Welcome to Travelling Weasels, a blog about travelling around the world and living your dreams. My name is Laura and I travel the world full-time with my fiancé, Tanbay. We successfully weaselled our way out of the rat-race and want you to do the same.
House sitting in Ireland may be a dream come true for you: you can have a truly authentic Irish experience, for free! Through house sitting, you can live in a real Irish home whilst the homeowners go on holiday. In return for looking after their house and pets for free, you receive free accommodation and more, put simply it's a free exchange of services where everyone wins - especially the pets!
If you're thinking about house sitting in Ireland, here is a blog post about how to find house sits in Ireland, what to expect when you do your sit, and my own personal experiences house sitting in Ireland (to paint a picture of what it could be like for you):
House sitting jobs in Ireland
I have done multiple house sitting jobs across ten countries and three continents, but where do I find these house sitting jobs? Through Trustedhousesitters. They are the biggest house sitting website out there, and bigger, in this case, means better - there are an abundance of house sitting jobs waiting for you, including in Ireland. Currently, there are 29 house sits in Ireland alone, with more popping up each day.
House sitting in Ireland - what to expectIt rains a lot in Ireland
You must be used to that, I hear you cry, you're from England! Yes. And the difference between the weather in Ireland and the weather in England is that Ireland's weather is better. Sorry Anglophiles. In England, it will drizzle for days and be grey skied af. In Ireland you can have all four seasons in one day: I went for a two-hour walk and experienced rain (of course), stunning sunshine, hail (!), more rain, more sunshine etc. Yes, it rains in Ireland, but give it five minutes and it will be doing something else.
Snow, on the other hand, is a big deal. It rarely snows in Ireland but when it does it's deep and scary. In the countryside they don't grit the roads so you won't be able to go anywhere - make base camp at home, put the fire and the kettle on, and hope that the snow melts before your homeowners get back so they can get back in!
You might be house-sitting an eco-house
Or some kind of house that you might not be used to. There might be some kind of weird something - especially if you're out in the sticks, like a sewage system that stays on-site, a wind turbine, an outside privy, solar panels, or (very common in the sticks) not a lot of internet.
In my experience with eco houses, they're great to house sit: they're beautiful and they're the kind of house I want to live in in the future, but for newbie sitters, make sure you know how to reset the electricity if it goes off, how to work the hot water etc. etc.
There is a lot of livestock Ireland is a country that's devoid of people but full of livestock. As a house sitter, this means that your homeowners might have chickens for you to look after, or you might find the abundance of cattle a pain when you're walking the dog / trying to drive on the road etc. Ask your homeowners in advance if you can borrow their wellies, hello cowpats.
In Ireland (or at least in the countryside anyway), random people will say hi to you just because they recognise the home owner's car or dog or know that you're staying at "the McNamara" house. People leave their doors unlocked and people genuinely look out for each other.
Some house sitters have told me that they don't like feeling 'spied on' when they house sit: e.g. they don't like it when neighbours or family of the homeowner pop around to 'see if everything is alright'. If you are one of those house sitters, be warned you are guaranteed to be 'spied on' in Ireland. But don't worry, it's not about trying to dob you in, it's generally about being friendly!
Time and time again in Ireland strangers told me that it's illegal to drive if you've had anything to drink, but then proceeded to encourage me to do it anyway saying 'don't worry, there are no cops around here'. (Don't worry mum, I didn't.)
During my house sit in Ireland, a distant relative of the previous owner and his extended family came around to have a look at the house. This is pretty normal.
Sometimes friendly Irish people can seem (or be) a bit old fashioned. E.g. when the guy at the corner shop told me off for helping my man carry a box because I was emasculating him or whatever. Generally, in Ireland, this kind of casual sexism is done with the best of intentions, mainly by the older generation and is 'part of the experience'.
House sitting in Ireland - my personal experience
I've already touched on my personal experiences house sitting in Ireland with the casual sexism story and the family that came around to see their relatives' old house. But here is some more:
I was looking after one dog, two cats, four chickens, and an eco-house. The homeowners left me their car and each day I went to check on Granny's house and chickens too (she was away with them - sidestep to tell you this is one of the main reasons people have house sitters - it gives the homeowners the freedom to take their trusted family members on holiday with them, instead of asking them to house sit).
The dog was an absolute dream to look after, one of the most intelligent dogs I've ever met and super cuddly. With plenty of land for her to run around in, her brain and body were content and she didn't really need walking (nevertheless I generally took her up to Granny's). She did not like being walked in the rain (thank God) but loved cuddly up on the sofa with me in front of the fire. Dream dog.
The cats were both super cute, one was pretty shy and the other was very friendly. Both got on really well with the dog and they were a gorgeous little unit. Like cuddling up in a pile in front of the fire kind of gorgeous.
The chickens were easy: let them out in the morning, shut them in at night and make sure they have food and water. They were also cute.
The house was amazing: gigantic bathtub, cosy kitchen, plenty of space inside and out and a hot tub and a sauna!
This was an eco-house so there were wind turbines, solar panels and more. We didn't have to do anything out of the ordinary with these, but the hot water and heating were heated by the aga, which meant a little bit of pre-planning. All in all, it's a comfortable house that literally couldn't be more perfect in my eyes.
The homeowners were lovely, picked us up from the airport, dropped us off when they came back, left us a car and an abundance of food. I love you, Jess and Steve.
Conclusion: House Sitting IrelandAll in all, I really enjoyed house sitting in Ireland, and I'd definitely recommend it to someone who wants to start house sitting: it's foreign enough to feel foreign, but not so foreign that you feel lost - perfect for newbies. But also perfect for experienced house sitters: I personally found this to be the perfect place to crack on and finish my book.
Let me know if you have any questions about house sitting!
And if you would like updates on house sitting (and/ or my unrelated fiction book) please sign up to my mailing list :) :
Interests (select as many as you like)
Diary of a Teenage Psycho - (fiction book)
House sitting (tips, discounts, posts)
Job Offers (I'm hiring!)
Travel (tips, travel guides, rants etc)
Veganism (tips, travel guides, rants etc)
Marketing Permissions Please select all the ways you would like to hear from Travelling Weasels: Email You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails.
Living in a tourist destination in the USA can be hectic, especially when the rest of the world flocks to the same destination at a specific time every year. However, there are alternatives that you have when planning that weekend retreat for either your family or a group of friends. You can drive a few hours away to hideouts that are right outside Miami and still experience the tranquility of a tourist destination. Let us look at some of the places you can go for an unforgettable retreat.
Two hours west of Miami is the beautiful Naples where all activities ranging from golfing to shopping are available. You can easily get here by renting a bus from the Miami charter bus rental options available. Naples has a beautiful view of the vineyard, which would make for a great walk in this town. You can decide to enjoy this view after a morning of golfing. When the day gets warm in the afternoon, you can cool off at the beach as you get your tan. If your group has adventurous foodies, then the night can culminate with Italian cuisine at the Gastro pub Bar Tulia, which is open until midnight.
