When it comes to places to stay, some people can overlook the less conventional options. Besides saving a ton of money, opting for free digs also opens opportunities for new friendships, fascinating encounters and hilarious stories. When we visited Perth, Australia, we found these things in abundance. Here we present a guide to three of our favourite alternatives to hostels, hotels and Airbnb. House sitting House sitting can seem like quite a strange concept. Also known as pet sitting (most “assignments” include animals to take care of), the deal is that homeowners find trustworthy strangers to come and take care of their property (and pets) while they go on vacation. Fido/Felix aren’t sent to expensive, stressful kennels, the owners get peace of mind knowing everything is well-cared for and and you get a free place to stay! There are numerous websites that allow hosts and sitters alike to sign up, log in and search for a good match. We used https://www.aussiehousesitters.com.au/ to find gigs in Western Australia, but there are global ones too, such as https://www.trustedhousesitters.com and https://www.nomador.com/. Sites usually charge a reasonable yearly membership fee, giving you access to potential house-sits all over Australia (and with the latter two, the rest of the world). It’s also important to get some reliable, sterling references, so that homeowners can see you’re the ideal candidates to look after their pets. We recommend starting with a few from friends whose animals you’ve cared for, then after a couple of actual assignments you should have the ideal pet-sitter’s resume; it won’t be long before homeowners are contacting you to come and sit for them! It’s worth noting that this exchange relies of faith in humanity rather than any sort of monetary transaction. We’ve heard of sites that charge both homeowners and sitters, but in our experience, it’s better to avoid accepting payment as it changes the dynamics of the relationship. This deal is all about trust and mutual generosity, not a service just to gain free digs. A word of advice: Try organising Skype conversations with your potential sits too, as it gives you a better idea of what to expect. We speak from experience when we say that not all house-sitting assignments are a walk in the park… But generally speaking, pet sitting has been a wonderful, fruitful experience for the two of us and in our blog post “Why pet sitting is perfect for travelling animal lovers”, we go into greater detail about why we still look after animals all over the world. Couch surfing Another way to make new friends and have a more soulful travelling experience is to try couch surfing. Some people claim that the website and its concept plateaued in the mid-2000s, but we recently did it in Perth and can vouch for the community’s size and popularity both there and the rest of the world. Travellers can sign up to http://www.couchsurfing.com and create a profile, then search the database for thousands of like-minded people who are offering a place to stay, free of charge. The accommodation isn’t always a couch, either; most hosts offer a private room to sleep in, and have had so many guests stay in their home that they are very well prepared when it comes to hospitality for their sofa-surfers. To bag a decent place to crash, it’s crucial to have an honest, interesting profile and the intention of genuinely wanting to engage with the host. Members want to feel that they’re inviting someone fun, interesting and considerate into their home, so a blank or vague profile is bound to be unappealing. Another thing to remember is to engage with them in online conversation before you show up, asking questions related to their own profile and travel experiences, to see if you would get along in person. It’s important to read their profiles carefully, as some hosts have certain stipulations, such as individual guests only, or a specific gender preference. If all this sounds a little bit kinky, you’re right to be apprehensive. There are a few couch surfer hosts who besmirch the concept with a hint of seediness, although it will be fairly obvious from their profiles if they are looking for more than just a conversation about travel. Look out for “naked sleepers” or “share a bed” in the tags, and stay well clear if sexual adventures aren’t a part of your agenda. Site moderation also helps surfers to stay safe, and there’s a whole section on the website devoted to it, so it’s simple to find the right kind of social experience for you. We stayed with a friendly, fascinating German couple who lived in downtown Perth. They had hosted hundreds of surfers and provided us with a very comfortable private room and even our own bathroom, which goes to prove how well-equipped and generous some hosts can be. We learned about their work in Alice Springs, their conservation efforts all over the globe and got to know Perth a little better thanks to their guidance as locals, which is what couch surfing is truly all about. WWOOFing/WorkAway If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty and chipping in to help with physical tasks, this third method of