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Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Travel Tools: Checked!

Dear friends,

“We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate. We travel to bring what little we can, in our ignorance and knowledge, to those parts of the globe whose riches are differently dispersed. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again- to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more.” ― Pico Iyer
I have always loved to travel, the car sickness was always an impediment but one you grow it gets better - nevermind the curves and the rough trails! I always loved to fly, my first flight was in 2007 when I flew over the Ocean to The Great Unknown, to USA. In time I think I became infected by what I call The Flight Travel Bug :) There is nothing more serene to me than to be above the clouds, looking at them shift and change... I call them The Great Mashed Potatoe Mass ;)))
When you travel you need to have certain tools to help you as you go, so today I will show you my favourite 2 buddies when it comes to travel: AIRBNB & TripAdvisor. Just so you know TripAdvisor just sent me an email a few days ago - you can see the first printscreen - stating that within 8.485 readers I am one of the most popular reviewers in Krakow. To be more precise, I am in the top 4% ;) TripAdvisor is a site where you can setup your vacation plan and check the best places to visit, according to the other users - photos and reviews attached. It is the worlds largest travel site according to comScore Media Metrix for TripAdvisor Sites, worldwide, Q1 2014. Just think about it, this place has over 260 million unique monthly visitors, and more than 150 million reviews and opinions covering more than 4 million accommodations, restaurants and attractions.The sites operate in 39 countries worldwide, including China under So wherever you are you will be able to access it ;)
You can also setup your own map of places you have been and places where you would like to go. There is an extra star for places you want to go again one day ;)  If you want to befriend me there you can check out my profile and I would be glad to answer any of your questions.
Another tool that is quite new to me but I recommend it 100% is the Bed & Breakfast site called: AIRBNB . AIRBNB is a website for people to rent out places to sleep. It is somewhat like Couchsurfing but way more safe and reliable - as you are paying so every party behaves ;) It was founded in August of 2008 and based in San Francisco, California. Right now it has over 11,000,000+ guests in 34,000+ cities; over 600+ castles that you can rent and a total of 192 countries WorldWide covered! It started very much like Facebook and it became larger and larger through the people that joined in :) 
A dear friend showed me this site once and I said I would give it a shot. It is very user friendly and you don't need to setup a new account, you can just log through Facebook ;) same password, same email, same user ID and you can see the places in a jiffy! We tried it once, last year, when we went to Austria - we had a small 4 day trip to Vienna for my adorable husbands birthday :) It was a lovely time! I was looking through what Vienna flats have to offer and we found a cosy room 6 min to city center that looked perfect. Sandra was an amazing host and we had a delightful time with her - we would recommend the place anytime! I loved the kitchen, all green and happy, and the anteroom with the lovely fireplace.
The site is extremely easy to use and it takes no rocket science to find out how to get the appropriate place for you. You can choose between searching for a private room, shared room or the entire place ;) And from what I searched and pinned down - as you can save the places in different folders inside the site and then later access them and maybe even go there one day! - you can find many 1 room flats to rent ;) You can also filter by the price you want to pay by night. According to the it will search the best option for you and show it on the map. It also takes under consideration the days you need, so it shows you only the free spots ;)
Once you settle down you can exchange messages with the owner/renter and you can setup the meeting and exchange numbers after you pay down the whole amount. There is a fee of around 60 zloty per rent but even with that it is way cheaper than if you would try to book a hotel. And through AIRBNB you really get to meet interesting people and see the homes in their true form - I rather like that, than the standard hotel suite! How else would I get to see Vienna like we did and see the insides of a vintage block of flats that I would fall in love with?! :)
It is only a few clicks away but trust me this site really is addictive ;)  If you want to befriend me you can check my profile right here and if you have more questions about it I would love to help - though I think you would not need my help in this, it is way too user-friendly. In case you are already there give me a shout and tell me what nice places you have been to and what flats you would recommend :)

Yours truly,
A LadyBug That Loves To Travel