Stay connected with unlimited data in EuropeKollecting Koordinate s- unlimited data in Europe 1

Regardless of how expensive data plans are in Canada we can’t not have them, even if it means a measly 4GB a month.  Don’t even get me started on roaming charges! We usually bum WiFi off restaurants and hotel lobbies when we’re traveling but Mickey D’s and Starbucks aren’t always around. When we found out we could have unlimited data in Europe we were alllll over it.

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HIPPOCKETWIFI delivered the pocket-sized device to our hotel in London. It came in a cute pouch along with an emergency SIM card, charging cable, instructions card, and prepaid return envelope. We loved our Hippo so much we even sang a jingle whenever we pulled it out! It saved our butts so many times that we owe our flawless trip to this little guy:

  • Staying in touch with our families 24/7
  • Never getting lost with Google Maps while on our road trip
  • Making dinner reservations at hard-to-book restaurants
  • Booking ferry and train tickets on the go (barely made it back to Salzburg from Halltstatt)
  • Posting on social media to stay in the loop
  • Checking operating hours for attractions and restaurants
  • Emailing and calling brands for travel arrangements
  • Sending our #1 biggest fan (Mama Ko!) daily photos and videos so she can live vicariously through them
  • Checking bus, train, and ferry schedules
  • And the most important of all… researching the best spots for food!
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almost got stranded in Hallstatt.. barely made the last ferry/train back to Salzburg

Kollecting Koordinates - unlimited data in Europe 3

one of many yummy dessert cafes/restaurants we researched thanks to Hippo

Kollecting Koordinates - unlimited data in Europe 3

not once did we get lost on our Montenegro road trip!

Unlimited data in Europe with HIPPOCKETWIFI

What’s included in the plan?

You’ll get unlimited high-speed 4G LTE network in Europe, express delivery, prepaid return envelope from an European country, 24/7 support, and no hidden fees. Up to 10 devices can be connected simultaneously.

Note: Hippo works in 40 European countries; see this page for the complete list.

How do I rent one?

Place an online order before you go. You can have your pocket WiFi mailed to your first stop in Europe or delivered to your home (if you live in the US or Canada). Alternatively, you can pick it up from over 25,000 stores and post offices in Europe.

How much does it cost?

Prices start at 11.90€/day for 3-5 days, 10.90€/day for 6-9 days, 9.90€/day for 10-13 days, and 8.90€/day for 14+ days. Refer to this page for current pricing.

What’s the battery life?

When it’s fully charged the batter will last 6 hours of usage. It automatically turns off when it’s not in use to conserve battery.

Tip: We had it plugged in our solar backpack at all times which means we never had to worry about it running out!

More tips & info

  • If you don’t need unlimited data you can opt for 1GB/day plans
  • Rentals are available from 3-360 days
  • For more information and current promotions, visit their official website, Facebook, and Instagram pages


Disclaimer: Many thanks to HIPPOCKETWIFI for providing us with a complimentary unlimited data in Europe and for making our trip flawless! All experiences and opinions are honest and our own. We wouldn’t recommend something if we didn’t love it ourselves!

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Roadtrippin’ in the Balkans with NOVA Rent a CarKollecting Koordinates - car rental in Montenegro 1

We celebrated our honeymoon on a few Greek islands and with a road trip through Croatia. Finding a reliable car rental company in the Balkans was not an easy feat. We have no problems with big names in North America but we came across many, many negative reviews of the same companies in Europe. After scouring the net, we decided to go with a well-established local company for our Croatia road trip: NOVA Rent a Car. Fast-forward two years- we’re back with the same car rental in Montenegro!

Kollecting Koordinates - car rental in Montenegro 1Kollecting Koordinates - car rental in Montenegro 1

Our best travel companion in the Balkans – NOVA Rent a Car

car rental in Montenegro and Croatia

Read more: The magical Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia

Car rental in Croatia

We booked online 6 months before our trip and immediately received an email confirming the details including the total price. Wary about our first time driving in Europe, I emailed back with a few questions. Rino, the manager, quickly responded and eased our concerns.

