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?
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.
Essential Packing: Hoboroll Review
Find out why I recommend the GobiGear Hoboroll an essential packing item for your next travel adventure with the GobiGear Hoboroll Review.
I couldn’t bring myself to use the Hoboroll when it first arrived. It just seemed too gimmicky. But when I started to put together my packing list for the Camino de Santiago, I realised that I was going to need more space in my small backpack.
The Hoboroll came to the rescue.
What is the Hoboroll?
Essentially, the Hoboroll is a luggage organiser that is split into small compartments for easily packing separate items. The entire Hoboroll can then be compressed using the two compression straps that run around the outside.
The GobiGear Hoboroll is made of tough, lightweight nylon which makes it durable, but still lightweight. It also has a shoulder strap if you want to carry it. Personally I think that looks a little dorky and would rather stuff it into my backpack.
How to use the Hoboroll?
When I first tried to use the Hoboroll I made the mistake of trying to stuff too many big items into each compartment. Each compartment is quite small so this meant that I quickly filled up the space.
Ideally, you really want to just pack smaller items into the Hoboroll. By packing your underwear, socks and other small clothing bits and pieces, you have it all in one tidy pile.
I hate arriving at a destination after a 15 hour long-haul flight and wanting to quickly find a new pair of undies or socks to throw on to regain that “clean” feeling. Before the Hoboroll, I had to rip my bag apart trying to find them. Now I know exactly where they are each time I go searching.
What I didn’t like about the Hoboroll
While I loved the Hoboroll, there are a couple of small things that I personally would change to suit my pedantic-self.
I would have preferred the Hoboroll to only have one end that opens up. I felt that a drawstring was unnecessary at either end of the Hoboroll and stuff kept sliding out when I tried to pack it. This also leads to my second modification that I would have preferred the Hoboroll to roll out completely rather than being a cylindrical shape. That way you could pack each compartment before rolling it up. The compartments limit what you can pack anyway so this just makes sense to me.
Finally, one of the compression straps actually snapped while I was tightening the Hoboroll. This was actually my fault because I had one knee forcing the Hoboroll down while I pulled too hard on the strap. And it still worked with just one compression strap.
I definitely recommend the Hoboroll to those that love to be organised with their packing while travelling. While I don’t think the Hoboroll actually saves you any space in your backpack, it does provide a lot more organisation to any traveller.
Update: I have since been contacted by GobiGear and they have taken my review into consideration and are going to provide me with a replacement Hoboroll because of my immense strength breaking the strap on the last one. They are also redeveloping it with one end closed and a secret compartment like I mentioned. Bonus!
I received a Hoboroll for free from GobiGear as coordinated by Deep Creek Public Relations in consideration for review publication, but my thoughts, and rugged product testing, are always my own.
Find Cheap Flights: Skyscanner App Review
Find out how you can save money while travelling the world with our handy Skyscanner App Review.
We first stumbled upon the genius of Skyscanner when it was recommended to us a few years ago to help us travel the world. At the time we didn’t have a smartphone and they hadn’t created their free Skyscanner App. But we did do all our own flight bookings by using the Internet to find cheap flights.
Skyscanner, an Edinburgh-based company, has now established themselves in Singapore to target the Asian and Oceania travel markets. And considering they get more than 30 million visitors a month to their website they figured it was time to establish their mobile app.
Skyscanner App Review
This little App had already proved itself to us when we were asked to complete a Skyscanner App review as we use it regularly as our sole flight-search engine. So instead of keeping our little money saving App a secret we decided to share it with you too.
Ease of use
Simple, sleek and sexy is the best way to describe the Skyscanner App in my opinion.
Instead of jumping online via our laptop we now just use our phones to do our searching for us. It is lightening fast and there is no fluffing around trying to find the right page or being greeted with a wasted welcome message. It just leads you right to the flight search page.
Inputting your location, destination, dates you want to fly, number of passengers and the class (economy for us of course) is all straight forward. Depending on what you requested, hitting the search function will quickly search multiple websites trying to find the cheapest flights from your request.
If you have been rather vague with your destination then you might directed to the next screen which will allow you to narrow down your search. Personally this is one of my favourite time-wasters when I am not travelling.
We love selecting the dates we want to travel then choose “Everywhere” as our destination. The Skyscanner App will then trawl the net finding some cheap flights to countries all around the world. Germany? Poland? Sweden? Don’t mind if I do.
Once you have finally finished playing around dreaming of travel and selected your destination airport, you will be directed to the prices page.
The results displayed are easy to read with the prices clearly highlighted. There are also lots of sorting options from travel duration to airlines available. Perfect if you prefer flying with one carrier.
If the current prices displayed are more than your budget, and you have some flexibility, then you can use the Skyscanner chart feature. This is another of our favourite features as it allows you to view all the prices within the month of your preferred travel dates.
Using this feature properly can save you hundreds of dollars, not to mention the time saved scouring the Internet, if you can book your flights on another day.
While the Skyscanner App is handy, there are a few issues we have with it. Not serious enough that they would ever stop us from using it, but they are still inconvenient.
If you have used the Skyscanner website before then you will know that they don’t actually sell flights themselves. Once you have selected your flights you are then redirected to the airline or travel agents websites to purchase the flights. This doesn’t add any costs onto the overall flight price, but it does cause two problems…
Sometimes the prices displayed on the final search page can be off by a few dollars once you get to the booking website. This is understandable as the number of flights booked online is staggering to say the least, so they cannot keep up with flight prices. And we know for a fact that they actually have a dedicated team that spends their whole day searching for discrepancies in prices too.
Secondly, if you are flying with multiple airlines you have to visit each airline page separately to book your flight while crossing your fingers you don’t book one and the prices changes for the other.
Searching for flights can be a pain in the ass. So having an App literally at your fingertips is perfect for every traveller. We honestly cannot recommend the Skyscanner App enough. It is simple to use and we actually prefer it over their website.
Basically it delivers exactly what it says on the tin, “free flight comparisons”.
Disclaimer: While we were asked to do this Skyscanner App review by Skyscanner NZ our opinions are always our own and we would never damage our credibility by recommending something that we don’t use ourselves.
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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