After flying for years with KLM and Air France, I was shocked to find I had to pay for a cuppa on Britain’s “premium” airline, British Airways.

If you guzzle tea like there is no tomorrow (like me), then it can be quite frustrating to pay £2.50 on board or approximately £3 for a cuppa at the departure gates. For a 1.5 hour flight, I could easily spend a tenner drinking tea until I reach my destination (departure gates and in flight).

Growing up, I could never splash out on cafe’s etc, I’d only spend money on what was 100% necessary. Although I can now buy a cuppa in a cafe, I still use frugal principles today.

My sister in law laughs at me for this sort of behaviour, but it is ingrained in me. I can’t help but thinking that 10 EUR saved on food and drink will then fund my fuel to the mountains.

If British Airways can make cuts to improve their gross margins, why can’t make cuts to decrease my travel expenditure?

Here is how I manage to enjoy a brew on board for free

Tea Travel

God Save the Points did a great article about getting a cuppa (almost) for free on board. I will show you how you can enjoy a cuppa on board and in the departure gates for free (all you pay for is your tea bag from home).

– What you’ll need from home –

  • Tea bags of your choice
  • Flask
  • Travel kettle
  • Spoon (to remove the tea bag from the flask)
Tea Budget Travel

At one point, I never dreamed of taking a kettle through security, then I got this idea when I saw passengers carrying rice cookers as hand luggage on flights in Asia.

According to Homeland Security in the USA, you can travel with an electric kettle in your hand luggage. It is worth checking with your airline before you fly. I flew with British Airways from Munich to London City and then London Heathrow to Munich. I did have to remove the kettle at security in Heathrow, but it was re-scanned and then I was on my way with the kettle!

Additionally, you are allowed to take tea bags and a flask. Again, here you might be required to show the airport security inside the flask. We had an incident flying with Iceland air to Iceland; our flask was stuffed with tea bags and it looked like we were smuggling substances. However, after removing all the tea bags and re-scanning the tea bags and the flask, all was ok.

Remember: airport staff are just doing their job.

– Water –

The only thing missing in your kit list is water, which you aren’t allowed through security. That said, I have got through security with opened 1.5l bottles of water in Indonesia and Kenya, but that is a different story!

Once through security, you might be able to drink the water from the tap. Insider has a great overview of the countries in which you can drink the tap water.

Where you can drink tap water

I was flying from Germany and the UK; therefore, I was able to use the tap water in the toilet. Always check the following:

  1. If the tap water is drinkable in the country you will visit and
  2. If the tap in the toilet has a “no drinking water” sign.

If the water is not safe to drink, then you’ll need to purchase water.

Budget travel

– Making your tea –

Once you have your water source, fill up your kettle.

Next find a plug. Importantly, ensure the plug is not near a busy area where the kettle can be kicked or knocked over. Think of it like your own house: if you couldn’t have the kettle on a bench or table, you certainly wouldn’t put it somewhere that it could easily be knocked over.

Plug in and off you go. Make the tea in your flask and brew to desired strength. Remove the tea bag, put the lid on and drink it where you like.

– Time –

Ensure that you leave enough time to do the following:

  • to get through security, including re-scanning of your flask and kettle
  • to make your tea
  • To cool down the kettle! It will still be hot and most likely too hot to put back in your case. I went to the toilet and filled my kettle with cold water and kept doing this until the kettle was cool and could be put back in my case.

– On Board –

When on board, the same rules apply to your brew as they do to other passengers who will buy refreshments.

Do not prepare your drink in the cup until the fasten seat belt signs are switched off and the cabin crew consider it safe to have refreshments (i.e. if they get the refreshment trolley out).

Take off and landing can be bumpy and hot drinks don’t mix with bumpiness.

Budget travel

– Kettle Options –

If you don’t already own a travel kettle, then there are a few things to consider before buying one.

  1. Will you be carrying the kettle in hand luggage only?
  2. Is space or weight an issue?

I bought a foldable travel kettle because I sometimes take it with me to mountain huts. Some huts charge 3 € for 0.5l of hot water, which is reasonable considering the location. For a weekend in winter, I could easily spend 20 € on hot water.

The huts do however let you use electricity and the tap water is drinkable in Austria. I usually bring my foldable travel kettle to save a bit of money (unless I need to cut down on weight in my pack).

And there we have it; an easy way to save money on tea when you travel 🙂

Sumatra Photography

Sumatra is the largest of Indonesia’s 17,508 islands and it was the first island that I would visit during the trip in November 2018.

The island has several active volcanos and was once populated by dense rainforests.

The areas that were once dense rain forests are now populated with deforested fields and palm oil plantations. The road to Gunung Leuser seems like a never ending stretch up money driven devastation. 

The remaining rainforests are populated with a diverse variety of wildlife and friendly locals. 

Click the images for full size and their description.

Mental health is in a way mental wellbeing. This is about our emotions, feelings, thoughts and ability to solve problems or overcome difficulties.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll be very familiar that I spend a lot of time (most weekends) in the Bavarian or Tirolean alps.

