10 Travel Quotes to Get You Inspired!

If you’re thinking about taking some time to travel this year but are still undecided, then check out these inspiring travel quotes. They’ll be sure to get you in the mood!

To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” – Aldous Huxley

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you did not do than by the ones you did do.” – Mark Twain

Perhaps travel can not prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try to understand each other, we may even become friends.” – Maya Angelou

A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for” – John A. Shedd

I like animals. I like natural history. The travel bit is not the important bit. The travel bit is what you have to do in order to go and look at animals.” – David Attenborough

A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu

You lose sight of things… and when you travel, everything balances out.” – Daranna Gidel

To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” – Bill Bryson

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey.” – Fitzhugh Mullan

Above are some of the most inspirational quotes that I have ever come across. I hope you find them as inspirational, and that it makes you want to live your life and travel.

5 Things To Do In Berlin For Free

Are you backpacking on a budget? Well you’ve already made the right choice by staying at PLUS! And Berlin is a relatively cheap city. But we have further good news! Berlin is one of the best cities in Europe to explore without damaging your bank balance too much:

1. East Side Gallery

This 1.3km-long part of the former Berlin Wall stretching from Warschauer Straße towards Ostbahnhof is the longest still surviving, and each section has been painted over by artists from all over the world. There are over 100 different murals, but our favourite has to be the one depicting the famous kiss between the East German President Erich Honecker and Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev (OK, we’ve outed ourselves as history geeks). And the best thing? It starts right around the corner from PLUS Berlin!

2. The Berlin Wall Memorial (Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer)

Also featuring some still-intact pieces of the Berlin Wall, this open-air exhibition on the former border strip gives you a closer look at how the wall and the “death strip” were set out. Particularly sombre is the list of names of escapees who didn’t make it to the West alive, played through a loudspeaker.

3. Mauerpark Fleamarket (Sundays only)

A great way to spend an hour or two on a Sunday morning, and completely free – as long as you don’t buy anything! Apart from the numerous stalls, the highlight has to be the “Bearpit Karaoke” – watch with a cold beer in your hand as willing members of the public perform in front of a mini-stadium.

4. Brandenburg Gate

A bit obvious, but just like the Colosseum in Rome or Prague Castle, if you’re going to have a cheesy selfie taken in front of anything in Berlin it has to be the Brandenburg Gate.

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5. Reichstag

Located just a short walk from the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag (the German Parliament building) is free to visit; you can hop on a guided tour of the building with some interesting surprises such as Russian graffiti dating from the conquest of Berlin by the Russian army in 1945. Of course, no trip to the Reichstag is complete without a walk up to the top of the dome, offering iconic views over the city! Make sure you book well in advance (at least 10 days) as they perform security checks on all visitors. !

 

What Makes A Good Hostel Breakfast?

Every good hostel will offer you breakfast in the morning – whether it is complimentary (included in the price), or something a bit better that you need to pay for on top. Either way, the facility should always be there, but more importantly for the majority of hostels which do offer breakfast in the mornings – what makes a good breakfast by hostel standards? When you’re only paying €10 a night for instance what should you be able to expect?

The Basics…

First off, lets start with the basics! The things that should always be included in a hostel breakfast whether it is an add on that you pay for or included in the price of the bed.

Bread/Toast

Never have I been to a hostel where the breakfast didn’t include some sort of bread, rolls, or croissants! It’s a staple food included in most diets around the world, so no matter where you are in the world you should be able to expect bread as a minimum in most hostel breakfasts.

Spreads

Again, like bread this is usually one of the minimums included. Some hostels will offer a wider range of spreads than others. You may get butter, jam, chocolate spread, marmalade, or something else. As a minimum though you can expect 1 or 2 spreads on top of bread that can be toasted or you’re not getting your moneys worth!

Cereal

You’ll usually find a basic selection of cereals available in your hostel breakfast as a basic.

Milk

Whether you use it for your cereal or for some tea or coffee, milk is also something you should expect to get in any basic hostel breakfast.

Tea/Coffee

Most hostels will offer tea or coffee as part of the breakfast. In fact, you’ll find many offer it free 24/7! You’ll usually find sugar is also something that you have access to 24/7 in many hostels.

Fruit Juice/Squash

And last but not least, you should expect to get some sort of fruit juice/squash included in your hostel breakfast!

