Stay connected with unlimited data in Europe

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.

Kollecting Koordinates - unlimited data in Europe 3

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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Skip the lines at David and Duomo in Florence!Kollecting Koordinates - best tour in Florence

Did you really go to Florence if you didn’t see Micheangelo’s David and climb the Duomo? Because they’re the most sought-out attractions in this iconic Renaissance city, you can imagine how crowded these sites get. Why not avoid crowds and skip lines with the best tour in Florence?

Read more: Where to stay in Florence

Kollecting Koordinates - best tour in Florence

VIP David & Duomo Tour – Best tour in Florence

We signed up for the VIP David & Duomo Tour with Walks of Italy, highly recommended especially for first time visitors. Small groups of no more than 15 people are led with an expert local guide who will whisk you back to the Renaissance era. The headset allows you to hear your guide even if you stray a little from your group.

What will you see?

  • Accademia Gallery
  • Baptistery
  • Duomo Museum
  • Duomo
  • Duomo Terraces
  • Dome of the Duomo

Tip: Make sure you keep your ticket stub so you can climb Giotto’s Campanile on your own time

Kollecting Koordinates - best tour in Florence Kollecting Koordinates - best tour in FlorenceKollecting Koordinates - best tour in Florence

What does the 3hr tour look like?

  • Meet with your guide and the rest of your group at 7:45am
  • Skip the line and enter the Accademia Gallery by 8am
  • Tour the Gallery and see Michelangelo’s ‘David’ in relative peace
  • Skip the line at the Baptistery and Duomo Museum
  • Skip the line at the Duomo
  • Get exclusive access to the Duomo terraces
  • Bypass all other tourists and climb the Duomo
  • Say goodbye to your guide and enjoy free time on the dome

Ishmael was our guide and he was fantastic. He painted history with such depth and passion, chaining each story and masterpiece with a great narrative arc. Each tile in the mosaic ceiling, each stroke in paintings, each curve in sculptures- they were all brought to life with his explanations. If only we had him as our history teacher back in school we would’ve aced the class!

The coolest part was being on the Duomo Terrace with no one else! We had incredible views of Florence and far into Tuscany without elbows jabbing us or selfie sticks poking our eyes. This is where we got an up-close view of Brunelleschi’s humongous brick dome (the largest in the world!).

We visited in early June, the beginning of the peak season. Lines snaked and wrapped around each attraction. Unlike AS I have 0 patience. I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t want to wait for extended periods of time under the blistering sun- or anywhere, really! It felt sooooo good to cross multiple velvet ropes throughout the day, bypassing massive crowds.

Read more: How to see Rome in 3 days

Kollecting Koordinates - best tour in FlorenceKollecting Koordinates - best tour in Florence Kollecting Koordinates - best tour in Florence

How much does it cost and how do I book?

You can book online. Prices start at $145.79CAD per person for adults, $141.18CAD for students (ages 13-22), and $136.58CAD for children (ages 4-12). Kids under 4 don’t have to pay! The meticulous timing, special access, and knowledgeable guides that make this the best tour in Florence.

About Walks of Italy

Walks of Italy offers tours not only in Florence, but also Rome, Venice, and Paris. For more information and current promotions, check out their official website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.

Kollecting Koordinates - best tour in FlorenceDisclaimer: Many thanks to Walks of Italy for hosting our VIP David & Duomo Tour in Florence.  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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Kollecting Koordinates - best tour in Florence

24 hours in Ljubljana with the Ljubljana CardKollecting Koordinates - 24 hours in Ljubljana

If you like canal cities with friendly locals, compelling architecture, and a laidback vibe, you’ll fall in love with Slovenia’s capital like we did. Ljubljana, pronounced lyoo-BLYAH-nah, is the perfect marriage of historical heritage and modern living. With the Ljubljana Card, you can make the most of your time with only 24 hours in Ljubljana.

