The World’s Best Hostels For Solo Travelers

See Author Article Here
By

ANECDOTALLY, IT SEEMS like solo travel is the new “it” way to see the world. But even if your Instagram feed isn’t filled with pictures of people climbing mountains by themselves, numbers don’t lie. Hostelworld — the worldwide mavens and aggregators of everything hostel-related — found a 42 percent increase in solo bookings over the past two years. A remarkable number given how popular hostels were for solo travelers to begin with.

Each year, Hostelworld filters through over 1.2 million hostel ratings to come out with its annual HOSCARS awards, its ratings for the best hostels in the world. As solo travel booms, this year’s HOSCARS included awards for the best worldwide hostels for solo travel, as well as awards specifically for solo male and solo female travel, the best of which you’ll find here.

The Roadhouse
Prague, Czech Republic

Photo: The RoadHouse Prague/Facebook

This modern-décor-meets-old-brick hostel near the Charles Bridge in the Mustek section of Prague sits along cobblestone streets and architectural marvels, perfectly situated for solo exploration. That said, if you’d like a little help discovering the city, The Roadhouse organizes daily activities like sightseeing and attending music festivals. Inside the hostel, you’ll be plenty entertained with Netflix and Wii in the common area. Or, if you’re tired of socializing, each bed comes with a privacy curtain and a reading light.

Soul Kitchen
St. Petersburg, Russia

Photo: Soul Kitchen Hostel/Facebook

“The Soul Kitchen in St. Petersburg” sounds a little like a Florida restaurant with killer shrimp and grits, but it is, rather, the top-rated hostel in Russia. The cool, white brick interior sits inside a 150-year-old Neo-baroque building, set gracefully on the banks of the Moyka River. You can take in the waterfront view from the hostel’s balcony or enjoy the indoor amenities from the funky reading room or TV lounge. If the hostel’s name inspires you to cook, the kitchen boasts one of the more unique hostel stoves you’ll find, where an antique 19th-century wood burner has been converted to run on gas.

Cozy Nook Hostel
Da Lat, Vietnam

Photo: Cozy Nook Hostel/Facebook

You’re not sitting in the lap of hosteling luxury at this spartan, wood-accented hostel in the heart of Da Lat. But assuming you’re ok sleeping on a clean, firm wooden bunk, this might be one of the best hostels in the world for immersing yourself in local culture. The owners pride themselves on giving guests a true sense of Vietnamese hospitality, which includes nightly dinners and Vietnamese cooking classes where you source ingredients from the local market. Cozy Nook also offers plenty of ways to get out and explore the city, including motorbike tours, canyoning, and trekking through the nearby mountains.

Adventure Queenstown Hostel
Queenstown, New Zealand

Photo: Adventure Queenstown Hostel/Facebook

The folks behind Queenstown’s most popular hostel were experienced backpackers who took the best things they found in hostels around the world and put them in one cozy, 49-bed establishment. The stone façade gives the place the look and feel of a mountain lodge, with balconies to enjoy the view out over Camp Street and a dining room looking onto Lake Wakatipu. Adventure Queenstown is especially appealing to solo travelers because it offers organized activities five nights a week, from pool nights at a pizza joint to Mario Kart competitions. So even if you’re not in town for hard-core adventure, you can find people to spend time with.

The House of Sandeman
Porto, Portugal

Photo: The House of Sandeman Hostel and Suites/Facebook

For wine lovers, you may not find a more perfect hostel than the House of Sandeman, set atop the Sandeman wine cellars, across the Dom Luis I Bridge from the center of Porto. The world’s first branded hostel boasts fantastic views of the River Douro, whether from nine of its exquisitely decorated suites or from the George Restaurant and Bar. The rooms all feature hardwood floors and expansive windows, so you can enjoy waking up to scenes of Porto’s unique and eclectic architecture. And, of course, you can visit the Sandeman Cellars and taste port wine, a tradition that dates back to 1790.

Hostel Lullaby
Chiang Mai, Thailand

Photo: Hostel Lullaby Chiangmai/Facebook

The common area at the Hostel Lullaby is one of the more unique you’ll find in a hostel, a large glass greenhouse that feels a bit like socializing in the Southeast Asia section of an indoor conservatory. If that conservatory served free snacks and had a patio with yoga classes. Cool as the greenhouse is, if you tire of spending your days there, you’re also a short walk from Chiang Mai’s most famous monasteries at Wat Phra Singh and Wat Chedi Luang. Once you return, you’ll be laying on one of the hostel’s five-star pillow top mattresses, providing one of the most comfortable hostel sleeps you’ll ever have.