finding free accommodation in Western Australia will certainly suit you. Whether you want to help an eco-tourism company in Broome or try landscape gardening next to the Margaret River, there’s a variety of work to be found in Western Australia. With websites like http://www.wwoof.com.au/ (Willing Workers On Organic Farms) and https://www.workaway.info/ travellers can find ideal hosts to live with in exchange for a few hours of work per day. Like couch surfing and house sitting, registration with the websites allows you to search a database of ideal locations, accommodation, hosts and employment. From large organic farms to private smallholdings, you can help people who don’t have enough workers, or those who can’t do the work themselves, such as the disabled or the elderly – it’s a very positive, productive way of travelling. Our note of caution with working in exchange for accommodation is to be sure you understand the work involved. This isn’t just so that you are sure of fulfilling your requested duties, but also to safeguard against employers who might take advantage of their free workers! Fortunately, the websites we’ve listed in this post list vetted hosts and offer plenty of advice and support, which should protect you from any unscrupulous farmers. With a great profile, excellent communication and the right attitude, “WWOOFers” and “Workawayers” can find meaningful encounters with the locals of an area. If walking someone else’s dogs on the beach, going on graffiti trails with couch surfer hosts or picking oranges near Perth sounds like a unique way to spend a vacation, take a look at the links in this post and give it a go. You’ll be rewarded with more than just a free roof over your head. Byline: This post was written by Mark J Newton, one half of the artistic duo the Escape Artists 11:11. He and his partner Nate Evans have been living a nomadic lifestyle since 2014 but have only recently begun to document their travels. To learn more about life and work while being location-independent (and what 11:11 means to them!), head to their site www.escapeartists1111.co.uk.
Whether one is moving to another city or country, or just moving a few blocks away, packing is pivotal in any situation. Casual mistakes can leave one frustrated and disappointed. When moving and shifting to a new location, one needs to follow certain fundamental strategies. Whether it is having a car delivered, or packing fragile items, a disorganized way of packing and moving will only leave you irritated. Here are some of the most basic but most useful tips for packing and moving.
- The first essential tip is to look around you and see what is to be packed and what can be discarded. It is a good idea to get rid of the stuff you don’t need. You can either donate them or arrange for a garage sale.
- Next, it is time to decide what kind of bags you would need. Buying the right size is important. However, you need to keep in mind the size and weight of the bag if you intend to fly out. You could either go for the hard shell suitcase or the ones with soft and pliable sides. Either way, pay attention to the size, design and lightweight.
- Start your packing process days before you plan to move. Make a list of the items you need to pack. Sorting out your stuff and pack only the most essentials when it comes to packing.
- Make a list of the items you need to pack. This is a good way to ensure that you will not forget anything, especially if it is something important.
- Start your packing process days before you plan to move. Keep adding the stuff in an organized manner. Get help from friends and family for packing and moving.
- Compress the clothing items to make more space. Clothes can take in a great deal of space, so it is a good idea to pack them tightly and closely. Make use of vacuum storage bags for those items that take a lot of room.
- Make use of every little space in your bag or boxes. You will be surprised to discover many hidden spaces in your bags where you could store small items. For example, you could place shoes in one box or kitchen items in other.
- Place similar items in one bag or smaller bags. It is a good idea to label them, especially when you are moving long distance, and would need some of the items right away when you arrive at your destination.
- For the fragile items, it is a good idea to use cloths, towels or bubble wrap for packing. Newspaper can also be used to wrap and pack breakables and glass items. Always wrap shampoos, cleaners or other liquids with plastic to prevent leakage.
- Important documents such as passports, bank books, or id’s should be kept handy and in the bag that you plan to carry with you. Some other items like medication, chargers, or any other valuables should be kept close at all times.
The dreaded red eye flight is a tortured path that we have all had to take in our travelling life and we will continue to do so from time to time. The time of the night where it is preferable to be tucked up in bed, instead of travelling with a couple of hundred strangers, some who are snoring, others who are fidgeting and those who have no common courtesy of quiet time.