The amount quoted in the email was exactly what we paid in cash upon picking up our vehicle at Zagreb Airport (ZAG). The NOVA staff showed us to our automatic Opel Corsa, which was very clean and in mint condition, and we were soon on our way.

From ZAG, we made our way to Zagreb, Plitvice Lakes National Park, Zadar, and Split over the next 5 days. We crossed the border to Mostar in Bosnia & Herzegovina before ending our journey in Dubrovnik. On our last day, we said goodbye to our car at Dubrovnik Airport (DBV) before hopping on our flight to Crete. No questions asked, no additional fees charged, and no time wasted!

Read more: Don’t forget – Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Car rental in Montenegro

Pleased with our initial experience, we were excited to be on the road with NOVA again. We arrived at the same office in DBV, went through the same painless procedures, and embarked on our Montenegro journey with our best travel companion. Just like the good old times.

This time around we were given a brand spanking new BMW 116d. My chauffeur husband was very happy with its power, steering, and traction. The comfy bucket seats gave him serious Initial D feels as he drove along many winding roads and tight hairpins. We were surprised at how fuel efficient this little diesel-run beast is compared to our bimmer back home- we saved so much on gas!

Kollecting Koordinates - car rental in Montenegro 1

Crossing the Croatia/Montenegro border was just as simple as the Croatia/Bosnia border with the Green Card NOVA left in the glove compartment. Our red friend took us north to Zabljak and Durmitor National Park, as far east as Biogradska Gora National Park, south to Skadar Lake, west to Lovćen and Kotor, and finally back across the border to DBV.

Note: There are NO border crossing fees! Stay away from rental companies who tell you otherwise. All you need is the green cross-border document and your passports.

Other Tips and Info

  • THERE ARE NO HIDDEN FEES! The cost breakdown is clearly displayed on their booking portal and you’ll never be surprised by random charges
  • You pay when you collect the vehicle
  • The price includes basic insurance needed should there be an accident (Legal Liability, Third Party, and Public Liability), as well as Theft Protection and Damage Waiver (ranges from €500-€1300 depending on the vehicle class)
  • There are no cancellation fees!
  • For more information and rates about NOVA Rent a Car, check out their official website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.

Read more: 9 Must-Do’s in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Kollecting Koordinates - car rental in Montenegro 1Kollecting Koordinates - car rental in Montenegro 1Disclaimer: NOVA Rent a Car provided us with a vehicle for our Montenegro road trip. However, all opinions and experiences are honest and our own. We wouldn’t recommend something if we didn’t love it ourselves! 

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9 Must-Do’s in Dubrovnik, CroatiaKollecting Koordinates - Dubrovnik

Coined the Pearl of the Adriatic, Dubrovnik has easily topped the list as one of our favourite cities. The walls in the Old City are in such pristine condition that it’s hard to believe this place is real. After a long week of driving down Croatia from Zagreb through BiH, we were ready for some down time in King’s Landing. If you’re thinking of stopping by Dubrovnik on a cruise, don’t. This beautiful city deserves more than just a few hours’ stop!

Kollecting Koordinates - Dubrovnik

 

1. get lost in the Old City

Explore each corner, each alley, and each gate within the stone walls. Stop by Onofrio’s Fountains to refill your water bottle when you get thirsty. It’s clean- you can drink it right from the tap! Did I mention it’s also leg day everyday in Dubrovnik? Seriously, it was like we were constantly using the StairMaster. (which was great, because we didn’t need to work out!)

2. stay outside the city walls

It may be tempting to to stay in the centre of the action, but you’re actually much better off finding accommodation outside the gates. Not only are there more options, but you’ll also wake up with a beautiful view of the Old City from your bedroom window. We stayed at an Airbnb just a 5min walk from the Ploce Gate, Konzum (supermarket), and Banje Beach.

Kollecting Koordinates - Dubrovnik

Waking up to this every morning was such a blessing; we didn’t want to leave!