Hostel Majdas
Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Photo: Hostel Majdas Mostar/Facebook

The accommodations at the first hostel to open in Mostar after the civil war of the 1990s are perfectly clean and comfortable. But the reason to stay at the Hostel Majdas isn’t so much for the beds or the cake Majdas herself makes. It’s the tour. Bata’s Crazy Tour is without question the most immersive, personal tour of this former wartorn city. Bata takes you through the city, up to a mountain waterfall, and into a local home, interspersing the journey with unbelievable stories from the turbulent war years. Since people often stop in Mostar during a summer holiday to Croatia to dip their toes into Bosnian culture, this tour is the perfect way to learn a lot about the country in a short amount of time.

Star Hostel
Taipei, Taiwan

Photo: Star Hostel/Facebook

The modern Asian design we see in American luxury hotels is largely drawn from the sort of everyday décor on display in cities like Taipei, and nowhere is this more obvious than at the Star Hostel. Here you’ll walk through bright common areas with floor-to-ceiling windows, dotted with tropical plants and light woods. The Green Lounge is like a serene Asian spa where you can meditate while sitting on the floor and gain a sense of calm even when other travelers bustle around. The rooms are similarly done up in simple woods and whites, and though not as luxurious as Asian-inspired hotels back home, the Star Hostel is equally aesthetically impressive.

USA Hostels Ocean Beach
San Diego, California

Photo: USA Hostels Ocean Beach/Facebook

The lone stateside hostel to make the cut is this psychedelically painted spot on Newport Avenue in San Diego’s Ocean Beach. In addition to being literally seconds from the sand, the hostel does more to help you explore the city than most full-service hotels. On Sunday, you can take a shuttle to the San Diego Zoo, Sea World, and Downtown San Diego. Twice a week the hostel shuttles guests to hiking at Cowles Mountain and also offers a twice-weekly shuttle to La Jolla. It’s got a weekly beer pong tournament, a beach bonfire with s’mores, and a farmers market out in front. So for a cheap beach vacation to Southern California, this is easily the best option you’ll find.

Adventure Q2
Queenstown, New Zealand

Photo: Adventure Q2 Hostel/Facebook

This smaller, more centrally located offshoot of the Adventure Queenstown Hostel gives the same worldly, laid-back style as the original in a much more action-packed location. It sits just across from the popular Village Green, which means that by day you’ll be able to stroll outside and enjoy a beer with other leisurely travelers and by night be able to walk feet to the nearest bar. You won’t find much in the way of private rooms here, either, so be sure to wear yourself out bungee jumping, hiking, hang gliding, and generally risking your life so your roommate’s snoring won’t keep you awake.

We Love F. Tourists
Lisbon, Portugal

Photo: We Love F****** Tourists/Facebook

The “F” stands for exactly what you think it does, which at first glance might make it an unlikely pick as the best hostel for female solo travelers. But top the list it did, as this Lisbon hostel set at the juncture of Praca de Figueira and Rossio squares rates highly in nearly every category. The location is prime, about five minutes from Barrio Alto and Cais do Sodre, and walking distance to the museums, parks, bars, and restaurants of the Alfama neighborhood. The hostel organizes walking tours and pub crawls of the area, so you can make the most of the location without any guesswork. 

Best Travel Tips And Vacation Spots For 2019

See Forbes’ Article Here
By Richard Eisenberg

The Polar Vortex this week was good for one thing: giving many of us incentive to ponder where we’d like to vacation to get away from the big chill. Soon! After spending two days at The New York Times Travel Show in New York City recently, I have some suggestions as well as ways to save money when you take a trip in 2019.

Where to Go in 2019

“The world is on sale,” said Mark Murphy, president and CEO of Travalliance Media. “The dollar is strong against every foreign currency. If you ever thought about going abroad, 2019 is the best time.” Murphy said traveling abroad is 30 to 40% cheaper, based on the dollar, than 10 years ago. But he had a caveat: airfares. “The most expensive thing you’ll do is fly. But when you’re on the ground, things are dirt cheap.”

Pauline Frommer, editorial director of the Frommer’s travel guidebooks and co-president of FrommerMedia, reeled off her annual list of the best places to go. Among her picks, which she said are “less expensive than usual or have special celebrations going on or are under the radar but about to pop big:”

Tahiti  “It’s a great year to go there believe it or not,” Frommer said. “The new airline French Bee is doing direct flights from California for a fraction of what others charge, so there’s a major airfare war going on. Prices are sometimes 30 to 40% lower than a year ago.” Frommer recommend tourists visit the nearby Austral Islands — “Tahiti as Gaugin would’ve experienced it, where you stay in guest houses on the beach. It’s not Bora Bora where you might spend $400 or $500 a night. Here, it’s more like $100.”

Matera, Italy  “This is the year to go to one of the longest continually inhabited places on earth,” said Frommer. (Mel Gibson used the setting as a stand-in for Jerusalem in The Passion of the Christ.) A city of caves, “Matera will be one of Europe’s Capitals of Culture in 2019, with 1,000 artists descending and putting on artworks, dance, opera, and theater. It will be amazing to be there,” said Frommer.

