1YoT: Favorite Places We Stayed

Traveling for a year, you stay a lot of places. Over the course of our year of travel, we spent nights in hotels, hostels, Airbnbs, and resorts; with friends, family, and strangers; on a farm, a boat, and several airplanes; and camping in forests, mountains, small towns, and deluxe camping on the beach. We even spent one night at the hospital and another crashing in the common room of a hostel that was all booked up; not too crazy, right?

Parsing down all the places we stayed, here are our favorites:

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Camping in the Pacific Northwest

The US has the best camping and it is best in the Pacific Northwest. The seclusion we felt was incredible, like it was just us and nature (at our North Cascades campsite, we literally couldn’t see or hear even our closest neighbors). It was so peaceful and relaxing, a great way to rejuvenate and also build up energy for the rest of our trip. 

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Staying with family in Chicago

We got really lucky on our visit to Chicago. We stayed with family and she was the sweetest, feeding us and showing us around the city. But she has a cat and I’m allergic to cats, so she arranged for us to stay at her neighbor’s, ones who coincidently were out of town during our stay. And their place was amazing, like professionally designed amazing. Everything was super-nice and classy, and we had a great stay.

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Camping in West Virginia

The Pacific Northwest isn’t the only great camping in the US, and our other favorite spot was in West Virginia. We stayed at a privately-owned place here, one that was huge and completely empty! It was also in the woods and when the fog rolled in, it felt like a horror movie. This was pretty unnerving, but I knew we were safe because the campsite was endorsed by the government (good old West Virginian government!). This was an incredible place.

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Crashing with a local in New Zealand

Unfortunately, camping in New Zealand was not as enjoyable as in the US. One place we really enjoyed however was Hamilton, where a local invited us to crash at her place, no charge! If this weren’t enough, her place was really nice, especially since we visited in the middle of the rough camping trip we were on. 

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A New Zealand dairy farm

New Zealand camping was so rough that we decided to end early, spending our last days at an inexpensive middle-of-nowhere Airbnb. The one we found was on a dairy farm, where the owners fed us and introduced us to their cows, even letting us milk one! Staying here was more than just Airbnbing; it was an experience. It was also tons of fun and the exact rejuvenation we needed!

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Airbnbs all over the western world

Inna and I had never used Airbnb before, but we used it all over the world on this trip, and we loved it so much. Not only did Airbnb make our trip more affordable, but we also got to meet and live like locals, and that is one of our favorite aspects of traveling. We even became friends with some of the locals we met, and hopefully we’ll remain so for years to come! 

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Our hotels in Bali

Bali was our first Southeast Asian destination, a region that is known for being cheap. But we didn’t know what to expect; I mean, how great can a $30 per night hotel be? Turns out that in this portion of the world they are amazing. The hotels we stayed at were gorgeous, with all the amenities you’d find in a western world hotel. 

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Our resort in Nusa Lembongan

Our hotels in Bali may have been amazing, but the dive resort we stayed at in Nusa Lembongan was even more so. For the same price we didn’t just get a hotel room, we got an enormous brand new fully air-conditioned luxury cabin, complete with our own private front yard and outdoor shower and bathroom. This was without a doubt the most luxurious place we stayed at on our trip, and it only cost $30 per night!

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Our hotel in Hue

Our hotel in Hue was average, which is why we don’t have pictures of it. But the hotel staff was exceptional. We got food poisoning in the city and the staff here went above and beyond in taking care of us, even running to the store (without telling us) when we asked for something they didn’t have in the hotel’s restaurant. Everyone in the hotel was so kind, it definitely made a not fun experience much more bearable.

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Our two-night Ha Long Bay cruise

Neither Inna nor I had ever gone on a cruise like this. Inna had been on overnight dive boats and a huge cruise back when she was a teenager, while I had literally never spent the night on a boat. That all changed with this trip, which was wonderful. So relaxing and so fun, and in such a beautiful destination. We weren’t planning on visiting Ha Long Bay this way, but we are really glad that we did. 

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Luxury camping at Coconut Beach

Our Coconut Beach resort was so amazing, it was unreal. We had our own white sand beach, complete with hammocks, lounge chairs, and a fire pit to enjoy it. We also slept on the beach, on a mattress in a tent on a wooden platform in the sand. And all this for only $15 per night. Everyone told us that no matter how long we stayed here it wouldn’t be enough, so we gave ourselves five nights. They were right, it wasn’t enough.

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Our hotel in Chiang Rai

This hotel wasn’t particularly fancy but it was so creative! Everything was so colorful and fun, it just put us in a great mood. And we weren’t the only ones who felt this way, we met other guests in the hotel’s kitchen and everyone was so positive; we could tell the hotel’s vibe was affecting everyone, not just us.

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Our hotel near Ranthambore

Unlike the rest of the world, our hotels in India were not nice. Mostly they were cheap and crappy, and even when we splurged we still had bad experiences. The one exception: our hotel near Ranthanbore. Our room wasn’t special but other things were, like the pool, which was wonderful after our safari in the dry and dusty forest. Another nice feature was the kind staff, something that unfortunately wasn’t typical in this country.

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Our resort in Chitwan

Most of the places we stayed in India weren’t great, so we were blown away when we got to our Chitwan resort. Beautiful landscaping with flowers everywhere, comfy and clean rooms, and a wonderfully nice staff, this resort was definitely needed after our India trip.

Honorable Mentions: camping in Yellowstone, our resort on Koh Lanta, our hotels in Kochi and Hoi An, our second hotel in Bangkok, more Airbnbs than we can possibly mention

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