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Accommodations

Lodging 

Booking.com has many ratings for hotels, apartments, hostels, and many other accommodation types. You can book your stay early in the planning process and pay once you arrive at the property. If you change your mind, most properties offer free cancellation. Look at the specific lodging cancellation policy to avoid any charges. (Ex. Free cancellation until 11:59 pm on “Blank Date” before reservation).

Expedia.com  has been around for years and provides competitive prices on multiple hotels. You can use the filter to find what suits your travel needs best. Expedia also offers the “Book Now, Pay Later” option to pay onsite for reservations. Cancellation at most properties is free, saving you money if plans change.

Check this out:  When booking your stay, 1) Click hotels, 2) Reserve now, Pay later. You will not be charged until you arrive at the property. Payment information is needed only to hold the reservation. As mentioned, many properties offer free cancellation, so follow the cancellation policy if needed.

Airbnb is popular. If hotels aren’t your thing or you are just looking for a more authentic and unique stay, booking a vacation rental may provide you with that experience. You can pay in full or secure an Airbnb with only a deposit. Vacation rentals can provide amenities to make your stay feel cozy and comfortable.

Check it out: After determining your vacation property, 1) Click the reserve button, 2) Scroll down to the “Choose how to pay” option, which includes Pay in full or Pay part now, pay later payment plan. This will allow you to hold your reservation. Note: Be sure to mark your calendar. The remaining balance will automatically be charged to the same payment method on a specific date, according to the booking site.

Hostel World is a platform dedicated to advertising the best hostels. Have you ever stayed in a hostel, or would you like to experience one? This platform provides a list of destination hostels, pictures, information on the facilities, services, entertainment, food, and drinks, a map of the location, prices (which tend to be lower than hotel and vacation rental prices), and most importantly, ratings and reviews. Hostels are a great way to meet new people. You don’t have to stay in a room with multiple people; you can book a private room.

I booked a room in a hostel (for the first time) in Uluwatu. The private room also came with a private bathroom. The towels were kind of small, but the price was terrific, less than $20 a night. The hostel provided free Wi-Fi, a community kitchen, motorbike, and surfboard rentals. Surf lessons and a list of trips and activities to book (privately or in a group with other hostel guests).

Transportation 

Uber allows you to request or schedule a ride with the Uber app 30 days in advance. The platform will connect you with a driver within minutes at any time and almost anywhere. If you plan on booking in advance, there is a reservation fee to lock in the price. This service can save you time when looking for reliable transportation, especially in a new city. The app will display the trip cost, the name and a photo of your driver, and the vehicle’s make, model, color, and license plate number. You can screenshot the information for safety purposes and share your arrival time with family and friends. Uber tends to be less expensive than taxis but check out other ride-sharing competitors for the best price.

Google Maps Need I say more? You can use this app while driving, using public transportation, riding a bike, or walking. Google Maps is the prime navigation app that offers real-time GPS navigation, photos, 360 views, and an offline option. I used this app while exploring locally on foot in Hawaii, walking to nearby beaches, restaurants, and stores. 

Gojek is a South Asian platform that offers multiple services. You can arrange services from the app in Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, and Thailand. Transportation in South Asia is less expensive than in the States, and knowing a set price can save you the inconvenience of haggling with a taxi driver who promises you a “special price .” You can ride on the back of a motorbike (you will be provided with a helmet) or in a car. Whatever your choice, this is one of the best transportation apps for the countries mentioned. 

Grab is another South Asian transportation app offered in several more countries than Gojek, including Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Myanmar, and so much more to offer. Upon request, you can either pay through the app or pay in cash, which the driver will collect once you arrive at your destination. I’ve used both apps in Bali, Indonesia, and had a pleasant experience and found it easy to operate.

General Transportation Tips:

  • If your accommodation offers bike or motorbike rentals, check them out! Biking is an easy way to get around locally. Before renting, please check local laws and regulations, understand and know how to operate the vehicle you plan to use, wear protective gear, such as a helmet… And take a picture of the bike before riding!
  • Plan on using public transit? Know your route before getting on, and give yourself some extra time by arriving early. If you plan on taking a few trips, a metro card can be less expensive than paying for each ride. Use a well-lit and busy area to wait for and to exit public transportation and keep your belongings close.
  • Renting a car is also a great way to get around and is sometimes necessary for some destinations. Research car rental services in the area and find what best suits your travel needs.

Driving in a foreign country can give you a sense of freedom, but it can also be challenging as it may differ from driving in your city. (Ex: In Indonisa, people drive on the left side of the road, whereas in the US, people drive on the right side.) There may be variations in traffic rules and language barriers that might pose difficulties. You may need to adapt to new driving conditions, weather, and landscapes. Prioritizing safety and staying informed about potential hazards is crucial. Make sure to follow and respect the local rules.