New York State  “We think our home state is one of the best places to go in 2019,” Frommer said. “It has more ski resorts than any other state and more improvements the year, with better trails, snowmaking and resorts.” Also, she noted, in March, New York City will begin opening the largest real estate development in U.S. history, 28-acre Hudson Yards (what Frommer’s calls “the grandly envisioned, multi-tower mini-city”), an indoor-outdoor arts complex with an Escher-like climbable sculpture called The Nest. The Jackie Robinson Museum will open downtown, too. And there are two big, 50thanniversaries: June’s Stonewall Inn gay rights uprising, which will be marked during WorldPride NYC (“Madonna is rumored to be performing,” Frommer said), and Woodstock 2019 coming August 15-18, two concerts to be held at the site of the original rock concert.

Singapore  “It became famous this year in the hit movie Crazy Rich Asians,” Frommer noted. “You’ll see cutting-edge, wacky architecture, with vertical gardens and elevators big enough for a car. But the real reason is it’s a culturally-rich place and a very unusual one, with some of the best food on the planet. And it has the most inexpensive Michelin-star restaurant on earth — a noodle shack where you can eat for $1.80.”

Frommer said a few spots have become overrun with tourists, though, and had alternatives for them: Instead of Iceland, go to the nearby Faroe Islands. Skip Bali and go to Komodo Island instead. In Thailand, rather than sunbathing on May Beach, head to the Similan Islands. And ditch Dubrovnik for Rovinj, also in Croatia.

Rudy Maxa, of public television’s Rudy Maxa’s World, said “I really like Uruguay. It’s quite unspoiled and it’s not a place Americans talk about a lot.” He also talked up the former Soviet republic of Georgia. “It’s my new favorite place. I expected grim Soviet-style buildings and grandmas with babushkas. I was surprised. It’s an incredible value for the American dollar and has five-star hotels for $189 a night and dinner for two for maybe $33. But it’s a little tough to get to; I had to overnight in Istanbul.”

How to Save on Flights and Hotels

Saving on airfares Kurt Knutsson, aka “Kurt the Cyber Guy” from Fox & Friends, says the site where he starts looking for airfares is Google’s ITA Matrix, which shows “every single seat for sale for the best price and experience.” He also recommended the Donotpay.com travel site. “It’s an amazing resource. You sign up free for a flight and they watch the fare. If it’s worth re-ticketing between the time you bought it and the time you’ll travel, they’ll alert you,” he said.

Frommer said her company’s search for the lowest airfares had the best results with the Momondo and Skyscanner.net sites. “They whupped the competition,” she noted.

Book airfares on Sundays and avoid purchasing on Fridays, Frommer said. She cited an Airline Reporting Corporation study that found you can save 17% buying on Sundays and pay 12% more on Fridays.

Also, she said, for the lowest fares, it’s best to book flights six to eight weeks in advance. ‘You won’t save booking seven or eight months out.”

Saving on hotels A few websites are especially good for finding hotel deals. Frommer’s picks: Booking.com, and for Asian trips, Agoda.com. If you don’t mind using an opaque site (think Priceline) where you don’t know in advance which hotel offers the lowest price, Frommer recommends BiddingTraveler.com and TheBiddingTraveler.com.

Also, look for an anniversary deal at resorts and hotels. “Many resorts offer really nice anniversary packages,” said Nancy Barkley, a Philadelphia-based travel planner and founder of Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways. “They may offer a complementary romantic dinner.”

And see if you can get a free night by staying an extra day. “You might be able to pay for three nights and get the fourth free at a luxury hotel,” said Matthew Upchurch, chairman and CEO of the Virtuoso network of luxury travel agencies.

11 More Travel Tips

Be careful about “New Distribution Capability” or NDC. This travel-industry online pricing program “will shape how you book airfares in coming weeks,” said Frommer. Essentially, NDC will let airlines track you better to learn how you’ve booked tickets in the past “and then give you what they think you want and what will give them the most money.” The problem? If you’ve bought tickets for work, and paid for, say, priority boarding and a checked bag, the airline will assume you’ll pay that higher price for a vacation and only show you that fare, Frommer noted. To avoid NDC, Frommer advised, “be anonymous when you search for travel online and clear your history and cookies. It’s the only way you will see the true prices.”

If you want a tour, check out marketplace websites that vet tour operators. Frommer recommended Tour Radar, StrideTravel, Viator and Evaneos.net.

Know the differences among river cruise companies before you book a river trip. Frommer said Uniworld, Tauck and Scenic are “over the top” lines. By contrast, Emerald Waterways, Croisieurope, Grand Circle U and Vantage are budget lines.

