hostel tips

Tips for Staying at a Hostel

Hostels can be the perfect way to make your travels cheaper and to spend less money on accommodations. However, there are some things that the first time hostel guests could be surprised about and unprepared for. So here are some key tips for staying at a hostel, that will make your time there more enjoyable and overall much better.

1. Do your research

hostel tips

Just as you would if you booked a hotel room or rented an Airbnb, do your research on the hostel you are planning to stay at. There are many types of hostels out there nowadays, from a bigger network hostels, to independent ones to boutique hostels that are dedicated to a certain theme. So figure out in which type of hostel you want to stay at before hand. Also check the reviews of the hostels you are going to be booking, since they can give you some insight as to how good or bad the hostel is. Just remember to take the reviews with a grain of salt, too, as sometimes people have too high of expectations for hostels, and once the hostel didn’t reach these expectations, they leave a string of bad comments that actually have no basis. And lastly regarding doing research, also pay attention to the amenities that each of the hostels offer, since many times hostels have things like hairdryers, WiFi, bedside reading lights, and linens, which in this case you won’t need to take with you.

2. Chose your room/bed wisely

choosing a hostel

Another tip regarding hostels is to chose your hostel room or bed/bunk wisely, as the one you will choose can largely influence how good or bad of a stay you have at the hostel. Most hostels offer various different options in terms of accommodations from coed rooms with bunk beds and up to 10 bed spaces to single sex rooms with only a few beds to single rooms. If you do chose to stay in the usually cheaper room with multiple bed paces and bunk beds, I would advise you to chose to sleep at the bottom bunk, as it will dive you not only easier access to your bed but also the option to store your bags under the bed and much easier access to an outlet to charge your phone or other electronics.

3. Keep your valuables close

hostel lockers

Hostels, as much fun and inexpensive they are, they usually run on trust and common sense basis, meaning, that the rooms don’t really lock and there aren’t big lockers where you can store your valuables. Of coarse there are hostels that do offer to rent a small locker to put your passport, cash, laptop, camera and other valuables in so they are safe, and if that is the case then use this service, but don’t count on it in every hostel. So keep an eye on your valuables and don’t flaunt them around and definitely don’t leave them lying around, even if you thing that the other people at the hostel look trustworthy.

4. Communicate

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And lastly probably the most valuable tip for those staying at hostels is to communicate with others staying at the hostel. Don’t be shy when someone starts a conversation with you and also don’t be afraid to chat up somebody yourself. Hostels are intended to not only be a cheap accommodation options but also a way for travelers to connect. So if the hostel is organizing some activities or even you see people in the common room eating/cooking breakfast or eating dinner at the cafe near by, join them, and who knows you might find your future best friend or even your future spouse or at least get a chance to share some travel tips or gain a temporary travel companion.

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airbnb

Things to Know Before You Consider Being an Airbnb Host

Being an Airbnb host is an amazing opportunity not only to have a side hustle and earn some extra money, but also it is a great way how to meet people from all over the world and form friendships that last a lifetime. However, if you are thinking about starting in the Airbnb hosting business, there are some things you should know beforehand, so that you can be the best host you can be and people actually want to stay at your accommodations.

The first thing to consider when you are planning to become an Airbnb host is what are your goals and expectations regarding the hosting. The hosting will differ if you want to just earn some extra money every once in a while or if you want to turn your Airbnb hosting into a business and have it as a consistent source of income. The reason for this is because the more income you want to get out of your Airbnb hosting, the more work, planning and capital you will have to put into it. And you have to manage your expectations, too, because often the start of an Airbnb hosting business, like almost any other business, will have a slow start until you will build a good rating for yourself as a host.

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The second thing is that you have to know the time commitment you are making, once you become an Airbnb host. Of coarse you can outsource things like guest check ins, cleaning of guest rooms and such, but chances are that at first you will have to do that yourself. So if you have a high demand job, which doesn’t allow for side gigs, even if that gig is something like hosting guests, then thing long and hard before you commit to being an Airbnb host.