3. go on a Game of Thrones tour

GoT has brought in millions of dollars to Croatia’s tourism revenue. If you’re a not a fan of this HBO series, this half day of nerdgasm may not be for you. But if you’re a fan like us, don’t miss out! Having been one of the extras in GoT, our guide was extremely knowledgeable and kept the whole tour upbeat and fun. It was awesome seeing where all the different scenes were filmed!

4. walk the City Walls

This is a must do. The entrance fee is 100kn, but you get a discount if you keep your ticket stub from Fort Lovrijenac (we were there on our GoT tour). The view of the orange rooftops against the deep blue sea will take your breath away! Try to go early in the morning or late in the afternoon, otherwise you’ll be roasted. Make sure you stay hydrated and load up on sunscreen because there’s no shade up there. Allow at least 1-2hrs to complete the whole circuit; wear comfortable shoes!

Beautiful sights, yes, but I thought I was going to pass out from the heat and humidity! Prepare yourself if you’re doing this in the summer.

5. wine tasting at D’vino Wine Bar

For a great night out, check out D’vino Wine Bar. It’s a cozy little bar right in the heart of the Old City. They offer an impressive selection of wines, both domestic and imported, at a surprisingly affordable price! The place is quite small and it can get really busy. It’d be wise to make reservations in advance. We each ordered a wine tasting flight – one red and one white with 3 wines each – and shared a cheese platter. The couple who sat next to our table ordered 4 flights each! I gotta say, their charcuterie board looked pretty damn amazing.

Kollecting Koordinates - Dubrovnik

6. take the cable car

For 120kn (70kn one way), you can go on a 5min ride that will take you to the top of Mount Srdj for an extraordinary view of the coast. You can also hike up and down the plateau if you’re up for the challenge! There’s a lovely restaurant and cafe at the top where you can enjoy a drink or two.

Kollecting Koordinates - Dubrovnik

7. sunset dinner at Restaurant Panorama

Don’t just ride the cable car for the view- stay for dinner! We chose to splurge a little on our last night in Dubrovnik. To ensure we’d be seated at the best table in the house, I made reservations weeks in advance. The open-air concept offers a magnificent sight as the sun sets over the Adriatic Sea as you enjoy your meal. The prices are quite fair, too- it’s actually not any more expensive than the restaurants within the walls. If you’re looking for a romantic night out in Dubrovnik, this is it!

Kollecting Koordinates - Dubrovnik

8. Island of Lokrum

To escape from the crowds and blistering sun, take a short 15min ferry ride over to the Island of Lokrum. We didn’t have enough time for this but our GoT guide said it’s worth your while. The paths are shaded with clear signs showing you the different points of interests. Bring a swimsuit to swim in the sea- you might even see some peacocks! This is also where the iron throne replica is if you’re a fan.

9. Fort Lovrijenac

Just a few minutes from Pile Gate on foot, this is the ‘Red Keep’ from Game of Thrones- tons of scenes were filmed here. Hike up the lush green landscape to get a good view of the Old City. There isn’t that too much to see within the fort, but the view from the top is phenomenal! Make sure you experience this both in the day and at night.

It’s truly amazing how well-preserved this Medieval Town is. Have you been? What do you like most about Dubrovnik?

 

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Kollecting Koordinates - Dubrovnik

Why Split isn’t for meKollecting Koordinates - Split

Last week I wrote about unexpectedly falling in love with Zadar. This week I’m writing about the exact opposite experience. All the blogs and articles I’ve read spoke very highly of Split. We went into Split with high expectations; however, this other Croatian town along the Adriatic coast just isn’t for me.

Cathedral of Saint Domnius

1. first impression matters

We arrived early in the morning after a 1hr30min drive from Zadar. As we pulled into a parking spot, a cyclist rode by screaming at us with flailing arms before shaking his head and leaving. We couldn’t hear what he was saying from inside the car but judging from his actions, we thought we had done something wrong. This dude was clearly pissed. Panicking, we got out of the car to check. Did we hit something? No. Did we park too close to the other cars or the curb? No, there was plenty of space. Did we violate a parking regulation? No, not according to the sign. So WTF, bro? Please calm your titties, ideally until they’re supple.