Read more: Where to stay in Ljubljana

Itinerary – 24 hours in Ljubljana

 

– Morning –

Self-guided bike tour around the city

Visit the information booth (by the Triple Bridge) to pick up a Ljubljana Card and digital guide, then walk towards the castle funicular where you can rent a bike. Both are complimentary with the card for up to 4 hours. With the digital guide you will learn about the city’s history and attractions- pretty much everything you need to know about Ljubljana.

Guided City Tour

If you prefer a guided tour, a regular city tour is also included in your Ljubljana Card. Meet in front of the Town Hall where a guide will show you around the historical city centre and hit up Ljubljana’s major attractions. You’ll also have an opportunity to try traditional Slovene dishes as part of a brief tasting session.

Note: Tours are available daily at 11AM from October – March and at 10AM from April to September. Allow 2 hours.

Kollecting Koordinates - 24 hours in Ljubljana

 

– Afternoon –

Museums and Galleries

Cardholders get free access to numerous museums and galleries, such as the National Gallery and Museum of Modern Art. Simply hand your Ljubljana Card to the ticketing representative to be swiped upon entering an establishment.

Ljubljana Castle

Whether you toured the city on your own or with a guide, you’ll end up at Ljubljana Castle. Take the funicular up the hill and explore this 900 year-old beauty. Climb the Outlook Tower which offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city and surrounding areas.

 

– Evening –

Ljubljana River Cruise

See the city from a different perspective as you cruise down the Ljubljanica River. Boats depart from the Ribji trg pier every day at 10AM, 11AM, 1PM, 2PM, 5PM, 6PM, 7PM, and 8PM from April to September.

Tip: Allow 1 hour for the cruise. Arrive early to get front row seats for the best views!

Read more: Predjama Castle and Postojna Cave – Unmissable spots in Slovenia

Museum of Illusions

End your day at the Museum of Illusions; this is the only attraction that is open until late (9am-10pm). With over 40 exhibits, optical illusions, holograms, and interactive installations, both kids and adults will have a ton of fun. We almost missed our dinner reservation because we wanted to finish all the puzzles!

24 hours in Ljubljana with the Ljubljana Card

What the Ljubljana Card includes:

  • Unlimited free travel on city buses
  • Free WiFi in the city
  • Ljubljana city tour
  • Digital guide for self-sightseeing
  • Free bike rental for up to 4 hours
  • Ljubljana Castle and funicular
  • Ljubljana Zoo
  • Volčji Potok Arboretum
  • Over 15 museums and galleries
  • Union Experience – brewery tour

Where can I purchase it?

Online, hotels, or at one of the Tourist Information Centres.

What are my options and how much does it cost?

You can choose from 3 options: 24, 48, or 72 hours at €23.00, €30.00 and €35.00 respectively. Validity period starts from the moment when the card is first used.

Tip: Save 10% when you purchase online in advance.

For more information on the Ljubljana Card and to purchase in advance, please visit their official website.

Disclaimer: Many thanks to the Slovenian Tourist Board and Ljubljana Tourism for hosting us in Ljubljana. 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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Kollecting Koordinates - 24 hours in Ljubljana

Day trip to Predjama Castle and Postojna CaveKollecting Koordinates - Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle

Have you ever seen the ‘human fish’ or explored a cave castle? We checked both off our list during our time in one of our favourite countries: Slovenia. Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle are two historic sites not to be missed!

About Postojna

Located on the Pivka River, Postojna is a town in southwestern Slovenia that was once a part of the Holy Roman Empire. Today, it is home to two world famous sites brimming with history: Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle. Their cave systems are where the first research on karst topography took place, which are characterized by eroded limestone structures and underground streams.

Read more: Stay in Hotel Jama at Postojna Cave Park

Getting there

By train: The Vienna-Venice line runs through Postojna, with connections to Zagreb, Rijeka, Salzburg, and Koper.

By car: You can reach Postojna in less than an hour from Ljubljana, Koper, or Trieste. Allow 2 hours for Venice and Zagreb.

By bus: Intercity buses from Ljubljana, Koper, Rijeka and Nova Gorica will take you to the bus station in front of Postojna Cave. Check the current bus schedule for exact connections and times.

