Uncategorized

11 Best Things to Do in Chiang Mai

2021

1. Take A Visit To Doi Suthep

The most famous attraction in all of Chiang Mai is this one! Doi Suthep, it was the most beautiful thing I ever seen! It’s 12km outside of Chiang Mai and there is multiple ways to get there. I ended up splitting a Songkran ride with someone to my hostel for a round-trip! Be careful the timing you go because, we went late and getting home.. YIKES if you do not have a driver set up. There is also a beautiful mountain that overlooks the whole city! You must go

Doi Suthep at Night.

2. Be Fashionable At Nimmanhaemin Road

Nimmanhaemin Road
Nimmanhaemin Road

Nimmanhaemin Road is the trendiest part of Chiang Mai, full of fancy bars and restaurants it is the place where all the up and coming citizens of the area hang out. I woudnt say its “Backpacker Haven”, but it is a trendy spot if you like that vibe Check it out!. There is also a shopping Mall close by

3. Take A Trip Down The San kamphaeng Road

San kamphaeng Road, Chiang Mai
San Kamphaeng Road

This is the ‘Handicrafy Highway’ 10km stretch of different locals who make a various degree of pottery crafts, silverware, sculpting, wood carving and silk production. Always support those local business.

4. Visit Doi Inthanon National Park

Doi Inthanon National Park: home to the highest mountain in all of Thailand, LITERALLY, THE WHOLE OF THAILAND!! an extension to the Shan Hills and made mostly from granite. In this park you will be amazed by the birds and overall scenic view.

5. Eat Khao Soi

If there is anything, that I miss about Thailand it is Khao Soi! Since im home due to COVID i need to try remaking it! (I am about to youtube a video and deter off this haha). Northern Thailand is famous for many things but its greatest export surely has to be Khao Soi. It has a coconut and curry flavored soup filled with yellow egg noodles and chicken,(if allergic to nuts I suggest you miss this) sitting on top of the soup are crispy fried egg noodles giving a real mix of textures to the dish. At the side you typically, get some sort of preservatives, but man this bowl is EVERYTHING.

Khao Soi

6. Shop Again At Warorot Market

Google Images

If you’re looking for a market that doesn’t inflate the price this is it. Local’s shop here and so prices are fairly low. They are only open in the morning. So if you’re not an early bird this market is not for you.

7. Cat Café

Cat Cafe

Popular in China and Japan, Chiang Mai now has its very own Cat Café and there is many!. Who doesn’t want to enjoy a Matcha Latte with a furry friend!

8. Chiang Mai’s Very Own Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon, Chiang Mai

I’ve never been, but i heard good things about it. There is an entrance fee, so just be mindful of that when you budgeting your day. I suggest going with a group of friends from the hostel to cut down prices.

9. Have Fun Bartering At The Night Bazaar

Nigh Bazaar

Chang Klan Road is just another road during the day, but at night the whole place lights up as the stall holders drag out their stalls and get set up for the night. I had an absolute blast here! with my friend the road is extremely long, so just check prices along the way!

10. Make A Visit To Wat Phra Singh

Wat Phra Sing is a Buddhist temple and monastery that was founded in the 14th century.

Somewhere in the World

11. Hail a Songthaew

Songthaew

Chiang Mai is home to the Songthaew. I call them the red Taxi. Hailing one down was my equivalent to hailing down a Taxi in New York City, living my best Serena Vanderwoodsen Gossip Girl dream. Its the easiest and cheapest way to get around and it a ‘hop on, hop off’ type of vibe. You also get better prices versus riding a Tuk-Tuk which is a money grabber in my experience.

If you’ve made it this far, thank you so much for reading! And you know me here’s an extra!

Bonus: Try A Traditional Thai Massage From An Ex-prisoner

Chiang Mais Woman Correctional Institution

All over Chiang Mai you’ll find reputable massage parlours thats a given. However, on my tours around the world I like to always experience different things. This being one of them, try getting a traditional massage from a female Ex-prisoner. It’s incredibility difficult to find a job after serving your sentence and The Woman’s Jail, creates workshops and trainings to help support these women post-sentence serving. I enjoyed my massage thoroughly here.

Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll see you in my next post xoxo

2021

Have you read my latest posts? Check them out

10 Countries with Level 1: Covid Risk or Lower

A DAY IN TROGIR, CROATIA

Top 10 Backpacker Myths I’ve Heard and People (Still Believe)

Uncategorized

10 Things You Don’t Need When Backpacking

Yep, you read that right! You DON’T need these things.

1. Jewelry and Valuables

The only thing, i brought on my travels was one pair of earrings, studs and one necklace my evil eye. You really don’t need any of these things when you’re going on a backpacking adventure. It keeps unwanted eyes off of you and one less valuable to take care of. Interesting enough, when i lost my one pair of studs (I lost them in the Adriatic Sea) I decided to buy some homemade earrings from a local. Once I lost those… I just gave up haha.

Me, watching my stud fall to the bottom of the sea.

2. Full Toiletries Bag

I promise, you do not need a full bag. I went down with basics (extra toilet paper) and I ended up not needing as much as I had. There were so many 7/11’s or stores that would sell it and I was always able to restock.

