Is It Possible to Travel Norway on a Budget?

Is It Possible to Travel Norway on a Budget?

The response from our most recent post, 35 Photos of Norway That Will Make You Want to Pack Now, was overwhelmingly cohesive. Basically you all said: “Yep-Norway is absolutely stunning. I’d love to go. Too bad it is way out of my travel budget.”     It’s true. Norway is one of the most expensive countries in the world. Although we were mentally prepared for the exorbitant prices, sticker shock still set in the moment one teeny tiny black coffee (no refills) set us back $5 USD—and that wasn’t even the worst of the prices that were yet to come. That said it IS possible to travel Norway on a budget, provided you do as we say, not as we did. More specifically, Norway is not exactly a country where you just want to ‘wing’ it (like us). After having regulated travel itineraries in Lapland, we were ready to slow down and see where the Norwegian air blew us. It worked well enough. Having no plans meant we could add a week in the Lofoten Islands, a destination we originally had not planned on visiting but that ultimately proved the highlight of our entire trip. However, we also learned a lot in the process, and it was a bit painful to discover all the ways we could have—and should have—saved money.   So don’t make the same mistakes we did. By following a few of the tips below, you’ll be well on your way to budget travel in Norway.   The Season        1. Go to Norway in the summer.   Longer days and more sunshine will...

How We Save Thousands of Dollars on Airfare (And You Can Too)

We haven’t always been savvy on how to save money on airfare. In fact, it took traveling to 21 countries for us to realize that maybe it was time to open up frequent flier accounts. Yikes. Luckily for our bank accounts, this past year saw us investing some time and energy into learning how to purchase tickets wisely. And you know what the best part was? It didn’t even take that much time or energy. With just a few simple steps, we’ve literally saved thousands of dollars on our airfare purchases. We want to share how we do it. For full disclosure, we are by no means the experts. We don’t do mileage runs. We don’t read forums or research promotions. But we’ve still been pretty successful. Plus, at the end of the post we’re going to direct anyone who wants to take their travel hacking to another level to an awesome resource.   The Basics There are a few super easy ways to save money on airfare. Many of these you might already be doing, but let’s go over them just to make sure:   1.    Be as flexible as possible Be flexible with the dates you are flying. Be flexible with the times you are flying. If you can, be flexible with the airports you are flying into. It’s amazing the difference a day can make in the price of a flight. Typically mid-week flights are less expensive as the demand for a Tuesday flight is less than that of a Friday flight; however, it’s always best to check all your options. We recently saved over one...
Come With Us To Costa Rica!

Come With Us To Costa Rica!

Welcome To Costa Rica!   Or, a bit more specifically, welcome to Los Angeles Sur. Nestled in the mountains and cloud forests of central Costa Rica, this is our ultra-temporary home for about three weeks before we get into the whitewater rafting, horseback riding and nature tours galore.   If you follow us on our facebook or instagram, then you know by now that we’re housesitting—taking care of someone’s house and pets while they are away.  Our ‘home’ is in a quiet community, a 30-minute bus ride from the nearest town. Our days consist of playing with the cuddly cat, going for strolls through the valley, and generally enjoying the view. There’s a small café down the road we get cappuccinos at.  There’s a vegetable stand we walk to an hour away. It’s funny how simple it sounds, and it’s no wonder people keep asking us if we’re bored. The thing is, we really needed this quiet retreat. Not to relax so much as to have the opportunity to sit at our computers undistracted and catch up on a whole myriad of projects. Despite for the cat cuddling breaks, it’s going pretty well.   Don’t get us wrong—we will definitely be ready to continue our explorations around Costa Rica in about a week’s time. We’ve got a lot of ideas, and we can’t wait to experience the wildlife and diversity Costa Rica is famous for. If you’ve been to Costa Rica, please send us your suggestions! We’ll have about six weeks to explore all that the country has to offer.   In the meantime, we’re going to sip one...
Finding Quality Accommodation at Budget Prices: La Pousada de Mong-Ha

Finding Quality Accommodation at Budget Prices: La Pousada de Mong-Ha

While ambling hand-in-hand through the streets of Macau, we often imagined ourselves roaming the piazzas of Southern Portugal instead.  Again and again one of us would make a little comment on the pastel-colored houses, the cobblestone-laden alleyways or the streets bearing Portuguese names. In these moments it was as though we would close our eyes and suddenly awake in Europe, naturally donning a large-brimmed sunhat and picnic basket of cheese. But then a small detail, like the smell of incense drifting past via a nearby temple, would remind us that we were in fact firmly rooted to Asian soil. It was this mix of Eastern and Western cultures in Macau that truly enchanted us. It was also this mix of cultural influences we were looking for in a hotel. While we pondered the idea of staying at one of the top-notch casinos (the main reason most tourists find themselves in Macau) we ultimately decided we wanted accommodation that had more character—something that paralleled the vibrancy of Macau itself. Enter the Pousada de Mong-Ha, an educational hotel located just outside the heart of Macau. An educational hotel? That sounds a bit risky. We know. That’s what we thought when we first stumbled upon it, too. But with recommendations in the Michelin Hong Kong Macau Guide and awards from Trip Advisor and Green Hotel, the training hotel warranted another look. Additional research via the hotel website revealed that the Pousada de Mong-Ha was not only an educational facility, but also a hotel where history flourishes and traditional Chinese and Portuguese cultures intertwine. The description matched our requirements to a tee. We...
Lantau Island’s Big Buddha: Is It Worth It?

Lantau Island’s Big Buddha: Is It Worth It?

Lantau Island’s Big Buddha—Is it worth it?   Tian Tan Buddha, or simply the Big Buddha, is one of the world’s largest Buddhas as well as a popular tourist attraction in Hong Kong. Serenely nestled on the hills of Lantau Island, it also takes a bit of a time commitment and varying amounts of dough (not to mention hundreds of stairs) to access the Buddha’s smiling face. We did make the trek out to visit the Buddha, and even got to wish him the happiest of birthdays while we were there. But many fellow travelers we met in Hong Kong expressed their disinterest in the statue, primarily because of the time involved to see the tourist attraction.   So was it worth it? You’ll have to wait (we know you would never just skim down) to the end of the post to find out. But first, let’s talk practicalities.   Getting to the Big Buddha To access the Big Buddha, you’ll first need to arrive at the Tung Chung MTR station. (We’ll mention this in another post, but do so via your Octopus Card. It’s a huge time and money saver, and it works on the bus too.) Once there, you can do one of two things:  1. Take bus No. 23 to Ngong Ping (via MTR exit B) If you mime Big Buddha actions, all the locals                 will direct you to the bus you need. Creativity points awarded. Be prepared for small roads, deep bends, and fast drivers.           Estimated time: 30-40 minutes one-way          ...