Note: Visitors with combined tickets can use the free shuttle transfer between Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle from July to September. 

Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle

Postojna Cave

Coined ‘The Queen of All Caves’, Postojna Cave was first discovered in 1818. It receives 5-7,500 visitors per day, reaching more than 37 million visitors over the past 2 centuries. While visitors can only explore the first 5km, the entire cave system stretches more than 24km.

An electric train transports you along a railway that has been around since 1872 for the first 2km. Continue your visit on foot through paths, tunnels, and bridges that are decorated with stalactites and stalagmites. Postojna Cave is the only underground landscape in the world that can be explored using an electric train!

At the end of the journey you’ll find an aquarium containing the proteus anguinus, also known as the olm or ‘human fish’. This blind creature is the largest cave-dwelling vertebrate in Europe, growing up to 40cm long. Its heart beats twice a minute and it can live up to 100 years old. With a diet consisting of small snails and crabs, the olm can go 10 years without eating.

Note: Please listen to the guide and TURN OFF FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY!! Some people just don’t care- I wish there was a way to fine these scums.

Image courtesy of Postojnska Jama

Image courtesy of Postojnska Jama

Image courtesy of Postojnska Jama

Image courtesy of Postojnska Jama

Image courtesy of Postojnska Jama

Predjama Castle

Located 9km from Postojna Cave is the Predjama Castle. As the largest cave castle in the world according to the Guinness World Records, it has been perched up in the middle of a 123m cliff for more than 800 years. 

Half cave and half castle, Predjam Castle was home to Erazem Lueger, a Robin Hood-like knight in the 15th century. His castle was besieged but through a secret passage Erazem was still able to get fresh food and continue his daring deeds. Erazem’s fate was finally sealed when one of his servants betrayed him, revealing the castle’s only weak spot: Erazem’s washroom. A cannonball struck Erazem while he was on the toilet- what a shitty way to die, eh?

Live the life of Erazem as you walk through his bedroom, dining room, knight room, soldiers’ and servants’ quarters, dungeon, and torture chamber. A self-guided tour can easily be done with the informative audio guide that’s included in your ticket.

Tip: Allow 60-90 minutes to explore Predjama Castle.

Kollecting Koordinates - Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle

Image courtesy of Postojnska Jama

Image courtesy of Postojnska Jama

Useful tips & info

  • Prices vary depending on activities and attractions, check current prices and packages here.
  • You can visit both Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle in one day.
  • Make sure you’re the first group in Postojna Cave; it only gets busier as the day goes by.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and bring layers. It gets chilly inside the caves!
  • I can’t stress this enough- do NOT use flash photography as this damages the caves.
  • For more information and current promos, visit their official website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.

Disclaimer: Many thanks to the Slovenia Tourist Board and Postojnska Jama for hosting us. 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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Kollecting Koordinates - Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle

Bled Castle Restaurant – A magical meal in a fairytale-like setting

Food is such an integral part of our travel experience. We’ve noticed that taste is usually sub par when it comes to restaurants with a view, but this is not the case at Bled Castle Restaurant. Whether it’s the food, service, or the ambiance, it is without the doubt the best restaurant in Slovenia.

Read more: The best rated hotel in Slovenia

Imagine indulging in delicious food and drinks in a real castle overlooking a gorgeous lake as the sun sets. I’m being dead serious when I say ourculinary experience at Bled Castle Restaurant was far superior than some of the Michelin starred restaurants we’ve dined at. There’s really nothing to fault!

The Best Restaurant in Slovenia – Bled Castle Restaurant

Space & Ambiance

Located in Bled Castle, the restaurant has an indoor space seating 96 guests, with an additional outdoor terrace that can accommodate up to 100 guests. The window and terrace seats offer an unbeatable view of the turquoise Bled Lake.

Note: If you book your lunch or dinner in advance, you receive a free entrance to Bled Castle.

Tip: Book faaaar in advance if you want the best table in the house- the corner table right on the edge of the castle wall.

