16.11.14

How to Spend Under $10 a Night in Accommodation While Traveling


Generally, the two most expensive aspects to traveling are the cost of airfare and the price of accommodation. While the latter depends greatly on your personal travel style, there are ways to save significant amounts of money on your nightly room and board. In fact, when I travel I rarely spend more than $10 a night, unless it's a special occasion.
Ten DOLLARS a night? That seems a bit lax, Taylor. Where are you sleeping - a rat-infested warehouse?
No guys, I'm telling you. You can stay in great places for really cheap, if you're willing to do a bit of research and potentially sacrifice on overall style. 
My motto is - you're only sleeping in a hotel. So why bother paying hundreds of dollars for a place you'll be spending very little time in? 

When I do my research, I look for the following things:
-Overall location. How close is it to major forms of transportation and/or the city center?
-Safety and security. Will I be able to store my things here or walk around outside alone?
-Cleanliness. I'm not the pickiest of travelers, but I'd prefer not to be sleeping with cockroaches or on dirty sheets. 

With those three aspects in mind, it truly isn't difficult to get a good place to sleep. Of course, some of you may want to consider privacy as an additional condition, since not everyone enjoys sharing a room with strangers. 

ACCOMMODATION UNDER $10 

AirBnB: This is my favorite place to look for cheap, quality accommodation. AirBnB is a website where locals list their home or apartment (in which they may or may not currently live) for rent for short amounts of time. You can rent a really nice apartment in the city center of many places for as little as $20 a night, which split between 2 or more people, puts you at $10 or less a night. Plus, you get your own kitchen and living spaces, so you're not reliant on eating out for all your meals. Two birds, meet one stone. 

Hostel World: Hostels have gotten a bad reputation, often being associated with poorly cleaned, crowded rooms and late-night parties by inconsiderate neighbors. However, I find that many hostels are well-run and defy all the previous listed expectations. Plus, they are really cheap, some being as little as $3 or $4 a night depending on your location. I find that hostelworld.com is the best place to search, as it has lots of reviews and you can search in order of least-to-most expensive and by proximity to certain attractions. Trust me, I've stayed at dozens of hostels in my years of traveling, and have never had a truly bad experience. In fact, I've had some really great ones. All I'm saying is - try a hostel out! You may be surprised. 

TripAdvisor: TripAdvisor is most travelers' go-to for reviews on locations and activities, but did you know you can get hotel deals on the site as well? Some hotels run temporary discounts and coupons which can only be revealed when you view their profile on TripAdvisor. While not all of these will drop the price below $10 a night, they can get  you up to 40% off. The nicest hotel I ever stayed at - the Black Rock Lodge in San Ignacio, Belize - I got significantly discounted through a TripAdvisor discount (down to $55 a night for an entire private riverfont cabana!). I recommend checking the site for deals on hostels and cheap hotels, as this may get you an even better deal than what you might already.


FREE ACCOMMODATION

Couch Surfing: Hardly new to the scene is the concept of Couch Surfing. This is a website where people register to host travelers for a few nights, absolutely free. Of course, you may end up on someone's actual couch, but that's part of the fun, right? Though you are sacrificing privacy on this one, you have the opportunity to make some incredible friends and get a personal tour guide. Plus, it's totally free. Obviously a budget-traveler's dream. Just make sure to read reviews on this one, since you don't want to end up with a creep (which there is the potential for happening). 

Work Away: If you're willing to do a bit of volunteering in exchange for your accommodation, Work Away is the place for you! This is a site on which people around the world post short-term volunteer jobs, in which you spend 2-8 hours a day working for them in exchange for free room and board.  With jobs as varied as hostels that want receptionists to people looking for help in their gardens to shetland pony farmers looking for groomers, there's something for everyone. You can do Work Away for anywhere from 1-week to 6-months depending on the host. 


What are your recommendations for cheap accommodation?