3. Multiple Cotton Cloths

Yes, cotton clothes are very warm but depending on where you’re travelling it is not necessary to bring 4 shirts, 4 sweaters! You only need a few items. Would you be interested in a “What I pack to travel” post? let me know in the comments below. The reason why you do not need multiple cotton clothes is because they can get extremely heavy when there are wet and the key to backpacking is travelling light.

4. More than one pair of jeans

You don’t need it! Trust me, I went backpacking in Europe and Asia and I only brought one pair of jeans for both trips and I was gone for over two months! You learn to recycle outfits and make it look different with different styles of wearing it. I,e, rolling up the bottom or using a scarf as a belt. I got super creative.

5. Bulky Towels

Two Words – Microfiber towel! I purchased this one and it worked fantastic. It was also large enough to cover my entire body and become a curtain when I didn’t have drapes in some hostels.

6. Large Camera

This one is situational because some people vlog using a big camera. I often used my Iphone 8 at the time and it worked fine. I also purchased a “Go-Pro” from amazon and the footage was phenomenal and captured all my adventures. You can shop my link here for that Go-Pro! If you purchase through my link, a small gain is made and supports me. Please let me know if you purchase it, I can walk- you through the best settings.

7. Full Makeup bag

You do not need a full travel makeup bag. Bring the basics especially if you are going to a hot country. You’re going to get that full on glow! without having to try! I always brought mascara but I did not end up needing it. I just got exhausted. I kept all my toiletries in this bag and I still have it to this day!

8. Those Nice shoes

You. Dont. Need. It!

1 pair of sandals, 1 pair of a ‘fancy flip-flop’, 1 pair of runners. The best way to go is either black, white or grey. It matches everything!

9. If You Think “What if…” or “For this one occasion” When Packing This One Item

When I was backpacking outside of my mom yelling at me not to go. There were moments when she said “what-if”. By the time, i was finished with what if’s I realized i was overweight. I took everything out. You do not always need to think the what-if when packing an item. 8/10 You wont need it. Which brings me to the last note…

10. Things You Can Buy There

YOU CAN BUY THINGS THERE! HELLO! There were so many things I packed that I could of bought while in that particular country. But, you live and you learn!

If you’ve made it this far.. I wanted to tell you exciting news! Given all the feedback, I’ve finally made an “Amazon Store”. Where you can shop all my travel favourites. Usually, I post the direct link and you can purchase and shop through there. The support means everything to me, xoxo.

2020

Uncategorized

Ayutthaya Day Trip Itinerary and How to Plan

A Day in Ayutthaya

Thailand, will always be very dear to my heart. While it was one of the first places I backpacked alone! As I think about my next solo adventure Thailand speaks out to me! It is truly a hub to access additional flights to neighbouring countries! Not to mention it is such an easy way to find cheap flights out of there.

Today’s post, I share some photos of the beautiful Ayutthaya, Thailand. I am also going to discuss a bit how to plan a day trip with two options. Booking with your hostel/ experience guide or independently. Thus, this post will break down how you can do a cycling tour or take it by foot like I did!

I highly recommend spending a full day here, but 5 hours will do fine as well. With trains departing every hour from both Bangkok and Ayutthaya, I will leave the exact timing of this trip down to you, but I would suggest giving yourself a minimum of five hours in Ayutthaya as there are some amazing sights to see! When, I tell you that you will get absolutely lost on this trip believe and the place is fantastic.

Must See’s on a Day Trip to Ayutthaya

There is loads to do in Ayutthaya, and most of the key sites are fairly close together. To be honest, if you rented a bike you could easily see everything quickly. But, i liked to sit down and observe the environment and really take it all in.

Here is a general map of the place:

For those who like a bit more structure: I’ve listed the tops see’s.

I am not aiming to give a full historical background to Ayutthaya in this article, just a list of the best places to visit.

If you want more background on the city: I’ve posted a brief description at the bottom.

All of the temples below costed 50฿ = $2.12 entry fee unless otherwise listed. The prices may have changed since I last went so be sure to double check.

1) Wat Maha That (Buddha’s Head in Tree Roots)

This temple is famous for having the head of a Buddha statue that has been consumed by a tree. No-one really knows how it ended up here, and it's just one of those mysteries of how the head was left behind after the city was raided and its destruction by the Burmese army in 1767. Legend, has it that the head was left behind and a tree started growing around it.

**Travel-hack do not take a picture with your toes facing the Buddha it is considered as disrespectful

2) Wat Ratchaburana

3) Wat Thammikarat (Temple of the Roosters & Giant Buddha)

Ayutthaya: Touring the Ruins of an Ancient Island Capital - Sailingstone  Travel
This temple is a little different from the rest, because it’s filled with Roosters. Which local people bring as offerings.

4) Wat Phra Si Sanphet (The Most Important Temple)

I thoroughly enjoyed just getting lost here.