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Kollecting Koordinates - best restaurant in Slovenia 21

Read more: Day trip to Predjama Castle and Postojna Cave

Food

Led by a team of culinary professionals from Jezeršek catering, Bled Castle Restaurant offers traditional Slovene dishes with an innovative and sophisticated twist. The menu changes every season using only fresh and ingredients. Flavours are bold and you can taste each ingredient for what they really are.

Staff & Service

One word: top-notch; the entire team is extremely kind and professional. We were greeted with a warm welcome the moment we set foot in the restaurant. An added bonus? Every single staff is eye candy (even AS thinks so).

Our lovely waiter for the night was Matic who took great care of us, making our evening truly unforgettable. He was very knowledgeable not only in wines, but also the ingredients used in each dish. Timing is everything when it comes to fine-dining. Our guy knew exactly when to take away an empty plate and when to introduce the next course.

Tasting Menu

After a glass of sparkling wine and amuse bouche, we were whisked away to an evening of culinary delights: the tasting menu with wine pairings. We found the portions to be very generous; neither quality nor quantity was compromised. Each dish was beautifully presented with flavour profiles that complement one another.

– Amuse Bouche and Soup –

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Kollecting Koordinates - best restaurant in Slovenia 9
  • Deep fried meatball: Bite-sized meaty goodness with just the right amount of seasoning.
  • Carrot soup with scallop: Scallop is firm on the exterior and soft on the inside, with an explosion of flavour as you bite into it. Soup is creamy and light. The parsley oil drizzle is genius!

– Cold Starters –

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Kollecting Koordinates - best restaurant in Slovenia 6
  • Marinated red trout fillet in yogurt mousse with horseradish, green apple and radish: Fresh, tangy, and slightly spicy with a nice kick.
  • Smoked beef tongue with crispy courgettes, sour red onion and mustard dressing: Who can say no to melt-in-your-mouth beef? The courgette complemented the smokiness of the meat and added a nice crunch.

 – Main Course –

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  • Angler’s tail on mashed vegetables, saffron sauce and green bean salad: Perfectly cooked fish that has a lobster-like texture. If you like monkfish you’ll love this.
  • Slow cooked beef cheeks with spring vegetables and parmesan croquettes: So, so tender. Our teeth sunk into it as if it were butter.

– Dessert – 

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Kollecting Koordinates - best restaurant in Slovenia 13
  • Strawberry trifle with panna cotta and tarragon macaron: We usually aren’t big fan of panna cotta or macarons but we wanted more of this! Who knew tarragon could work so well in a dessert?
  • Chocolate mousse with forest fruit ice cream: Rich in cocoa yet light in texture. Chocolately sweet with a balanced nicely with tartness from the berries.

Read more: Where to stay in Ljubljana, Slovenia

Bled Castle Restaurant – The Best restaurant in Slovenia

  • Hours of operation: Daily from 11am-10pm
  • Reservations: Email meta@jezersek.si or call +386 (0)4 620 34 44. They do not take same-day reservations.
  • Location: In Bled Castle! If you’re walking from the lake keep in mind the uphill trail has lots of stairs.
  • For more information and current menus, please visit Jezeršek Catering’s official website, Instagram, and Facebook pages.

Disclaimer: Many thanks to Jezeršek Catering for hosting our meal at Bled Castle Restaurant, hands down the best restaurant in Slovenia we’ve dined at during our time there. As always, our opinions and experiences are honest and our own- we wouldn’t recommend something if we didn’t love it ourselves!

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Kollecting Koordinates - best restaurant in Slovenia

Exploring the City of Mozart with the Salzburg Card

So you’re planning your Salzburg adventure and want to make the most of out of your visit given only a few days. You might be wondering the same thing we did, “is the Salzburg Card worth it?” The short answer is- YES!

Salzburg, or “salt castle”, was once a powerful, independent country in the Roman Age. It was once referred to as the “Rome of the North”, given its wealth and affluence from the salt trade. Today, this baroque city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site characterized by its art and culture, historic center, and scenic surroundings.

Is the Salzburg Card worth it?

What is the Salzburg Card?

