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FairFX Travel Heroes: From the Arctic to the Caribbean

Guest post: Top tips shared by one of our beloved customers and Travel Heroes, Hazel Griffiths.

From the Arctic to the Caribbean…that sums up my life! For the past 8 years I have been a freelance cruise ship speaker, specialising in ‘Destinations’. This means I get to sail on various cruise ships in return for telling the guests all about the places they are going to visit. My goal is make sure they have a safe and enjoyable day during their time ashore. I am part of the entertainments team – so the talks have to be enjoyable as well as informative!

It sounds glamorous – and it can be. For example, last year I was flown to Nice to join a ship in Monaco and take a three week cruise to Istanbul. It was a six-star American ship – so very high end and a wonderful experience, with lots of champagne.

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But what the guests don’t see, are the weeks of work I put in when writing my talks. Every port of call needs a 45 minute talk – and it takes about 50 hours work for each of these. So last year I spent 15 weeks at sea, and 35 weeks research and writing. All of this is unpaid so it is a real labour of love.

My passion is travel and this way I get to see the world by working my passage. Last year I went to the Canaries, the Med, the Arctic and the USA. This year I got to sail down to Buenos Aires – via the Carnival in Rio – then to the Baltic capitals – to Iceland and in November I set sail for the Caribbean.

These varied ports mean I need a large wardrobe of cruising clothes – to suit all climates and conditions – and to adhere to the cruise line dress codes. I love to buy clothes and jewellery overseas, especially unique pieces that no-one else at home will have.

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Often a cruise can mean 6 different currencies are needed – and I can be called to go at short notice. After many experiences of being short-changed by Bureaux de Change I heard about FairFX. It is perfect for me. I have all 3 of their Currency Cards – the US Dollar, Euro and Everywhere Card. I keep them all topped up all the time – buying currency when I feel the rates are favourable. This also helps me budget for upcoming cruises. My income at home is low and irregular so finding a large sum at short notice could be a challenge.

Armed with my cards, I can use them to get cash from ATMs or to pay for goods directly. If using them to pay for goods directly, I always refuse the retailer’s offer to convert the local currency to the card currency in-store. I know it’s better to let the card issuer do the conversion.

I love the flexibility it gives me – I have to think ahead sometimes though. I was just doing a cruise to Iceland, after this I had to fly to Eastern Europe for a holiday in the mountains. I needed some Euros in cash but didn’t have time to get them before sailing. But as my ship was calling in Dublin – I could get Euros there, to use on my holiday. A few days later I was using my Everywhere Card to pay in Icelandic Krona at the cruise ports.


So what are the highlight moments of the past 2 years?

  • Having a full house when I give a talk is always an adrenaline rush
  • Dog-sledding in the Arctic Circle in winter – and seeing the Northern Lights
  • Helicopter flight over the French Riviera
  • Standing at the foot of Christ the Redeemer looking over Rio – and attending Carnival
  • Sailing into New York at 6am and seeing the Statue of Liberty come into view
  • Seeing the tango danced in Buenos Aires and paying homage to Eva Peron

My life is a rollercoaster. I have to be very disciplined and organised (I’m already doing my Christmas shopping as the Caribbean trip ends just 10 days before Christmas)!

But it is wonderful and I love my life!

About the author
hazel griffithsHazel Griffiths has worked as a freelance cruise ship speaker, specialising in Destinations, for the past 8 years. You can find out more about Hazel and her services on her website.

Award-winning exchange rates mean more to spend. Find out more about FairFX Currency Cards.

Adam Baldwin

Adam Baldwin

Adam is part of the Marketing team at FairFX. He's keen on his sports, mainly football and the NFL, and is an avid traveller having recently visited Fiji and Vietnam.

1 comment

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    I have had the pleasure of meeting and attending many of Hazel’s talks. She is a great speaker and holds everyone’s attention. As a Destination Speaker she is The Tops.

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