Somewhere in the World

5) Wat Phra Ram (Tranquil Gardens)

This was located very close to the gardens

6) Wat Lokkayasutharam

I gave a flower as a offering ❤
Somewhere in the World

Overall…

The experience here was immeasurable, the history behind the ruins are of course sad but to see a piece of history still standing today was such an honour and experience. I reccomend you go. Below you will find any photos i didnt get to post as of yet, and further down you will find “How to get to Ayutthaya from Bangkok” 🙂

With some friends I met in my hostel.

Bangkok to Ayutthaya Train Ticket

  • Tickets are easy to book. Go to the ticket booths at Hua Lamphong station, the cashiers speak good English, and will spin round their computer screen to show you your booking, so you can confirm it is correct. 
  • There is two booths. Go to the one on the left. One booth sells advance tickets and the other day tickets. Be sure to go to the one selling day tickets.
  • Tickets cost 15฿ = .64 CAD per person. Yes you read that righttttt ! .
  • You will be issued with a 3rd class ticket. There is no other option for this train and the train ride is great!
  • You will not be issued with a seat as your journey is too short.
  • The cashier will tell you which platform to go to.

If you are not confident enough to just turn up at the station and order a ticket, you can book in advance using the fantastic site 12Go.Asia.

I used 12Go.Asia to book transport right across Southeast Asia, from sleeper trains along the coast. I used this website religiously throughout Thailand, and it worked fine. It is quick, efficient and it takes out the worry of booking at the station.

If you’ve made it this far, I love you and thank you for the continued support. I can wait to take you on my next adventure. With Love, xoxo

2021
Uncategorized

How I Eat, Prayed, and Loved My way through Bali and Pai

Let me start off by saying, I am teaching grade 1 virtually this year and gosh, am I ever busy. This has been the first time i can sit back and write something other than lesson plans. Im happy that this comes easy to me. Hopefully all of my posts have been helpful thus far, i have so much more coming for you! Anyways, here we go:

I never thought i was ever going to go Julia Roberts and eat/pray/ love my way through a place. However, the moment I got to Pai, Thailand i just KNEW this is what was going to happen. Pai is a town in the Mae Hong Soon Province of northern Thailand. It sits in a valley on the banks of the Pai River. It’s known for its nearby gorges, hot springs like the Tha Pai Hot Spring and waterfalls like Mo Paeng Waterfall.

Pai, Thailand

Here it Is… How I Eat, Prayed, Loved.

I never thought it would of come to a Julia Roberts vibe however, one thing is clear I had everything I needed at the time and I relatively still do. I wasn’t leaving a toxic relationship or having a career change. Nothing like that, it’s just the moment I got to Pai, something happened. I had a realization… that I was so focused on ‘Whats Next’ in life I never appreciated how I got the moment of my life I was in. Anyways, it started like..

I Ate…

I ate so many different foods, i explored the culture and I even explore American cuisine with a twist. But, I also took a cooking class (I wasn’t trying to loose the skill haha). I also ate foods that made me happy. While at home, i tend to eat on the 80/20 rule and that has worked tremendously. however, on this trip I wasn’t being so health conscious, i wanted to let myself be free and learn to love food whole- heartedly.

French Toast with Toasted Banana’s in Bali
Cream-Cheese Salmon Bagel in Bali
I drank Poo Coffee (YES Luwak Coffee is POO )
I swam in Ice-Cream
I took a Balinese Cooking class

I Prayed..

I prayed.. I prayed a whole lot. Not for specific answers- more so for direction or a little sign about myself. I wanted to know if i was heading in the right direction and if I wasn’t i was heading at least somewhere that would bring me comfort. Every so often, i received these signs of hope and they were little things such as, a dove, or a colour that reminded me about a time in my life. Praying on my trip opened the doors for #mindfulness and #gratitude and really finding solace in my own company. Being alone for me was never lonely because I was always with my thoughts and I often caught myself putting to rest some demons that were constantly in my mind.

PRE-COVID (WOW): I took a Spiritual Holy Water Bath
Holy Water Temple
Coffee In Love in Pai
(Praying in Random Places with great views)

I Loved..

THIS right here, is where it was at. I LOVED.. I learned to love myself for who I am and my independent thoughts. I even learned to love the parts of me that require deep growth. Backpacking for my is like therapy, it’s an experience that typically involves a lot of self-reflection and consciousness because you’re alone with none but yourself. But, the greatest thing of all of it, is that you learn how amazing you can be without the materialism items or the partner or the career.

I learned to love my friends a little deeper, life a little stronger, and learn to love moments for what they are. See below some of the moments where I Loved..

Enjoying my Little pockets of Peace in Pai at #CoffeeinLove
My best travelling girl, Alexis we for sure fell in love with each other during this trip.
#GatesofHeaven
Mount Batur. We took an exceptionally hard route and I cried the entire way and complained and had a bunch of asthma attacks. But when I got to the top, and looked back at all the struggles. I knew there was more to life than the struggles and that at some point the view will all be worth it as long as I appreciate the journey it took for me to get there.
Moments of Peace in the Mountains, Pai
Trusted myself with a Motor Bike and SURVIVED – Pai

Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll see you in my next post! Leave a comment below what you’ve been doing!