The chances are that on a red eye flight, you will not get a sustainable sleep, even if you have noise reducing headphones that block out most of the sounds around you, and any sleep you do get will be interrupted and it won’t be enough to get you get through a full day’s activities as your highly anticipated holiday begins.
Recovering from the red eye is not a simple process, only a solid sleep will cure those tired eyes and during the middle of the day it is not always the wisest suggestion. You don’t want to be wide-eyed during the middle of the night and ruin another day of your vacation. Not ideal at all.
There is no quick fix it to recover from the all-night plane trip, but here are a few little tips to help combat the fatigue during the day, so it may help you get through to the evening where you will be bound to hit the mattress early, have a full night sleep and ready to holiday the very next day.
How to recover from the dreaded red eye flight
- Head straight to the hotel: Catching the red eye flight, you are more than likely going to arrive at your destination by mid-morning, at the latest. First thing you should do is head straight to the hotel, the chances are you won’t be able to check in immediately but it never hurts to ask, and never know, you may get lucky on the odd occasion. At least you will be able to drop off your luggage and have them taken off your hands immediately.
- Take a walk: You will be most buoyant upon first arriving at your destination and it will be the moment that you have the most energy. It will be short lived. Take a walk around your area, get some familiarisation of the locations, such as bars and café’s, public transportation and possible future activities. By the completion of your walk, you may be ready to check-in to your hotel.
- Have a small nap: Not too long, but a short one-hour nap in the afternoon will help reduce a little of your fatigue. Be careful not to overdo it however, because you want to be able to sleep at an appropriate time that night.
- Don’t make any major plans: Plan your holiday wisely. If you know that you are catching the red eye flight, don’t make any major plans on the first day because fatigue will set in on you come evening time and at times the right decisions won’t be made. Save any major reunions, business plans and day trip for another day. Read about a South Korean experience to see what can go wrong.
- Go to bed early: Your body and mind will appreciate it if you do the right thing by it. Go to bed at a reasonable hour, rejuvenate yourself and wake up the next morning feeling a million dollars. It’s time to officially start your holiday, all recovered from the dreaded red eye flight.
Take Action. Do you catch the red eye flight often? what do you do to recover from the dreaded flight the following day?
Check out your own cheap flights options by clicking in the link.
Contributed to Fair Dinkum Traveller
When we go on holiday, we normally go for two things; the first thing is to just get away from the daily grind and do something different to break the cycle, and the second thing is that we want to see the world! Seeing the world is fantastic because it gives you an opportunity to see something that you’ve never seen before, and possibly never will see again! However there are lots of different ways that you can do this, so let’s have a look at them!
Okay, so this is one of the more extreme things that you can do if you want to see the world, but the fact of the matter is that it offers you an unrivalled view of the world from where you are because there’s going to be literally nothing in your way! Skydiving has two benefits, the first one obviously being that you get to see the world from an unrestricted point of view. There is going to be quite literally nothing in your way, so you’re going to get to see the worlds from a bird’s point of view. The second thing about skydiving is that it’s quite white knuckle! You’re going to be flying down towards the earth at a very high speed, so it’s going to suit people who like a bit of extremeness in their lives. There are multiple ways that you can skydive, in groups or on your own, but tandem skydiving tends to be a popular choice for people who are only looking to do it once or twice. You’ll be partnered up with someone who knows what they are doing and can look after everything if it goes wrong so you can just soak up the view.
Hot Air Balloon Rides
Hot air balloons are a great way to see the world, as you can see in the picture! Hot air balloons have been used for ages so get people to and from places scenically, but they’re moreso used for just fun nowadays. So, how does it work? Well, the balloon will have a big fire heater underneath it; this creates hot air that naturally rises up, so it fills the balloon with hot air and gives it a steady supply of it so it can keep floating. They are perfectly safe and you have to keep this in mind! Similarly to skydiving, going up into a hot air balloon gets you high up into the sky so you can look down onto everything that is beneath you. Unlike skydiving however, balloon rides offer a much more static platform for you to view everything from, meaning that you’re not going to have to worry about taking everything in quickly as you’re going to have a lot of time to enjoy everything and properly take it in because you’re not going anywhere in a rush!