Split, Croatia

2. the people

The cyclist wasn’t the only person we were unimpressed with. We had an early lunch at Konoba Korta, a cute little restaurant tucked away in a hidden alley right inside Diocletian’s Palace. The food was great but the service was lacking. I have a thing with people working in service-oriented jobs- it’s your goddamn job to serve and make customers happy (or at least try, as long as they’re not rude), that’s why you get paid for what you do. This goes for all professions that deal with people first-hand; why be a dick ? Anyway, our server was very cold. It wasn’t until after we finished our meal that he warmed up to us. I’m fairly certain it was for tips or for a good review because he handed us a business card and asked us to leave a comment on Tripadvisor. Everyone else we passed by (people working in the market, bakeries, shops) gave off the same unfriendly vibe. We only came across one person who was nice. ONE. Shout out to the friendly old lady working at the ghetto-looking bakery in the market.

Split, Croatia

3. the pastries

This pastry addict was not impressed with the pastries in Split. I was so stoked when I saw the number of bakeries and selection of pastries here. AS, being the good husband that he is, bought a BUNCH for me so we could munch on them throughout the day. We needed fuel for the long drive ahead to Mostar. But what a big disappointment that was… They were soggy and the flavours tasted artificial; we ended up throwing some of it out because it was so meh.

Split, Croatia

4. the crowd

Granted, it was our fault for going in late August when it was still peak season. Split was still quiet when we first arrived but by mid day it was ridiculous. Trying to get from point A to point B in Diocletian’s Palace was like trying to get to the water station from the front of Kinetic Field at EDC. Okay, it wasn’t that bad, but you get the idea. Ships make a stop at Split so the town is filled with cruise passengers by noon. On that day, it was jam packed in an uncomfortable, claustrophobic way.

5. pms much

Maybe I didn’t like Split because I was a downer that day. Even though I didn’t get my usual nasty cramps, my bad mood was still very present. I was tired, grumpy, and reluctant to explore. The douchey cyclist, the heat, the bad service, the massive crowd, and the disappointing pastries simply fueled the flames. I couldn’t wait to get the hell out and continue our drive to Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Cathedral of Saint Domnius

Don’t get me wrong. Split is beautiful! I just had such high expectations after an awesome time in Zadar that I ruined my own experience in Split. I’d like to give it another chance one day but it’s not a city that I’m dying to return, similar to how I feel about Paris. Some people love it, but it’s not for me.

What about you, did you fall in love with Split? Are there places that people rave about but you found it just isn’t for you?

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Kollecting Koordinates - Split

5 Things I love about Zadarsunset in Zadar

Have you ever visited a place with little to no expectations but you end up falling in love with it? That’s exactly how we feel about Zadar. Zadar wasn’t in our original plan; we only stopped there because we didn’t want to drive all the way from Plitvice Lakes National Parks to Split without a night’s rest in between. We’re so glad we did! Here are some reasons why you should visit Zadar too.

Kollecting Koordinates - visit Zadar

This quaint little town along the Adriatic coast was once occupied by the Venetians for several years. No wonder it reminded us of Venice- its architecture has a distinct Roman flair. Unlike Split and Dubrovnik, Zadar is quite underrated and not bombarded by tourists (not yet, at least!). We absolutely LOVED this place; here’s why:

read more: visiting Plitvice Lakes National Park

1. Visit Zadar for its vibe

Like Venice, the vibe here is super laid-back and chill. If you think Venice is always a good idea, you’ll want to visit Zadar too. The town itself is fairly small with tons of shops and eateries; it’s the perfect setting to get lost in. We took our time walking up and down the streets, sipping on grapefruit Ozujsko (Croatian lager) and munching on pastries, ice cream, and pizzas as we went. There were very few people during the day- it was almost as if we had the entire town to ourselves!

2. The Sun Salutation

One of the main attractions and why some people visit Zadar is the Sun Salutation. These colourful solar-powered panels flicker according to the rhythm of the waves! We had so much fun jumping and stomping on the ground-level light show. It made us feel like kids again.