2020, Stay Safe
Hostel Reviews · Uncategorized

Hostel Series: Zadar, Croatia

The month of October! What a year it has been! This month I am focusing on highlighting some of the hostels I’ve been in with my hostel series. How do you even Survive a Hostel? Well, I went into a lot of details for you all in that post. So, today we’re starting of talking about Downtown Boutique Hostel.

This place exceeded my expectations and really set the bar high for hostels. I hope to come across to this place again in the future. Good news is they are currently open during COVID times however, with a different set up in place.

This hostel is one of the best, I think you’ll ever stay in. The reception is so friendly and theres a map provided to direct you around town. They also offer day tours and there is a nice kitchenette perfect for backpackers and a chill vibe.

You also receive a discount to the restaurant beside the hostel. In addition, breakfast is offered at 8 Euros.

Rating on My Scale:

Security – 10

Atmosphere – 8

Cleanliness – 10

Facilities – 10

Staff – 10

Location- 10

Value for Money – 10

Overall Score: 9/10.

I unfortunately didn’t get a photo of the front lobby, but I did get photos of all the important things!

Right when you walk in you’ll notice the Hostel Sign which will have their WIFI Passcode and Name. Usually, you’ll find this everywhere in all the hostels.

Front Entrance Sign

Then, you’ll typically find the lounge right away where you can make friends/chill out in the evenings. This lounge also had a small kitchenette to make breakfast in the morning which was nice.

The Common Lounge

Some hostels give you keys, others, give you cards. For this particular hostel, the entrance to your room was the 204- fob and the Key was for your locker.

Locker Key and Room Fob

Now, we have what you’ve been wondering about… The bed SITUATION honestly, this has been the best room I ever stayed in. Although… when i think about it the Wombat Hostel in Venice was very nice as well.

6- Female Bedroom, with windows that looked towards the streets.
My Bunk was the Bottom, I LOVED that this hostel had drapes for each bunk.
MASSIVE LOCKERS! To store all your belongings
The Shared Washroom with the floor. (There was more on the other side)
This hostel was very accommodating, they had both an elevator and stairs for people on the top floors.
The Hallways
Me excited for sleep after a Morning of Travelling

Overall, I really enjoyed my stay here while in Zadar, Croatia. I will for sure be back in the future.

If you enjoy reading my Hostel Reviews, please let me know below in the comments to keep them coming!

Thank you so much for reading and I’ll see you in my next post. With Love,

2020

Travel Tips · Uncategorized

8 Places That the Canadian Dollar Goes Far

I was speaking with a friend the other day, and he advised “I can’t travel man, our dollar sucks everywhere i don’t know.. what do you think is the cheapest place to go?” This question stuck with me because it didn’t come down to where was necessarily cheaper, but the concept we were talking about was called ‘currency arbitrage’ which means “making your money go further by using a strong currency in a country with a weaker one“.

Let’s face it.. If you’re Canadian you already know the struggle of our dollar.. IT SUCKS VIRTUALLY/PHYSICALLY EVERYWHERE lmao.. Okay, maybe I am being extra but our dollar really does suck in most places. Thus, I’ve done deep research, and talk amongst my backpacker friends and here are 12 places where Our Canadian Dollar surprisingly goes far. This list is in no particular order.. I am just listing places.

One thing, I wanted to stress is that I don’t believe there is such a thing as, ‘poor’ countries and ‘rich countries’ because CLEARY during this pandemic we have seen big countries do absolutely nothing for their people. So there’s that myth.. BUSTED. That is not to say that there isn’t many people living in poverty. Globally people are facing a myriad of difficulties in their lives however, I just wanted to disclose that identifying a country as ‘poor’ vs ‘rich’ just doesn’t sit well with me.

Below you’ll find a collection of 12 countries that may not be the cheapest in the world, but that represent the best value for our dollar – and thus are worth visiting. I wanted to give a combination of back-packer friendly and travel friendly countries. If you need help finding cheap flights to these places, take a read of my post of finding cheap flights. Surely, it will help.

Please, leave a comment if you’re not sure which country to visit based on your style or send me a email 🙂

1/10

Romania

$1 CAD = 3.13 leu

100 Romanian leu = $31.94 CAD

Romania is an ancient land, full of castles and historical antiquities, and the exchange rate presents some serious bargains for Canadians. For example, a typical meal for two in the capital of Bucharest will run you under $35 Canadian, the cost of living is estimated to be nearly 40 per cent lower than living in Toronto. Imagine that!

2/10

Croatia

1$ CAD = 4.87 Kuna

100 Kuna = $20.53 CAD

Croatia is just a phenomenal and easy country to back-pack for two. Not, to mention how romantic some parts of the country can be. A typical meal for two in the capital will run you about 289.80 kn which is just under $60.00. Keep in mind, Dubrovnik is one of the most expensive cities in Croatia and will double in price for basic things. Thanks to Games of Thrones attractions.

3/10

Cambodia

$1 CAD = 2740.42 riel

100,000 Riel = $36.51 CAD

Asia is a destination hot spot for Canadian travellers and I can see why. The cost of travelling is cheaper in these countries and the people are the most friendliest you’ll ever met. If visiting Phnom Penh, a domestic beer will cost about a buck and a half, while an average dinner for two will run less than $23 CAD.