Propellor Plane Tours
Flying on an airplane is a fantastic experience for those of us who have been lucky enough to get a window seat, but when you don’t it can be incredibly mundane and can ruin your ride! However, if you’re after the window seat experience without having to book and worry about getting one, then a propellor plane ride is definitely for you! Going up in a propeller plane means that you’re guaranteed to get a window seat, so you and everyone that you’re with is able to peer out the windows to get a proper look at the scenery. This is different to the other two things mentioned here because the plane is able to take you along the horizontal plane as well as a vertical one, so you’re going to be able to see a lot more of where you actually are, however you’re not going to be able to see it for as long because for planes to move they have to travel fast so you best have your cameras out ready!
All of these things are going to enable you to see the world, but which one are you going to choose? The crazy and extreme skydive for an unparalleled experience of freedom, a chilled out hot air balloon ride to give you time to check out the scenery in all its glory, or are you going to take the middle option and ride on a propeller plane? Another good way to see the world which we haven’t covered is volunteering; whilst you’re not going to see the world like you would with a skydive, you’re going to experience it more, so read this to find out a bit more about it!
Finding life’s little bargain is what every individual searches for in desperate times to save those extra dollars. Whether it is finding a great deal on eBay, discounted goods in a supermarket or in this instance, coming across the best budget hotels at your intended destination for your next holiday.
Everyone has their own personal budget in mind, there are those who can splurge on a five-star resort where money is of little issue, and those who need to keep their accommodation cost to a minimum in hope they can find that hidden gem and have a little money in reserve for spending.
Less money doesn’t necessarily mean you need to find some broken down hotel with hollow walls, rude staff members and a creaky old bed, far from it. Finding the best budget hotel is actually a simple process that requires absolutely no skill whatsoever. It’s a matter of doing your research, narrowing down the options and picking a winner.
How to Find the Best Budget Hotels
Hotel Search Engines
There is a tonne of hotel search engines out there and quite often the prices do vary from one to the other. Even if the amount seems minimal at the time, the costs can begin to tally when you add five or seven nights to the equation.
Doing your homework on a variety of hotels is an important part of finding the right deal. Jump on to the computer and check out the various search engines such as Booking.com, Expedia or Hotels.com to name a few and start comparing. I bet you may even have a little fun while exploring potential hotels as you countdown the days to your holiday.
TripAdvisor is every traveller’s favourite companion. It is the most proficient way check hotel ratings, read reviews of thousands of real guests who have stayed at those particular hotels, scope pictures from real travellers and even find your own potential bargain with the TripAdvisor price check.
TripAdvisor is here to help millions of travellers worldwide, utilise it, take in the tips and secure your hotel without fear of mind. Keeping it mind at the same time, what works with others may not work for you.
Read Customer Reviews
Customer reviews and ratings is the best way to get an experience of a hotel without actually having been there. Reviews like you see on Booking.com and TripAdvisor are meaningful, honest reviews from guest who have in fact stayed at that hotel and who love to brag about their experience whether it is good or bad. Especially the negative experiences which will often make their way into the review area more often than not.
On most reputable hotel search engines, there is an average customer score from guest who have rated their hotel experience out of ten. If you study various hotels at your destinations, you can bet your bottom dollar you’ll find that two or three-star hotel that has a high average rating and there is a good chance it will be an adequate hotel for you.
What does the Hotels offer?
Does the hotel or resort have what you are after? For instance, if required, does the hotel offer airport transfers? If needed, does the hotel provide free parking? Do you get a complimentary daily breakfast or an afternoon tea?
Even when you think are paying more, perhaps you are actually saving, because the more expensive hotel may offer a necessity that you require over the other hotel which is a little cheaper in price but has no frills.
