Loyalty programs rock when you are a traveller. Being rewarded for flying with a certain airline or booking with a specific online travel site can help save you money while you are travelling. Which basically means you get to travel for longer.
And travelling for as long as possible is what we are all about.
We want to travel for as long as possible to enjoy sunsets like these…
Unfortunately, we don’t always have time to research the best travel deals. But we are always comfortable booking our accommodation with Hotels.com because they are one of our favourite loyalty programs, Hotels.com Welcome Rewards. Plus they are guaranteed to have the best prices.
Hotels.com Welcome Rewards Review
Hotels.com is one of the worlds leading online hotel booking sites with over 65,000 hotels around the world and over 5 million members globally. They don’t have any blackout periods or a complicated point systems.
Basically, for every 10 nights a member stays at a Hotels.com Welcome Rewards hotel, they get 1 night free.
So far we have managed to earn ourselves a couple of free nights accommodation just for booking with Hotels.com each time. Not bad considering we don’t pay any extra and it is free to join.
We had a few things that we wanted to make sure we had included in our accommodation in Oslo.
Firstly, we needed a full buffet breakfast. Secondly, we wanted to be close to central Oslo so that we could use our Oslo Passes and not spend much on transportation. Thirdly, it needed to have a gym for Adela. And finally it needed to be reasonably priced.
Using our knowledge of Hostels vs Hotels vs Apartments we quickly ruled out Hostels in Oslo because travelling as a couple meant that we would end up paying the same price as a Hotel room anyway, without all the benefits of extra luxury.
While apartments meant we could save money by cooking at home, they were ridiculously overpriced within the city center and any that fit our budget would have meant a long commute into Oslo each day. Something we didn’t relish.
This left Hotels as our only option.
Jumping online we signed into our Hotels.com Welcome Rewards program and did a quick search using their simple search engine.
Quickly filtering the results to include Central Oslo and a Gym, we quickly saw that the Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel was the cheapest option.
Not to mention they were also a member of the Hotels.com Welcome Rewards program, had good reviews, 4 stars, an epic buffet breakfast, indoor pool, free WiFi and had a special discount for that weekend.
We were sold.
Once booked we got our confirmation email and started looking forward to our trip. Simple.
Just a few quick notes about Hotels.com Welcome Rewards:
While we haven’t found a hotel that wasn’t part of the program you want to make sure that you are booking at one of the Hotels participating in the program. These are all clearly marked with the Hotels.com Welcome Rewards symbol when you are booking online.
Your reward points will also not be credited until after your stay. So don’t expect them to show up straight after you have booked.
Disclaimer: We were provided with a complimentary Hotel stay in Oslo, but as always our thoughts, travel tips and reviews are our own.
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...
- Travel Tips6 months ago
Couples Travel – Why every couple should travel before marriage
- Adventure Travel10 months ago
Walking the Camino de Santiago Photos
- Europe12 months ago
Travel Tip: Train to Pisa from Florence
- Travel Blogging Tips8 months ago
Our Experience of Starting a Travel Blog
- Personal Musings9 months ago
From Four Jandals to Two Jandals
- Adventure Travel5 years ago
2012 Travel Adventures in Photos
- Europe5 years ago
Photo Essay from around Costa Brava
- Asia5 years ago
The Best of Istanbul – Photo Essay