Scrutinize a travel insurance policy before you buy it. Travalliance’s Murphy said it’s essential to read the fine print so you’re not unpleasantly surprised that the policy doesn’t cover what you expected. “It ought to have trip interruption insurance to cover you for prepaid items if you don’t fulfill the trip. Be sure it picks up costs if your airline cancels on you and you need a hotel or meals.” Frommer likes the Squaremouth.com site, which searches for the best travel insurance policies. “Never buy travel insurance from the same people you’re buying your travel from. If they go belly up, you’ll lose the cost of the trip and the insurance. And you’re paying them a commission that’s more than if you go direct,” she said.

Consider using a travel agent — now called a “travel adviser” — to get luxury-travel perks. Upchurch, of the Virtuoso network of luxury travel agencies, gave an example. “A client called about booking a three-night stay at the Aria hotel in Las Vegas, after finding an ‘awesome’ rate online and asked one of our travel advisers to beat it. The adviser said: ‘I can’t beat the rate; my rate is $20 more per night, but if you book with me, you get breakfasts included and a VIP upgrade and a $100 resort credit, so the value of the stay is much better. You’ll pay an extra $60 total for a three-night stay in exchange for $200 in value.”

Spend money for a private guide when traveling abroad. “If you’re going to splurge on one thing, do it on a private guide who can take you places where you can’t go otherwise or wouldn’t have gone — a local who knows the ins and outs so you’re not waiting in lines,” said Barkley. If you need to find one, ask your hotel’s concierge, she added. And, Upchurch said, you may be able to get a guide for 20 to 40% less during the week than on a weekend.

Try “high/low” eating when overseas. That, said Upchurch, means you might go to a Michelin-star restaurant lunch (where prices can be half those at the same place for dinner) and then have street food for dinner.

Know whether haggling is expected or shunned. “In some parts, it’s expected and it’s a nice thing to do, going back and forth. When I was buying jewelry in India, tea was brought out,” said Daisann McLane, a former New York Times Frugal Traveler columnist. “I wouldn’t try doing it in Paris.”

When packing a suitcase, lay on the top a printout with your name, address, phone number and email address. That way, said Liam P. Cusack, managing editor of Cruise & Travel Report, “if your baggage tag gets ripped off and your bag gets delayed by the airline, they’ll be able to know how to find you.”

Be sure your passport is valid for at least six months after you plan to travel. If it’s not, Cusack said, you may be denied boarding on your flight.

Buy an AirSelfie, said Knutsson. “It’s a drone with a camera that you can fit in your pocket. You download the app and throw the AirSelfie up in the air and it takes aerial pictures of you for a minute or two and then comes back to you,” he explained. The AirSelfie2 sells for $199.95.

Seeking Travel Suggestions!

Hiiii Everyone! I recently was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to choose a trip to ANYWHERE in the world & I can’t begin to narrow down choices!

I would super appreciate anyone’s suggestions ~ the location can be ANYWHERE – & the time of year/cost/distance isn’t a factor. I currently live in Portland, Oregon… if that matters.

I’ve been to a few countries in Europe (Italy, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands) I am OBSESSED with Italy, but want to try to branch out to new places!
Other placessss I’ve already been: Costa Rica, St. Martin, Barbados, Dominican Republic, Canada….

Can’t wait to hear some awesome ideas!!!!

Texts are welcome too! @ 503.217.4223

Complete guide for your international move to Italy

Complete Guide For Your International Move To Italy
By Diana – find her site with above link

🍝🍷

Blame it on the beautiful travel blogs, inspiring influencer accounts, and your semester spent abroad: sometimes, it feels like every other person has lived abroad, and therefore it must not be all that difficult to do. All that’s required to have this exotic life for yourself is quit your job, give up a bunch of your belongings, save a lot of money, and want it badly enough.

Of course, that’s not all there is to it; there is no one official path to taking the plunge for an international move, and the reality is that it is very difficult. Here, I turn to guest blogger Jay Mueller, a Canadian expat living in Costa Rica and the CEO of A-1 Auto Transport to give a solid, brief guide on the basics of moving to Italy from the US*, starting with taking your possessions — including your car! — with you.

Complete Guide for Your International Move to Italy

An international move to a nation as beautiful and inspiring as Italy is one that comes with a great amount of preparation and organization. It might feel overwhelming, but once the move has been completed, you’ll finally have time to enjoy your new home and all of its surroundings. Just remember, this is what you have to look forward to at the end of completing all those facets of international relocation.

One of the biggest struggles of an overseas move is making sure that all your possessions make it through Customs. This is something that a dependable international moving service will assist you with, but it’s in your best interest to also have knowledge pertaining to the import laws of Italy. To obtain the information necessary, contact the Embassy of Italy. They’ll share the current import regulations with you as well as the latest tax rates.

About Italy’s Import Taxes

If you’re moving with more than a couple of suitcases’ worth of possessions, you will need to obtain a certificate of import approvalthrough Customs. To do this, you must first gather all the required proof, which includes a receipt showing that all taxes have been paid in full. Goods imported into Italy are taxed based on their CIF (value of the goods + insurance + freight). If the value of an item is under $178.00 U.S. dollars it is not subjected to any import tax. Otherwise, import duty rates can reach up to 17%.

