Accomodation Working Holiday

New Zealand Hostel Guide: The Best (& Worst) Hostels in New Zealand

New Zealand Hostel Guide: Manor House Backpackers

I lived, worked, and traveled around New Zealand for almost 11 months. I was on a working holiday, so I was definitely on a tight budget. As a backpacker, a lot of my nights were spent sleeping in hostels—108 nights, to be exact. I thought it would be helpful to take my experience and turn it into a New Zealand hostel guide.

There are hundreds of hostels in New Zealand. You’ll find plenty to choose from in every major city, town, and tourist destination. Some are really amazing, some are okay, and some are downright horrifying. It’s hard to know what kind of hostel you’re going to end up in until it’s too late.

If you choose your hostel in New Zealand based on price (i.e. what’s the cheapest), don’t be surprised if it’s not quite up to your standards. If you choose a place based on popularity, you might just end up in a noisy party hostel (which might be what you’re looking for). If you choose a hostel based on location, it could be totally hit or miss. So how do you know which hostel to choose?

Finding the right hostel might seem like an art form (or maybe more of a science), but I’m here to make finding a good hostel in New Zealand WAY easier for you. After staying in over 20 hostels around the country, I have found both the good and the bad. I’ve created this guide specifically to stop you from ending up in one of the bad ones.

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Places of Interest

The Biltmore Estate // Asheville, North Carolina

I took a week-long roadtrip earlier this year through Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia. While the original idea was to head to Nashville, it seemed like a good time to check a few others things off my USA travel wishlist. On that list was Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Biltmore Estate.

I first heard about The Biltmore Estate in Asheville well over a decade ago. I knew it was a big, beautiful mansion with impressive gardens, but not much else. However, the promise of cool architecture and pretty plants was enough to make it a priority.

On the day of our visit to the Biltmore Estate, my friend and I woke up bright and early. We knew we wanted to spend the entire day exploring the grounds, so we arrived at the gates at 8:30 am. That’s the earliest you can enter, and the house opens at 9:00 am.

The drive from the entrance to the parking lots near the house gave me a pretty good idea of just how much land was owned by the estate. The Biltmore is the largest (privately-owned) home in America, so it’s no surprise that the rest of the grounds are extensive.

We waited outside of the house for about 15 minutes (a good opportunity to get some classic shots of the Biltmore), and quickly made it inside once the doors opened. We had a game plan for the day, and it started with a tour of the house.

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Photo Diary

Great Smoky Mountains: America’s Most Popular National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is America’s most popular national park. It sees well over 10 million visitors every year! That’s almost twice as much as the second-most-visited national park (Grand Canyon National Park sees 5 ½ million visitors a year). Naturally, I had to see what all the fuss was about.

With all the traveling I’ve done around the United States, I actually haven’t seen much of the eastern part of the country. That’s what pushed me to head out on a little road trip around Tennessee and North Carolina earlier this year. Great Smoky Mountains National Park was an important item on my must-see list, and it was the first stop on my trip.

The Great Smoky Mountains has a few things going for it that make it the most popular national park. A big factor in its popularity is location. The park straddles the Tennessee/North Carolina border in the southern U.S. Everything is much closer together on the eastern side of the country, so the park is within easy driving distance of a lot of major cities. Compare that to national parks in the western U.S., where everything is so spread out that visiting can be more difficult.

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8 Awesome & Affordable AirBnBs in Las Vegas

8 Awesome & Affordable AirBnBs in Las Vegas

Las Vegas isn’t typically thought of as being an affordable destination, but I’ve already proven that you CAN visit Vegas on a budget. An important part of traveling on a budget is finding affordable accommodation. Using AirBnB in Las Vegas is the best way to do just that!

AirBnB is a great option because you’ll get a lot of benefits you won’t get at a hotel. Between high room rates, resort fees, and parking fees, hotels in Las Vegas can be pretty expensive. And just by spending your time in the hotel, at the casino, and in their restaurants, you’re likely to spend even more.

Staying in an AirBnB in Las Vegas will cut out the hotel fees and extra expenses. Having your own kitchen will save you a lot on food, and you’ll be less tempted to head out to the overpriced restaurants every time you need a bite to eat. Plus, when it’s time to get some rest, you’ll be glad you’re staying off the Strip, where you can get some peace and quiet.

I love browsing through AirBnB listings, so I thought I’d put together a list of some awesome, affordable Las Vegas AirBnB rentals.

New to AirBnb? Use my link to get $40 off your first booking!

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Stories & Essays

I Travel Solo Because It’s the Only Way I Know How

There are a million blog posts out there on the topic of solo travel. Other bloggers will tell you how to get over the fear of traveling alone, or why solo travel will change you. This type of post has become particularly popular in the last year, especially in the solo female travel niche. While I do encourage people to try solo travel, this post is not a how-to or a why you should travel alone.

This is just me saying I don’t know how to travel any other way.

I am fiercely, stubbornly, annoyingly independent. I’m independent to the point that I don’t even know how to be dependent (or how to ask for help or how to compromise). One time a friend offered to carry my bag and I immediately shot back “what’s wrong with you?” Because you know, when someone offers to do something for you, it’s obviously an insult.

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A Guide to New Zealand’s Coromandel Peninsula

The Coromandel is where Kiwis go on holiday. This scenic peninsula is located on the Eastern side of the North Island, not far from Auckland. It’s full of lush forests, rolling green hills, beautiful beaches, and small, quiet towns. It’s the perfect place for a vacation, whether you live in New Zealand or you’re just visiting.

The Coromandel Peninsula is a wonderful place to visit if you love the outdoors and a slower pace of life. It’s definitely a beach-lover’s paradise, as you’re never too far from a nice sandy stretch of coastline. The weather is sunny and warm during most of the year. However, don’t be surprised if you’re met with lots of rain in the winter.

I have a pretty strong connection to the Coromandel, since I ended up living there for a total of 6 months. Most of my time was spent in the Mercury Bay area, but I had a chance to explore other parts of the peninsula too.

This guide is simply a collection of my favorite places around the Coromandel, as well as a few things I think everyone should add to their itinerary. It’s focused on major hubs, so activities are listed under the nearest town.

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