Also you have to get your landlords permission to host Airbb guests, especially if you are renting your apartment. It would good to at least warn your neighbors that you will be starting as an Airbnb host, too, so they aren’t alarmed when strangers go in and out of your apartment and visit your apartment building. And if your building has a doorman, then he will definitely have to be in the know. In short, make sure that the people around you know what you are doing and are informed about what does it mean for them that you are an Airbnb host.

And the last thing to know is to think about insurance coverage. The cases of bad Airbnb guests and robbed apartments aren’t frequent, however, you are still inviting strangers to stay at your house and to be there even when you yourself aren’t home, so take all the necessary precautions and get a proper insurance coverage for your place. You can also check out the Airbnb’s liability insurance policy, which, too offers some protection to Airbnb hosts in case of bad guests.

camping in america

The Most Scenic Campsites in America

Camping for many is a common summer activity, because it allows to enjoy the peace and beauty of nature to the fullest as well as to get away from the city. But, since not everybody are as outdoorsy and likes camping, it might help to convince those who aren’t as keen on camping if the campsite you will be staying at has killer view. So lets take a look at some of the most scenic campsites in America.

Yosemite National Park in California

Yosemite National Park

Probably one of the most beautiful camping places in America is the Yosemite National park, which is located on the eastern part of California. It is famous because in Yosemite there are granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, lakes, mountains, glaciers and many different ecosystems and creatures living there, so everybody will be able to find something appealing there. Set your campsite on one of the mountain ridges, near a lake, a waterfall or anywhere else, and you will have amazing view to make camping even more enjoyable.

Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona

Grand Canyon National Park

Another iconic national park with beautiful camping grounds and unbelievable views is the Grand Canyon National Park which is located in northwestern Arizona. Although the park is best known for the Grand Canyon, which is the central feature of this park, there are many more remote yet just as beautiful camping sites all across the park, that can provide an amazing place to camp. On top of that you can also visit the Grand Canyon if you are in the National Park and you will be able to say, that you have seen one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.

Olympic National Park in Washington

Olympic National Park

If woods and mountains are more your thing, you might like the Olympic National Park in Washington on the Olympic Peninsula, hence the name of the park. You will find four distinct environments in this National Park. There is the Pacific coastline with a killer ocean view, the alpine area with grandiose mountain ridges, the forest area on the east side of the park with wooden areas for exploration and the temperate rain forest in the west side with beautiful greenery. So if you want to have one of these views from your campsite, go stay at the Olympic National Park.

Joshua Tree National Park in California

Joshua Tree National Park

And lastly I will mention the Joshua Tree National Park located in the southeast part of California. It got his name tanks to the type of trees that are native to this park. If you go there you will be able to enjoy a view of desert, with two distinct ecosystems, one in the Mojave Desert part of the park and the other in the Colorado Desert part of Joshua Tree. On top of that there are the Little San Bernardino Mountains running through the southwest part of this National park adding to the unique relief of the park and the unique campground view you will have, if you go on a camping trip in this park.

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Cottage Rental Tips

Summer truly is the perfect time for vacation, because it is warm outside, which opens up many different options as to what you can do and where you can stay. One of these options is also to rent a cottage, because that will allow you to enjoy the same comfort as you would if you would be staying at the hotel, but you won’t have to actually pay the extra price of room-service and you will be able to take the vacation with your whole family or friend group. And to help make the best decision about which cottage will be the perfect fit for you and how you can save money in the process, here are a few cottage rental tips I have picked up over time.

Cottage

One of the first things you should look for when you are deciding on which cottage to rent is check if the cottage not only has road access, but if the cottage also have amenities like indoors plumbing, access to tap water, a boiler for water heating ad so on. In everyday life we rarely think about these types of things, but when you are tinging about renting a cottage, especially if it is deep in the woods or in a remote place, some of these amenities might not be there. For example there might be a septic system in the bathroom of your cottage instead of full on plumbing, which means that you need to watch out as to what you flush down the toilet. The same goes for what type of water is pumped through the tap. In a cottages by the lake a common practice is to have you water come from the lake which means you shouldn’t drink it without boiling it and it shouldn’t be also used for cooking and such. So make sure you know these things about the cottage you will be renting.

