For the average traveller looking to step outside their comfort zone, they want to do it in comfort. But that doesn’t mean you have to find yourself a swanky hotel anymore.
With the huge rise in the popularity of apartment rentals for travellers, like Wimdu, over the last year, and the number of hostels which have really nice private rooms, there are a couple of different options for every budget type.
Not all Hostel rooms are scummy.
The only problem for an adventure travelling couple is choosing between the three different options.
We wanted to help you out on your next travel adventure by doing a quick summary of Hostels vs Hotels vs Apartment.
Hostels vs Hotels vs Apartment
Privacy, budget, location and facilities all play a huge part in the way we choose our accommodation when we travel. And while each of the different options have their benefits, none of the three are perfect.
We should also note that while every Hostel, Hotel and Apartment is different, we have been very generic in our answers below. Some accommodation options are much, much worse, while some are much, much better.
Basically, the majority of the time you get what you pay for, but sometimes it just comes down to pure luck.
When we first started travelling we always stayed in Hostels. However, the longer we have travelled, the less time we have spent in Hostels.
In particular, we very rarely stay in Hostel dorm rooms now unless we are travelling with a group of friends. This is because we like our space and privacy. Even if it is just to keep the romance alive while on the road.
We have learnt that if you don’t sleep well, romance will die while travelling.
For a single traveller Hostels always provide reasonably good value for money. Where else can you find a place to rest your tired jandal wearing feet and have a free breakfast for around $10 – $20 per night?
You also have the chance to meet a lot of other international travellers because Hostels are generally well-known as being social.
The staff are often friendly and other travellers will be looking to share travel stories with you.
Hostels will put on events such as pub crawls, fancy dress parties and free walking tours to help you explore the destination.
Most Hostels will come with some sort of kitchen facilities so that you can cook for yourself, helping you stretch your budget even further.
Learn to cook cheaply, but well, in Hostels.
Due to Hostels being very social, they can also be very noisy.
Unless you opt-in for a private room then don’t expect any privacy. We have stayed in dorms with over 20 bunk beds. Basically if you want to sleep, don’t stay in a 20 bed dorm.
While you may get free breakfast, expect it to consist of white bread with only a few spreads and basic cereal options like cornflakes. If it is a buffet option, then check out our all you can eat buffet eating tips!
The kitchens are usually messy. We don’t understand how travellers cannot clean up after themselves. Do your own dishes!
The cost of a private room in a Hostel is comparable to some 2/3 star Hotels.
Dorm room in Barnacles Hostel.
If we book a Hotel room when we are travelling then we are very particular about our choices. They have to have a free breakfast and be centrally located to make them worth the extra cost.
Private rooms. What else do we have to say? After three years of travelling it is nice to be able to escape for a few hours in privacy.
Hotel rooms are often nicer than Hostel rooms with more space and larger beds.
As members of the Hotels.com reward scheme we can earn free accommodation the more we book online. You should definitely check it out if you stay in Hotels.
Hotels often have some sort of fitness facilities such as a pool or small gym. This is really important to us while travelling.
Hotel chains such as the Radisson Blu or the Starwood group will have the same high quality around the world.
Hotels can be quite sterile in nature. We don’t mean clean, because that is nice, but they can be very business-like.
While front desk staff are friendly, they won’t go out of their way to help you find adventures and things to do.
There is little to no social scene or a chance to meet with other travellers. And if they have a bar on site it is likely to be expensive and dull.
There won’t be any kitchen facilities so that you can cook for yourself. Restaurants are often your only option.
We have recently discovered short-term apartment rentals while we are travelling. Basically how they work is that someone either has a couple of spare rooms in their own apartment that they rent to you, while they are still there, or they have a whole apartment you can rent out for your stay.
Some of them are wonderful, while some can be misleading in their descriptions.
Apartments can feel like a home away from home when you are stepping outside your comfort zone. Having a homely base to come back to each day makes a huge difference to travel happiness. Here are some worldwide vacation apartments from WorldEscape.
Kitchen facilities allow you to cook with ingredients picked up from local markets and help you travel for longer on your budget.
Affordable apartments are not usually located centrally which means they will be quieter allowing privacy and lots of relaxing after being on the go all day.
With a group of travellers you get the benefit of all being in the same apartment which makes the travelling experience better. Most of the time.
If you are renting out a room in someones shared apartment, it can be extremely awkward and you feel as if you are intruding in their private lives.
