Friday, April 11, 2014

European Travel Tips

Word has gotten out that I have a knack for travel

and all of the components within.

This news makes me SO happy!
I love when people send me emails asking
questions about how to do this or that while traveling.

I could probably sit down and talk about the ins and outs
of travel all day long and never get tired of it.

Which is probably why i'm dedicating like 100% of my time at the moment to
writing up a business plan that has travel written all over it.

I love to travel, I love to talk about travel
& I love to help other people travel easier and cheaper.
Cheaper being a BIG bonus to most people.

Casey {a reader of le blog & a really nice lady} 
asked me a question the other day and I thought I'd address it on the blog.
It's a great question and I feel like loads of people have it.
So I thought I'd just blog about it.

Ok, so traveling between countries can be really cheap or really expensive. 
That's a pretty obvious statement...

I've taken my fair share of trains, buses and planes. 
Telling you that one is better than the other would be a lie
because they all have their pro's and cons.

If you are thinking about trains I would suggest a euro rail pass, 
you can buy them online, they aren't cheap up front but it could save you tons 
if you plan on traveling by train frequently. 

The way a eurorail pass works is kind of tricky.
It looks like a train ticket but it's a pass that will act as multiple tickets.
You have to buy the pass in advance so if you like the idea of buying tickets
at the drop of a hat then forego the pass and just buy tickets as you travel.

The pass covers the cost of train tickets over a certain number of days.
The cost of the pass depends on how many days you plan on traveling by train.

So if you have a well planned out trip where you know
the days you'll need to get from point A to point B then you
would know how many days you'd need to buy for your pass.

Every time you ride the train, whether it's for an hour or for 12 hours
you are using a day off your pass so you have to be careful
not to use up all of your days on just small train rides.
Use the pass for getting from one town/country to another.
Make it worth using a day.

I used a euro rail pass when I studied abroad 
and it saved us some serious cash. 
I would recommend the Euro Rail Pass to anyone
wanting to travel through Europe, just remember it will
feel expensive when you buy it up front but later on when
your train trips are basically free you'll feel better about it.

If you don't mind dealing with airports then you can go a cheap route 
and use Europe's budget airlines called easy jet and Ryan air. 

Both airlines have scandalously low flight prices, 
for example, we are flying to Italy round trip for £50 per person. 
It's crazy!! 

The only con to these budget airlines are that they
find ways to make you pay more than you thought you'd have to.

I think it's easy jet that charges for picking a seat.
If you choose to forego that step they will assign you a random seat.

They also charge for baggage and have really strict carry on rules.
So keep that in mind as the cost can add up quickly,
but also remember that a train can take 12 hours to get to Rome
while a plane only takes about 3.

Last but not least are the buses. 

The only bus system I've ever tried has been MegaBus. 
We payed about £20 for a round trip ticket to London from Liverpool. 
I know it can be cheaper than that and also more expensive than that.
It all depends on time of day you travel and where you're going.

It's meant to be a really cheap way of traveling and it's pretty comfortable too. 
Plus If you don't mind the trip taking longer and you like the idea 
of seeing Europe as you drive by (at a slower pace than a train) 
then you might like the bus option.

Honestly you can't go wrong getting to places in Europe...
unless you hitch hike, I wouldn't advise that ;) 

That's all for now.
Feel free to throw any and all questions at me
that have to do with travel or living abroad or any of the above.



Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Hostel Life

My mom gave me this topic yesterday
because she's got some friends who wanted some info
on whether or not to choose the Hostel Life while traveling.

I remember when I would tell people my plans
for backpacking around after my semester in Paris.
I'd tell them that we'd be staying in Hostel's and
the reaction was always really really bad...

How on earth could I be that crazy??
Do I want to get my stuff stolen
or worse, do I want to be KILLED?? 

I don't think people know enough about these unique places.
A lot of people have bad impressions of hostels because of
what other people have said or even because of Hollywood.

Hostels in Europe are not like the Hostel movies!!
For real people, that's not real!!

That's why most people were horrified when I told them
where we'd be staying, If hostels were really that bad
then they wouldn't be around anymore.

But they are around and to be perfectly honest I think they are great.
They are great for the money if you like to budget.
They are a great place to meet other people and
get involved in some different activities that you may
have otherwise missed out on.

