Couchsurfing Experiences and Tips
On a cold evening in February 2009, I was trying to waste some time without internet at my grandparents’ house. I had three choices that night: vampire-themed fantasy romance novel New Moon, TV or a new magazine titled Joy I found in my mailbox earlier that day. I chose the third option and enthusiastically began to read the fashion magazine, which was nothing special, but one article caught my attention. It was on a new phenomenon called couchsurfing (also referred to as CS). The following day, when back at home, I curiously typed the URL address listed into a browser. You had to register to see more than a homepage, something that hasn’t changed til this day. I didn’t do it, but I cut the article out of the magazine and put it into a secret folder I owned.
It was only in 2013 that I decided to make a step forward and register. I still knew nobody who was using it, but more and more people were aware of it. Two years later, I had my first CS experience and it was wonderful. No, let me rephrase that: it was so good that I no longer wanted to travel any other way.
What is couchsurfing?
It is the world’s largest social travel network. Founded in 2003, it has a very simple concept. Many people have a couch in a living room that a stranger could crash on. This website lets you offer yours to a fellow traveller. What you get in return is a new friend and some company. Read More
AirBnB experiences and tips
For a really long time I couldn’t unserstand why people use AirBnB, when there are so many hotels, B&B and hostels around – until I tried it myself. After four very positive experiences with AirBnB, I can say I’m impressed with the whole system. Comfy rooms, friendly locals and cheap prices are the main reasons I’m using it more and more these days. Let’s start with the basic…
What is AirBnB?
Airbnb is a website where people rent out their rooms, apartments, and houses to people looking for a place to stay. Opened in 2008, it’s the biggest apartment rental website still functioning with over 2,000,000 listings worldwide. AirBnB allows you to stay in a wide range of lodging, from private rooms to treehouses, villas and castles.
Is Niagara Falls Adventure Pass worth buying?
In October 2015, me and my boyfriend spent a little less than 24 hours in Niagara Falls, Ontario. We arrived from Toronto and spent most of the day on Canadian side, which is better in terms of the view and activities offered, although I liked American side a lot more. It’s greener and more park-like.
Since this was our first time there, we pre-ordered Niagara Falls Adventure Pass before even flying out of Europe, but you can also get it at the Welcome Center for the same price (adult $54.95, child (6-12 years) $36.95, kids 5 and under free). My recommendation would be to buy it there, so you have an option of changing your mind. You need to visit ticket booth anyway to redeem the online ticket.
Journey Behind the Falls
Hornblower Niagara Cruises
White Water Walk
+ 2 days of bus transportation throughout Niagara Falls
Survival guide: Hostels
Staying in a dorm room gives you a possibility to meet more people but it can also be also be a cause of all kinds of trouble. Snores that don’t let you sleep all night, drunk people doing stupid things or beg bugs; it can be truly intimidating, so here are my tips for making your hostel experience more pleasant.
1. Female only or mixed dorms? Small or bigger rooms?
Many hostels offer female-only rooms. If you’re a solo female traveller, consider booking one of those. They are usually cleaner and quieter, but that’s not the rule. Maybe it’s just my luck, but I’ve never had any problems with male travellers, so I usually go for mixed bedroom instead. They tend to be a lot of fun and you will meet and bond with other people much faster.
On the contrary to popular belief, smaller rooms are not always the best choice. When I was travelling to London with my friend we somehow managed to book seperate rooms. She was in 3-bed mixed dorm, while I ended in 9-bed mixed dorm. When we went ot unpack and see where we sleep, we seperated. Fifteen minutes later, when I was joyfully chatting with three Brazilian students, my friend came to our room and told us her dorm stinks and a guy who was taking a nap at that time, was snoring loudly.
I discovered I meet more people in 9-bed or 12-bed mixed dorm. However, I only booked 20-bed room and regretted it a lot, because there’s absolutely no way you won’t get waken up every hour when there are so many travellers sharing a room.
2. The centre of the city or a quiet area?
Staying somewhere further from the city center has its advantages. Prices are usually lower, there is less traffic and supermarkets are more common. It’s smart to first check the public transport connections. In London, for example, it’s not the most intelligent choice to stay in a hostel situated in Zone 6. Underground tickets are very expensive even without that. While in Barcelona I’ve found the cutest hostel 25 minutes away from everything. And if you plan to party all night, stay in the heart of the city. It’s better to be close to the club, when you’re returning to your bed early morning.
3. Invest into a fake wedding ring
If you don’t want unwanted attention, buy yourself a cheap wedding ring on ebay or aliexpress. You can get them for $1 and yes, they work.
4. Flip-flops are not just for summer
Something I learnt the hard way, unfortunately. Nail fungus is the consenquence I still have to deal with (I know, gross). Always carry a pair of flip-flops if you plan to use a communal shower or option two, don’t shower at all (please don’t go for option two). Believe me, foot conditions are not something you want to deal with.