Some affordable apartments will not be located centrally. So factor in additional costs for transportation and getting around.
You won’t get the chance to meet other travellers.
Hostels vs Hotels vs Apartments Verdict
For the first time traveller or budget traveller, Hostels are your best friend. You get the chance to meet new people from around the world and find out travel tips from travellers that have been there and done that. Plus if you stay in Hostels you can save your money for travel adventures like kayaking in Naples.
Hotels are generally nicer and comparable in price to private dorms if you are travelling as a couple. And if you have found one with a good buffet breakfast you can usually skip lunch.
While staying with a local in a shared apartment can be great if you want to find out some local travel tips, it will feel like you are intruding in their lives. Therefore we recommend booking an entire apartment for your privacy, kitchen facilities and a home away from home.
Overall, if we can find a suitable apartment then we always choose an Apartment over a Hostel or Hotel.
READER QUESTION: In the Hostels vs Hotels vs Apartment debate which one do you choose? And why?
Where to Get the Most for Your U.S. Dollar in 2018
We all know that exchange rates change. But we don’t always think about those rates when we’re planning our next big adventure. As the value of the U.S. dollar changes, so does the buying power U.S. travelers when they’re abroad.
Sometimes those fluctuations are enough to warrant putting off a trip to one of your bucket list destinations for another year. Or maybe to bump an exotic locale to the top of the list so you can take advantage of the extra power your dollar will have while you’re there.
RewardExpert’s latest report looks at just that phenomenon by taking a deep dive into the changes in exchange rates over the last year. And their conclusion? You may want to start looking for a flight to some destinations right now, while other vacation spots are best saved for another day.
A Little Context
Before we get too far into the findings, it’s worth noting that the differences in exchange rates over the past year haven’t been big enough to justify jumping on the next flight to a destination whose currency has lost a lot of value.
On the other hand, if both Turkey and Thailand, for example, are on your list of places you want to see, Turkey’s a better choice at the moment since the dollar has gained about 28 percent in value over the last year. Thailand’s currency, on the other hand, has gotten about 6 percent more expensive.
By the way, Turkey made the top spot on the report for places that have gotten more affordable, and Thailand earned the top spot for places that have gotten more expensive.
All of this, of course, is relative to each country’s currency. So overall affordability of a destination is largely independent of changes in the exchange rate. In other words, it’s still cheaper to travel in Botswana than Switzerland even though the Swiss franc lost value against the U.S. dollar and the Botswana Pula is worth more.
The Dollar Has Lost Ground Overall
On the whole, the U.S. dollar hasn’t done very well recently. There could be any number of reasons for this, but the unpredictability of the current President and his trade policies certainly don’t help.
This is generally bad news for U.S. travelers. Most places you might be thinking about going will be a bit more expensive. It’s not in a free fall, though, and the drop shouldn’t be enough to keep you from traveling.
Where You Should Go in 2018
As I already mentioned, Turkey topped the list of destinations where the U.S. dollar has gained the most value. In fact, it is the place that saw the most change, either positive or negative.
The U.S. dollar will buy about 28 percent more in Turkey right now, so if you’ve always wanted to see the country—and you’re not too concerned about the current political situation over there—now’s probably a good time to plan a trip.
Mexico made number two on the list with the U.S. dollar gaining about 7% in value. And a flight from the U.S. to Mexico will be a whole lot cheaper than to any other spot on the list.
Rounding out the top places you should consider this year if you want your dollar to stretch a little further is Kazakhstan, Nepal, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Switzerland and New Zealand. Hong Kong and Trinidad and Tobago also made the top ten, but the changes in their exchanges rates were very minor, coming in at less than 1 percent.
Here’s an overview of the top ten:
|Increase in Value of U.S. Dollar|
|Trinidad and Tobago||0.02%|
Places You Might Want to Skip This Year
I’m sure Thailand is on many lists of dream destinations, but 2018 might not be the best time to go. It made the top spot for places that have gotten more expensive due to a drop in the value of the U.S. dollar. You’ll get about 6% less for your money if you travel there now compared to last year.
Croatia stunned soccer/football fans everywhere by making it to World Cup final, but you may want to put off a trip to the idyllic coasts of this Eastern European spot. That’s because the Croatian Kuna has gained about 4 percent against the USD this past year.
