bart.la

10 Tips For Better Travel in 2017

1. Plan your trip: Wikivoyage
Bart-Lapers-Dubrovnik-seen-from-Fort-Imperial-Srd-Mountain

I’m a big fan of Wikivoyage, the Wikipedia of travel. For each country, region, city you’ll find a page loaded with practical information ordered in recurring sections (Get-in, Get Around, See, Do, Buy, Eat, Drink, Sleep, …) an excellent resource to start planning your trip. I usually combine this with some research on Flyertalk, a huge frequent traveller forum where you can find a lot of info about hotels, airlines and destinations. For example, I found the contact details of a good driver in Bali via Flyertalk. Once I’m at my destination, I use the app Foursquare to get local tips on things to see & do, find good bars & restaurants, etc…

2. Best flight deals: Google Flights
Austrian-Airlines-B767-300-business-class

Google Flights is my favorite tool to look for flights. Just enter your travel dates, hit ‘explore destinations’ and Google will show you a map where you can travel for the lowest price. Once you have found the flights you want to book, make sure to check Momondo to ensure you book at the lowest price. Read more tips & tricks to book cheap flights.

3. Best hotel deals: HotelsCombined
Bathroom-with-a-view-W-Retreat-Spa-Bali

You can score fantastic hotel deals with a wide range of tips & tricks which I’ve written about before. The absolute minimum effort you should make before finalizing your hotel booking is comparing hotel rates via an aggregator. HotelsCombined and Trivago are reliable ones.
Read More

The Year I Travelled Every Week

biking in paradise anse source d' argent la digue seychelles
Pic: Biking in paradise on La Digue, Seychelles (Oct 2016)
Another four months of intense traveling have passed, time to share some details of my Autumn adventures. For a full recap of my travel year, make sure to read my Winter, Spring and Summer stories.

Seychelles

beach at savoy seychelles resort and spa mahe
Pic: The beach at Savoy Seychelles Resort and Spa on Mahe
Early October, I visited the island nation of the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean. An intense one week trip staying at a different hotel each night while visiting four islands: Mahé, Sainte-Anne, Praslin and La Digue. Hotel wise, I was very impressed with the Constance Ephelia Resort, a magical place to revive the senses. If you’re looking for a resort to de-stress in a beautiful setting with amazing staff, this is the place to be!
fitness pool Constance Ephelia Resort seychelles
Pic: Fitness Pool at Constance Ephelia Resort Seychelles
Snorkeling Anse Lazio beach Seychelles
Pic: Snorkeling at Anse Lazio, Praslin, Seychelles
The granite-based islands in the Seychelles offer some amazing beaches of which Anse Lazio was one of my favorites.
Read More

My Summer of 2016

What an EPIC summer! Thanks to my portfolio of travel hacks, I’ve managed to travel almost every week this year! Below a summary of the trips I’ve taken in the past three months and some of the details how I managed to stretch my travel budget.
bart lapers Lufthansa First Class Terminal Frankfurt Porsche- 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet
Read More

€74 ($85) in Airbnb travel credit!

If you haven’t used Airbnb before, now is the time to sign-up. Airbnb has temporarily increased the sign-up bonus for new users to €30 ($35) travel credit which can be used for a first time booking of €65 ($75) or more. Even if you don’t intent to make a booking right now, sign-up to secure your €30 ($35) travel credit.
30 euro free airbnb credit coupon
Both new and existing Airbnb users can earn €44 ($50) travel credit by using Airbnb for a business trip. Aren’t we all entrepreneurs these days? 😉 Just add your business email address to your profile via Airbnb for Business and book a “Business trip” (make sure to select Business travel as purpose of the trip). After your business trip, you’ll receive a €44 ($50) coupon code which can be used for any Airbnb booking. Note that your business email address can’t be a public domain. (ex: gmail.com, hotmail.com)
free airbnb travel credit 44 euro coupon business travel

Hawaiian Paradise: Kauai

Back in May, I visited the Hawaiian island of Kauai for the first time. Being so overwhelmed by it’s beauty, I couldn’t resist visiting Kauai again this month. Result: a summary of my experiences and advice for your future trip to the Garden Island below!

Which Hawaiian island should I visit?

This blog post will cover Kauai, one of the 6 Hawaiian islands. If you’re not sure which Hawaiian island(s) to visit, check this infographic.

Getting there

SWISS new B777-300 Business Class Bart Lapers
Pic: New SWISS B777-300 Business Class from Zurich to Los Angeles
Flying from Europe to Hawaii is quite a trip with 8500 miles to be covered and a 12 hour time difference. Economy class tickets can easily set you back €1000 or more if you don’t hunt for a bargain. If you were lucky, you noticed my tweet or facebook update a few weeks ago when tickets were selling as low as €405 for a round trip from Brussels to Honolulu (HNL, Oahu) Lihue (LIH, Kauai) Kahului (OGG, Maui) or Kona (KOA, Big Island). Missed that amazing deal? No worries, here are some tips to score a good deal:

  • Read my flight booking advice.
  • Can’t find cheap flights to your Hawaiian destination? Look for tickets to Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO) or Honolulu (HNL). If you find a good deal to LAX or SFO, you can use miles for the connecting flight to your Hawaiian destination. If you find a good deal to HNL, you can book cheap a domestic ticket between the Hawaiian islands.
  • British Airways charges just 12500 Avios + €5 each way to book LAX or SFO to your Hawaiian island on American Airlines.
  • Lufthansa Miles & More charges 20000 miles + €12 each way to book LAX or SFO to your Hawaiian island on United. Need more Miles & More miles? Sign-up for the Brussels Airlines American Express card and get 12,000 bonus miles + 2000 miles when you pay your cellphone bill with the card.

Where to stay

Aqua Kauai Beach Resort
Pic: Aqua Kauai Beach Resort (May 2016)
Kauai has a limited number of chain hotels which are generally not worth the high rates (and resort fees) they charge. Don’t even think about redeeming your points, keep them for non-US destinations! My advice is to use Airbnb. For my stay in May, I managed to get a room at Aqua Kauai Beach Resort for half the price the hotel charged on their website. A similar deal at Islander on the Beach for my stay in August. The trick is to book privately owned units at the resorts via Airbnb. Hula Now is one of the agencies listing these units on Airbnb. In most cases you can also avoid paying the high resort fee! If you haven’t used Airbnb before, this is the right time to sign-up, even if you don’t intent to make a booking right now. Airbnb currently offers €30 or $30 free credits which can be use as discount on your first Airbnb booking.
Read More