Also you should do your research about the surrounding area of your cottage beforehand. Make sure you know how far away is the closest store or town where you might find all your necessities if you run out of food, booze or anything else. Also for families especially you should check where is the closest hospital or doctor, as anything can happen when you are exploring an unknown territory. On top of that a closest town can be a great way to spend one of your vacation days, because smaller towns often offer unique shops or attractions, that you might not have in your hometown.

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For those who are in the 48% and like to fish, hunt or do other outdoors activities while on vacation, you also need to know what type if any licenses or permits you need to have. There are times when you need to have a special license to fish on the lake or to operate a boat on the lake. So read up on the laws of the place where you will be renting your cottage, because nothing puts a damper on your holidays like a fine from the local law enforcement.

And lastly don’t be afraid to ask for as much of pictures and descriptions as possible from the owners of the cottage you will be renting. You want to rent a nice place and you also want to be prepared for your vacation, so inquire about everything. Even if the owners don’t provide much pictures on the internet, ask them to send you some more. And also ask about things like cooking utensils, bed sheets, the type of beach there is next to the house, if the cottage and the area is pet friendly if you have a pet, if there is access to the internet or cell coverage and so much more. The more questions you will ask, the better you will know about the place you will be renting and if it is suited for your needs. And don’t forget to look up reviews, too, because if the price is too good to be true, chances are there is something wrong with the area or the cottage itself and you will quickly find out what by reading the reviews on the place.

And when you are renting a cottage then don’t forget to think about money and maybe even take out a simple loan (sesxebi) or a zero interest loan (უპროცენტო სესხები) if you can.

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How to Find Cheap Accommodations?

Weather you want to travel but you don’t have a lot of money or you just want to see the world for as cheap of a price as possible, cheap accommodations are a must, because other than the travel tickets, accommodations usually are the most expensive thing you have to pay for. But to a traveling newbie finding inexpensive places to stay can seem impossible, which is why I wanted o provide some options for you, so you can travel without spending a ton of money.

couchsurfing

One of the best ways how to find cheap places to stay and that will also give you the benefit of staying somewhere where you can meet local, who can suggest you all the best places to visit, is to use a website to find your accommodations. There are multiple different ones, where you can even find places to stay for free or a small fee, but the most popular ones and most reliable ones are Couchsurfing.org, Globalfreeloaders.com, Hospitalityclub.org as well as Stay4free.com. And if you decide on staying with someone who offers their home as a staying place for travelers, usually these people are outgoing and will not only tell you more about the place you are, than you will find in travel guides, but will also take you to parties, local hangouts and show you all the best places, so you can really get to know the place and the culture in that place.

Another option, if you don’t want to stay at a strangers home, is to stay in a hostel rather than a hotel or motel. Hostels are the perfect thing for those who want to travel chap, because they are pretty inexpensive. Of coarse because they are fairly cheap, they do offer a dormitory-style accommodations, where all the facilities are shared usually including the place you will be sleeping. But again that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because that gives you the chance to communicate with other people, other travelers to not only meet new people but to find buddies to go touring the city with. On top of that, most hostels offer smaller single or double rooms for only a slightly larger price, so you really can get the same type of stay like you would in a hotel, but actually spend that much less money. And it is not uncommon thing for hostels to actually offer more different amenities than hotels, so I think it is a no brainier to chose a hostel in the place of a hotel.

short-term rental

And lastly there is the option to chose a short-term rental instead of a hotel or a hostel which essentially is a fully furnished and operational apartment or house, that other people rent out. Because they aren’t equipped with things like room-service and such, these types of accommodations tend to be cheaper that hotels. Also rentals offer a lot of amenities and a total privacy if you are the type of traveler who wants to keep to themselves or if you are traveling with your family. In short you could say that by choosing a short-term rental you can have the comfort of staying at home while you actually are traveling the world. And websites like Airbnb.com and Wimdu.com make it easy to find the best places and rent them.

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Summer Camp Survival Tips

Summer sleep away camp is something any and every kid should experience at leas once, because it can be a great fun and an event that you will remember for a long time. However if you are going to your first ever camp, it can be overwhelming, because you don’t know what to pack and what to expect from the camp itself. So let me help you with some summer camp survival tips, that will let you have the best camping experience possible.