This quiet town sits south of Miami about 85 miles, which is an hour and 45-minute drive. If you do not want to take your team to Keys, this is the next best alternative. It is also a great destination for a conservative group that would not appreciate nudity and other extremes. Your first stop should be the famous Lorelei Restaurant where you will find all things including cocktails and sandwiches. Once you are full, you can head to the water for fun activities like kayaking and paddle boating. This will make for a fun competitive time until the sun sets.
For lovers of history, this is definitely a place you have to visit. Even though you will have to drive out for four hours and 40 minutes, it will be worth it. The uniqueness of this area is that the area gives out the feeling of being in Spain since it was established by the Spanish. You can take a tour through the remains of the once European settlement and enjoy the view of the magnificent Castillo de San Marcos fort. Once the group tours the area, you can balance the day out with a modern feel at the Columbia Restaurant.
If you are looking for a getaway that may also qualify as a hideout, then Crystal river is the place you need to visit. About four hours and 45 minutes Northwest of Miami, this area has a predominantly fishing community. It is also one of the few places in the world where you can swim with marine animals at close proximity. The group can go snorkeling while others can participate in the various fishing activities. After finishing all the water activities, you can enjoy delicious seafood at Margarita Breeze or Charlie’s Fish House.
Perhaps the closest getaway from Miami is Pompano Beach, which is only 40 minutes away. You will enjoy clean beaches and even get to go boating with the group. Once you are done with the water, you can have a group lunch at the foundry and order a large pizza for the group. If you feel up to a burger instead, then Burger & Suds is the place to go. You can finish the day by driving half an hour away to Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlour for sundaes that will cool you off.
Dive into the unknown this weekend and have a fun retreat in any of these unique places.
Shout out to my buddy Lauren for writing this post :)
Ask any blogger ever and they'll tell you all about the advantages of World Nomads - I myself even wrote a blog post about them and being injured abroad. But, when new-kid on the block SafetyWing rocked up offering similar advantages and more I knew I had to check them out and find out if SafetyWing is the new World Nomads Alternative. So, here is my SafetyWing review and comparison to World Nomads:
Why do we need travel medical insurance?
First things first, why do we even need travel medical insurance? As someone who hails from the UK (where our healthcare is free for everyone, always) it always pains me to fork out on healthcare, and it's not just any healthcare - it's futuristic healthcare that I may or may not ever need. I don't know what's worse: paying for something I don't ever use, or using it (which, of course, means I've been injured).
Okay the latter is obviously worst, but paying-for-something-I-don't-ever-use being the best case scenario is not even bad if you consider the third option: not getting travel medical insurance and having to live with the consequences - depending on what kind of injury you get and where you are, medical care abroad can cost hundreds and thousands of dollars.
Put simply, you have to get travel medical insurance, if you can't afford it, you can't afford to travel.
Many travel medical insurances aren't suitable for nomads, both SafetyWing and World Nomads offer something that most other insurances don't: you can get your insurance once you're already abroad and you can extend your trip with them as long as you like. But which one is better?
Is SafetyWing a good World Nomads Alternative?Do we need an alternative to World Nomads?
First things first, do we even need an alternative to World Nomads? As much as I like the ideals behind perfection, when it comes to consumerism choice is key - everyone's different and different people need different things. Furthermore, the idea of there being just one good insurance out there just doesn't sit right - what if they up the prices or down the services? World Nomads has reigned for a long time, is SafetyWing up to competing with them?
SafetyWing is both travel insurance and medical insurance - meaning that you're not only covered for travel emergencies (like flight cancellations) but medical emergencies too (and not just visiting hospitals, it also covers getting to the hospital too).
Founded in 2017 by nomads for nomads, SafetyWing is flexible, affordable and always available: they offer 24/7 support (which is very helpful if you need help finding a doctor abroad).
SafetyWing vs World Nomads comparison Safety Wing vs World Nomads Price
First things first, what are their prices like? We all know we'd rather spend our cash on anything other than insurance (regardless of how important it is), so of course, people are going to swing towards the cheaper one:
What I like about SafetyWing is how simple their prices are: $37/4 weeks.
With World Nomads their prices are from $43/4 weeks but it all depends on where you're from and where you're going. $43/4 weeks doesn't seem that much compared to $37/4 weeks, however, and this is a big however, if you leave Europe (to say, Thailand) the price skyrockets to nearly $100! This is a giant leap.
As for the price being dependent on where you're from for World Nomads, this always worked well for me (being from the UK gives you cheaper insurance from World Nomads than say Germany or the USA), but unlike many Brits, I try to think about people other than myself, why should the price of my insurance be cheaper because of where I was born? Okay sure, it's always going to be cheaper for Brits than Americans because their whole healthcare payment system is messed up, but why was it cheaper than Germans?
Another thing I don't like about World Nomads is that you have to pay extra for their explorer package, firstly it adds extra time onto an already boring task (researching insurances) and it's not very flexible - I don't know if I need certain things right now. Also, not buying the more expensive one makes me feel guilty.
Long story short: SafetyWing is cheaper and their prices are simpler than World Nomads.
SafetyWing vs World Nomads: What they cover
But what's the use of cheaper travel medical insurance if it doesn't actually cover everything you need? When it comes to everything you need it depends on the person in question, let's compare:
World Nomads has worldwide coverage, compared to SafetyWing which excludes North Korea, Cuba and Iran - if you're not going to these countries obviously this makes no difference to you.
World Nomads covers you for travel delays including missed flights, SafetyWing does not. However, I always book my flights through flight comparison site Kiwi and their guarantee covers delayed flights (and, put frankly, it's a lot easier to go through them than it is to claim back from World Nomads).
SafetyWing has limited coverage for sports and adventure activities (e.g. boxing isn't covered). But again, if that isn't your thing that won't matter to you.
SafetyWing vs World Nomads: Other advantagesSafetyWing has a bunch of other advantages compared to World Nomads, including, but not limited to:
SafetyWing offers an automatically renewing monthly subscription: This means that you can be flexible about how long you're travelling for, you don't risk forgetting to renew and, of course, that you don't have to pay out a big lump sum all in one go. Planning on going away for a year and run out of money half-way? Don't worry, you haven't paid for a year's travel medical insurance in advance (which I always used to do with World Nomads because their yearly prices are cheaper, though still not as cheap as SafetyWing's).
Because it's a single price for worldwide travels (not including the USA), it means you don't have to know where you're travelling in advance. Travelling around Europe when your new friends invite you to Morocco? Don't worry, you don't need more travel medical insurance. This is a gigantic advantage that World Nomads doesn't offer (they charge more for certain destinations).