Every traveller has their ideal wish list and when searching for that perfect hotel it is important to know what the hotel offers and the facilities they have. Personal desires that may be important, such as swimming pools, a personal gym and Day Spa. Check off all the pros and cons before booking your hotel.
Location, Location, Location
An important bit of detail when searching for the right hotel is the location. Is the hotel close to shops or do you need to fork out $20 for a taxi ride to the nearest attraction?
Know what you are paying for, because you are hardly saving any money if have pay for a taxi every time you leave the hotel because it’s too far by foot. Location is pivotal and it’s important to know the surrounds before booking. Check if the hotels is close to shops, banks and restaurants.
While being in the heart of a city is not always ideal or preferred, you do want to make sure that you are not completely isolated from the action.
On a recent trip to Bangkok, Thailand, I needed a quick transit stay that was not too far from the airport and I didn’t want to break the bank account. I did my homework, I went on to Booking.com and searched for prices for hotels in the area. Sure, I could have stayed at the airport and paid a fortune at their own hotels without going through customs, but no, I found the perfect transit hotel that was only a five-minute drive from the airport, The Thong Ta Resort.
The Resort offered a complimentary shuttle bus to and from the airport, it had free breakfast and the locations was perfect with markets and restaurants nearby. The best bit however was the cost, only $30 a night, and I found this bargain all because I did my research and studied the reviews.
If you are a traveller seeking the best value for money, do your research and you too will be able to find the best budget hotels that will suit your own personal desires.
Some links in this article may contain affiliate links, therefore if you click on it and make a purchase, I could receive a little income. Don't worry though, it will not come at further expense for the customer. Happy travels.
The Benefits of Camping
Camping can be fantastic fun, whether you are going away with family, off on a fun break with your friends or taking some time out to recharge your batteries alone, camping can be the perfect vacation. Its benefits are enormous, in terms of your health, lifestyle, and wallet. Here’s a look at just a few of them.
Camping is much cheaper than staying in a hotel or resort and paying for flights. Even if you wanted to invest in a trailer or an RV, over the years, you could save yourself a fortune.
You’re Always Ready to Go
If you are a keen camper, a camper trailer is a fantastic option. You can keep it stocked up and ready to go. Allowing you to hit the road whenever you’ve got a bit of free time. If you do invest, it’s worth considering hard floor vs soft floor camper trailers to find out which best suits your plans but either allow you to add a little adventure and spontaneity to your life.
You Can Follow the Weather
Another fantastic thing about camping is that you’re not tied down by local weather forecasts. You can literally follow the sun around. Going wherever it’s nice weather when you fancy a change. Some people spend their lives moving from place to place, chasing the summer time.
You’ll Get Some Fresh Air
Fresh air is good for your health and well-being. It helps you sleep, improves your skin tone, looks after your hair and nails, clears away any toxins, increases your lung capacity and helps you to relax. During a camping holiday, you’ll get more fresh air than normal, boosting your mind and body.
It’s Very Social
When you go camping, you don’t just speak to the people you are traveling with. You become a part of the camping community, which is unbelievable social. In a world where many of us don’t even know our neighbors names and don’t say hi when we pass people on the street, it’s great to spend some time chatting to everyone and relaxing in the company of strangers.
You are also much likely to get some exercise when you go camping than you are sat around a pool or on a beach at a large resort. While camping you’ll hike, chop wood, collect water and spend time exploring your surroundings. More exercise looks after your heart, decreases your blood pressure, boosts your circulation and helps to reduce the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress.
When was the last time you actually stopped and appreciated nature? Camping forces, you to do this. Spending time with nature is a brilliant way to put your problems into perspective and unwind.
Even when we go on holiday in 2017, we’re taking photos for Instagram, posting updates on Twitter and checking in on Facebook. Our day to day stresses and the need to appear perfect follow us all over the world. Camping gives you the fantastic opportunity to leave all this behind and truly escape from your stresses.
Camping can help you to live a longer and happier life so why not make your next vacation a camping trip? You won’t regret it.