This card is your key to the City of Mozart. Available for 24, 48, or 72 hours, card holders receive free admission to every city tourist attraction and museum. You can also ride all public transportation for free! This includes the Festungsbahn furnicular, Monchsberg lift, Untersbergbahn lift, and Salzach River Tour. Additional discounts on cultural events, concerts, and a handful of excursions also apply.

Which card should I get? 

Because most attractions are open around 9 or 10am and close by 5 or 6pm , we recommend getting the 72hr card so you can see as much as possible. We were only able to tick off 9 of 29 freebies with a 48-hour window. The validity of your card begins with the first time it is used (i.e. 11am until 10:59am the the next day for the 24hr card).

Tip: You’ll get a handy brochure that details everything about the Salzburg Card at the time of purchase. Check the hours of operation and plan your routes and visiting times ahead!

Where can I get the Salzburg Card?

You can obtain the card from all hotels in Salzburg, tourist information offices in the vicinity, as well as the airport and HBF (main railway/bus station). Booking online doesn’t save you any money so just wait until you’re actually there.

READ MORE: Which hotel to stay in Salzburg

What are the must-see’s and must-do’s?

1. DomQuartier Salzburg: Due to its Roman Catholic influence, Salzburg was ruled by prince archbishops instead of kings. History comes alive at the former center of the prince-archbishops’ secular power, where you can tour the Cathedral and Residenz with a comprehensive audio guide.

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2. Mönchsberg Lift: The elevator takes you straight up Mönchsberg to a terrace offering the most beautiful panoramic view of Salzburg. This is a great vantage point to see Kapuzinerberg, Hohensalzburg Fortress, and Salzach (Salzburg River) altogether. There’s a also path through the forest that’ll take you to the fortress.

3. Hohensalzburg Fortress: You can either take the furnicular up (included in the Salzburg Card) or walk here from the Mönchsberg terrace. Apart from the stunning views, highlights include a fortress museum and medieval chambers, where you can get a glimpse of the courtly lifestyle of prince-archbishops. This 900-year old fortress also hosts the famous Salzburg Fortress concerts.

4 & 5: Mozart’s Birthplace and Mozart’s Residence: We’re usually not big on museums but Mozart’s Birthplace was meaningful to AS and I because of our background in classical piano (how our relationship blossomed in the first place!). The Mozart family lived here for 26 years from 1747 to 1773, when they moved to what we know today as the Mozart Residence in Makartplatz Square.

You’ll see a collection of portraits, original certificates and letters, sheet music, and items of everyday life from the 18th century. Mozart’s own violin and clavichord are also on display. The exhibition transports you back to the days of this child prodigy- it’s a must for all music and history buffs!

Note: No photography is allowed in the museum!

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6. Salzburg City Cruise: Hop on a speed boat and check out Salzburg from the river. Starting from the Makart Bridge, cruise down the river for 8km before you arrive at Hellbrunn landing. Once there, a shuttle will take you to Hellbrunn Palace within 4 minutes.

7. Hellbrunn Palace and Trick Fountains: Marvel at the summer residence of Salzburg prince-archbishops, get soaked by the trick fountains, and snap a photo at the famous gazebo from the Sound of Music. The palace courtyard and old driveway turn into a festive Advent market during the Christmas holidays!

8. Stiegl-Brauwelt: Check out Austria’s biggest private brewery, learn how Stiegl beers are made, and pick up fascinating tidbits about the world of beer. At the end of the tour, you’ll get to sample 3 different beers and walk away with a goodie bag (a canned beer, crackers, and a Stiegl beer mug).

Tip: Come just before lunch or dinner and enjoy your complimentary tasting flight with their delicious food!

Kollecting Koordinates - is the Salzburg Card worth it 17Disclaimer: Many thanks to Tourism Salzburg for providing us with Salzburg Cards and a city tour with Salzburg Experience. Our experiences are opinions are honest and our own- we wouldn’t recommend something if we didn’t love it ourselves!

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Kollecting Koordinates - is the Salzburg Card worth it 2

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!

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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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Overnight layovers in London – Sleep easy at YOTELAIRKollecting Koordinates - overnight layover in London 1

This was our third time with an overnight layover in London; making it our third sleep at YOTELAIR. We usually avoid lengthy layovers like a plague but we don’t mind them in London thanks to this innovative airport hotel! With two locations, one inside Terminal 4 at Heathrow and another inside the South terminal at Gatwick, YOTELAIR has become our new best friend in London.

Read more: Walking guide – How to see London in 24 hrs

Overnight layover in London at YOTELAIR

Just imagine rolling out of bed, pressing the UP button on the elevator, and scanning your boarding pass for security clearance for an early morning flight within minutes. Or getting off the plane after an exhausting flight, and being able to hop into a comfy bed right away.

Similar to the capsule hotels in Japan, YOTELAIR is where innovation meets comfort. The space is smartly designed so that you’ll find everything you need in a cabin that’s no larger than 110sqft. Every inch of space is used for something, like luggage storage underneath beds.

Our Premium Cabin came with complimentary WiFi, a foldout desk, flat screen TV, and en-suite bathroom with monsoon shower. With a touch of a button, the convertible SmartBed glides to any position to work, lounge, or sleep.

Note: Standard cabins are also available for solo travelers.

YOTELAIR is not only convenient for those with an overnight layover in London, but also travelers with connection times of awkward lengths. Booking is available by the hour, with a minimum stay of 4 hours.

Read more: Viewing London from 800ft above the ground

Having stayed at both locations, we prefer Gatwick just a tad more simply because of the gentlemen at the Mission Control (YOTEL talk for reception desk). This is where you can order complimentary hot drinks and bottled water 24/7. What’s impressive is that we found their service to be on par with hotels that are 4-star or higher- perhaps even better than some!

Other Tips and Info

  • Rates start at £49.00+ for a minimum stay of 4 hours, and £95.00+ for stays longer than 12 hours.
  • Bottled water, espresso coffee, tea and hot chocolate are free all day!
  • Food can be ordered at Mission Control- staff will bring your meal to your cabin when it’s ready.
  • For more information and current promos, check out their official website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.

Disclaimer: We were invited guests at YOTELAIR Gatwick. 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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Kollecting Koordinates - overnight layover in London 2

 

Viewing London from 800ft above the groundKollecting Koordinates - Best view of London 11

With fewer than 24 hours to spare, we were on the hunt for the best view of London. We saw a few of London’s famous sites from the ground level the last time we were there. This time we kicked it up a notch and saw London from the 72nd floor!

The Best View of London: The View from the Shard

At 800ft above the ground, The Shard is Western Europe’s tallest building. It’s the only place where you’ll be able to enjoy 360-degree panoramic views of London, all at once. These views stretch for a whopping 40 miles! The View from the Shard is London’s twist on ‘Where’s Waldo’, where visitors find and spot London’s most iconic sites including Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, Tower of London, London Eye, and Buckingham Palace.

There are two bars, allowing you to enjoy London’s stunning skyline over a drink or two. A glass of Champagne Lanson is included in your entrance fee when you purchase the Champagne Experience. Whether you’re visiting from abroad or a local looking for a fancy night out, there’s no better place to see the best view of London. The Shard even offers a private proposal service!

Our visit to The Shard was graced with clear skies and amazing visibility for great photo ops. It felt like the platform was swaying at times but it was probably my mind playing tricks on me since I’m terrified of heights. Anything for the ‘gram, though, right?

Kollecting Koordinates - Best view of London 10

changing elevators at level 33

Kollecting Koordinates - Best view of London 3

bar on the open-air skydeck

free audio & visual guides available in different languages on level 69

Tips on getting the best view of London

  • Use a polarizing filter to help suppress glare and reflections.
  • Take advantage of the free audio and visual guides; you can find these on the 69th floor.
  • It can get chilly on the open-air sky deck. Layer up if you’re not visiting in the summer time.
  • The ‘Day & Night Experience’ dual entry lets visitors experience London’s skyline both during the day and at night.
  • Book in advance to save money!
  • Don’t miss the washroom on the 68th floor- toilet views don’t get any better than this!

Kollecting Koordinates - Best view of London 9

Other tips and info

  • Tickets are £15.95+ per adult and £9.95+ for children if booked in advance, or £20.95+ per adult and £14.95+ for children if booked on the day
  • The nearest tube station is London Bridge
  • Summer hours of operations are from 10AM – 10PM all week. Winter hours are from 10AM-7PM (Sunday to Wednesday), and 10AM-10PM (Thursday to Saturday).
  • For more information and upcoming special events, check out their official website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.

Kollecting Koordinates - Best view of London 11
Disclaimer: AS and I received complimentary media passes for our visit. However, all opinions and experiences are honest and our own, and we wouldn’t recommend something if we didn’t love it ourselves!

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Kollecting Koordinates - Best view of London

20 Photos to inspire you to visit El Nido in Palawan

Hurricane Hagupit swept across the Philippines days before our flight to El Nido in 2014. We shrugged off the sunk costs and tried our luck again in 2016. When we arrived at Mactan-Cebu Airport to check in for our flight, we were told our flight was canceled. Dammit, what does it freaking take to visit this place?! We eventually made it there the following day and realized it was all worth it! Here are 20 photos to inspire you to visit El Nido in Palawan, Philippines.

READ MORE: 8 Reasons to convince you to visit Cebu in the Philippines

20 Photos to inspire you to visit El Nido

Kollecting Koordinates - 20 Photos to inspire you to visit El Nido

Island hopping is a must!

Kollecting Koordinates - 20 Photos to inspire you to visit El Nido

Town proper from the sea

Kollecting Koordinates - 20 Photos to inspire you to visit El Nido

Marvel at the countless islands and rock formations

Kollecting Koordinates - 20 Photos to inspire you to visit El Nido

Kollecting Koordinates - 20 Photos to inspire you to visit El Nido

The ocean has never been so inviting!

Kollecting Koordinates - 20 Photos to inspire you to visit El Nido

Have breakfast with views overlooking the Corong Corong Bay

Kollecting Koordinates - 20 Photos to inspire you to visit El Nido

Indulge in views like this from the Taraw Peak

Kollecting Koordinates - 20 Photos to inspire you to visit El Nido

And this

Kollecting Koordinates - 20 Photos to inspire you to visit El Nido

Sun tan on this soft white sand beach

Kollecting Koordinates - 20 Photos to inspire you to visit El Nido

…as long as you bring sunscreen!

Kollecting Koordinates - 20 Photos to inspire you to visit El Nido

Go island hopping on your own private banca and avoid crowds

Kollecting Koordinates - 20 Photos to inspire you to visit El Nido

Explore this natural aquarium

Kollecting Koordinates - 20 Photos to inspire you to visit El Nido

Enjoy sunsets while swinging in a hammock on your balcony

Kollecting Koordinates - 20 Photos to inspire you to visit El Nido

Dive into crystal clear turquoise waters

Kollecting Koordinates - 20 Photos to inspire you to visit El Nido

The snorkeling conditions here are pristine!

Kollecting Koordinates - 20 Photos to inspire you to visit El Nido

Live among trees in a cottage with an infinity pool

Kollecting Koordinates - 20 Photos to inspire you to visit El Nido

Motorbike to the famous twin beaches of Nacpan and Calitang

Kollecting Koordinates - 20 Photos to inspire you to visit El Nido

The Twin Beaches of El Nido: Nacpan and Calitang

Kollecting Koordinates - 20 Photos to inspire you to visit El Nido

Go kayaking in the Big and Small Lagoons

Kollecting Koordinates - 20 Photos to inspire you to visit El Nido

Get your hair fried and skin burnt…. worth it!

Still not convinced? Check out our Youtube video:

Stay tuned for our guide to visiting El Nido comfortably and efficiently without breaking your bank!

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Kollecting Koordinates - 20 Photos to inspire you to visit El Nido