SafetyWing offers coverage in your home country for 30 days out of every 90 days (or 15 days if you're from the USA), this is unique to SafetyWing. Home-sick on your year out? Unexpected event back at home (birth, death etc)? You can travel home without worrying about being insured.
Verdict: SafetyWing vs World Nomads
All in all, both SafetyWing and World Nomads do what you want from a travel medical insurance: they have travel medical and accident coverage, emergency evacuation, 24-hour assistance and more. Additionally, they both are designed for nomads - you can extend your trip whilst you're abroad or even buy your insurance once you're already abroad.
When it comes to SafetyWing vs World Nomads there's not much in it when it comes to differences in what they cover (unless of course, you're going to North Korea to do a boxing match), ultimately unless you're a certain group of people (boxers/people going to North Korea), you can focus on what all nomads like to focus on most: price, where SafetyWing are the clear winners.
Conclusion: SafetyWing World Nomads Alternative?
In conclusion, I like both SafetyWing and World Nomads (hence why you're reading about them here) and I encourage you to choose either of them. Personally, I choose SafetyWing because it's the clear winner for nomads, it's cheaper and has more advantages. But as long as you make sure you have travel medical insurance I am happy with you :)
Let me know if you have any questions about either or travel medical insurance in general.
After five years travelling the world non-stop what do I have to show for it? What have I actually learned? How to find cheap flights of course! Which is the best flight search engine, where to nab a Kiwi flights promo code as well as a Skyscanner promo code. And how to do it environmentally (ish).
Shouldn't we stop flying?But, Laura, I thought you were working on becoming woke, I thought you cared about the environment? Why are you flying?
For the past two years (ever since 2017 where I took an ugly 25 flights including five that were inter-continental), I've been trying to stop flying. I haven't been successful. In 2018 I managed to reduce it to 10 and so far in 2019 I'm down to 3 (though I do have 5 more booked...) I do feel guilty about it, but I think blog posts like Sam from Alternative Travelers' post: Should we stop flying? bring up a good point: quitting flying is a nice idea to strive for, and it's definitely something we should work towards, but it's probably not possible for many people.
How many people (assuming they're rich enough to travel in the first place) also have the luxury of time (not to mention the money) it takes to really stop flying? Travelling without flying takes so.much.longer. and it costs an arm and a leg and if you want to do it comfortably, it will cost the other arm and leg too. Essentially, to be able to stop flying is a class privilege in itself.
Why should it only be the mega-rich who get to travel guilt-free?
Some people have limited time off work and don't want to spend most of that time travelling to get to their holiday. Some people have to fly for work, for a job where video-calling isn't an option (though whilst I'm on that point, if you haven't already asked if this is an option at your workplace, please do). A lot of people learn valuable lessons abroad, (check out the biggest lesson I learned from travelling). For many, it's a great slap in the face that highlights how privileged they really are. Many people have family abroad that they understandably want to see.
Yes, there are definitely steps we can all take to reduce our flights, but it's high time we stopped shaming each other and went for the big problematic corporations instead.
Anyway, I think you should reduce your flights, of course, but if you have to continue to fly, use the system to beat it at its own game:
Learn how to find the cheapest flights
Make those flights even cheaper with promo codes
And then use the money you've saved to donate to carbon-offsetting companies like myclimate.org.
This non-profit calculates how many emissions you'll be expelling and then gives you options on how to compensate for that e.g. by donating to farmers to stop deforestation.
At the end of the day, if you don't take that Ryanair flight, it'll still go without you. But give Ryanair as little money as possible so you can support the people really making a difference.
So without further ramble, let's learn how to find cheap flights:
Best flight search engine
The first step in finding cheap flights is finding the best flight search engine. There's no point scouring all the different airlines when there are websites out there designed to do that for you.
But, a word of caution, as with many hotel search engines, there are many flight search engines out there that simply don't find you the best flight. e.g. let's google 'best flight search engine' that leads us straight to Expedia. If I put in some random destination and dates, say London - Budapest return flight 1 Jul - 13 Jul, I get this:
$156 dollars (approx £119), not so bad but we can do better, a quick search on Kiwi gives us this:
Same dates, same destination, £54, boom, more than 50% discount.
Two more minutes of searching, this time on Skyscanner gives me this:
Same dates, same destination, £52 - £2 less.
Sure, £2 is probably not a lot for you, if that's true, donate it to a carbon-off-setting charity.
But can we trust Skyscanner and Kiwi? Most people have heard of Expedia, but Kiwi is a fruit and Skyscanner sounds like a disease. I've been using Kiwi for the last two years and Skyscanner for the last five, and here are my reviews:
Skyscanner is a favourite among travel bloggers, it quickly searches all the flight comparison websites to find you the best deal and then takes you to said site.
Skyscanner review - destination sectionSkyscanner is very straightforward to use: choose where you want to go or (blogger favourite) pick 'Everywhere' to find the cheapest flight from your nearest airport:
(Incidentally, this is why I flew to Budapest the first time around - it was the cheapest flight out of Rome.)
Skyscanner review - date sectionYou can pick specific dates, or if you're a bit more flexible, choose the whole month to find the cheapest dates:
Which will lead you to this page where you can select the best dates/price:
Which then takes you to a page where you can look at all the flights from that day:
What I like about Skyscanner, is it doesn't just give you the cheapest flights, but also the fastest flights - sometimes on your search for how to find cheap flights, you'll find cheap ones, that take you three hundred years (a slight exaggeration, don't at me), sometimes the best flight is slightly more expensive but takes a lot less time, Skyscanner shows you both options.
Skyscanner has many other useful filters: choose if you want direct flights only, what time of day you want to leave/arrive, which airlines you want to exclude and more - my suggestion to you is to play around with this website as much as possible.
You can also set up price alerts to get the best flight.
Once you've found your flights, Skyscanner takes you to the website they found the price from - it may be the airline itself or another flight search engine.
Actually, this is one I the things I prefer about Kiwi: once you've found your flights on Kiwi you pay through Kiwi and Kiwi protects you, but more about Kiwi here:
Kiwi flights review
Personally, I prefer Kiwi to Skyscanner. I find the site easier to use and more minimalistic in general. That's enough for me to use it more. But Kiwi has a lot more to offer:
Kiwi guarantee: if your flight is cancelled or delayed, Kiwi's guarantee covers you. This is a big.deal. They will
offer you an alternative flight
or your money back
contribute to transport to another airport
and overnight accommodation
and food and drink.
This takes a big weight off my mind when I book with them. Read the full terms here: Kiwi guarantee.