The rest of the top ten that have gotten more expensive includes Canada, Bulgaria, the European Union, Botswana, South Korea, Singapore, Romania and Australia.
Here’s an overview of the spots you may want to skip this year:
|Decrease in Value of the U.S. Dollar|
|The European Union||-3.76%|
Other Tips for Making Your Dollar Go Further
One big takeaway from the report is that the biggest expense when it comes to travel to most of these destinations is the airfare. That’s particularly true of the countries that are harder to get to, but otherwise offer affordable travel. From the list of places where the dollar gained notable ground, I’d include Nepal, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Indonesia and Kazakhstan in that category.
If you’re thinking of traveling to one of those destinations, you should consider staying for as long as possible to get the most out of that expensive plane ticket. Once you’re there, you’ll find that your daily costs will be relatively little compared to, say, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the European Union.
Travel Credit Cards Can Help
Since airfare is often the most expensive single purchase you’ll make for a trip, it’s worth noting that getting a great rewards credit card can help cover those costs. If you play your cards right, you can easily cover the entire cost of your airfare with the right card.
If you’re familiar with frequent flyer programs, a card that’s part of a robust rewards program, like Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou Rewards, is a great option. With those programs you can transfer the points you earn directly to a select group of airlines or book through the programs’ respective online travel portals.
Beginners and those who don’t want to deal with complicated award charts and limited award availability might be better off with a more straight forward travel card, like those offered by Discover and Capital One.
With those programs, you’ll earn miles that can be redeemed for statement credits to offset travel expenses. That means you can simply buy the travel you want from any vendor and reimburse yourself with the miles you’ve earned. You might not get quite as much from your points with a program like this, but they are simple, easy to use and still quite valuable.
Traveling is expensive. So it can be important to get as much as you can for your dollar. Hopefully I’ve given you some ideas about the destinations you should prioritize and avoid this year based on recent changes in exchange rates. And don’t forget, a great travel credit card can help you pay for the most expensive part of many adventures—the airfare.
Bullion Bar: Try Your Luck Online
Slot games have become synonymous with gambling and casino. They provide players the chance to earn big while betting small amounts of money. And it is for this reason that the lure of trying to cash in big on slot games have become somewhat of a tradition for casino and everything casinos-related.
What do we mean by this?
Well, online slot games have seen a massive amount of love from players all around the world. Not only are the simple to play and easy to start earning money but they also offer quite the gambling experience. And it’s for this reason that they are one of the primary online casino games for newbies as well as longtime gamblers.
So if you are new to the whole online gambling casino slot world let us introduce you to this insanely enjoyable slot game called Bullion Bar.
With online slot games having a high RTP – you have very little to lose and so much more to gain.
Bullion Bars: Try Your Luck
Like many online casino slot games, the Bullion Bar has an RTP that is quite high. Meaning the amount of times the online casino game has to pay out to its player is above 95.27%. This means that you have a very high chance of earning money online while gambling and Bullion Bars provides this for their players.
Aside from the high chances that players are given – players are also given a nice cash jackpot prize for the lucky ones. The jackpot prize sits at about £20000 jackpot (roughly $40000 USD. Not too shabby).
The game allows players to wage as low as £0.4 and as high as £2 per line.
As mentioned before one of the best aspects outside of the monetary reason that one may come to play online slot games also are the aesthetics. Bullion Bar provides a fantastic visually stunning slot game that not only escalates the experience and the “gamblers rush” but also makes slots games much more engaging and enjoyable overall.
Why Not Give It a Try?
If you are new to online slot games, then Bullion Bar is a great online slot ahem for you to test the waters. Offering players a high RTP, visuals that will leave the player captivated and a gameplay that is very engaging and immersive – do we have to ask?
What are you waiting for? Try your luck with Bullion Bar.
Scuba Diving the KT12 Wreck in Sardinia – with Sardinia Divers
We woke excitedly at 6am, with cameras charged, lunch packed and our jandals on! Unfortunately we did not have the luxury of a car, so an ARST bus at 6.50am from Orosei town centre to the Sardinia Divers Headquarters 7kms north was our only option. Upon arrival at Sardinia Divers we were welcomed by Chris and his friendly dog (even though we surprised him by turning up 30 minutes early!).
After being kitted out with top quality wetsuits, BC’s (buoyancy compensator) and all the rest of the scuba gear that we hadn’t managed to lug with us from New Zealand, we then piled into their van and headed to Orosei Harbour. We then began to help load the boat and prepare the gear.
