As they've been telling us all year... Tomorrow is DOOMSDAY!!! Insert thudding dramatic music. As the end of the Mayan calendar approaches (which apparently signals the end of the world), the question is – where will you spend your last day on earth? If you're struggling for ideas I've got some suggestions for you until morning arises on the 22nd... ahem... I mean until we all die in an Armageddon blaze of fury!
With so many people these days either losing their jobs, becoming dis-satisfied with the 9 to 5 lifestyle, or simply just getting into their 30s, 40s, and .50s realising that they put off their life for other things, it is becoming more popular for those outside the 18 to 30 age band to go travelling!
Despite the higher wage band & disposable income older travellers tend to have, when it comes to taking a year off or extended career break many still find that they need to look at hostels as a cost-effective way to prolong their travels (and reduce accommodation costs versus hotels.) However, every time I speak to any older travellers that I come across, usually pre-departure they were worried about being 'too old' for a hostel. They were worried they may look out of place or find it hard to make friends their own age in hostels. Would there even be people their age was one of the questions I was asked a lot!
Our most popular article here on the Runaway Jane blog for PLUS was when we told you what the top 10 cheapest countries were in Europe for hostel prices. When you know where the cheapest countries are, if your plans are flexible enough, you can really save yourself some money by choosing where you travel wisely! Equally, if you know where the most expensive countries are to stay and travel, then you can save yourself money by limiting your time in each one that features on your itinerary, whilst extending your time in the more budget-friendly places! For that reason I have compiled a list of the top 5 most expensive countries in Europe to help with your travel planning in the continent.
(Please note; All prices where applicable have been converted into the equivalent in Euros based on the exchange rate of 10th December 2012.)
(Please note; The following top 10 destinations are all based on data provided by HostelBookers.com. These were the 10 destinations that received the most bookings this year worldwide on their hostel booking website.)
Every good hostel will offer you breakfast in the morning – whether it is complimentary (included in the price), or something a bit better that you need to pay for on top. Either way, the facility should always be there, but more importantly for the majority of hostels which do offer breakfast in the mornings – what makes a good breakfast by hostel standards? When you're only paying €10 a night for instance what should you be able to expect?
Staying in a hostel dorm room can make your travels much cheaper (as we discussed in a previous post about dorm rooms versus private rooms .) One of the most common (but easily resolvable) issues that people have in a dorm room as opposed to in a private room is showering. You can sometimes find during busy check-out times that there's a queue to the showers in some hostels around the world. You'll also find that not all hostels have the same standard of facilities as PLUS hostels do. Either they are too small, there's nowhere to hang your clothes/put your stuff, or they are just simply not cleaned regularly enough. The list goes on...
The question is how do you resolve the most common issues with showering in a hostel that may or may not be up to the high standards of PLUS?
When booking a room in a hostel you usually have two choices – a bed in a dormitory style room sharing with other backpackers, or a bed in a private room more akin to something you'd get in a hotel. Very rarely will you come across a hostel that doesn't offer both these types of rooms, which is great because it means if you don't like sharing with other people you don't have to! However, if you don't have the money for the more expensive private rooms you're not stuck! What I wanted to do in this post was really whittle down though which type of room was better. When you're deciding which type of room to go for in a hostel, which one should you pick?
No matter where you are in the world or what it is you do, most of us will always try to make it home for Christmas. Even in the cold northern hemisphere winter, most of us still want to be at home during the actual day. However, for those of us with busy lives, limited funds, or who're off travelling half way across the world – it's not always possible to fly home for Christmas Day. It certainly wasn't when I spent my Gap Year in Australia way back in 2006/07. The price of a ticket home just wasn't within my budget then, and it just wasn't practical to fly a 24 hour flight home for 1 day... only to fly back again! During that time I learned a few things about how to make the most of a Christmas spent abroad travelling... So with that in mind I thought I'd pass these tips on to you!
Buddy up at your hostel
For those of us with a thirst for travel, sitting at home in an office all day or in a job that keeps us stationary can be the most frustrating thing. It can leave us feeling unfulfilled, wishing we were travelling the world instead of at home doing the same old thing everyday.
As someone who has been fortunate enough to find a job that I love (and that allows me to travel often), I always say to people who complain about their jobs that if you’re really unhappy with it then change what you do. I was unhappy once, and the only reason I am not still unhappy was because I made a decision one day to stop doing the things that made me miserable, and to go after the career that I really wanted. Sitting around wishing for a more fulfilling life won’t do anything. Actually going out and attempting to make a change will! Or at the very least you won’t live with regrets because you’ll know that you tried.
Italy is one of those countries where travelling on a budget is really easy! Train travel here is some of the cheapest you will find in Western Europe, and with luxury hostels/camp sites such as PLUS offering prices from €10 a night (in PLUS Camping Roma) – your main travel expenses such as transport and accommodation can be kept extremely low.
We don’t go travelling though just to sit in our accommodation all day! We want to see and experience what a place has to offer in what can often be a short time scale…