Kiwi flights review - destination section
Kiwi's destination is similar to Skyscanner, simply input where you want to go - they also have the 'Everywhere' option, except they call it 'Anywhere':
But Kiwi has an advantage here over Skyscanner: you can choose your destination specifically or be broad and choose a radius:
Which gives you more options, if you're flying to the UK to spend time in Bristol/Birmingham, it might be better to fly straight into them (getting across the UK by train/bus/car is irritating and expensive):
You can expand this circumference or make it smaller:
You can even do this for the 'from' section too,
So, you might find it's better to fly from Bratislava or Vienna or Debrecen etc.
Another thing I love about Kiwi is it suggests things like this:
Once you've picked your dates and destinations etc, you'll find yourself on a similar page to Skyscanner's (just neater in my opinion)
Again like Skyscanner, Kiwi also shows you not just the cheapest but the fastest and best too.
Kiwi not only has all of Skyscanner's filters it has other filters too: nonstop only, travel times, price filter, carriers, airports anddd the most useful of all 'include flights without checked bags'.
Kiwi flights review - date sectionLike Skyscanner, Kiwi will let you choose specific dates or choose a whole month, but again, Kiwi goes the extra mile and offers more:
You can choose 'Anytime':
Pick a range of dates that you want to depart on and/or return on:
Or (my personal favourite), pick a range of dates for your departure (or a specific date) and then state your min and max trip length:
So say you want to visit your friend on a specific Friday, and you want to stay at least 2 nights, but no longer than 10, Kiwi will find the best prices and dates for you.
Once you've found the flights you want (again I recommend playing around) you can book directly through kiwi:
I used to look at which flight I wanted on Kiwi and then go directly to the flight website itself (e.g. Wizzair). Then I heard about Kiwi's guarantee and decided to book through them, at which point I realised that I much prefer booking on Kiwi to booking on the actual flight websites themselves, there's no bull, no adverts, no trying to trick you into buying 329 different insurances (looking at you Ryanair).
Best of all, you can give Kiwi your passport details at a later date - and after you've given them to Kiwi, Kiwi checks in online for you. Yey.
Word of caution with Kiwi: don't make the mistake of booking through Kiwi and then logging into Ryanair/ EasyJet/ Wizzair/ whatever and looking for your flight and then freaking out that it's not there. It's all on the Kiwi app/ website and it's there, don't worry. You can either print out your ticket or do the environment a favour and download the app and show it on there. (Yes I get the irony of recommending you to print a flight ticket.)
How to find cheap flights
So do you go for Kiwi or Skyscanner? Even though I clearly prefer Kiwi, I still do quick searches on both. There are usually only a few pounds difference (hey, every little helps) but sometimes there are big savings on one or the other. If Kiwi is more expensive but only by a little bit, I still opt for Kiwi because: a) you can book directly on their website b) they check in for you and c) the Kiwi guarantee.
More tips on how to find cheap flights:Use an incognito window when searching
Right click on your internet browser and pick 'new incognito window' (chrome) or 'new private window' (safari) this means kiwi/ Skyscanner won't be able to give you cookies (not the kind of cookies you want), which means that if you come back and do the same search at a later date they won't raise the prices for you.
This is a very old trick that is done not only by flight comparison websites but hotel websites too - they see that you've been there before, think "oh, this is a guaranteed buyer" and raise the prices, leaving you thinking "oh, I wish I'd booked before". Use an incognito window or private window to combat this.
Set up alerts
If you haven't found your perfect flight today and still have some time before you have to book, set up a price alert, as soon as the price falls they'll email you and you can book.
Use a VPN Whether or not a VPN can actually help you find cheaper flights is debated quite a lot. Some people swear by it, but the jury is still out. Either way it can't hurt to give it a go. VPNs (aka Virtual Private Networks) change your IP address to one you choose. Put simply, this can make it appear like you're in a different country all together. Do you see how this might be helpful already? By changing to another country you can at least use your favourite booking service from back home, and if you don't find any discounts a VPN is still critically helpful for keeping your laptop safe as you bounce from WiFi to WiFi. Give ProPrivacy a look to find one that works best for you.
House sitting or Airbnb? Which one is the one for you? No matter if you're a long term traveller or a short term traveller, I can help you choose between the two.
For two years Tanbay and I travelled the world rent-free thanks to house sitting, but after a while the responsibilities and the (occasional) limitations of house sitting made us consider other options. We stayed with Airbnb as first timers, liked it and soon realised why not have the advantages of all, and explore even more accommodation options.
Thus, by our fifth (and final) year of travel together we'd hit the perfect balance of sometimes house sitting, sometimes using Airbnb, sometimes working with hotels and sometimes staying with friends - the best of all worlds.
Put simply, I know the ins and outs of both house sitting and Airbnb and I'm going to go through them now. (If you're already ready, jump to the bottom for discounts for Airbnb and house sitting.)
House sitting and Airbnb similarities
First things first, what even is house sitting and Airbnb and how are they similar?
House sitting: receive free accommodation in return for looking after the pets and home of people on holiday - people get a free pet sitter, you get free accommodation
Airbnb: rent a room or even a whole apartment - locals get extra cash, you get a local experience
Both house sitting and Airbnb are alternative forms of accommodation for you to try whilst you travel the world (instead of hotels or hostels). Here are some of the ways they are similar:
Both house sitting and Airbnb give you a lot of home comforts for free that hotels/hostels either don't offer/charge through the nose for/or offer substandard versions.
The most prevalent examples are privacy, a full working kitchen, and access to a washing machine:
- privacy: with house sitting especially, you get the whole room, whole kitchen, whole bathroom, and, well, whole house to yourself. Airbnb depends a little on whether you rent just the room or the whole place, but in my experience even when you rent just the room you get privacy in the kitchen (and of course in the bathroom)! Privacy is generally pretty unheard of in hostels.
- full working kitchen: although hotels with your own private kitchen are a thing (here are some hotels with private kitchens in Bangkok that we stayed in), hotels with kitchens are definitely not the norm. Whilst hostels often come with kitchen access, they're normally the kind of kitchens you don't want to use (one of the exceptions being the Abraham Hostel in Israel). With Airbnb and house sitting you get a kitchen that is actually used (and more importantly respected) by real live humans. Aka a kitchen you can actually use.
Meeting the locals
Another great thing about both house sitting and Airbnb is the opportunity to meet those real live humans who actually live in the country you visit. I think travelling halfway across the world to not connect with the locals that live there is pointless - people are what make travel real. But, I appreciate that it can sometimes be hard to make friends abroad. With house sitting and Airbnb at the very least, you have a true insight into how people actually live and at best, you have new best friends in your new country.
Quirkier forms of accommodation
In the age of showing off on Instagram, having your accommodation double up as something you can take jealousy-inducing photos is a definite bonus. Try Airbnb for huts that open up onto the beach, and house sitting for mansions with pools and saunas.