1. Decide on what fun things to bring

Camp ca be daunting especially if you don’t know anybody, so while you are packing for camp you should really decide on what to bring to the camp to have something to do as well as to make friends faster. Many people assume that there will be things like footballs and voleyball balls at the camp, but it won’t hurt if you bring your own, so you can struck up a friendly game and that way meet some people at the camp. Another great thing to bring is a portable speaker, as that way you can be the DJ of you cabin or of your whole camp and make many friends by taking their song requests or organizing an impromptu dance parties. Just check your camp’s regulation or ask permission beforehand so you don’t go against rules and your stuff doesn’t end up confiscated by the camp chancellors.

2. Pack extra

Camp packing

Many camps provide their campers with a list of essentials that they absolutely should bring to the camp, but that list usually is far from complete. So better pack some extra things than to not have them during camp. You should also probably pack a few more extra changes of clothes than you think you will need, since often you can end up dirtying your clothes in the middle of the day by doing different activities that the camp offers and having to change a couple of more times than you originally anticipated.

3. Bring flashlight

A any camp essential is a flashlight, because it can come in handy on many different occasions. Yes, you can use the flashlight app on your phone, but it isn’t as convenient as using a real flashlight. On top of that the flashlight app will drain your phone battery which you don’t want so just bring an actual flashlight. Just remember to pack some extra batteries too, because you will be glad to have them when you end up using your flashlight every evening of the camps duration.

4. Make sure you have ways to contact your family

summer camp mail

And lastly also make sure that you have sure ways to contacting your family. Be it scheduled phone calls, letters or face-time chats with your family and friends back home. Almost everybody gets lonely at some point during stay-away camp, which is totally normal. So talking to your family or friends can help heal the loneliness and get you back on track of enjoying the summer at camp and making a lifetime of memories.

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How to Protect Your Home While Traveling

Traveling is a hobby that many people do, because it allows us to see other parts of the world and truly feel like we are on a vacation. But especially for those who will be taking longer trips, it is important to secure your home, so you don’ t end up with a “Home Alone” situation of someone robbing your home just because you were away for the holidays.

Keep an eye on your home

Keep an eye on your home

One of the best ways to have a piece of mind during your vacation and to make sure that nothing has happened with your home during your holiday is to keep an eye on your home. One option is to install a security camera and monitor your home that way, But if you don’ t want to spend that much money, you can always ask a friend or family member to stop by your home a couple of times while you are away and see if everything is in order. Just make sure you repay that friend when you get back by bringing him or her a souvenir or taking that said friend out for lunch. But if you don’t have anyone who could do it, you can always ask you neighbors or even set up your web-cam as a make shift security camera., so you can be sure that your home is safe while you are away.

Make it look like you are home

Make it look like you are home

Another option for those who are extra concern about their homes during vacation is to make it look like you are home even though you actually are lounging on the beach on a tropical island or skiing in the Alps. To achieve the you-are-still-home look you should make sure that there is some type of activity inside as well as outside your home. You can but a cheap push light and place it in the window so it appears that the lights are on during the night. You can also put up motion sensing light outside your home, so it lights up every time somebody walks by or even a cat or a dog wanders in your yard, so it appears that somebody is still living in your home or use light timers so the lights come up at a certain part of the evening. And you can even have somebody tend your garden or do some house work while you are gone, so there is somebody there at least one or two days during your vacation. Putting up a MP3 player with recorded conversation on the loop could be a bit much, but if you want to be extra safe, then you can do that as well.

Take inventory

Take inventory

Also it is important to know what you have, so that you are able to recognize if something is missing when you get back. There are people who can’ t even name all of the electronics or valuables they have in their home, because we rarely pay close attention to these things in our everyday life. Also by taking inventory and putting it down either on a piece of paper or even in a spreadsheet on your computer, you will be prepared if the worst has happened and you have actually been robbed, since this detailed inventory will not only help the police to find your things but will also help you get a reward from your insurance company if you have insured your home.