There are some goods that aren’t subjected to taxes even if their value is over $178.00. These items include laptops, mobile phones, video games and digital cameras, as long as they are previously used items. Used furniture, linen, kitchen appliances, books, toys, clothes, accessories and other personal items may also be exempt from import taxes which you can learn more about by calling the embassy.

Excise tax and a VAT of 22% are also usually included in the total cost of your import taxes. The excise tax is only applies to alcohol and tobacco items or an item that must undergo testing or evaluation for permittance into the nation. You’ll also be expected to provide specific forms of documentation, including:

  • Copies of passports
  • Original bill of landing or airway bill
  • List of inventory written in English or Italian
  • Copy of the tax code number
  • Original consular declaration

Keep in mind, too, that not all items are allowed into Italy; or they are allowed only in specified quantities. Check here for a list of prohibited items.

List of Items Allowed into the Country in Moderation for Personal Use

  • 200 Cigarettes
  • 50 Cigars or 250 grams of Tobacco
  • 1 Liter of Spirits
  • 2 Liters of Alcohol below 22%
  • 16 Liters of Beer

Under certain stipulations, all EU natives are allowed to ship over one personal vehicle duty-free with a Certificate of Origin and proof of one year of ownership. The vehicle’s engine cannot be over 2,000cc. All non-Italian citizens are allowed to import a used vehicle for up to six months without paying custom duties. After the six month timeframe, the vehicle must either be registered to the nation or exported elsewhere.

Gaining Permanent Residency in Italy

Step one: Vista d’ingresso

The vista d’ingresso is step one of your living-in-Italy goal: it allows permanent residency after the end of a three-month span of residing there.

A person traveling in Italy can stay for up to 90 consecutive days. After that, anyone who stays in Italy for longer than three months is considered a permanent resident. If permanent residency is your goal, before arriving in Italy you must obtain the entrance visa (vista d’ingresso) from an Italian consulate. The visa is valid only for the time period written, and it must be obtained in the US before you leave (if you’re already in Italy, you have to leave and then return). Bear in mind that it takes several weeks to months to obtain this type of visa, so make sure you start necessary preparations well in advance.

Step two: Permesso di soggiorno

Once you arrive in Italy with your vista d’ingresso in hand, if you plan on staying after the three months are up, within eight days of your arrival you must apply for the permesso di soggiorno, or permit of stay. This can be done by stopping at the local post office and picking up the application kit, filling it out, and submitting it to the local central police station, or Questura (the post office will send it to the Questura for you).

Keep a copy of your receipt from this transaction for proof later down the line. Note that all of these steps cost money, and be prepared to pay cash. As a general rule of thumb, Italy is cash-only when you least expect it.

Step three: Applying for residency

Twenty days after receiving your permesso di soggiorno, you’ll need to go to your local Vital Statistics Bureau, Anagrafe of the Comune, to apply for residency. As in everything in Italy, this process could take a couple months to complete. Another general rule of thumb when dealing with Italian bureaucracy: Any time you receive a receipt, keep it, make copies of it, and bring it to your next appointment.

Once you have permanent residency, or at least your receipt, you can apply for a bank account, health insurance, and an ID card, or carta d’identità.

*Laws, regulations, and requirements change all the time. I hope this can provide a solid overview of what to expect, but be sure to verify all information you find, whether here or in doing your own research.

These Italian Villages Will Pay You To Live There — Here’s The Catch

See Author Article Here
By Laura Itzkowitz

Who among us hasn’t fantasized about ditching the rat race and moving to a charming village in Italy à la “Under the Tuscan Sun?”

If you’ve been dreaming about buying a crumbling stone house perched on a hillside, you might just get your chance. Locana, a village in the northern Italian region of Piedmont, has become the latest town to attempt to lure new blood with an offer that seems too good to be true.

As first reported by CNN Travel, Giovanni Bruno Mattiet, the mayor of Locana, is offering up to €9,000 (about $10,300 at the current exchange rate) spread out over three years to families willing to settle in the town. The catch: new residents must have a child and a minimum annual income of at least 6,000 euros (approximately $6,800).

“We’re looking to draw mostly young people and professionals who work remotely or are willing to start an activity here,” Mattiet told CNN Travel. “There are dozens of closed shops, bars, restaurants and boutiques just waiting for new people to run them.”

The town is located about an hour from Piedmont’s capital Turin and almost two hours from the famous vineyards of Barolo, Barbaresco and Asti, which have brought great wealth to the region — or parts of it, anyway. Locana, it seems, has been suffering from depopulation as young people move to cities in search of work. It’s a trend that’s playing out all over Italy, where a weak economy has made many young Italians pack up and move abroad.

