October 2013

Whenever I return back from a trip, I'm met with the inevitable, "I wish I could travel so much." When I ask people why they don't, I'm usually told one of three things: they don't want to travel on their own, they don't how to start planning it, or, they don't have enough money. But I like to think that, if you really want to do something, you absolutely can. And travelling is no different. So, I'm going to try and tackle each of these three things and show you why you can travel, too.   

I'm scared to travel on my own. 

Don't be! What's the worst that can happen?

Travelling on your own gives you the independence to do exactly what you want. Want 3 gelatos? Do it. Can't be bothered to go to another "Top 10 museum?" No problem, just say you went there. No one else's opinion matters and you don't have to consult your friends about which trips to take. This is great in itself. 

People are, understandably concerned about safety. But in all the countries I've been to, I've never felt unsafe. Just use your common sense: If you're in, say, Koh Samui, avoid walking on secluded beaches at night. Remember to leave a credit card in the hotel's safety deposit box. Don't get so drunk that you don't know your way home. Obvious, right? 

Something I wish everyone knew was: just because you're going on your own, it doesn't mean you'll be on your own. Book into a hostel on Hostleworld and meet people. Or stay in someone's apartment through AirBnb and ask them if there's a chance they'll show you around their city. You can meet groups of people in new cities with Couchsurfer. There are endless ways to meet new people and build up your global network. 

Keeping in touch with home is so easy, too. Almost every hotel and cafe has wifi, which allows you to quickly whatsapp across some photos or shoot a quick email.  

You don't know where to start. 

Woody Allen said that 80% of life is showing up, and I say, 80% of going on holiday is being brave enough to book the damn flight. When you book your flight everything else seems to follow. Start small, if you live in the UK, think of going somewhere close like Paris, Rome, Berlin, or Barcelona. 

I like to have a rough idea of what I will be doing in a new city so I will Google: "Top things to do in (insert city name.)" On a few occasions, such as when I went to China, I'll buy a travel guide and see if I get find any more tips. But Google is usually the best.  

But you can, and what I have done is, book your flight and accommodation, find out the route from the airport to the hotel and be on your way. You can map out what to do when you get there. 

Don't stress about things like what to pack - throw in some clothes. Oh, and a good pair of walking shoes. But do some basics: Photocopy your passport, have an extra copy of your insurance details, let your mum know where you'll be staying. Check that your phone works abroad, this is just in case you need to call home in an emergency. I've never had to do this. But it's nice to know I can. 

Facebook is amazing. Make use of your graph search, type in "My friends who have been to Paris." Can they give you some insight on what to do? Do they have friends there who will show you around? 

Cities like New York, Paris, Rome, Milan, Berlin, Budapest, Shanghai and Istanbul are all cities that are very tourist friendly, you can easily visit them without much planning - and on your own. 

So, really, the only things you need to check/do are:- 

1) Book flights 

2) Arrange accommodation 
3) Get some insurance - leave a copy of your details with your mum
4) Photocopy your passport - keep a copy & leave a copy at home 
5) Find out the route from the Airport to your hotel/apartment 
6) Have some cash with you and your card too.  


Money is a big issue for many people, but at least get an idea of how much a trip will cost before you declare it to be too expensive.  

Booking in advance will often save you money. I always use Skyscanner when searching for flights. Then I go onto the airlines actual website to see if the price is cheaper. 

Accommodation can be costly. I haven't stayed in a hotel for a long time because my budget doesn't allow for it, so I use AirBnb. I've used this in a lot of cities; I've never been disappointed, It's allowed me to meet some great hosts and I have saved a tonne of cash - I hope that NYC remains AirBnb friendly! 

You'll always spend more if you go to restaurants vs. street stalls. If you're in New York for example, head to the area around Washington Square Park instead of Times Square. Ended up in Paris? Make your way over to Little India. In Barcelona? Avoid any restaurant that has a man outside telling you to come in. Walk down the road, turn right and then left, right out of the touristy areas. 

Domestic travel in a country can be expensive. If you plan on doing a route such as Beijing to Shanghai, Google the costs before you go. You'll end up on a website like Seat61 which gives you expert and detailed advice on train journeys.

Visiting attractions can be costly. Most cities will offer a tourist card allowing you to visit the main attractions at a discounted rate. This is something I rarely do, I tend to find attractions boring. I don't think you can beat walking around a new city - there's always lots of free things to do. Hey, I did say that I was easily pleased. 

Avoid getting taxis. I've found that most cities have a great underground system. You'll often be able to buy a card that allows you a certain number of rides. This is always worth considering as you'll save money and the hassle of buying a ticket each time you take a ride.  

I always exchange some currency before I go and I also take British Stirling so I can change it when I am there. This avoids me having to withdraw money from my account, which I am charged for. I also have a Halifax Clairty card. This lets me make purchases abroad without been charged any transaction feeds. 

Be warned, most European airports aren't as budget friendly as those in the UK (I'm looking at you, Paris). This is something that makes me really angry. I refuse to be ripped off, so, before my flight home I will go to McDonalds or KFC before I go arrive at the airport.  

We all love our families, but presents take up space and eat up your money, so forget those. Avoid shopping! Just walk around the city so you can get a feel for it. Download a cheap app like lonely planet to help you navigate your way around.


Just do it. 

I can tell you that from doing countless trips abroad, you won't regret it. Each one is a great experience and something you will always remember doing. 