Airbnb is popular all over the planet. House sitting less so but it's definitely a growing movement. We house sat in places like Australia, Finland and Thailand. And have seen hundreds of house sits available in places like South Africa, Singapore, Costa Rica and UAE.
House sitting and Airbnb differences
But enough about how house sitting and Airbnb are similar. Their differences will be more helpful to you in choosing which one you prefer.
Price of accommodation
House sitting wins hands down when it comes to price.
We found our 30 house sits through the website Trusted Housesitters. They charge $100 for a whole year of membership which is absolutely nothing when you compare it to how much you'd spend a week on hotels or even hostels. We house sat for two whole years straight, every single day which amounts to $0.27 a day for accommodation, which is nothing. But, to make it even less, scroll to the bottom of this post for a trusted house sitters discount code.
Airbnb is much more expensive than house sitting, but still better value than hotels and hostels: you can find places on Airbnb for as little as $10 per night and you can be guaranteed they'll be better quality than the $10/night hostels (see above re home comforts).
With Airbnb the more you pay the better the quality and the sky really is the limit, so places can go up to $1000 per night. Depends what you're looking for.
Long story short, if you want the $1000 per night kind of quality of accommodation, opt for house sitting (it's basically free)! If you're choosing between Airbnb and hostels/hotels, go for Airbnb.
The upside to Airbnb is not having the responsibilities of house sitting: with house sitting you are responsible for the house and pets, in some sense it's like a job (except instead of paying you in cash, they pay you in free luxury accommodation). That means tending to the pets needs (feeding, walking, being company, administering medication, taking them to the vets in an emergency), it also means tending to the houses' needs (cleaning, tidying up after yourself, collecting the mail, watering the plants etc).
Of course, the level of responsibility depends on the house itself. Some pets bring joy to your life, are impeccably behaved and are the highlight of your travels, like these:
Other pets shit in the kitchen and sleep on your face. Some houses are clean when you arrive, have rumbas and gardeners. Other houses have notes asking you to move the oven out and clean under it and spend hours a day doing back-breaking work in the garden.
Luckily, with a bit of experience and common sense, you quickly learn which house sits are a fair trade and which people are looking for free labour. And don't get me wrong, in our experience, most house sits are easy and relaxing.
With Airbnb there's some responsibility too: you don't have to clean up after yourself or look after pets, but you do have to make sure the doors and windows are locked when you leave, but I guess you'd do that to look after your belongings anyway.
Long story short: if you're looking to leave a place messy and not get up early to feed animals, house sitting is probably not for you, go for Airbnb.
Luxury house sits
Back to the upsides, like I touched on earlier, house sitting is one of the only ways in the world to live like a queen for free. Tanbay and I house sit in houses with their own private beaches, with saunas, with pools, with tennis courts, with Porsches, if there's a type of luxury you want to live in, house sitting is the way to try it.
Dates and location for Airbnb
A downside of house sitting is you exactly be flexible about dates and location. Want to be in Paris on the 5th? Go for Airbnb.
But, if you're not fussy about exactly when and where you're going, house sitting is perfect. In some ways that's actually an advantage, there are many places I'd never have specifically decided to go to (read: never heard of), but thanks to the fact that they were vaguely in the area we were in (read: on the same continent) we ended up going there - this is truly a way to keep off the well-beaten tourist track.
But it's a way to stay on that track too, we also did many house sits in well-known areas (like London!)
Long story short, with house sitting we found enough house sits on whichever continent we were in at the time to house sit back to back and live rent-free. But, if you want to be in a specific place at a specific time, go for Airbnb.
Ethically, house sitting is pretty sound. Keeping pets out of kennels is always the best path and house sitting is a way to do that. This idea of an exchange of skills/services (you can look after my pet, I can offer you luxury accommodation), is on the whole not abused by either party and is thus a nice thing that makes the world a better place. With house sitting, homeowners, house sitters and pets alike all feel like they've got a good deal.
When it comes to Airbnb ethics are a bit sticker: in some cities, Airbnb is pushing residents out of the centre because landlords can charge Airbnb people more than residents. I already wrote a whole section about this and other Airbnb ethical problems in my post how to get Airbnb discounts (yes plural). So please check that out. Alternatively/additionally read up on the specific Airbnb pros/problems in the country you're travelling too.
If you ask me for my professional advice, I'd say why chose? Why not go for both! Pick house sitting when you need some luxury when you need some pets when you want to travel for free. Pick Airbnb when you have a specific date and place when you're not in the right place for responsibility.
Have you tried Airbnb or house sitting? What did you think?
Don't you hate it when the want to carry as little as possible whilst travelling clashes with the fact that you're an active person with many interests and you need lots of different outfits? I know I do. Enter Kameleon Rose and their Ultimate Travel Dress, the perfect marriage of minimalism and fashion, aka the answer to all our troubles.
The Kameleon Rose Ultimate Travel Dress is an award-winning design. This light-weight, quick-dry dress transforms into 20+ outfits.
Kameleon Rose sent me their Ultimate Travel Dress for free in return for this honest review and the promise that I'd offer you, dear sweet readers, a 10% Kameleon Rose Discount Code - WEASELS10
I only ever review stuff that I've tried and I think is awesome, because my integrity is worth way more than what I'm usually offered... (aka you can't pay me in dresses to lie, and actually you'd have to pay me a LOT of money in general to lie) ANYWAY, without further ado here is my honest Kameleon Rose Ultimate Travel Dress review:
Kameleon Rose Review
First things first, I'm impressed. When they say 20+ outfits, they mean 20+ outfits (I was doubtful about it, but I probably wouldn't have been if I'd actually bothered to watch this video):
Perfect gift for a traveller! The Ultimate Travel Dress - can be worn as 20 different outfits! - YouTube
Another thing that impressed me was the fact that the multiple outfits aren't just available to be worn, they also look good!! When I originally heard about the dress I thought sure, there may be the possibility of 20+ outfits, but how many of those are actually going to suit me? I'll be lucky if one of them suits me!
Luckily, multiple styles suited me more than I expected (but I don't know if that's because the dress is well-designed or if I should have a higher self esteem... let's go with both)! Anyway, here are some of the many possibilities of the Kameleon Rose Ultimate Travel Dress:
Kameleon Rose Ultimate Travel Dress
The Kameleon Rose Ultimate Travel Dress can be worn as, you guessed it, a dress! This version is an elegant dress that would be perfect for any kind of fancy functions that you find yourself on your travels (trust me, it happens).
If you covered your shoulders this dress would be perfect in more conservative countries, as it modestly covers your knees, I would be comfortable wearing this in places like UAE, Malaysia, Morocco etc because the light-weight material means it's suitable for hotter climates.
Modest Skirt / baggy trousers / jumpsuit
The top of the dress can be pulled down and folded into a modest skirt, which isn't really my style (hence why I didn't take any photos of it). But it's awesome to have that as yet another option. And I could probably pair it with a slutty top to make it more 'me'.