“Our population has shrunk from 7,000 residents in the early 1900s to barely 1,500, as people left looking for a job at Turin’s big factories,” Mattiet said. “Our school each year faces the risk of shutting down due to too few pupils. I can’t allow this to happen.”

A vineyard in Asti, a Piedmont town known for its sparkling wines. Photo by Laura ItzkowitzA vineyard in Asti, a Piedmont town known for its sparkling wines. Photo by Laura Itzkowitz/TPG

And the mayor of Locana isn’t alone. Just a couple of weeks ago, the village of Sambuca, in Sicily , announced it was selling houses for just 1 euro. After CNN broke the story, it went viral and has apparently resulted in a flood of interest. The mayor’s office even set up a dedicated email address — case1euro@comune.sambucadisicilia.ag.it — which received tens of thousands of emails, he said.

TPG spoke with Leonardo Ciaccio, the mayor of Sambuca, who said “the official call for bids will kick off on Feb. 10, but already lots of visitors from all over the world have come to Sambuca and purchased houses available for prices other than one euro.”

According to Mayor Ciaccio, the town is home to around 6.,000 residents and offers cultural attractions including museums and theaters as well as opportunities to go hiking and explore the region’s gastronomy. The closest beach is about a 15-minute drive away in the town of Fiori Menfi. The closest airport is in Palermo, about 70 minutes away by car. According to Italy Magazine, the town was founded around 830 by the Saracens and still has archeological sites, narrow, winding streets and underground caverns.

Seems too good to be true? Of course it is.

The 37 homes for sale are crumbling and in dire need of repair. In order to get one, you have to commit to investing at least 15,000 euros (over $17,100) in renovations, which must be completed within three years. Add to that the property taxes, which in Italy are notoriously high. To prove you’re serious, you must put down a security deposit of 5,000 euros (about $5,700), which will be returned once the renovations are complete — that is, if you can get one at all.

Jonathon Spada, an American web designer living in Rome, heard about just such a deal being offered up by a town in Abruzzo a few years ago and went to the town hall to try to bid for a house.

“In that case, it was structured like a competition and there were dozens upon dozens of entrants for just the two small homes that I was interested in,” he told TPG. “Additionally, the competition required [that] a minimum amount of private funding (something like 50,000 euros) was secured before applying and an entire design project, including specs and budget.”

Sextantio Grotte della Civiltà hotel in Matera. Photo courtesy of Design HotelsSextantio Grotte della Cività hotel in Matera. Photo courtesy of Design Hotels

Spada says it seemed like a ruse to gain media coverage before just giving the opportunity to a local. He added, however, that in the case of these other towns, investing 10,000 to 20,000 euros into a property might still be a good deal, citing the examples of Basilicata’s ancient cave city of Matera — currently the European Capital of Culture — and Santo Stefano di Sessanio in Abruzzo, where crumbling old homes have been transformed into sister locations of an albergo diffuso called Sextantio.

Translated literally, an albergo diffuso is a “scattered hotel” — in essence, a hotel that operates as a collection of suites in renovated houses or, in the case of Matera, cave dwellings spread out around the town. In fact, Sextantio Le Grotte della Cività in Matera and Sextantio Albergo Diffuso in Santo Stefano di Sessanio are chic members of Design Hotels.

“You can see that the road to success lies with foreigners buying up these properties, renovating them and spending vacation time there,” Spada said.

Who knows — if you’ve got the money to spare and want to play a part in a town’s revitalization, it just might be worth it.

Featured image of the Langhe Hills of Piedmont by Laura Itzkowitz.

Top Travel Tips For Introverts

Reblog from: Bonded By Adventure

  1. Always travel with headphones, a book and maybe even a sleep mask – If you are too nervous to talk to people then this is one of the easiest ways to avoid conversation without appearing to be really rude.
  2. Try a retreat – There are plenty of different options for retreats available, whether it’s writing, spa, yoga, or something else. Retreats tend to offer a calm and quiet space in pristine natural settings. You will probably end up surrounded by like minded people who like to keep to themselves.
  3. Order room service – This can be a nice break if you have not got the social energy for a restaurant. Treat yourself to a nice and easy meal in the comfort of your hotel room.
  4. Keep a travel journal – Many people find journaling to be quite therapeutic and travelling can be quite emotional. Documenting your feelings during your travels can be very useful.
  5. Push your comfort zone – I personally feel that travelling is one of the best times to face your fears because you’re surrounded by people that don’t already have an impression of you.
  6. Take a tour – This is a nice calm way to take in your destination’s culture without it being really overwhelming.
  7. Schedule some down time – Don’t tire and overwhelm yourself by trying to fit too many activities into your schedule. Make sure you let yourself have some time to just relax.
  8. Wake up early – While staying in a big resort if you wake up early you can wander around the grounds without seeing many people, and even when you do there seems to be a mutual understanding that you want some quiet time. Early in the morning will also let you get some amazing photos with great lighting as the sun rises.
  9. Bring your hobbies with you – If you don’t plan on socialising there are still a lot of activities to enjoy on holiday. Bring a yoga mat for on the beach in the morning, bring a sketch pad and draw your views or just enjoy some photography.
  10. Small population – Another option is that you could always go on a trip somewhere where there are not a lot of people around. One of these options is a trip to certain parts of the Scottish Highlands.