If you really want to travel, you can! 


www.airbnb.com - rent apartments or rooms all over the world.
www.couchsurfing.com - stay for free in people's homes.
www.skyscanner.net - great search engine for flights.
www.tripadvisor.com - check reviews on your hotels, tour guides, restaurants and tourist attractions. 
Wiki - check the wikipedia page of your local airport and see which destinations it has flights to. 
WikiTravel - Has good information about all major cities. 
www.pinterest.com - plot and pin your next trip by being inspired by the great images on Pinterest. 

How Can I Travel, Too?

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Wednesday, 30 October 2013


In Jon Loomers (FREE) weekly webinar, he spoke about Post Level Export data.

This data gives you your fan only stats, which most Facebook marketers aren’t aware of.

And so, our assignment was to dig into this data and see what we could uncover.

Like many people, I hadn’t really looked into post level stats. Excited by the new Facebook Insights that had been rolled out, I thought the information you get from the “score card,” shown below, was pretty good.

This score card shows us good metrics: how many people we’ve reached compared to the number of likes and comments and shares etc.

So what use is these post-data export information?

Here are my findings…

For the post that relates to the score card above, the people reached is 12, 744. But that number isn’t for my fans only. 

To find the impressions this post had on just my fans, I have to go to this section 

The total number of fans this post reached is 1, 360. That is a big difference. However, this post was advertised so this explains why the difference is so big. 


Next, I'm interested on the impressions this post has on fans. Here's where we find this stat...

There wasn't any indication of the impressions on the scorecard at all, so this is useful to know. 


The scorecard shows that there has been 273 clicks on this post and 25 link clicks - which is the clicks on the link that was posted. 

But look what the post-level stats show...

Firstly, it just shows how many of our fans have engaged, and secondly, it shows unique users. The number of clicks here is 72. 

Post Consumers

Another stat that Jon mentioned to look at was Lifetime Post Consumers. 

This number is coming up at 238. 

It's not obvious how these stats differ to "engagement." So, I'm going to have a look around and come back to you on this. If any of you have some clear explanations, I'd love to know. 

One thing I can see is that there's no mention that these stats are for people who "liked your page," so I am assuming that they relate to fans and non-fans. 

Post Consumptions 

When I try and google these terms, I'm always taken to Jon's website, it seems that no one else is exploring the post level stats. 

Jon describes, post consumptions as: The total number of clicks on any of your content. Clicks generating stories are included in "Other Clicks." Stories generated without clicks (e.g., liking the page in Timeline) are not included. 

In the description we can see that this stat is not for unique users, which explains why the clicks here are 357 compared to the 238 in post consumers. 

I'm curious to know why this stat is different to the figure on the scorecard which says, "273 post clicks." Is it that the the stats on the post-level export includes clicks people have made on say, fan's comments, whereas the post clicks stat on the score card doesn't? 

Post Stories 

There are some statistics that simply repeat what you can see on the scorecard. 

One is, "Lifetime post stories." A story is calculated as the number of likes, comments on, or shares on your page post. 

The number on both the scorecard and on this export sheet is 161. 

Whilst the scorecard provides an initial insight to how posts are performing, it doesn't provide the fan-only stats that are important to Facebook marketers. The post-level exports are important for this information and I will continue digging around and sharing what I find. 

Sorry if this post has raised more questions than it's answered!

I'd love to know what you've found. 

Facebook Page Level Post Exports

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Friday, 18 October 2013


FPE is, as many of us are coming to learn, a fantastic tool for marketers. 

Having completed Jon Loomer’s course on FB power editor I have become even more evangelical about Facebook and what it can do for brands. 

Although FPE can get complicated, it’s worth learning. Here, I wanted to share some simple tips to get you started. 

Tip 1. Whenever you first load up FPE, always click “Download” so you don’t lose any data. 

Tip 2. Make use of labels. If you’re handling more than one account, the labels feature will help you keep your campaigns organised. 

Tip 3. You have to create your Campaign before you create the Adverts, as the adverts will go in that campaign. 

Tip 4. In the “Connections” section, the cost per click and cost per thousand impressions will generally be  cheaper if you advertise to people who have liked your page. 

Tip 5. Don’t assume Facebook will optimise for the action you want to take. Are you looking to increase engagement on your page or get users to click the link? 

To change it to the spec you want, click “Manullay set up conversion specs.” 

Facebook Power Editor (FPE)

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Tuesday, 15 October 2013


Stuff I wish I’d known…

Firstly, Pamukkale is a must a visit. The views from the top of the Cotton Castle are incredible. It’s a very small town, you need no longer than a day there.   

The walk to the top is very easy and makes for a dramatic photo session, so have your camera at the ready. When you begin walking the trail, you have to go barefoot – but it’s fine, the water isn’t cold, even in October.

It costs just 20 Lira to see the “Cotton Castle.” And you can practically walk to it from any hotel in town. Once you’re done climbing to the top, you can do some hiking in the surrounding area. 

It’s well worth spending about 2 hours walking around, seeing the old ruins, and enjoying the fantastic landscape. 

The only place to buy drinks and snacks from is at the outlet at the hot springs, mentioned below. But you can also take your own so remember to pack some water.

I would suggest not going to the hot springs which you find when you climb the top of the castle. It’s an additional 32 Lira, which although isn’t not too much, I couldn’t really see the advantage of going. It has just one pool that isn’t very big, free lockers to keep your stuff safe, a largish restaurant, and an ice-cream stand serving some good gelato.

Don’t go to Pamukkale expecting great food. It’s a town built for tourists, so you have lots of people outside restaurants trying to lure you in. But that’s fine. You’ll be more than happy with the food in cities like Istanbul or Cappadocia.

Because the town attracts a lot of tourists, you’ll find endless bus companies to book your outgoing journey with so there's no need to stress about having your outbound journey pre-booked. 


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Monday, 14 October 2013