4/10

Belize

$1 CAD = 1.54 (BZD)

100 BZD = $64.76 CAD

Average Hotel Price: $40

Average Cost of Food for a Day: $23 / for two: $55

Average Daily Cost (Per Person, Per Day): $78

Belize is the only country in (mainland) Central and South America where English is the official language! As such, it’s an easy place to travel to. This may not be the number pick for backpackers, but for travellers alike our money will go far.

5/10

Argentina

$1 CAD = 56.92 ARS

5692.42 ARS = $100 CAD

Average Hostel/Hotel Price: $20-25 / $51

Average Cost of Food for a Day: $12

Average Daily Cost (Per Person, Per Day): $76

6/10

Belarus

$1 CAD = 2.03 BYN

203.36 BYN = $100 CAD

Average Hotel/Hostel Price: $14-$25

Average Cost of Food for a Day: $7

Average Daily Cost (Per Person, Per Day): $25

Belarus is considered one of the gems of Central and Eastern Europe; visiting museum towns like Mir and Nesvizh will take you back in time, and they’re both UNESCO World Heritage sites. Vitebsk is the place to be in the summertime with lots of arts festivals. Trekking fans will love the ancient forests of Belavezhskaya Puscha National Park, which is home to 212 species of birds.

And because Belarus is one of the few European countries that didn’t adopt the Euro, our dollar goes farrr HUNNTYYY.

7/10

Indonesia

$1 CAD = 11307.52 IDR

1130751.62 IDR = $100 CAD

Average Hostel Price: $10-35

Average Cost of Food for a Day: $15

Average Daily Cost (Per Person, Per Day): $30

Honestly: I think people get clouded by ‘instagram photos of lavish life’ and assuming it costs an organ. In Indonesia you can ejoy the finest things because prices are super low and our money goes far !

Also, most people have no idea just how big and diverse Indonesia is as a country. Many also don’t realize that the popular tourist destination of Bali is just one of many (as in, 17,000!) Indonesian islands, each with their own flavour and sometimes culture.

8/10

Philippines

$1 CAD = 37.30 PHP

3729.58 PHP = $100 CAD

Average Hostel Price: $20

Average Cost of Food for a Day: $12

Average Daily Cost (Per Person, Per Day): $20

9/10

Thailand

$1 CAD = 24.00 Baht

2400.22 Baht = $100 CAD

Average Hostel Price: $14

Average Cost of Food for a Day: $10

Average Daily Cost (Per Person, Per Day): $25

Thailand is a very easy place to visit, and has been a backpacker haven for decades. It’s easy not only because it’s cheap (Chiang Mai, Bangkok, and Phuket all made the 2016 Price of Travel Index’s list of cheapest Asian cities), but also because it’s incredibly friendly it’s the ‘land of smiles’ thats for sure. I survived in Thailand for one month with $300 CAD!! Cant you believe that!

10/10

Chile

$1 CAD = 591.05 CL

59104.95 Chilean Peso = $100

Average price of dinner for two is 35,000 CL

If hiking through Patagonia is on your bucket list, now could be the time to go as every dollar is worth 18% more. Peak season in Patagonia lasts from November until March, when temperatures are perfect for exploring the wonderlands of Torres del Paine, Laguna San Rafael and Bernardo O’Higgins National Parks. Of course when your travelling it is always recommended you download apps, just to help you situate yourself in countries that are more spread apart in terms of activities in different cities.

Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll see you in my next post, xoxo.

2020

Uncategorized

How to Survive Your First Hostel

Here, we are looking at your first hostel…

Typical Hostel Room with 4 Beds

It’s not as bad as you think. I remember talking to my friend Alexis laughing at her because I couldn’t believe she was staying in a hostel. I felt so scared for her! and I had so many questions. So i decided to re-visit this conversation and share my knowledge with you all. I also decided this would bring me to starting my “Hostel Series” which I review hostels and share photos. I am telling you all, that you’d be surprised at some of the places I stayed.

I think every traveler should try staying at a hostel at least once in their lifetime. Even if you have a luxury-hotel budget, hostels are a cool and unique experience that can result in some amazing memories. I for one have made, memories that will last a lifetime. I’ve met loads of backers that were not on a tight budget, but actually chose to stay in hostels because they prefer it and honestly, you end up having more fun in my opinion. And you read that right, they prefer hostels to luxury hotels and apartments.

No- hostels are not glamorous. And yes, you may have to say goodbye to privacy. But hostels truly are of one of a kind experience and are absolutely worth a try. **That being said, many people have had awful experiences so just be sure to do your double checking.

There are a few things any first-timer should know before staying in a hostel. Here is a basic guide to staying in a hostel for the first time:

WHY STAY IN A HOSTEL?

The hostel experience is one that is completely different from any other type of accommodation. I will say again and again, hostels are the best way to meet people while traveling. This is ideal for solo travellers- as a hostel is a space where other solo travellers congregate, so you will meet like-minded people from all over the world. Hostels are definitely the most social form of accommodation. You are literally living with other travellers, sharing showers, essentially a university lifestyle on the go.