More interestingly, there are buttons at the bottom of the skirt, meaning that the elegant dress version can be transformed into an elegant jumpsuit (which I love) and the modest skirt can be transformed into baggy trousers.
These baggy trousers are much more 'me' (hence why I took a bunch of showy-off sporty photos in them). The Kameleon Rose Ultimate Travel Dress, once transformed into these baggy pants would be perfect for sporty travel days or days where you want to lounge around etc. aka almost any kind of day! LOVE!
Going out-out dress
When the Ultimate Travel Dress is flipped (aka the buttoned part is now at the top and the tight part is now around your bum, we find yet another outfit: the going out-out dress (clubbing). You can work with the buttons to create lots of different styled dresses - hanging off the shoulder etc. The possibilities really are endless!
At this point I realised the Ultimate Travel Dress really did meet all of my needs: the baggy pants covered most of my travel activities (sitting on a bus/plane/train, doing yoga/boxing/hiking, hanging out with friends etc), the sophisticated dress covered me for my awkward sophisticated moments (working with hotels, meeting fancy people etc). And the going out dress was perfect if I wanted to get drunk/go on a date.
Once I realised all life situations had been covered for me, I decided to focus the rest of my review on other practical sides like:
What's the material like though?
The material has a lot of responsibilities, it has to be:
comfortable in hot weather
these are all essential for travellers and it manages these tasks well. It got crumpled in my bag, but after I hung it up for an hour and forgot about it, all the crinkles were gone.
I'm writing this in Hungary where it's freezing atm, so I turned up the heating to full and sat in the dress. The material didn't make me sweat (which is a miracle as most materials do), and I'm excited to try it out in Egypt next month.
On a spectrum of all the materials ever, I wouldn't have placed this material right at the very top, as it doesn't beg to be touched when you touch it. (This is the way I judge materials and why velvet and fur are my favourites - which is unfortunate as I'm vegan.) Saying all that, it definitely doesn't feel bad to the touch either, and the usefulness of the material (quick-dry, no-crease) makes up for the fact it doesn't feel exactly like velvet.
More great features of the Ultimate Travel dress
The Kameleon Rose Ultimate Travel Dress boasts a secret pocket. It's lucky that they do that because the first time I tried on the dress I didn't even realise there was a secret pocket.. (can you get more secret than that?!). It was only when I read the instructions afterwards that I realised it had one. It's absolutely perfectly hidden. It's not big enough for a passport but would comfortably fit credit cards/ those hotel key cards. Very useful.
It also folds up really small, and thanks to the non-creasing material you can fold it up small without worrying about creases.
Are Kameleon Rose Ethical though?
One thing I disliked about Kameleon Rose was the amount of plastic that the dress was delivered in. And when I say the amount of plastic, it wasn't even that much. I'm just a zero plastic advocate:
The dress came wrapped in this plastic, which seemed unnecessary given that the envelope was also made of plastic (the one on the right):
Once the dress was freed of these two plastic bags, there was thankfully no further plastic, I was impressed that the label was tied on with a ribbon (instead of plastic) and that the dress was held together securely with what turned out to be an elastic that is part of the dress and can be used again and again to pack it:
In other ethical areas, Kameleon Rose products are produced in Madagascar and Mauritius under ethical conditions. According to their website, they strive "to have a positive impact on the environment and people where possible". Kameleon Rose factories are WRAP certified, which is the world's largest independent certification program in textiles - there are 12 WRAP principles including the prohibition of forced labour, prohibition of child labour, prohibition of harassment or abuse and prohibition of discrimination.
Conclusion: Kameleon Rose Ultimate Travel Dress
All in all, I'm thoroughly convinced - the Kameleon Rose Ultimate Travel Dress ticks all my boxes and so much more: it's stylish, it's ethically made, it's inventive, I can wear it in all different kinds of situations, it folds well and it has a secret pocket!
Disclaimer: As I said at the beginning, Travelling Weasels received this product for free in return for an honest review. We would never promote anything we haven't personally tried and loved because that would be super lame and I want to be cool.
Hungarian wine is some of the best in the world, put simply, you must try a wine tasting in Budapest but which one should you choose?
Luckily, we've spent a lot of time in Budapest and, extra luckily, we are giant wine-os. We've put together this list of six wine tasting Budapest tours we've personally tried and loved to help you in your search for the best wine tasting in Budapest.
Hungarian Wine Tasting in Budapest
Taste Hungary offers many different culinary-based tours in Budapest, most of which are wine-centric or at the very least include three glasses of wine at the end. We've been on three of their tours: Thursdays at the Tasting Table; Wine, Cheese and Charcuterie Tasting (see below) and the Vegetarian Walking Tour.
What we love about Taste Hungary is their beautiful location, their extremely knowledgeable and friendly staff and how they always serve the best Hungarian wine.
Taste Hungary offer a two-hour evening wine tasting in Budapest where you can sample 8 delicious Hungarian wines:
CultiVini has all the usual things you'd expect from a good wine tasting in Budapest - nice and knowledgeable staff, excellent range of good quality wines, snacks and water to go with the wine, classy setting and centrally located (right off popular Váci St).
But where Cultivini really stands a step above the rest is with their system:
Generally, with wine tastings, you are shown around three to eight wines. Whilst you often have a small say in what type of wines you'd like, there's not too much flexibility when it comes to how much you'd like when you'd like them, what order you'd like them in, how much you'd like etc.
Cultivini isn't like that because they have an ingenious system:
Firstly, you are shown to your table where you get your 'credit card' and tablet:
The card is pre-paid (by you) but can be topped up at any time. The tablet is to give you extra information and help you choose your wines.
Next, you are shown the fridges:
Basically, you insert your card into the slot, and then choose which wine you'd like to try. You can go for a half, a quarter or just a smidge - and of course, you can go back for more.
I absolutely loved the independence we had with this system: we could pick which wines we wanted to try, in any order we liked. We could decide how much we wanted to try, we chose when we were ready for the next one, it was all up to us.
We still went for the usual white wine, rose, red wine, sweet wine path that is typical of all wine tastings, but as I don't like rose, I skipped the rose wine and had another white - it was so cool to be able to do this!!
As for the members of staff, they were absolutely perfect when it came to getting the balance right between giving us recommendations and information, but also letting us discover things ourselves - I do like to know a little bit about the wines I'm tasting, but often on wine tastings it can be a bit of an information over-load for me.
The Cultivini staff aren't like that at all and really made us feel comfortable - I felt like I could ask them questions at any time, and that they knew what they were talking about, but equally I didn't feel like they said too much (although I believe they definitely would if that is your kind of thing).
Another great thing was that there's no fixed time limit - you could stay as long or as short as you wanted to (but you should note, they often have large bookings, so it's probably worth you emailing or calling before hand to reserve your spot).