Rebecca was eager to prove that she, a girl from New Zealand knew what she was doing and did not need help setting up her gear. But after fumbling with putting the BC over the tank bottle (in what must have looked very awkward) she crumbled to the pressure and just stared blankly at the unfamiliar European style valve of the regulator in her hands. Luckily, one of the crew was quick to see Rebecca’s reaction and show her how regulators work in Europe!
We had only contacted Chris the day before, asking if Sardinia Divers could take us diving. The stars must have aligned and we along with six other divers, four staff, and the boat skipper were on our way out on the short 5min ride in the 10m rib to dive the KT12 Wreck! The KT12 is considered one of the Mediterranean’s best wreck dives, and it did not disappoint! However it is a reasonably deep dive at 30-35m, so divers must have their advanced dive qualification. Sardinia Divers does offer full training to all levels in both PADI and SSI so if you do want to dive the wreck or only have your Open Water cert they can sort you out, and it is definitely worth it.
The visibility was a good 20-25m which meant we could soon spot the wreck as we dropped down from the surface. Cristina was guiding us for the day and had run us through the dive plan on the marina before we started out. We first dropped down onto two large vehicles which are believed to have been cranes used for cargo loading, and then made our way across to the main hull at about the back third and where the bridge is. Cristina pointed out the large anchor that was dropped by a trawler onto the bridge and got caught on it, from here we made our way forward and circumnavigated the wreck.
Chris and Cristina had told us of the sea life we may encounter and straight away we were pointed out large moray eels, Spanish (slipper) lobster, grouper, nudibranch, and various other fish in the wreck’s nooks and crannies. It is hard to describe to someone how spectacular marine environments can be and why you should try and discover this underwater world yourself. Watching the video (click here) is a good start but we encourage you to give it a go yourself.
The KT12 is a reasonably large wreck at 225ft/60m and at a depth of 35m your bottom time is limited, so to cover the full wreck we kept moving pretty quickly. The wreck is famous for it’s main gun, which proudly stands on the aft deck. I of course swam straight over to it and started pretending to fire it, Rebecca could tell this by the stream of bubbles that were coming out as I was obviously making my best underwater gun shooting noises.
The wreck was sunk by an English submarine’s torpedo, when it hit just behind the bow. The bow broke off and sunk immediately whereas the rest of the wreck sunk slower, slipping backwards away from the bow by about 300m. This meant we dived the two separate parts in two dives. With beaming smiles we surfaced from the main hull and headed back into the marina for lunch and refreshments. Cold water and biscuits are provided by Sardinia Divers but there was also a good little beach bar to get coffee and snacks. It’s also great sitting down with like minded divers and talking excitedly about what you just saw or missed and other must do dive locations.
Around midday we were back in the boat, the tanks had been changed for us and we were soon back out ready to dive the bow section. The bow is at 33m and lies on its side, though much smaller it’s still a great dive because its smaller size means the sea life is more concentrated in the one area. Bottom time was less as this was our second dive of the day and as nitrogen builds up in your system you must stay in the no decompression limits time zone.
Swimming out from the front of the bow you get a great view back at the bow wreck and then it was time to ascend. The safety stop went quickly as we spent the time trying to touch the inquisitive fish before surfacing and climbing back into the boat.
We had a great day diving and the team at Sardinia Divers was excellent, they are friendly, knowledgeable and have a real passion for the wreck, while making sure you have a great, safe dive. The only regret I have is that we couldn’t spend more time on the wreck, so if you are in Orosei for a few days or more I would definitely recommend you dive the wreck more than once. Sardinia divers also offers other exciting dives including another WW2 wreck, cave dives, and if you happen to be in Costa Rica visit Chris’s dive shop there to immerse yourself.
Facts and additional information about Sardinia Divers:
- Certified for both PADI and SSI
- Offers all the best dive sights in the Gulf of Orosei, including three WW2 wreck dives, deep dives, walls, shoals and rocks between 40 and 10 meters
- Caters to all level of divers, from beginner to experienced, including mixed gases
- Chris, the owner has spent 12 years in the area as a dive and fishing guide/instructor
- Very high rating and great feedback on Trip advisor
- Have great top quality gear to hire
Disclaimer: We were provided complimentary dives with Sardinia Divers, however, our honest thoughts and awesome experiences are always our own.
Meet Cole and Adela
We have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...
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