Anna and Nicky – Ayutthaya, Thailand

BENEFITS OF STAYING IN A HOSTEL:

  • It’s cheap. Obviously, hostels are much cheaper than hotels and most other forms of accommodation. This makes your travel reduce in overall fee, keep in mind sometimes you pay for what you get for. This makes hostels the perfect place for budget and/or long-term travellers. Depending on the location, a hostel bed will cost anywhere from $10-$80 a night, give or take.
  • Travel Longer. You can easily travel for longer periods of time when you stay in hostels. You know those people that just seem to be traveling constantly, and you wonder how the hell they can afford that lifestyle? Well, unless they are rolling in cash or are a travel influencer collaborating with hotels and tourism boards, they are most likely staying in a bunch of hostels (AKA MEEEEE). But, I just love hostels and its not only for singles you can bring families to there is many kinds of options in terms of ‘bed setting’.
  • You can wait until last minute to book.  I remember being in Cinque Terre, and moving onto Venice I had no clue where to stay. I decided I would use Hostelworld, as a way to find a quick overnight place. If your super last minute (not me) you can book in the morning for the afternoon. The only problem is, sometimes if you’re going to a popular city the option for ‘girls only’ may be booked quick. That being said, there will always be room.
    • NOTE: hostels in major tourist cities do sometimes book up during peak season. Try to book at least a few days in advanced if you are visiting during this time.
  • Activities. Most hostels offer activities to bring the guests together and create a sense of community. Hostels may offer free walking tours of the city, day trips to nearby areas, pub crawls, etc. Usually, these activities are either free or super cheap, so it is a great way to see the area and make friends who are also staying in the same hostel.
  • Meeting People: It is way easier to make friends in a hostel than any other type of accommodation. This is my all time favourite part! You end up meeting people who become your family for the short time your there together (see below) the photo on me and two girls who adventured around Zadar, Croatia.
Luanna & Sheelagh I met in Zadar, they biked through Croatia and we met in different cities after first meeting in the hostel in Zadar.

HOW TO CHOOSE A HOSTEL:

Most major tourist destinations will have tons of hostels to choose from. That being said, it can be overwhelming to choose which hostel to stay at. Below you will find my top tips for choosing a hostel.

  • Read the reviews. This is the first thing I do when choosing a hostel. I will usually check out the reviews on Hostel World, Google Maps, and Booking. My biggest thing when it comes to a hostel is cleanliness, security, and location. One review I look for in particular is those from Black women/ Women of colour.  If those factors got low ratings, I will avoid that hostel all together. Even, if I wasn’t Black I wouldn’t want to stay somewhere where people are treated based on their race/ethnicity.
  • Location, location, baby. Location is always one of the first things I look at when booking a hostel. I prefer to be as centrally located as possible, especially when I am traveling solo. Make sure you have a general sense of the area you’re staying in. It’s best for first timers to pick a place that is within walking distance or close to transportation.
  • What type of room do you want to stay in? Do you want a female only dorm? Bed curtains for privacy? Single beds? A private room? How many other people are you comfortable sharing your room with? Knowing what type of sleeping situation you want is a major part of choosing a hostel. I typically went with 6 Mixed-Bed or 6 all Female, depending on what my mood was at the time of booking.
  • What type of experience are you looking for?  Do you want a social party or one that is quiet? Mad Monkey hostels are known for parties, that being said I stayed in one Hostel in Pai that was super small (10 beds) and it was the best partying experience I ever got.
My make-shift, privacy curtains I typically do for hostels without the curtain.

WHERE TO BOOK A HOSTEL

  • The hostel website:  Third-party apps get a percentage, so I strongly recommend booking your hostel directly through the hostel’s website, if one exists. *Travel Tip* It is usually cheaper on the website of the hostel to book with.
  • Hostel World: Although I think it’s best to book directly through the hostel’s website, I always look at Hostel World first just to see an overview of my options. I also use this app to read reviews right away which has been very helpful for me. Hostel world is a great tool to use to compare reviews, location, and pricing among the hostels in the area. I typically used this form on my first backpacking journey.
  • Hostel Bookers: An alternative to Hostel World. Check out both websites to compare prices, and check out different hostel options.
  • Booking.com: Booking isn’t just for hotels – you can also find hostels here!
  • Airbnb: Yes, you can find hostels on Airbnb! Sometimes it may be someone’s apartment that they have converted into a small hostel. You can use my code to receive up to 75$ CAD off your first stay and $20 CAD to use towards an experience worth 75$ or more!

GETTING SLEEP IN A HOSTEL

Lol….

Well, you CAN get sleep. But, if you are a light sleeper I recommend booking a private room. OR investing in some really good head phones. Shop my Amazon store for all your back-packing needs.

Top Bunk vs Bottom

This really depends, I’ve done both. Typically, I like the bottom and when there is no curtains available I hang my towel/ the hostel towel up and create this barricade which allows me to have privacy to change/ read or journal at night.