All wine tastings in Budapest come with a try of the most famous Hungarian wine - Tokaj, and Cultivini Budapest is no exception. But as usual, Cultivini go a step above and beyond.
Cultivini is where I got to try the best Tokaj wine of my life, and actually the best wine of my life.
It was an Infusio from 2015, 14.5% and a bottle cost a whopping 119 900 forint (£350)! It tasted like the elixir of angels, and some say if you sip it every day you stay young forever. I'd sip it everyday just because it tastes amazing.
It was served to us in the coolest looking cup we'd ever seen!
All in all, Cultivini is super cool - modern, flexible, relaxed and the perfect wine tasting in Budapest.
Doblo Wine Bar offer a much more 'traditional' Hungarian wine tasting in Budapest. Again the staff are knowledge and fun and the wines are delectable. I really like the decor in Doblo, it's a fancy but comfortable place - the best of both worlds!
We tried the Hungarian mini tasting, which meant that we got to try four different wines, here some interesting facts about where and how they'd been made, and got to pair it with finger food:
We started with a white wine from the Balaton - a region in Western Hungary famous for its beautiful scenery, Hungarian 'Sea' (aka Lake Balaton, the largest lake in Central European), Balaton Sound (one of Europe's largest open air electric music festivals) and of course its epic wine.
Next, as with most Hungarian wine tastings came a Rosé from Szekszárd, a city in Southern Hungary.
Then came one of Hungary's most famous red wines - a Bull's Blood, also from Szekszárd.
We ended the day as all Hungarian wine tastings should end - with a sweet wine from Hungary's famous Tokaj region.
There was finger food which came with the wine, it was predominantly cheese and meat from Hungary, really good quality, but I don't eat animal products so I stuck to the pickles and the bread - which were superb!
Doblo is in one of the best spots in Budapest - super central in the heart of the Jewish Quarter. From Doblo Wine Bar it's just a short walk to the Synagogue, the Cathedral, the Cat Cafe, Szimpla and more.
One of our favourites by Taste Hungary is the Wine, Cheese and Charcuterie Tasting. Straight off the bat, one of the things I really liked about it was the fact that they were happy to edit their cheese and charcuterie menu to accommodate us, 'the vegans':
Traditionally at the Wine, Cheese and Charcuterie at the Tasting Table, guests are served (you guessed it) high quality cheese and meats from Hungary. Luckily I told the Tasting Table ahead of time that we're not into that, because they went all out to accommodate us - honestly, I'd have been happy with bread and oil, so I was super impressed that they made the effort to serve us something more interesting.
We had a great selection of fruits, nuts, vegetables and pastes from Hungary. It was all delicious and they'd made a conscious effort to pair the snacks with the wine. It was great!
Another thing I love about Taste Hungary is the atmosphere and decor - it's in a semi-underground cellar and is warm, inviting, relaxed - and not to mention super classy. The location is superb - it's in a quiet area, and is easily accessible by public transport.
The Wine, Cheese and Charcuterie Tasting involves five wine tastings, finger snacks and some expert information on the wines:
What I particular like about it is you are given your five glasses all at once, at the beginning (as opposed to one by one, like most other wine tastings in Budapest).
This means you can choose the order you drink them, go back to one at the end if you prefer it etc. For example, I liked my sparkling wine and sweet wine the best, so it was great that I was able to save them until the end (as opposed to other wine tastings where you have to finish your wine/ get rid of your wine, before you're allowed your next wine).
When we visited we had a sparkling wine from Hungary's famous Tokaj Region, a Juhfark (another famous Hungarian wine) from the Somoló Region, two reds - one from famous Eger, and the other from Villány and of course a sweet Tokaj to finish, specifically, one from the Royal Tokaji Winery.
Every time we got to Taste Hungary we're blown away by the quality of their wine tastings, I highly recommend you visit.
The Danube is the second largest river in Europe, it runs through Budapest splitting the Buda side from the Pest side. It's an important part of Budapest and thus you must include it in some way or another on your own Hungary trip. If you're pressed for time you could combine the Danube with Wine Tasting Budapest and go on a Budapest wine tasting cruise:
Budapest River Cruise offer a number of cool cruises, we went on the Budapest wine tasting cruise and this is what we thought:
We were seated on the top deck of the boat next to the window. We were pleased to see that our table mats doubled up as a useful guide to the wines.
Shortly after boarding, the band started playing traditional Hungarian music and the boat took off at a gentle speed.
Just as we were finishing the whites, the Hungarian Parliament Building came round the corner, it was awesome to see it from this angle, it really is one of the prettiest buildings in the world.
Just as the sun was setting, we turned in the river.
All in all, we really enjoyed our wine cruise. We were expecting it to be more of a wine tasting, but were pleasantly surprised with the generous glasses. It was the perfect way to learn more about Hungarian wine, experience the Danube, make new friends and hear traditional Hungarian music and we recommend it.
Thursdays at the Tasting Table are a regular series of food and wine events put together by Taste Hungary. This is what you go for if you're looking for more of a gastronomic and wine treat, as opposed to 'just' a wine tasting.
Here you still get to try your fair share of wine (and brandy), with the added treat of a three-course meal and a chance to meet real Hungarian wine makers.
When we went, the Hernyak Family were there to tell us about their family-run vineyard in the Etyek-Budai region (known as the 'vineyard of Budapest' thanks to its close proximity to the capital). All the wines we tried at the Tasting Table on Thursday evening came from their vineyard.
Our chef for the evening was Thomas, who cooks for the Portuguese ambassador. He was very friendly and very talented in the kitchen.
Most guests had a traditionally Hungarian meal (read: meat centric), but just like at the Cheese and Charcuterie evening, Taste Hungary and Thomas accommodated to our vegan needs which we were very grateful for. The meal was epic!
As for the wines, we started with a dry, white citrusy wine, a Kiralyleanyka from 2015, which I loved. Next, we tried two Sauvignon Blanc's - one from 2014 and one from 2015...
Thanks to a recent and astronomical investment into tourism, Iceland has quickly jumped to the top of pretty much everyone's bucket-lists: romantics, those that love nature, families, adventure junkies, photographers - anyone and everyone will find some reason to love Iceland.
Car rental from Keflavik is an absolute must for all of these people, discover why - and more importantly, read some Keflavik car rental tips - in our latest blog post:
Why you must rent a car in Iceland
As passionate environmentalists, and minimalists, we're generally against cars - both owning them and using them as a mode of transport whilst travelling. However, Iceland is where we not only make an exception, we also insist that you rent a car in Iceland.
Put simply, there is almost no other way to get around Iceland. There are no trains; public buses are rare and expensive and (other than car hire) that leaves just two options: hitchhiking and organised tours.