Kollecting Koordinates - visit Zadar

read more: Top 9 things to do in Dubrovnik

3. Visit Zadar for its sunset

People say that Santorini has one of the world’s most beautiful sunsets. I gotta say, the sunset in Zadar isn’t shabby either! In fact, I prefer the one in Zadar over Oia because it’s not packed with people. You don’t have to camp for a good spot hours in advance and there’s enough space for you to enjoy the scenery in peace and privacy.

Kollecting Koordinates - visit Zadar - Sea Organ

read more: why Split wasn’t for me

4. The Sea Organ

The soothing sound of the Sea Organ also adds a nice touch to the gorgeous sunset. The same architecture who created the Sun Salutation installed underwater tubes that play music as the waves roll in. Listening to the peaceful hums as the sky slowly changed colours was extremely mesmerizing. We could’ve sat there for hours if we didn’t have to pee!

Kollecting Koordinates - visit Zadar

5. Easy washroom access

It’s damn near impossible to find a free public washroom in an European city. Unless we’re dining at a restaurant, we always have the hardest time locating one. ALWAYS. We really had to go after downing so much wine and Ozujsko, but of course there were no washrooms in sight.

Just outside of the Catherral of St. Anastasia, I stumbled upon this cafe or bar lookalike with an open layout that sells beverages on the first floor and what appears to be a seating area on the second floor. There was no one manning the store front and my spidey senses were telling me that there were toilets inside. AS was afraid that we were trespassing but I had to go so badly that I didn’t care. I pretended to be looking for a friend and snuck upstairs. To my pleasant surprise, the washroom was right around the corner on the second floor! We kept going back throughout the day; it was such an awesome find.

Even though it’s under the radar and easily overlooked, Zadar’s one of those places that you’ll fall in love with in a heartbeat. It’s also on the way from Zagreb or Plitvice to Split, so make sure you stop by for a night or two when you’re driving down Croatia!

read more: other Croatian destinations

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Plitvice Lakes National ParkKollecting Koordinates - Plitvice Lakes

Croatia’s largest national park is also one of the oldest national parks in Southeast Europe. Whenever I see photography of Plitvice Lakes, I think to myself: “Okay this has GOT to be photoshopped. There’s no way a place can actually look like that in real life.” Boy, was I wrong!

Our original plan was to enter the park as soon as it opens the following morning to beat the rush. When we checked the weather forecast after checking in at our Airbnb in Plitvice, it wasn’t looking pretty for the next day. It was supposed to rain! Our other option was to go right away. We looked at the time- 4pm. The sun was going to set in just over 2 hours, but the trail we wanted to do requires 3-4 hours to complete. That meant we had to somehow complete the circuit double-time. Feeling ambitious (and dreading the rain), we quickly changed and ran to the ticketing office at entrance 1.

Plitvice Lakes

View from entrance 1

It actually turned out to be a really good time to visit the lakes as tour busses and day trippers were just about to leave. Even though we visited in August (high season), we didn’t experience any over crowdedness that we’ve read about in other people’s blogs. This was a huge relief because some parts of the trail are pretty narrow. I can’t imagine how claustrophobic I’d feel if they were packed with people!

Plitvice Lakes National Park is truly a magical place- straight from a fairytale. We picked Route B, which starts at Entrance 1, through the lower lakes, and across lake Kozjak on a ferry. A shuttle then took us back to Entrance 1.

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Plitvice Lakes

You can see the moon!

The sun had just set when we exited the park and we were starving. We stopped by Licka Kuca on the way back to our Airbnb for dinner. The service was subpar with mediocre food, but they had live music which was a nice touch. (It was also the only restaurant on our walk back so it’s not like we had other options)

Even though our afternoon was a bit rushed, it was still an amazing experience. We’ve never seen anything this beautiful before; it was a little hard to believe that the park is real. Do stay the night when you visit Plitvice Lakes National Park. The little residential areas around here are very lovely. There is no light pollution and you can see stars shining brightly on a clear night!

Plitvice Lakes

Beautiful waterfalls at dusk

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Kollecting Koordinates - Plitvice Lakes