If sleep is a priority for you, do not, I repeat, DO NOT book a party hostel. Party hostels are usually easy to point out, based on reviews, pictures (if there are a ton of pictures with giant groups of people, wearing pub crawl t-shirts, and shot gunning beers or doing shots, then yeah, odds are it is a party hostel.) A lot of party hostels will have written on their website, “If you a good night’s sleep is your priority, then this is not the hostel for you.” Etc. Here is a perfect example of a party hostel-it is pretty obvious.

Bring earplugs. These are a life saver for light sleepers.

It’s also a good idea to wear an eye mask if you are sensitive to light. Lights can commonly go off in some dorms so this keeps you sound asleep.

Friends I met in Hvar, Croatia (Pub Crawl)

MEETING PEOPLE IN A HOSTEL

Making friends is super easy in a hostel. However, you do have to put yourself out there a little bit. For all my shy/introverted readers, this may mean getting out of your shell a little. The common room in a hostel is the best place to meet fellow travelers. If there is a group of people talking, just go up to them and say “Hey what’s up, my name is _____.”. Eventually, you end up meeting friends that you can go and travel with.

Another great way to meet people in a hostel is to go on a pub crawl or event the hostel is hosting. This way you meet people who are staying in your dorm/ the hostel.

IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW:

  • Shower shoes are a must. You will be sharing a bathroom with a bunch of strangers. Always have a shower shoe to avoid foot fungus and other things.
  • Search reviews: For my sisters, try to search for reviews from Black women/ women of colour. This will help you gauge the environment.
  • Laundry: Almost all hostels offer laundry services or you can find a nearby place that can do it for it and some places even deliver.
  • Some hostels require a small rental fee for towels. Research this on the hostel website before you arrive, just so you won’t have any surprises.
  • Many hostels will accept cash-only payment. Make sure to have cash on you when you arrive (most will accept payment at various times)
  • Peak seasons will always be more expensive. Try avoid visiting certain places during their peak seasons (Google search)

HAVE FUN

Hostels can be the most amazing experience! Just remember to try and have the most fun while staying there.

Thank you so much for reading, don’t forget to like/ leave a comment. It means so much to me and I’ll see you in my next post.

Island hopping in Croatia, with friends.
2020

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VENICE

As a teacher, I am constantly meeting the learning styles of all my students and most of that stems from tuning into the multiple intelligences of students. That being said, this week’s post is a little different. I am sharing with you my ‘5 MUST SEE’S IN VENICE’. I made this video a couple of months ago in the middle of quarantine and I felt that it was only fitting to share it with my new followers on this platform. If you’re wondering why I went to one of the most Romantic places in the world, check out my blog post here on Why you Should Solo Travel!

Special shoutout to all my new followers on here!

Thank you to everyone who has recently followed/liked/commented and subscribed for email notifications. This means so much to me and I can’t wait to share all my experiences with you! Let me know in the comments below if you enjoy a mixture of videos/ short blogs.

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How Am I Surviving During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Thanks to COVID the travelling world has been halted/changed forever. I for one, am very nervous about the travelling industry and what this means for hostels/hotels. I know things wont go back to the way they were but, hopefully they will become better! These are some things I’ve been doing to keep myself sane during these unprecedented times.

Ways to Ease Your Wanderlust During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Plan your next adventure

While nobody knows how long this is going to last and how long there will be restrictions on travel, nothing stops you from having fun planning your next adventure. Perhaps order yourself a scrapbook and make a wanderlust book. Make lists of all the places and things that you would like to see, print off some pictures and place it in a journal! This will help you narrow down where you want to go!

Eat international food

Satisfy your appetite for wanderlust! If you can’t go to the destination of your dreams, bring the destination of your dreams to you! I would recommend searching for family owned businesses that specialize in their country cuisine this can really satisfy your ‘belly wanderlust’.

Sort out the practicalities

Why not get everything ready so that when you can travel again, after the covid-19 pandemic has passed, you are prepared to go straight away. Perhaps your passport needs renewing – why not see if you can do that now? 

And let’s say (because this is the truth) COVID doesn’t disappear research what other countries are doing to keep their residences safe and see if this aligns with your worries. This is a great time to research and see if the country you’re planning to go has proper safety protocols in place.

Watch Must See Video’s

This is a great time to research “MUST SEE VIDEO”. Where people post the top must sees in specific places. Have you seen my ‘5 MUST SEE’S IN VENICE?’. Check them out and let me know what you think.

Read travel blogs

That might have brought you to me.  Well, if that’s the case WELCOME and thank you so much for reading and following my blog. By reading travel blogs, you can always find new information such as, new places to visit or new destinations you would of never have considered to visit before.

During this time I have been reading a lot of travel blogs, this is the perfect way to get a hit of travel and ease your wanderlust. Stay tuned for my new series I started with ‘Photo Journaling’ places in the World.

Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll see you in my next post! Leave a comment below what you’ve been doing!

Check out my latest posts below and take a read, xoxo

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What Solo Backpacking has Taught Me

Lost in the Rice Fields in Ubud, Indonesia

I did a lot of solo backpacking in 2019 and it was my first time ever doing it. It is crazy to think, I just jumped in head first and didn’t look back. This was by far the biggest fear I had to overcome thus far in my life and honestly, I do not regret it. I do regret not doing it sooner. It took a lot of time and patience with myself to reframe my understanding and really commit to what I wanted to do.