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12.11.14

Upcoming Adventures

Oh man, have I got a busy schedule coming up! I realize I haven't kept you all in the loop about the (dozen? I've lost count) trips I have planned for the months of November and December. Part of that is because it wasn't until just last week that all the tickets were purchased and plans were finalized. So here it is! My absolutely jam-packed six weeks of upcoming adventures. All of these forays are divided into four general trips, as follows:

Visiting Paris with Phil for Thanksgiving

Visiting Iceland with my best friend (this trip was postponed from our original flight in September)

Coming home to Seattle for a week with family and friends

Backpacking through Eastern Europe with Phil for Christmas


As you can imagine, my proclivity for overbooking my schedule with traveling has led to an overwhelming amount of schoolwork I have to complete before I leave. As in, I have five final essays and as many textbooks to read in the next two weeks. So while I'll be sure to provide lots of lovely photos and stories from all my adventures when they come around, you likely won't see me for a few weeks till that time. 
I promise I cam to London for grad school, and not for its proximity to the rest of Europe ;) 

PS: I loved hearing from all of you who live in the UK/London area! I would love to meet with you all at some point, and will plan on doing so in January/February (for obvious reasons, haha). 

Have any recommendations for 'must-sees' in any of the cities I'll be visiting?


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9.11.14

Camden Market with Samantha of Wandering Grad

Becoming friends with bloggers is something along the lines of online dating. Assuming you don't know them in real life and live nowhere near each other, your primary communication is in the form of emails, blog comments, and post shares. Plus, something about reading a person's blog makes you feel like you really do know them, despite a lack of real relationship. 
So, when I found out Samantha from Wandering Grad was also moving to London, we decided we had to meet. Of course, this comes with the trepidation of knowing I can't hide behind a computer screen, and any well-groomed image I had curated of myself online would be single-handedly swept away upon our introduction. 
Let's be real: bloggers are quite good at creating an online persona that showcases our most likable (or most prominent) features and interests. 
So, like online dating, meeting a blogger is akin to the unveiling of the Wizard of Oz.
I'm secretly an old man.
Also: my biggest concern when meeting people in person for the first time is my voice - and please tell me that I'm not alone in this sentiment. Because, when I read other blogs, I somehow imagine a voice that matches the content of their blogs. 
You know, you're just doing your thang in Thailand with a low, non-accented voice. Just kidding, you have a shrill high-pitched voice in real life. You know. 
Just pretend like you do know, even if you don't.
And I know that my voice is not what people imagine it to be, because people have told me that is the case. Maybe I'll make a vlog someday for all you lovelies so I can crush your imaginary voice of me, as well. 
What was the point of all this rambling? Good question. I met Samantha. She has a totally normal voice. And she's totally cool. In fact, we are living parallel lives; we are both from the Pacific Northwest (we lived about 4-hours away from each other), we both moved to London for grad school, and we had a lot of the same long-winded rants over coffee. Twins. 
Also - and I'm not just saying this because I met her in real life and am obligated to because she'll probably read this - her blogs is one of my absolute favorite expat reads out there. She's always putting out interesting, well-written content. Which comes pretty naturally from her given her background as a journalist and playwright. 

We met for coffee and a walk around Camden Market, which was a good choice for a first meet. Camden Market was full of interesting stalls and lots of good food stands. I plan on going back soon with my flatmates so we can binge eat international food.

BONUS: Sam didn't even get annoyed with me when I spent an exorbitant amount of time perusing books and vintage wares. True friend material.


































Isn't she lovely? You should definitely pop in and give her blog a read - you won't regret it.

Are you a reader or blogger in London who wants to meet up? Sweet - let's do it! Contact me to set up a blogging adventure around the city. 

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31.10.14

Happy Halloween from Due East!

Happy halloween! Every year, I dress up and then stay home, haha. This year is no different ;) But, to celebrate, I thought I might walk you through some of my halloween costumes over the last few years. I think they're pretty great, but obviously I'm a bit biased ;) 

2014: A Roy Lichtenstein painting


 2013: Angelina Jolie and Billy-Bob (Philly-Bob) Thornton - Phil has a striking resemblance to Billy-Bob, of all people... hahaha



2012: Luigi (and Mario)
What are you dressing up as this year?
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