and Kevin. Barbara is an amazing vegetarian cook. Even if (like me) you’re not a strict vegetarian, it is certainly no hardship to eat the delicious food she prepares, using many ingredients from the hotel’s own gardens.

Tremeifion has amazing views across the estuary towards the Italianate resort of Portmeirion (famously the location of cult 1960s TV series The Prisoner) and beyond that to the Lleyn Peninsula. There are often beautiful sunsets that you can watch from the conservatory or dining room in the evening. Here is a photo I took of one, although it’s hard to do justice to it with a mobile phone camera.

The hotel is in a quiet, peaceful location. It’s on a hill just above the village of Talsarnau. There is one pub in Talsarnau and not a lot else. It’s definitely not a place you would visit for the night life! But it’s a wonderful place for relaxing and chilling out.

Here are a few more interesting things about Tremeifion…

  • The owners have a dog themselves and welcome guests’ dogs, as long as they are well behaved.
  • They don’t have television (no reception) but guests are welcome to watch DVDs in the lounge if they wish.
  • It is a small hotel with only three rooms that are regularly used, so you do tend to get to know your fellow guests quite well. On my latest visit I met two ladies who I only discovered as I was leaving were former members of the England women’s cricket team. Hello, Laura and Lucy!
  • Although the village, Talsarnau, is small, it does have its own railway station, which is on the scenic Cambrian line. Trains run to Harlech, Barmouth and beyond in one direction, and to Criccieth and Pwllheli in the other. On my latest visit I bought a one-day ranger ticket using my Senior Railcard for around £8 and enjoyed wonderful views of the coast and countryside travelling up and down the line.
  • As from this year Barbara is only providing full evening meals at the weekend (Friday and Saturday nights), although guests can stay from Thursday and leave on Sunday if they wish. Full cooked breakfasts (different every day) are of course on offer every day during your stay.
  • If you arrive on Thursday you could always dine on Thursday night at Portmeirion, which is only 10-15 minutes away by car.
  • It is possible at certain times of year to book the whole hotel on a self-catering basis. The owners are also building a yurt in a secluded part of the three-acre gardens. This should be a stunning place to stay once it is open.

You can find out much more about Tremeifion on the hotel website. If you end up visiting yourself, do say hello to Barbara and Kevin from me. Check out the visitors book as well to get some idea how often I visit the place!

And of course, if there is anything you would like to ask me about Tremeifion, please do post it below.

Save

Save

Save

If you enjoyed this post, please link to it on your own blog or social media: