GEAR & PRODUCTS
Easily my favourite site for booking hotels or at least getting idea of what a room my cost in a destination. The quote the entire stay rather than a ‘per night’ cost which makes it easier to decide if it’s in your budget. There are also great reviews, ratings and information on each hotel.
In my opinion, anyone heading out on an international trip shouldn’t leave without travel insurance. You never know what will happen on your trip and if you’re not insured, things can get really expensive. I’ve used World Nomads for all of my travels as they have reasonable rates and generous coverage, even for the more adventurous traveller.
I mainly use the ‘Secret Hot Rate’ offers when using Hotwire. They tell you the approximate location, star rating, guest rating and a list of amenities – but not the actual name of the hotel. You take a chance, but in exchange get a massive discount on your stay. I’ve scored some incredible hotel rooms for a fraction of the usual price.
One of the best ways to get around Europe is by train. If you are taking more than a couple trains, it’s worth considering a rail pass. Eurail passes cover most of the continent and can be purchased as daily, weekly, monthly, and country/region specific passes. My first pass was bought through Rail Europe because of their phone helpline and the awesome ticket schedule/pricing feature on their website.
If you have a smaller budget and are looking to stay in a hostel, Hostel World has one of the most extensive lists of budget accommodation around the world. The room rate you see is ‘per person – per night’. Remember, hostels have more than dorm rooms, you can often find fantastic private rooms and apartments too!
This is one of my go to’s when booking budget accommodation, whether it’s a bed in a dorm or a private room. I think the site layout is enjoyable to use, they often have discounted rooms, plenty of reviews and best of all, there is no booking fee! While there seems to be fewer listings than HostelWorld, I they seem to be better vetted.
*If you’re looking to try Airbnb, here’s an Airbnb Coupon Code for $35!
In a nutshell, Couchsurfing is a community of likeminded people who offer up their place for people stay – for free! Awesome right? You might get a couch, you might get your own room but no doubt you’ll have an experience you won’t get in a hostel or hotel. If you’re on a budget you can save a ton of money by Couchsurfing, but I love that you meet locals and as a result see and do things you might not otherwise. The site has many safety features implemented and I have had nothing but positive experiences.
I like to get ideas on the best things to see and do via friends, blogs and other websites but when it comes to logistics (to/from, maps, approx. costs, etc), Lonely Planet guidebooks are where it’s at. There ‘Shoestring’ guides are great for travelling on a budget and you’ll find great tips on local customs you should keep in mind.
Your backpack is the most important purchase you will make for your trip and so, you should never cheap out. I put a lot of research into what pack to pick for my first trip 4.5 years ago and decided on Deuter – specifically the Quantam 55+10. It’s still going strong and has served me well! You can’t go wrong with Deuter in my opion. They also look super sexy on the road – I was constantly getting compliments.