Since moving to Munich, I have realised that in a lot of ways that my my mental health has improved because there are a lot of activities here that I enjoy.

That said, there are also a lot of opportunities on the door step to my parents such as Northumberland and the Lake District, but I never utilised these while I lived in the UK. One thing I did utilise was mountain biking. This was something that I did a lot of just before moving to Germany in areas such as Kielder, Wales and Glentress.

That said, it isn’t just being in the mountains or outdoors that helps my mental health, it is everything surrounding it.

How have the mountains improved my mental health?

Zugspitze Hiking Via Ferrata

Emotion, thoughts and feelings: when I am out in the mountains, mountain biking in the UK or even by the coast, it takes me away from the rush of life, away from my apartment and into nature.

This connection with nature enables me to concentrate on the surroundings, which clears my mind and then enables me to put my feelings into perspective.

Albania Theth

Problem solving: being in the mountains or on a mountain bike trail, things don’t always go to plan. The weather can change from one moment to the next, the avalanche risk means you have to wait or take a different route or your path slide away.

This means that you always have to analyse the situation, discuss options and find another way to do things, which continuously helps with problem solving skills.

Resilience: at times you want to give up in the mountains. You could be tired, things aren’t going to plan or just can’t be arsed.

By pushing through these situations, we can learn how to be resilient. You can read more on that here.

Affordable Adventure Albania

Social connections: when on an adventure, regardless if it is mountaineering, a polar expedition or a solo travel, you will always be required to connect with people. This connection could take place in an airport, train station, with your fixer or with locals in a remote town in Albania or even with fellow team mates.

Consequently this helps to strengthen social skills and communicating to different personality types across the globe.

Mountain biking Glentress

Mindfulness: being mindful means that we are aware of our surroundings, feelings and sensations.

When preparing to head for the mountains or on a mountain bike adventure, it isn’t just being on the mountain or trail that helps with mindfulness, it is also everything before such as route planning, packing, booking travel, prepping food and travelling to the location.

Then whilst on the mountain, the sounds, smells, views and weather all bring me into the moment and enjoy the present.

It is more than just “being” in the mountains that has helped me. It has enabled me to have good mental health even though I live with mental illness (anxiety).

This will also be the same for your hobbies, even with things such as knitting. My mum and gran always have fun looking for their latest project, then finding a pattern, buying supplies, doing the knitting and seeing the result. This all helps with their mind.

Do what you enjoy.

Touching the Summit

Visible from Munich, it is no wonder why the Zugspitze is one of the most iconic peaks in the Garmisch alps. It’s little sister the Alpspitze protrudes from the ridge like a pyramid perched at 2600m and it one of the most iconic peaks of the Garmisch region.

Although the Alpspitze is the little sister of Germany’s highest peak the Zugspitze, this ascent and descent should not be underestimated.

Are you game for the ascent? Here are 5 things to know for climbing Germany’s highest peak, Zugspitze & sister peak, Alpspitze

9 (4) - Kopie

– Overview -

Zugspitze (Eibsee – Zugspitze)

Length (to Summit): 8km | Level: Hard | Duration: 7 hours | Elevation: 2962m | ↑ 2000m

Alpspitze (Hammersbach – Alpspitze – Alpspitzebahn)

Length : 10km | Level: Hard | Duration: 7 hours | Elevation: 2628m | ↑ 2016m | ↓ 600m (to the Bergstation)

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– It isn’t a walk –


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Can you fail at something you can’t control?

Is it failure if you learn from it?

If you stay safe as a result of not pursuing something, is it failure?

These are questions that I asked myself during a June trip to Alta Badia in the Italian Dolomites. During the month of June, it is often still spring above 2000m. There are still substantial amounts of snow, especially in the north faces.

North Face

Long story short, I wanted to attempt Piz Boe, which stands at 3152m in the Sella Group of the Dolomites.

At around 2600m I was faced with very steep unstable snow fields >3m deep on the north east face with melt water running under the snow fields. In addition, there was a storm approaching.

I didn’t make it to the summit. But was that failure?

Piz Boe

Collins Dictionary defines failure as

“a lack of success in doing or achieving something, especially in relation to a particular activity.”

When you break down this definition, you can look at it two ways:

  1. I was not successful in reaching the summit of Piz Boe
  2. I was successful in remaining safe and I achieved survival. This may seem extreme, but in reality, people do die and surviving is an achievement.

So is it really failure if you do not reach your end goal, but you listen to your gut feeling and the conditions around you and consequently succeed in stay safe?

If anything, this is success. Living each day is a success.

The day after this summit attempt, I decided to give it another go via the south face. Was this unwillingness to give up perseverance or stubbornness? I don’t know.

Piz Boe
Piz Boe

Long story short, I summited Piz Boe via the south face with a lot less snow and more stable conditions.

If anything, it isn’t failure: we learn from each attempt at something we do and this facilitates both personal and professional growth.

I learnt from my first attempt and applied these lessons learnt to my second attempt.

Although I never summited on the first attempt, the scenery was amazing, plus I saw 2 mountain goats hurling themselves down a steep slope and a marmot running to its hide.

It’s about the journey & not the destination💪❤