Let me break it down for you.
Hostels are similar to Hotels.
You have a bed and a place for all of your belongings.
Sometimes you have a TV but most times you won't.

There are different types of rooms at most hostels.
Male dorms
Female dorms
Mixed dorms
Private ensuite
Private w/ shared bathroom

Dorms are cheap because you are in a larger room
with bunk beds all around.

I've seen dorms range from 4 beds to 28 beds.
I wouldn't advise the 28 bed ones because
that's way too many people coming in and out.

But for cost sake you can get in a dorm with 4, 6, 8 beds
and it's really not a bad experience at all.

Some people will be scared of sharing space like that
mostly because they are afraid to leave their stuff in a room
with people that they don't know.

That's not an issue, mostly because people aren't staying in hostels
so they can steal your stuff. A lot of the people at hostels are just trying
to save some money on their travels, just like you.

That being said...don't be dumb and leave your stuff out.
Always lock your stuff up no matter what.

Every hostel i've stayed at 
where we stayed in a dorm has had some way of
locking up your stuff.

Most of the time it's a locker.
Some hostels supply them for free and some charge.
It really just depends but that's something you'll want to
check out if you plan on staying in a dorm.

Hostels also have Private rooms.
Most of them do anyways.

You can always go the private room route,
it's a little more expensive but it may be cheaper than
going to a hotel.

Another plus is that all of the rooms will be locked
and you'll either have a key or a card to get inside.

So in a private room situation you know your
stuff is locked in the room just like if you were in a hotel.

Bathrooms would be where I would pay the most attention.
Most of the hostels i've stayed at have had shared bathrooms.
For some people that's a big turn off but it's really not bad at all
as long as you bring some sort of shower shoe to wear.

Some Hostels have bathrooms in the room.
This is mostly for privates but sometimes there's even
a bathroom in some of the smaller dorms.

Traveling in Europe can be relatively cheap if you do it right.
Hostels are the cheap persons best friend.

If you don't have a problem spending money on a place to stay
then you might as well seek the comfort of a hotel.

Sometimes, depending on how many people are in your party,
a private room in a hostel can be just as expensive as a hotel.

Because you pay for the number of people, not just for the room.
I won't lie, hotels can be the better choice.

But there is something really fun about the Hostel life.
I've had hosts at a hostel make me breakfast because
it was a smaller place and the owners really liked to take care of you.

I've gone on tours that I didn't know existed because I stayed in a hostel.
I also got to meet some pretty cool people along the way.

If you're thinking of staying in a Hostel but you aren't sure
just bite the bullet and do it once.

You never know, you may love the simplicity of the hostel life.
Plus you're most likely on the trip of a lifetime, so the place you lay your head
is where you'll be spending the least of your time...right??
So spend less at a hostel and have more money for your trip.
It's as easy as that!!

Here are the two main hostel websites that I use.

I hope this post was helpful.
If you have a question about Hostel's leave a comment
and i'll get back to you! :)

Friday, January 24, 2014

HW Travel Blog | Welcome

Hello everyone.
If you're here in this little
corner of the internet then that means
you either follow my main blog Hopeful Wandering
or you just stumbled upon this little space on your own.
It doesn't matter how you got here
I'm just glad that you did.

If you've read any of HW then you know my story,
if you haven't then here's a refresher course.

I'm Emily
I met Tom online
He's British
We chatted
for some time
before finally 
coming together
in June of 2013.

Fast forward to
January 2014
and you'll find me,
Emily, living it up
in England with Tom
for 5 months.

Whirlwind love story at it's finest.
Head on over to my blog HW for more about us.

Now what you'll find over here is quite different from what 
you'll see at hopeful wandering.

This is my travel blog.

I want to write about the places i've been,
the places i've dreamed of and
the places i think everyone should visit.

I'll post about the places I go with Tom
and the places i've been without Tom.

In fact we're about to go on a few adventures
over the next couple of months.
& more.

My hope is that one day i can use this
blog as a a reference guide for some future endeavors.
I have some entrepreneurial ideas in my noggin.
This could be something along the lines of a portfolio.

I'm really really excited about this.
I hope you'll follow along with me on
my travel journey as well as my romantic one ;)