In today’s post, I am sharing a few things that Solo Backpacking has taught me. Please keep in mind, this is specifically for Backpacking. Backpacking is a very different style of travel that not everyone is accustomed to. However, it is something that I think you should defiantly try. It really opens the doors for you to understand yourself in a different perspective. Without the influence of family or friends.

ACCEPT EMOTIONS EVEN THE BAD ONES

Not everyday will be the greatest day as a solo backpacker. But one thing I learned was that it’s okay not to be okay sometimes. Prior, to solo travelling I often feared sadness and showing that vulnerability because being a Black women in today’s society. You HAVE to be strong and often times being strong 24/7 can lead to a hard downfall. I learned while travelling it is totally okay to be happy and totally okay to be sad. In life, you have to take the good with the bad and allow yourself to experience different emotions to truly feel human. And if I’m being honest, bad emotions can often project you towards the right path.

If you follow my instagram: Kyramurrel, I post my awful bus chronicles (Croatia)

TO ASK QUESTIONS

This is an ego thing. I will be honest haha, prior to travelling asking questions was very difficult for me. I’d rather struggle and go through PAIN before asking a question. After, backpacking I realized it’s okay, not to know the answer. The most important thing, is to find out how you can get the answer. And if i’m being honest, in interview’s they love this shit. Being able to ask questions when “you’re not sure and seek support”, My friends, if you say this line you’re on your way to employee of the month baby. Lol, just partially joking. But in all seriousness, asking questions and seeking help is a big thing I learned while backpacking and it’s taught me so much about using the community and people to help me get by.

VALUE MATERIAL THINGS DIFFERENTLY

This is a very interesting one because you often think you don’t value material things or showing material things. However, when you step outside of your home city you learn just how much it runs a lot of lives. While back-packing I learned to value material differently for example, buying those bottles at the club and poppin champagne likes its always my birthday. It’s just not the scene for me anymore, that $250 bottle every night I go out can go towards climbing Machu Picchu. Now, Im not saying- not have fun but think of alternative ways that fun can be had that allows you to see the world because honestly, its beautiful.

TO LIVE WITHIN A MOMENT

I loved this realization and it is still an on-going thing for me because I am young and I love instagram and I love pictures. That being said, while backpacking there were a few times when I would be quick to take a photo and not just any photo, but the perfect photo. I would also record views and look through my phones lens (i know terrible right!?).

But most of us are guilty of that because it is what we’ve become accustomed to. For example, think about the last time you were in the club and either had bottles served to you or someone else. How many camera’s were recording? and who was really in the moment?

While, it is good to take photos it is also important that you live in the moment. Take one photo, and then LIVE in the MOMENT, observe it, take it all in or just look at the scenery listen to the; air, the birds, the people, and yourself and you’ll realize that there is beauty in simplicity and despite how terrible the world is, there is also beauty in it as well.

Sunsets in Croatia

I’VE RECEIVED MORE RACISM IN THE CA THAN ABROAD

Yep. You read that correctly! More than anything, racism (at least the face-to-face kind) isn’t something that a traveler can ever really be prepared for. TBH: Racism is always on my mind when travelling. But, in my years of travel (all-inclusives/short trips/back-paCking) I have only encountered 3 situations and that was in the US and than the every-so often case in Canada(where I live).

When I talk to other travellers (specifically back-packers), especially Black women, we all mostly agree that racism is more in your face in America. In almost all cases I have met nothing but respectful people who are willing to help/sell me items/hang-out with me. I sometimes get stared at thought. In most cases, it’s because Black people are not a common occurrence in the area. And yes there has been a few cases where it was “let’s take a picture” and yaknow I kindly say NEOOOOOOOOOOPE.

TO BE CONFIDENT

I learned very quick that you had to be confident in a holistic way. Confidence for yourself as well as confidence in yourself (decisions). The moment, I landed I had to make a lot of choices in every country and often times it has been easy for me to text a friend asking ‘what do you think’ and when you’re travelling you don’t have that. So i had to quickly, get on the Somewhere in the world train and just trust myself and be confident in my choices.

2019

YOU CAN BE ALONE AND NOT LONELY

If nothing else, being by yourself is a great way to learn who you are, what you love, what you don’t love and where you want to go in life. Learning who you are is a great way to build self-confidence, resilience and courage. Building that confidence in yourself is the first step to living a life you’re proud of.

I realize that such a sentiment is quite dramatic but I have found it to be true after my travels. If nothing else, it builds confidence in the smaller things. I used to be afraid to try new things totally outside my comfort-zone (i.e., doing these crazy long hikes). I am now more confident in my abilities and more willing to put myself out in the world and push myself to the limit. Travel is a big part of this.

I have already proven to myself that I can take care of myself. Why wouldn’t book bigger and better trip? I have already shown myself that I can do what I put my mind to. Why not step up at work and take on more responsibility? Take chances? Asks questions and LEARN.

A Beach in Zadar, Croatia

Thank you so much for reading and I’ll see you in my next post, don’t forget to leave a comment.