Any hostel which doesn’t offer all of the above as a basic in it’s breakfast usually isn’t a very good hostel in my opinion. You should be able to get the above as a minimum in the morning, even if you have to pay an extra subsidiary for it!

What makes a GREAT hostel breakfast?

When you’re staying somewhere like PLUS you can usually expect a lot more for breakfast in the morning for a cheap price at our in-house bar/restaurants! For a start there will be hot food on offer as well as the usual basics mentioned above which are typically served cold.

Eggs

It’s amazing how a few eggs can suddenly make a dull breakfast look and taste yummy! At PLUS you will always have some sort of eggs on offer, whether it’s scrambled, boiled, or presented in another way, you’ll always have eggs on offer as part of your hostel breakfast here.

Fruit/Vegetables

There will also usually be fruit and (salad) vegetables of some sort on offer to make sure you are getting a balanced meal! A great hostel will always make sure there is this healthy addition to any breakfast as it’s important you get your 5 a day, or at least have the choice to choose healthily!

Cold meats & cheese

At PLUS you’ll usually find there is also a selection of cold meats and cheese on offer to go with your bread.

Other hot foods

Other hot food can vary, but usually at PLUS you’ll get things like beans and sausages included in your breakfast too.

At any PLUS hostel you go to you can expect an above average breakfast compared to many other hostels around the world because we have a team of people making your food. It’s also an “all you can eat” style buffet, so for around €6 you really get your moneys worth! Either way, a good hostel should at the very least offer you the basics mentioned in this blog post for your breakfast each morning or it’s not doing a very good job!

Photo Credit: Dries Buytaert

Is It best To Book A Hostel Direct Or On A Hostel Booking Website?

There are many ways to book a hostel. You can book direct on a hostel’s website (such as on the PLUS Hostels website www.hostels.com). You can use a reputable hostel booking website such as HostelWorld.com or HostelBookers.com to make your booking. You can also just turn up at a hostel and book at reception on the day. Although the latter option usually doesn’t provide you with a guarantee there will be a bed for you should the hostel be fully booked. Different people have different preferences on how they like to book their hostel, so I wanted to delve down into the main ways people make their booking and really decide which way is best.

Booking direct – what are the benefits?

Booking direct has 2 main benefits. The first is that there are no extra add-on booking fees to pay. You simply pay for what you are purchasing and that is it. Sometimes by booking on other websites that are not owned by the hostel, you end up paying these extra fees. The second benefit is that all you money is going direct to the hostel. If you are booking with an independent hostel or small-ish hostel chain, then you know that you are supporting that hostel fully – although I imagine probably you care about the potential saving more than that! 🙂

Using a hostel booking website – what are the benefits?

Hostel booking websites such as HostelBookers.com and HostelWorld.com (the two biggest hostel booking websites) are great for when you are booking a particular hostel for the first time, i.e. you have never stayed in that hostel before. The reason for this is that they both have great rating systems and allow past customers to leave a rating + a review. If more than say 50 people have left a review, and the overall rating is over around 75%, then you know that the hostel is going to be at least adequate for your stay. If the rating is over 90% (like some of our PLUS hostels & camp sites) then you know that that hostel is excellent! This gives you much greater confidence when booking that hostel you are staying at is going to be good. There is also further back up if for some reason you happen to book a dodgy hostel that something goes wrong with your booking.

It should also be noted that sometimes you can find prices that are cheaper on hostel booking websites during particular promotional campaigns, so it’s always worth checking websites direct and on hostel booking websites for the cheapest price if that’s what you are after.

Booking at reception – what are the benefits?

Some people when they are booking a hostel just prefer to turn up in a city and book somewhere on the day. Others like to call ahead to make a reservation and then just pay on the day. If it’s a reputable hostel such as PLUS and/or you have stayed in that hostel before (so you know it’s a good place that it not likely to mess you around with bookings you may via telephone) then I don’t see any problem with doing this. Also, if you need to book a hostel very last minute, i.e, on the day you are arriving then this is sometimes your only option if you don’t have access to the internet etc, but in my personal opinion I’d always recommend going with options 1 or 2 on this list. That is – booking direct on the hostel website or using a hostel booking website.

The main reason is that you’ll get an official confirmation email of your reservation so if for some reason the hostel messes up your booking you have something to fall back on, and secondly booking on the day in some hostels is usually more expensive. They’ll give you the “on the door prices” in most cases instead of the sometimes discounted online prices.

So what do you think? Which is your preferred method of booking and why?