So that’s all for today guys. We hope you found these tips helpful. Let us know on our social media @BondedByAdventure if you have any more travel tips for introverts. Until next time guys, thanks for the adventure, now go have a new one.

These are officially the safest destinations for solo travel in 2019

Lonely Planet Article Here

Solo travel is on the rise but if you are lucky enough to get to go off travelling by yourself, you need to be assured of your safety. Help is at hand as a new report entitled the ‘Solo Travel Safety Report 2019’ has compiled data to find the safest solo traveldestinations for 2019.

The safest destinations for solo travellers have been revealed. Image: Buena Vista Images

The report was put together by travel website WeGoPlaces.me, and it advises travellers on where to go and how to stay safe while travelling around the world, giving an overview of the safest, riskiest, most peaceful and hostile countries. It is based on the population of that country’s feeling of safety and security, and the report combines its findings with advice and tips from the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Data was sourced both from the Gallup Global Law and Order Report and Global Peace Index 2018. For the Gallup report, residents of 142 countries were questioned about how safe they feel walking alone at night, their confidence with local police, whether they had been assaulted or mugged and more. The responses were compiled into a Law and Order Index score for each country, and the safest destinations for solo travel around the world were found to be 1. Singapore 2. Norway 3. Iceland 4. Finland 5. Uzbekistan 6. Hong Kong 7. Switzerland 8. Canada 9. Indonesia and 10. Denmark.

Cuba reigns as the fastest growing female solo travel hotspot. Image: JulieanneBirch

The Global Peace Index was produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace and is considered to be the world’s leading measure of global peacefulness. It ranks Iceland as the most peaceful country in the world, a position it has held since 2008, followed by Norway, Denmark, Singapore and New Zealand.

Residents of 142 countries were questioned about how safe they feel for the survey. Image by ©Justin Foulkes/Lonely Planet

14 Tips On How To Travel Italy Like A Local

14 Tips On How To Travel Italy Like A Local – original author & creator of content

Vernazza in Cinque Terre PHOTO COURTESY OF GRETA OMOBONI

In many parts of the world, tourists are treated differently than locals. If there are ways you can adopt the local customs, you’ll be able to have an authentic experience and have a better understanding of the culture. When I think of places that culture lovers enjoy most and where people dream to visit, I immediately think of Italy. It’s on the top of most people’s bucket lists and even those who have been to Italy dream of returning. It’s easy to see why, Italy is beautiful and has it all –including history, art, architecture, food and wine. Beyond checking off the major tourist sites like the Colosseum and the Leaning Tower of Pisa, people visit Italy to experience the Italian way of life. With a unique set of customs, traveling in Italy is a much better experience when you have some knowledge and insights from a local.

Recently, I connected with Greta Omoboni, an Italian born and raised in Milan and Sardinia, Italy. Greta is a millennial who offers travel advice on her blog called Greta’s Travels which has articles on things to do throughout Italy like Venice, Milan, Tuscany, Rome, and more. I asked Greta to share tips on how to travel like a local – covering all the do’s and don’ts like when and how to eat in Italy. Save yourself from any potential embarrassment the next time you’re in Italy and read Greta’s 14 ways to travel like a local. For more information on Italy, you can visit the Italian Tourism website.

1. Greet everyone with two kisses

Regardless of age, gender and how well you know them, when you meet someone you greet them with two kisses, one on each cheek. Italians are very affectionate people and aren’t afraid to burst your personal space bubble to say hello. Two kisses are the common greeting in Italy and anything less will just look awkward.

2. Don’t order a cappuccino after 11 AM

Cappuccino is strictly a breakfast drink. If you order one anytime after 11 AM, especially with a meal, people will think you’re either weird or had a huge night out and only just woke up.

VenicePHOTO COURTESY OF GRETA OMOBONI

3. ENJOY A MID-AFTERNOON “RIPOSINO”

Foreigners often complain about shops closing at lunch break. Unfortunately, that is the reality of things in Italy, especially in summer. The stifling noon heat makes everybody hide from the sun during the hottest hours of the day. Take a “riposino” (a nap) and try again after 4pm, you will have better chances of finding open shops.

4. Don’t put ketchup on pasta or pizza

Every time you ask for ketchup in a restaurant you break an Italian chef’s heart. Ketchup is totally acceptable on a burger or fries, but if you put it on pasta or a pizza you will stand out like a sore thumb in Italy and earn yourself some disapproving nods from the people at nearby tables.