Neither of those options are viable in Iceland - organised tours are almost always a lose-lose: expensive, unauthentic and, put frankly, boring.
Whilst we're normally giant advocates of hitchhiking and indeed spent an entire month hitchhiking Azores, we do not recommend it in Iceland, for two reasons. Firstly, as the name implies, Iceland is cold! A big part of hitchhiking is waiting around for a lift - you do not want to be doing that in subzero temperatures, or snow, or rain etc. Secondly, another big part of hitchhiking is freedom of time - you want to have all the time in the world to wait around, and not be constrained by time limits. With Iceland being a very expensive country to visit, you will be constrained by time limits, you'll want to book your flight away from Iceland well in advance (so you'll need to be back at the airport for a specific time), and you'll be budgeting hard for food and accommodation.
Long story short: trust us, car rental is the only option when it comes to getting around Iceland.
Car rental in Keflavik Why rent a car from Keflavik
So we've established that you must hire a car when you come to Iceland, but why must you look at car hire from Keflavik?
Don't make the rookie mistake that many people make and confused Keflavik with Reykjavik.
Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland and more than likely the place that you'll be spending your first night in Iceland.
Keflavik is where the airport is located and more than likely the place that you'll be flying into.
Keflavik and Reykjavik are actually 50km apart, that's about a 45 minute drive and something you most certainly cannot walk.
Many people make the mistake of hiring a car from Reykjavik, and then when they arrive in Keflavik they have no way to get to their car.
Put simply: you must make sure that you chose a Keflavik car rental.
Prices of car hire in Keflavik
Prices are from £72 per day, depending on how big the car is that you want to drive. For example renting a Suzuki Vitara or similar will cost around £105.30 a day, a Renault Clio or similar will only be around £72.28 per day.
Keyflavik car rentals
All types of rental cars are available from economy to mini from compact to middle. For ease of driving we recommend an automatic, to save money (and the environment) go for a economy.
Tips when you rent a car in Keflavik
Renting a car in Keflavik follows the same rules as when you rent a car anywhere else on the planet:
Check the car for bumps and scratches beforehand and note these with your server (to avoid having to pay for damages you didn't create afterwards)
Make sure you have car insurance, health insurance and travel insurance
Feel free to ask your server questions about how to use that specific car - how do you turn on the light etc
Double check if your car is a diesel or petrol - don't fill up the car with the wrong thing!
Driving tips in Keflavik and Iceland
Ostensibly, it looks like it will be hard to drive in Iceland with the ice and the volcanos etc. But in reality, Iceland is a very easy and safe place to drive. The roads are new, everything is well signed and outside of Reykjavik there is basically no traffic. Here are some tips for driving in Keflavik and Iceland:
In Iceland you drive on the right hand side of the road
The legal age to drive in Iceland is 17
BUT, to rent a car in Keflavik and Iceland you must be at least 20 and have held a driver's licence for at least a year
It's the law to have car lights on at all times whilst driving in Keflavik and indeed the whole of Iceland - yes that includes during the day!
Consider buying grit insurance - grit damage is very common in Iceland
Boracay is a small island in the Philippines which is often heralded for being among the best beaches in the world and being the party capital of South East Asia. So of course, we had to go there during our stay in the Philippines and check for ourselves if all the hype was justified or not. We can already tell you we were not disappointed!
It is also worth mentioning that Boracay was closed by the government for almost 6 months and only recently re-opened to tourists. So, this is meant to be an up to date guide for people who are
considering visiting the island soon. The new regulation means the atmosphere is a bit quieter and more relaxed, but Boracay is still highly recommended for young people who want to have fun and enjoy one of the best beaches in the world.
Things to do in Boracay
Boracay is primarily a beach destination and most visitors choose to spend their day just lounging and enjoying the wonderful White Beach strip. White beach also has tons of restaurants and shops all throughout, and at night you’ll have no problem finding a nice bar or a dance club just by strolling up and down the beach.
Most resorts offer use of amenities such as kayaks and jet skis, and you can always book a tour through the local vendors and they’ll take you to the Shangri-La’s private beach where you can engage in many different water-based activities.
Other, more custom tours which include trips to the mainland, are also available. The province of Aklan has a lot of hidden gems and is full of waterfalls, caves and wonderful hiking spots. These tours are less common but can be booked online quite easily as part of these Boracay tour packages.
Lastly, not many people know that Boracay is actually one of the best places to go kite surfing. The conditions over at Bulabog beach are ideal and winds are strong all year long. There are a lot of professional kiteboarding clubs over there, with Isla Kitesurfing School being the oldest and best
Where to stay
Most people stay at the White Beach are which is the most central location and provides access to everything you need. White beach is more than 4 kilometers long and is divided into 3 sections, aptly name Station 1,2 and 3.
Station 1 has the widest and most serene beach, and is where all the high-end resorts are located. It is well suited for couples who want to enjoy luxury and a little bit of privacy as well. Station 2 is the central part of the island and provides easier access to all bars and restaurants. The beach there is fantastic, but it is also the most crowded and loudest area.
While still having a very nice beach, Station’s 3 beach area is vastly inferior compared to its 2 other counterparts. This is why this section is full of more budget-oriented hotels, and is where you can find most of the hostels and guesthouses. That said, the upside to this part of the beach is it also very quiet and peaceful, so by no means it is a bad choice.
Boracay is an island and the nearest airport is on the mainland in the town of Caticlan. There are direct flights going there on a daily basis from multiple destinations such as Manila, Cebu and El Nido. There are also a few international flights coming in from countries such as Korea and Singapore.
If flights are all fully booked or too expensive, you can also fly to Kalibo instead. From there, you can
take either a van or a bus going to Caticlan. It takes less than 2 hours to get there, and the journey is quite nice as you make your way through jungle covered mountains.
Once you arrive at Caticlan, you’ll need to walk for approximately 5 minutes to get from the airport to the pier. If you have a lot of luggage, you can always take a tricycle instead. Once at the pier, you’ll need to buy a ticket for the boat to Boracay and pay the government’s environmental fee which is 100 Pesos per person.
The boat ride to the island takes about 20 minutes. You’ll arrive to Boracay’s pier and from there you’ll need to hire a taxi or a tricycle to take you to your resort. We don’t really recommend a tricycle as this ride can take 20-30 minutes if there’s traffic or some construction work going on which is quite common. It is worth it to pay a bit extra and have a much more comfortable ride.
If you are going to the Philippines, Boracay is definitely one of the places you should strongly consider. It is a beautiful island with an amazing beach, and a lot of nice things to do and see.
The fact that Boracay is so modern and well developed offers a good contrast to other destinations you are likely to visit during your vacation in the Philippines. This is the best place to just chill, have fun and indulge yourself, either before or after you take the more adventurous route and explore off the beaten path.