Don’t post about your vacation online

Don’t post about your vacation online

In modern internet age, we tend to post so many things online and often popular thing to post about is your amazing vacation. However, many don’ t realize that the pictures from your holidays on Instagram or posts on Facebook about where and when you are traveling can actually serve thieves as tips that you are truly not home and they can go explore your home. So refrain from posting about your vacation or at least indicate that somebody stayed behind in your posts, so it is not that obvious that your home is empty and unprotected.

Don’t let your mail pile up

Letters on writing desk

Letters on writing desk

And finally you also shouldn’t let your mail pile up in your mail box, as that is a sure indicator that nobody is home. You can either ask your post office to hold your mail for the duration of your vacation, have you neighbor collect your mail or even as your friend to not only check on your home but also collect your mail. Additionally this will not only make your home safer against thieves but also prevent your mail box from filling up and you missing some important letters and bills that you have to take care off when you get back from vacation.

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Best U.S. Beach Resorts

Many people tend to book their vacation during the summer, because that way they will get the chance to enjoy the warm and sunny weather. And what better way to spend your vacation than to lounge on the beach or enjoy the many activities that most beach resorts provide? So let me tell you about the best beach resorts in the world, where your vacation will feel like a fairy tale rather than regular summer vacation.

1. Ocean House in Coastal Rhode Island

Ocean House

If you want to spend your holidays in a beach resort with an touch of Victorian era, then the Ocean House might be the hotel you are looking for. In the 20th century this hotel was frequented by America’s elite and then in 2003 the hotel was closed. Luckily for travelers in 2010 it was opened again, renovated, restored and better than ever. Now this hotel offers a luxury coastal refuge on the inside and a historical feeling surroundings on the outside. This five-star hotel is right on a beautiful, sandy beach, and offers 49 rooms and 14 suites, a SPA, restaurant, beach bar and so much more. And the best part, you don’t even have to go out of country to feel like you are somewhere in Europe.

2. Four Seasons Resort Maui in Wailea, Hawaii

Four Seasons Resort Maui 2

A bit more tropical beach resort, that however still is in U.S., therefore provides easier travel is the Four Seasons in Wailea, Hawaii. It is located only half an hour from Maui’s airport, but provides a beach escape with amazing pool, beautiful scenery and many different things to do at the hotel and around it. Although guests of this hotel cannot stay in bungalows like in other Four Seasons destinations, the hotel still offers 320 rooms and 29 suits for you to chose from with beautiful beach scenery outside your window, so you will still feel like you are in a beach bungalow. There also is Five-star fitness center in the hotel and three world-class golf courses are located in walking distance of the hotel, for those who like a bit more active vacation. For shopping fanatics, Wailea Alanui Drive is less than mile away and filled with all the best high end and mid-range retailers. And of coarse the beaches around the hotel are top-noch.

3. Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica

Shutters on the Beach

For a Santa Monica beach getaway with a near proximity to many of the top Los Angeles spots you have the Sutters on the Beach, a luxury hotel right on the beach. This hotel offers a selection of 198 different rooms which although vary from rooms with ocean view to ocean front suites, all are decorated in beach house style with a posh yet comfortable feel. There is a SPA and fitness center in the hotel, a beautiful beach that is equipped with paths along it so you can bike, jog, roller blade or stroll along the beach without getting sand in your shoes and multiple different restaurants in the hotel. And places like Venice, Malibu and Third Street Promenade aren’t far so you can experience LA and beach all in one trip.

4. Inn Above Tide in Sausalito

Inn Above Tide

And last but definitely not least is the Sausalito luxury hotel called Inn Above Tide, proving beautiful San Francisco Bay scenery, spectacular rooms and plenty of small restaurants and shops so you would feel more like you are somewhere in Europe than California. Although this hotel has only 31 rooms and suites, that only adds to the small beach town feel of the hotel and its area. While being at this hotel you can either enjoy the amenities that the hotel provides like the SPA and restaurants, take a stroll through the village of Sausalito or visit the scenic Sonima and Napa vineyards that are close by. Turn your regular vacation into a romantic getaway with your partner.