5. Start your day with a sweet breakfast

The classic Italian breakfast is a sweet pastry of some sort, a coffee or cappuccino and occasionally orange juice. Most hotels and restaurants won’t even serve a cooked savoury breakfast. So, embrace the start of your new Italian day by heading to the closest bar and ordering “un caffé” to drink at the counter with your croissant and orange juice.

Manarola in Cinque TerrePHOTO COURTESY OF GRETA OMOBONI

6. Dress up

This isn’t just a stereotype, Italians like to dress well. Despite some Italians being casual, the majority are well dressed. So, on your next trip to Italy show off that new dress or pair of sunglasses and you will blend right in with the fashionable locals, especially in Milan.

7. Don’t visit in summer

Summer is the worst time to visit Italy and when a lot of Italians leave the country. With the school holidays and nice weather, tourists from all around the world flock to Italy, making all the prices skyrocket. If you’re visiting a city like Rome or Milan, the Italian heat combined with the crowds will make it a particularly unpleasant experience. Instead, try to visit in spring or autumn, when the weather is still mild, the prices cheaper and places not as overcrowded. Early June is ideal, when the days are still long and the prospect of the upcoming summer puts everyone in a good mood.

8. Don’t stand in lines

Italians have a special way of queuing, they try to avoid it where possible. You will find there are informal queues everywhere you go – whether you’re buying a ticket at the cinema, ordering food at McDonalds, or waiting to board a plane. Lines resemble more of a mob instead of an orderly line. This is normal in Italy and you have to learn to make the most of it if you don’t want the worst seat on the plane. Wiggle your way to the front and stand with the attitude as if that is your rightful spot in the queue. People will rarely challenge you, mostly because to be at the front with you they probably also cut the queue.

Greta Omoboni on a gondola boat tour in VenicePHOTO COURTESY OF CRISTINA FIORENTINI

9. Embrace the “aperitivo” way of life

In case you didn’t know already, Italians love food. Since three meals a day aren’t enough for us to properly enjoy all our tasty cuisine, we decided to add a meal between lunch and dinner; the glorious “aperitivo”. Intended as a pre-dinner this can often turn into a full-on dinner depending on where you are. If you sit down for an aperitivo between 5pm and 8pm, most bars will bring you crisps, pizzas and all sorts of snacks and nibbles with your Aperol Spritz (the aperitivo drink by definition). A lot of places have evolved into the “aperi-cena” where with 10 EUR you can get a drink and an all you can eat buffet. Aperitivo is usually the most common type of social hangout and if you want to really blend in in Italy, consider trying one out.

10. Stop and talk to people

In Italy, no one is in a rush. Regardless of what commitments you may have, if you bump into someone you know in the middle of the street, you stop for a chat. Yes, you might be late for your restaurant reservation, but chatting with the locals is important to better understanding the local way of life and generally people run late anyway. Be polite when someone says hello and remember the phrase “buona giornata” which means “have a good day” when you say bye.

11. Drink only water, wine or beer with meals

Both at home or in restaurants the most common drinks will always be water, beer or wine. Most restaurants don’t serve cocktails. Children can drink sodas with meals but adults should steer clear as it’s perceived to cover up the taste of the food whereas water will allow you to properly enjoy your meal.

Vernazza in Cinque TerrePHOTO COURTESY OF GRETA OMOBONI

12. Do things later

Everything happens later in Italy. You wake up later, have lunch and dinner later, and go to bed later. If you ask your new Italian friends to have dinner any earlier than 7 PM they will look at you in horror.

13. Speak with your hands

Once again, this isn’t just a stereotype. Italians gesture a lot while talking, we don’t even realize we’re doing it. We find it adds to the conversation, especially if you’re explaining directions. Give it a go, next time you talk to someone in Italy, throw in some hand gestures for good measure – it will make you easier to understand!

14. Have your coffee at the counter

In Italy, if you order a coffee at the counter you will never pay more than 1 EUR, 1.50 at most. However, if you sit down at a table they can charge you as much as they want because of cost of service to bring it to you. In prime tourist spots such as Piazza Duomo in Milan or Piazza San Marco in Venice this can be even more than 5 EUR. Be like the Italians and save yourself some cash by having your coffee on the go at the counter. You can order it by saying “un caffè per favore”.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/monicahoughton/2018/01/16/14-tips-on-how-to-travel-italy-like-a-local/#716a0b1c6b62

The Best Travel Destination For Introverts & Many More Resources For Traveling As An Introvert

I know I want to travel more in my life but always stress because of always having to be “on.”  I found one site, then many more, including tips for introverts wanting to travel.. sooo here they are y’all.

Are these the best travel destinations for introverts?
The Introvert’s Guide To Travel
The Realities About Traveling As An Introvert
Hostels For IntrovertsThe Introvert’s Guide To Travel
An Introvert’s Guide To Group Travel