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.

4 Reasons Why You Should Visit Tuscany

Home to some of Italy’s most beautiful scenery and architecture, it’s not hard to see why Tuscany is such a popular region within the country.

The Duomo, Florence

The Duomo is the most popular sight in Florence, Tuscany’s capital city. Designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, the Renaissance dome is an iconic symbol within Florence and is possibly the most beautiful attraction in the city. It’s certainly a reason to come to Florence and Tuscany in general.

How much does it cost? The Duomo is free to enter however if you want to also access the dome it will cost you €8. To enter the crypt it’s €3.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is one of the most recognisable landmarks in the entire world! It also happens to be situated in the region of Tuscany, within close driving distance of Florence. The tower was not originally meant to lean to one side. It was built with an alignment 5 degrees out. However, the term ‘happy accident’ could best describe this incredible landmark because it has turned into one of the most visited and unique sights that Tuscany has to offer.

Il Palio, Siena

Twice a year in the Tuscan town of Siena the famous Il Palio horse race is held in the town’s main square, Piazza del Campo. The race circles the Piazza, on which a thick layer of dirt is laid out. 10 riders race bareback, and they all wear colour representing 10 of the 17 districts of Siena. There is standing room for 28,000 people and reserved seating for 33,000. Although for the later you will need to book far in advance.

Tuscan Countryside

Possibly the best thing about Tuscany is the beautiful Tuscan countryside! Picture traditional Tuscan farmhouses, rolling green hills, and other countryside views playing out before you. I highly recommend hiring a car and taking a drive around it, or taking a tour that will allow you to stop off and take some pictures.

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

What Makes A Good Hostel Locker?

Staying in a hostel dorm room is a different experience to staying in a hotel or a private hostel room. You’re sharing your room with other backpackers. Although things being stolen in a hostel is very rare, due to the fact there may be people in your room you haven’t met before it’s important that every hostel offers individual lockers to put your valuables. Most people who steal things like phones or iPads are usually opportunists rather than mastermind thieves, so you don’t want to make it easy for someone by leaving stuff lying around on your bed unattended while you’re out. Equally, you don’t want to go out walking with all of your most valuable possessions in case your bag for instance gets stolen while you’re out! Thankfully PLUS hostels offers individual lockers in every one of our hostels, and most other hostels do too! However, not every hostel is as up-to-date with their customers as PLUS is. Sometimes having the wrong type of locker can bring about it’s own problems! I therefore wanted to talk about the best kind of locker, and how it should be. This is both to help hostel owners/managers, but if you’re staying in a hostel with all the below things then you know you’re in a good one too!First off, every hostel should have lockers!

OK, before we even get started – Every hostel should have a locker! If it doesn’t have lockers don’t book it! 1) You need to know you can lock away your valuables when you’re sharing a room with other people you may not know, and 2) If you’re stuff does get stolen abroad and you didn’t have it on your person or locked away at the time in a locker/security box etc, then most travel insurance companies will not accept your claim!

Fit any kind of padlock!

A locker which allows the customer (that’s you) to fit your own padlock is better than the kind where the hostel gives you their own key. For one, if you lose the key it means the hostel doesn’t have to fork out money for a replacement from their point of view, but it also gives you more trust that only you know the lock combination or hold the key to that lock. I trust completely 99% of hostel workers, but if you’re staying somewhere dodgy you want to know it’s your locks not theirs if you get what I’m saying! Also, it’s just a bit more peace of mind if you’ve never stayed in a hostel before that you’re stuff is as safe as it can be!

Lockers in the rooms…

Lockers in the rooms are always better than those outside the rooms (although lockers outside the rooms are still better than nothing.) There is 2 reasons for this… The first is that A) It’s more convenient, and B) It’s an added bit of security that when you’re in the room (at night for instance) you will hear or see anybody if they did indeed try to break into your locker (although as I said before, this is very rare to happen in a hostel!)

Big enough to fit an entire backpack!

At PLUS, as well as all the above things, we have lockers that are actually big enough to fit a whole backpack and more! Sometimes it’s frustrating when you go to a hostel and the lockers are so small you can’t even fit a computer! It means only some of your stuff is protected. If the lockers are big enough to fit all of your belongings then you can just open it and put your entire luggage into it when you arrive! It just makes things easy…

Easy Ways To Save Money As You Travel…

One of the biggest surprises most people have when they ask me how I afford to travel so much is finding out just how little it costs to travel continuously. In 2012 I managed to travel to 12 countries over about 10 months, spending just €7000 total. That included the cost of all flights, accommodation, food, and tourist attractions. Most people I speak to imagine it must cost at least double that for 1 year of travel. It doesn’t. So how do you travel for so long and spend less in a year than what you would back home paying a years worth of bills?

Stay in hostels or camp sites…

On average a mid range hotel room in a city centre location in Western Europe will cost you around €80 per night. For a bed in a dorm room like those at PLUS you can find prices start from as low as €8 per night (in our Prague hostel). That’s a saving of €72 per night! If you’re willing to camp in a tent you could potentially save even more. Accommodation is one of your biggest expenses on the road. If you can curb this you’ll find your travels last much longer!

Budget airlines in Europe

I’m European based, and as such my travels in 2012 were predominantly based in that continent. Usually this would mean spending more money on my travels as Europe is quite an expensive continent, however, one thing that is very cheap here is flights. Europe is home to many budget airlines, and if you can follow all of the low-cost-carrier’s rules, you’ll find that it’s possible in the off-season to fly for as little as €30 one-way on occasion.

There’s always something to do for free!

What I have learned while travelling is that no matter where you go, no matter how expensive the cost of living is in that city, there is always something to do for free there if you just look hard enough. It may simply be heading to the beach for the day, or finding out when the local museums & art galleries let you in for free (this happens quite a lot so do your research in each city that you go). It could also be just going for a walk and sight seeing. It doesn’t cost anything to take a picture beside a landmark or take some pictures of the local scenery. Sometimes getting lost in a destination can be the most beautiful thing, and it can be so much more rewarding (and cheaper) than the over-priced tourist attraction.

Eat in when you can

Eating the local cuisine in a foreign destination can sometimes be the easiest way to experience a local culture. However, depending on where you’re travelling eating out all the time can also cost you a lot of money. On a year long trip it’s important to pace yourself with eating out. Why not pick a local recipe and then stay in and cook some nights for a change? You can still have the local foodie experience by sourcing the produce and recipe locally, but you won’t have the price tag usually associated with eating out in a restaurant.

Never take a taxi!

Taking a taxi every time you arrive into a new destination is a sure-fire way to run up your travel costs quickly! In most European cities it only costs €3 – €4 to take the train from the airport to the city centre, but a taxi will usually cost you 10 times that figure! A little research into what metro station you need to get off at or what bus stop is close to your hostel and you’ll go a long way to saving yourself some cash.